THIS AGE / THE AGE TO COME

Age to ComePMT 2015-077 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

An important eschatological issue involves the New Testament principle of “this age” and “the age to come.” Christ himself speaks of “this age” and another “age to come” (Mt 12:32; Mk 10:30; Lk 18:30; 20:34–35). The present age is sin-laden present in which we live. The “age to come” brings eternal life of the eternal order (Lk 18:30); it involves resurrection and will not include marrying (Lk 20:34–35). It is truly consummate and final.

From the linear perspective of the Old Testament, ancient Israel believes that the “age to come” will be the Messianic era that would fully arrive after their current age ends. Yet in the New Testament we learn that the “age to come” begins in principle with the first century coming of Christ. It overlaps with “this age” which begins in Christ. Thus, we are not only children of “this age” (present, sin-laden temporal history), but are also spiritually children of “the age to come” (the final, perfected eternal age). We have our feet in both worlds. Or as Geerhardus Vos put it: “The age to come was perceived to bear in its womb another age to come.”

Because of this principle, we already share in the benefits of “the age to come.” This is because the two ages are linked by Christ’s ruling in both, for he has a name “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come” (Eph 1:21). Therefore, we have already “tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come” (Heb 6:5), despite living in “this present evil age” (Gal 1:4).


Blame It on the Brain?
Sub-title: Distinguishing Chemical Imbalances, Brain Disorders, and Disobedience
by Edward T. Welch

Depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, Alcoholism, Homosexuality.
Research suggests that more and more behaviors are caused by brain function or dysfunction.
But is it ever legitimate to blame misbehavior on the brain?
How can I know whether my brain made me do it?

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


We already experience resurrection — spiritually (Jn 5:24–25; Ro 6:4; Eph 2:6; 1Jn 3:14), though we look forward to a physical resurrection beyond “this present time” (Ro 8:18–23). Indeed, we even now sit “with Him in heavenly places” so that “in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6b–7). We already partake of the “new creation” (2Co 5:17; Gal 6:15), though the eternal new creation still awaits us (2Pe 3:13). The shaking of the earth and splitting of rocks at Christ’s death (Mt 27:50–51) signal “that Christ’s death was the beginning of the end of the old creation and the inauguration of a new creation” (G. K. Beale).

We already enjoy the “new birth” into that new world (Jn 3:3; 1Pe 1:1, 23), though we will experience the fulness of “the glory of the children of God” only in the future (Ro 8:19, 23). We already possess the Spirit, who is the one who in that future age will “give life to your mortal bodies” (Ro 8:11). We already have victory over Satan (Mt 12:29; Ro 16:20; Jas 4:7), though he is the “god of this age” (2Co 4:4). We do good works now so that we might store up treasure “for the future” (1Ti 6:17–19; cp. Ro 2:5–7).


Greatness of the Great Commission
(by Ken Gentry)

An insightful analysis of the full implications of the great commission.
Impacts postmillennialism as well as the whole Christian worldview.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


The central principle uniting “this age” and “the age to come” is the resurrection. Gaffin well states: “The unity of the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of believers is such that the latter consists of two episodes in the experience of the individual believer — one which is already past, already realized, and one which is future, yet to be realized,” so that our “resurrection is both already and not yet” (Richard Gaffin). Two worlds co-exist in us through the Holy Spirit (Geerhardus Vos). Thus, the “last days” are unique in involving a merger of “this age” and the “age to come” as an “already / not yet” phenomenon. Truly, “Christ’s life, and especially death and resurrection through the Spirit, launched the end-time new creation for God’s glory” (G. K. Beale).

 

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