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Time Periods In The Bible

Link to time_periods.mp3

Hello and God bless you.

Please turn with me to the gospel of Luke Chapter 16 verse 16.   I want you to see a statement that Jesus made that is truly foundational to our understanding of the bible.   Jesus recognized and understood that time periods were important.   In Luke sixteen Jesus had just said:  “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other.  Ye can not serve God and mammon.”[money-greed]   The Pharisees that were listening heard him say this.  They, being covetous, began to deride him.  His answer to them was: 

Luk 16:15  Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Luk 16:16  The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Notice the change in time periods that Jesus is talking about.   “The law and the prophets were;” notice this is past tense.   The word until denotes a passage of time up to a point where it stops.  For example, I was 25 until my 26th birthday.   When my 26th birthday arrived I was no longer 25.   The law was until John the Baptist. Since that time, Jesus said to them, the kingdom of God is preached.  

The king was here. The kingdom was being proclaimed.    The disciples and most who heard the preaching of the kingdom thought that an earthly physical kingdom would be set up.  They were hoping for a military warrior king to  expel the Roman army out of Israel.     They missed the point.   The avenging kingdom will happen in the future during the appearing time period after the return of Christ.  

In the next verse he tells us that the law did not fail.   He was there on earth as a man to fulfill and complete the law.  Galatians tells us that Jesus was the end of the law.   The law was in effect UNTIL it ended.  Since then it has not been in effect.  The law did not fail, it was completed. It is done-for. 

As Jesus hung preparing to die he declared: “it is complete!”  He had fulfilled all of the requirements of the law.  The laws of Moses are no longer in effect.  So the relationship with God is no longer through the nation of Israel but through the one and only king of kings, lord of lords Christ Jesus.  A new era had arrived, a new time period.  Look with me at the major time periods of the bible:  

The Bible presents seven distinct divisions of time.  We must be careful to know which time period the scripture is addressed to:  The bible starts: In the beginning God …”   God is not subject to time.  He is future/present/past without any distinction.     Time periods are from man’s perspective.  With God a day is the same as a thousand years.   But the bible is written so that the human mind can understand an infinite God’s interaction with finite mankind.  So from our standpoint there are time periods. 

Time periods within the bible are key to understanding God’s plan for us specifically without trying to carry out his plan for someone like Balaam who had a conversation with an ass.  He fit in his time period, we fit in ours.  If we try to drag other time periods into ours we end up talking to an ……..  OK, lets begin in Genesis Chapter two verse 7.

The Paradise Time Period started when God created Adam.
Gen 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Gen 2:8  And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Relationship:  Adam and Eve communicated directly with God; there was no need for a mediator or go between.  They talked face to face.  But then they were tempted and followed the advice of the devil in the form of a serpent.     When they sinned, they spiritual died just as God had warned.

The Paradise Time Period ended when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. (Gen 3:23,24)

Gen 3:21  Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Gen 3:22  And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Gen 3:23  Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
Gen 3:24  So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

The Patriarchal Time Period started with Adam as the first patriarch. 

Starting with Adam and ending with Moses, God’s relationship was with the head of the family or the Patriarch.   A prime example is Abraham and the covenant that God established with him whereby the family of Abraham was blessed due to the relationship between God and Abraham.   Abraham’s family prospered and grew until God made it a nation.  

The Patriarchal Time Period ended with Moses and the law. (Ex 19:5-25)
Exo 19:3  And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
Exo 19:4  Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.
Exo 19:5  Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
Exo 19:6  And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
Exo 19:7  And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.
Exo 19:8  And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.

And so on and on …..  The law was given by way of Moses and the people of Isreal became a people kept under the law.

The Law Time Period started with the giving of the law (ten commandments) to Moses. (Ex 20:1-17)

Exo 20:1  And God spake all these words, saying,
Exo 20:2  I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Exo 20:3  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Exo 20:4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Exo 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
Exo 20:6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Exo 20:7  Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Exo 20:8  Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exo 20:9  Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
Exo 20:10  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
Exo 20:11  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Exo 20:12  Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Exo 20:13  Thou shalt not kill.
Exo 20:14  Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Exo 20:15  Thou shalt not steal.
Exo 20:16  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Exo 20:17  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
Exo 20:18  And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
Exo 20:19  And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

God’s relationship under the law period was with the nation as a whole by way of the law.   The priesthood and tabernachle and later the temple were the focus.  The people of Isreal’s relationship with God was regulated by the laws. A system of sacrifices, tithes and taboos that culminated with the yearly entering in to the holy of holies by the high priest  provided a temporary covering of blood for their sins.  

The Law Time Period ended with the proclamation of the kingdom by John the Baptist. (Luke 16:16)

Luk 16:15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Luk 16:16  The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

The Christ Time Period started with the preaching of John the Baptist. 

Act 1:7  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
Act 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Act 1:9  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Act 1:10  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Act 1:11  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Act 1:12  Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
Act 1:13  And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
Act 1:14  These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
Act 1:15  And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
Act 1:16  Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
Act 1:17  For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
Act 1:18  Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
Act 1:19  And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
Act 1:20  For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.
Act 1:21  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
Act 1:22  Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
Act 1:23  And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
Act 1:24  And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
Act 1:25  That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
Act 1:26  And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Act 2:1  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Act 2:2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Act 2:3  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Act 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Christ time period ended the day of Pentecost with the giving of holy spirit. (Acts 1:7-2:4)

The Grace Time Period: Started with the giving of holy spirit on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:4)

This is the time period that we live in. For direct straight forward biblical directions for living in this time period read the letters of Paul.    Our time period was not prophesied in the old testament.  The bible calls it a mystery or a secret that God kept until He reveled it to Paul.  We are the people of the mystery:  Christ in you the hope of glory people.  

The Grace Time Period will end when Christ returns. (I Thes 4:16)

1Th 4:13  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

The Return of Christ will usher in the Appearing Time Period. (I Thes 4:16) and includes the events prophesied in the book of Revelation.

The Appearing Time Period will end at the time foretold in Revelation 20:15.

Rev 20:11  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Rev 20:12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Rev 20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Rev 20:15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Paradise will return at the time prophesied in Revelation 21:1. Will not end.

Rev 21:1  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Rev 21:2  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3  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.
Rev 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Rev 21:5  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

The original plan for mankind was paradise in a face to face relationship with God.     In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve walked and talked with God.  There was no sin, deceit, danger, or sickness and death.   Adam’s sin plunged all of mankind into spiritual death and put us at odds with God and under the thumb of the devil.    Through out the time periods in the bible we can plainly see the persistent working of God to redeem mankind from the bondage that Adam led us into.   

We live in an exciting time period.  We live in the time of Grace.   For those of us that have responded to God’s call, God has redeemed us from the curse of the law and we are free.   He has birthed us of his seed, made us sons and daughters of God.  We are a part of the holy family, brothers, sisters and joint heirs with Christ. 

The Bible presents seven distinct divisions of time.  We must be careful to know which time period the scripture is addressed to.  Time periods within the bible are key to understanding God’s plan for us.   We are living in the grace time period, looking for the appearing of our lord and savior Christ Jesus to return.  Remember Balaam and his unhappy conversation with an ass.   He lived in his time period, we live in ours.    The word of God has specific instructions for us in this time period.      The stories of Balaam, Abraham, Moses, Potiphar’s wife and the field of bones that got up are for our learning and encouragement but not for instruction in living.  

Happy reading!  May your study be inspired and blessed.

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