Pastor David B. Curtis

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The Perishing of Heaven & Earth

Hebrews 1:10-14

Delivered 03/19/2000

This is really part 3 of, Christ's Superiority over Angels, but I had to give it a different title just to get your attention. Did it work? Let me say that this is a message that you are going to have to study if you want to get it all, just listening or reading it won't do.

In verses 4-14, the writer of Hebrews shows us that Jesus Christ, God's Son, is better than angels. He does this because angels were supremely exalted in the Jewish mind. The Mosaic law had been mediated by angels. The Jewish people revered and esteemed angels higher than any other created being. So, if the writer is to show that Jesus is a better mediator with a better covenant, he must prove that Jesus Christ is better than angels.

The theme of this section is stated in verse 4:

Hebrews 1:4 (NKJV) having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Jesus Christ is better than angels. Then in verses 5-13, he gives us seven Old Testament quotations which prove the supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 14 gives us the closing argument.

This passage clearly shows that Jesus Christ is the prophesied Messiah, God's kingly Son, and it states or implies the deity of the Messiah. Seven times he quotes the Old Testament to defend his position. We looked at the first five quotes last time; let's move on to the last two.

SIXTH QUOTE:

Hebrews 1:10-12 (NKJV) And: "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail."

This quote is from:

Psalms 102:25-27 (NKJV) Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26 They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. 27 But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.

This quotation speaks of the permanence and unchangeableness of the Messiah. Remember, this section is dealing with Jesus' superiority over angels. How does this text show Christ's superiority over angels? What do angels have to do with the creation of the world? Nothing! The creation of the world is accredited to Jesus Christ; angels were simply part of what he created. So, why talk about creation here? The simple answer is: "He's NOT!" This text is not speaking of the creation or the end of the world. That is easy to say, but can I prove it? I believe I can.

Hebrews 1:10 (NKJV) And: "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.

That could be talking about the Genesis account. God did create the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1 (NKJV) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The Greek words used in Hebrews 1:10 don't really help us in understanding the meaning of "heaven and earth" -they are very general words. The word for "beginning" is arche, which simply means: "a commencement." It does not have to mean the beginning of time, but simply means the beginning of the thing under discussion, in this case the heaven and earth.

Now, you are probably thinking: "Well that was at the beginning of time." Maybe, maybe not! Could this possibly be referring to a different "heaven and earth" than the physical creation of the world? Is that even a possibility? I think it is a strong possibility; let's look at the use of "heaven and earth" in Scripture and see if they have some other meaning besides the literal physical heavens and earth.

If you want to know what a term means in the New Testament in relation to prophecy, you need to go back to the Old Testament and see what it meant there. If it was used a certain way in the Old Testament, wouldn't it make sense that the New Testament writers would use those expressions in the same way? We must get our understanding of "heaven and earth" from the Old Testament.

Deuteronomy 31:30 (NKJV) Then Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song until they were ended:
Deuteronomy 32:1 (NKJV) "Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; And hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

In the song of Moses, God is speaking to Israel. He calls them, "O heavens," and, "O earth." He is clearly not speaking to the physical heavens and earth, but to Israel.

In biblical apocalyptic language, "heavens" can refer to governments and rulers, and "earth" can refer to the nation of people. This can be seen in the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 1:1-2 (NKJV) The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: "I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me;

Here again, God is speaking to Judah and Jerusalem and he calls them, "O heavens" and "O earth."

Isaiah 1:10 (NKJV) Hear the word of the LORD, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah:

God is still talking to Israel and He calls them, "Sodom and Gomorrah." The literal Sodom and Gomorrah had been destroyed for some time. Here we see "rulers" used for "heavens" in verse 2, and "people" used for "earth." So the terms "heaven and earth" can be used to speak of rulers and people of a nation. Please, store that in your memory banks! It is possible that the expression "heaven and earth" has or may have a meaning other than the literal physical heaven and earth. To further clarify this look with me at:

Isaiah 51:12-13 (NKJV) "I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid Of a man who will die, And of the son of a man who will be made like grass? 13 And you forget the LORD your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens And laid the foundations of the earth; You have feared continually every day Because of the fury of the oppressor, When he has prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor?

God is talking to Israel here. Is he talking to them about the creation of the physical world? Verse 13 sounds like the creation of the physical planet. But notice how Youngs Literal Translation puts verse 13:

Isaiah 51:13 (YLT) And thou dost forget Jehovah thy maker, Who is stretching out the heavens, and founding earth, And thou dost fear continually all the day, Because of the fury of the oppressor, As he hath prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor?

Notice that it is in the present tense. God is saying to Israel that He "is" stretching out the heavens and founding the earth. Was God still creating the physical creation? I don't think so!

Isaiah 51:14-16 (NKJV) The captive exile hastens, that he may be loosed, That he should not die in the pit, And that his bread should not fail. 15 But I am the LORD your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared; The LORD of hosts is His name. 16 And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, And say to Zion, 'You are My people.'"

Please notice carefully that the time of planting the heavens and laying the foundation of the earth that is referred to here, was performed by God when He divided the sea (ver. 15), and gave the law (ver. 16), and said to Zion, "Thou art my people". What do those terms speak of? God did this when He took the children of Israel out of Egypt, and formed them in the wilderness into a covenant nation. He planted the heavens and laid the foundation of the earth; that is, brought forth order, and government.

So, the term "heaven and earth" is used in Scripture for something other than the physical creation, it is used to speak of the nation Israel.

Do you remember what we said the theme of the book of Hebrews was? The theme of Hebrews is: "The superiority of the New Covenant over the Old covenant." This letter is written to encourage those suffering Christians to persevere in spite of the tribulation they were experiencing. First, the writer stressed that Jesus is better in every way compared to the Old Covenant system. Second, the New Covenant is better in every way compared to the Old Covenant. And third, the faith of the New Covenant is better in every way compared to the faith of the Old Covenant. He seriously tried to demonstrate to these struggling Christians that the new age that was dawning would bring to completion the new and much better covenant.

Look back with me at verse 2:

Hebrews 1:2 (NKJV) has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

Do you remember what we said about the word "worlds" when we studied this verse? When the writer of Hebrews says, "through whom also He made the worlds", he is not talking about the creation of the universe. The word "worlds" is not kosmos, but aion, which means: "the ages." His discussion here involves the Old and New Covenant ages. It is these two ages that are contrasted throughout this book. He consistently shows how the New Covenant is superior to the Old.

With all this is mind, the writer of Hebrews in this section (Hebrews 1:10-12) is showing how the Old Covenant, which was mediated by angels, is temporary, but the New Covenant, which Christ brings, is permanent. Thus showing Christ's superiority over the angels. Let's move on to the next couple of verses and see if we can make this even clearer.

Hebrews 1:11-12 (NKJV) They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail."

He is saying that "heaven and earth" will perish, but Christ will remain. Now, does he mean that the physical "heaven and earth" will perish? Peter talked about this same idea in:

2 Peter 3:10-12 (NKJV) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

Is Peter talking about a time to come when the earth will be destroyed by fire? A time when the whole planet will explode and life, as we now know it, will end? It sure looks like that to us, doesn't it?

Is the world going to someday come to an end? The great majority of people, both Christian and non-Christian, think it will. The end of the world is the theme of many books and movies and there are endless predictions as to when and how it will end. But did you know that there are many verses in the Bible that seem to indicate that the world will never end?

Genesis 8:21-22 (NKJV) And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. 22 "While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease."

Now, folks will say that the Lord destroyed the earth by water one time and He'll destroy it by fire the next time. Is God's promise here to just change his method of destroying everything? Is there comfort in being destroyed by fire instead of water? Or is He promising not to destroy the earth again?

Psalms 148:4-6 (NKJV) Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens! 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created. 6 He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.

What decree did God make concerning the establishment of the heaven and the earth that will never pass away? Could it be Genesis 8:21? God said that he would never again destroy every living thing. God can be trusted; He keeps his word.

Psalms 78:69 (NKJV) And He built His sanctuary like the heights, Like the earth which He has established forever.

If God has established the earth forever, how could it end?

Psalms 119:90 (NKJV) Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides.
Ecclesiastes 1:4 (NKJV) One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.

It sounds like these verses teach that the earth will last forever. But what about those verses that we are looking at in Hebrews that say that heaven and earth will perish?

What is the primary rule of hermeneutics? It is the Analogy of Faith. This principle teaches that Scripture is to interpret Scripture. No Scripture can be taken in such a way as to render it in conflict with what is clearly taught elsewhere in Scripture. So the Bible can't teach that the world is going to end and it is not going to end. And it doesn't. The Bible talks about the end of the age but never the end of the world. The verses that speak about the destruction of "heaven and earth" are speaking not about the end of the world but about the end of Judaism, the end of the Old Covenant.

Let's see if Scripture bears this out. Remember we said, "In biblical apocalyptic language, 'heavens' refers to governments and rulers, and 'earth' refers to the nation of people."

This idea is seen more clearly as we look at other passages where mention is made of the destruction of a state and government using language which seems to set forth "the end of the world" as the collapse of heaven and earth.

Isaiah 13:1 (NKJV) The burden against Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.

In this chapter, God is talking about the judgement that is to fall upon Babylon. The word "burden" is the Hebrew word massa': an utterance, chiefly a doom. This introduction sets the stage for the subject matter in this chapter, and if we forget this, our interpretations of Isaiah 13 can go just about anywhere our imagination wants to go. This is not an oracle against the universe or world but against the nation of Babylon.

Isaiah 13:6 (NKJV) Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
Isaiah 13:9-13 (NKJV) Behold, the day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. 10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine. 11 "I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. 12 I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, A man more than the golden wedge of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, And the earth will move out of her place, In the wrath of the LORD of hosts And in the day of His fierce anger.

Now remember he is speaking about the destruction of Babylon, but it sounds like world wide destruction. The terminology of a context cannot be expanded beyond the scope of the subject under discussion. The spectrum of language surely cannot go outside the land of Babylon. If you were a Babylonian and Babylon was destroyed, would it seem like the world was destroyed? Let me put it this way: if America were destroyed, would it seem to you like the world ended? Yes! Your world would have ended.

Isaiah 13:17 (NKJV) "Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, Who will not regard silver; And as for gold, they will not delight in it.

This is a historical event that took place in 539 BC. When the Medes destroyed Babylon, the Babylonian world came to an end. This destruction is said, in verse 6, to be from the Almighty, and the Medes constitute the means that God uses to accomplish this task. The physical heaven and earth were still in tact, but for Babylon, they had collapsed. This is apocalyptic language. This is the way the Bible discusses the fall of a nation. This is obviously figurative language.

In Isaiah 24-27, we see the invasion of Israel by Nebuchadnezzar. He carries them away to captivity. Notice the language that he uses:

Isaiah 24:3-6 (NKJV) The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered, For the LORD has spoken this word. 4 The earth mourns and fades away, The world languishes and fades away; The haughty people of the earth languish. 5 The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, Because they have transgressed the laws, Changed the ordinance, Broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, And those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, And few men are left.
Isaiah 24:19-20 (NKJV) The earth is violently broken, The earth is split open, The earth is shaken exceedingly. 20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, And shall totter like a hut; Its transgression shall be heavy upon it, And it will fall, and not rise again.

What I want you to see in these verses is how God refers to Israel as the earth. He says, "The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again" (Verses 1,3,4,19,20). Notice how many times God referred to Israel as the "earth." This is apocalyptic language speaking of the destruction of the people of Israel.

In Isaiah 34, we have a description of the fall of Edom. Notice the language that is used:

Isaiah 34:4-5 (NKJV) All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down As the leaf falls from the vine, And as fruit falling from a fig tree. 5 "For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; Indeed it shall come down on Edom, And on the people of My curse, for judgment.

Here we have a description of the fall of Edom; notice the language that is used. This is Biblical language to describe the fall of a nation. It should be clear that it is not to be taken literally. God says that, "His sword will be bathed in heaven," then explains what He means by saying "It shall come down on Edom." The NIV puts it this way, "My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; see, it descends in judgment on Edom, the people I have totally destroyed." So, God speaks of His sword being bathed in heaven, meaning the nation Edom, not the literal heaven. Edom shall be rolled up like a scroll.

Let's look at one other Old Testament use of this language:

Nahum 1 (NKJV) The burden against Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. 2 God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; The LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies; 3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has His way In the whirlwind and in the storm, And the clouds are the dust of His feet. 4 He rebukes the sea and makes it dry, And dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither, And the flower of Lebanon wilts. 5 The mountains quake before Him, The hills melt, And the earth heaves at His presence, Yes, the world and all who dwell in it.

The subject of this judgement is Nineveh, not the physical world. This is the way God describes the fall of a nation. If this language describes the judgement of God on nations, why, when we come to the New Testament, do we make it be the destruction of the universe? It is only because we do not understand how the Bible uses this apocalyptic language. If the destruction of heaven and earth were to be taken literally in all of the Old Testament passages, it would mean that heaven and earth were destroyed a bunch of times. This language is clearly not literal but figurative and apocalyptic.

John Brown (1853) said,

'Heaven and earth passing,' understood literally, is the dissolution of the present system of the universe, and the period when that is to take place, is called the 'end of the world.' But a person at all familiar with the phraseology of the Old Testament Scriptures, knows that the dissolution of the Mosaic economy, and the establishment of the Christian, is often spoken of as the removing of the old earth and heavens, and the creation of a new earth and new heavens" (vol. 1, p. 170)
It appears, then, that Scripture being the best interpreter of Scripture, we have in the Old Testament a key to the interpretation of the prophecies in the New. The same symbolism is found in both, and the imagery of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the other prophets helps us to understand the imagery of St. Matthew, St. Peter, and St. John. As the dissolution of the material world is not necessary to the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, neither is it necessary to the accomplishment of the predictions of the New Testament. (vol. i. p.200).

Now, let's go back to our text in Hebrews which is a word for word quotation from Psalm 102. If all we had was the prophecy of David in Psalms 102, we might think that this is referring to the physical earth. But, the New Testament gives us insight and illumination to the Old Testament.

Hebrews 1:10-12 (NKJV) And: "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail."

The writer of Hebrews tells us that the fulfillment of these verses is related to the establishment of the eternal kingdom of Christ.

Hebrews 1:8-9 (KJV) But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

The heavens and the earth (Old Covenant Israel) would perish, but Christ and his throne would remain for ever and ever. The superiority of Christ over angels is shown in that he created the world wherein they were ministering spirits.

Hebrews 1:7 (NKJV) And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire."
Hebrews 2:1-5 (NKJV) Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? 5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.

Verse 2 speaks of the Sinaic covenant which was given by angels, and compares it to the New covenant salvation that Christ brings. In verse 5, he says, "The world to come would not be in subjection to angels, in contrast to the world that then was, which would pass away."

How is the world or the heavens and earth of old going to perish? David said in Psalm 102:26, they shall, "grow old like a garment," and then they would be "changed." Is it just a coincidence that the Bible speaks of the passing away of the old covenant using the same language?

Hebrews 8:13 (NKJV) In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

The same Greek word palaioo, which means: "to make worn out, or declare obsolete" is used in Hebrews 1:11 of the heavens and earth and 8:13 of the Old Covenant. The writer here says that the old covenant is about to pass away. Not many years later, it did in the destruction of Jerusalem.

The Bible does not speak of "the end of time." The expression "the end time" or the "time of the end" is found in Scripture, but nowhere in the Bible can we find the expression "the end of time." The expression "the end time" or the "time of the end" speaks of the end of an age, but the end of an age is not the end of time. Scripture does not indicate that God has any plan to destroy this created world that we enjoy.

The writer of Hebrews is not talking in our text about the end of the world but of the end of Old Covenant Israel. And since he is quoting Psalm 102, that is exactly what David was talking about. The Old Covenant that was mediated by angels was about to end, but Christ's kingdom will never end, thus Christ is superior to angels.

SEVENTH QUOTE:

Hebrews 1:13 (NKJV) But to which of the angels has He ever said: "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"?

This quote is from:

Psalms 110:1 (NKJV) The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."

The first six quotations lead to the climax in the last one. Psalm 110 is one of the most frequently referred to Old Testament promises to appear in the New Testament. This highlights the final victory of the Son over his enemies.

The phrase "enemies your footstool" describes an oriental military practice; a victorious king would place his feet on the neck of a defeated king.

Who are these enemies that Christ has made his footstool? It was Old Covenant Judaism that was Christ's enemy. Christ calls Judaism the synagogue of Satan.

Revelation 3:9 (NKJV) "Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie; indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.

The Jews were the ones who persecuted and tried to wipe out Christianity. They were Christ's enemies.

1 Corinthians 15:26 (NKJV) The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

The last enemy to be destroyed is death, and the Old Covenant was a ministry of death.

2 Corinthians 3:6-7 (NKJV) who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away,

When the Old Covenant was abolished, so was death. Because the Old Covenant was associated with angels, it's destruction by Christ meant that he was superior to angels.

CONCLUSION:

The writer of Hebrews concludes this section on Christ's superiority over angels by saying:

Hebrews 1:14 (NKJV) Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

This shows the utter subordinated relationship in which angels stand to the redeemer. He is Sovereign, they are servants. This is used to clench his argument.

In this verse, we have another time indicator showing that the Old Covenant was about to end, and the New Covenant was about to be consummated.

A literal Greek rendering of this verse would read:  "Are they not all ministering spirits being sent forth for service because of the ones being about (mello) to inherit salvation?". The words "who will"are from the Greek word mellontas, a common idiom of mello. The Greek verb "mello" means: in the infinitive, "to be about to" - see Thayer, Arndt & Gingrich, New Englishman's Greek Concordance.

 If they were to inherit salvation soon from the time of the Hebrews' writing, this implies they had not inherited salvation prior to this time. Thus, sometime in the not-too-distant future from 65 AD salvation was going to be inherited.

If you read Luke 21:5-38, you will notice that the context is the fall of Jerusalem (note verses 20-24, e.g.). Further, among other promises in this context, salvation/redemption was near when these events were seen.

Luke 21:28 (NKJV) "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."

Could this redemption have the same meaning as the promise of salvation in Hebrews 1:14? I believe so. In Mark 10:30b, Jesus promised, "in the age to come eternal life." This would mean that eternal life was one of the blessings that would be a part of the New Covenant age following the vanishing of the first "world" or covenant.

Hebrews 1:14 (NKJV) Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

We can see here that salvation is tied directly to eschatology. We also see this in:

Hebrews 9:28 (NKJV) so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

In both of these verses, we see that salvation is directly tied to the second coming of Christ. The ones about to inherit salvation then, at the time of the writing of Hebrews, would be inheriting that salvation at the time of Christ's second advent at the fall of Jerusalem.

The Hebrew believers lived in what the Bible calls the "last days"- they were the last days of the Old Covenant. Those "last days" began at the time of Christ, and ended at AD 70 when the Jewish temple was destroyed. We now live in what the Bible calls "the age to come," which is the New Covenant age. The forty year period, from Pentecost to Holocaust, was a time of transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. In this transition period, the New Covenant had been inaugurated but not consummated. It was a time of "ALREADY BUT NOT YET."

Galatians 5:5 (NKJV) For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

The words translated: "eagerly wait" are the Greek word apekdechomai. This Greek word is only used seven times in the New Testament, and every one of them is in reference to the Second Coming. Thus, righteousness comes at the second coming.

Salvation was not a completed event in the lives of the first century believers, it was their hope, they looked forward to its soon arrival.

Romans 13:11-12 (NKJV) And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for NOW OUR SALVATION IS NEARER than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

He equates their salvation with the "day" which was at hand, referring to the day of the Lord. "Knowing the time" is the Greek word kairos, it means: "season, a special critical strategic period of time." It is used of a season of great importance in redemptive history. The completion of redemptive history was at hand, and with it would come salvation. Peter also states that their salvation was not yet complete:

1 Peter 1:5 (NKJV) who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

The transition saints had in pledge what we now have. They had a guarantee of what was to come. We have it all.

In the Old Covenant which was mediated by angels, they had the hope of eternal life/salvation, but in the New Covenant age, which was consummated in AD 70, we have eternal life/salvation NOW! Christ is far superior to angels!

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