What time is it?

By C. Eldon McNabb

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" (Eccl. 3:1).

Having said that, Solomon proceeded to name some things good and bad, for which God had appointed times: killing and healing, breaking down and building up, weeping and laughter, casting away stones and gathering stones, getting and losing, war and peace, and so on. Then he said, "(God) hath made everything beautiful in (its) time: also He hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."

In so saying, Solomon revealed that God's plan for the world, from its founding to its end, is very broad. His plan was in progress since before the creation of Adam, and in every dispensation since that time. That is true, for instance, of the building of Solomon's temple, and also in the destruction of it. There was something about both of those things which was "beautiful in its time." (God knew that carnal Israel was no better than all of the other nations of the world, and that they would not be faithful to their covenant and to their charge [Deut. 31:16]). It was true also of both the building of "the Church of Jesus Christ," and of its slide into corruption, by the end of the first millennium A. D. (Jude1:3-19), and its fall into "Mystery, Babylon The Great" (Isaiah 1:18-23; Rev. 17:1-6). It was all part of the plan.

God allotted about 2,000 years, from Adam to Abraham, for man to prove his natural tendency to reject God, and to follow after his own way. Man became so wicked that, after about 1,656 years, God washed man from the face of the earth, except for 8 people. In the following 350 years, plus or minus, mankind had again become defiant against God, and began to create an idolatrous civilization; making plans to lift the "heavy hand" of the of the God of heaven off of them, and to live their way instead of God's way.

The Law: God allotted the second 2,000 years, or so, to give mankind a glimpse of the benefits of life in God, through His word. During the first 1,000 of those years, beginning with Abraham, God began to give His promises, and then by Moses, God gave unto Israel His law. Then, near the beginning of the second half of that period, God began to send His word to Israel by prophets, and He set kings over them, some of them being prophets also themselves.

Paul said, "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster" (Gal. 3:24,25). Under that schoolmaster, there were times allotted for different things, and God set dates and times for special things. For instance, in Gal. 3:14-17, Paul showed us that from the time that Abram went out of Haran, until the law was given, was 430 years. In Exodus, Moses noted how precise that number was, saying, "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt."

For the duration of that 4,000 years, and more, from the creation of Adam, until Jesus was resurrected, no one was "born again," not Enoch, not Noah, not Abraham, nor king David, nor Elijah. That experience was reserved for the third 2,000- year period. Although none of the three periods were precisely one third of the 6,000 years, the six thousand years is the exact number which God has allotted for carnal man to control the Earth, and He will take the seventh thousand, and put the rulership of the Earth into the hand of His Son Jesus Christ.

The End of The Law: During the time that Israel was in captivity under the Medes and the Persians, in the first year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, God spoke by "the man Gabriel" to the prophet Daniel. He told Daniel that "from the time of the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem," it would be 483 years until "the Messiah the Prince" would be "cut off, but not for Himself." He further told Daniel that the Messiah would "confirm the covenant with many for one week (which He commissioned Peter to do for Him): and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease."

Accordingly, just three and a half years after the Crucifixion, Jesus and His Father ceased to receive the daily sacrifice and oblation which the Levitical priesthood offered in the temple, and would continue to offer for about another thirty-five years. Sometime during the next three and a half years, The Church of God began to bear the responsibility of offering to God "the daily sacrifice," "and daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ" (Acts 5:42).

At the end of that "seventieth week" of Daniel 9:27, the Jewish Church had reached its fulness (Rom. 11:25-27), as Jesus said, "I will build My church." Then God began to prepare for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be taken to the Gentiles.

Grace: When Jesus came in fulfillment of the promises which were given in the Old Testament, it was not at some frivolous whim of either Him or His father. Paul pointed out in Rom. 5:6, that, "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." Again he said, "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an Apostle" (1 Tim. 2:1-7).

Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matt. 5:17). (Those words must be understood in the light of Romans 7.) God had divorced Israel before, and taken them back (Jer. 3:14), but this time their "husband" was dead; and more, they murdered him. Wherefore, Paul said, "My brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God" (Rom. 7:4). Apparently, if Israel returns to God, and accepts the leadership of the "House of God" which we Gentiles shall build, we shall espouse them unto the Lord, even as Paul did unto the Gentiles whom he grafted in to that olive tree in that day (2 Cor. 11:2).

Later, as Peter and John were preaching to the people in the Temple, Peter said of Jesus, "Whom the heaven must receive until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:10,21). Therefore, we will go about our work; busy fulfilling the prophecies in the Old Testament, and the New, until Jesus comes, and we will continue to fulfill the prophecies which are written of us "Till heaven and earth pass" (Matt. 5:17,18). We are not under the legalism of the Law of Moses, but we will, through the grace of God, by Jesus Christ, "Keep the righteousness of the law."

"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 2:26).

Go ye into all the world: Jesus commanded His disciples, saying, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 10:5,6). However, He also gave Peter the "keys of the kingdom of heaven," and it was he, who, among other things, opened the door to the Gentiles, before Paul could begin the great outreach.

After the resurrection, Jesus also commanded them to "Go . . . and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." The leaders of the Church began to do their part to get that project going, and with the help of the Lord Jesus, they ordained Saul of Tarsus unto that work, who fit the prophecy in Psalm 68:27 so well, that the saints called him Paul, meaning "Little."

Four thousand years, and more, had passed since The Deliverer was promised. The door had swung open, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ began to go to the ends of the earth. If it was all about bringing souls to repentance, one might wonder why God allowed so much time to pass before making this new, born-again experience available. Instead, He let them go on foot, and on donkeys, and in small, wind-driven ships.

By the end of the first century, the Gospel had gone westward as far as Europe, but not at all to the East (Acts 16:6-9). The Lord constrained Paul from going to the East or to the North, and westward there was much water. It would be almost 900 years before the gospel would go to Russia, and about 1,400 to 1,500 years before the gospel would be preached in the western hemisphere. Why? because God had a time and a place where He would restore the Church in the western hemisphere.

"We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth" (2 Cor. 13:8), and it was God's plan that the "light of the gospel" would go forth from the Eastern hemisphere to the Western hemisphere, and that the prophesied-end of the gospel message would take place here. As Jesus said "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Mt 24:27).

Just about the time God began to send the gospel across the Atlantic ocean, He began a revival of the true gospel, in the apostate Church, and the newly-invented printing press greatly facilitated its rapid spread. The Church didn't like it, so they thrust out that glimmer of light, only to see it steadily increase in magnitude as the revival quickly spread from Germany to other countries. It was not long until God, with the help of kings such as James I of England, had put the Bible into the hands of the common man, for the first time in centuries.

From near the time that God started that revival with Martin Luther, He proceeded to pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh, causing the Industrial Revolution, and began to change the world. In about 1780, God renewed among His people the experience of "Sanctification of the spirit." At which time the nation (The United States of America), which God would raise up to host the development of His Church, was moving into the final stages of its war of independence. Then, in 1896, beginning in the hills of North Carolina, God poured His Spirit also "upon His servants and on His handmaidens," and about 130 of those "sanctified" folks were soon baptized with His Holy Spirit. During that same period of time, European colonization of the Western hemisphere moved rapidly forward, and the various "versions of Christianity" began to take hold in the "New world."

None of these things was accidental in its occurrence, nor its timing. God's plan was on schedule as He prepared to "Raise the Church up again at the last day" (John 6:5-13, and 38,39). That feat required that He raise up a new nation with laws which would allow the Church to develop. God even timed the new independence of the U.S.A. to correspond with the revealing of the second work of grace: "Sanctification of the spirit," in about 1780.

In 1903, God's Church arose to function in the manner in which Jesus had; fulfilling all things which were written in the law, and the prophets, and in the psalms concerning "Her" (Luke 24:44). She had to be overturned three times in the fulfillment of Isaac's three wells: Esek, Sitna, and Rehoboth. The Church of God was overturned in 1923, the Church of God of Prophecy in 1957, and The Church of God, at Jerusalem Acres, in Cleveland, Tennessee, in 1972, when God called His prophet out from among them.

Each of those churches, in their time, forsook the precept of a leadership ordained of God, and each time God moved out, and raised up His anointed leader somewhere else. What those churches did not know was that a fourth well was yet to be dug: the well of the covenant. It seems that Isaac was at Beersheba for a while, before his servants found water, but they found it, and they found peace. The effect of those three groups was to develop and to "give birth" to the man who would eventually receive the Covenant of God, and a commandment to declare for God the times of the end of this age, and a commission to raise up unto God a Holy Nation, in this Western Hemisphere, before the end of the 6th millennium from the creation of Adam.

Ezekiel told us that after the Church had been overturned the third time, it would not be built again for some protracted length of time (Ezekiel 21:24-27). Then, in Daniel 2:44, we are told that, when God does raise it up, it will not be "church" exactly. He showed that this time it would arise as a nation which would cause the collapse of the Image whose head was of fine gold, and would "overcome" the coalition of ten nations which are the ten toes on the image, and the ten horns on the "Scarlet colored beast" (Dan. 2:34,35; Rev. 17:12-14).

Jesus said, "There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring" (Luke 21:25).

That time of "distress of nations, with perplexity" is upon us, and the arrival of our King, Jesus Christ, is very near. The sequence of events which are given to us by such prophets as Daniel, are unfolding before us in rapid succession. It is high time that we Christians wake up, and begin to prepare our hearts and minds for the arrival of the King of kings.

Jesus soberly cautioned us, saying, "Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares" (Luke 21:34).

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