Question About the Timing of Christ's Arrival

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Arbo, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. Arbo

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    A question came to me this afternoon, and I'm wondering if anyone here can give an answer.

    My question simply put: Why did Christ come when He did? Why not earlier in the several thousand years mentioned in the O.T.? Why not later? Does Scripture give any indication why the timing was what it was, or are there any credible theories as to why, or am I right in guessing that this is a question that I'll not have answered until I can ask it face-to face?

    The only passage that comes to mind without dragging the books out is Gal. 4:4 which says, "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son,..."

    Thanks.
     
  2. OldRegular

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    Seems like this question has been asked before but can't be sure. God put up with those stiff necked people He used to bring Jesus Christ into the world an awful long time, 1600-1700 years.

    I have thought that there may be two contributing factors in the timing.

    1.The Jews had traveled far and wide because of dispersion by God. They took with them the idea of one God and perhaps some indication of the coming Messiah.

    2. Because of the expansion of the Greek and especially the Roman Empire the ability of people to travel had been greatly increased. I suspect that other than sea travel it was as good at that time in history as it was for several hundred years.

    Other than those two factors I have no idea!
     
  3. Arbo

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    Old Reg- That makes as much sense as anything I can come up with. Thanks.

    Anybody else?
     
  4. AresMan

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    For the first premise, it was based on the prophecy of the 70 weeks. Christ came in "the fullness of time" because His advent was prophesied precisely.

    As to why God waited until He did to give this prophecy, I could not say. Only God knows.
     
  5. OldRegular

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    You are correct. Thank you for reminding us! One of the strengths of the Christian Faith is fulfilled prophecy!
     
  6. 12strings

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    It may have been delayed in order for human history to progress enough for us to know what Jesus was actually coming to do.

    -We saw the awful effects of human sin and our inability to remedy the sin problem on our own.
    -We learned what prophets, priests, and kings were, and how each of these fall short of their intended role...If Jesus had showed up to Adam and Eve right after they sinned and said, "I'm the perfect prophet, priest, & King!" They wouldn't have known what he was talking about.
     
  7. humblethinker

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    What is notable is not so much that they wouldn't have known what He was talking about but that it would not have made sense for Jesus to say such. How could His existence be put in relation to something that never was? So, I'm confident that if Jesus would have come ante-diluvian He would not have been the God of Jacob nor would He have claimed to be.
     
    #7 humblethinker, Aug 13, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2012
  8. HeirofSalvation

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    This question...I suppose, in many ways depends on whether one thinks in similar terms as a Dispensationalist might or someone else...for my own part....(from a Dispy perspective)...The History of God's relationship to man might be summed up in roughly three 2,000 year segments to date...roughly 1600-2000 years for Ante-diluvian revelation, 2,000 plus years to the coming of Christ...and (assuming that perspective) somewhere close to 2,000 years for the "times of the gentiles" until an imminent return....My own mind sees a perfect 1/3 rds. division amongst the major events of history...But, naturally, this is subject to debate.

    Regardless of whether that makes any sense or not...O.R.'s original post and some others make sense of it also, to wit:
    I believe that the appointed time was fixed such that the propogation of the truths of God would be available to reach the maximum number of people with the respective revelation of God's truths...

    A study of Habbakukh is revealing for me....God answers Habbakkukh with two different purposes for his "delay" in preventing evil, and also for his allowing what Habbakukh sees as "godless" nations to be the instrument for God's chastisement...

    1.) That the "Whole Earth should be filled with His glory" (this would include God's purpose in using gentiles to punish Israel)
    2.) That the wicked of Israel would be punished in due course....

    I believe that God "waited" in the days of Habbakukh (much to the prophet's chagrin) in the same way he "waited" in the days of Noah...because he was "long-suffering" and he desired that "none perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth".

    If we study the Historical perspective...God was able to perfectly time Israel's dispersion...(in the OT) with Israel's capacity to reach the heathen nations (or bring God's truth to them) in perfect appointed times and in perfect succesion...As I think O.R. implied.

    As O.R. stated... the capacity of Roman infra-structure to not merely bring GOODS...but also IDEAS...is of note:

    I am bleeding a little bit of Molinistic perspective with my answer here...but I think the point serves regardless of one's Theological bent.
     
    #8 HeirofSalvation, Aug 13, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2012
  9. humblethinker

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    What, outside of sheer predeterminism, if anything would have prevented him from coming prior to the Flood? Maybe nothing necessarily... meaning that He could have done so but it wasn't preferred to do so at that time but instead preferred to 'start over' with Noah and family.
     
  10. HeirofSalvation

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    Dunno....ask a determinist, I am not one....

    That would be my contention.
     
  11. OldRegular

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    Following are some thoughts I wrote some years back:

    "In Genesis 3:15 God gives the initial promise in Scripture of the coming redeemer. Since, as previously noted, God in His omniscience foreknew the rebellion of the first family we must surmise that the Triune God had already instituted His purpose in the salvation of His elect. That divine purpose instituted in eternity past is called the Covenant of Grace.

    This initial promise, the initial revelation, and the initiation in time of the Covenant of Grace, is veiled to say the least and could not be understood without the continuing revelation of God. But God does not leave us without hope. As the Biblical history of man unfolds so does God’s purpose of redemption.

    If the Redeemer was to be born of a woman and that birth was to take place in history the way must be prepared. The Redeemer must be identified with God since He was to reconcile sinful man to God and since He was a man, the seed of a woman, He must be identified with the people of God. It was necessary, therefore, that God call out a people for His Name. Unto that people would be given the oracles of God [Romans 3:2] and through that people would come the promised Redeemer.

    In due time God called out of idolatry a man named Abram [Genesis 12:1-3], changed his name to Abraham [Genesis 17:5] and promised that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed [Genesis 22:18]. God, through the Apostle Paul, tells us that seed of Abraham through which all the nations of the earth would be blessed was Jesus Christ."

    Galatians 3:16, KJV
    16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
     
  12. convicted1

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    The only thing I can think of is "who has known the mind of the Lord, and who can be His counsellor"? He did it the way He wanted it to, and I am thankful, and rejoice in that.
     
  13. SovereignMercy

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    And therefore an atheist, at least in regards to the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible works all things after the council of His own will.
     
  14. Bronconagurski

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    Being a dispy, I agree with the timing as it fits my eschatology, but I realize not all believe that way.

    From a historical standpoint, it was the perfect time as the Ancient Rome road system made it possible to propagate the gospel in a rather quick fashion. Of course, God had it all planned out as He sets up rulers and uses them for His own purpose. I love it when a plan comes together.
     
  15. Iconoclast

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    Jesus came to do this: From Preterist archive on Dan 9:24-27

    1. "To finish the transgression,"
    - This was fulfilled. (Matt 21:33-45; 23:32,35,36,38; Luke 11:47-51; 1 Thess. 2:14-16)

    2. "Make an end of sins,"
    - This was fulfilled. (John 1:29; Matt 1:21; Acts 10:43; Hebrews 9:12-14,26; 10:9-14)

    3. "Make reconciliation for iniquity,"
    - This was fulfilled. (Romans 5:8-11; II Cor. 5:17-21; Hebrews 2:17; Col 1:12-21)

    4. "Bring in everlasting righteousness,"
    - This was fulfilled. (Romans 3:21-26; 4:13; 5:17,18; 9:30,31; 14:17 (Isa. 51:8) ; Hebrews 9:12; II Thess 2:16; I Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 9:9)

    5. "Seal up vision and prophecy,"
    - This was fulfilled. (Matthew 13:14,15 (cf. Isaiah 6:9,10); 17:5; John 1:1; 12:39-41; Acts 7:37; 28:25-27; Romans 1:1-2, 3:21, 16:25-26; Ephesians 2:11-17; 3:3-6; Colossians 1:26; Hebrews 1:1-2; I Peter 1:9-11; II Peter 1:19-21)

    6. "Anoint the most holy (or holy place)."
    - This was fulfilled. (Matthew 3:15-17; Luke 4:18; John 1:32; Acts 2:32,33,38,39; 4:26,27; 10:37,38,44,45; Hebrews 9:22-24 / Not Physical Temple - Acts 7:48-49)
     
  16. humblethinker

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    Good points. None of this though seems to violate the idea that He could have come in the ante-deluvian world or even prior to the prophecies you referred to. Being absent of any other indicator as to why he didn't come, it seems to me that it just wasn't an opportune time... like Old Regular pointed out there were many benefits and afforded to God's purpose of redemption and it's communication of the good news for him to come when he did, and so it seems that is why he decided to do so at the time he did.
     
  17. Cypress

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    Whoa there. Thats a mighty big leap you seem to be making. Heirofsalvation is certainly not an atheist. Just ask him if you cant tell. Perhaps you can make your case in another thread?
     
  18. humblethinker

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    I like what you're saying here. Regarding your statement, "I believe that the appointed time was fixed", one question that is interesting to me is "At what time was the appointed time 'fixed'?".

    Regarding the 'perfection' of the timing... it seems 'fullness' seems to have less to do with an idea of 'exact temporal specification' and more to do with a 'maturation'. All of the parts of an awesome opportunity to demonstrate his love for mankind and the opportunity to effectively communicate this demonstration to many generations to come, all of this culminated under his guidance and so, at the fullness -the maturation of opportunity to these ends- God acted. This could also give light to why he didn't 'act' earlier: There just never was as good of a time to 'act'.
     
  19. Iconoclast

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    The timing was exact as Gal4 indicates as was earlier posted.The events and the exact working out of Gods decreed plan are fixed and unchangeable.

    Every person and every providence happen then and now exactly how God has purposed it to take place.There does not exist any other possibility.:thumbsup::thumbsup:

     
  20. humblethinker

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    Icon, we obviously disagree.

    The OP asked: "My question simply put: Why did Christ come when He did?"
    It seems that the first and simplest answer to Arbo from a determinist should be something along the lines of, "Your question is malformed and truly incoherent. There is no use in asking "Why?", except that your very action of inquiring was predetermined to occur. It is the case that whatever actually happens is what was predetermined to happen prior to creation." and then follow up with a Bible answer. But, after that first answer, how does it really matter what kind of explanation is given?

    So, being as things are, you are content with your answer and I with mine.
     

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