Time no longer will happen with the completion of the mystery of God, the metamorphosis of the old age into the new age.
It was the best of times and the worst of times for the generation of Israel that lived between the resurrection of Christ and the destruction of the Jewish temple. The events of the decades of the thirties, the forties, the fifties, and the sixties of the first century has proven to be of epic proportion in the history of mankind. The end of an age was rapidly approaching and yet the completion of the “mystery of God . . . as he hath declared to his servants the prophets“ was dawning to a new age (Rev. 10:7). Heaven or hell hung in the balance for the people of that generation. Time no longer would soon be fulfilled.
The severity of the end of the age for Israel is portrayed in Revelation when the Lamb, who opens the seals on the book of life, removed the seventh seal and “there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour“ (Rev. 8:1). It was as if in expectation all of heaven was giving a moment of silence for what would be the final desolation of Israel, which began to be revealed in the removal of the previous six seals (Rev. 6:1-7:17). It would be total annihilation of the once proud nation which drew acclamation of praise from the visiting Queen of Sheba:
And she said to the king [Solomon], It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard (1 Kings 10:6-7).
Although once blessed and mighty in the sight of its neighboring nations, Israel would experience, in essence, complete genocide. The temple, the city, and most of the people would be destroyed. Rome would forbid the practice of Judaism within its empire and rename Judea Syria Palaestina. All that would be left were a small Jewish community of several thousand in Galilee and a spattering of much smaller communities around the Mediterranean Sea. The predicted abomination of desolation of Israel would come to pass (Matt. 24:15-21).
Time no longer would be needed for the metamorphosis from the old to the new after the resurrection of Christ and the death of Jewish temple sacrifices.
This climatic time of desolation for the generation between the resurrection of Jesus and the death of the Jewish temple sacrifices was prophesied by Jesus. Approaching the time of his trial and crucifixion which would lead to his resurrection (thereby becoming the quickening force of the age to come), Jesus spoke of the impending doom of the old age. He said to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works“ (Matt. 23:2-3). After giving a detailed description of their many failures in how “they say, and do not,“ he gave the first of eight stern warnings: “woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in“ (Matt. 23:13).
After giving seven more “woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,“ he proclaimed to them, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell“ (Matt. 23:33)? He lamented,
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not (Matt. 23:37)!
He subsequently announced, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (Matt. 23:38).
Jesus had warned them,
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers (Matt 23:29-32).
It seems that this generation of the house of Israel would be the generation that would reap the consequences of many years of perverting the ways of God. After enumerating much grief and sadness over their impending doom, Jesus simply stated, “Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation“ (Matt. 23:36). It would be in this generation that time no longer would be needed.
Time no longer would be fulfilled when the mystery of God would be finished.
Little did they realize that the time of their way of life, their approach to God, was coming to an end. The risen Christ, as witnessed by John in Revelation,
lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer. But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets (Rev. 10:5-7).
With time being the instrument of change, for the telling of time only exists as one thing moves in its relationship to another, the generation of the decades between the resurrection of Christ and the end of temple sacrifices would witness “time no longer.“ The transition, as the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly, or the completion of the change from the old physical temple, city, and nation of works to the new temple, city, and nation of grace was being perfected. It would be time no longer in regards to God working out his plan for the ages: the kingdom of God on earth and his rule of righteousness by grace (Mark 1:14-15).
The one to whom the mighty angel trusted to carry out this oath “that there should be time no longer“ is the one who “created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are“ (Rev. 10:6). The God who created all things and determines that those things will fulfill their destiny (Rev. 4:11) is the one who will finish “the mystery of God“ to its completion (Rev. 10:7). The time of the finishing point of the change will be “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound.” The sounding of the seventh angel would bring about the fulfillment of the change from the old physical temple, city, and nation of works to the new temple, city, and nation of grace. Therefore, time no longer would be needed to fulfill the mystery of God.
John recorded this metamorphosis or transition as “the mystery of God [being] finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets“ (Rev. 10:7). This announcement of good news (the original meaning of the word translated into English as declared) given by God to the prophets was also recorded by Peter. First, Peter recorded the apocalypses that his readers were experiencing,
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls (1 Pet. 1:7-9).
Then, Peter wrote,
Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves [old Israel], but unto us [new Israel] they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven (1 Pet. 1:10-12).
The prophets had declared it and time no longer was needed for the metamorphosis that would be completed “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound.”
Time no longer would be fulfilled with the death of the old and the beginning life of the new.
The newness and the freshness of the risen Christ being experienced always require the oldness and the staleness of righteousness through the law being totally destroyed. For example, As Jesus departed out of the temple, soon after his “woe be unto the Scribes and Pharisees“ discourse, his disciples for some reason desired to show him the buildings of the temple. The response of Jesus caught the disciples totally by surprise: “See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down“ (Matt. 24:1-2). Little did the disciple realizes that they themselves, those who would still be alive, would witness the destruction of the temple in their generation (Matt. 24:34).
Afterward on the mount of Olives, his “disciples came unto him privately, saying, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [more literal translation is, the end of the age]” (Matt. 24:1)? Then, Jesus, proceeded to answer their questions about the sign of his coming and about the end of an era.
First, he warned them, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” There were in that first generation between the resurrection of Christ and the destruction of the Jewish temple, as well as in modern Christianity, many who claimed to be the anointed one for their age.
In addition, Jesus added, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars.“ With Rome sending out their armies to conquer the known world, Israel would also eventually feel the sting of their instruments of war. Toward the end of that generation which began with the resurrection of Christ, Rome was already invading the land of Israel. They would soon be gathering their armies for the final invasion of Jerusalem. Jesus, however, would add quickly, “see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet“ (Matt. 24:34).
Before the “time should be no longer,” time no longer, for the passing of the old age, there would be many things that would have to come to pass in that generation: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.“ Jesus would then add, “All these are the beginning of sorrows“ (Matt. 24:2-8).
The end of the old age would not just come from the threat of armies outside of Israel. Speaking to his disciples, Jesus said, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” Jesus also informed them that many in Jerusalem would “be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.“ The rivalries and fierce infighting between the Scribes, the Pharisees, the Zealots, and other charismatic leaders rising out of the peasantry produced numerous false prophets who deceived many (Matt. 24:11). With envy, strife, and murder running rampant among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the love of God that the children of Israel should have manifested among themselves was evidently nowhere to be found (Matt. 24:12).
Jesus would give two more signs of which they would be able to see indicating the nearness of the end of the age. He told them that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come“ (Matt. 24:14). The English word world is used three times in this end-time message for Israel as translated by the King James Version. The same English word world is used in all three references although it is translated from three different words in the original language.
One of the words has been previously used in “of the end of the world“ (Matt. 24:3), or “end of the age.“ Another will be used later in this same conversation: “then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world“ (Matt. 24:21), or “the beginning of the cosmos or universe.“ It is also found in this passage, “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world“ or “in all the land“ implying the land of the Roman Empire. This generation of the four decades after the resurrection of Jesus would see the supernatural spreading of the gospel of the kingdom of God into their known world.
Time no longer would be fulfilled in the abomination of desolation.
Perhaps the greatest sign of the approaching end given by Jesus was “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation . . . stand in the holy place . . . Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains“ (Matt. 24:15-16). As we will see, this abomination of desolation would be so destructive that it would usher in a “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be“ (Matt. 24:21).
The inhabitants of this generation was not only to flee into the mountains from this abomination of desolation but they were to do so without delay: “Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes“ (Matt. 24:17-18). Jesus also added, concerning this desolation, “And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day“ (Matt. 24:19-20).
This abomination of desolation of which Jesus used as a sign to warn of the soon coming end of the age is probably best understood from Luke’s account of Jesus’ end-time message for Israel. He recorded Jesus saying, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh“ (Luke 21:20). The abomination of uncircumcised Gentiles with idolatrous images of their gods on their breastplates, their armored horses, and their flags stood on holy ground having Jerusalem surrounded. This heathen army had only one thing in mind, to lay waste and make desolate the holy ground of the nation, the city, and the temple of Israel.
Jesus foretold that when the armies of Rome would overrun Jerusalem, as the last stronghold of Israel, it would be a time of “great tribulation.“ He emphasized the point by stating that the tribulation would be “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be“ (Matt. 24:21). History (Wikipedia, “Jewish-Roman War of 66-73 CE“) has recorded the severity of the desolation of Israel by Rome.
Time no longer will always require the dawning of the new age, the kingdom of God on earth.
It would take the great tribulation of the death of the old age to bring forth the dawning of the new age of “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:3-9). It would be people in every generation and in every century being so controlled by the spiritual realm that natural hunger, thirst, and physical environment would lose their prevalence in experiencing life (Rev. 7:15-16). Being kingdom saints, the true believers would now be under the dominance of the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne of God. The Lamb, as John recorded, which “shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes“ (Rev. 7:17). The kingdom of God in all its power and its glory is available for everyone (yes, even you) in the midst of great tribulations.