Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Change of Season (5) - Times and Seasons

God is sovereign and is working out his plan for history. He knows the beginning from the end, and has determined times and seasons for life on earth. God has allotted periods and the boundaries for all nations and will decide their rising and falling (Acts 17:26). He expects his people to know his plans and understand what he is doing in every age (1 Thes 5:1).

The NASB translates the word "times" as "epochs". The word "epoch" is derived from a Greek word, which means pause. It is used to describe the breaks between the acts of a play. In God’s plan, each new season is started by an epochal event that marks the end of the old season and the beginning of the new one. God breaks in and changes the "state of the play" to start a new stage of history.

The key epochal events in the Old Testament were creation, the fall, the flood, the tower of Babel, the exodus, the kingship of David, the exile to Babylon and the return to Israel. The incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus was the ultimate epochal event that marked the beginning of the New Testament era. We should understand the times and seasons that were set into play by Jesus death, resurrection and ascension.

The New Testament era is a game of two halves. The first half began with Last Days of the Jewish religious system. This short season ended with the Fall of Jerusalem. This epochal event leads into a season that Jesus called the Times of the Gentiles. This long season dominates the first half of the New Testament age. The end of the Times of the Gentiles is marked by a relatively-short sub-season called the Time of Distress. The Times of the Gentiles and the Time of Distress both ended with the same epochal event.

Last Days =► Time of the Gentiles =► Time of Distress

The first half of the New Testament age is drawing to close and we are getting close to the half-time change over. The second half begins with an epochal event called the fullness of Israel, which opens the way for the Holy Spirit to give the saints the promised Kingdom. The glory of his Kingdom will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. God will enjoy his Glorious Kingdom, so it might remain on earth for a long, long time. The end of the season will be marked by an epochal event. The appearance of the Man of Sin opens a way for nations to rebel and reject the Kingdom. This Little Season of rebellion will be cut short by Jesus return, which brings the end of history as we know it.

Time of Distress =► Glorious Kingdom =► Little Season

No comments: