The Church Age and Beyond: What To Expect :: By Clay Smith

First, I would like to say that I hope all of you have had a wonderful Christmas and are looking for a blessed New Year. Along with that, be looking for what the Lord has for you. He is why we celebrate Christmas, by expressing our love for others and giving gifts with words of blessings and encouragement to them. Joy to others, right? Did you do that?

Christmas might have started off in some pagan or obscure way, but has turned, I believe, if done right, into a glorious event that is a blessing to others and the Lord. Jesus is not a baby anymore in the manger; He is the King of kings and Lords of lords in heaven on his Throne.

Revelation 1:8 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

This is Christ – The Risen Saviour!

I would like to share with you where we are currently at in this time or dispensation (theological term) and reveal to you what’s scripturally coming next.

We (Christianity-the Church) are in what’s called the Church Age or the Age of Grace. This is also called the Time of the Gentiles. Read Romans Chapter 11. The Jewish religious leaders rejected Jesus as the Messiah, even when the Old Testament, which they knew, foretold of him. Shortly thereafter, Saul, who became the Apostle Paul, brought the “good news” to the Gentiles beginning in the book of Acts. All races other than Jews are called Gentiles. This began when Jesus Christ was resurrected on the third day coming out of the tomb, and therefore this Church Age will last until the saints are taken out of the world to be with the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).

The Dispensation term I mentioned is a system or time period for how God interacts with people in different periods of history. There are basically seven dispensations: These might be termed in numbers or titles differently with theologians and scholars, of course.

*The Dispensation of Innocence

*The Dispensation of Conscience

*The Dispensation of Human Government

*The Dispensation of Promise

*The Dispensation of Law

*The Dispensation of Grace

*The Millennial Kingdom of Christ

I’ll begin with the Age of Grace which started with the resurrection of Jesus Christ in 33 A.D. and continues today. There’s still time for all to receive the free gift of salvation that comes with trusting in Him. No one knows when it will end. The Gospel message is still getting out all over the world so many souls can make that eternal decision to be with Christ through all eternity or not. Their choice.

Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

That has pretty much been done with the spread of the information and technology age we live in today. Now we have A.I. (artificial intelligence) in our midst. Science fiction is definitely reality now.

This is not only the eleventh hour, but we are “in the last few seconds of the 11th hour,” if you will. A good analogy would be the sport of football, where the team that is going to win in the last few seconds is on the “goal line.” This appears to be where we are at. Time is literally almost up for the Church, and the Lord is coming back. The decision is up to you and you alone. The ones that don’t turn to Christ will suffer eternal separation from God and all that comes with it.

The Lord desires that none would perish (2 Peter 3:9). All the souls that do not choose to receive the gift of salvation He has offered in Romans 6:23 are lost because of their “willful rejection” of God’s mercy. This leads to the ultimate separation between the sinner and God. (Everyone is a sinner – all of us except Christ.) They are at a constant war with God because they reject his Word and Authority. They have the opportunity, but they choose not to take advantage of it.

What this is saying is that they consciously don’t want anything to do with Jesus and all that “churchy stuff.” I pray you are not in this group. If you are, there is still time to act: but you or anyone else does not know how long this lasts. His coming in the rapture could be any second, literally, and then it would be too late to escape the wrath to come in the tribulation. Come to Christ now, immediately, right where you’re at. All you have to do is call out to God. Now:

Isaiah 55:6 “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.”

When the Age of Grace is up and all the believers are gone from the earth, the next event will be the seven-year Tribulation Period mentioned in the Bible. This will be the last chance for people to come to Christ during that terrible time. The Bible is very descriptive, and you can read about that in the book of Revelation, Joel, and others. Also called “The Day of the Lord” or “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble,” this is mentioned in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, Ch. 30.

Those who turn to Christ during the Tribulation will be hunted and killed for refusing the mark of the Antichrist. The others will more likely die from God’s wrath, wars, starvation, wild animals, and other devices. Those tribulation saints that manage to survive to see the Second Coming of Christ at the end of those seven years will go into the Millennial Kingdom and repopulate the earth. Christ Himself will destroy the survivors who rejected Him.

This begins the last dispensation called the Millennial Reign of Christ which lasts a thousand years. Jesus Christ will reign on His throne from Jerusalem, Israel, with Satan being chained up in the pit, not bothering mankind:

Revelation 20:1-3 “And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed for a season.”

This will bring peace on the earth, believe it or not. With the earth basically being decimated from God’s judgments, we can’t imagine how things will function and exist. But the Lord will be the King over all the earth, and He’s got it all figured out. We, the Church Saints, Old Testament faithful believers, with the tribulation believers who were martyred, will be there reigning with and serving Christ also. It’s going to be marvelous, I bet.

After this, Satan will be released; people and demons will follow Satan in a battle against God, and they will be defeated. This time, for good and forever! There will be the final judgment and then a new heaven and earth (old has passed away), and we will go into eternal Glory with Christ. Read chapters 21 and 22 about the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven and Eden’s restoration.

Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

How can anyone reject and refuse that? I hope you don’t. We have come a long way since the beginning of Adam and Eve in the Garden. Thousands of years have passed, and we are now at this present point in time. Pick up a Bible, and with your right hand, grasp the page on chapter six of the book of Revelation, and with your left, grab the beginning book of Genesis. All that in-between has been completed and we have just a little left, which is in your right hand. Not much there, is it? Isn’t that amazing how time flies?

The first three chapters of Revelation were written to and about the seven churches that existed in the Apostle John’s day (the writer of the book), but also apply to the churches today. The fourth and fifth chapters describe what John saw in his vision.

From chapter Revelation Ch. 6–20, is the “Tribulation” period mentioned in the Scriptures, which can start anytime after the Church is gone to be with Christ. I hope you are in that group. Please read some other articles on the site here at RR that give a lot more detail. I’m just giving a simple “thumbnail sketch” here on the ages of God’s historical timeline He has given in His Word. By the way, from the beginning in Genesis 1:1 to when the heavens and earth were finished in 2:1, we are not told the time that had elapsed.

I hope you get comfort and peace in this by placing your trust and faith in the Lord Jesus. He loves you more than you can imagine. Don’t deny Him.

Shalom (Peace)

In His Name!

Clay Smith

All Scripture is from the King James Version.