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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

An Alternative Timeline of What's Next

As we've noted, my eschatology is in pencil. That is, while there are elements of end-time and other future events that I am convinced await us, I'm not going to be dogmatic about the exact timeline.

Last time, we looked at one possible timeline. The unique feature of that proposal is probably the imposition of the perfect Kingdom of God on Earth as being imminent. Feel free and review that study. It is a view which, in my experience, most closely connected to teachers Otis Sellers and Tom Ballinger.

In our look at Daniel's 70 Weeks, we offered some possible dates for future events based on scriptures related to that prophecy and events in the first century. We noted that Daniel offers us two different sets of 70-week prophecies. I'll leave you to follow the link.

Today, we want to take the "Days" from our last study and suggest and offer a different order and an additional "Day." This rendering of the timeline is based on the work of Charles Welch and Stuart Allen.

If you'll recall, our last study offered this order:

  • The Day of Man
  • The Day of Christ
  • The Day of the Lord
  • The Day of God
Let us now look at them in this order:
  • The Day of Man
  • The Day of the Lord
  • (The Day of Christ)
  • The Day of God
  • Day of the Age

The Day of Christ is seen as the day of the judgment of the service of believers. This is the Judgment Seat of Christ (or the Bema). Here is just a sampling of related texts:

Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for THE DAY will declare it 
‘He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against THAT DAY’. 
‘The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in THAT DAY’. 
‘Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at THAT DAY: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing’.

This Day is certainly future, and one about which we should be keenly aware, but I haven't quite pinned down when it will come. Part of the judgment of our service, in addition to deeds done in the flesh (Col), will be our obedience to the call of the age. Have we been true to the doctrines and practices connected to the Dispensation of the Mystery?

Day of the Age

For this very short study, I wanted to point us to the "Day of the Age" as this does not appear in most studies of prophecy. We, again, have to go beyond the King James Bible (KJV/KJB) and consult the original Greek. 2 Peter 3:18 is where we find this "Day." Also of interest here are the words "forever and ever" which we looked at in our study on eternity,

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (KJV) 
increase ye in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; to him [is] the glory both now, and to the day of the age! Amen. (Young's Literal Translation)
εις ημεραν αιωνος = unto Day of the Age

Stuart Allen proposes that this culmination of all things corresponds to the future age alluded to in 1 Cor 15:28, "Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all."

As prophecy primarily has to do with Israel, we need to look carefully at how God deals with that people. But we cannot neglect the truths give to us in our epistles for this dispensation. As Charles Welch writes in Part 8 of his great work, An Alphabetical Analysis:

It is manifest that each writer views the subject from his own point of view, Peter's 'last days' would be the last days of the dispensation associated with the Kingdom and Israel, whereas Paul's 'last days' would be the closing days of the dispensation of the Mystery. We are concerned when we read in 2 Peter 3:3, that in the last days shall come scoffers who shall walk after their own lusts and deny the Second Coming of the Lord; but we should be still more concerned to learn that the closing days of this most favoured dispensation will end in apostasy parallel to the conditions of ancient paganism (for proof of this statement see later exposition), and characterized by the same dreadful motive 'after their own lusts' (2 Tim. 4:3). With such passages of Scripture written for our learning, and with the consciousness that the end of the present dispensation cannot be far off, the reader will not be easily moved to believe that a great spiritual revival is on its way, even though such should be 'a consummation devoutly to be wished'.

The whole paper should be read if you'd like a good overview of prophecy and the world around us.

Folly Made Manifest to All

I want to offer one last word in regard to a scripture I noted in our last study. 2 Tim 3:9 tells us that in the midst of all the apostasy and perilous times at then end of the current dispensation something will happen quickly which will suddenly put an end to deception. 

they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all...

I suggested last time this could fit Sellers' (etc.) imposition of the Kingdom which would precede the Time of Jacob's Trouble (The Great Tribulation, The Day of the Lord). However, that is not the only possible explanation. Last time we looked at the word "manifest" and the manifestation of the power of God. In regard to the One New Man of this dispensation, it is said of us in Col 3:4 that "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." That appearing (the epiphenae which we looked at in other studies) will be sudden. It is the "blessed hope" we look for in this age. "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ..."

"All" in 2 Tim 3:9 could be used as the "all": in 1 Cor 15:22. That is "all of a kind." 

"For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive"

Clearly, the second "all" in conditional on being "in Christ" without it being explicitly stated. This is made abundantly clear in the gospel to the world (John). One either has life in Christ or he does not. "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life" (John 3:36; etc.).

One Final Point for Your Consideration

Lastly, I wanted to note Oscar Baker's proposal of a post-Millennial Kingdom on earth which would last possibly 5000 years. He is not dogmatic about it, but suggests this Kingdom is what may be to what some of the prophecies refer. He suggests 5000 years as that would complete a 12,000 year cycle, starting from the post-overthrow creation (Gen 1:1-2 gap).

I, as he, only offer this as a possibility.

I highly recommend the Alphabetical Analysis by Welch linked above. Although written many decades ago, it is as timely as ever. And the world events to which he refers in that paper have come further into focus in our day.

No matter your final eschatology, I believe it is not too bold to say that we are entering in the last throes of the last days of the current dispensation. Something is going to happen soon, And for the believer of this dispensation, no matter what may lie ahead for Israel and the Nations, we are looking for the blessed hope of his appearing.