THIS PRESENT EVIL WORLD
This period of time began when Noah and his family stepped out of the Ark although the process which lead to its existence began much earlier, and will end when Jesus returns to establish His Kingdom in the earth. This world is ruled by Satan, "the prince of this world" (John 12:31). Satan rules by right of conquest. When man sinned he gave power to Satan to rule over him.
This world is called evil (Galatians 1:4), not because there is no good or beauty in it, but because evil dominates. We see this in the world around us even now. Those who do well in this world do so at the expense of those around them.
This time period has been divided into three sections:
THE PATRIARCHAL AGEDuring this time God spoke to certain men individually. It began with Noah and it ended with Moses "who spoke to God face to face" (Exodus 33:11, Deuteronomy 34:10).
God began to prepare His great plan for redemption for mankind. He began by revealing Himself to certain men so that He might establish Mono-theism in the earth. If you doubt the effectiveness of this, consider that the three great Mono-theistic faiths, Christianity, Judaism and Islam all venerate Abraham as a great man of God.
He also began to call and prepare a family through whom He would bring the Messiah who would save the human race from it's sin. God prepared them by revealing Himself to them on a personal basis. This produced a family who knew the power of God personally and would teach their children of the "one true God" who would send the Messiah to save His people.
These men are examples to us. We should look closely at their lives because they can teach us much about ourselves, our times and our relationship with God.
THE AGE OF THE LAWThe Law age began when Moses made a covenant with the people on behalf of God and gave them the Law (10 Commandments) and it ended when Jesus died on the cross to fulfill the law by offering an acceptable sacrifice to God for sin. It spanned three minor periods in the history of Israel. These were:
As a part of this preparation process God gave Israel His laws. The law was given to Israel for two reasons:
By doing this God was teaching His people that it was necessary for Jesus to die for them if they were to be free from sin. When Jesus returns, Israel will know that it was He who set them free from their sin and will repent of their hardness of heart, for "they shall look upon Him whom they pierced and mourn for Him as their own son" (Zecheriah 12:10).
THE GOSPEL AGEThis is the age we live in now. It began when Jesus died on the cross to take upon himself the consequences of sin and to purchase a resurrection for every man and woman. It will end when Jesus returns to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth. This time can be subdivided into seven smaller periods as represented by the seven churches in the book of Revelation.
During this period God is calling out a special people from every nation on earth, called the Church, who constitute the "Body of Messiah" (anointed one - "as the body is one yet has many members ... so also is the Messiah" - 1 Corinthians 12:12) and will rule over all creation with His Son Jesus in His Kingdom. This is the "great high calling" which we have received. God has given these specially chosen ones the most precious gift He can possibly give, "eternal life" (John 5:21, John 10:10, John 17:2). This is not just human life which does not end, but we have been "born again" (John 3:3) into the Divine Nature (2 Peter 1:4), so that when Jesus returns "we may be like Him" (1 John 3:2).
God has promised that he will overlook our sin, adopt us as His children and allow us to "rule with Jesus" (1 Corinthians 6:2-3, Revelation 20:4-6) when He returns. The offer is open to all who will "heed God's Word" to turn from evil, accept the sacrifice of Jesus as their own and yield their own will to Jesus as their Lord. The depth of what God has offered us is truely profound, but it is for us to decide if we want it or not. The offer of "glory, honour and immortality" (Romans 2:7) which God alone possesses (1 Timothy 6:16) is only available as long as we are alive or until Jesus returns.
To prepare us for our part in the future Kingdom, Jesus has sent us the Holy Spirit to anoint and empower us. It is for this reason that the Spirit gives "supernatural gifts" to the Church (1 Corinthians 12:1-10). The Spirit is "exposing" us to the Divine Nature while we are here in this world.
So in this age God is preparing a special people who will rule creation with His Son Jesus. He is also showing, on a limited basis, what His Kingdom will be like. The things we experience now as part of the Church, such as healing, forgiveness and love are a shadow of what the Kingdom will be like when it is finally established in the earth.
Note: God is not intending to convert the whole world during this time. That great work is reserved for the Kingdom ages to come.
Created: 23 - Jan - 1997.