Rev. Mark Robinson
“History is His Story” has been an oft-used phrase. For the Bible believing Christian with almost any knowledge of the Bible, there is an instantaneous acknowledgement of this truth. For the humanist, and this would include the secular humanist as well as the religious advocate of humanism, the phrase is a quaint play on words but has no basis in reality. The Humanist Manifesto of 2003 stated:
“Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.”
Removing God from history leaves one unable to understand the purpose and direction of this world. The events of history become facts without a cohesive explanation. Interpretation will become skewed, understanding impossible, and events just a random interplay of culture. The only hope for a humanist is man. David Noebel captures the futility of humanism providing a cohesive understanding of history:
“By dethroning God, however, the Humanist removes the most reliable guide for history and must grant this power to some other force. To be consistent with his philosophy, the Humanist should grant it to the environment – but this creates inescapable problems, and therefore the Humanist falls back upon man as guide. More accurately, Humanist’s declare man’s dominant emerging ideology to be the real dynamic force in history, and the elite few who embrace it the proper lords of the path to the future. Naturally, Humanists believe the dominant ideology of today is Secular Humanism. Thus, man working within a Humanistic framework becomes the savior of the world.”
History is God’s story. There is a beginning and an end. The events between these two points take on meaning in light of God’s plan. Herbert Schlossberg put it this way:
“The biblical view is that history had a beginning and will have an end, and that both the beginning and the end are in God’s hands. Therefore, what comes between them is invested with meaning and purpose…. This biblical understanding of history…says without equivocation that history’s creator is outside of history and gives meaning to it.”
As we consider History as His (God’s) Story, the Scriptures lay out a “broad” view of the world and where everything is going, and a “narrow” view in how God is going to accomplish His purpose and plan for the world – after all, History IS His Story.
THE “BROAD” VIEW OF HISTORY
Most of us are familiar with the creation of Adam and Eve. The story is unfolded for us in the first chapter of Genesis with details in chapter 2. Into the pristine environment of a large “garden” – this “garden” having 4 rivers running through it, Genesis 2:10-14 – Adam and Eve lived with three realities that God gave them.
First, the first married couple lived under a theocracy. Theocracy is “a form of government that is led by God or by a person or persons who claim to rule by divine authority. The word theo-cracy is a compound word using theos (Greek for “God”) and -cracy (“rule, strength or government”).”
Adam and Eve lived under the rule of God. God directly communicated with them and instructed them. There were commands to do and commands, only one, not to do. Adam and Eve lived with God as their ruler, He was their “King.”
The second reality was that they had dominion over all things. After the creation of Adam, Scripture says,
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” God gave the care and rule of earth and its inhabitants to man.
The third reality was that Adam and Eve were given the blessing of living in a perfect environment. After the creation of everything God stated, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” There was no sin in their environment. They were perfect, as were the animals. No disease, death, or any of the ravages brought about because of sin. Food was easy to grow and plentiful. We can only imagine the quality and taste of the fruit grown in Eden.
THE WORLD’S LOSS
The pride and rebellion of Satan, mentioned in Isaiah 14:12-17, would manifest itself in the lives of Adam and Eve, and, by extension, all mankind and the world, through the events recorded in Genesis 3. The result of Adam and Eve succumbing to the wiles of the diabolical one would be the loss of the three realities of life in “paradise.”
Theocracy, God ruling over all of man, as small as all of humanity was initially, now evaporated. Satan became the god of this world. Ultimately, when nations came into existence Satan would become the ruler of these kingdoms, Luke 4:5-8.
The dominion over the earth given to Adam and Eve and their posterity was also lost with their sin. The “Dominion Mandate,” where God gave man dominion over everything, is often misunderstood and misapplied by Christians. Darek Isaacs succinctly explains the loss of dominion in his excellent article – “Is there a Dominion Mandate?”
“But, as one can see, our observed lack of dominion over the animal kind is confirming to the biblical narrative. The Bible gives us a history of the relationship between man and animal. In the beginning, man had dominion and harmony with the animal kind and all of nature. Neither man nor animal viewed the other as predator or prey and Adam was given the mantle of being ruler over the Creation. Then, the biblical history explains how that changed due to Adam’s sin. Ultimately, God, Himself, significantly changed the relationship between man and all of creation.
To deny that man’s dominion was lost, is to deny Scripture, the effects of the sinful Fall, and the observed evidence of man and animal interaction today. The only place the Adamic Dominion can find support is within the pride of man, for evidence of it being extant is absent absolutely everywhere else.”
Presently, “dominion” in this world now belongs to Satan. Sinful man follows the “prince of the power of the air,” Ephesians 2:1-3, and is under his dominion.
The third reality of a perfect, pristine living environment was demolished with the sin of our original parents. Hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, pollution, disease, and many other “acts of nature” demonstrate that we live in anything but a perfect environment.
Others have taught these same truths using different terminology. John Schmitt and J. Carl Laney identify these three areas as:
1) Redeem humanity (Humanity has fallen into sin)
2) Reclaim His kingdom (Because of the fall the world has fallen under Satan’s sway)
3) Execute Judgment (The earth and it’s inhabitants have been affected by sin and must be purged)
They comment, “…most of biblical history and theology can be viewed as the outworking of one of these aspects of God’s divine program.”
THE WORLD’S GAIN
So, where is history heading? What is God doing through history? It should be obvious. History is leading us to the restoration of the three realities that were lost because of Adam and Eve’s sin.
First, there will be a return to a theocracy over the entire earth. At the end of the seven-year Tribulation period Jesus returns to earth destroying His enemies, Revelation 19, and sets up His kingdom in Jerusalem, Isaiah 2:2-5. Zechariah 14:9 tells us that at that time, “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” One day God will rule over the entire earth again. Since the loss of theocracy in Eden, God has been redeeming people for His kingdom.
Second, the lost dominion of man, with man and his world under the rule of Satan, will be reversed. With the blowing of the seventh Trumpet judgment by the angel, Revelation 11:15, we are told “…The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” This final Trumpet judgment opens the final devastating Bowl judgments recorded in Revelation 16. These final judgments culminate in the return of Jesus to earth to set up His kingdom.
Let me pose a question. If the “kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ” with the sounding of the seventh Trumpet, who did these kingdoms belong to previously? The answer, clearly, is Satan. That is why he could say to Jesus about the kingdoms of the world, Luke 4:6, “All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” Satan presently has dominion over the kingdoms of this world and sinful humanity. This will end when Jesus returns.
Finally, the earth is going to be restored to its pre-fall state. Acts 3:20-21 state, “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Jesus promised to his followers, Matthew 19:28, “…Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
The prophets spoke of the time when the “restitution of all things” will occur. When Jesus sits on the throne in Jerusalem there will be a “regeneration” of all things. Both the prophets and Jesus are referring to when the earth will be restored back to its Edenic state. This is during the kingdom reign of Jesus for 1,000 years, Revelation 20:1-6. Passages such as Isaiah 11 and 65:15-25, and Micah 2 are a few of the many scriptures that give us information on the coming kingdom and the reverse of the curse of Genesis 3.
This is the “broad” view of history, when it began and where it is heading. All the events of history, some events having a greater impact than others, are moving us towards God’s restoration of the 3 lost realities that belonged to man in the beginning.
THE “NARROW” VIEW OF HISTORY
God also provides us a “narrow” view of history. The “narrow” view enables us to have a sharper view of what God is doing in the affairs of men throughout history. The “narrow” view centers in one people group and nation. The people are the Jewish people and the nation is Israel. Starting from Genesis 12 to the end of Revelation 22, about 80—85% of Scripture is God’s dealing with Israel and the Jewish people. Consider just a few of the comments God says about Israel and the Jewish people starting with blessing those who bless them (Israel and Jewish people).
- “I will bless them that bless thee” – Genesis 12:3
2. “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” – Deuteronomy 7:6
3. “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” – Psalm 121:4
4. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee” – Psalm 122:6
5. “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me” – Isaiah 49:16
6. “And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God” – Jeremiah 30:22
7. “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” – Jeremiah 31:3
8. “For he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye” – Zechariah 2:8
9. “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” – Malachi 3:6
10. “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God” – Romans 3:1-2
11. “Salvation is of the Jews” – John 4:22
12. “As touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes” – Romans 11:28
God called Abram to leave the area of modern day Iraq, Genesis 11, and go to “a land that I will shew thee.” This command, and ultimately promise, became one of the three foundational promises of God recorded in Genesis 12:1-3. In these three verses, we have the establishment of the unconditional promises of the Abrahamic Covenant.
There are three basic promises in these first verses of Genesis 12. Verse one is the promise that there will be a special land area set aside for Abraham’s descendants (the Jewish people). That land is the land of Israel. When the LORD speaks of “the holy land” in Zechariah 2:12, He is speaking of the land of Israel. “Holy” is a word that means set apart or unique and has an intrinsically spiritual (religious) connotation. “Holy” is never to be used with a secular item or concept. The land of Israel is unique, and, it shouldn’t be separated from the second promise of the Abrahamic Covenant – the people of the Land.
The second promise is that of verse two where God promises, “I will make of thee a great nation.” The nation is Israel. The people of that nation are the Jewish people. As the Scripture unfolds, we see the promise of a great nation continued through Isaac, Jacob and the 12 sons (tribes) that came from the loins of Jacob. Ultimately, we see the promised Messiah of Israel, from the tribe of Judah – Genesis 49:10 and the family of David, Isaiah 9:6, in the person of Jesus, the greatest son of Israel.
The intrinsic nature of the land of Israel and the Jewish people is captured in the following quote:
“The land of Israel is central to Judaism. A substantial portion of Jewish law is tied to the land of Israel, and can only be performed there. Some rabbis have declared that it is a mitzvah (commandment) to take possession of Israel and to live in it (relying on Numbers 33:53). The Talmud indicates that the land itself is so holy that merely walking in it can gain you a place in the World to Come. Prayers for a return to Israel and Jerusalem are included in daily prayers as well as many holiday observances and special events.
Living outside of Israel is viewed as an unnatural state for a Jew. The world outside of Israel is often referred to as “galut,” which is usually translated as “diaspora” (dispersion), but a more literal translation would be “exile” or “captivity.” When we live outside of Israel, we are living in exile from our land.”
The third promise in verse three is that “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Through the people of Israel, the Jewish people, blessings would flow to all families of the world. The greatest blessing from the Jewish people is the spiritual blessing. Through them, we have the Bible that has blessed hundreds of millions of people through the centuries. The pinnacle of all blessings, the Savior, would come from the Jewish people and through Him, countless numbers have found forgiveness of sins and a personal relationship with God.
The Abrahamic Covenant is the most important of the Covenants for understanding the Bible. The rest of the Bible, from Genesis 12:4 through Revelation 22:21, is, in essence, commentary on how God brings to pass the three basic promises of the Abrahamic Covenant. The promises of the Abrahamic Covenant can be developed through the rest of the Scriptures in God’s dealing with the Land of Israel, the Jewish people and the Messiah, and the salvation of Jews and Gentiles. Three other major covenants with Israel – Land, Davidic, and New – expand on the three basic promises of the Abrahamic Covenant.
HISTORY IS HIS STORY
It is impossible for secularists, atheistic academicians, Bible denying religious people and others who reject the Bible as God’s word, to put together any reasonable explanation for history, its purpose, and its direction. Only through God and His Word, the Holy Scriptures, does history make any sense.
The “broad” view of history – the loss of theocracy, dominion and perfect environment – begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation with the restoration of all three of these things when Jesus returns to earth.
It is through the “narrow” view of history, which gives us much clearer detail and understanding, that we can see God working out His purpose for the three “broad” view realities. It is when we primarily focus on Israel and the Jewish people – their place in the plan of God, God’s dealing with them in Scripture, what happens with them throughout history – that we can begin to understand what God is doing in history. How nations and individuals relate to Israel and Jewish people is an integral part in understanding His Story.
I close with a quote from Nikolai Berdyaev who lived from 1874-1948. He was a Russian Marxist who broke with the movement after the Russian Revolution and its aftermath, identifying with the Russian Orthodox Church of Christendom. He wrote a book titled, The Meaning of History. The reason why he left Marxism? It was the history of the Jewish people.
“I remember how the materialist interpretation of history, when I attempted in my youth to verify it by applying it to the destinies of peoples, broke down in the case of the Jews, where destiny seemed absolutely inexplicable from the materialistic standpoint… Its survival is a mysterious and wonderful phenomenon demonstrating that the life of this people is governed by a special predetermination, transcending the processes of adaptation expounded by the materialistic interpretation of history. The survival of the Jews, their resistance to destruction, their endurance under absolutely peculiar conditions and the fateful role played by them in history: all these point to the particular and mysterious foundations of their destiny.”
The “particular and mysterious foundations of their destiny” is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
 David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times, Harvest House, p. 738.
 Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture, Crossway Books, p.27 and 29.
 Genesis 1:28
 Genesis 1:31
 Darek Isaacs, Is there a Dominion Mandate?, Answers in Genesis, January 9, 2013, https://answersingenesis.org/environmental-science/stewardship/is-there-a-dominion-mandate/
 John Schmitt and J. Carl Laney, Messiahs Coming Temple: Ezekiel’s Prophetic Vision of the Future Temple, Kregel Publishers, p. 201, 2014 Updated Edition
 Judaism 101 website, The Land of Israel, http://www.jewfaq.org/israel.htm