How dark will God allow the times to get before God’s precious Son returns for us?

Those readers who are familiar with some of my earlier books will no doubt be aware that I have often mentioned that God is outworking all that is taking place in time since creation in accordance with a plan. In other words, nothing God does is ever haphazard, but always and only in accordance with His blueprint for all human beings, including angelic beings, all the rest of His creation, and every event, circumstance, and situation. What this means then is that the seven years of God’s judgment that is coming on the unbelievers of this world is an event on His calendar, which event is not separate from all the other events that have taken place before it. And let us ever keep in mind at the outset that since we are God’s very own children, He has certainly not abandoned us in these last days, but is just as faithful as ever!

What this further means is that God is presently allowing evil to advance – which to us as believers means the times are getting darker and darker morally – simply because conditions when this present age ends must be the same morally, as they were when this present age started around 30 AD, which is almost 2000 years ago. And in order to understand the last statement which was just made, we need to digress for a moment and introduce two specific truths relating to what has taken place in time from creation until the present day. These two truths are that God has divided all of time into four ages and also that there are two comings from Heaven to earth of God’s precious Son, Jesus Christ, as ordained of God.

1) The four ages of time and the two comings of God’s precious Son from Heaven to earth

But before noting what these four ages are, we need to also be aware that in each of the four ages of time, God uses the believers of that age as His vessels. In other words, God is accomplishing His work on earth through the believers of each age of time. And so in the first age of time, God worked through Adam and his believing descendants as His vessels to accomplish His will on earth, which age covers the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Then when God begins the second age of time at Genesis 12, we see Him take one believer, Abraham, and out of that one man’s descendants through the line of Isaac, and then through the line of Jacob, He makes a nation, which is Israel. Therefore, in the second age of time, which goes from Genesis 12 to the end of Malachi in the Old Testament, and includes the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, plus Acts 1 and Revelation 6 to 19 in the New Testament, God works out His will in time through the believers of the nation of Israel.

And since God’s use of the nation of Israel can be difficult to understand due to its many complexities, we must note something else here before going on to consider the third age of time, and this is the fact of representation. What this means is that in the first age of time, we have Adam and Eve as our first parents, who were but representative of all people on earth. In other words, God knew that what this one couple did, any other couple would have done the same thing, since God knows that once sin entered His perfect and sinless creation, we all would have the same sinful nature as human beings. Then the same is true also in regards to the nation of Israel in the second age of time, in that God knew that what this one nation did, all nations of earth would likewise have done had they been chosen by God as a representative nation instead of Israel.

And let us recall that in the first age, God works through the believers of that age, beginning with Adam, while in the second age of time, God works through the believers of the nation of Israel, beginning with Abraham. So as we come to the third age of time, which goes from Acts 2 to the end of Revelation 5 in God’s word, the Bible, we have God working through the believers of earth, which God calls “the church.” If any reader is not familiar with the concept of the church, as God looks at it, please see my book, “The Church Is Very Much Alive, Well, And Growing!” What this means then is that in this third age of time, which we are presently still in, God is accomplishing His will through all the believers of earth, with God now not looking at any specific nation in particular. In other words, during the present church age, the nation of Israel, although being supernaturally preserved by God, is still just the same in God’s sight as any other nation on earth, having a believing remnant among a majority of unbelievers.

Also of great importance here is knowing that the second age of time is not completed until AFTER the completion of the present third age of time. In other words, there are seven years remaining in the second age of time dealing with the nation of Israel, which is why this nation is being supernaturally preserved by God during this present church age, simply because God is not yet finished outworking His plan of the ages through that nation. This seven years remaining is the time of God’s judgment on earth against all unbelievers and is approximately covered by Revelation 6 to 19 in God’s word, although also mentioned often in prophecy in the Old Testament, at Daniel 9:24-27 in particular.

Then in the fourth age of time, which is basically covered by Revelation 20 to 22 in the New Testament, although mentioned often in prophecy in various portions of the Old Testament, we have God working through the believers of that age, but now with much greater variation. In other words, during the fourth age of time, God works through the believers of every nation of earth still in their natural bodies and also through the believers of the first three ages of time, who would have experienced the first resurrection from the dead relating to believers (Revelation 20:5,6) and who are now in their resurrected bodies. This is covered in much greater detail in my book, “An Introduction To The New World That Is Coming Upon The Earth,” which focuses on this fourth age of time. If there are any readers who are not sure of what is meant by the first and second resurrection and the fact of people serving God in their new resurrected bodies in the future, please also see my book, “Have You Ever Wondered What Happens After Death?”

Then as to the second truth which is very important for us to know here is that God’s word, the Bible, mentions two comings of God’s precious Son, Jesus Christ, from Heaven to earth. His first coming from Heaven to earth was for the purpose of taking on a body like ours – only in the innocence of Adam and as born of a virgin, so as not to incur our sinful nature – and then after living thirty-three and half years on earth carrying out only the will of God His Father in absolute sinlessness out of love for Him, was given over into the hands of unbelievers to be put to death on a cross, before being buried, and then resurrected from the dead the third day. And of course, His death was not due to anything God’s precious Son, Jesus Christ, had ever done wrong, but rather was to pay the penalty due our sins, which was death, in order that God might have a basis by which to forgive the sins of those who believe in Him.

Then the second coming of God’s precious Son is to be seen as being in two stages. The first stage of His second coming is at the end of this present third age of time, and is for the purpose of removing from the earth and bringing to Heaven all believers of this world before God’s judgment falls on the unbelievers left on earth, thereby bringing the third age of time, also known as ‘the church age,’ to a close. God has this first stage in view especially at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, although also mentioned in many portions of the New Testament. Then the second stage of the second coming of God’s precious Son, Jesus Christ, occurs at the end of the seven years of God’s judgment and will end the second age of time. God’s precious Son would now be coming for a battle against God’s foes, as led by the devil, as we see for instance at Revelation 19:11-21, before establishing His reign on earth as King during the fourth age of time. This is again disclosed by God in many portions of God’s word in the New Testament, Matthew 24:29,30 being but one.

Now that we have digressed to look at the truth of there being four ages to time, and also that there are two separate comings from Heaven to earth in time of God’s precious Son, Jesus Christ, we now have the background information necessary to consider the subject of this present chapter, which is as the title states it, “How dark will God allow the times to get before God’s precious Son returns for us?” And in the first paragraph, we have made the statement, in answer to that question, that “God is presently allowing evil to advance – which to us as believers means the times are getting darker and darker morally – simply because conditions when this present age ends must be the same morally, as they were when this present age started around 30 AD, which is almost 2000 years ago.” What we need to do now is show why this needs to be so, doing this by way of the following heading.

2) A pre-Christian world then versus a post-Christian world now

At the outset, let me state that what we are about to look at is very critical for all of us to grasp and understand, so under God’s guiding Hand I pray to write with as much clarity as possible. And at times we need to put on a pair of time capsule glasses on so as to place ourselves back in time around 26 to 30 AD, which is when God’s precious Son, Jesus Christ, had his public ministry here on earth, lasting approximately three and half years, which God has caused to be recorded for us in the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts 1 in the New Testament. And please keep in mind here that His precious Son’s ministry was still in the second age of time, when God was accomplishing His work on earth through the believers of the nation of Israel. The present third age of time was about to start with the coming of The Holy Spirit to indwell the believers present on earth, as we see at Acts 2:1-4, which event marks the beginning of the church. And as already mentioned, God works through the believers of the present age, known as the church, which He has been doing now for almost two thousand years, which is about to end, with God reverting back to the second age of time to complete the last seven years remaining of it. And it is during these last seven years remaining of the second age of time that God’s judgment comes upon the unbelievers of this world, which we have mentioned often since the start of this book.

And what is also critical to grasp and understand here is that prophetically considered, the third age we are now in was never seen in the Old Testament. In other words, God did not reveal in the Old Testament that there would be about 2000 years of the present third age of time known as ‘the church age.’ So those reading God’s word in the Old Testament would see the coming of God’s precious Son under two prominent themes, in the one seeing Him as coming as a Servant to serve God and give His life, such as at Isaiah 42:1-3 in part, Isaiah 52:13,14, Isaiah 53, and Isaiah 61:1,2 in part; and in the other seeing Him as coming as King to rule over this earth, such at 1 Chronicles 17:11-14 and Daniel 7:13,14. What this means then is that if one goes throughout the Old Testament, one will not find one single word from God relating to this third age of time! In other words, it was a mystery that was not revealed by God until the present third age actually started. What this means is that God shares some truth with mankind during this third age of time, also known as the “church age,” that He had never shared with mankind before, which is what is contained in the New Testament portion of the Bible, namely from Acts 2 to the end of Revelation 5.

We will now briefly digress to show that what has just been said above is so, looking at portions of the New Testament first to see where God says this, and then also looking at portions of the Old Testament to see that this third age was not seen at all. And so, to begin the New Testament evidence here briefly, we note that God actually says this through the apostle Paul in a few passages of His word beginning at Romans 16:25,26, “[25] Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, [26] but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith…,” also at Ephesians 3:4,5,8-10, “[4] By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, [5] which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit… [8] To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, [9] and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; [10] so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places,” and again also at Colossians 1:25-27, “[25] Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, [26] that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, [27] to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Please note the words in the passages just quoted, for instance at Romans 16:25,26, “the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested,” similarly at Ephesians 3:4,5, “the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed,” again at Ephesians 3:9,10, “to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church…,” and again at Colossians 1:26, “the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints…” Therefore, it should be clear to all of us that the teaching which God gave in His word, and is found in God’s word, starting at Acts 2 and going to the end of Revelation 5, was principally given by God for the benefit of His church, which is all the believers of this present third age of time.

The above truth is also seen from the perspective of the Old Testament, namely that the third age of time was not seen at all in the prophecies given there by God relating to the future. A couple of examples will suffice here, starting with what God tells us at Isaiah 9:6,7, “[6] For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. [7] There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.” Let us note that at verse 6 here, we have the present third age of time taking place immediately after the words, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us,” which is a reference to God’s precious Son at His first coming from Heaven to earth as a Servant, which is in the second age of time. Then the rest of verse 6 and verse 7 will not take place until after the present third age of time, when God’s precious Son comes again from Heaven to the earth at the end of the seven years remaining of the second age of time, this time to reign as King over all the earth, through the nation of Israel.

Another example from the Old Testament that we can note here is at Isaiah 61:1,2, which we have made reference to above, where God tells us, “[1] The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; [2] To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn…” And so again here, we note that all of verse 1 and the first part of verse 2 is a reference to the first coming of God’s precious Son from Heaven to earth, which we must remember is still in the second age of time. That this is so can be seen very clearly from Luke 4:16-21, when God’s precious Son, Jesus Christ, started His public ministry, “[16] And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. [17] And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, [18] “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, [19] To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” [20] And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. [21] And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Here we note that God’s precious Son quoted from Isaiah 61:1,2 only what applied to Him at His first coming from Heaven to earth in the second age of time. Why? Because the rest of Isaiah 61:2 and to the end of the chapter refers only to His second coming from Heaven to earth, at the end of the last seven years remaining of the second age of time and following into the fourth age of time. Please also note here that again, we see no mention at all of the third age of time, which occurs between the words in Isaiah 61:2, namely between “To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord,” and the words, “and the day of vengeance of our God…” In other words, between those two events, which is between first and second comings of God’s precious Son from Heaven to earth, we have the whole of the present third age taking place, but which was never seen by those reading those verses throughout the period of the first and second ages of time contained in the Old Testament. The mention of the words at Isaiah 61:2, “and the day of vengeance of our God…,” is a reference to the seven years of God’s judgment on the unbelievers of this world, coming immediately after the end of this present third age to complete the last seven years remaining of the second age of time.

And so what we have before God started this third age by establishing His church on earth, starting at Acts 2, is the pre-Christian world, which knew nothing of the truth that God makes known in the rest of the New Testament from Acts 2 to the end of Revelation 5, which is addressed specifically to the believers making up the church on earth and primarily proves that Jesus Christ is indeed God’s precious Son, now come from Heaven to earth in human flesh. And what is also critical to see here is that when this third age of time ends with the removal of the believers from the earth, as we see at 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17, then God reverts to the second age of time to complete the last seven years of it. What this means then is that when God resumes the second age of time with the last seven years remaining of it, not only will the conditions that existed in 30 AD, when the second age was cut short and the third age began, will be the same; but when this third age ends and the last seven years remaining of the second age resumes, this third age will not even be in anyone’s thoughts except God’s! In other words, it will be just as if this third age had never taken place! What this means practically speaking is that the truth that God shares regarding His precious Son, Jesus Christ, centered on His death for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection from the dead, will be unknown, same as it was in 30 AD when the second age of time was interrupted to begin this third age of time! This is very important to grasp and remember.

Therefore, coming now to answer our question of how dark will the times get in this present age before God ends it, and the answer is that it will be when we have reached the point where morally speaking we are at the same place as it was back in 30 AD, when the second age was interrupted. Some have referred to our present time as ‘a post-Christian world.’ And that is exactly where we are headed. Back in 30 AD, it was very much a pagan world. What we have now is increasingly simply a modernized paganism, In other words, we are very quickly moving toward a world that is not only no longer Christian at all, but actually the same as if Christianity had never taken place in the world at all.

What also needs to be realized here is that as the second age was cut off to start the third age 2000 years ago, the nation of Israel was in unbelief, as representative of all the nations of the world, and that was why they handed God’s precious Son in human flesh, Jesus Christ, over to the Romans to crucify Him. And when the last seven years of the second age resumes again after this one, the nation of Israel will still be in unbelief, as they presently are. What this means then is that when the second age resumes again, the nation of Israel in unbelief will be looking for the coming of God’s Son from Heaven to earth as their Messiah (which word is the Hebrew version of the word ‘Christ’), as they were doing all through the Old Testament, starting at Genesis 12. And that is why when God gives the nation of Israel the dimensions to rebuild their temple, and how to reinstate animal sacrifices, plus other instructions, as He does at Ezekiel chapters 40 to 48, this is God’s proof that Jesus Christ, as His precious Son from Heaven, and as contained in the word of God given to the church, as we see from Acts 2 to the end of Revelation 5, was simply not known, same as it was not known when the second age of time was interrupted in 30 AD!. And so, since the New Testament is rejected by the nation of Israel even today, also rejecting His precious Son, then as we approach the resumption of the second age of time after the present third age ends, all that knowledge of Him will not be believed by them until God’s precious Son returns at the end of the last seven years of the second age of time at the second stage of His second coming.

I pray that I have been as clear as possible and that we all grasp what we are heading toward, all as allowed of God, Who is outworking His plan of the ages in the process. In other words, God is moving toward the two stages of the second coming of His precious Son, Jesus Christ, followed by the fourth age, which means that we cannot escape the last days of the present third age, which God describes as follows at 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “[1] But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. [2] For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, [3] unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, [4] treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, [5] holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.”

Since these are the conditions here on earth now as we approach the end of the third age of time and the resumption of the second age of time to complete it, then we can be sure that this is exactly where the people of the world were morally in 30 AD! And as God says at the end of verse 5 above, “avoid such men as these,” so that we are to grasp that we are far past reforming this present world of unbelievers. All we can do until God comes for us in the time of glorification is to live for Him where He has us, as we have noted already for instance at Ephesians 5:15-18 and Philippians 2:14-16.

(This post is Chapter Eight from the author’s book, “Fasten Your Seatbelts: Turbulence Ahead!”)