Going verse by verse, starting with Genesis 1:3.
3) And God said, "Let (permissive command) there be light"; and there was light.
4) And God saw the light, that is was good (meaning beautiful, better); and God divided the light from the darkness.
5) And God called the light Day and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day (the beginning of Earth's 24 hour clock).
The First Day
DAY ONE - light was restored and illuminated the earth, the sense is made to appear, made visible - God separated light from dark, establishing time once again on Earth. The word "evening" is from the Hebrew word "ehred" meaning dusk, evening or night. The word "morning" is from the Heb. "boker" and means dawn, break of day, early light. Therefore the literal meaning of these words indicating that a literal time of 24 hours was established. A time frame that has been in operation since. Confirming that the six days of Genesis were literal 24 hour periods is Exodus 20:9-10 where God stated that He worked 6 days and rested on the seventh, commanding that man do the same. For man to be able to do so, these days would have had to be 24 hour periods that God was referring to, otherwise God would be asking something that would not be possible. To suggest that these days were of thousand year periods, as some teach, or of any other length of long ages would be inconsistent with what we know of established time on earth and in what we find in Scripture.
6) And God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst (between) of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters (to make separation of water for earth and for the sky)
7) And God made the firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.
Here is the first use of the word "made". It does not refer to creating, for we see in the verse itself that what is being dealt with, that being the water that covered the earth, already existed. The word means to appoint, prepare or provide; bring forth; to build or rebuild; repair or establish. Here we see God causing a separation of water into two locations. God was doing something with what already existed. Here we see the hard hat on and God doing some reconstruction.
8) And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
The Second Day
"Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it broke forth, as if it had issued out of the womb, when I made the cloud its garment, and thick darkness a swaddling band for it, and broke up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, and said, thus far shall you come, but no farther; and here shall your proud waves be stayed?" Job 38:8-11
DAY TWO - Here we find that the clouds and atmosphere were restored to once again hold water (moisture) for the purposes of re-establishing water hydration as well as adding the protective canopy around earth, putting in place the first crucial steps necessary for Earth's ecosystem and support of life.
9) And God said, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so.
10) And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters (left on the earth after the separation of water in verse seven) He called Seas and God saw that it was good (meaning beautiful, better)
11) And God said, "Let the earth bring forth vegetation, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, whose seed was in itself, upon the earth, and it was so.
12) And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
13) And the evening and the morning were the third day.
The Third Day
DAY THREE - Dry land once again appeared, and vegetation, now having restored light and dry ground, began to grow (seed). God called the dry land "Earth". If dry land is Earth, then we can read Gen. 1:1 thus: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the dry land." The dry land had become wetland by the flood of Gen. 1:2. On day three, we find it being restored for the habitation of land animals and man. Being that God said "let" the earth bring forth vegetation, a permissive command, and that there is no word of made or created involved here, it would indicate that the Earth did not stay in a state of chaos for very long for the seed for growth was still there in the soil. Just as it was after Noah's flood, which covered a better part of a full year from start to finish.
DAY FOUR - The first three days made way for the earth to be uncovered. God's curse and judgment on earth was lifted. Light had already been present on Day One, when whatever obstacle blocking light (creating an eclipse) from reaching earth was removed, but now God gives the command for the solar system and its purpose with earth to be permanently and visually fixed, to regulate times and seasons, days and years from this point onward. Here again we see the Heb. Word "asah" used for the word "made", which is to appoint, bestow (to apply; devote; to put or place) bring forth. Therefore God brought forth, appointed two great lights, the sun and the moon. One appointed to rule the day, the other to rule the night. Each critical for life on Earth.
DAY FIVE - It is here that the word "created" is used for the first time since Gen. 1:1, and refers to the creative act of making out of nothing something new. Earth restored and now able to sustain life, God begins to create life anew to once again inhabit the earth. He established the ability for them to reproduce after their kind through the laws of "genetics", the intelligent code that only a Creator can put in place. Thus God created new animal and sea life for all else was destroyed.
14) And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;
15) And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so.
16) And God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day (our Sun), and the lesser light to rule the night (our Moon). He made the stars also.
17) And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth,
18) And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
19) And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20) And God said, "Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens."
21) And God created great sea creatures ("tanneem" meaning more literally sea serpent, dragon, serpent, whale) and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
22) And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."
23) And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24) And God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind"; and it was so.
25) And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Here we see God forming the animal kingdom from the earth using pre-existing material, as well as those things that creep or crawl such as reptiles. This would reasonably include the insect world and their vital role in completing the balance of nature.
The Fifth Day
26) And God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27) So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28) And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; replenish the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
29) And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.
30) Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food"; and it was so.
31) Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
DAY SIX - Previously, God created fish and fowl, animals, other creatures and then on Day Six, man. Man was uniquely created from anything previous, being made in the image and likeness of God. Mankind became the highest order of created being possible. A "mini me," not as God or a god, but like God. Being a moral, intelligent, rational being able to create through originality, ingenuity and expression. Possessed with logic and reason. Although finite, still a triune being consisting of a body, a soul (the intellectual, emotional aspects) and an eternal spirit that is equally interconnected, yet in some limited ways, the ability of functioning independently.
We see that this was a group effort, in that all three persons of the Godhead were involved in the process and decision.
God gave man dominion of the restored earth, to rule over, possess and care for. And God gave a curious command (KJV) to "go and replenish the earth." Many of today's Bible translations have since changed this to "fill". The change is not to correct a mistake or translation error, but according to those making the substitution, it is to better reflect what they contend is meant, and to give uniformity in the translation of this word. A change that I believe is being made for several reasons. The first is being able to avoid explaining the command to replenish the earth that stands at odds with the "young earth" theological stance prevalent today. Second, is the business of making money from new versions that can be copy written as a new work. And last, the conflict this presents with the predominant theological view that death came into existence after man's sin. It is my opinion that this position is the main reason for the change. This is a topic we need to cover more fully in a separate section.
The Hebrew word that was translated here is "male" or "mala". It is used in this same context and purpose in only one other place. That is when God told Noah, in Genesis 9:1, to go and "replenish the earth" after the flood. Interestingly, it has been simultaneously changed here as well. You will need to go back to earlier Bible translations prior to the present onslaught that has flooded the marketplace. It is the same command given in both cases. Early scholars understood this, for if "fill" was the intended meaning, they would have translated it so, as they aptly demonstrated they were capable of doing in so many other places in Scripture. Some argue against replenish, meaning to "replace", by stating that this defined meaning did not appear until a year after the King James Bible of 1611 in a poem. And then 38 years later in the Oxford Dictionary. That only strengthens the point. Words and their definitions find their way into dictionaries after they have been in use. The origin of the meaning to "fill again" comes from Middle English "replenisshen" and Middle French "replenir", which goes back to 1300-1350 A.D. The debate on this continues. The primary hidden driver over this word rejection is once again, its implications with regard to the subject of death that many refuse to accept.
A militant battle is being waged between evolutionists and creationists. Creationists fiercely reject any information or finding that would indicate any ages longer than what they are convinced the Bible states for fear it would validate evolutionary notions. Evolutionists are just as militant in their fight against intelligent design for fear it would support "religion". Although we have already covered this ground, we see how this battle permeates even to the Bible's translations. It is one reason I continue to use the KJV or NKJV as my primary Bible, a translation far removed from this mess.
To suggest that Adam was commanded to "replenish", or refill the earth, would mean that it was once filled. It would also suggest a society and world prior to man that disappeared. This is precisely what we covered earlier in dealing with Lucifer's reign, and the "Dispensation of Angels". What type of life that existed during this earlier period would be hard to say, but surely subjects under Lucifer's initial rule. Those of influence in the Creation Movement fully reject what I have been calling the "The Missing Link", but is widely known as the "Gap Theory". At the heart of this rejection is the subject of death. This and their refusal to acknowledge all available information.
This is one reason why I think many people struggle to believe today's form of creationism, for it just does not provide adequate answers that fit the information. Consequently, it has lost some credibility in the public square. This does not have to be the case. Although the "Gap Theory" remains hotly debated, I believe it presents the most reasonable and rational means of understanding the Bible, and in offering a logical, sensible means of bridging the differences in conflicting scientific information and gained knowledge that, by themselves, do not fit.
At the end of each restorative day the Bible says God saw that what He did was good. Genesis 1:31 concludes the chapter with God seeing the final culmination of those days put together ..."God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good." This simply means that the totality of all that God did in the end of this process was "much better", more "fitting" than what it was. More beautiful, more suitable, serviceable, desirable and whole with regard to where it was in verse two, causing God to be very pleased. It means no more, no less. There is an undue emphasis being placed here by certain theological circles to make this verse say more than it does. Understand that things that are renovated are much better than they were in their degenerative state, but that does not mean that you cannot see signs of its past life if you look to uncover it. Classic and antique cars are wonderful, and I have complimented the work of some classic car owners. Yet underneath is the original skeleton from which it was restored from. Water cleanses, but fire purges. Flooded twice, in the end the earth will be purged by fire (2 Pet. 3:10) to remove all signs, residue, and remains of earth's past turbulent history, producing a new earth (Rev. 21:1) and the third and final generation. Until then, these things will remain, even through the coming Millennium.
Genesis gives us a rational explanation on how life came about (First Cause). Why it was all created and the reason why each living thing on Earth is unique and different from each other. The answer is that they were created separately and distinct from the very beginning. It explains why there are no evolutionary transitions present, as each living thing was created fully formed and complete at the start. It explains the introduction of the sexes. How genetics came into being. It expresses the balance of nature that was put in place, and the logical order in which it was done. We begin to see purpose, order and reason for things. Our initial place in God's plan is identified.
We started out our journey in search of some answers, nearing the end, God's Word will continue to offer the key. History, facts and your life will verify its truthfulness. If you are ready, we will enter the final leg of our quest as we walk through the corridors of time and human history, divided into periods called "dispensations".
The sixth day marked the beginning of what is called the "Dispensation of Innocence". This period of man's history stretches from Genesis 2:15 to Genesis 3:21, placing this period around 4,000-4,500 B.C. Through the genealogy found in the Bible we are able to go backwards through recorded time to determine that Adam lived about 6,500 years ago.
Adam and Eve were created in innocence, made fresh from the hand of God, endowed with all that was pure and good, with no past and the brightest future before them. Even evolutionists concede that mankind started out with one man and one woman. Free of sin and any knowledge of evil, they were placed in a perfect environment, a garden prepared by God near two rivers mentioned by name. Today they are known as the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. A region of the world that history and archaeology has confirmed as to being the place where the earliest of civilizations sprang forth from. And, it is where the remains of the oldest cities and past cultures have been uncovered.
Marriage, specifically designed as the union between a man and a woman, was also instituted during this time (Gen. 2:23-25). Something that has been passed down to each generation since and found in every culture, of every past age.
This dispensation lasted from man's creation to the fall. It goes to show environment alone will not shape man for good. This period is of an undetermined length of time, but probably did not for very long, possibly less than 9 months, for their children were born after the fall and born with a sinful nature. Adam was told to go and replenish the earth, so they most likely did not wait several years in family planning to tackle this command. In fact, I would think Adam got right on that assignment.
All seemed well. Adam had the opportunity to personally walk with God in the cool of the day. It has been suggested that it was God who told Adam the Genesis story, possibly in answer to an inquisitive question or questions asked during those walks. One Adam memorized and told for generations to come, until it was written down for preservation. An account that has since been shared or read for the past 6,500 years.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: According to what is recorded, Adam lived to be 960 years old. He died 126 years before Noah was born. The following eight generations of Adam were able to talk first hand with the very first man. To hear the story from the man himself. Lemech, being the eighth generation, was 56 years old when Adam finally died. Lemech was 369 years old when Noah was born and died 5 years before the flood. The knowledge and information that was past on down from Adam firsthand was only one generation removed from Noah's generation, Lemech being the bridge between the two. The long lives lived prior to the flood, as recorded in Scripture, were at one time considered comical by critics. Outlandish statements that to them were made by an unreliable source. That was until the discovery of the Sumerian King's List, or known also as the Weld-Blundell Prism. It was unearthed in 1922 at Larsa, the ancient capital city of Babylonia, now present-day southern Iraq. It is an ancient list of Mesopotamian rulers, where they ruled and for how long. This archaeological find represents textual evidence outside of the Bible in addressing several topics.
First, this list reveals antediluvian (pre-flood) rulers of ancient, pre-flood civilizations. The ten pre-flood rulers so happen to coincide with the same number of patriarchs as found in Genesis, Chapter Five, which also lists ten. Secondly, it records a cataclysmic deluge (the Flood). And lastly, it reveals extremely long periods of time in which these kings ruled prior to the flood with a decrease in the length of rule of the king's listed after the flood, just as is reflected in Scripture. Almost all of the recorded pre-flood lengths given to these rulers are in the ten's of thousands of years, with a total adding up to over 400,000 years. Experts continue to study the dating processes used so far back. Nonetheless, it does demonstrate that long periods of time were initially not unusual. Adam's life span of 960 years doesn't seem so comical now. For whatever reason, though there are theories, life expectancy was longer than it was after the flood. Today, we seem to see a rise again in life spans with people going over 100 in greater regularity.
Although highly intelligent and knowledgeable, Adam was totally unfamiliar with anything opposite of the joy, love, peace and contentment that made up his world. A moral, sinless being capable of both sinning and being immoral. Adam, as well as Eve, were created with the freedom to make their own choices. Choices they would need to make, and God would have to allow, if there were to be no prisoners. To follow would have to be by consent. To trust and obey would have to be of a voluntary act of the will. How many parents found great joy and satisfaction in having to force their children to do anything? It is often hell on earth. And, how many of us have been happy to be enslaved in situations we did not choose for ourselves?
Freedom cannot be exercised unless given alternatives from which to chose from. For Adam and Eve, their alternative was the option of choosing obedience and trust in God, or ignore the warning of not eating of the tree of the "knowledge of good and evil" which would "rock their world" if taken. Evil here is defined as sorrow; trouble; misery; bad; affliction. To know sorrow and misery has never been God's desire for man. It was knowledge that the two did not possess, but knowledge Lucifer, already having been the first to sin and rebel, was more than willing to help them learn.
Let us pause here for a moment. Some would argue, to their demise, that Lucifer (aka the devil, Satan, the adversary, Belial, Beelzebub, Apollyon, Abaddon) is merely a figment, or creation of man's imagination to represent evil. That evil is not a someone but a something. It is, in fact, both. Almost every culture has portrayed evil as real and represented as a being. Ever wonder why? Most would be hard pressed to deny evil exists, although in our continued effort to rid ourselves of moral conviction, responsibility and any offense to our consciousness, we have attempted to move from "right vs. wrong", or "good vs. evil", to calling it now "sick vs. healthy". Wordplay for those in denial and part of the problem facing us today. We cannot address and solve any issue when we refuse to even acknowledge it. Nor defend against an enemy considered not to exist. Those of us that would deny that there is real evil in the world and a personal adversary have been effectively deceived. There is no better weapon for an enemy to possess than to be able to draw ever so close and never be noticed, recognized or confronted. In this case, a spiritual being moving in a dimension most of us rarely note, yet his work is surely manifested in the world each of us are most familiar with… our very own.
Lucifer had a plan. A plan he thought would give him back what he once had. One that, in his twisted mind, would vindicate his past rebellious actions. A plan he hoped would be the wrench in God's. Maybe he could yet be victorious. This was blind jealousy at its finest. Knowing there is strength in numbers, this adversary of man waited for the right opportunity of divide and conquer. Eve was caught alone. Using a non-threatening creature as his "front man", Satan enacted his now famous, and often used, three step plan. First, cause her to doubt what she knew was right.
Second, get her to believe a lie in its place. Third, tempt her with what seemed good but that would actually produce death.
It remains a very effective plan today.
You may already be familiar with the story found in Genesis 3:1-7, yet it is critical that we cover it. Eve didn't have her facts right. She thought God's word on the subject was that they were not to eat or "touch" the tree or they would die. That is our problem today as well. We don't have our facts right and we don't really know as we should what God does say. Consequently we are open to believe other things that sound like they may be true.
The lie was in saying "Surely you won't die." A lie is an untruth. It is most deadly when it is mixed in with some truth to conceal it, or make it indistinguishable from what is real. In so doing, it makes the lie more palatable and easier to receive and believe.
With that lie came the temptation, mixed in with some truth.... "God knows that in the day you eat of the tree, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil." The truth in his statement was that their eyes would be opened. The lie was that they would not surely die, and they would be as God. It all sounded good. She saw that the tree was good for food (justifying her future action), and that it was pleasant to the eyes (the temptation to feed the justification) and make one wise (gave that justification some value). The tree had always been there, as well as the choice to eat or not eat of that tree. However, up to that point the only voice Adam and Eve ever heard was God's. It was His voice they listened to and believed.
However, a different voice was now saying something contrary. This cast doubt. The beating of a different drum saying "do", instead of "don't". Suggesting to "walk this way", instead of "there is a way that seems right to man, but....".
Many of us have misunderstood what that alternative was that had been presented to Adam and Eve. This test, this temptation, was not the tree, and it really was not what the tree offered, it was merely a tool. It was the freedom to choose what voice to follow, which one to listen to and believe. That remains the alternative for us today. There are so many voices shouting and clamoring to be heard. Our day is filled with them. God speaks in a still, small voice. Sometimes it's a shout. Sometimes it's a 2x4 smacked upside the head. But mostly it is a still, gentle voice. You've heard that voice before, you just may not have realized it. You may have been led to believe it was your own conscience inside speaking to you. That is God, through that conscience He gave you, who is speaking. The time you heard that voice inside say "stop", and you were glad you actually listened that time. Or, when you heard that inner voice say, "Just wait a little longer, it will be alright" or "Why are you doing this?" No, it's not you. Other voices we hear from time to time look to convince us that wrong is right. Or, in justifying our actions. Other times, to convince us about things we know are not right and without exception are opposite of what this particular voice is saying. When God speaks, they are words of guidance, comfort, encouragement, warning and conviction (which is different from condemnation). Words that will always line up with His written Word. That is the means of verifying what voice you are listening to. If it doesn't line up, reject that voice. So, listen up more, and start reading the Bible for yourself.
Eve made a decision and chose to follow this new voice that was speaking. She convinced her husband to listen to her voice and do the same (no surprise, you have to wonder how that conversation went down). But it wasn't what they thought it was going to be like. It never is.
I've heard others ask how it could be fair for all proceeding generations to suffer the results due to this decision made by one person. Some have even gone so far as to say that had they been given the chance they would not have made this mistake. Tell me, what convinces you that you wouldn't, in light of how your life decisions have gone so far? The fact is, we all are affected by the decisions of other individuals. There was a movie not long ago that came out called "Crash", that demonstrated this subject very well. All our lives are interwoven with others, and a decision by one sets off a chain of events that has repercussions. Others are impacted. No one is an island unto themselves. Sometimes only a few are affected, sometimes many are. So again, if we think we would have done better, what in our lives demonstrates that we would have? This idea is based on the knowledge of hindsight.
Prior to this incident, Adam and Eve's knowledge was pure, innocent and guiltless in ways like a newborn baby. Their new knowledge produced a conscience filled with thoughts and emotions foreign to them. Things such as guilt, fear and shame were immediate upon eating of the fruit of this tree. The death that was immediate was in their innocence. It was followed by a spiritual death. This new knowledge allowed impurity and evil to permeate them. And it ended with physical death becoming a reality, for God knew that should they stay in the garden and continue to eat of the Tree of Life, this condition in man would go on forever, for they would no longer heed to God's voice alone. So, Adam and Eve were ejected from Eden. Judgment was made and a price was paid.
Death ended up invading all three spheres of man's makeup and became a universal condition passed on to all humanity. The end result was of separation from God's provisions for life. Yet God was well prepared for His ultimate plan to succeed, and a means was already in place to counter sin.
A battle has been raging ever since. Not between God and Lucifer as some believe, for that battle was over before it ever began long ago. No, this battle has been fought against a very familiar foe throughout every age, on every continent, by every individual. It is a battle that you and I are presently engaged in. The foe in this battle is with ourselves. It is an internal struggle that I do not have to convince you exists for you already know of its reality. In fact, Paul describes this personal struggle very well in Romans 7:15-25. Movies such as "Spiderman 3" and the character Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings", display this struggle effectively.
It is an internal war we wage every day. The clashing of our spirit wanting to do the right things. The goodness within struggling with our flesh (the carnal appetites and sinful nature) that wants something altogether different. The battle within our mind as we wrestle with temptations, thoughts and this knowledge of good and evil. And the freedom we are given in making choices for the good, or succumbing to lesser things. Finally, the battle over what voice to follow and which ones to reject in making choices and decisions that shape the lives we live and impacts the world around us. We often are our own worst enemy. However, there is also a real enemy who is willing and capable of using this struggle to influence our actions and decisions. An enemy Jesus called "the thief who comes not but to kill, steal and destroy."
We can test the reality of this by merely examining the present world we live in, the experiences we have logged, and examples we have witnessed. How many of us ever heard someone in their right mind proclaim that their goal in life was to be a drug addict, a prostitute, bulimic, homeless... you fill in the blank. People, who's lives took a different turn somewhere along the way. Examples of individuals who were deceived by listening to the wrong voice, whether someone else's or their own that took them down a different path. Buying into a lie, blinded to the ramifications and now bound and enslaved.
There are those who take on a life of crime, choices often made in order to satisfy an immediate gratification, carnal desire or selfish motive. Ending up with a life and future stripped away by a greater "thief" than themselves. A life removed from the one they may have dreamt for themselves when they were young.
How many parents have sought to teach their young children to lie or steal? Or, to throw tantrums and food in anger? It is safe to say that few do? Yet, how does this happen? What we begin to witness in these young lives that begin to grow, is the reality of this marred, ruined nature within. This fallen state of man, born with both goodness and wickedness, meekness or rage, and with the potential to do right or wrong. This is not to discount the reality of demonic spirits, as noted and manifested in the demonically possessed. Nor of true evil present in the world. Its influence and work as witnessed through men and women given over to its power. Such as experienced through crazed leaders like Caligula, Hitler, Pol Pot or individuals like Charles Manson.
Then we have Cho Seung-Hui, which brings us back to the beginning of our journey. A story we began with, yet one that started long before Cho went on his killing spree. There were decisions he chose to make along the way, and certain voices that he determined to follow. Voices that altered his perception of the world and of himself. Deceptions and lies he was convinced were truths. He chose to ignore any other voice of warning. Overriding rational thought and suppressing natural emotions, the more he gave into those thoughts, the more he was controlled by them. Reason became twisted and logic distorted. His life and actions eventually reflected the extreme of a mind corrupted by wickedness and lack of control.
Where was God when Cho stalked the campus? Part of the answer is that God is always right where we want him to be. If we want Him out of our business, He is. If we want Him out of our schools and college campuses, okay then. If we don't like Him involved in our lives, marriages or in our home, well, He won't be. If we, as a nation and as a society tell Him to take a hike, He will search elsewhere to raise His standard. How can we then whine and complain, cry and scream, "Where were you???!!!", when we have made if perfectly clear we have no place, or need, or want of God.
Why is there evil and wickedness in the world? Much of it is because we allow it, we choose it, we give in to it, we embrace it, refuse to do anything against it. As has been said, "All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." We continue to choose to do nothing. Added to this is an unseen enemy that preys on the weaknesses, lusts and desires that are present within mankind. Exploiting opportunities given by people, whether voluntarily or without knowledge.
We ask the wrong questions when we wonder, "Why does God allow this or that?" or "How come God doesn't do something?". Another popular one is, "If God was so loving, why bla, bla, bla?" Our habit is to point the finger of responsibility elsewhere to free us from blame.
The questions we should be asking is, "Why do we allow evil, or do those things that we know are wrong?" We can't claim that God is not real and yet blame Him for everything under the sun.
Why does a crook look to steal? Why does an employer take advantage of employees? Why does a spouse cheat? Why would a leader of a nation starve his people? Or worse yet, slaughter them? Or terrorists who will take a hand drill as a form of torture to drill into the bodies and heads of their captors while showing no pity, no sympathy, no feeling? Why would someone in Nigeria look to wrongfully scam other people of their life's saving or retirement? Why does someone rape? A person embezzle? Can God be blamed for these things? No, of course not. Did God cause these things to happen? No. Then why do they?
Why? Because we refuse to believe that evil is real and call it what it is. We refrain from judging wrong. We won't condemn wickedness. We bristle at the thought of correcting another's actions, or be held accountable ourselves because we reject the thought that there is objective truth from which to do so. We have adopted the "what is true for me may not be true for you" worldview. And we refuse the notion of sin as anything other than a Christian religious term and concept in order to rid ourselves of conviction.
Why? Can you handle more truth? Because we are prideful, selfish, arrogant, self-serving, stiff-necked, boastful, haughty, lustful, sinful and rebellious. Why? Because we succumb to unchecked thoughts, emotions and selfish passions and ignore our conscience, and that voice. Oh we hear that voice from time to time that says, "Stop, "Don't", "Quit", "You know that's not right", "Put it back", "Don't listen to them", "You need help", "Better leave", "Why are you doing this?" It is God's moral compass. In comedies we portray a little devil on one shoulder and an angel on another. In reality it is God dealing with our conscience and our inner man prone to sin. There are those that think this moral compass a bad thing. Good is called evil, and evil is called good. To rid ourselves of moral responsibility we attempt various things. Remove this God from the public square, our schools and homes. Ignore this voice. Rewrite our laws. Preach tolerance for things that should not be tolerated. Create a god of one's own making. Embrace excuses that will help justify, or convincing ourselves it could not be evil, bad or wrong when it seems right, so tasteful, delightful and wonderful. Whatever it takes to stop that voice we hear, the guilt we feel or the conviction's we have.
But try as one might, no matter what we attempt, it will not change the reality residing inside. Burn all the Bibles, close all the churches, remove all vestiges of spirituality and moral boundaries and we will still face the truth of what Scripture talks about. The truth being that God has written his laws on the hearts of all men (Romans 2:15). That is why no matter where one goes in the world, there are moral laws. These core values that are the same. It is wrong to murder, wrong to covet your neighbor's wife, wrong to steal. These things are universal. Even the most illiterate are intuitively aware that there is right from wrong. Laws meant to help steer us from misery, suffering, sorrow, harm, wickedness and evil. This is not to dismiss the truth that there are those who genuinely have mental disorders brought about by physical or chemical deficiencies of the brain, warping their capability to deal in reality and impacting their ability to reason and rationally make sane decisions. This may also cause these individuals to commit unacceptable acts, though more and more people are using mental illness as an excuse for their behavior.
Understand, wherever we remove God, we will replace Him with something else. We often think it will be something better, more useful, fruitful and progressive. However, man's history is replete with the failures and consequences of this ignorant belief. Our past is full of various social attempts to form a "perfect society", or utopia on our terms. We have tried various governments and political systems. We have looked to develop the right environment. We've experimented with every kind of spiritualism. We've gone through socialism, communism, relativism, humanism, mysticism, hedonism, Darwinism, Nazism, paganism, liberalism, fascism, Marxism, pacifism, spiritism, animism, occultism, Taoism and every other "ism" you can think of. We've done yoga, meditation, sleep therapy, chanting, channeling, emptying and filling, focusing and visualizing, imagining and positive thinking. Over the centuries we've tried it all. As Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun." None of them have resolved our issues. None of them have the power to change the very inner nature and heart of man, for that is where the answer lies. It is the condition of the heart as Proverbs 4:23 states, "Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the ISSUES of life." Oh, like a 12 step AA program, they may teach control of, but not freedom from. That power resides with a God capable of spiritual restoration. The very one who can heal and bring about change, we reject. That's true blindness.
A review of our past, as divided into dispensations, will show what God was up to in each phase of our rebellious history. We will note some historical markers on the world stage and take a look at societies that sprang up along the way.
Dispensation of Conscience
The "Dispensation of Innocence" came to an end, ushering in a new one called the "Dispensation of Conscience". This period started around 3,500 B.C. (Genesis 3:22 to 8:14)
Man lost his God-conscience and exchanged it for a self-conscience. Conscience became the "built in" warning system to approve, or reprove, an individual throughout their lives. And with consciousness, the responsibility of choosing right or wrong, good or evil. Now with a conscience man had to face, instead of one thing that would cause sin and death, unlimited choices. In His dealings with man, God allowed this time period to be where man could let "his conscience be his guide". This age marked a period in time where individuals were tested solely upon the basis of obedience to their own conscience without any fear of being apprehended by law (Rom. 2:12-16), for the Ten Commandments were not given until later when they were given to Moses (Deut. 5:2-21). Man was given opportunity to voluntarily serve God or Satan outside of the Law.
The length of this dispensation lasted about 1,656 years, spanning from Adam to Noah before the flood.
Adam - 130 yrs. old when Seth was born (Gen. 5:3)
Seth - 105 yrs. old when Enos was born (Gen. 5:6)
Enos - 90 yrs. old when Cainan was born (Gen. 5:9)
Cainan - 70 yrs. old when Mahaleel was born (Gen. 5:12)
Mahaleel - 65 yrs. old when Jared was born (Gen. 5:15)
Jared - 162 yrs. old when Enoch was born (Gen. 5:18)
Enoch - 65 yrs. old when Methusaleh was born (Gen. 5:21)
Methusaleh - 187 yrs. old when Lamech was born (Gen. 5:25)
Lamech - 182 yrs. old when Noah was born (Gen. 5:28)
Noah - 600 yrs. old when the flood came (Gen. 7:6, 11)
The basic law at this point was to do right, and in doing so things would be well (Gen. 4:7) That is still true for today. God's purpose in this dispensation was in providing, in advance, the answer to man's argument that he did not know right from wrong through experience and so should be excused for the first sin committed against God. Therefore, God's answer was supplied by giving man (especially Adam) freedom of action to choose for himself which voice and which master he wanted to serve. In doing this, God also made it possible for man to be able to see how exceedingly sinful and wicked he could be if he was left solely to his own conscience.
The conclusion of this dispensation would be, and remains, a permanent record for future generations as to what the world would be like without God. This dispensation showed the failure of conscience as being the only need and guide for man. Total freedom, being guided only by conscience, brought about total rebellion. It brought on the first murder and every evil thought of the heart (Gen. 6:5) because it was unrestrained. We have seen with our own eyes what men and women will do without laws, and left to the dictates of their hearts.
Much of the wickedness done in society can be attributed to a conscience that no longer responds to convictions, guilt, remorse or guided by moral principles. The Bible refers to this as "a conscience seared with a hot iron." (1 Tim. 4:2).
In Genesis, Chapter Six, we find that some of those fallen angels had intermarried with women, producing the giants of the day. Some we are told became "mighty men which were of old", men of "renown", meaning having reputation and fame. The fame of this race of supernatural offspring would later become the stuff of Greek mythology. In verse five we see that man had gotten so wicked and sinful that every imagination of the heart was continually wicked (Gen. 6:5). It became obvious that without consequences or boundaries in living and conduct, mankind let their "wild side" rule. God was once again faced with having to judge man and his actions.
There was one family that found favor with God...Noah's. Among the perversion going on, Noah and his family looked to maintain a life of respect for the things of God, for righteous living and conduct. They were given the task of building an ark (literally meaning a box) in which they would house themselves and the animals that would come to "replenish" the earth after God's judgment.
The Ark was approximately 625 ft. long, 104 ft. wide, 62 ½ ft. high. Up until 1850 A.D., no ship in history was as big. Of the world's steamships up through 1932, only about 1% was as large. The Ark was equivalent to 600 freight cars forming a train four miles long, handling 90,000,000 pounds.
The Ark compared to the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier
It has been estimated that the average size of all the animals combined would come to be about the size of a dog. That being the case, there was enough room to house all that the Ark was needed to carry. Every clean or unclean beast, fowl of the air were preserved. (Gen. 2, 14-15). If dinosaurs were present, they would have been included. If they were not included, and died out with all the other animals that existed when the flood came, then fossils of present day animals and modern man would be found with the dinosaurs as well. This not the case. If they were included on the Ark and spared, then the case would still be the same as previously mentioned with finding fossils and remains in our present day strata. However, dinosaurs are uniquely different and are found separate from modern record. The floodwaters came and went leaving Noah and his family, and all that was placed on the Ark, to begin life on earth again. The command was given to go and "replenish" the earth. With the ending of the flood was the conclusion of the "Dispensation of Conscience."
Dispensation of Human Government
The "Dispensation of Human Government" began when Noah and his family stepped off of the Ark (Gen. 8:15-22; Gen. 9:1-17). Its beginning is conservatively placed around 2,500 B.C.
God established the basis of human government (Gen. 9:4-9) that would be further built upon. Here we find that man was called to re-populate the earth, exercise dominion over the animals, be responsible to each other, given authority to govern the affairs of man under God (something the Founding Fathers of America understood), free to eat meat (which would mean the killing of animals for food) as well as fruit and vegetation, but man did not have the right to take another's life, referring to murder. The highest function then of human government would be the safeguarding and protection of the sanctity of human life as a gift of God, out of which would arise the responsibility of capital punishment, established here, not as a deterrence but to execute judgment and exact justice (Genesis 9:5-6).
This dispensation moved the moral responsibility of conscience to an outward, external restraint by way of corporate, societal standardized law, instead of individual relativism (something in vogue today). Both prior dispensations ended with judgment and death. God established a covenant (a legally binding compact; promise or agreement) with Noah, his sons and future generations that He would never again cut off life by water (Gen. 9:9-17). God set the rainbow in the sky as a constant reminder of this covenant.
Noah lived 350 years after the flood and died two years before Abraham's birth (Gen. 7:8, 9:29)
Genesis, Chapter 10, lists the descendants of Noah through his three sons Japheth, Ham and Shem from which the nations arose. This chapter contains the earliest ethnological table of the ancient world, compiled centuries prior to the Homeric writings. Almost all of the names found in this chapter have been unearthed and validated in archaeological discoveries.
Gomer - forefather of the ancient Cimmerians and Cimbri of which descended the Celtic family. His sons were Ashkenaz (Jeremiah 51:27 reveals that they lived in the vicinity of Ararat, Armenia. Later their designation was that of Germany); Rihpath (inhabitants of Asia Minor); Togarmah (inhabitants of Riphath of Asia Minor)
Magog - the ancient Scythians who lived around the Black Sea.
Madai - forefather of the ancient Medes.
Javan - peopled Greece, Syria. His sons were Elishah (possibly peopled area of Sicily or Cyprus); Tarshish (ancient Spain most likely); Kittim; Dodanim (sometimes written "Rodanim", and may allude to the people of the Rhodian islands in the Aegean Sea.)
Tubal - believed to have populated region south of Black Sea.
Meshech - forefather of those who populated other northern nations. Many feel Russia is modern Magog, Tubal and Meshech combined.
Cush - peopled Ethiopia. Cush's sons Seba; Havilah; Sabtah; Raamah (his son's Sheba and Dedan) Sabteca and Nimrod (who became a mighty hunter according to Scripture.)
Mizraim - the forerunner of Egypt, and his sons Ludim; Anamim; Lehabim; Naphtuhim; Pathrusim; Casluyim - (out of which came the Philistines); Caphtorim
Put - sometimes written "Phut", refers to Lybia.
Canaan - His son's Sidon; Heth;( forerunners of The Jebusite; The Amorites; The Girgashite; The Hivite; The Arkite; The Sinite; Arvadit; The Zemarite; The Hamathit; The Canaanites. Their borders were from Sidon to Gaza, unto Sodom and Gomorrah)
Elam - peopled area east of Babylon and of the Persian Gulf
Asshur - Assyria
Arpachshad - His sons Shelah (Shelah's son Eber - the following are Eber's sons: Peleg (in his day the Earth was divided. He died 340 yrs. after the flood); Joktan (and then his sons Almodad; Sheleph; Hazarmaveth; Jerah; Hadoram; Uzal; Diklah; Obal; Abimael; Sheba; Ophir; Havilah; Jobab)
Aram - his children Uz (people north of Arabia); Hul; Gether; Mash
Remains of the Tower of Babel located in Iraq
Up to this point, man was still of one language and speech (Gen. 11:1), belief in one God, sharing the same history and knowledge of the past, and had most things in common. It took only three generations (250 yrs. after the flood) for man to once again loose his way, his faith, identity and trust in God. Humanism crept into society and opened the way for the beginning of the Babylonian Empire. With it, the establishment of the Babylonian religion and its pagan gods fashioned by man's own making. Nimrod, as Babylonia's king, was deified. Marduk was the common form of his name in the Babylonian religion that would later be identical to Bel. It is in this period that we also find Menes, a contemporary of Nimrod's, as the rising leader of the tribes that would become the Egyptian nation. And, following the pattern of the Babylonians, would likewise dive into paganism. In possessing the knowledge that was present to build the Tower of Babel, they would end up producing the Great Pyramids for their god/kings.
This was the era of city-kingdoms. Fortified cities that were ruled by a king, or a priest-king. A small empire was achieved when one city would conquer one or more of the others. These kings would record their exploits on clay tablets, some of which have since been recovered, along with the earliest recorded cities that they ruled. Erech was unearthed in 1913. One of its kings called himself the "Lord of the World". Ishtar worship was prominent along with compulsory prostitution. Accad, also known as Sippar, meaning "Book Town", was one of Nimrod's cities and the center of a famous library. When this city was unearthed, 60,000 tablets were found. Ur was a smaller city, but by the time of Abraham it had developed into being a leading city in the region. Ruling at one time from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. Other cities such as Nippur, Eridu (Noah's home town), Kish were also prominent back in the day. Their remains are today evident to tourists and seekers.
Tower of Babel - Nimrod's kingdom included the city of Babel (Gen. 10:10) whose size reached approximately 100 square miles. The Tower of Babel was built in the land of Shinar in Mesopotamia (present day Iraq). A Babylonian description of the tower (a ziggurat) that was discovered in 1876 describes a grand court about 900 x 1,156 ft. and a smaller on 450 x 1,056 ft. Around the court were six gates that allowed admission into the temple. After these came a platform with walls around it with four gates on each side. Within this enclosure stood a large building about 200 ft. square. Around the base of the tower there were many small shrines or chapels dedicated to various gods. The total height of the tower was 300 feet. The top sanctuary was made for the god Bel-Merodach. This represented man's first attempt at setting up a one-world government and religious system. An attempt that has been ongoing since.
The descendants of Noah began slipping into paganism, worshiping a vast pantheon of gods such as Shamash, the sun god; Sim, the moon god; Ishtar, goddess of fertility and Marduk, lord of the heavens.
It is here that God confused the language of man (therefore the name "babel", where we get our word "babbling". And such phrases as "babbling like as idiot") in order to scatter man across the earth. The dispersal of man brought about great change. Initially of one language, people now found themselves broken down into small, separated tribes as they were drawn to others of like speech. Each took with them the joint knowledge they shared of their past, of the existence of God, of the spiritual realm and of eternity. Common knowledge of the first man and woman, the fall, of demons and angels. As time would progress the names would change, memory would loose details and facts would get confused with fiction. Among things to get lost in translation would be true events that time and man would instead shape into myths and legends. Superstition made way for other beliefs to spring forth, and for heathenism and paganism to flourish. The fact that we find many similar things in most cultures, such as demons, angels, the belief in deity, the after life, the story of the Flood and more, helps demonstrate the commonality that existed at one time of a shared understanding of the facts, truth, history and a commonly held knowledge of events.
After the dispersal from the work at Babel we find the rise of the Egyptian and Greek cultures, dated at around 2,500-2,000 B.C. Hinduism would soon follow at approximately 2,000 B.C.
It is during this dispensation that God, after confusing man's language, also further separated man by dividing the earth into continents and islands. This happened two generations after the Tower of Babel during the time of Peleg (Gen. 10:5, 20, 25, 31-32; 11:8; Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26). Peleg lived to be 239 years old, giving the length of time in which this process transpired.
Science Note: Alfred Wegener, a German meteorologist, came up with the theory of "continental drift". He suggested that continents moved about the globe over geologic time. In 1912, his radical idea that Africa and South America had once been connected by a continent-sized land bridge that had since sunk into the sea was mocked. In 1915, he published, "The Origin of Continents and Oceans", in which he suggested that all the continents had once been part of a giant super-continent called, "Pangea". And that the continents had separated to their present positions. It took almost 50 years before the concept of continental drift became accepted by mainstream geologists as the evidence to support it continued to grow. Today, it is commonly held that plate tectonics is the mechanism that causes continental drift. There is now suggestion that the Appalachian Mountains extended to mountains in Greenland, the United Kingdom and Norway, indicating that these land masses were once joined. It has also been suggested that plant, animal life and man, common to each continent could not have crossed such great divides unless at one time these land masses were interconnected. Here is another example of science catching up with scripture, 4,000 years after Genesis was written. Not only does this lend credence to the Bible.... again, but also an understandable means by which God accomplished this.
MODEL OF THE CONTINENTAL DRIFT IN MOTION
God moved from dealing with mankind as a whole to focusing on a specific tribe of people, and one individual. This brought an end to the "Dispensation of Human Government". A period that lasted 427 years, from Genesis 8:15 to Genesis 11:32. This period began with the flood of Noah, and ended with the call of Abraham.
Now, for the first time since Adam, God began looking at dealing with a specific race, lineage, family and individual. That individual being Abram, meaning, "exalted father". He would later be called Abraham, meaning "father of a multitude". As Noah was the tenth generation from Adam, so Abram was the tenth from Noah. (Gen. 11:10-32)
Abram's birth is generally set at about 2100 B.C. Noah's son Shem was still alive when Abraham would later enter into Canaan.
We find in this dispensation that human government was enlarged as laws were given (some by God, some manmade) as societal necessity required. God set a spiritual law of blessings and cursing's (Gen. 12:3). This helps explain America's prosperity among the nations as those who helped to establish our country were convinced that our nation could not long survive without God's hand upon it. Along with His statutes, precepts and His Word to sustain it.
Starting with Genesis, Chapter 12, we see that secular history begins to correlate with biblical history. God commanded Abram, at 75 years of age, to leave his homeland, friends, relatives and all that he knew and follow the leading of God to a place not yet told to him. God promised Abram that he would be made a great nation through his descendents, and that God would bless him, making his name great. And finally, that he himself would be a blessing. (Gen. 12:2). The relationship and involvement of the covenant was simple, whatever God promised Abram was to believe. And whatever God asked, Abram was to do. It doesn't get much simpler than that.
God's purposes in this dispensation was to establish a people that would be representatives of, and for Him, among the nations. A physical, financial and spiritual example of God's blessings. Through Israel, God would be able to show His power, blessings and purposes for all mankind. That being a life of health, prosperity, protection, security and freedom. The second purpose was to establish the location and lineage necessary to enact a future phase of His plan. The plan of redeeming mankind out of its hopeless struggle, and of the restoration of God's creation.
The "Dispensation of Promise" was not without its problems. Even though God was once again dealing with only one man, and His requirement was again very simple, Abraham showed that even with our best intentions we still fall short of the mark.
Abraham's life is a good example of the difference between God's timing, and His way of doing things, as compared to how and when we think things should be done. His life also demonstrates how one decision can effect not only one generation, but future generations and the world at large. We find this played out in Genesis 12 through 21:19. God made a promise that Abraham would be the father of a great nation. Abraham was 75 years old at the time. That doesn't seem like the best time in a man's life to think about starting a large family and nation building. However God had made a promised and Abraham believed, at least for a time. Life events happened along the way and time passed. After about ten years, Abraham found himself with not having even one son. His wife Sarah believed it impossible at her age to conceive, so in order to help God's "promise" come about, she came up with a plan. Abraham would take Sarah's Egyptian maid Hagar as his wife and seek to bear children through her. Hagar did conceive and gave birth to Ishmael, but like my mother always said, "You can't have two women in the kitchen!" Sarah got jealous (what a shocking surprise!) and ended up having Hagar kicked out of camp. Abraham was now 86 years old and was most likely wanting to sit down with his financial consultant to review his 401k's. However retirement was not in the cards just yet.
Instead of getting a heavenly "high five", Abraham was to discover that God's plan called for patience and trust. When Abraham got a visit from God, he found that God's intent was for Abraham to bear a child through Sarah (whoops!). And for it to truly be known that this was a work of God, it would be accomplished in the most unlikely of ways, when it would seem impossible. That is how God works. You know something is of God when only He can pull it off. Now at 99 years of age, Abraham was told that his 90-year-old wife, Sarah, would give birth to a son. And, that God's covenant would be through this future son and not Ishmael. Abraham laughed in unbelief, but when Sarah did give birth, 24 years after God's first visit with Abraham, they named the child Isaac, which means "he laughs". A permanent reminder of his momentary lapse into unbelief verses God's power and fulfillment of His word. Abraham never again struggled with his faith in God.
Two sons. One was the work of man's effort, the other by God's design. One would be the forefather of the Arab nations that would eventually give rise to the birth of Islam. The other, produced the nation of Israel and of the Jewish faith.
Although it appears that Isaac and Ishmael were on friendly terms, having buried their father Abraham together, preceding generations drifted apart with the rise of Islam among these Arab nations eventually opposing Israel altogether. Today, we are still feeling the effects and dealing with the impact of Abraham and Sarah's decision to take things into their own hands. A family division that has not only morphed into a battle between nations, but of a spiritual struggle among men, of opposing ideologies and beliefs. A war that has been raging now for centuries, engulfing the whole world in this ongoing battle. Great international efforts have been made to verbally frame today's situation in different terms in order to avoid invoking a particular past, suggest any notion of a "holy war", and steer clear of the obvious clash in opposing belief systems. Nevertheless, that is the reality.
The Middle East has since remained the hotspot of world affairs, with the tiny nation of Israel as the focal point. Regular efforts to bring elusive peace to the region will continue to be made, and will continue to fail, until the end of all things.
Isaac would grow up, marry Rebekah and give birth to twins, Esau and Jacob. Esau would sell his birthright to Jacob, and Jacob would steal away Esau's blessing from their father, Isaac. Jacob would later marry Leah and her sister Rachel, ending up with twelve sons. They, in turn, would make up the 12 tribes of Israel. Their names were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher.
Through an astonishing series of events that later would be understood as being by the providence of God (Gen. 37-50), Joseph, as second in command in all of Egypt, was able to help his people, and the future of Israel, survive a great famine that lasted seven years. After Joseph died, a new king rose to power who did not know Joseph, nor God. Upon seeing the shear number of Jews in Egypt that struck concern of losing control of his kingdom, this king enslaved the Jewish population (Exodus 1:8-13).
In an attempt at crowd control, the king of Egypt sought to kill all the male children born (Exodus 1:16). This would be the first of many attempts down through history to exterminate and destroy the people God has set aside for a work that has yet to be completed.
It was under these circumstances that Moses would be born. He ended up being raised (amazingly) in Pharaoh's own house and into Egyptian royalty. However, he would end up in exile, running for his life for killing an Egyptian. Later, God would call him to return back to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of their slavery and bondage. This was done in dramatic fashion (Exodus, chapters 3-14)
A period of 400 years lapsed between Joseph's death and the life of Moses. During this time, Egypt grew to be a world empire, with Israel having grown in numbers while under the bondage of slavery.
Although there are several opinions as to historically which Pharaoh made the Israelites his slaves, and later, which Pharaoh was the one Moses encountered as he was sent back to Egypt to lead Israel out of bondage, the remarkable thing is that the mummies of all four Pharaoh's in question (Thotmes III; Rameses II; Amenhotep II; Merneptah) have been recovered and are now on display in various museums. It is the face of one of them that is the same one Moses literally looked at centuries ago in this now famous confrontation of wills.
The exodus of Israel from the land of Egypt, and away from Pharaoh's control, set in motion the conclusion of this remarkable period of history. It also prepared the stage for the beginning of a new era. One that would start with the giving of the Ten Commandments. The "Dispensation of Promise" lasted 430 years and ended when Moses went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone.
Historical Note: It is during this period that Hammurabi came into prominence as the great king of Babylon (2000 B.C.). In Scripture he is commonly identified as, "Amraphel" (Gen. 14:1) He is one of the kings Abraham pursued in rescuing Lot. In 1902, an amazing discovery was made. A polished stone, 8 feet high, 2 feet wide and 1 ½ feet thick was unearthed. Engraved on it, in cuneiform writing of the Semitic Babylonian language, is what is commonly referred to today as "Hammurabi's Code".
Hammurabi had his scribes collect and codify the laws of his kingdom. These laws covered such topics as taxes, wages, interest, money lending, marriage, property, disputes, public works, passenger and freight service by canal or caravans, international commerce, administration of justice and more. Once done, it was set up for public display for the citizens to read and learn. This tablet is not a copy but the original. Done during Abraham's lifetime, it exists today on display in the Louve Museum in Paris. It demonstrates the sophistication of writing and the well-developed system of jurisprudence that was already in existence. Around this time in China, the Hsia Dynasty was in its infancy (2000-1500 B.C.), and just prior to Moses getting some face time with Pharaoh. The Egyptians began playing a game that resembles our present day checkers and indoor plumbing was first utilized in the city of Crete.
During this period, The Great Sphinx of Giza was built. The Assyrians rose to power, the people of the Indus Valley began to thrive as a civilization, later giving rise to Hinduism. Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed. Stonehenge in England had become a center of religious worship. The Greek culture, with its Greek gods and mythical stories, emerged prior to Abraham's journeys. The reign of Gilgamesh, king of Urak in Babylonia, is placed just prior to this time period (2500 B.C.). And, The Babylonian's identified the signs of the zodiac in this dispensation.
Dispensation Of Law
In prior dispensations, man demonstrated the inability to fulfill God's plan and will for their life on their own. In this dispensation, God presented His will in every aspect of human life. God planned to organize a commonwealth of nations, headed by Israel, governed by His laws and by men of His own choosing. He planned a system of worship, a place where His glory could be continually manifested, and where He could have perpetual contact with mankind (Ex. 19:3-7; Deut. 28) And lastly, to bless Israel as a nation, making it a physical and spiritual example in the Earth of what all nations could enjoy if they would turn from their idols and serve the true and living God.
This dispensation started out on a powerful and favorable note of success. Israel had just witnessed firsthand the reality of the existence of God, and of His power through the signs and wonders utilized to deliver them out of the hands of Egyptian slavery.
This period began in Exodus 12:38 (1500 B.C.) with the exodus of the Jewish people and the giving of the Ten Commandments. If man ever wanted God to just spell it out in simple terms for anyone to understand what the instruction manual is for how to live, this dispensation would provide it. God would supply ten simple rules for man to follow. These would be individual and corporately held and followed. Ten universal laws to govern all mankind. A means for establishing a code of conduct for social and civil life.
These laws would also reveal man's inability to be able to live how he was originally intended to live due to the sin nature. Thus, showing the whole world guilty and in need of help. Likewise, the Ten Commandments brought spiritual conviction, an outward knowledge of sin and wrongdoing. And when broken, rendering that individual guilty. The Ten Commandments still acts as this catalyst. One reason it is being stripped out of society.
The fine is a steep one though, for without the removal of sin and guilt, and the payment of the fine, the penalty remains in place and the verdict intact. God had put in place a temporary means, through sacrifice and offerings, by which man could acknowledge his guilt, show repentance, pay restitution and receive forgiveness. Yet God's ultimate answer to man's dilemma was yet to come in due time.
Here is a review of God's Ten Commandments:
1) You shall have no other god's before me
2) You shall not bow to any graven images
3) You shall not take God's name in vain
4) You shall keep the Sabbath holy
5) You shall honor your mother and father
6) You shall not murder
7) You shall not commit adultery
8) You shall not steal
9) You shall not bear false witness
10) You shall not covet
Before Moses could even get down from the mountain with the laws freshly written by God's hand, Israel had already made an idol for worship and was holding their own "Woodstock" right there in the wilderness. This got ironed out quickly. The Ten Commandments were instituted, becoming an anchor in society for a time by establishing a corporately held knowledge of right from wrong, civility, respect and of moral code. But after a while they got mishandled, misused, misplaced and eventually lost and forgotten as people allowed themselves to be drawn into apostasy and idol worship. Wandering away from their purpose and calling. Time past until they were re-discovered while the Temple in Jerusalem was being repaired (2 Kings 22). King Josiah had them reinstated, cleansed the land of its idols and those priests of idol worship that led them into apostasy. Revival took place and once again direction, identity, commonality, clarity and purpose was established. This is something we could surely use today as we continue to sink into moral ambiguity.
Today, nations are being aggressively pulled in this direction by a different type of idol priest. Those that espouse secularism, and kneel at the altar of humanism. Ultimately, leading many down the path of moral and spiritual ignorance, darkness and indifference.
During this period, some of the greatest stories and significant events took place. Moses led Israel to the Promised Land and died without being able to set foot there. Joshua assumed the leadership role and led Israel, not only around the walls of Jericho, but to many victories. David rose up in history, slew Goliath and became king of Israel. The remaining tribes of giants were destroyed. Samson had his "tussles" with the Philistines. And, of course, crossed paths with Delilah, his Achilles heel.
God used such prophets as Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Isaiah and Ezekiel as his spokesmen to the nations. Jezebel established a new definition for the term "bad girls". Job defined the true meaning of suffering and final blessing. And Israel was eventually divided for 260 years as the northern and southern kingdoms.
It is a period rich in ancient biblical and world history. This dispensation covered approximately 1,718 years and ended as Jesus emerged to usher in the "Dispensation of Grace".
Historical Note: The Greek alphabet was in a developing stage, and The Shang Dynasty in China rose about the time of Moses and the Jewish exodus around 1450 B.C.
The Late Bronze Age gave way to the Iron Age about 1000-600 B.C. The Trojan Wars and conquest of Troy took place in 1184 B.C.
The Mayan Dynasties were founded in Central America around 1000 B.C., near the time King David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.
Columns to the temple of Ramesses III were built at Thebes just prior to Samuel.
The founding of Rome and the first Olympic Games were during Isaiah's ministry. The building of the Acropolis, in Athens, took place the year Jeremiah was born.
The same year King Josiah, king of Judah, instituted the restoration of the Law of Moses, Draco established his "draconian laws" (621 B.C.) and the Greeks were colonizing Southern France (600 B.C.)
In 480 B.C., 300 Spartan's held off the Persian army at Thermopylae, a few years before Esther became queen of Persia in time to save the Jewish people from extermination.
Plato was a contemporary of Nehemiah in 427 B.C., establishing his academy in Athens in 380 B.C. The traditional date for the founding of Rome in 753 B.C. was during the time of the prophet Hosea.
The Indian Vedas was completed around 725 B.C. at the same time the sayings of Solomon were being collected together. Socrates lived from 470-399 B.C., during the time of Malachi, and was sentenced to death while Nehemiah was in Babylon.
During the period while the prophet Daniel was being thrown into the lion's den, Gautma Buddha and Confucius were spreading their philosophies, with Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism all having their start around 500 B.C.
While Nebuchadnezzar was ruling Babylon, the Mayan's were "chillin" with a new cocoa drink (600 B.C.). The Temple of the Sun at Teotihuacan, Mexico was erected in 300 B.C., and the Great Wall of China was being built in 215 B.C. around the same time a copy of the scriptures was being made. Today we know this copy as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Aesop wrote his fables (620-560 B.C.) during the tenures of Daniel, King Josiah and the fall of Nineveh to the Babylonians. Homer wrote the "Iliad" the same year Elisha died (800 B.C.).
Dispensation of Grace
Past dispensations of time, representing God's dealings with humanity, had prepared the way for this specific point in history. The Law of Conscience, the Law of Human Government and the Law of the Ten Commandments revealed several things. First, they brought to greater clarity the ever increasing evidence of the fallen condition of man's nature, the existence of sin and man's inability to do anything about it, no matter what plan, program or opportunity that was presented. God looked to meet any potential rebuttal from any accuser by providing a track record as proof of His efforts to work with man. God gave opportunity, time and choices. Only one remained.
These historical periods also reveal the logical, progressive and unfolding plan of God with regard to man. God's answer to saving mankind from his present flawed condition would require a permanent solution. We only have to look around, and not very hard (only as far as our bathroom mirror), to see that we are flawed and full of problems. Flaws and problems that human efforts have not been able to resolve after over 6,000 years of trying. It demonstrates the fact that it is a spiritual condition of the heart that can only be resolved by a spiritual renovation.
In the beginning, man was placed in a perfect environment, that didn't matter. Man was given the opportunity to be guided purely by the dictates of one's conscience, that was a disaster. Was given a second chance and blew it. Then human government was initiated to place boundaries, give guidance for the betterment of society while spelling out responsibility to the individual. Instead man saw selfish opportunity and polluted it with perverted politics. Talk about feeding the beast. Moral laws were given to shed light on the real problem. We came up with brainy phrases like "laws were meant to be broken" that only affirmed our rebellious nature we like to call our "free spirit". After all, "how can anything be bad that feels so good?"
All other periods of God's dealing with man led up to this one. This is the dispensation you and I find ourselves in. It is one that so far has lasted for over 2,000 years. Longer than any other period prior to it. God not only has looked to provide the means, and the answer, but has also met the last argument that could be raised against Him. That argument being "You don't know what it is like!" "Try walking in my shoes before you judge." "What did you ever do for me?"
God knew what the personal cost would be. It would be no less than to risk it all for us. There is no greater love. God would step down from His throne and put aside His omnipotent power. He would take on the form of humanity and enter into His creation in physical form. He would place Himself under the same conditions, and subject Himself to the same things. He would know hunger, rejection, pain, temptation, loss, anger, testing of faith, loneliness and rejection of others. Before, God sent messengers, prophets, spoke in dreams, gave visions and revealed His reality through outward signs and demonstrated supernatural power. Now, He would come Himself, in person to save His prized creation. He would take upon Himself all of the anger man had toward Him. He would allow Himself to be beaten, stricken and wounded. He would take it upon Himself to pay the cost of man's iniquity in order to spare us from it. He would experience death for Himself, stepping into our shoes and taking our place. The stakes could not be any higher. Success would mean restoration, freedom from bondage, victory over death and the grave with a future life of eternal length. Failure would doom all of creation to certain death and eternal oblivion.
Scripture is clear on the subject of God coming as man's Messiah, or Savior. Providing deliverance and ushering in the only solution to the fallen condition of creation. There are 332 prophetic passages that history bears out as having been met in the person and life of the most controversial figure ever known to man...... Jesus of Nazareth. We shall only examine a few of them here. Follow along.
The Bible is specific as to:
SPECIFIC AS TO WHOM:
"The Lord your God will raise up to you a Prophet from the midst of you, of your brethren, like unto me, to him you shall hearken…" (Deuteronomy 18:15. Written 1400 years before the life of Christ)
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, your King comes to you; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass…" (Zechariah 9:9. Written 500 years before Christ)
"Say to those who are of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not; behold your God will come with vengeance, even God, with a recompense (reward); He will come and save you. The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing…" (Isaiah 35:4-5. Written 700 years beforehand)
This Prophet, this King coming with salvation in hand is none other than God coming with a reward and to save. Specific miracles are noted as accompanying signs as well as the manner in which he would present himself, not with trumpets and a gala ball, but lowly and humble.
SPECIFIC AS TO THE NATION, LINEAGE AND FAMILY:
"Out of Jacob (Israel) shall He come who shall have dominion…" (Numbers 24:19. Written 1400 years prior.)
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." (Isaiah 11:1-2. Written 700 yrs. earlier.)
"Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the earth." (Jeremiah 23:5. Written 600 yrs. earlier')
Of all of the nations of the earth, God eliminated them all but one… Israel. Of the tens of thousands of families that could have been named, God eliminated them all but one… Jesse and his eight sons. And of those eight sons, God eliminated all of them but one… David. Talk about drilling down to the detail.
SPECIFIC AS TO HOW:
"Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel (meaning God with us)." Isaiah 7:14
"For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Might God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
There is no question that a birth such as this would not only set it apart as unique, but as an unmistakable sign. Those that might mock this may not realize that there are actually documented examples of this in nature. Also, if man can cause birth to result through artificial insemination, without consummation (a manmade virgin birth), I don't see why God is not able to do so as well. Simply because we do not know the process used here does not eliminate it .
SPECIFIC AS TO WHERE:
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah (another name for Bethlehem and name of the founder of it), though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Micah 5:2
Of all the thousands of cities, towns and villages that could have been named, God eliminated all but one, Bethlehem. It is also noteworthy to mention that this ruler to come is said to have been from old, from everlasting. Only God qualifies as having been from everlasting, again signifying divinity.
SPECIFIC AS TO WHEN:
"I shall see him, but not now; I shall behold him, but not near; there shall come a Star out of Jacob (Israel) and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel…" Numb. 24:17, 19
The word "Star" is significant in two ways. The word not only means a blazing, shining star but it also denotes "prince" figuratively, which would refer to royalty.
"And the nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. The multitude of camels shall cover you, the dromedaries (one hump Arabian camel) of Midian and Ephah; they all from Shebe shall come; they shall bring gold and incense, and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord…" Isa.60:3, 6
"The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents; the kings of Sheba and seba shall offer gifts…" Psa. 72:10
These verses express an event so unusual and recognized as a sign of enough important significance as to draw even kings with a praise offering from other lands. Surely the appearance of a highly unusual and rare occurrence in the sky would garner the attention of those who have been waiting and seeking for the prophetic to come to pass. In the fall of 2007, a comet labeled "Comet 17P/Holmes" unexpectedly brightened for weeks on end, being visible to the naked eye as its gases exploded due to the sun's heat. With no visible tail, the event was an unplanned astronomical surprise and was considered a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence by professional astronomers. Many who had never witnessed such a thing before. This is an example to demonstrate how an event, previously announced prophetically, can come out of nowhere at anytime. If you're God omniscient, it's at the right time. Did these prophetic events historically take place? Keep reading.
One of the most amazing portions of prophetic scripture is found in the Book of Daniel, and is referred to as "Daniel's Seventy Weeks." Daniel is given a timeline pertaining to Israel and Jerusalem, but it also reveals the timeframe in which the Messiah would be manifestly present on the world stage. Let's take a look:
"Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks, shall messiah be cut off, but not for himself…" Daniel 9:24-26
We will need to break this down in segments in order to digest its content.
The expression, "Seventy weeks" literally means "seventy sevened", or "seventy sevens". This comes out to be 490. The Hebrew word "shabuwa" used for "week" means "sevened" as in a multiplier, or seven. To know what that seven represents is based on content. In this case, a week represents 7 years. Daniel was given to understand the number of years (Dan. 9:2). Back in the day, a week was an important sabbatical time-measurement in the Jewish calendar.
In Genesis 29:26-28, we find that Jacob wanted to marry Laban's younger daughter, Rachel. The custom of that period was that the eldest daughter was to be given in marriage first before any others. And so, Laban told Jacob in verse 27, that if Jacob fulfilled the eldest daughter's "week", that at the end of that week he could also marry Rachel. We see that Jacob then served Laban another seven years (v. 27), fulfilling the eldest daughter's "week", and allowing Jacob to marry Rachel (See also Deut. 16:9, Lev. 25) Over time, the use of the term "week" became rare, much like our term "score", as in Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address of "Four score and seven years ago..." No wonder Daniel had to dig a little to gain "understanding".
Therefore "70 weeks" or 70 (7 years) equals 490 years.
(70 x 7 years, which equals 490 years)
Or if you like, taking a seven year period and adding 70 of them together = 490 years.
Daniel is then given a breakdown of this "Seventy Weeks" or 490 years, beginning in Daniel 9:25. He is told that from the issuance of the command, or decree, to restore and build Jerusalem would be "seven weeks" and "three score and two weeks". From what we learned previously, that a "week" represents seven years, we find that seven weeks represents 49 years (seven (sevened)) or 7 x 7 years = 49 years.
The archaic term "score" is used to denote a group of 20. What that 20 represents would need to be determined by the content. "Three score" would be three 20's, or adding 20 three times or (20 x 3) which comes to 60. Three score and "two" would be 62 (adding two to the 60). And finally three score and two "weeks (7 years)" would give us 62 times "7 years", giving us 434 years.
Now, let's place this information back into Daniel 9:25:
"Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to the Messiah, the Prince, shall be 49 years (seven weeks), and 434 years (three score and two weeks)
(gap intentional here)
the street shall be built again and the wall even in troublous times."
From the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem to the time of the Messiah would be 49 years and 434 years, which adds up to 483 years. The first 49 years from this decree would see the restoration of Jerusalem, along with the wall and street, even during turbulent times. Demonstrating that the restoration process authorized by this decree would not be hindered until completed. After which another 434 years would pass that would take us up to the time of the Messiah. Then something significant transpires that is mentioned in Daniel 9:26:
"And after threescore and two weeks", referring to the 434 years that came after the 49 years of restoration, "shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself...."
At the end of this calendar countdown, the Messiah would be cut off, but it wouldn't be for himself. He would die for others. Daniel 9:24-26 gives us a tangible timeline in which the Messiah mentioned throughout Scripture would be physically present in world history. To know the time and season of this rests in identifying the actual "commandment" that brought about the completion of this process. From there we can begin to calculate.
Historical Note: Historically, there have been three decrees given toward the goal of restoring Jerusalem and the Temple. The first, was by King Cyrus in 539 B.C., but the job was never completed under this decree. Next, was King Darius who authorized, by decree in 516 B.C., for the continuance of King Cyrus's earlier command for the Temple to be completed, which did come to pass during his tenure. The last decree was issued by Artaxerxes I, king of Persia to Ezra (Ezra 7) in 457 B.C. Some have stated that a second one was issued by Artaxerxes I twelve years later to Nehemiah (Neh. 2) in 445 B.C., but in reality, Nehemiah received letters of passage with permission from the king to go to Jerusalem. No further decree was needed, for all that was required was given to Ezra. Being that Artaxerxes I issued his decree after King Cyrus and King Darius points to the fact that the work of restoring Jerusalem, including the wall and street, were yet to be completed and so eliminates the first two as potential candidates. Historians and theologians agree that neither of the first two decrees listed above represent the fulfillment of the commandment referred to in Daniel 9:25, and therefore the fulfillment of this prophesy. This brings us to the last one issued by Artaxerxes I to Ezra, with Nehemiah's permission slip mistakenly being counted by others as a decree.
Because of this, there is debate as to which date, under Artaxerxes I in sending Ezra and Nehemiah, represents that foretold many years earlier in Daniel 9:25. There is also debate as to which calendar (solar, lunar, Jewish, Gregorian) was used, and which should be used for calculating the dates within this passage. This has caused some strange computations and time variations, yet the difference in dates among these efforts amounts to, at most, a variance of no more than seven years. Easily defining the generation and decade without debate. What is important for us here is to determine who, within this window of time, Scripture and history attest to. Although, I believe the following represents the most reasonable and logical approach that aligns with secular history, and with Scripture.
Artaxerxes I issued his decree to Ezra in 457 B.C., giving him all the authority and power required to do whatever Ezra deemed necessary to complete the beautification of the Temple, maintenance of worship, establishing magistrates and judges, restoring Jewish governance and law, rebuilding the wall (Ezra 9:9) and anything else deemed necessary to restore life, health and wholeness. It is important to note that restoring and building Jerusalem involved more than just the physical construction and reconstruction of mere buildings. Here is where I think many miss the mark. Although much was done, Ezra did find opposition and was in need of help, for after 12 years Nehemiah was shocked to learn that the city wall was still in ruin because of the laziness of the people (Nehemiah 1). Nehemiah found favor with King Artaxerxes I, who allowed Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem to investigate, giving him letters of passage to travel through the land in his journey. Upon arriving, Nehemiah observed the situation (Neh. 2:9-16). He then took on the job of getting the wall done (Neh. 2:17-6:15). He had to deal with continual issues, complications and opposition. The work was finally completed in 52 days, which finalized the last portion of Daniel 9:25 ".... the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times." Recently, archaeologists uncovered what they believe is this very wall.
We now have the information useful for our purposes in determining the window of time referred to in Daniel, Chapter Nine.
The decree given to Ezra was in 457 B.C. This supplies us with the date to begin the countdown of Daniel's 70 Weeks, or 490 years. Moving down through the corridor of time, 49 years and then another 434 years, places us in the year 26 A.D. Subtracting the 49 years (7 weeks) and the 434 years (62 weeks) from 457 B.C., we end up at the year 26 A.D. Since there is no such thing as 0 B.C., or 0 A.D., we will need to add one year to represent going from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D. This brings us to the year 27 A.D., and the window of time of this Messiah's existence on the world stage.
We know he was to come forth from the Jewish nation, born of virgin birth in Bethlehem, of the lineage of David, from the stock of Jesse. A star would signify his arrival and garner the attention of dignitaries from the East who would arrive to welcome this Messiah. And, who would later be cut off (killed), not for himself but for others.
Ummm! let's see. Does anyone come to mind? The answer is obvious if you know history. Prophetic scriptures eliminated all of the millions of people by supplying the time, descriptions and circumstances to only one person that fits the bill..... Jesus of Nazareth. This same Jesus who was crucified (cut off, killed, after this 483 years) just outside of Jerusalem in 30 A.D., not for himself, but for all of humanity, including you and me.
Just a coincidence? Hardly.
Interestingly, of the 70 weeks, or 490 years, that we have been discussing from the Book of Daniel, we only have accounted for 69 weeks, or 483 years. There yet remains one more week, or seven years. What has become of it?
We find it in Daniel 9:27, and the Book of Revelations. It is commonly referred to as the "Tribulation Period". It is during this timeframe that the antichrist rises onto the world stage; efforts to establish a one world government and religious system is attempted; institution of a cashless society by means of receiving a mark of 666 that will be issued to buy and sell. And when the final Battle of Armageddon will literally be fought in the valley of Megiddo (a place that Napoleon said was the most natural field of battle he had ever seen). It is yet future, but not too far. The timeclock that has been counting down the 490 years has been suspended, held back by this "grace period" you and I are in. The clock is waiting to begin the final countdown of these last remaining years.
When will this be? Only God knows. You say it won't happen? Too late, we are already on our way toward the start of the clock ticking again with each passing day that goes by. It is inevitable.
My only question to you is, "What are you doing about it before that first day of the countdown resumes again?"