By Pete Garcia
Growing up, I used to listen to a Christian pop-rock band called 'Crumbacher', who released an album in the mid-80's called 'Escape from the Fallen Planet'. It was a little campy, full of keyboard riffs and cheesy 80's outfits, but looking back on it, I've grown quite fond of the concept of it as in regards to the Rapture.
So, it's not that I'm a fan of escapism, but of one day being reconciled to my Creator and becoming what I was intended to become. Not a tent of flesh, prone to sin and the fallenness of this planet, but a building from God in whom we long to be clothed with. (2 Cor 5:1-5)
As Christians, our hope, our reason for drudging on day after day lies in the reality, that Jesus is God, and He promised that one day He would return for us so that we could be where He is.
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:1-3
So where are we?
I've often wondered how long exactly the Lord would tarry. We know His return is imminent in the sense that it could happen at any moment, but would He stay His hand another few decades or come before the end of the month? Has the 2000 years been enough? Or does the increasing population on planet earth necessitate a longer time needed to fulfill the final harvest of men and womens' souls? No one currently alive can peak into the future, and we are explicitly told by Jesus Himself that 'no one will know the day or hour' of His coming.
So how do we gauge were exactly we are in history?
Aside from scriptures, that leaves only looking around at our current state, and looking into the past to see where we've come from. We also know, that certain prophetic events that are currently in motion, have if you will, a shelf life. They just can't continue to go on and on without some sort of finality to them.
I have a personal theory that men like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Ludwig van Beethoven, Benjamin Franklin, and Albert Einstein weren't really gifted with supernatural intelligence. God just allowed them to use ALL of their brains, unlike most of us who only use a small percentage at any given moment.
These men were sprinkled throughout history to allow mankind to progress at a set pace, but not too quickly. As we have progressed through time, more and more of these men (and women) appear on the scene to quicken the pace in which we progress.
But those times have changed, in large part due to the invention of the computer and the internet (thanks Al Gore!). The amount of information available to anyone with access to it is mind boggling. Today's average person has more information at their fingertips than the smartest men of ages past had their whole lives, which is why we keep leap frogging (technology wise) at an incredible pace. So based on that, we have a long, long, long period of time when man was limited as far as ability goes, and only just recently (last 100 years or so) have we exponentially exploded with a technological race unmatched in all our short 6,000 year history.
The questions are these; if we are physically and biologically the same people we were 500, 1000, 2,000 years ago, why did it take so long for us to get to where we are today? Why was man limited to the speed of horse up until the early 20th century? How could we go from building the Great Pyramid before the Noahic Flood to living in mud huts for the better part of 4,000 years following? What do these have to do with the Rapture of the Church?
Dispensations and Creation
Looking at the big picture, it would appear that God has allowed mankind a set amount of time. From Adam until the 2nd Coming, there is a predetermined number of years that mankind will be able to remain in a fallen state and populate this world, conducting what he/she thinks is their affairs in this realm of reality. Based solely on the history we do have written for us in scriptures, we can know generally how much time has gone by. So let's do some simple calculations and see how much time man roughly has:
If the Age of Man is divided up into Seven parts, matching the order of Creation, and the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches in Revelation marking the age of the Church, it would appear like this:
- 1. Day 1: Age of Innocence: Adam's creation to Fall (unknown time)
- 2. Day 2: Age of Conscience: Fall to Flood (1656 years roughly)
- 3. Day 3: Age of Human Government: Flood-Abraham (427 years???)
- 4. Day 4: Age of Promise: Abraham till the Law (430 years)
- 5. Day 5: Age of Law: Moses until the Cross (1500 years)
- 6. Day 6: Age of Grace (Church): From Pentecost till today (1979 years)
- 1. Ephesus (30-100 AD)
- 2. Smyrna (100-300 AD)
- 3. Pergamos (300-606 AD)
- 4. Thyatira (606 AD- Tribulation)
- 5. Sardis (15th Century-Tribulation)
- 6. Philedelphia (19th Century-Rapture)
- 7. Laodecia (20th Century-Tribulation)
7. Day 7: Kingdom Age: From 2nd Coming until Great White Throne Judgment (1000 years)
The total brings you to about 5,592 years, give or take a few.
*I'm not dogmatically holding to these numbers, just throwing these out there to give the general idea.
So based on the numbers, IF Creation were represented by one thousand years for each day, mankind would have 7000 years. But we know that the times do not line themselves up all nice and neat, and some periods are longer than others, but in the end, they would total 7,000 years. Seven, scripturally signifies perfection and completion. Since man was created on the 6th day of Creation, it signifies man's imperfection (compared to God) but also may show something else.
Man, created in the image of God, was the pinnacle of Creation. He was the highest order created within the 6 days of Creation, and the world was given unto him to have dominion over (Genesis 1:28).
We currently inhabit (somewhere near) the 6,000th year of mankind's existence here on earth that we know of, by recorded history.
At the present moment, mankind is at the pinnacle of his existence, having mastered space flight, instantaneous information, and supersonic travel. We have explored the known and unknown world, mapped the oceans, discovered the complex DNA double helix, and sent our cameras deep into space to explore the rest of the universe. We have within the past century, created weapons so devastating that we could destroy our world many times over.
We have created a level of luxury attainable by the average person that only the wealthiest royalties of ages past, could only dream of. (think ice cubes, instant meals, automobile travel, television, etc). It would seem, that man has finally reached again that time when he has dominion over the earth. Granted, man has coexisted with nature throughout our short time here, but it's only been in the last 100 years that we've harnessed electricity, divided the atom, pulled oil from the depths of the earth, etc. Man has not conquered natural catastrophes, but we have learned how to forewarn ourselves of everything from hurricanes and tornados, to earthquakes and solar storms.
If for nothing else, based on our level of achievement alone, we should realize that we are the well toward the end of the timeline, on the very trailing edge of our time left in this day and age we live in. With prophetic scriptures pinpointing exact events that would transpire coming to the forefront of the news daily showing without a doubt, both the validity and accuracy of the Bible telling us where we are.
But the earth itself is in revolt, groaning with birth pangs, awaiting it's liberation, as are we Christians.
"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." Romans 8:22-23
Maybe not the best analogy, but the only thing that comes close is in the same lines that animals can sense an earthquake before an earthquakes strikes, we (Christians) can sense that our deliverance from this fallen planet is very close at hand. We can feel it in our bones, that our time here is about done, and it makes us all the more excited. Unlike our unbelieving friends and neighbors who trudge along thinking that this life is all there is, we have something glorious and grand that we look forward to with great anticipation:
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Titus 2:13-14
There is an escape off this fallen planet, and it is only attainable by the forgiveness of sins, through the shed blood of God Himself on Calvary's cross, some 2,000 years ago. Jesus died so that man could inhabit eternity with Himself in perfect harmony.
He endured allowing His creation to beat Him, spit on Him, pull His beard out of His face, and curse Him so that you and I could become the 'righteousness of God' through His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
It is only natural that we 'groan' within ourselves, longing for the redemption of our fallen bodies we inhabit, to finally attain that perfect body, which does not sin (nor wants too) to match that 'new creation' we became when we first believed (2 Corinthians 5:17, Eph 1:13-14) because of our sealing by the Holy Spirit.
If only God the Father knows, and we have received salvation through God the Son, and are currently being indwelt by God the Holy Spirit, and they all belong to the same Tripartite Godhead, it is no wonder so many of us believers sense that are redemption draws nigh.
From the beginning, Satan has been seeking to undo the Promise God made in Genesis 3:15, beginning with the murder of Abel by his brother Cain. Six thousand years is about the end of the line for man on this earth, and if for nothing else, written history can only trace back about that long, it would seem that the shelf life for fallen man is about to expire.
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." 1 John 3:2-3