(Extracted from Precious Things 21, pp. 58-62.)
This is a theme worthy of our deepest consideration and will well repay our study, may we look at it under these seven headings —
(1) Its cause
(2) Its scope
(3) The position and need for such a scheme
(4) The order and time of its fulfilment
(5) The part taken by each One in the Holy Trinity in its accomplishment
(6) The result reached in the Millenial Kingdom
(7) The perfect completion of all for God's eternal day
Our enquiry here is concerning the second of these points, namely, the scope of the Counsel of God, but the whole scheme so hangs together that a few words on each may help to make the matter clear.
(1) What was the producing cause for the scheme of God's eternal counsel? From what we learn of the Being, Nature, and Character of God, there can be nothing either capricious or arbitrary. God is Spirit (John 4:24), God is Light (John 1:5), God is Love (1 John 4:8, 16). As controlled by His nature, the counsel of God is the moral necessity and outcome of Who He is. That God would surround Himself with numberless classes of moral and intelligent agents, both celestial and terrestrial, in whose praise He would for ever delight, is seen to be the exigency of His nature, for "God is Love". That He has provided in the Gospel that which abundantly meets the need of His fallen creature is true, but the scheme of eternal counsel unfolds before our adoring hearts that which calls forth and meets His own need.
(2) The width and scope of the eternal Counsel of God. The nations that are saved will come into blessing on the earth as well as Israel, and the question arises, "Are these companies included in the Scheme of eternal counsel?" It may be said in passing, that, "known unto God are all His ways from the beginning", and that every part of the finally developed and eternally subsisting order was before His mind ere time or worlds began, but how it was to be worked out with the earth and man at the centre, can only be known as we learn the thoughts of God concerning the glory of His Son. This will become clear as we learn from Scripture the difference between the moral features of the grand climax of all God's ways in Millenial glory, and what is to mark the day of God — eternity.
(3) The position brought about which called for the intervention of God and the fulfilment of His counsel of love. Divine Wisdom planned, then came Creation. This was not of counsel exactly, but to give a platform upon which it could be worked out. Then came the entrance of sin, producing a moral condition which necessitated a Divine intervention. In the deeper mysteries of the Divine procedure, creature responsibility must precede sovereign love and mercy; that creature's fall and utter condemnation laid the ground for God to come in in mercy which led to the Cross and the full revelation of God.
(4) The order and time in which eternal counsel is worked out in the Creation. If sin invaded the race, why a long protracted period before the Redeemer came? Here we have a wonderful display of Divine wisdom. The progressive revelation of the Old Testament led up to the Incarnation to which all looked forward. Time was needed for the full testing of the race which gave an opportunity for the rich display of the character of God which was necessary before the higher ranges of creation, while in His outer dealings He gave a figurative representation of ulterior things, a rich and blessed pledge by type and shadow of good things to come. We can see, therefore, the moral necessity that the Incarnation should be at the consummation of the ages. (Heb. 9:26) also (Heb. 1:2) and (Gal. 4:4).
(5) The place each One in the Holy Trinity takes in carrying out the counsel of eternity. This supposes that God subsists in Trinity as Father, Son and Spirit. The first disclosure of this was in the Incarnation, and consequently the time when eternal counsel was first made known and began to be fulfilled. We have no trace in Scripture that there was a point in eternity past, when by consultation and agreement Divine Persons arranged to take each a certain defined place in relation to the others to give effect to this counsel. By becoming Man, the Son took a place in relation to God in which He could carry out all the will of God — first in a life of obedience due to God by Man, and then by His death meeting the claims of God on the fallen creature.
(6) Eternal counsel fulfilled for which creation still waits as reached in the Millenial Kingdom. This is the time when, instead of groaning, earth's glad song shall continually rise to heaven in blessing and in praise. The time when the reign of sin shall cease and Satan bound, God's promises all fulfilled, the whole earth shall be filled with His praise. Israel shall then rest securely under the righteous sway of their glorious Messiah, and the saved Gentile nations under the same blessed One as Son of Man, it shall be said in holy amazement — "What has God wrought"?
(7) The absolute accomplishment of all that God had before Himself to accomplish in an unending scene of perfect bliss. Here all things are made new, and all things are of God. Here God shall dwell with men and they shall be His people. And God Himself shall be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away. Dispensations, thrones, kingdoms and display; all that fills the Holy Page historically, prophetically and dispensationally completed and fulfilled; with all His work completed, God — Father, Son and Spirit shall rest in complacency in an eternal order, every part of which is a reflection of Himself and where that same Triune God shall be all in all.