The Beginning Of The Age

In dealing with man and the earth, to work

out his own plan of redemption and restoration, God works in certain

periods of time which are called ages. Each age has a definite

beginning and a definite end. All the different ages which preceded

our own age were ages of preparation, for the present age in which we

live. In every past age God announced the coming of Him by whom He not

only created all things, but by whom He made the ages, that is, His

Son. He is the One in whom and for whom all is planned, and through

whom the things which have been shall be again, and infinitely more.

He was first announced in the Garden of Eden as the Seed of the woman

who should bruise the serpent's head. In the age after the flood Shem

was singled out in whom the Name, that is, the Lord of Glory, should be

revealed. Then Abraham, a son of Shem received the promise in the

Patriarchal Age that He would come from his seed; and later in the

Jewish Age He was promised as the Son of David, and David knew Him by

the Spirit as his Lord.

And so in the fulness of time He came, born of a woman, made under the

Law, the Son of God manifested in the flesh. His blessed earth life

belongs still to the Jewish dispensation, the age which preceded our

own age. He came as the minister of the circumcision; and as such He

fulfilled the Law and moved exclusively among His own people Israel,

bringing them the message of the Kingdom promised to that nation; a

Kingdom in which righteousness and peace is to flourish, and into which

all the nations of the earth are to be gathered.

The Jewish prophets had announced that Kingdom, but through God's

foreknowledge it was also made known that Christ should suffer first,

and be rejected by His people; and this came to pass. The nation

instead of giving Him the throne to which He is entitled, delivered

their own King into the hands of the Gentiles to be crucified. What

Gabriel in his great message had communicated to Daniel, that Messiah

should be cut off and receive nothing, happened, and that in the very

time as revealed in the ninth chapter of Daniel. The Son of God died,

rejected by His own nation, He died the sinner's death, He died for the

ungodly, He died so that the flood-gates of Divine love and grace might

be opened; and that a Holy God might be justified in saving believing

sinners, both Jews and Gentiles, and making them the heirs of glory.

Our age then begins with this fact: Christ rejected by His own people,

cast out by the world, finishing on the Cross the work of sin bearing.

With this, and the associated events, our age started in. Let us see

then what we find in the beginning of this age, and then see how the

things we shall mention are affected as this age progresses and comes

finally to its close.

+First+, as to the Lord Jesus Christ. As we have already stated, the

Son of God came to this earth, was rejected by men, put to death on the

cross, and after His burial God raised Him from the dead and gave Him

glory. In due time He left the earth and ascended in His glorified

human body into heaven, where He is seated now at the right hand of the

majesty on high. It is a wonderful fact that in heaven, seated at

God's own right hand, there is a Man. One who was born of the Virgin,

lived on earth a holy life, died the sinner's death on the Cross, was

buried and raised by the power of God. Before this age He was also in

heaven, but not as man. He was ever in the bosom of the Father as the

Only Begotten. Now as the Man Christ Jesus who has conquered He fills

that throne, the Father's throne. He has not His own throne which

belongs to Him, nor will He get this throne, the throne of His father

David, as long as this age lasts. Exalted in the highest place He has

all power, and exercises in behalf of His people, His priesthood and

His advocacy, ministering to the needs of His own on earth.

+Second+, let us see next about the Holy Spirit in His relation to this

age. He came to earth on the day of Pentecost. In the Old Testament

times He visited the earth, but not to abide, as is now the case. He

strove with men from the very beginning, He endued prophets, and

priests and kings, and all who believed the Word of God, of which He is

the Author; but after Christ died and had gone back to the Father, He

came as the other Comforter, the One who takes the place of the absent

Christ. He is come to earth to accomplish God's purpose in this

present age. Nowhere do we read in the New Testament that the purpose

of the coming of the Holy Spirit is to convert the world, and establish

universal righteousness and peace. These blessings are not promised

for the age in which we live. The great purpose for which the Spirit

of God came in the beginning of our age is for the out-taking of the

Church, the Body of Christ. He is gathering together Jews and Gentiles

who believe on Christ and puts them into this Body. On the Day of

Pentecost this Body began; then all the gathered believers were

baptised by the One Spirit into one Body. This work continues

throughout this age. Then He Himself bestows the gifts which are

needed for the upbuilding of that Body. In the beginning of this age

He unfolded His special energy in sign gifts, confirming by these the

truth of Christianity. These special gifts and signs were only

confined to the beginning of the age. Nowhere is it stated that they

were to continue to the end, for this age is an age of faith and not of


+Third+, during this age there is preached a special message which was

unknown in former ages. This message is the Gospel of Grace. It is

true that before Christ died an innumerable company of people were

saved, and salvation of course was always by grace. They believed God,

confessed themselves sinners, trusted in the promise, and then they

were saved. But the Gospel message as it began to be preached after

Christ died and the Holy Spirit came to earth, was not known in Old

Testament times. That Gospel not only offers remission of sins, but

tells the believing sinner that he becomes in Christ a Son of God and a

joint heir with the Lord Jesus Christ; that eternal life is his present

possession and that he is one spirit with the Lord, for the Holy Spirit

makes His abode in him. This then is the great message which was

preached with the beginning of this age, and which is to be preached to

its very end. It is the only power of God unto salvation, and anything

else is a miserable, good-for-nothing substitute and counterfeit, which

not alone cannot please God, but upon which the curse of God rests; for

anything short of the Gospel of Christ is an insult to God and a denial

of His righteousness and love. And this Gospel is to be preached

according to the word of our Lord beginning in Jerusalem, in Judea, and

Samaria, and to the uttermost ends of the earth. This Divine program

given by our Lord has been carried out; the preaching began in

Jerusalem, that is where the Gospel stream started; from there it

flowed into Judea and Samaria, and then Gentiles heard the Gospel and

were saved. Our Lord indicated this world-wide sowing during this age

in the first parable of Matthew xiii, when He spoke of the sower going

out into the field, telling us that the field is the world. Israel in

the preceding age was spoken of as a vineyard with a fence about, but

in this age there is no more vineyard, no more special place where

labor is to be done; but as John Wesley used to say, "The world is my


+Fourth+, let us also notice that with the beginning of the age there

is made known the full Truth of God by revelation. It is the faith

which is once and for all delivered unto the saints. When our Lord was

on earth He spoke repeatedly to His disciples that He had many things

to say unto them, which they could not grasp, but that they should know

them afterward. The "afterward" does not mean heaven, but it means the

afterward of the Holy Spirit. He told them that when the Spirit came

He would take of these things of Christ and show them unto them; and so

when He came He brought with Him the fullest revelation concerning

Christ Himself, the believer's position in Him and all the gracious

truths connected with it. In this sense, the Word of God was completed

in the beginning of this age. Nothing can be added to it, nor must

anything be taken away from it. There is no such thing as progress in

the Truth of God, that man by research can discover something for

himself, as he attempts to do in the different sciences. The Truth and

doctrine made known in the beginning of this age is a fixed Truth, it

is eternal Truth, it is unchangeable Truth, and as such the only light

which man has during this age.

+Fifth+, as to the moral characteristics of this age. The Apostle John

tells us that the world lieth in the wicked one, and that the character

of the world is antagonistic to the Word of God. The age therefore is

branded in every portion of the New Testament as an evil age. Certain

exhortations to believers make this clear. All exhortations in the New

Testament to Christians are exhortations to separate from this age. In

the beginning of Galatians we are expressly told that the Lord Jesus

Christ gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us out of this

present evil age. Then again we read what Paul wrote to Titus that the

grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all men, teaching us

that we should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and should live

soberly, righteously and godly in this present age. This shows that

the present age is evil.

And nowhere is the promise made in the Epistles that this present age

can ever be anything different than an evil age. It continues evil to

the end.

+Sixth+, what is the relation of Satan to our age? He is the enemy of

God, and seemingly achieved a triumph when he got man to reject the

Lord of Glory. On this account He is called in the New Testament "the

god of this age." He is the domineering spirit of the age in which we

live, which is also called Man's Day. Christ is rejected, with no

throne on earth, but Satan instead has his throne in this world and

controls the affairs of the age. That this is so may be seen from the

very events with which this age started. Persecution soon set in,

believers were slain, and in every other way this dark shadow

antagonized the work of the Spirit and counterfeited the Truth of God.

Therefore the spiritual warfare of believers in this age is to stand

against the wiles of the devil, for we wrestle not against flesh and

blood, but against principalities, against the powers, against the

world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirits in the

heavenly places. (Eph. vi:12). From this we learn that the age is

ruled over by Satan and the wicked spirits.

+Seventh+, there is another item which needs to be mentioned in

connection with the beginning of this age, and that is the Jewish

people. Their measure of wickedness was filled when they delivered the

Son of God into the hands of the Gentiles to be crucified. God in

mercy lingered over the city for forty years before the announced

judgment was executed upon the city and upon the nation. Thousands

upon thousands repented and accepted the Gospel; in fact, the beginning

of the entire Church was Jewish. But the nation hardened its heart,

and finally the tears which the Lord had shed over Jerusalem were

justified in the awful siege of Jerusalem, followed by the dispersion

of the nation. Ever since they have been in fulfillment of the

predictions of their own prophets, scattered amongst the nations of the

world, and this is continuing throughout this age.

We see then that there is a marked difference between this age and the

ages which preceded it. Christ as the glorified Man in heaven, the

Holy Spirit on earth, a new message, a new work which the Spirit of God

does, the full revelation of God given to men, the world in darkness,

Satan its god, and the Jews no longer in their land but wandering

amongst the nations with judicial blindness upon them.

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