“God’s dealings with men are ever the same,” that is, the entirety of sacred history follows the same pattern exhibited by the most important histories within it.
The Overarching Reform-line
P1: This period is the history described from Genesis 3:9 to Genesis 6:13. In it, we find many famous examples of divine judgment.
- God expels man from the garden of Eden (3:22-24).
- God curses the ground because of Cain’s sin (4:11-13).
- Enoch preaches God’s second-advent judgment (Jude 1:14-15)
- “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth… But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (6:5, 8)
E1: This “event” consists of the Flood Warning Reform-line and the Exodus Journey Reform-line. In Noah’s reformatory movement, the Lord came with a special message of judgment. In Moses’ reformatory movement, the Lord “went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light.” The Lord saved His people from Egyptian bondage. He then came down on Mount Sinai to give the foundational message of salvation – the Ten Commandments. They begin, “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Exodus 20:2.
P2: Extending from Moses’ reformatory movement to Chirst’s, this period of sacred history is characterized by God’s “covenant.” See Genesis 9:11 and Deuteronomy 9:11 for the covenant’s establishment. God’s special testing message is called a covenant in the Old Testament because during any Period 2, God’s people are to “enter into” a knowledge and acceptance of His testing message.
E2: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” The literal demonstration of the Lord’s testing message on earth was God-with-us. Both the Messiah and Pentecost Reform-lines make up this “event.”
P3: Noted as the time from the stoning of Stephen until the Time of the End (1798), this period is characterized by the world-wide proclamation of the Lord’s testing message, now called “the gospel.” Whereas a “covenant” is something to be entered into, a “gospel” i.e. good news is to be spread abroad. Thus, the Reform-line pattern satisfactorily explains why the terminology for the Lord’s message is different in the two Bible testaments.
E3: The period from 1798 until the Second Coming is known as the Time of the End. During this time, Jesus reviews the case of every soul who has, at any time in his or her life, believed on Christ. Jesus either retains or removes each name from the book of life. Once this work is done, probation will have closed on every human to ever live. Then Jesus will throw down his ministerial censer and begin his journey to earth surrounded by the angelic armies of heaven.
P4: This period follows the Second Advent and lasts 1000 years. During it, “we shall judge angels” and the wicked of all ages (1 Corinthians 6:2-3), then God will resurrect all the wicked dead and execute the saint’s judgment upon them.