PMT 2015-041 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I am not always able to engage in theological discussion by email, due to my time constraints and the number of requests for such that I receive. But occasionally I will engage a discussion briefly. Here is one I just had with a PostmillennialismToday reader. It regards the two-age structure of history.
I have a spanner to throw in the works if I may: Matthew 24:3 says ” What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
This could mean the end of the Old Testament age. I back this up with Jesus comments on the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will not be forgiven “in this age or the age to come” ( Matthew 12:32.)
“This age” – the old Testament age in which Jesus was at the time. “The age to come” the New Testament age. The Age to Come could not mean heaven or after Christ’s return because there is no sin in that age.
Actually I believe that “this age” is history and the “age to come” is eternity.
In Luke 20:34-36 we read: “Jesus said to them, ‘The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.’”
Jesus’ statement that blasphemy will not be forgiven in this age or the age to come means it will never be forgiven.
Thank you for your prompt reply – please know that I do not intend to argue but to understand – hence my questions and proposals.
Where I am coming from in this discussion is the belief that the death of our Lord was a far more important event than many Christians realise. And therefore that our present age, the church age is very different from the previous Jewish dispensation. Here I refer to James Kennedy with “What if Jesus had never been born?” The earth would probably degenerated back into the immediate preflood era – filled with violence, whereas now the forces of darkness fight a long retreat as the forces of the Lord progressively occupy until He comes. I also cite Oswald Chambers concerning the death of Christ as well as my fellow South African, J J van den Burg, in his Gospel According to Luke.
God is making all things new from the inside out as it were – whereas the original creation was “top down” and ending with the creation of man, first his body then finally his spirit, breathed into him by God, the New Creation begins with the creation of the new race of humans – in the reverse order first the new spirit in the born again experience…. There are now two species of humans on the planet ! – the saved and the lost.
As we Postmillenialists believe, this age, the church age ends very well, precisely because of the death of Christ !
I agree with your disappointment that Christians do not better comprehend the implications of Christ’s death and the changes he effected thereby. For instance, he began in spiritual principle the new creation.
Actually, because of Christ the present age (history) is being impacted by the age to come (eternity). We see this in that we are new creations (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15), are spiritually resurrected (John 5:24-27; Eph 2:6), and so forth. We live in the now / not yet era of mixed realities: we are in the old creation though we are new creation beings.
Thus, we live in the great overlap of the ages. But we are only in the overlap, not the fullness of the age to come. We have “tasted the powers of the age to come” (Heb 6:5). This does distinguish the new covenant era from the old covenant era, but we still endure old covenant era physical death and so forth, which is a characteristic of the present age.
Therefore the end of the age has not yet come, consequently we are to continue evangelizing (Matt 28:20) because the unbelievers have not yet been finally separated from the believers (Matt 13:39-40, 49). And we are to continue instructing men to deny ungodliness in this age (Tit 2:12). And we remain “sons of this age” because we marry and are given in marriage (Luke 20:34).