Church of God, New World Ministries

The Dawning Of A New Age

Today’s world is clearly imperfect. It is often a bizarre mixture of good and evil sometimes it seems the latter is predominate.

In spite of man’s best intentions, humanistic, idealism, and his incredible creative genius, things still tend to go wrong. Animosity, bloodshed -wars still scar the landscape, hatred, injustice and rumors of wars shatter tranquility in the realm of man.

From the time the United States entered the Second World War, until 1973 there were only three calendar years during which U.S. was not involved in armed conflict 1956, 57, 59. That’s only three years in three decades.

Since the peace of 1945 there has been an armed conflict somewhere in this world, on the average of every five months.

In the first three decades of the 20th century, Europe fought 74 wars more than in the previous 800 years.

From the end of WW I and WW 2, plus the Korean and Vietnam wars 81 million people have died at the hands of their fellow man. This is an incredible legacy of violence and suffering.

Psychiatrist Antony Storr was quoted in a British newspapwer as saying: “We (human beings) are the cruelest and most ruthless species that has ever walked the earth.”

One of the problems is too many people hungry for power and human life is very cheap. Around this globe, hundreds of thousands of people have died because of internal struggles. Our own Civil War caused the death of 628,000 men.

Wherever, man has walked he has left a trail sodden with his own blood. Violence lies deep in the heart of man.

Isaiah wrote “Deeds of violence are in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood, desolation and destruction are in their highways” (Isa. 59:6-7).

Mankind simply doesn’t know the way to peace, or if he does, he doesn’t have the will to bring it about.

“The way of peace they have not known. And there is no justice in their ways. They have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace” (Isa. 59:8).

The apostle Paul later quoted these verses to describe the general state of man before God (Rom. 3:12-17). Man is a warmaker. Separated from God man is incapable of bringing about peace in the human community.

Because man has rejected, and in general, not been willing to include God and God’s will in his thinking so God has allowed man to go his own way.

Notice Psalm 36:1: “An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked. There is no fear of God before his eyes.”

The apostle Paul wrote the same thing in Romans 3:18. What happens when man rejects God?

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct” (Rom. 1:28).

Improper conduct is an understatement man has gone far beyond the merely improper, he has descended into an abyss of moral evils that staggers the imagination!

“They became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Therefore, God gave them up in the lust of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves” (Rom. 1:22-24).

Then in verses 26-27 Paul talks about immoral acts of man separated from the mind of God: male homosexuality, lesbianism etc.: “They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent (rude or disrespectful), haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Now that is an incredible description of a society gone morally mad. You know, like our world today. From a spiritual standpoint, when man shuts God out, the light of truth also darkens. And when this happens mans unspiritual state performs what the Bible calls works of the flesh. That would be: “Fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like.”

This is an accurate description of man’s world then and now; human nature has not changed. Is there anything left to do wrong in a world where values are so utterly twisted?

Paul described mankind separated from the influence of the Holy Spirit and divorced from the mind of God. Paul says in Romans 1:28 “that God gave them over to a reprobate mind.”

A reprobate mind is devoid of sound moral judgment, a mind that has no standard of values. Man, apart from God, is hopelessly lost. He is subject to “every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14), to every new idea or teaching that comes along.

But worse than that, he is subject to the influence of Satan the Devil, who has “deceived the entire world” (Rev. 12:9).

We, that is members of the Church of God, need to understand this: those who are separated from God are linked to the mind of Satan.

Those who have elected to live independent of God are spiritually dead according to the Bible.

Paul speaking to the Church of his day said this: “And you, he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked. Following the course of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:1-2).

This age you and I live in is not God’s time. Satan the Devil, is the god of this world. Satan is the one who had blinded the minds of mankind to the truth of the Christian gospel.

Satan has made the true gospel, the message God the Father sent to this earth by Jesus Christ as foolish. Paul says: “For the Word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing” (I Cor. 1:18).

This world, separated from God is drowning in its sins. It is headed for oblivion. Satan is this world’s death angel, he is behind this world’s system: “the way that seems right to man, but will end up in certain death.”

Left to himself and to Satan, man would most likely destroy himself. Fortunately for us, God has not left man to himself. God is going to intervene. This present evil world will pass away, this age of evil will come to an end.

Those of us who are identified with God now, in this age, can know what is going to happen.

The apostle John writes: “We know that we are of God and the whole world is in the power of the evil one” (I John 5:19).

But a new age (or New World) is coming, but how will God bring about the transition from this present evil age to the new glorious age of His rule?

The beginning of this new age will be signaled by two major events, both of which were prophesied long ago in the Bible. The first of these is the return of Jesus Christ to this earth.

The theological term of this event is called “Parousia.” It’s a Greek term and it means “coming advent.”

In Matthew 24:3 the disciples asked Christ: “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming (Parousia) and the close of the age”?

In the New Testament the return of Jesus Christ and the dawning of the new age are synonymous. It is only through His presence that the new order can become a reality. It is going to take His power, His wisdom, His authority from God the Father to make the difference.

The hope of the Parousia was the adrenaline that energized the New Testament Church.

So, the Church waited for their Savior’s return. The people of Paul’s day: “turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven” (I Thess. 1:9-10).

But Jesus Christ never came in their generation. They all died not having received the promise of the Parousia. In other words, man’s age did not end in the first century. The dead in Christ went to sleep to await a future resurrection. Many generations would pass before that blessed event would occur. You can read about that in Hebrews 11:39-40.
Christ will come back, that is one thing we can count on. When He comes back is in the Father’s hands.

Paul describes that second coming: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (I Thess. 4:16).

When Christ comes back, He will be met by stiff opposition from the kingdoms of this world. God will laugh at all such opposition and He will strike them down with “the rod of his mouth.”

Notice what King David said: “Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and his anointed, saying, let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us” (Ps. 2:1-3).

History has shown that man doesn’t want to be ruled by the Kingdom of God. He will attempt to throw off the shackles of divine rule at the very outset.

David continues in verses 4-6: “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his glory, saying, I have set my king (Jesus) on Zion, my holy hill.”

Jesus Christ’s feet will stand on the Mount of Olives with a host of angels and tens of thousands of saints. He will then set His hand to smash the oppostion with supernatural power: “You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (v. 9).

Woe to those who oppose the King of kings when He returns to take the reins of government. Woe to those who do not welcome the Son of God!

Jesus Christ will not return in a solo flight: “For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father” (Matt. 16:27).

And this leads to the second event that will signal the beginning of the new age, the resurrection of the saints.

Back to I Thess. 4:16-17: “And the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”

This is the first resurrection and it occurs in conjunction with the return of Christ. It is the second major signal that the new age or New World is about to get under way.

Notice what Christ said to the Sadducees: “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage: but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage; for they cannot die any more, because the are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection” (Luke 20:34-36).

Christians being made immortal, the resurrection, and the beginning of the new age are spoken of interchangeable. These two great events, the return of Christ and the first general resurrection of the saints of God comprise the transition which will usher in the New World and the rule of Christ on this earth.

 
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