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Eschatology Prophecy Studies:(Eschatology 101) 8 "You Are A Prophecy" -J.R. Church

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Eschatology 101

You Are A Prophecy

By  on August 5, 2010

One of the greatest comparisons of God’s plan of the ages can be seen in the life of every human being. Believe it or not, you are a prophecy. Your life can actually be compared to the history of the human race. There is an uncanny relationship between the 70-year lifespan of a human being and the 7,000 years of world history which, according to the Bible, has been predetermined for the great human adventure — a sacred journey. It is stranger than fiction.

Let me put it this way — the lifespan of an individual literally represents a prophecy of the collective human adventure from creation to the consummation. A seventy-year life span is comparable to 7,000 years in the human adventure.

Every child is born to experience seven dispensations. J. R.’s granddaughter, Brittany, is 19 years old this month. She is about to move from the dispensation of Human Government to the dispensation of Promise. She is going to college.

Briefly, it could be described like this: A child is born — a picture of creation. He or she grows up, gets a job, goes into business, reaches the pinnacle of their career, and retires at the age of 60 to spend the next 10 years or so taking it easy — enjoying the fruits of labor, and letting the children take over the family business. Then this person dies around the age of 70, moving on to a greater adventure.

Comparing retirement at the age of 60 to world history, the Bible teaches that the Son of God will come back to the Earth at the end of 6,000 years to take over His Father’s business, while the human race enjoys a thousand years of rest — comparable to retirement.

Now let’s go back to the beginning and get the details. We will see an uncanny relationship between the individual human adventure and the greater adventure for humanity as a whole.

The Dispensation of Innocence

First, let us begin with the birth of a child. That can be compared to the dispensation of Innocence when Adam and Eve were created and placed in a beautiful garden under the watchful care of the Heavenly Father. There is nothing quite so beautiful as a little baby. “Who does she look like?” “Well, she looks like Daddy,” or, “She looks like Mommy.” At least you have to admit she’s been made in the image of her parents. In like manner, we were made in the image of God.

Ah, the newborn baby! — so innocent — placed in her own little Garden of Eden. So helpless, yet so perfect. But it doesn’t take long for the little rascal to get into trouble. It’s kind of hard to say just when that moment comes. But it doesn’t take them long to learn that they can wrap you around their little finger just by crying in the middle of the night.

The real test comes when the little darling pulls up to the coffee table and reaches for something she is not supposed to have. “No,” you say, as you swat her cute little hand. That’s when the little rascal is determined to have it in spite of all that you can do.

The Dispensation of Conscience

She is now removed from the dispensation of Innocence to the dispensation of Conscience. She has fallen and oh, the guilt she feels! She cries. Over the years, the child has to learn responsibility. “Adam, Eve, you must learn to till the soil. You must learn to eat by the sweat of your brow.” “All right, Junior, make up your bed.” “Wash your hands, Roger.”

The years come and go until the child is approaching ten, and you can see that your little baby is growing up. She’s losing her childishness. The Adam-image is fading away.

Adam died at the age of 930, slightly less than 1,000 years — just as a child around the age of nine or ten begins to grow like a weed, lose her identity as the “baby of the family,” and suddenly you realize you have a young lady on your hands.

The “Abel characteristic” can also be seen during those early years when a child loves freely and enjoys the delightfulness of her new adventure. She loves everybody. Adam named the animals and, in like manner, the child enjoys a similar adventure. Animals seem to take on an almost human characteristic — Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Teddy the Bear, and so on.

She hates no one and believes that everybody is good. Such was Abel, the son of Adam. But it doesn’t take long in a young child’s life for the likes of Cain to raise his ugly head. Thus develops the conflict between good and evil in the life of a child.

By the age of 13 the young teenager begins to face the problem of allegiance in her life. Up until then she has owed her allegiance only to father and mother, but she begins to look around her — to develop what we might call “idolatry.” It might be Superman or Ringo Starr, for we have reached the age of the teen idol.

Thus it was — during the age of adolescent humanity when the world was 1,300 years old, 1,400, 1,500, and so on. That was the age for the development of idolatry. When the world was 1,600 years old, the heavenly Father had to bring on a flood to wash away the ungodliness of the human race that He might preserve the righteous.

“The imagination of the heart is only evil continually!” Well, for boys, maybe, but, hopefully, not for girls.

The Dispensation of Human Government

It is during those teenage years, somewhere around the age of 16, that a parent has to really come to grips with the evil direction of their adolescent — so that they might be able to preserve and develop the good. Those are the flood years when evil is contemplated — perhaps even practiced — but, hopefully, purged. Suddenly, the boy finds himself submerged in the discipline of the dispensation of Human Government — he falls under the despotic rule of father and mother. But it’s for his own good.

During those years, every problem is overwhelming for the teenager. “My nose is too big! My ears stick out! My arms are too long! Nobody likes me.” Every problem seems like a flood. But if the teenager will only try, he will find grace in the eyes of his father.

When he comes out of those years of turmoil, he’ll end up on the mountaintop just like Noah — provided, of course, he stays in the safety of the family unit and doesn’t jump out of the boat.

It is during those flood years that the Garden of Eden environment of the home is washed away, and the teenager sees a new and unfriendly world awaiting him.

Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. So it is with the teenager. But just because he has found grace in the eyes of his father doesn’t mean the teenager is now perfect, for those are the experimental years. For instance, one of the first things Noah did in his new world was to experiment with wine — and, oh, what a catastrophe it brought in his life! So it is with many young people today.

Many begin to experiment with drugs, liquid or otherwise, which could have a disastrous influence on their future. Man is a trinity — made up of body, soul, and spirit. During the teenage years, it is so easy for a young person to become enslaved to sin by yielding to its temptation. Just as the curse was put upon Ham and his offspring causing them to become a servant in the tents of his brethren; in like manner, the spirit can become enslaved to the body and its appetites.

Ham made light of his father’s drunkenness and fell under a curse. In like manner, there are many young people who take sin far too lightly — and are in great danger of becoming enslaved. It could put a mark upon one’s character — comparable to that of Ham.

The Dispensation of Promise

Around the age of 20, a young person feels the need to leave home. “Go west, young man, go west. It’s time to find your own promised land.” That brings us near the age of 2,000 years in the great human adventure. God reached down to a man named Abraham and said, “It’s time to leave home. Leave your family and go west, young man, go west — into a land that I shall show thee of; which afterward I shall give you for an inheritance.” It’s almost uncanny, isn’t it?

When a young man leaves home, he does not become an overnight success in business. In like manner, Abraham did not immediately possess his Promised Land. He went to it and even lived in it, but he really didn’t possess it. It wasn’t his. It was there as a goal before him to be reached, but it remained only a promised land; it was not yet possessed.

So it is in the life of a young person. A young man may know what he wants to do, but the goal remains just beyond his grasp. He is going to have to attend the “university of hard knocks” before he can obtain his goal. Thus we enter upon the dispensation of Promise, which lasted in human history from Abraham to Moses.

During the years from 20 to 25, a young person is tempted to live a pretty worldly life. He may rebel against those around him as the sons of Jacob rebelled against Joseph — and eventually may end up in the proverbial “Egyptian bondage!”

The Dispensation of Law

At the age of 2,500 years, mankind entered into a new dispensation, which was to last for the next 1,500 years. It is called in the Bible the dispensation of Law. In like manner, around the age of 25, a young man begins to settle down in life.

He establishes some basic moral values — comparable to the Ten Commandments. This is when he realizes that if he is going to get anywhere in life, he is going to have to go to work. The college student can no longer play around. He has to get down to business. The hippie finally puts on a suit and tie and joins the real world.

It is also around the age of 25 when a young man finds the girl of his choice and marries her. Thus, the dispensation of Law begins. God the Father in heaven reached down and pulled the girl of His dreams out of Egyptian bondage and married her, for, you see, the Chosen People were called “the wife” of Jehovah.

There was a covenant of Law established between Jehovah and Israel when the human race was 2,500 years old and in like manner, a groom and his bride establish a marriage covenant. Yes, many a young man between the ages of 20 and 25 finds himself in a proverbial Egyptian bondage, but he makes his exodus and wanders for a while through the wilderness of this life while he establishes his covenant with a “chosen” person — the girl of his dreams and establishes some moral concepts which will govern him for the rest of his life.

For the next 15 years (between the ages of 25 and 40) those moral concepts are really law. They are written on tables of stone. They are not yet made a part of the personality. But a man usually follows them — his wife will see to that! Those are the years when a man produces his firstborn son. We can see that in the great human adventure when God said to Moses, “Go, tell Pharaoh, Israel is My son, even My firstborn son” (Ex. 4:22).

And so a man around the age of 25 produces his firstborn son, and the cycle seems to start all over again — except from a different perspective. He who once viewed life through the eyes of a son, now sees life from the viewpoint of a father.

For the next five years (from 25 to 30) a man may conquer his Promised Land. But it is a struggle. During those years, it is hard to get a business loan from the bank. Few bankers are willing to make big loans until his client reaches the age of 30. Oh, he may be able to finance an automobile or even a house, but there aren’t very many people in their twenties who can borrow $50,000 or $100,000 for a business venture.

Around the age of 30 a man becomes mature — and wise, like Solomon who appeared on the stage of human history at the 3,000-year point. This is the time when the Solomon characteristic is developed — a time of wisdom and maturity. And it was a time when Solomon built the house of God. So it is in the life of a man around the age of 30 when he gets his children in Sunday School and church, for he wants that little four, five, or six-year-old to learn the Bible. He doesn’t want his child making the same mistakes he made.

For the next few years (between the ages of 30 and 35) a man will reach a measure of success, but will see some failures, as well. Sometimes, during those years a man’s kingdom may be divided — as it was in Israel after the death of Solomon.

It may be that a man will experience an “Assyrian” captivity and never recover — or a “Babylonian” captivity that will only last a little while. Around the 3,300-year point the Chosen People went into Assyrian captivity, and 100 years later the rest of them went into Babylonian captivity.

So it is in the life of a man in his mid-30s. If his kingdom is divided, he is going to be under a lot of pressure. During these years, a family might suffer divorce, something from which they may never recover. The Assyrian captivity was a sort of divorce between God and the northern tribes.

Not all of his business decisions will be good ones. He may suffer a financial “captivity,” but, at least there can be a measure of recovery. The Babylonian captivity only lasted 70 years and God’s people came back to rebuild their land.

The Dispensation of Grace

Around the age of 40, a man reaches a turning point in his life. It either becomes a “mid-life crisis” — or we could say, “life begins at 40.” It all depends on how a man copes with those special problems unique to that time in his life. That brings us to the 4,000-year point in world history.

The choice was theirs — Israel could either reject the Messiah and compound the problems of life or receive Him and enjoy the glories of the kingdom. Which shall it be?

At 40, a man has been married somewhere between 15 to 20 years (give or take a few). His firstborn son has reached the age of adolescence. The father expects a lot out of his son — just like Israel was expecting their Messiah. But when Jesus came, He didn’t seem to measure up to Israel’s concept of a Savior. They wanted a Messiah who could overthrow the Roman government and set up the kingdom.

But Jesus had come for quite another reason. He came looking for a bride of his own — New Testament Christianity. And, you know, in like manner, a young man at that stage in life begins looking for the girl of his dreams — his own chosen person.

Furthermore, when a son becomes a teenager, his dad wants him to be about the father’s business. Perhaps he enters as an apprentice — preparing for that day when he will become a full partner, but the young messiah doesn’t quite measure up to expectations, and there are some things in his life the father would like to crucify. For the son it may seem like a flood experience, but for the father, it is a crucifixion. Besides, the father doesn’t want that young whippersnapper running things around his household. He’ll not have the son rule over him!

Business-wise, those are the greatest years of opportunity in a man’s life. He reaches the top of his career between the ages of 40 and 60. The potential is unlimited. If a man has not found himself to be successful by the age of 40, he usually changes his direction.

At least he opens his vision — and his business begins to spread out. Some men turn their local business into a nationwide chain and, for some, the scope may be worldwide.

Well, that’s what the Father did 2,000 years ago. He expanded His work of redemption and made the Gospel available on a worldwide scale. He took the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. It became like an international franchise.

The years between 40 and 60 represent the dispensation of Grace. That’s when the dispensation of Law, which began around the age of 25, turns into grace (around the age of 40). A man’s heart of stone finally becomes a heart of flesh. It is when one no longer has to make himself do what is right. It finally becomes an automatic part of a man’s character.

The Dispensation of the Kingdom Rest

When a man reaches the age of 60, it’s time to think of retirement. It’s time to turn the family business over to the children and let them have it on their own — while the father sits back and relaxes to enjoy the next 10 years of his life, for he has worked enough.

He should be able to enjoy the fruits of his labor. So it is in the great worldwide human adventure. This is the time when the dispensation of Grace will turn into the dispensation of the Kingdom Rest.

The kingdom has come. Remember, when you were a baby, you lived under the dispensation of Innocence. But then you learned “right from wrong” and fell under the dispensation of Conscience.

During your teen years you found yourself under the dispensation of Human Government — the rule of father and mother. But around the age of 20 you entered upon the dispensation of Promise, looking forward to a bright future.

However, somewhere between 20 and 25 you ended up in bondage. But you didn’t stay. You made your exodus out of that volatile life-style to settle down and enter upon your own dispensation of Law. You got married and established some guidelines for life.

But, by the age of 40, you entered your dispensation of Grace. The things you did, you wanted to do. And at the age of 60 you entered upon the seventh dispensation of your life, the Kingdom Rest, when you turned the family business over to your children.

And it all represents a prophecy of 7,000 years for the great human adventure. Today, this old world has reached the age of 60 — or perhaps we should say 6,000. It’s time to turn the family business over to the heavenly Father’s Son and retire.

That is why I sincerely believe Jesus Christ will soon make His appearance to take over the Father’s business. He will establish the golden age of world history. Say, I wonder if that’s why we call those years after 60 the “golden” years? Well, I believe they are going to be wonderful years. The Son will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. My, how successful He is going to be! He’s going to conquer the problems of a wayward world.

And the last enemy to be conquered is death. For you see, around 70 a man leaves this old house of clay and enters upon a new and eternal adventure. Likewise, at the age of 7,000 this old world is going to be renovated. God will make a new heaven and a new Earth“wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

The parallels are uncanny. They could not possibly be coincidental. It is obvious to see the grand design — 70 years for the individual human adventure and 7,000 years for the great worldwide human adventure. In this sacred journey, you are a prophecy!

Go to Lesson 7: Dispensationalism and the Menorah

Next up is Lesson 9: Moses and the Dispensations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Yes! Jesus is Coming!


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Prophecy Today Series: "What is Salvation" [The Kingdom, Power & Glory](5) -Koinonia House


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The Kingdom, Power & Glory - What Is Salvation?

by Nancy Missler
  

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Over the past couple of months, we have been exploring the real reason for our salvation, which is ruling and reigning with the King of Kings in the future Millennial Kingdom and, after that, for eternity. Our life here and now is simply the training ground, the proving ground and the testing ground for that next life.

 

Our purpose with these articles and with our book has been and will be to integrate the “sanctification process” (actually living Christ’s Life and learning to be overcomers) here on earth with the “reward of inheritance” (co-reigning with Christ) in the kingdom. In order to do this, there are three important questions we want to address: Why are we here? Where are we going? And, what do we have to do to get there?

 

The first question we want to explore then is: Why are we here?

 

Genesis tells us that man was originally called into existence to reign over the whole earth with the King of Kings. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth...And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28)

 

Man was created in the image of God so that one day he could become a “servant-king” and rule the world alongside the true king, the King of Kings.1

 

There was just one problem: Lucifer. Ezekiel 28 explains: “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering...thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” (Verses 13-15)2

 

Lucifer was determined to thwart God’s plan in any way he could. He came up with a scheme to deceive Adam and Eve, the first Mr. and Mrs. Man. At his prompting, Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s rule (they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) and as a result, three things happened: 1) they died spiritually (i.e., they became separated from God); 2) they forfeited their right to rule and reign; and 3) Lucifer (Satan) became their own mortal enemy. (Genesis 3:23-24)

 

Because of their sin, all mankind has inherited those same three consequences: 1) We are all born naturally separated from God; 2) God’s future plans for us to rule and reign along-side of Him have been forfeited; and, 3) We have the same mortal enemy as Adam had, Satan.3

 

These consequences have been passed down through every generation. The Epistle of Romans tells us that every person since Adam is born with a “sin nature,” not a spiritual nature, and thus, has automatically “fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) In other words, without Christ’s intervention, all of us are born “guilty” of sin, the penalty of which is “death” (eternal separation from God). Consequently, not only was man’s fellowship with God broken because of Adam’s sin, we also have forfeited our future rulership in the coming kingdom.

 

God Inaugurated a New Program

 

God, however, loved man so much that He inaugurated a new program to bring his sin marred creation back into the blessings of a future glorious reign. (Psalm 8:5-6) He chose a way of deliverance from man’s inevitable destiny (death) and set about to reclaim the kingdom for us.

 

He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to bridge the gap and make it possible for us to once again have fellowship with Him and par¬ticipate in the future kingdom.4 Christ’s mission is to deliver us out of the authority of darkness into the kingdom of the Son’s Love. (Colossians 1:13) Jesus (who knew no sin) be-came sin on our behalf and voluntarily gave His Life as a ransom so that we could: 1) be reconciled back to the Father, 2) be trained as companions of Christ to rule and reign with Him in the future, and 3) be given the author¬ity and power to overcome the enemy.5

 

John 3:17 says, “For God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world; but that the world though Him might be saved.”

 

This is what “salvation” is all about.

 

What Is Salvation?

 

The word salvation actually means “to liberate, to set free or to loose.” It literally means to deliver from bonds (chains or shackles) by a payment or a ransom. (A “ransom” is something that is given in exchange for a life.) Matthew 20:28 tells us that Christ paid that ransom for us.6 He exchanged His Life for ours by shedding His Blood on the Cross.7 He freed us from our sins by His blood and “loosed us from the pangs of death.”

 

“Salvation” then is a free gift that Christ wants everyone in the world to have.8 All that’s needed is for us to believe in what Christ did on the Cross (for the redemption of all mankind) and choose to be obedient to His commandments. By believing in Him, He promises that we will not perish, but have everlasting life.9 Romans 10: 9 says: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” This simple act of belief is what makes one “declared not guilty” (or justified) before God. (Romans 3:26; 4:5-6)

 

By accepting what Christ has done for us on the Cross, five things occur: 1) we are set free from our bonds of sin and reconciled to Him; 2) we are delivered from the penalty of death; 3) we are guaranteed an entrance to the Millennial Kingdom (and to heaven); 4) we are given the gift of a brand new spirit (which is like a “down payment,” a pledge or a seal that assures us His promises are true) (Ephesians 1:13-14); and finally, 5) we are given His eternal Life (His Love, wisdom and power) in our hearts. (Colossians 1:27; Romans 5:5)

 

Christ’s death on the Cross signified the end of the Old Covenant (old covenant with Israel) and the beginning of a new one, which provides regeneration and the forgiveness of sin through faith in Christ.10 Consequently, our salvation does not depend upon us, but rather upon Christ and His faithfulness. Our salvation, in fact, is actually guaranteed by the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:4-6, 11-12)

 

Justification

 

When we first come to Christ and are “born again,” we are declared righteous and holy just like Romans 10:9 tells us. This is called justification, which is a judicial term meaning, “to be declared not guilty before God.” The word “justification” (Strong’s #1344, dikaioo) means to be acquitted, to render just, innocent or righteous. (2 Corinthians 5:21) In other words, Christ has already paid the penalty for us and there is nothing more we can do to add to it. (Romans 3:24) It’s a free gift! (Titus 3:5) The price has already been paid. God uses the instrument of “grace” to accomplish this justification.11

 

Being “justified” also means that we are guaranteed an entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven on the basis of what Christ has already done. He is the righteous and holy One, and He has imputed that righteousness and that holiness to us. The “down payment,” or the pledge or seal of this future redemption is the gift of His Spirit indwelling our own. (Ephesians 1:13) In other words, at our new birth, our “spirit” is saved. (Ephesians 1:13-14; 2:8)

Even though at our new birth, we are “positionally” (an approved fact) reconciled to God, justified and declared not guilty before God, “experientially” (in our life actions), our character, our disposition and our temperament really haven’t changed a bit! Mentally, emotionally and spiritually, we are still the same! Christ has simply imputed (or accredited) His righteousness to us by means of a new spirit. It’s at this point that wemust begin the long road toward true “life transformation” and this process is called “sanctification.” Therefore, being justified before God is really just the first step to¬wards our total salvation. Because the completed work of “justification” is what introduces the complimentary work of “sanctification,” and eventually, “glorification.” It works something like this:

 

Our spirit (which is the energy source or power source of our lives) is saved at our new birth. (Ephesians 2:8-9) This, as we said, is called “justification.”12 Our soul (which is made up our own natural thoughts, emotions and desires) is in the process of being saved through the “sanctification process” that we are all in now. (James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:8-9)13 And our bodies will be saved in the future at the resurrection which is called “glorification.”14 In other words, “complete salvation” is really a life-long process. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

 

To be continued next month: “Salvation is a Life-long Process.” This article has been excerpted in part from Chuck and Nan’s new book The Kingdom, Power and Glory.


 Yes! Jesus is Coming!

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