The mystery of God’s plan has now been revealed: There is an overlap of the current age and the age to come.… The current age began with the fall of man and will end with the final judgment. It is full of sin and evil. The coming age will be void of evil and will last forever. The original understanding was that the old age would end and the new age would begin with a single event. There woulds
There are two comings of Christ rather than one. Why?
The purpose of the overlap is to extend God’s salvation to the gentiles (Ephesians 3:4-6; Acts 1:6-11). … Prior to the first coming, only the Israelites had received God’s word and salvation. But with the Gospel, the word and salvation of God was sent to all nations. Those who read this are likely gentiles (if you aren’t a Jew, you’re a gentile). This overlap is for us.
We are living in the last days of the current age (Hebrews 1:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:1-5). … The last days of the current age are characterised by some bad stuff. We experience all the evil of the last days as we live through it. We have all experienced pain, loss, and heartache. It seems a common thing this time of the year.
We are experiencing the first fruits of the age to come (1 Corinthians 15:20; Romans 8:23; James 1:18). … Fortunately though, we also experience the first fruits of the coming age. We get to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit. Not only do we experience the first fruits though, we are part of the first fruits. This part of the year is when we celebrate the source of that hope that we have, the birth and life of Jesus. It’s a time of joy.
Understanding this overlap can help with views of the end times. Postmillennialists believe we’ll experience a thousand years of peace before Jesus returns. They are primarily looking at the verses about the first fruits of the coming age. Pre-millennials say that Jesus will come before the thousand years of peace because there is no way to have a millennium of peace with all the evil in the world. They are primarily looking at verses about the last days of the current age. Whether or not you agree with either view, you can see where they come from.
Living in the overlap means life will be a mixture of good and evil. We neither wallow in despair nor pretend that everything is perfect. We live with heartache and hope. … Even though we experience things like loss and heartache, we also have a joy and peace that comes from our understanding of the two comings of Christ.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is one of the most well-known American poets ever and he also wrote hymns and carols. One of his famous carols is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” and the story behind it is pretty incredible. Three years prior to penning the words, his wife died after a tragic fire in July 1861. That left him to raise their children alone. Longfellow struggled through the next couple of Christmases without his wife. Then before Christmas of 1863, he received word that his oldest son had been severely injured. Longfellow traveled to D.C. where his son was in a hospital. On Christmas day, he heard the bells from the church and wrote “Christmas Bells” which was later put to music by John Baptiste Calkin. The poem is a journey of emotions; it expresses what it is like to live in this overlap of the two ages. There are struggles, and sometimes evil drowns out the good. But we always have hope because “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; / The Wrong shall fail; / The Right prevail, / With peace on Earth, good-will to men.”