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The Divine Plan of the Ages Chapter 1 Answers
1. What does the title, "The Divine Plan of the Ages," suggest concerning God's plans and purposes? (page 9)The title suggests a progression in the divine arrangement, foreknown to God and orderly.
2. What does man instinctively long for and hope for? Are man's longings part of God's plans and purposes? (page 9)As though by instinct, man groans and travails in pain longing for the golden Age. (Romans 8:22) God is preparing a "feast of fat things" (Isaiah 25:6) which will be exceedingly, abundantly beyond what they could ask or expect, surpassing all expectations. (Ephesians 3:20)
3. Where should all truth concerning God's Plan be found? And what should be the object of all truth seekers?--John 16:13 (page 10)The Word of God is the foundation upon which all faith should be built. 2 Tim. 3:16,17. Our object as truth-seekers should be to obtain the complete, harmonious whole of God's revealed plan.
4. As inquirers, what two methods do we have open to us for seeking the truth?--2 Tim. 3:16,17 (pages 11,12)
One method of inquiring into God's plan is to seek among all the views suggested by the various sects of the church and to take from each that element which we might consider truth. In doing this, we might choose the error and reject the truth since each sect must contain a large proportion of error, as each in some important respects contradicts the others. 1 John 4:1; 1 Thess. 5:21
Another method is to put aside all our prejudices and preconceived notions and to remember that none can know more about the plans of God than He has revealed in his Word and that it is given to such as humbly and earnestly seek its guidance and instruction only. (Hebrews 11:6; Acts 17:11)
5. What is the method of study in this text and why is this method essential for a thorough understanding of present truth? (page 13)
It is a thorough and orderly study in which the truth is presented in a manner that will best enable all classes of readers to grasp the subject and general plan clearly. It goes into the most prominent features of Scripture teaching usually neglected by Christians -- among them, the coming of our Lord and the prophecies and symbolism of the Old and New Testament. Its references are to Scripture only. The testimony of modern theologians and the so-called early church fathers have been given no weight.
This method of study is essential to acquaint the consecrated child of God with his Father's plans, thus to enlist his interest and sympathy in those plans that he may serve God with the spirit of understanding.
6. Judging from conditions in the world today, what are the two conclusions concerning God's plan which the thoughtful observers must reach? (page 14)
Conclusion #1: The church has made a great mistake in supposing that in the present age, and in her present condition, her office is to convert the world.
Conclusion #2: God's plan for the world's salvation has been a miserable failure.
What sad tale does the diagram on page 16 tell? Nearly two-thirds of the world's population are totally heathen.
8. What do the creeds of today teach concerning the billions of humanity who are ignorant of the only name under heaven by which we must be saved? (pages 17,18)
The creeds of today teach that those who are not "saved" Christians in this life go into a hell of everlasting torture; the vast proportion of mankind are bound for hell -- a very gloomy prospect indeed.
9. Can we even imagine that God's plan of salvation for man could be such a failure? To this end, what does the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 60:2,3) suggest as the remedy for the problem pictured by the chart? (page 18)
God's great plan of salvation will never be such a failure. Isaiah prophesied that this condition would occur and that God would not permit the world to remain in darkness but would in due time shed His light upon them.
10. Who can receive the truth found in the Scriptures? (pages 20,21)
Those who will turn away from the mere speculations of men and devote time to searching the Scriptures, not excluding reason, which God invites us to use (Isaiah 1:18; Job 13:3), will receive the truth. Those justified by faith in Jesus Christ will walk in the light of truth.
11. Will the world always be in darkness concerning God's plans?- --Isaiah 60:2;21:12; 1 Cor. 4:5
We are assured that the world is not always to remain in darkness. In the Millennial Day, the Sun of Righteousness will shine for the benefit of all the world, dispelling the noxious vapors of evil and bringing life, health, peace and joy.
12. What was the experience of the majority of the church after the Apostles fell asleep? (pages 22,23)
After the apostles slept, the majority of the church began to neglect the teachings of the Word of God and looked to human teachers for leading. These teachers became prideful and assumed titles and offices and began to lord it over God's people. This led to the development of the clergy class, who regarded themselves and were regarded by others as proper guides to faith and practice aside from the Word of God. In time the great Papal system developed, which had an undue respect for the teachings of man and a neglect of the Word of God.
13. Why have Protestants made little progress in discovering further truths since the days of the reformers? (pages 23,24)
Since the Reformation, the Protestants have made little progress because they have set boundaries on their progress by halting around their favorite leaders and the creeds they formulated many years ago. This deprived them from the special features of God's plan that came due since those days.
14. What does it mean to "walk in the light," and why is it important to do so? (page 25)
To walk in the light means to continue to make progress in studying and following God's plans as they are revealed in Scripture. If we stop making progress, the light will pass us by, leaving us in darkness concerning God's plans. Perfection of knowledge is not a thing of the past, but of the future, and until we recognize this fact, we are unprepared to appreciate and expect fresh unfoldings of our Father's plans.
15. Did the Prophets and Apostles fully understand God's plan found in the Scriptures? Explain how God's plan can gradually unfold. (pages 26-28)
God has a due time for each feature of His plan to be understood. Much of what the prophets and apostles wrote were not fully understood by them because the time was yet future for that feature to be understood. As we approach the end of the age, more and more of God's plan and purposes are due to be understood. Heb. 8:4,5; 10:1; 1 Cor. 10:11; Rom. 15:4