The Kingdom of God and the Epochs
The Evolution of Man God's Way
God's plan is to fill the earth with the glory and knowledge of God (Is. 11: 9).
This study analyzes the transitional phases God's plan passes through until God's glory and knowledge covers of the earth. God's plan here is discussed under the concept of the Kingdom of God.
The study is premised on three main ideas.
First, the kingdom of God has four main epochs or phases. This is the idea that the kingdom of God passes through qualitatively different phases as it runs its course towards completion and full realization.
Second, each new epoch introduces a qualitative leap in man's relationship with God and man's authority on earth. Each next epoch leads to a greater revelation of God, resulting in much more closeness of man to God.
Third, each epoch is a divine initiative. Each epoch is a significant phase in human development which only God's hand could have planned and executed.
Fourth, is the assumption that the epoch covers almost the same amount of time span. This assumes that God has planned each epoch to last for almost equal number of years. Here, I have relied on the traditional counting of the years. Following the biblical chronology many scholars have established based on the genealogies listed in the Bible, I use 2000 years time-span as the approximate length of time between each epoch.
A. Adam (c. 4000 BC)
The creation of man, Adam and Eve, initiates the first phase of the rule of God on earth.
God created Adam in His own image. That means, to a great measure, God put many of His attributes in man (i.e., His glory, majesty, and wisdom, etc.) (Gen. 1:26-28) That is why only Adam (and later all mankind) is uniquely called the son of God (Luke 3:38). Adam was created for a purpose. He is to serve as God’s viceroy on the earth. He is given dominion and is empowered to administer the rest of creation on earth. (Gen.1:28; Ps. 😎
But the disobedience of Adam has led to the fall. When God withdrew His presence from Adam, Adam (and through him all mankind) became dominated by sin-nature. After the fall, God did not take away man's place on earth. Still, man was king on earth. But something has changed radically following the fall. God has withdrawn much of His favor. The curse (i.e., forces of perdition and decay) took over on earth. The curse became the new normal. Adam’s (and subsequently, his progeny's) quality of stewardship of the earth became sub-optimal, even exploitative and destructive. Because of the fall and the curse, man's life on earth turned into a nightmare of pain and suffering, war and disease, famine and poverty. In many ways, man following his own way, became wayward, committing many sins, angering His creator.
God soon has diagnosed the root cause of Adam's fall. God knew that when man is left to make his free choice he can fall vulnerable to the deceit of Satan. Therefore, God set Himself to provide a fix to the sin problem. Satan has done a sinister job when he made Adam to disobey. Satan has released a sin-nature into human life and God set Himself to provide a means to mitigate the problem and finally totally eradicate it.
If man, when left on free-choice mode (because of the sin-nature infecting him) was likely to make wrong choices instead of pick the right ones, then God knew that He needed to provide some support for man's soul-mind so that it can make the right choices. God has to be creative to help man without denying mankind His greatest gift, free-will/ free-choice. God wanted to give mankind a system which protect him from the voice of the devil, make holier choices, and think pure. God wanted man's soul-mind again to be open (and accessible) to God's voice and to operate based on God's guidelines. It was right at the time at the fall of Adam that God set himself to plan and to restore mankind to God's ideal -- man's original innocence and continual fellowship with God.
God's restoration plan takes a decided turn with the call of Abram out of Ur of Chaldea. Abram (later called Abraham) is God's new start with humanity to fashion a "new kind" of man who could have a close fellowship with God.
B. Abraham (c. 2000 BC)
The calling of Abraham starts a new epoch in the God-mankind relationship, starting a new phase in the kingdom of God on earth. Through Abraham, God has initiated an intimate relationship with man a grand purpose attached to it.
The calling of Abraham is about the self-disclosure of God to man. It is about God entering into a covenant relationship with man.
Second, God used Abraham to start a new type of mankind – the Jew. The Jew represents or realizes the self-disclosure of God.
Third, the Jew serves as God's chosen line of communication between earth and heaven.
What God does through Abraham and his seed -- the Jew -- represents a new form of the manifestation of the kingdom of God. This new phase is marked by the communication and intimacy of God.
Essentially, God’s self-revelation -- the Word -- is brought through the Jew. As we know, God's Word, consisting of both the Old and New Testament, is a revelation of God through the Jews. Even Jesus is a Jew born of the seed of David. The Word became incarnate as a Jew.
God’s self-revelation through the Word brings the kingdom of God into a unique phase, a qualitatively higher phase. The Adamic dispensation of exercising dominion on earth through natural capabilities of the human mind is given to the generic man. That dominion is now upgraded through the new epoch God initiated through Abraham. The Abrahamic-dispensation is about exercising dominion on earth as guided and inspired by the revealed Word of God.
Starting with Abraham and later through Moses and the prophets, God has disclosed His ethical demands on mankind. God's law demands ethical living from mankind. Man’s sovereignty on earth (i.e., the Adamic covenant) is now to be framed and constrained by God’s law. Man has become accountable to the revealed ethical demands of God. Personal and family life, human relationship, and rule over nature, all are to be governed and arranged in light of the revealed Word of God.
In this Epoch, God has handed His manual to Man. This manual "downloaded" through the Jew proves a better guide than man's conscience and the logic of the mind. The Mind of God has been given and Man must read God's mind and abide by its instructions. The Word (i.e., the Bible) now serves man as the communication center between GHQ (i.e., heaven) and the battlefront (i.e., earth).
The introduction of the Word into the earth is a major development in the progress of the kingdom of God. The Word reveals God. The Word gives wisdom for living. It bestows fear of God (i.e., holiness). It has also the power to heal and to do miracles when used with faith.
C. Christ (c. 1 AD)
The coming of Jesus Christ is another qualitative leap in the plan of God. Man's relationship with God and man's authority on earth enters a higher phase because of the coming of Jesus to earth.
Jesus, through His death and resurrection, introduced a new kind of man-to-God relationship. For example, under the Abrahamic covenant, God gives mankind the Law as a guide for life. It is up to man to live up to God's ethical expectations; man must try hard to abide by God's rule book. But the covenant Jesus revealed introduces a new, and higher level, relationship between God and man. The new covenant introduces a new modus operandi (system) to enable mankind in both aspects God's covenant's objectives: how can man carry out God's plan on earth and what will be man's relationship with God.
In this new phase, God now comes down and indwells man. Man becomes God's Spirit filled. This unique relationship is open to mankind to all who believe in Jesus's sacrifice on the cross. The person who invites Jesus into His life is born a new being, becoming a new creation as God now lives in the person through His Spirit. This is the Emmanuel (i.e., God with us) concept in practice. The Christian believer carries God around with him all the time, in all places. God's Spirit and man's life become intertwined in a mysterious way. No longer man is just a physical/ natural being, but to a new creation, a man-divine blend.
Second, in terms of man's responsibility on earth, we also see a radical change. In this new phase started by Jesus, a mysterious blending takes place between man's will and God's will. As the believer increasingly surrenders his will to God's, through a life of obedience, God is able to execute His will on earth. The believer-man becomes God active agent (and indwelt by God Himself) to do God's will on earth as it is done in Heaven. Man becomes the pen which God uses to write His will on earth.
Third, unlike the Abrahamic-man, the Jesus-man is not striving to apply the Word by himself, but the Holy Spirit will be doing the work of God through him. This new man is more than an ethical man, he is also a conquering man as God uses the new creation believer-man (i.e., the God-with-us new man) as His instrument to subdue all things on earth.
Fourth (and related to the third point above), this epoch is characterized by spiritual warfare. The believer-man engages in a continuous prayer-life struggle, waging constant war against his flesh, the world, and Satan.
Fifth, in that is epoch, God's main focus will be to establishing the rule of God in the heart (private life) of each believer. This is preparation stage of the person – making him pure of heart and enabling him to hear from God and to love as God loves him. In that sense, this epoch God takes control of the heart of the believer-man, and if not the world. God's rule in this epoch does not extend to God taking over the secular world. This is the stage where we are still required to give to God what is God's and to give to Caesar what is Caesar's.
Sixth, in this epoch God pours His Holy Spirit in a limited form. What the church (i.e., the community of believers) experiences is the installment and not the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The fullness of the Holy Spirit will be given only at the time of the Second Coming of Jesus. Hence, during this epoch the believer-man is not a fully redeemed person. That means still he has to contend with his sin nature and also wage a constant spiritual war with Satan. The earth will also be still under the curse, continuing to suffer from the consequences of the Fall. The Christian's and the earth's full redemption has to wait the Second Coming of Christ.
D. The Second Coming (c. 2000 AD)
This is the last stage of the kingdom of God. In this phase God will take man to His final objective. In this stage man and God will become virtually one as mankind is clad with the divine nature of God.
This phase is the higher stage of the preceding stage. This is the stage where God pours out the fullness of His Holy Spirit into the believer-man. As the result there will be a radical change in man's nature as he is transformed physically from a flesh-and-blood being into an immortal being in the form of the glorious resurrected body of Christ.
In this stage several major changes take place:
First, because of the fullness of the Holy Spirit and the transformation in man's nature that follows, the powers of sin, sickness, death, and the grave are totally broken and conquered.Evil will be removed from the earth.
Second, the Church (the community of believer in Jesus) will be revealed as the ultimate viceroy of God on earth (see rev. chapters 2 and 3). The fully redeemed believer-man rules as God's agent on earth. The ultimate authority on earth will be the church. God takes over the domain of Caesar.
In this epoch, there will be a universal disarmament. The earth will enter a period of eternal peace.
In this stage the unruly Nature will be tamed; its storms, earthquakes, droughts will be put under control (Rom. 8:20).
The Messiah will reign supreme realizing the rule of God throughout creation.
* Not-controlled by God. Controlled by the natural mind of man
Sense of the holy
Guided by the Book, God's Law.
*Controlled by God from the outside through the Book (law)
Jesus Christ (1st. Coming)
New Man (Christian 1)
God indwelt man
Internal kingdom of God
*Controlled and guided by God from the inside.
* Earnest (partial) Holy Spirit gift.
Jesus Christ (2nd Coming)
New Man (Christian 2)
The Computer Metaphor
What has been said above about God’s actions can be illustrated by borrowing concepts from the computer world.
Of all creatures, man is the most rational. What makes man a rational being is his brain. Compared to all other body parts, fulfills the concept that man is created in the image of God. The human brain is unique for its intelligence, wisdom, and creativity. Compared The brain of man is primarily the icon (image) of God.
The brain is the hardware that is created to learn, process, and apply the will of God. It is man's brain that translate God’s will into reality to realize God’s Kingdom on earth.
The brain can be considered as the seat of the soul as it is the seat of man's will, rationality, and emotion. God’s invitation for fellowship is principally directed to man's soul. The soul of man is the seat of his will (to make the decision to accept or reject Christ as Savior), rationality (to discern what is good and evil), and emotion (to worship and praise God and to be content with what is available).
However, Adam’s computer framework (soul) was successfully hacked by the great hacker (i.e., Satan) through a proxy server mind (i.e., Eve). By first infecting Eve's mind, Satan achieved access to Adam to corrupt his system. Now Satan's malware took over the processing command of Adam's (and Eve's) souls. Once infecting the main framework with malware (i.e., sin), the sin-corruption virus consequently passed to successive generation of mankind. The malware Satan released into Adam's soul-mind thereafter has successfully reproduced itself many times through the generations. In short, once the worm has infected mainframe server at the root, all other computers connected to the main server has got infected.
By analogy, the sin malware Satan has released through the first man, Adam, has made all human soul-minds to run rogue forever. The sin malware has been over-ruling God's commands written on the heart (i.e., conscience) of mankind. The sin malware has been sinister in its effect. It has made mankind to habitually execute routines contrary to the Word of God. The sin malware has made mankind to execute evil deeds all the time. The sin malware has made mankind to operate in a rogue manner, turning the soul-mind into a machine that churns out evil thoughts, spews out foul words, and commits pervert acts.
External laws and religions have been a sort of a software patch sent by God to provide temporary fix to the human dilemma. Ethics, commandments, and ritual-laced religions God used to provide a stop gap so that humanity will not become totally depraved and destroy itself totally.
To delete the sin-rebellion malware from man's mind-soul, God chose to work in phases. God has been deploying series of upgrade (better) solutions in epochal rhythm.
Starting with Abraham, God started to introduce a new operating system (OS) that would run the soul-mind of man. Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, and other Jews until the coming of Moses were in covenant (contract) relationship with God to run their life based on the Voice-and-Vision OS provided by God. God established the ethical mindset and culture for the Jew to run his life. And through Moses, God provided the Jew, the OS in script (manual) form, set in stone.
Mosaic commandments were in a way God's instructions that the soul-mind run only using the Divine approved OS. Instead of running its soul-mind using its natural instincts, logic, and experience-based wisdom, now God wants His Word to re-program and run man’s soul-mind. God wants the way man wills, makes decisions, and pursues happiness or processes sorrow to be controlled and guided by His mind (Word). As long as man runs his soul-mind processes (will, intellect, and emotion) per God’s OS, man attains defense against Satan’s sin-malware.
However, the OS God provided in the Old Testament is a software patch which does not totally purge the sin-malware from the human soul-mind system. It only covers up and not remove the sin-malware. The Abarahmic (or, Mosaic) codes make the soul to run better in a way that honors God.
Jesus’ death and resurrection provided the divine power to purge sin that has infected us. “The Son of God has been manifested to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 Jn. 3:8)
On Pentecost day, God did a new thing. The Holy Spirit downloaded into the church, into man’s soul.
The Holy Spirit is to help the hardware (i.e., the mind) to run the OS (i.e., the Word) correctly and efficiently. The Holy Spirit downloads as the perfect application (i.e., the divine sanctioned app) for processing the Word of God, the OS.
Moreover, the Holy Spirit serves as the God provided and recommended anti-malware; His presence provides the guard against sin and the wiles of the devil. The Holy Spirit provides a strong protection (firewall) against the attacks (hacks) of the enemy of our soul.
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit that downloaded on Pentecost is an initial installment (i.e., earnest). Therefore, even if the Pentecost dispensation is an upgrade (better) patch to tackle the sin malware, still it is not God's total or complete antidote. Metaphorically, Pentecost did not download the full anti-virus program. According to the Bible, the Christian and the earth have to wait until the last days, until the Second Coming of Christ, to receive God's permanent full-set anti sin solution.
Second Coming of Christ:
The church after running using the Pentecost download of the Holy Spirit, it receives the full download in the end of days. What God does in the end is to completely change our nature into His nature so that we will never become vulnerable to Satan's hacking. Through the full download of the Holy Spirit, man will be perfectly protected from the sin-malware intrusion and take-over. God through the full-suite Holy Spirit download will completely seal the human mind-soul to Satanic viruses and worms that corrupt our souls-minds. God will effectively deny the devil access to man's soul-mind.
At the Second Coming, our physical body will change into a spiritual glorified body. Such transformation makes man's soul-mind out of the reach Satan, the cosmic hacker. Glorification re-creates mankind in the perfect image of Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Man-God. Through the full download of the Holy Spirit re-creates man in sinless and immortal form. The new dispensation also reverses the consequences of the sin-malware. For example, God will rise the dead. God will rule out war, ushering in universal peace. The earth will be renewed; it will flourish like pristine Garden of Eden.
To summarize, through series of “downloads”, God has advanced Kingdom power through man's soul-mind until His cleansing (liberation process) is total. At the end, God's will is done on earth as it is done in heaven. (Matt. 6:10)
Glory be to God
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