RADIO BROADCAST BIBLE STUDY ADDRESS
BY: PASTOR GEORGE D. CUTLER SR.
DECEMBER 1999-JANUARY 2000
As we approach the final days of this calendar year, we realize that we are living in a very significant interval of time. Calendar-wise we are approaching the turn of not only a New Year, but also a new decade, and not only a new decade, but also a new century and a new millennium. Accordingly we focus on this very important phenomenal called time. The Greek word “kehros” translated “time” defines a space or an increment or allotment set aside to accomplish a certain goal or purpose. The word “kehros” or time literally depicts finite or earthly duration’s as distinguished from eternity. Time identifies a point in progress, a period of history or current events or prophecy that is defined as future events. Time denotes a period or duration reserved or available for certain actions to be taken or certain events to occur. Time also engenders a point or appointment assigned for the performance of a prescribed course or operation or a season designated for certain conditions.
The word time (kehros) in the Greek is a noun. It is always in the masculine gender and the singular person, and in some instances, time is grammatically expressed in the genitive case. In the Greek grammar, the genitive case shows possession or source, which speaks to the end that time is owned and it belongs to someone or something. We understand from God’s word that He (God) is the maker and creator of all things, including time. Therefore we conclude that time belongs to or is owned by God. In most instances, time is grammatically expressed in either the accusative or dative cases. In the Greek grammar, the accusative case denotes time as the direct object of the sentence and the dative case denotes time as the indirect object of the sentence. In both cases it is an object of a preposition, either stated or understood, thus time is always a target of some intended purpose.
Time as earlier stated, is expressed in a space or an increment or a duration; basically in terms of regulated intervals designed for the manifestation of opportunity, i.e. events, and occasions. These regulated intervals are always delineated in some measure or apportionment, always fixed and definite. These intervals are always regulated in the instituting of the establishment of control. Notice whosoever controls time also has the power to control events, occurrences or occasions. The regulation of intervals of time is defined in increments of measurements. Measurements of time are expressed in the division of ages as delineated in years and the year is subdivided into 12 months, seasons (fall, winter spring and summer) and days, and the day is divided into sections of the day (morning, noon, night, hours, minutes and seconds). The ages of time are expressed in terms of periods of God’s work or God’s purpose or plan in dealing with man, i.e. creation as recorded in the book of Genesis.
Each age has its own defined purpose i.e. the antediluvian age also recorded in the book of Genesis. This age culminated with the events of the flood and the salvation of Noah and his family as all of mankind was destroyed and thus the institution or the age of human government was established. God’s purpose in sanctifying and setting apart one man, namely Abraham and ultimately one nation (Israel) is expressed in the age defined as “Promise”. God’s purpose in giving the Law to ‘His people, (Israel)”, those, whom he had chosen in the preceding age, are defined in the age of “Law”.
We are currently living in the greatest of all ages, The Age of Grace! God’s purpose in this era is best documented in chapter one of Ephesians wherein he identifies those whom he has chosen and elected in him before the foundation of the world. This is indeed the age wherein God’s greatest accomplishments (the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross) are manifested through the revelation of the Mystery and that is the body of Christ, the Church.
In future time to come, God will impart his wrath upon this world during the “Tribulation”; a seven-year period in which the antichrist will rise as recorded in the book of Revelation. We believe that prior to the Tribulation, namely in the interval just before this terrible display of God's wrath upon the earth, Jesus shall return and take away His elect for this age, the Church. Now this is commonly referred to as the rapture. Of course there are some that dispute the timing of this event. Some teach mid-tribulation while others claim post-tribulation for this occurrence. But one thing is absolutely for sure and that is, Jesus will return first to receive his elect, the Church, which will be removed from this world (both those living and asleep in Christ) and then He shall come to deliver “his people-Israel”; who will gladly receive Him at that time. He will put down every contender, every foe. He will come to make war with all that resist his coming----until He has subdued all that oppose Him. Jesus will sit on David’s throne in Jerusalem and rule this world for one thousand years, which is the age designated as “the Millennium”. During this time, the devil and all of his cohorts will be bound and thrown into a bottomless pit for the entire duration of the Millennium period. This is the prophesied age of peace upon the earth as recorded in the books of prophecies in the word of God. Subsequent to this age, the devil (Satan) will be loosed for a brief period and all the non-elect of God from all the ages of time will stand before “the Great White Throne” without the shield of faith in the blood of Jesus Christ. Oh, what a terrible day for mankind who is not covered by the redemptive work of Christ upon Calvary as they stand to be eternally loosed, separated and doomed to the lake of fire with Satan and all his host of servants, to everlasting torment.
Then will come the last age or “perfect age” in which the new earth (the existing Earth will be renovated by fire) and the new Heavens will be manifested in their perfected state. This present evil age (world) will no longer exist. God who is Holy and righteous cannot and will not dwell among that which is unholy and unrighteous. At this time all things will be delivered unto Him in “perfection”. Thus we will have reached the close of the ‘age of ages” when Christ shall have put down all rule and authority and power for he must reign till he has put all enemies under his feet”.
Then Christ as the Son of Man, shall surrender the kingdom to God, that God may be “All in All” (I Corinthians 15:24-28). Now one should not look upon this as an abdication of the throne in any sense, for the Son of God is a pre-existing part of the divine Godhead which has always in essence been one (Jesus stated in the gospel of John, “The Father and I are one”). God was, is and shall forever be one or “All in All”. This will end what is manifested by time. Then eternity will begin and of its end, there is no end.
The Apostle Peter in writing to Jewish believers, posed a very interesting and relevant question in II Peter 3:11, where he states “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness”. If this was deemed to be relevant in Peter’s time, it should now be considered an essential question and statement to us, the elect of God in this dispensation, the Grace Church age. The full knowledge of God’s plan, purpose and will, should dramatically impact our thinking and influence our actions as we move into a new millennium.
In placing into true perspective the essence of time as God has creatively scheduled the manifestation of His will, consider what the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 13:11, as we read first from the King James Version, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salivation nearer than when we believed”. Now from the Greek text “And this knowing the time that it is already the hour for you to be raised out of sleep, For now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed”. In verse 11, Paul deals with the spiritual lethargy of the believers at Rome. Here, with the Greek phrase “keh too to”, rendered “and this” he calls attention to the lateness of time. We need to be “ee·tho·thehs ton keh·ron”, translated ‘knowing the time”. We need to be perceptive and seeing “ton kehron” that is ‘the time”, or the particular time or the point in time that is on God’s prophetic time clock. Note as Paul looks at time in the light of God’s eternal purpose, he states “that it is already the hour for you to be raised out of sleep”. It appears that Paul is telling them the time is ‘eethee”, rendered “already” past, literally it has come and gone, when you should have been raised out of ‘eepooo” or “sleep”. In other words Paul is prodding and he is making the statement “that it is late”, therefore ‘be raised out of your spiritual sleep and slumber”.
Now, it is very important to note that the Greek verb “eh·yehr·thee·neh”, translated “be raised” is in the aorist tense and passive voice. Here the aorist tense reinforces the point that we should have already been raised out of sleep, but we know that this is certainly not the case, because many believers have the same mindset as the world. More significantly we note the passive voice, which indicates that one other than ourselves is involved in raising, arousing and awakening God’s people from their spiritual stupor. For those who are in a state of spiritual hibernation, someone had to arouse, to shake, to stir…and that is the job of the Holy Spirit as he works by and through the word of God.
Those to whom Paul is writing are believers; those who are spiritually alive in Christ and as such have need for their spirits to be stimulated and aroused by the Holy Spirit. Instead of being in a state of spiritual slothfulness, we need to be boiling in the spirit, we need to be on fire, energized by the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:11).
Now as the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years become history, Paul states, “For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed”. In Ephesians 5:16, the Apostle Paul states that we are to be ‘redeeming the time” that is ‘buying up” every opportunity to serve the Lord, because the days are evil. So in this eleventh verse of Romans, Paul is seeking to arouse believers to serve the Lord because time is fleeting… the time when Christ will return for His own is coming nearer each day. From the moment we were saved, we should have begun looking forward to the greatest of all events, the day of our salvation. This points to the time when all believers will meet the Lord in the air. When we will have our lowly bodies changed to conform to His glorious body and we will always, yes forever be with the Lord (Philippians 3:21; I Thess. 4:15-17; I John 3:2).
Now as we continue the discourse, we read Romans 13:12, first from the King James Version, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and “let us put on the armor of light”. Now from the Greek New Testament, “The night is almost gone, and the day is near, therefore we should lay aside the works of darkness, and we should put on the armor of light”. In verse 12 of Romans, chapter 13, the Apostle Paul continues to emphasize the short time believers have to serve the Lord. He graphically portrays this by stating that ‘the night is almost gone”. Paul is apparently using the Greek word “neex” to depict this present evil age as a time of moral and spiritual darkness (John 13:30; I Thess. 5:5). Here the Greek verb ‘pro·eh·ko·psehn”, rendered “almost gone” denotes that the night is far advanced, far spent and almost over. In other words the time that Satan has to have authority and power over this world system is drawing to a close (Luke 4:5-6; II Corinthians 4:4; I John 5:19). Paul’s thrust is that in view of the short time left, he desires for believers to live in the essence of Jesus Christ.
Now following the thought that the night is almost gone, notice the statement “and the day is near”. Observe in contrast to the Greek word “neex” or “night”, the Greek word “ee•meh•ra”, rendered “day” may also be used of believers who “are sons of light and sons of day” (I Thess. 5:5,8). The focal point here is that a given day is near, already referred to as the time of our salvation, to be identified with what is commonly called the rapture. With the consummation of the present night period, when Satan’s power on this earth will have run it’s course, we expect that ‘the day” which is referred to here …is near and that it will usher in a day of spiritual light and righteousness under the supreme rule of Jesus Christ Himself.
So in view of the fact that the night is almost gone and the day is near, Paul states, “We should lay aside the works of darkness and we should put on the armor of light”. The Greek word “apo·tho·meh·tha”, translated “We should lay aside” is in the aorist tense, subjunctive mood and middle voice, which indicates that we ourselves should lay aside as a garment or put off and renounce works of darkness (John 12:46). In essence to put off the works of darkness and to put on the armour of light, should be the goal of every believer. According to Romans 6:13, believers are to present their members as “instruments or weapons of righteousness”. Furthermore, in II Corinthians 6:4-7, Paul commended himself as a minister of God, through the armor of righteousness on the right and left hand”. So the emphasis in this verse is on the responsibility of believers to “put off” the works of darkness and to “put on” the armor of light.
Now in the relative short space we have allotted for our discourse on the subject matter “time” we will confine our exegesis to one other vein of scripture and that is found in Ephesians 5:14-16. We first read from the King James Version “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light”, and now the Greek New ‘Testament “For everything being made manifest is light. Wherefore he says, arise the one sleeping and stand up from the dead and Christ will shine upon you”. Here in verse 14 of Ephesians chapter 5, the statement “thee•o leh•yee”, rendered “wherefore he says”, means that our account of this or therefore, we are to rise up and awaken from our spiritual slumber as Paul speaks to those who are asleep in the service of Christ. We are to stand up and rise out from among those who are spiritually dead. The fact that both of these verbs are in the active voice and imperative mode, makes it clear that Paul is speaking to carnal Christians. In conjunction with the Holy Spirit, those who fall into the category of such carnality, have the responsibility to get moving under the control and dynamics of the Holy Spirit. As true believers who are in a right spiritual relation to the Lord, Christ will shine upon “ehpee·psahv·see”, translated “them”, (believers), thus God will “give them light”. He will spiritually enlighten them and take them into a fellowship relation with himself in the light (II Corth. 4:6; I John 1:7).
As we examine Ephesians 5:15, we read from the King James Version “See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,” and from the Greek text “”therefore take heed to how accurately you walk, not as unwise but as wise. Here the forepart of this could be translated “Therefore accurately take heed to how you walk”. There are two aspects of thought given in this verse. First, the emphasis is on how accurately our Christian walk conforms to the truth given to the church. Secondly, the emphasis is on accurately examining the word of God to determine how we are to walk. Since the emphasis of both thoughts dovetail into one elongated thought; here the emphasis of both convey the need to accurately scrutinize the word and to accurately live according to it, “not as unwise, but as wise”. The Greek word “ahs•oph•ee”, translated ‘unwise” denotes the opposite of wise, hence, those void of understanding, foolish and imprudent.
On the other hand, believers who have the fruit of the light in their lives, who are living in accordance with the truth for the Church and are prepared to stand before the judgement seat of Christ (no believer will ever stand before the White throne Judgement) and be judged according to their works (not for salvation, but for service) I Corinthians 1:13-14,17:4:5; II Corinthians 5:99-10). These are described as “so psee”, rendered “wise” intelligent, learned and knowledgeable. This is the reason, we of the Grace Gospel Church Ministry place so much stock in wisdom and learning and understanding the word of God. Keep in mind as we close our discoursing of this verse, that when Paul speaks about believers being wise he is referring to those identified with the wisdom of God (Romans 16:19,27). In contrast, he speaks very disparagingly of those exulting in the wisdom of men (I Corinthians 1:25,27; 3:18; Colossians 2:23).
As we conclude our brief discourse on time, we exegete Ephesians 5:16, as we read first from the King James Version ”Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” and now from the Greek New Testament “Redeeming the time because the days evil”. The Apostle Paul sheds light on what believers should be doing in these final days before the Lord comes for us. Instead of unwisely living in carnality, believers are to be alert, wise and redeeming the time. The Greek word “keh ron”, rendered “time”, may refer to the present time (Romans 3:26), a future time (I Corinthians 4:5), the gamut of time in which we live (Galatians 6:10), and time in the sense of suitable situations, fitting circumstances and opportunities (Colossians 4:5). As we focus on this verse, we are primarily interested in the latter meaning, i.e. in the sphere of time we have suitable situations, open door circumstances and multiplied opportunities to expose the truth and to make the gospel of the grace of God known to others, both believers and unbelievers. The main emphasis in this verse centers on time, how believers are to use it and why.
First, we believers are to be “redeeming” the time. The Greek participle “ehxa·go·ra·zo·meh·nee”, translated “redeeming” is in the present tense and is derived from the words “ehx” and “ago·ra zo” and literally means to buy out, to buy up and to acquire or purchase from. The thought is that believers are to continually be buying out of time every opportunity to edify and instruct one another in the truth for the Church, the Mystery. The following context strongly suggests that in this verse the Apostle Paul is emphasizing the need for believers to buy up every opportunity to mutually instruct one another. In a similar passage in Colossians 5, Paul emphasizes the need to buy up every opportunity to share the gospel with the lost, those outside; for he says, “ walk in wisdom toward those outside, redeeming the time”. Combining these thoughts, time consists of a series of opportunities to teach the truth of the word to both the saved and the lost. In Galatians 6:10, Paul affirms that time is to be used for the benefit of both believers and unbelievers. He states “Then therefore as we have time (opportunity), let us do that which is good toward all; especially toward the family of the faith”.
As we further exegete Ephesians 5:16, Paul states the reason believers are to redeem the time, namely “because the days are evil”. The Greek noun ‘ee·meh·reh”, rendered “days” may refer to the interval between sunrise and sunset or to both night and day or what we know as a 24 hour period. When used in the plural, as it is here, it speaks of an extended period of time, i.e. a time when evil is unusually rampant. Note the Apostle Paul also speaks of this time as the last days, an extended period when there will be grievous times (II Timothy 3:1). Since many days constitute an age (“ee•on”) in the Greek, and Satan is the god of this age, yes, Satan is the god of this age (II Corinthians 4:4), so it follows that all days have been evil since the Adamic fall, but they are getting worse in these last days (I John 5:19; II Timothy 3:13).
evil tends to infiltrate the minds of believers, it is imperative
that every opportunity be utilized by us to build each other up in the faith. In Ephesians 6:13 Paul states, “Take up the armor of God that you
may be able to stand
in the evil day”. We desperately need
to understand that our battle is against a spiritual enemy; therefore it is
imperative that we fight it with spiritual armor, which God provides for us. The Greek verb “ana
translated “take up” is derived from two Greek words “ana”
and “lam·va·no” and
literally means to take up or receive up.
Here we have a verbal picture of believers picking up or
receiving from God our spiritual armor.
The Greek noun “pa·no·plee·an”, rendered
“all the armor” means the complete, total and full armor which God has provided for waging this spiritual battle (Luke
So, why would the Apostle Paul be instructing us to take up all the armor of God? The purpose is clear, “that you may be able to stand against in the evil day”. The use of the Greek conjunction “een•ah” with the verb ‘thee·nee·thee·teh” is translated “you may be able”, clearly expresses the idea of purpose and may also be rendered ‘in order that you may be able”, that you may have the ability or that you may have the strength to stand against in the evil day. The Greek infinitive “ahnt•ees•tee•neh”, translated “to stand against” comes from the Greek preposition “ahnt•ee” prefixed to the verb “ees•tee•mee” and most literally means to oppose or to resist in the evil day. Note that this is the only time Paul uses the phrase “tee ee•meh•rah tee pon•ee•rah” rendered ‘the evil day” and contrary to some who would attribute this to a specific future time such as the day of wrath (Romans 2:5); it should be apparent that when one views the entire context surrounding this phrase, it is certainly feasible to identify “the evil day” with “the present evil age” (Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 5:16).
Now having observed that the armor Paul speaks of here “belongs to God”, it is that which he has provided for believers and having observed that this armor is able to enable believers to stand against the foe in the evil day; it must be concluded that this armor has been divinely designed to adequately equip believers to be victorious in our present daily living.
Now that Paul has stated the reason believers are to take up all the armor of God namely that they may be able to victoriously resist the satanic evil forces, he adds “And having accomplished all things to stand”. The Greek participle “kaht•ehr·gah·sahm·ehnee”, rendered “accomplished” is deprived from the Greek preposition “kaht•ah” prefixed to the verb “ehr·ga·zo·meh” and literally means to work down, hence in actual usage as it is here in the aorist tense, commonly means “having effected” or “having done”. A viable interpretation would be that having taken up and completely put on God’s armor, as we are instructed, we are to stand. The Greek infinitive “stee·neh”, translated “to stand” is also used in Ephesians 6:11, where Paul states “If God’s specially designed spiritual armor is fully utilized, as he intends that it should be believers will thwart and prevail against all enemies. So having done this, we the elect of God, the Church, are to remain fixed, set and firm in our victorious position (Col. 4:12). In Hebrew 3:12-13, as we view the danger of an evil heart of unbelief overtaking some of them, they are admonished to exhort themselves daily, i.e. redeem the time by encouraging one another in the word. Lastly, evil days make it all the more imperative to make known the gospel of reconciliation to God’s people as well as the unsaved (II Corinthians 5:18-21).
As we close our discourse on time note that during the past twelve months or so, there has been another rash of “date setting” and prognostications concerning the timetable of our Lord’s return. Incredibly this also occurred a decade or so ago. In 1988, a man named Edgar Whisenant widely distributed a book professing to give the date of the rapture. He did this basing his timetable on the Jewish feasts of Lev. Chapter 23:l. His date, September 11-13, 1988, caused quite a stir, even gaining the attention of the news media. But September came and went yet, no second coming of Christ. Of course as might be expected others noting the attention and press that Mr. Whisenant has managed to capture, sought to “out predict” him by stating that he was off on his predicting (Oh really!). They immediately declared the real correct date to be in May 1989. We are now in the year 2000 and the new millennium and again - no second coming of Christ!
The basic flaw in these as well as other such speculations can be found in one basic fact and that is a failure to recognize sufficiently the distinctive character of Paul’s apostleship and message. The present dispensation (grace) was initiated trough the revelation of the Mystery or secret, which was reveled first through the Apostle Paul (Romans 16:25-26; Ephesians 3:2-9).
Notice that it was after Israel rejected the offer of the Messianic Kingdom through the twelve Kingdom Apostles that God, in grace, interrupted and placed on hold the prophetic program, concluding “All in unbelief that he might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:32). We should bear in mind that while the ministry of Peter as well as others of the twelve was basically concerned with prophecy and the coming of Christ to earth to judge. Paul’s gospel is basically concerned with the Mystery and Christ’s continued absence in grace.
Even the rapture is confined to Jesus, our Lord coming into “the air” to take us away from the earth to be with him in glory. It is this event for which we wait! We, the Church do not look for signs or for some great change to take place on the earth. No, we only look for Him, that he may come for us at any moment, perhaps very soon or perhaps not. The body of Christ is not associated with “the times and seasons” or “the signs of the times” or “the day of the Lord”. These are all Messianic Kingdom related and have absolutely nothing to do with the Lord’s return to take away the body of Christ, but they rather look to his return to the earth later, to reign in majesty and glory (Acts 1:6-7; I Thess. 5:1-2).
It should be further noted, that in Paul’s epistles which give us God’s only program for this age, we are never, not even once told to look for “the signs of the times”. In fact there are no signs of the times today because these are not the times of signs. In other words, under the administration of grace, the policy is faith not sight (II Corth. 5:7). When Paul speaks about ‘the last days” of the dispensation of grace (II Timothy 3:1-5), he gives no more than general trends and movements, things that could be said about any period of time during this dispensation. In fact, in none of Paul’s writings once does he give specific signs to tell just when Christ will return. Now the reason is clear: the Lord’s plan entails keeping his people (the Church) throughout the age of His rejection by His people (Israel), always watching, always waiting, always ready regardless of trends or events.
Finally there are some that place a great deal of stock in the 24th chapter of the gospel of Matthew. In this passage, one must be careful to realize whom Jesus was addressing and what Jesus was addressing. Thus when Matthew chapter 24 is allowed to stand where it should in the program of God, one can see that it does not give us today who are in the dispensation of grace, any real light on the timing of the second coming. As significant or insignificant as the establishment of the modern state of Israel may prove to be prophetically, there is simply no real way of knowing for sure until the second coming of Jesus Christ takes place.
So, if time was created chiefly for the manifestation of God’s plan, will and purpose, then we God’s elect for the dispensation age of grace, the Church should be more concerned about God’s plan, purpose and will, than we are about Time!