Saturday, November 19, 2011

God's Plan of the Ages - Yahshua, Lord of the Ages

Joseph Herrin (11-19-2011)

Revelation 11:15
And the seventh messenger did sound, and there came great voices in the heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of the world did become [those] of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall reign to the ages of the ages!'

It has already been shown that Christ’s reign over the creation is temporal. The apostle Paul in his letter to the saints in Corinth states:

I Corinthians 15:25
For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.

In the sentence preceding the verse above, the apostle tells us:

I Corinthians 15:24
Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.

There will come a time at the end of the ages when Christ gives all things back to the Father. The Greek word translated as “hands over” in the verse above is ‘paradidomi.’ Strong’s Concordance defines the word in the following manner.

To surrender, i.e yield up, intrust, transmit:

When the kingdom is handed over to God the Father, the reign of Christ will be at an end. When all things have been reconciled to the Father, and the entire creation is rightly related to God, there will be no more need of any rule, authority, or power. Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible reveals the sense of this verse more accurately.

I Corinthians 15:24
Then — the end, when he may deliver up the reign to God, even the Father, when he may have made useless all rule, and all authority and power.

What will be the need of a ruler when all things are submitted fully and completely to the Father? There will be no more need for correction, for punishment, for reward, or judgment. Perfect love, and obedience to Yahweh, will permeate the creation.

What a marvelous accomplishment the Son will have achieved! Yahshua will  present to the Father the creation in a state of perfect righteousness and peace. There will be nothing left that is out of harmony with the will and character of Yahweh. An enemy will not be found anywhere in creation, whether in heaven or on earth. Sin will have been thoroughly purged, and death will be no more. All will be life, and peace, and righteousness at the conclusion of the Son’s rule and the end of the ages.

This work of reconciling the creation to the Father goes on apace. Right now Yahshua is leading a firstfruits company to enter into a condition of complete Sabbath rest. There are ages in which this work will continue. Looking at the rebellion, sin and chaos of this present world system, the fullness of Christ’s work at the end of the ages is difficult to envision.

Centuries before the birth of Christ, Yahweh restored a remnant of His people to the Holy Land. Yahweh indicated to the captives of Judah and Jerusalem who had been carried into Babylon (confusion) that the appointed time had arrived for them to return to Zion. Only a remnant of the people heeded Yahweh’s invitation. In this remnant we see a pattern for God’s work today.

Yahweh tasked those obedient sons with rebuilding the Temple. The work was truly great, and the laborers were few. It was a monumental task just to get the foundation of the Temple laid. The prophet Zechariah writes of this event.

Zechariah 4:8-10
Moreover the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that Yahweh of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things?”

As we look at the work of God at this present time on the earth, we are seeing only a remnant who are yielding their lives (souls) to the rule of Yahweh. Even among those who call themselves Christians, the actual number of disciples of Christ is very small. In the Gospel of Luke we read of Christ being asked about the number of those being saved.

Luke 13:23
And someone said to Him, "Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?"

It was surely apparent to the person asking the question that only a small percentage of the Jews were turning to Yahshua and heeding His words. Among the religious leaders, the numbers were small, and of the entire nation we read that a partial hardening had occurred. Yahshua did not deny that at that time only a few were being saved. He urged those listening to Him to strive to enter through the narrow door.

At this time, in this age, there are only a few being saved. The vast majority of men continue to experience separation from the life of Christ. They have not yielded their lives to the Father. They have not entered into the Sabbath rest which Paul defines in the following manner:

Hebrews 4:10
For the one who has entered His rest has himself ceased from his own works, as God did from His.

Sabbath rest is a cessation of all independent action; it is the end of all human initiative. Sabbath rest is knowing the Father’s will and doing it. There are just a few entering into this rest at this time. We live in a day of small things, but such a day is not to be despised. That which has begun as a very small work will grow until it encompasses the entire creation.

In the book of Daniel, we read of the prophet interpreting a dream for the King of Babylon. The dream portrayed all the great kingdoms of the earth. At the end of the procession of earthly kingdoms there came a new, divine kingdom. It was represented by a stone that was formed without hands. This was a divine work. The stone is Christ. He is the stone that the builder’s rejected, but has now become the chief cornerstone. Daniel speaks of this stone to the King of Babylon.

Daniel 2:34-35
You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

Christ’s work, of shattering the nations and establishing the rule of God throughout the creation, has just begun. It is in its infancy. Yahshua is establishing the kingdom of God inside the lives of a firstfruits group of men and women at this hour. These will be the first to be resurrected. They in turn will share in the work of reconciling the remainder of the creation back to the Father, both things in the heavens and on the earth.

Revelation 20:6
Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

I Corinthians 6:3
Do you not know that we will judge angels?

When Christ’s reign has accomplished its full purpose, all things will be reconciled to the Father. Then Christ will hand the kingdom over to the Father. There will be no more need of rule, or of a ruler. Christ will reign to the end of the ages, then time itself will be no more as all things are summed back up into the Father.

When God’s plan of the ages is understood, the error of proclaiming Christ to be an eternal king, and his kingdom to be forever, becomes apparent. The men tasked with translating the King James Bible did not understand the ages of God, or the end of all things. Even if they did perceive these things, the king’s edict to not interpret the Scriptures in such a way as to upset the orthodox view of the church would have constrained them. When King James of England authorized a group of scholars to create a new English translation of the Bible, he gave them fifteen rules to guide them. These rules were printed in the front of the early King James Bibles. Among these rules are the following guidelines.

1. The ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bishops Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the Truth of the original will permit.

2. The names of the Prophets, and the Holy Writers, with the other Names of the Text, to be retained, as nigh as may be, accordingly as they were vulgarly used.

3. The Old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. the Word Church not to be translated Congregation &c.

4. When a Word hath divers Significations, that to be kept which hath been most commonly used by the most of the Ancient Fathers, being agreeable to the Propriety of the Place, and the Analogy of the Faith.

14. These translations to be used when they agree better with the Text than the Bishops Bible: Tyndale's, Matthew's, Coverdale's, Whitchurch's, Geneva.

It was points number 3 and 4 which have caused the greatest harm to this translation. The king was in effect ordering that the orthodox views of the Church of England should be supported by the translation. Not only could the Greek word translated as church not be changed to the word congregation, but the Greek word baptizo could not be translated at all. The meaning of the Greek word is “immerse,” but the practice of the church was to sprinkle. To get around this obvious contradiction, the translators did not translate the word at all. They transliterated it, which is to simply keep it in its original Greek form with only a slight alteration for English reading. Thus baptizo was rendered as baptize, and the church could interpret it any way they desired.

Obviously, the teaching of the church in 1611 supported eternal torment. The concept of the reconciliation of the entire creation was rejected by the Church of England, and the understanding of the ages and the temporal reign of Christ was not embraced. Therefore, to not upset the orthodox views of the church, the scholars working in this translation were not permitted to translate the Greek word aion as age. Instead, they erroneously interpreted it to mean for ever, or eternal.

To this day we have many erroneous renderings of the Scriptures that have led multitudes of Christians to false conclusions. The verse we opened this chapter with states:

Revelation 11:15
And the seventh messenger did sound, and there came great voices in the heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of the world did become [those] of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall reign to the ages of the ages!'

Contrast this literal rendering with the words of the men who produced the King James Bible.

Revelation 11:15
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

In the Greek original it is recorded that Christ must reign to the “aions” of the “aions.” This cannot be for ever and ever, for the day will come when Christ shall hand over the kingdom to the Father, and all rule will be abolished.

It is a great tragedy that the church has not understood the Scriptures, nor the power of God. They see this present age in which a fraction of all mankind profess belief in God and in His Christ, and they believe this is the consummation and end of Christ’s work of reconciliation. They are convinced that all who die separated from Christ and God must forever remain that way. What great error this is. It leaves the majority of the creation forever separated from the Father, eternally tormented in hell. In this fallacious view of the church, Christ does not reconcile all things to the Father. Yahshua does not fill all in all, and there is no end to Christ’s rule where He hands over a perfected creation to the Father.

Rulers are established for the purpose of punishing evildoers and rewarding the righteous. This is what the apostle declared in the letter to the Romans.

Romans 13:3-5
For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake.

These words accurately describe the function of Christ’s rule. Christ is a minister of God to you (and all creation) for good. He will both punish the wicked and reward the righteous.

Revelation 22:12
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.”

The rule of Christ is declared by the Scriptures to be temporal. He will rule UNTIL all enemies have been brought under subjection. Christ will administer wrath, but not eternal wrath, for His rule is only until the end of the ages. Being instructed out of faulty translations, and not studying carefully to discern where error has entered in, the church has been led to adopt many false doctrines about the punishment of the wicked. Following is the King James rendering of a verse out of Matthew’s gospel.

Matthew 25:41
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

It is easy to perceive how saints can be led astray through faulty translation work. If we accept the rendering of the translators who worked on this version of the English Bible we would certainly conclude that the devil and his angels will be subjected to “everlasting fire.” Contrast this with the following translations of the same verse.

Matthew 25:41
Then will He say to those at His left, "‘Begone from me, with the curse resting upon you, into the Fire of the Ages, which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels.”
(Weymouth Translation)

Matthew 25:41
Then he will say to those on his left “Go from my presence, accursed, into the aeonian fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels.”
(Twentieth Century New Testament - 1904)

Matthew 25:41
He will then also say to those at his Left hand, “Depart from me you cursed ones into that aionian fire which is prepared for the adversary and his messengers.”
(Emphatic Diaglott)

Matthew 25:41
Then will he say unto those also on His left hand: Depart from me, accursed ones!  Into the age-abiding fire which hath been prepared for the adversary and his messengers.
(Rotherham's Emphasized Bible)

Matthew 25:41
Then shall he say also to those on the left hand, Go ye from me, the cursed, to the fire, the age-during, that hath been prepared for the Devil and his messengers;
(Young's Literal Translation)

If we accept the testimony of the Scriptures that declare Christ’s rule to be temporal, to be concluded at the end of the ages, then we can judge no translation as accurate or faithful to the original thought of the authors that speaks of eternal punishment. The thought in the minds of the original writers was that the fires of hell and the lake of fire are limited to the ages of the creation.

Andrew Jukes, an English minister, authored an excellent book on this subject in 1867. It is titled The Restitution of All Things. Mr. Jukes considered the various instances and combinations of the Greek word aion in the Bible. His comments are worthy of consideration.

(NOTE: Every scholar knows that the expressions, "ages," "to the ages," "age of the ages," and "ages of the ages," are unlike anything which occurs in the heathen Greek writers. The reason is, that the inspired writers, and they alone, understood the mystery and purpose of the "ages." They, or at least the Spirit which spake by them, saw that there would be a succession of "ages," a certain number of which constituted another greater "age." It seems to me that when they simply intended a duration of many "ages," they wrote "to the ages." When they had in view a greater and more comprehensive "age," including in it many other subordinate "ages," they wrote "to the age of ages." When they intended the longer "age" alone, without regard to its constituent parts, they wrote "to an aeonial age"; this form of expression being a Hebraism, exactly equivalent to "age of the ages:" like "liberty of glory," for "glorious liberty," (Rom. viii. 21,) and "body of our vileness," for "our vile body." (Phil. iii. 21.) When they intended the several comprehensive "ages" collectively, they wrote "to the ages of ages." Each varying form is used with a distinct purpose and meaning.)

At any rate, and whatever the future "ages" may be, those past (and St. Paul speaks of "the ends" of some,) are clearly not endless; and the language of Scripture as to those to come seems to teach that they are limited, since Christ’s mediatorial kingdom, which is "for the ages of ages," must yet be "delivered up to the Father, that God may be all in all." (Compare Rev. XI. 15, and 1 Cor. XV. 24.) And the fact that in John’s vision, which describes the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gives Him, our Lord is called "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending," (Rev. xxi. 6.) seems to imply an end to the peculiar manifestation of Him as King and Priest, under which special offices the Revelation shews Him, offices which, as they involve lost ones to be saved and rebels ruled over, may not be needed when the lost are saved and reconciled.

Would it not have been better therefore, and more respectful to the Word of God, had our Translators been content in every place to give the exact meaning of the words, which they render "for ever," or "for ever and ever," but which are simply "for the age," or "for the ages of ages;" and ought they not in other passages, where the form of expression in reference to these "ages" is marked and peculiar, to have adhered to the precise words of Holy Scripture? I have already referred to the passage of St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, which in our Version is rendered "throughout all ages, world without end," but which is literally, "to all generations of the age of ages." (Eph. iii. 21.)...

It is, therefore, a matter of regret that our Translators should not have rendered them exactly and literally; for surely the words which Divine Wisdom has chosen must have a reason, even where readers and translators lack the light to apprehend it.

The "ages," therefore, are periods in which God works, because there is evil and His rest is broken by it, but which have an end and pass away, when the work appointed to be done in them has been accomplished. The "ages," like the "days" of creation, speak of a prior fall: they are the "times" in which God works, because He cannot rest in sin and misery. His perfect rest is not in the "ages," but beyond them, when the mediatorial kingdom, which is "for the ages of ages," (Rev. XI. 15.) is "delivered up," (1 Cor. xv. 24.)...

The words "Jesus Christ, (that is, Anointed Saviour,) the same yesterday, to-day, and for the ages," (Heb. xiii. 8.) imply that through these "ages" a Saviour is needed, and will be found... It will I think too be found, that the adjective (aionios) founded on this word, whether applied to "life," "punishment," "redemption," "covenant," "times," or even "God" Himself, is always connected with remedial labour, and with the idea of "ages" as periods in which God is working to meet and correct some awful fall. Thus the "aeonial covenant," (Heb. xiii. 20.)... is that which comprehends "the ages," during which "Jesus Christ is the same," that is, a Saviour; an office only needed for the fallen, for "they that are whole need not a physician."
[End Excerpt]

At this time, only a remnant discern God’s plan of the ages, and the preeminent role that Christ has been appointed in it. Yahshua must reign until He has wrought a full reconciliation of the creation to the Father. This labor will occur within the period of time bounded by the ages that Yahweh has established by His own counsel. Christ is therefore the Lord of the ages. When the final age of the ages has come to a conclusion, then Yahshua will deliver the Kingdom up to the Father. All rule will be abolished, and the ages of Sonship will be at an end. The Father will be all in all.

Marvelous are the plans of God! His work among the creation will in the end be found to be perfect, complete, and all-encompassing.

Revelation 11:15
 The seventh angel blew his trumpet; and there followed loud voices in Heaven which said, "The sovereignty of the world now belongs to our Lord and His Christ; and He will be King until the Ages of the Ages."
[Weymouth Translation]

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Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

1 comment:

jsmappy said...

Joseph, I am playing catch-up, and I am really enjoying this series. What a wonderful Father we have!!! One thing becomes glaringly obvious in Rev ch. 21 when you receive proper understand, where prior, made little sense is this:
We have been reigning with Christ for 1000 years IN OUR NEW GLORIFIED BODY's. We know to hunger/tears/thirst/pain any longer. So then why does God have to put an end to them? Because it is not refering to us, but to those who come out of the Lake of Fire. Quite an Ah Ha! Moment for me. Thank you for blessing us with your continued teachings.

James Mapston
Apple Valley