The Transition to a New Age

The message of the "end times" is being heard all over the world in the church.  But the end of what? And after the end...then what?  I believe we are indeed in a momentous transition in the eternal plans of God. Herewith some further thoughts on what we are transiting from and what we are transiting to....

I have been asking around to various ministers of different denominations "What does the coming of Christ look like to you and what happens after that?".  In asking this I assume the common expectation is that what defines the "end times" is the culmination of history with the Second Coming of Christ. 

The evangelicals are fairly clear on the usual: the Great Tribulation next, the Rapture, the Millennium and then the New Heavens and the New Earth.  The Reformed dominees not so clear.  Jesus returns and the resurrection of the dead and the end of the world and history. And after that?  They cannot tell me...

I am actually very interested in the "and after that". Everyone I speak to seems to have the impression that the "after that" is that heaven comes to earth and we all walk around in these eternal glorified resurrection bodies here on a new earth. 

Now to be honest with you I have serious problems with that idea...it is neither scriptural nor possible with regard to the laws of physics. And to explain that last point I want sometime to do a blog for you tentatively titled "How many angels can fit on the head of a pin".  The problem to put it succinctly is what the computer geeks call "a lack of bandwidth". Or in physics terms the universe our physical bodies live in (with its limitations of 92 stable elements, three dimensions of space, one of time and four known forces) cannot contain or compute or translate the energy and information density of a spirit body or what we call a "glorified body"....not enough "bandwidth".

And with regard to what the scripture says the long term future looks like I just read Rev.21-22 at the back of the book, which is usually what you do when you want to see what the end looks like. What do I read there?

Well to summarize I read there is a city of God on this new heaven and this new earth.  And outside the city? Strangely there seems to be loads of sinners of all sorts of descriptions, liars, murderers, whoremongers etc. Now this absolutely cannot be in "heaven".  This in fact looks like our old earth with all its usual sinners.  So after the "end" the "new earth" does not look like much different to the old earth.

Ah but there is a big difference this time.  Something has changed.  On this new earth is something new.  Rev. 21:2-3:
"And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying Behold the tabernacle of God is with men and he will dwell with them and they shall be his people and God himself shall be with them and be their God."

Now here are some interesting things about what happens next.
Rev. 21:24 says that the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of the city and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honour to it.
In side the city is a river of life flowing from it and on the banks of the river is the Tree of Life for the healing of the nations.

So what do we have here.

We have what seems to be a normal earth with people and nations. We have saved people and we have loads of sinners needing saving outside of "the city".  We have an entity that goes by several names called "a city, the new Jerusalem", also called the Tabernacle of God where God now dwells with men, also called the "Bride" of God. From inside this entity there is a river of life and the Tree of Life for the healing and salvation of nations.

Now let me go out on a limb here and tell you what I see here.

The critical new piece of information that makes this a new heaven and a new earth is the wonderful declaration, "Behold the Tabernacle of God is with men and he will dwell with them...".

 What this tells me is that the manifested presence of God is now on earth the way God dwelt and communed with Adam in the garden of Eden.  In fact the presence of God was so real and present and accessible that even Cain could talk to God after he killed Abel.

And just another side note about the presence of God. It seems to have an incredible healing and preserving effect on the mortal physical body.  Those  people who lived in the proximity of Eden lived close on a thousand years. After Noah's flood when Eden was destroyed the lifespan of mankind dropped drastically to 120 and then after that to 70. Moses when he was exposed to the mighty presence of God was physically changed to where his face glowed and at 120 before he died could say that natural strength and eye sight had not dimmed.

Interestingly Isaiah 65:20 prophesies of this new Jerusalem..."There shall be no more an infant of days nor an old man that has not filled his days for the child shall die an hundred years old..."   Meaning we are going back the era of Eden of life spans on earth measured in hundreds of years and then we transition to heaven when we have fulfilled our purpose on earth.

Now further out on the limb....

The key here for me is to identify who or what is the "the Tabernacle of God", the City of God, the Bride of God?

Am I too far out to say we are not talking here of a tabernacle that is a building or a city that has walls and buildings?  I know this is a dream held dear to the dispensationalists that they long to see a new temple built in Jerusalem and keenly wait for a huge city to come out of heaven whose dimensions are 1500 miles square and high (meaning that since space starts at about 100 miles up most of this supposed city is in outer space).

The question is, 'What is the tabernacle in which God dwells?  What is the city in which God dwells? What is the Body in which God dwells"?

Are we not talking here about the Church of Jesus Christ, the Bride of Christ, the Temple of God of whom Jesus is the chief cornerstone?

And if that is so then is it not possible that when Jesus said "I will build my church..." that He is in the process through time in this present era of building an habitation for Himself here on earth that He can so inhabit that His glory in all its power can be manifested on the earth?

Now lets look at a possible explanation of what the "end times" could look like with the above as our goal....meaning that God is building a habitation for Himself on earth and when He has done so He will come in power and glory to fill that habitation with His manifested presence in a new and far more powerful way then ever before.

The Restoration of All Things

On the day of Pentecost after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit Peter stood up and spoke prophetically to the crowds of people gathered outside the upper room and said:
"Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ which was preached unto you: Whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began."  (Acts 3;19-21)

Now note two "times" that are mentioned here:
The times of the restitution of all things
The times of refreshing coming from the presence of the Lord

That means that Jesus is now in heaven and will remain there until the time comes for the "the restitution of all things" which will result in the presence of God "refreshing" all things.

Here is my way out on a limb interpretation of these scriptures and our times and what now lies ahead in this coming transition:

The "end times" spoken of so many scriptures in the New Testament was the end of the Jewish era when the old covenant was done away with and the New Covenant was instituted.  That old era lasted 2000 years from Abraham to the coming of Christ the Messiah.

In the New Covenant God no longer dwelt in the temple made of hands but transferred His presence to His new temple, the church. The sign of that was the flames of fire on the heads of all the 120 in the upper room who were filled with the Spirit.  That "Shekinah glory" used to be in the Holy of Holies. No longer.

We are now in the Restoration Age....the time of God building His new Tabernacle as a place for Him to manifest His presence in the earth. That has taken 2000 years as well.  The old covenant era of Israel was a forerunner, a template for us to model ourselves on, a road map for the era of restoration.

Paul spent 3 years in the desert after his conversion alone with the scriptures after His meeting with the risen Christ. He had to change his whole theology.  He came from the desert and said I have figured out the great mystery of the ages...the purpose of God with His people.  That is why he could immediately see that Christ was the second Adam, the church is His new Temple, all the people who are saved, Jews and Gentiles are the new Israel. He also figured out how God is going to defeat death and sin and sickness and restore us back to His original intention in Eden and get the universal plan on track.

So when he tried to explain to the church in Thessalonica about the coming of Christ he took all he knew about the scriptures he studied, about the new Israel, about the new Temple of God, about the Church about the plans of God.....and he told them where to expect the coming of Christ! Here it is and see if you can accept this....

"When Jesus shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them that believe in that day"  (2 Thes. 1:10)

Did you get that?   When Revelations declares that the time has come finally when the Tabernacle of God is with men and God shall dwell among them....that is the time that Paul and other writers declared to be "that day" that is coming. That is what Peter said to be "the times of restitution of all things" when the presence of God will once again be on the earth as in the days of Eden and will cause a "refreshing of the earth".

That will be the time that Paul says "Christ in us the hope of glory".
That is the time that Paul writes in Romans 8 "all the earth groans waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God."

That is the time when the greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit comes on the earth and the presence and the power of God is so great that a great river of living water will flow from the church into the world to heal the nations and make disciples of all nations.

We are now at that transition point. The earth and the nations of the earth are at that crisis transition point.  Everyone longs for a New World Order. Nobody has any political or economic solutions to the crises we face.

But God has spent 2000 patient years to build His Church, His Body, His Bride, His Tabernacle for this hour of transition.  He needs a vessel to contain His glory to manifest His presence in all the earth. And when that greater outpouring comes it is time to crush all Satanic forces, heal the sick, save the lost and teach the world the ways of the Lord. That was the calling of Adam that was lost....that is what the age of Restoration of All Things is about.

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