Exactly what does God DO all day? Does He merely sit majestically in a lofty throne room in heaven issuing occasional edicts and throwing random lightning bolts around? Is God just a philosophical father-figure who anciently abandoned His creation and walked off into the nebulous reaches of the distant universe to occupy Himself with some unearthly project? Or is God still interested and actively DOING SOMETHING on this earth?
WHAT has God been doing on this earth since He first created Adam and Eve some 6000 years ago? Has He abandoned "Project Earth"? Did 'he Creator merely set in motion forces at Creation which continue unaided until this day—or is God still actively doing something as far as this earth is concerned? You need to know! Many have the wrong impression of God. They have Him pictured as a sort of divinized father-figure with white hair (which He does have), wearing long shining robes, enshrouded in splendor, who does little or nothing anymore insofar as mankind is concerned. To many, He is an impotent God. An obsolete "Creator Emeritus." A retired Deity! Such concepts are grossly in error! They are merely the pipe dreams of carnal men who secretly—or perhaps openly—wish that God would just go away! The average person is just not receptive to the idea of a powerful God who could and would intervene in their personal lives. Read Romans 8:7 in this connection. Most people feel more comfortable when God is out of the picture. Man is simply not inclined, by nature, to want to include the true God in his knowledge. Romans 1:28 verifies this basic fact. But God is not "dead." Nor is He "hiding in Argentina" as has been sarcastically suggested on some automobile bumper stickers! God is very much alive and ACTIVE!
God Is a Worker
Centuries ago, Jesus Christ told us what the God Family has been and is doing, Notice it in John 5:17. "... Jesus answered them, MY FATHER WORKETH HITHERTO, AND I WORK," The methodology of God is basically unchanging (Heb. 13:8; Mal. 3:6). God has always been at work and always will be. He has always had a Work.' Sometimes God has done His Work personally and directly. On other occasions He has worked through angels. Most often, however, God has done His work through human instruments. The Creator of mankind has a great Master Plan of salvation. This plan is concerned with mankind and is being worked out under the guidance of Jesus Christ, who is "the captain of our salvation." Of course, God the Father is in charge. Jesus Christ obediently and faithfully carries out the instructions of His Father.
The Work of Creation
It is not known how long ago God originally created the whole material universe. It could easily have been millions of years ago. It might have been more recently. In any case it was a beautiful creation. The angels of God (created earlier) rejoiced with singing at the harmony and beauty God had produced (Job 38:4-7). Certain angels under the leadership of a great cherub named Lucifer were placed in charge of this planet. After a time, however, mutinous feelings began to well up in Lucifer. He was not willing to "settle for earth"! He persuaded one third of the angels to rebel with him, and then he attempted to overthrow the throne of God! Jude states that the angels "... kept not their first estate [this earth], but left their own habitation...." Naturally their attempt at a "coup" was unsuccessful. They were cast back down to the earth where they presently reside. They became known as "demons" (Jude 6; Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:11-19; Luke 10:18). In their anger, these fallen spirit beings wreaked great destruction upon the material universe. Evidence of this can be seen in the cataclysmic condition of the solar system. Even the moon bears the scars of Satanic wrath. Before man could be placed on this flood-inundated globe, God had to re-create its surface and make it a fit environment for man. This re-creation took six literal 24-hour days. For one week the restoration of this earth to an inhabitable state was the Work of God! After six days of labor God "... ended his work which he had made..." and created the Sabbath by resting on the seventh day (Gen. 2:1-3). (For more information on these points please read our free articles entitled "Did God Create a Devil?" and "How Long Were the Days of Creation?") Following the creation week and the introduction of man to this planet, God began to work with certain individuals to train them for positions of ruler-ship in His anticipated Kingdom. He used certain men to preach about His Way and to warn this world of the results of its way! These men were known as "preachers of righteousness." Noah was the eighth such person (II Peter 2:5).
God's Work Through Noah
About 1600 years after the creation of Adam, man had a population explosion (Gen. 6:1). It was accompanied by an increase in crime, violence and corruption of every kind (Gen. 6:5, 11, 13). Things got so bad that the very thought processes of mankind went "haywire." "... Man had done much evil on earth and... his thoughts and inclinations were always evil..." (Gen. 6:5, The New English Bible). God could not allow it to go on. Being a just God, the Creator of mankind elected to warn man of the just punishment He planned to mete out. The man He selected to speak to humanity on His behalf was Noah. Noah was given a work to do for God. It involved the preaching of a warning message to mankind as well as the building of a huge ark to deliver his own family from the impending flood. God gave man plenty of time to repent too! Noah was given a slice of time 120 years in length in which to do the Work of God (Gen. 6:3). Naturally Noah was ridiculed as he performed the Work. After 120 long years of warning the people of the coming punishment of God, none had responded to his message! Only seven other members of his immediate family gained entrance into the ark which God used to perpetuate the human race! Following the flood, humanity began to multiply again. God again began to work in the life of a man named Abraham. After a lifetime of testing, teaching and training, Abraham became qualified to ultimately rule the entire earth under Jesus Christ in Tomorrow's World! (Romans 4:13.) He was called the "father of the faithful." From Abraham descended Isaac and Jacob. Jacob's name was changed to Israel and his sons were the progenitors of the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel. God intended to use this nation as a model for the rest of the world to imitate. The fledgling nation was formed in the "womb" of Egypt. Due to an unusual set of circumstances, the children of Jacob had been obliged to move from their own country into the land of Egypt. There they reared families, which in turn reared other family groups, which finally multiplied into a nation. A nation of slaves. When Israel's numbers became substantial, God decided to separate them and establish them as a nation in their own right. It would take time to re-educate these downtrodden slaves. They would have to be properly prepared for nationhood! Law systems would have to be established. They would have to become organized and depaganized! A right relationship with their God would have to be instituted.
Moses Did God's Work
God chose an Israelite who had been trained in the royal court of Egypt to do the Work! Moses. God used Moses to bring Israel out of slavery. Part of God's Work under Moses' administration involved the construction of a portable tabernacle for religious worship. God gave Moses definite instructions including a verbal "blueprint" of the building. In order to finance this building program, Moses was instructed by God to ask for an offering from the people. "... The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering..." (Ex. 25:1-2). As always, not everyone had his heart in the Work God was doing through Moses, and so God included additional instructions with the command to take up an offering. Moses was only to accept it from those who "... giveth it willingly with his heart..." (verse 2, last part). The contributions were to include gold, silver, brass, fine fabrics including animal furs, as well as onyx stones and various spices and incense. Perhaps people had not become so calloused at that time to people wanting handouts! Likely there were fewer "charitable organizations" and collection agencies around to bilk the populace of their money for lost or fruitless causes. Besides, God had just given them wages for years of slavery under the Egyptians! (Ex. 12:35-36.) So, rather than being suspicious, the Israelites contributed so willingly to the Work of God that Moses had to cry "stop!" Believe it or not, the Israelites actually contributed far more than was needed to accomplish the Work of the tabernacle. "The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses" (Ex. 35:29). Those who were given various responsibilities in the Work under Moses were inundated with funds and materials! They said, "... The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work.... So the people were restrained from bringing, For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much" (Ex. 36:5-7). At the time of Moses the whole nation basically supported the Work of God. But there were the usual dissenters, though their number was perhaps fewer by percent than today! And what was their approach to God's Work and its human leader Moses? Nothing you haven't heard before. They said in effect, "Who does he think he is? Does he actually believe he is the only one God is working through ? Hasn't God worked through us too?" Read two such accounts for yourself in Numbers 12:1-2 and Numbers 16:1-3. God also gave certain craftsmen in His Work His Holy Spirit in a special way to enable them to more effectively prosecute their part in the Work (Ex. 35:31-32). As always the Work of God has been done by God's Spirit working in human lives to give them greater ability! Finally, we are told, "... So Moses finished the Work" (Ex. 40:33).
Joshua Follows Moses
Following the death of Moses, God raised up Joshua, Moses' faithful general and "understudy" for many years, to do the Work. It became the responsibility of Joshua to see that the Israelites settled in the promised land of Canaan. God's Work through Joshua covered a twenty-year period. The death of Joshua introduced the time of the Judges in Israel. This blood-flecked chapter in ancient Israel's history was a time of great violence and political anarchy. "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). God's Work during this time was not as extensive as it became at a later period. Internal conditions did not permit it. However, God did use a few individuals such as Caleb, Samson, Jephthah, and others to do various things on His behalf during this time. Following this period of Judges we come to the time of the Kings of Israel. It was during this period that the nation of Israel became divided into two separate houses: the House of Judah and the House of Israel. The two most outstanding kings of the entire period were David and his son Solomon.
Because David had shed much blood in warfare, God did not permit him to begin actual construction on the temple. But God did inspire David with the whole design concept and allowed him the responsibility of preparing for the building of the temple. His son Solomon was destined to be accountable for the actual building of the edifice. But David had enormous zeal for the House of God! He attacked the project with unusual fervor and desire! He said, "... I have set my affection to the house of my God..." (I Chron. 29:3) and "... I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God..." (verse 2). David had detailed blueprints prepared for his son Solomon (I Chron. 28:11). He personally gave of his own wealth millions of dollars' worth (by today's values) of gold, silver and precious stones for the temple (I Chron. 29:2-4). After having set the example, David then requested contributions from the nation for the temple-building program. He said, "Now who is willing to give with open hand to the Lord today?" (I Chron. 29:5, The New English Bible.) Yes, it was God's Work! Again, as in Moses' day, the response was staggering! More millions poured in from the people for the financing and building of the temple. The willingness of the people to back up the Work of God filled David with personal satisfaction and joy! But did he thank the people for their contributions? Not at all! David then thanked God for the matchless privilege of being able to have a part in the Work of God! He thanked his Creator that he could give and for the people's generosity ! Notice the words of David, a man after God's own heart! "And now, we give thee thanks, our God, and praise thy glorious name. But what am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to give so willingly like this? For everything comes FROM THEE, AND IT IS ONLY OF THY GIFTS THAT WE GIVE TO THEE" (I Chron. 29:13-14, The New English Bible). Yes, David prepared for God's House with all his might! He even intended that the walls be overlaid with pure gold and silver. Of course, there. were some who probably looked upon this ambitious plan as "Davidic extravagance." After all, wouldn't acacia wood do? But God had inspired the plans! (I Chron. 28:12, 19; 29:4.) After David's decease, his son Solomon took seven years to build the temple. It was one of the marvels of the ancient world. David's zealous preparation paid off in one of the greatest—if not the greatest—pieces of architecture of all time. It was a glory to God indeed!
God's Work Under Elijah
At a later period in Israel's history, when the wicked King Ahab was ruling over the nation, God raised up another Work under the leadership of Elijah (I Kings 17:1). Many miracles were performed during Elijah's ministry, including the raising of the dead to life! (I Kings 17:17-22.) This great prophet pulled no punches in attacking the false doctrines of Baalism that were prevalent in his day. His confrontation with the prophets of Baal is a well-known event. The story is found in I Kings 18:19-38. Elijah sarcastically mocked the nonexistent god of these pagan pariahs. Notice the humorous paraphrasing of the account in the Living History of Israel version: "About noontime, Elijah began mocking them. 'You'll have to shout louder than that,' he scoffed, 'to catch the attention of your god! Perhaps he is talking to someone, or is out sitting on the toilet, or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be awakened!'" Even in the Work of God, sarcasm has its rightful place if it is used in righteousness! Interestingly enough, God had inspired Elijah to raise up three colleges or schools for the training of prophets. They were located in three different towns in Israel. One was at Bethel and a second was at Jericho (II Kings 2:3, 5). A third school for prophets was located at Gilgal (II Kings 4:38). Elijah continually traveled between these three schools, instructing the young men who were being trained for their parts in the Work! Of course, Elijah was accused of "badmouthing" the nation! King Ahab said venomously to God's servant on one occasion, "... Art thou he that troubleth Israel?" (I Kings 18:17.) Actually, all Elijah was doing was diagnosing the national sins of ancient Israel. Rather than troubling the nation, he was doing it a favor! Elijah denied the charge: "... He answered, / have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye HAVE forsaken THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim" -(verse 18). By setting aside God's way and rejecting God's laws the nation was troubling itself. Israel's internal and external ills were self-induced. Elijah was merely pointing out this fact in an effort to get the nation to turn from its sinful ways to a better and more profitable way. But his words fell on calloused ears. He was persecuted by both the religious and the political leaders of his day. Yet, in spite of heavy opposition, Elijah continued to do the Work of God until God removed him to a place of safety where he performed a different ministry for some years.
God's Work Under Nehemiah
From the years 721 to 718 B. C. the House of Israel went captive to the Assyrians and was never again heard from by that name. The House of Judah followed Israel into captivity over 100 years later. They were taken captive by the kingdom of Babylon. They were then removed from the land of Judah just as the House of Israel had been removed from their land. After their captivity, Israel and Judah's territory was repopulated by various pagan Gentile peoples. Later about 50,000 Jews returned to their homeland under the leadership of Joshua and Zerubbabel. Joshua was given the responsibility along with Zerubbabel of rebuilding the Temple. Once again God's Work involved a large building program. But God told Zerubbabel that it would not be by mere human effort or ability that the Work would be accomplished ! He said it would be "... Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts" (Zech. 4:6). Later God inspired Nehemiah with an overwhelming desire to rebuild the wall and city of Jerusalem. Let's "zero in" on Nehemiah and notice some interesting points about how God did His work through this dynamic leader. As previously stated, God's methods remain basically constant, though the goal of a given period in His Work may change. The object of God's Work under Nehemiah was primarily to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and especially its surrounding wall. After praying and fasting over it, Nehemiah was granted special favors by the Persian king. He was given the materials and the means for the great reconstruction project he was about to undertake. Letters of safe passage were obtained. Nehemiah attacked the problem with enthusiasm and a great measure of faith. But as with God's Work in this modern age, there were those who opposed it and even ridiculed the whole idea! The "big three" in the party for the opposition to Nehemiah had interesting names. The leader was named Sanballat, which means "the moon-god has given life"! Another of the men was called Geshem. His name meant "rain shower." You might say he was a big drip! The third of these enemies of God's Work was named Tobiah. His name ironically meant "the goodness of Yahweh" [The Eternal—one of Christ's names] (Neh. 2:19). These three tried their worst to upset the work God was doing through Nehemiah. But all their efforts failed. They attempted direct attack, defamation of character, insults, ridicule, lying and intrigue. But God brought their efforts to nothing! The Work got done. Their attempts at undermining the Work only served to "sharpen up" those who were doing it! It kept them on their toes and helped unite them in a titanic and zealous effort which finally proved overwhelmingly successful!
"Not Many Mighty..."
People were no different in Nehemiah's day than today! God's Work was accomplished by much the same kind of people then as it is today. Notice Nehemiah 3:5, "And next to them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord." This has long been the case. The nation's leaders—its financial, intellectual and cultural elite have rarely rolled up their sleeves and pitched in to do God's Work! Paul pinpointed the same situation in his day hundreds of years after Nehemiah. He said, addressing the Church in Corinth, "My brothers, think what sort of people you are, whom God has called. Few of you are men of wisdom, by any human standard: few are powerful or highly born" (I Cor. 1:26, The New English Bible). When the enemies of the Work tried to divert Nehemiah's attention from what he was accomplishing, he stated, "... I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?" (Neh. 6:3.) Nehemiah and his followers labored on in faith. Finally "... the wall was finished... in fifty and two days." Nehemiah finished the Work God had commissioned him with. Then those vicious enemies who had opposed it from the beginning "... perceived that this work was wrought of our God"! (Neh. 6:15-16.) Following the completion of the wall, Ezra and Nehemiah re-emphasized the observance of God's annual Holy Days (Neh. 8). The weekly Sabbath and the laws concerning tithing were reestablished (Neh. 10:31, 37-38; 13:15-22). A dedication ceremony was held upon completion of the wall (Neh. 12). Under Nehemiah's leadership the organization of Levitical choirs was reinstated. Beautiful music again became a part of the basic life style in ancient Judah (Neh. 12:27-43).
The Work of Jesus Christ
Hundreds of years after the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was born in Bethlehem in Judea. He was the Son of God in the flesh. His ministry lasted from the fall of 27 A.D. to the spring of 31 A.D. He came to do the Work of preaching the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God and to die for the sins of mankind. Part of His work consisted of training disciples (students or learners) to carry on the Work after His death on the stake. At the completion of His ministry He had 120 such students. Twelve of them became apostles (Acts 1:15, 26). After the death of Jesus, the apostles carried on the preaching of the Gospel. They traveled to distant countries with the message of God's government. Of course, they had to rely on personal evangelism since the modern printing press and the radio had not been invented. Their work was limited to the confines of the Roman Empire and some other countries. (Be sure to request our free article entitled "Where Did the Twelve Apostles Go?") One by one, tradition tells us, they were martyred. John outlived all the others. Following John's death around the end of the first century, others carried on the Work. But from that time on the organized preaching of the Gospel on a large scale fades from view. Of course the true Church continued to exist alongside a growing counterfeit of Biblical Christianity. The true Church never died (Matt. 16:18). It continued through various stages or eras, but not as a powerful worldwide organization. It existed as a relatively obscure, scattered and powerless entity for centuries. But it never lost the basic truths of God. The true Church recognized the true Gospel. And undoubtedly the Gospel was preached on a small personal scale. But following the death of John, the organized preaching of the Gospel on a powerful basis ceased. The Church was persecuted and its numbers decimated in great martyrdoms. The concentrated power of the "holy people" was scattered so that a worldwide Work was virtually impossible. It was not until this modern twentieth century that God again raised up a Work of sufficient size and influence to preach the Gospel on a powerful worldwide basis!
God's Work Today!
Why should anyone think it strange that God would have a Work today? In this day of increasing human woe and troubles, should not God be doing a Work and warning people of the results of rejecting Him? And if such a Work exists, why should it not recognize itself? Is it arrogant for God's servants to recognize their Boss? Of course not! Yet some will say of those doing this great Work of God today, "Who do you think you are? Do you claim to be the only true Work of God?" After all, there is only one true Church! That's what your Bible says, isn't it? Read Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 4:4; I Corinthians 1:13, etc. We state dogmatically and positively, THIS IS THE VERY WORK OF THE LIVING God! We do not apologize for that! But it's up to you as an individual to prove that!
God's Work Same Today
Today the primary objective of the Work of God is to preach and publish the Gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom and Government of God (Matt. 24:14; Mark 13:10). It is being done as a witness, not to gain members or proselyte adherents! The Work of God today is not set up as a rival organization to this world's churches. God has commissioned us to cry aloud, spare not, and show our people their sins (Isa. 58:1). We have not been commissioned to preach smooth things and mealy-mouthed platitudes! Our job is not to appease or cajole a sin-laden world! It is to warn a society bent on self-destruction! This Work comes in the same spirit and the same power as Elijah once did (Mai. 4:5-6). And like Elijah we label paganism and idolatry for what they are! And as in Elijah's time, the "prophets of Baal" still wail and moan, calling upon "another Jesus" who does not hear them! Today the conditions are similar to Noah's day and becoming more so all the time (Matt. 24:37). And as Noah's words fell on deaf ears, so the words of this Work bounce off the flinty foreheads of a rebellious and stiff-necked nation! As God told Zerubbabel, this Work is not being accomplished by mere human efforts. It is being done by the power of God's Holy Spirit (Zech. 4:6). As in Nehemiah's time, only a comparative handful have become active in this Great Work! They do not include for the most part the noble, the mighty, or the financial and intellectual elite of the world! Today over 150 million people are being exposed to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God via radio, television and the printing press. But only a handful are making it possible by their financial support and their fervent prayers. But those God has called to do this Work are dedicated and loyal to the commission God has given them. They love this world as God did (John 3:16), but they do not love its sins. If you wish to have a more active part in this Work of God, He will not deny you! But it must be "willingly and from the heart." It behooves you to prove to yourself whether this is indeed where God is working today! Those who deny themselves in this end time and prayerfully support and do the Work of God will receive God's reward! "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love..." (Heb. 6:10). Those who do the Work will be rewarded according to their works! (Prov. 24:12; Ps. 62:12; Matt. 16:27; Job 34:11.) (This does not refer to salvation, but rather to the reward they will receive after God has given them the free gift of salvation.) Remember the ringing words of the great Prophet Elijah: "HOW LONG WILL YOU SIT ON THE fence? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.... And the people answered him..."?