Here’s an extended, metaphorical example to illustrate how God’s plan works. This analogy is not the word, nor is it the perfect parables from Jesus, but it hopefully serves to illustrate the relationship between two worlds, two peoples and the story of the will of the Most High.
Imagine the pre-Abrahamic world as an ongoing casting call for a movie based on a, true story entitled, “The Lord’s Will, Part 1″. The catch is that this true story is not based on the past but on a future that only God knows. So, He is the writer and producer. He knows the full script, and the Holy Spirit is assigned to be the director on set, making sure every scene moves accordingly. Acting roles are created and filled by the writer based on who He feels can best play each part of the story. Abraham wins the leading role of God, while Isaac, Jacob and the tribe of Judah are the supporting cast. This represents the election of the Jews. They are given the script, which is the law, and told to study and follow it to the exactness of the Writer. Jesus, the Son of man and the hero, plays His spiritual self, the Son of God, and He is also a co-writer of the script. Satan acts as himself, and he has no freedom to deviate from the script. He is the leading villain while God chooses other evils like Pharaohs, evil emperors and wicked rulers to antagonize the supporting cast and add perspective and purpose to the story. God hires everyone else as extras, and they all get copies of their portion of the script. Most of them are just bad actors and jealous movie critics, angry because they didn’t get the starring roles or the resulting fame and fortune.
The title is “The Lord’s Will, Part 1”, and it tells the true story about the loving Creator of the universe who is willing to sacrifice His only son before the earth begins, in order that He might save it and add to His family forever. The story is true, and the Writer has seen it play out in His own mind. The aim is to produce a movie so convincing that all of the actors, supporting cast, extras and even critics believe in the actual story that it portrays. Satan is a fearsome villain, mainly because he doesn’t have to act to play the role. He’s simply told to be himself, but even his actions can’t stray outside of the script. Many of the antagonizing evil characters are very good at playing their roles, because they too are directed by the Producer. When Jesus finally shows up as the hero, many critics and supporting actors don’t think He looks the part. They feel they are better actors deserving of a more physically commanding hero. These are like law keepers and Jews who rejected Jesus because He didn’t come to restore the physical kingdom of Israel. Jesus, as a man, doesn’t look like the knight in shining armor that they’d hoped to play the role, so they become reluctant to believe the true story. Many others believe in the story, but feel they deserve a greater reward than they’ve been given.
Everyone who plays a part receives a just wage for their contribution, but the greatest payout is given to the ones who invest their real lives (spiritual lives) in their belief of the true story. These are physical rewards and eternal rewards. The assigned roles alone don’t earn the greatest payout, because God created them. These are the positions and titles, created by God. Good acting is commendable, often suggesting that the actor has captured the heart of the writer, but not always. Some are just gifted actors no matter what the script is, while others are using their roles as resume builders to start their own production. This demonstrates that faith always produces good works, but all good works aren’t necessarily attributed to faith. It is even possible for the villains who played their part well to eventually believe in the true story, but many people can’t imagine them in any other role because of how well they played their evil part. They fail to consider that the act may have been scripted, so the evil actors are often judged and stereotyped improperly, but God has plans to use them in the sequel. Ultimately, the best acting doesn’t guarantee the greatest payout because the movie is not the real story. After all, God still wrote it, and the Holy Spirit directed it. The key to the greatest reward is simply believing in the Writers’ true story, God’s plan for eternal salvation. That belief causes one to invest in the success of that story, even though it has not fully manifested yet. These are righteous works of faith. That investment in the future produces everlasting royalties, which is our eternal reward.
There are many elements of the story which portray spiritual elements such as the land of Canaan, which symbolizes spiritual realms under the authority of various angelic princes. The temple of Jerusalem is used to symbolize the level of access into the Heavenly Holy of Holies. The entire production is used to portray the spiritual story that no one can physically see. Many of the Jews, who are holding out for better pay, are forfeiting their chance play in “The Lord’s Will part 2”, but they still have an opportunity to believe in the true story. Because of this, God allows those who have already believed to play leading roles in the sequel in hopes that the observing nonbelievers might be convinced of the greater, future truth. The big difference with Part 2 is, the protagonists, who have captured the heart of the producer are allowed to ad-lib much of their own script, and God, the writer trusts them with the story of His heart.