The Fullness of the Time

The Fullness of the Time

newtestament

I want you to imagine someone challenged you with the daunting responsibility of selecting the most important page in the New Testament. One singular page that you believe holds the most weight, tells the most important information, or shapes all the other pages of the New Testament. Which page would you choose? Come on, it’s okay to have some fun now and then; there’s no wrong answer per se. Maybe you would choose a page where one of the Gospel writers records the birth, crucifixion, or resurrection of Jesus. It is safe to say that no one could argue their importance or value to the New Testament. Those pages would be pretty tough to beat. Maybe others of you would choose the page that captures that epic day of Pentecost in Acts 2. I mean, it would be a fair choice. How could you go wrong with the day the Lord’s Church is instituted and the Body of Christ is created? 

A beloved college professor of mine once suggested an alternative for the most important page in the New Testament. And it still resonates with me every time I turn past it to this day. He believed the most important page of the New Testament was not technically in the New Testament at all. You see, the blank white page between Malachi and Matthew impacts, frames, contextualizes, and shapes all the other pages of the New Testament. Sadly, that blank white page gets the least attention or study. In the same way you cannot judge a book by its cover, you cannot judge the significance of this blank page just because of its lack of words.

It is so much more than just a blank white page dividing the Old Testament from the New Testament. This single page represents 400 years of history we call the Intertestamental Period. A lot can happen in 400 years, and a lot did happen to God’s people in this timespan. That one blank page represents 400 years of silence from God, 400 years of pagan influences, and 400 years of God’s people being in captivity to the Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires. You cannot understand the world Jesus and His apostles lived in until you understand that blank white page. It was in these 400 years that we see the creation of sects in Jewish culture like the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots, and Herodians, all of which significantly impacted the life of our Lord, the lives of those first-century Christians, and the text of the New Testament we cherish today. 

In these 400 years, when God seemed to be most absent and silent, He was providentially weaving together the perfect time for His Son to come. That is exactly what Paul is talking about in Galatians 4:3-5, “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” From the foundations of the world, God knew precisely when His Son would come, and He orchestrated the series of events that would bring about this perfect timing. One translation even says it this way, “…but when the set time had fully come…”This would not have been too much of a surprise for the Jewish people if they could comprehend the spoiler alert in Daniel 2, where God literally reveals the next 500+ years of human history. But hindsight is 20/20.

How cool is that? Even the page in your Bible with the least words teaches us one of the most powerful lessons about who our God is! I do not know who is reading this and who needs to hear this message today… but it is in the moments where we feel God’s presence least in our lives that He is doing things for us beyond our comprehension. No matter how much it may feel like it sometimes, God never really leaves us (Joshua 1:9; Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 28:20; Acts 17:27). When I cannot feel Him, I remind myself He is busy preparing a place for all the faithful to dwell with Him forever (John 14:1-6). Most importantly, I know that just as He set in place the exact time of the arrival of His Son, He has also set in place the exact time for the return of His Son to judge the world, and only He knows that hour (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32). Are you prepared for God to bring about the fullness of THAT time? Or are you going to be like the religious people of Jesus’ day who could not have been more clueless? 

-Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism

  1. As a family, read Daniel 2:1-45 aloud and talk about the power of God’s revelation we witness there. How incredible is God’s accuracy in this passage? How powerful is it to think that we are a part of that 5th Kingdom (The Church) Daniel 2:44 talks about?
  2. As a family, talk about the times you have struggled with the silence and absence of God. How did you deal with it, and what helped you connect with Him again?
  3. As a family, read Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 41:10, Matthew 28:20, and Acts 17:27 aloud. What stands out to you about these passages, and what peace do they offer the faithful? 

Print article and questions HERE.