PREDESTINATIONíS INFLUENCE IN TIME
By Pastor George D. Cutler
Grace Gospel Ministry
As we dwell in the successive days of each calendar year, we realize that we are living in specific intervals of time. Calendar-wise this entails the progressions of Years, which evolve into decades, and ultimately into centuries and millenniums. Accordingly our earthy view is always focused on this very important phenomena called time. The Greek word"keh∑ ros" translated "time" defines a space or an increment or allotment set aside to accomplish a certain goal or purpose. The word "keh∑ ros" or time literally depicts finite or earthly durationís as distinguished from eternity. Time identifies progressive points or periods of history (passed), current (present) and prophecy (future) events. Time denotes a period or duration reserved or available in which certain actions or events occur. Time also engenders the view of appointments that are assigned for the performance of prescribed courses or operations and the seasons designated to accommodate certain conditions.
We understand from Godís 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 and is always a target of some intended purpose. Time is slotted in a space or an increment or 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 definitive. These intervals are always regulated in the process of the establishment of control. Thus the control of time is synonymous to the power to control events, occurrences or occasions. The ages of time are expressed in terms of periods of Godís work or Godís purpose in the manifestation of His decrees, i.e., the creation and fall of man as recorded in the book of Genesis.
Each age has its own defined purpose, i.e., the antediluvian age as 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 of the age of human government was established. Godís purpose in sanctifying and setting apart one man, namely Abraham and ultimately one nation (Israel) is expressed in the age defined as "Promise". Godís purpose in giving the Law to ĎHis 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! Godís purpose in this era is best documented in chapter one of Ephesians wherein He identifies those whom He has chosen and elected (foreordained or predestinated) in Him before the foundation (creation) of the world. This is indeed the age wherein Godís greatest accomplishments, i.e., the sacrificial death of Jesus in eternity and as manifested on the cross in time; are known through the revelation of the Mystery to 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 (1Thessalonians 4:16-18). Now this is commonly referred to as the rapture. Of course there are some that dispute the timing of this event as some teach mid-tribulation while others claim post-tribulation for this occurrence. Others even teach pre-mid-post millennium versions of His dissension 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 and 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 Davidís 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 the ancient evil one will suffer one final and permanent defeat. Then all the non-elect of God from all the ages of time will stand before "the Great White Throne" (Rev. 20:11) without the shield of faith, which is the blood of Jesus Christ. Oh, what a terrible day for those of mankind who are not covered by the redemptive work of Christ as manifested upon Calvary, as they stand as those who from the beginning, have been 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 "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. At this time all things will be delivered unto Him in "perfection". Thus we will have reached the close of the Ďage of ages", or "dispensation of the fullness of time" (Ephesians 1:10), when Christ shall have put down all rule and authority and power "for He must reign until 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"). In essence God was, is and shall forever be one or "All in All". This will end what is manifested by time (Rev. 10:6) and all that have been accomplished will be transitioned into eternity, where there is no end.
Now the functions and events depicted encompass the entire spectrum of Godís principle decrees that were all determined and in fact activated and culminated in eternity. Thus all functions of the created universe are ultimately designed in view of effectuating the salvation and eternal glorification of His elect. In this sense, time exists as a function of creation thus it, in itself, is a cause of God. The Doctrine of Foreordination (predestination) documents the divine viewpoint (which differs markedly from the human viewpoint) of every event in the course of human affairs in all ages and in all situations. Hence, no matter how great or even how insignificant an occurrence may appear to human thinking; its exact place in the development of the eternal plan of God has been designed to accommodate His will. Foreordination (predestination) denotes that all things have relations with preceding causes and exert an ever-widening influence through their effects so that they are related to the whole system of things and have their individual parts in maintaining the perfect equilibrium of the universeís order.
In the progression of time, many instances can be identified to demonstrate that the events of the greatest importance have often depended upon what may have appeared at that juncture to be trivial or fortuitous incidents (1Corinthians 1:27-28). The inter-relation and connection of events are such that if one of these were altered or even omitted, all that follows would soon be modified or prevented from occurring. Note that this premise is negated by the certainty that the divine administration and implementation of every thing rests on the foreordination (predestination) of God extending to all occurrences, both great and small. Thus no occurrence is actually small; for each has its exact place in the divine plan and thus some are only relatively greater than others. The course of history then, though viewed as infinitely complex, is yet just a unit of Godís design. This truth when correctly applied its reason, is summed up in the fact that the decrees of God are expressly so exhibited to accomplish His eternal purpose, according to the counsel of His will for His glory. It is to this end that He has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.