Escaping Biblical Idolatry, Part 6: Knowing The Ages

So, at this point in our study, the beginning of the end of that age is fully engaged as was prophesied and promised.  The Apostles were instructed by Yeshua what to look for as signs of the end of everything, which He tied to the end of that former and His return, and the chosen Apostles were then ready to go out into all of the Nation calling them to repentance and to receive their Messiah.

It might be helpful to use an illustration to explain exactly what period we are talking about and how we need to see them which is very different from what the traditions teach.  The standard view of most Christians today looks like this:

While convenient and easy to accept, its misleading.  So misleading that it has allowed believers for centuries to utterly misunderstand what God has done and the Bible and its purposes! Right off the bat we can see, having used the scripture itself, that the first circle is correct but that the second circle is incorrect by comparison.   Why?

God said that His New Testament would be a period of time when He would WRITE on the hearts and minds of people – so it is NOT like a set of books – it’s an age.  And that AGE was preceded by a former age.  And age under the Law, and age of material religion operated exclusively by the Jews.   So, let’s take a minute to explain how to see the overarching ages that the Bible addresses and speaks to.  We will begin with the First Age, represented by a large circle.

For simplicities sake we will just define this age as created under the first heaven and the first  earth.  We might also say that this age had the first Jerusalem – all materially based, right?  We can draw lines and such here to demarcate all that YAHAVAH did in this age from

  • The Creation
  • The Fall
  • The Flood
  • Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
  • The Twelve Tribes
  • The Passover
  • The Exodus
  • The giving of the Covenant
  • The giving of the Law
  • The Tabernacle
  • Priests
  • Dietary Laws
  • Sabbath day enforcements

And we will summarize all of these expressions of material religion in this first Age as M = Material Religion.  Got that? It’s Old Testament. God’s first betrothed bride. And this was the first marriage covenant he had with that former bride to whom He gave a bill of divorcement.

Then we have what Jeremiah has YAHAVAH describe as His New Covenant where He would write on hearts and minds.  This covenant would BEGIN in the boundaries of the First Age.  How?  With the birth of the Messiah!   He showed up as promised, with John the Baptist leading the way, and He would come, as John clearly states, “baptizing with the Holy Spirit and with Fire.”  Why is this important?  Because The Baptist came baptizing with material water offered to the Jews to prepare themselves for the Baptism Yeshua would bring – which was of the SPIRIT. And so, first John, then Yeshua, then Yeshua and His specially called and trained disciples, went about preaching that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand.

A careful study of the Apostolic record shows that the Kingdom of Heaven or God had NOT arrived at Yeshua’s birth, but that it was coming soon – albeit later.  In the meanwhile, Yeshua and His apostles taught and warned the people to prepare their hearts, to turn from their former ways, and believe on Him who was promised – all before the promised “great and dreadful day.”

But here is the most important part of this illustration – the time of Yeshua’s life and death and resurrection and ascension, and the calling, training and sending forth His chosen twelve, was CAPTURED and DESCRIBED in a collection of writings.  What were these writings?  Who made them?  Who were they actually written to and why?

So, let’s talk about this space of OVERLAP because it is in this overlapping limited space that all of the events captured in what people wrongly call, the New Testament, occurred.

So, here is the deal.  The second Age of the Spirit began, as stated, with the Birth of Christ. As His life and ministry unfolded He fulfilled all that was requisite for the former age of material religion to end. Along the way, He came to gather a true Bride unto Himself first from the body of Jews that were taken captive by the Law and then it included Gentiles.

The Gospels were written to give an account of His ministry from four different views.  While choked full of sound information and solid teachings THESE teachings were NOT to anyone other than the Jews of that day and the content and commands can only generally be assigned to believers thereafter.  In other words, a gentile could never understand nor follow all Yeshua said, taught and did WITHOUT an understanding of the Law.

Period.

So, to teach application of those teachings to non-jews today is a grave mistake.

Got that?  Then we get a record from Luke on the early Acts of the Lord’s apostles. It’s a history and is describes how the church/Bride grew and was managed in that day.  Good principles and insights?  Absolutely.  And we rejoice in all that God had done in that specific day and time to usher in the Kingdom.  But what they did and how they did it MUST be remembered was applicable to their cause and those circumstances – which was to reach out first to all of Israel, share the arrival death and resurrection of Yeshua, and to gather a body of holy pure unspotted believers together that Yeshua Promised to come back and rescue her BEFORE the great and dreadful day arrived.

After was what appears to have been about ten years of the Lord’s Original Apostles reaching out into the House of Israel, God called and trained Paul, who was persecuting the early Christians.

In addition to reaching into synagogues of the Jews wherever he went, Paul was called to go out and reach the Gentiles or non-jews of that day.  What was his message?  Believe and be saved.  Paul also wrote letters and in most of them they were addressed (listen) to the Believers or members of the Bride in specific regions of the faith.   In other words, His epistle to the church at Rome is called Romans and his letter to the church at Ephesus is called Ephesians.

These letters were SPECIFICALLY to those saints, in THOSE areas, IN THAT day, for the Specific purpose to preparing them to be accepted as part of the holy, pure, spotless bride.

Then other writers (the author of Hebrews) James, Jude, Peter and John, also lead of the Spirit, wrote SPECIFICALLY to their audiences THEN as a means to give them insights, correction, instruction as led of the Spirit.

Were any of the apostolic writings written to people today?  Not one.  At least not specifically.  Are they of value to believers?  Immeasurable value to every individual believer seeking to understand the living God, His Son and all that they have done to bring about the end of this beginning.

Where people addicted to the Biblical text make an enormous error is they ignore what God said His new Testament would be and assign the content of these apostolic writings to having been written to the present-day audience with exacting application.  And this has served to make people prisoners of the text rather than liberated souls that walk in the Spirit.  So much so that many Christians have actually taken this gift and like the Jews anciently with the Law, have made it an idol.  Noted Christian thinker, C.S. Lewis once wrote,

“It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers will bring us to Him. When it becomes really necessary (i.e. for our spiritual life, not for controversy or curiosity) to know whether a particular passage is rightly translated or is Myth (but of course Myth specially chosen by God from among countless Myths to carry a spiritual truth) or history, we shall no doubt be guided to the right answer. But we must not use the Bible (our fathers too often did) as a sort of Encyclopedia out of which texts (isolated from their context and not read without attention to the whole nature & purport of the books in which they occur) can be taken for use as weapons.”

It is significant for us today to remember a few key points about what Evangelicals call, the New Testament.  First, most of the books, letters, epistles, histories and revelations were written to that audience then.  Period.

Second, these writings were of very limited distribution to the believers in that day.  In other words, the epistle to the Romans was not readily reprinted and redistributed to the believers at Antioch as methods of copying were limited and nobody was really sure which writings could be trusted and not.  Since we are to take all of the writings as one in order to get the right overall picture of all that God had done and was doing, we can see how the earliest church/Bride was strengthen by local letters specific to them and had to look to the Spirit to govern them. Notice how the scripture to the early church was then essentially the Old Testament with only some letters available to them for the first couple of hundred years.  Then there were literacy rates, pseudepigraphal writings, counterfeits, and geographical issues that made a united ubiquitous access to the written scripture almost impossible until the advent of the printing press.

What governed the Bride?  What fell at Pentecost?  Books?  Epistles?

The Spirit.

And it was the Spirit that governor true believers from that day forward.

So, why the apostles?

They spoke/preached/taught and governed the new believers in certain areas all as a means to carve out, guide and protect these lambs who were facing enemies on every side.  One by one the apostles were put to death and the heat on the Bride grew incomprehensibly intense.  So intense that everything was about to implode upon them as the great and dreadful day grew nearer and nearer, so intense that Yeshua said in Matthew 24:22,

And unless those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

But a few things had to happen before the former age would officially end.  The writer of Hebrew (9:8) told his readers then that

“The Holy Ghost has signified that the way into the holiest of all (which is above) could not yet appear while as the first tabernacle was yet standing,” suggesting that “the every-stone prophesy” of Yeshua must happen before the former economy could end. As the heat grew more and more intense, Paul wrote, of the impeding threat of divisions among the Bride and of heretical teachings inserting themselves. When we get to the Book of Revelation, Yeshua directly warns some of this very same Bride in some of the seven churches of Asia minor that they had better shape up or He would not stand with them.

As the signs of the end that Yeshua gave to the Four on Olivet became more and more evident, John the Beloved wrote:

‘Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.  1st John 2:18

And Peter wrote, remember, almost 2000 years ago,

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.  1st Peter 4:7

Ask yourself, how did the apostle Peter write to those believers then that the “end of all things is at hand,” and “all things” haven’t ended?  Was the Apostle Peter wrong?  Heavens no.

The end that Peter was talking about was the end of that former age of material religion was at hand, when everything about it would be utterly leveled at the return of Yeshua for His holy and pure bride, when Jerusalem would be destroyed and the fullness of the second age God described in Jeremiah would fully and completely continue – right on out to the present day.

In our next segment we are going to now address, in a general summary, another book that is included in the Apostolic Record  -the Book of Revelation.

Shawn McCraney
Shawn McCraney
Articles: 108

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