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8. AGE OF EARTH IN PROPHECY

Updated: Jul 2


Please read articles 1 - 15 sequentially


INTRODUCTION TO PROPHECY

To interpret prophetic writings it is important to recognize that prophecies, as recorded by authors in the various biblical books, can be written in past, present or future tense. If it is given in the past tense yet is for a future event it is because, in God’s eyes, it’s already as good as done. For instance, in the following verse all three tenses are used for a future event. I am sure you would agree that the Universe and the Earth are still here:

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And the sea no longer is. And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her Husband. And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying out, nor will there be any more pain; for the first things passed away’ (Revelation 21:1-4).


Therefore, to say that Satan has no longer access to heaven because Jesus saw him fall from heaven (‘And He said to them, I saw Satan fall from Heaven like lightning’, Luke 10:18) is erroneous. The Father showed Jesus the future. The job is as good as done in God’s eyes, but its completed fulfilment only comes 2000 years later when Satan is literally cast from heaven (Revelation 12:7-8).


I wonder how many Christians have end-times muddled because they don’t understand prophetic ‘language’ or assume that every chapter in the book of Revelation is strictly sequential. It’s the same problem I have already mentioned about how to read Genesis chapters 1 and 2, where only Chapter 1 follows strict chronology. Christians, beware how you read the Bible for in your misguided zeal, you may be the cause of unnecessary strife and division. ‘…who also has made us able ministers of the new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit makes alive’ (2 Corinthians 3:6).


Much of the material in this article comes from the prophetic significance of the Tabernacle of Moses explained in great detail in a book of the same name by Kevin J Conner, Acacia Press, PTY LTD, Blackburn, Victoria, Australia (1982). The prophetic significance in relation to the Age of the Earth follows the scheme proposed opposite page 118 in the book.



A. ENTRY INTO THE PROMISED LAND


To obtain further evidence for prophetic 1000-year days, in the timeline of Earth’s history, we shall follow the Israelites as they cross the Jordan into the Promised Land on the 10th day of the first month to celebrate Passover on the 14th (Joshua 4:19; 5:10). Our confidence that the crossing of the Jordan river is related to end-times is because of the four unique 7’s mentioned below as Israel began to take possession of the land, the four signifying that it is a sign-post for the whole world to take note.

And you shall go around the city, all the men of war. Go around the city once. So you shall do for six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of ram's horns in front of the ark. And the seventh day you shall go around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall be when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout. And the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall go up, each man straight before him. And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, Take up the Ark of the Covenant and let seven priests carry seven ram's horns in front of the ark of Jehovah’ (Joshua 6:3-6). Israel totally annihilated Jericho, except for the household of Rahab the harlot, who was under their protection. Jesus descended from her line. In like manner God shall also totally annihilate all the wicked at the end of the 7th day of the Redemptive Week (Revelation Chapters 19 and 20).


The Jordan was in flood at the time of the crossing in the 1st month of the Lord, Nisan, known as Abib after the Babylonian captivity (Joshua 3:15). In ancient times the river was also wider as increased populations along the Jordan in modern Israel use much water. The strife over water was one of the causes of the 6-day Israel-Arab war in 1967. According to records it only carries 3% of the water today as it did only 100 years ago.


God commanded the destruction of all people in Canaan because of their idolatry and child sacrifices. However, sin and deceit within the camp distracted Joshua so that God’s purpose was never achieved in Old Testament days. The surviving Canaanites, who tricked Joshua not to kill them, remained a thorn in the flesh of Israel all their lives. At one time Canaanite culture infiltrated Israel causing them to sacrifice children to please Molech, the god of the Cannanites. The instruction for the total genocide and cleansing of the Promised Land was to have been a picture of the 1000-year Millennium in the future at which time only the righteous are to inhabit the Promised Land. They were to eradicate 7 nations. Just before the Millennium, God will fulfil that purpose by destroying all the wicked at His second coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8), remembering that they will be resurrected again at the end of the Millennium.


The failure of Joshua’s army to take absolute possession demonstrated that it could not be achieved under the Old Covenant. The people of God had to await the coming of the New Covenant. The term ‘Promised Land’ features in many Afro-American gospel songs. Everyone who hears those songs knows exactly what it means spiritually – the promise to be one day at total rest in the arms of Jesus – away from the sufferings of this life. Praise God!


B. CROSSING THE JORDAN


After wandering in the wilderness for forty years a new generation of Israelites were ready to cross the river and take possession of the Promised Land [Think of us as the new generation towards end-times]. The heavily fortified city of Jericho stood in their way. Joshua’s army of priests and the people were set into a specific array with 7 priests having 7 trumpets leading the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was the very presence of God going ahead of the people.


And they commanded the people saying, When you see the ark of the covenant of Jehovah your God and the priests the Levites bearing it then you shall move from your place and go after it. Yet keep a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it so that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before now. …..And they took up the Ark of the Covenant and went before the people. And Jehovah said to Joshua, today I will begin to magnify you in the sight of all Israel so that they may know that I will be with you, as I was with Moses……Behold, the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, of all the earth, passes over before you into Jordan. And now take yourselves twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man’ (Joshua 3:3-12).


The bulk of the people were warned to remain behind the Ark and the priests by a distance of about 2000 cubits. Ask yourself the question why the Bible should specifically mention 2000 cubits. This brings us to a new concept of prophetic language concerning time where 2000 cubits prophetically signify 2000 years – cubits being a measure of years, as is also the case in the tabernacle of Moses.


The prophetic significance is this: Jesus entered beyond the veil when He died. The massive veil in Herod’s Temple presumably covering an area 30 cubits-high (45 ft) and 20 cubits wide (15 ft), separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place and the very presence of God, was simultaneously torn from top to bottom. It was torn down by God Himself signifying that the way to God was now open to all who believe in Jesus. Christianity was first called ‘The Way’. ‘At once the curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and rocks split apart’ (Matthew 27:51).


Upon His resurrection Jesus was almost immediately transported into the very presence of the Father and the Ark, the symbol of His presence – in the true Temple - the very dwelling place of our triune God. We are seated in Him in the Temple of His Body (John 2:21; Ephesians 1:20).


The Ark features in the book of Revelation (11:19) as well as in the Old Testament. The church however, in its 2000 years of wandering since Jesus gave Himself on the cross, will only come into His very presence during the 1000 year-long Millennium. In the Millennium we shall live for 1000 years in the presence of Christ (Revelation 20:4). Although He is always near and although a measure of the Holy Spirit dwells in us we are not yet physically in His very presence. Since Jesus walked on Earth the church has had to wait another 2000 years for that to occur, which is almost upon us.

2000 cubits = 2000 years = Two of God’s 1000-yr days before the 1000-yr day of rest, the Millennium. The second coming of Christ may be somewhere towards 2030 AD plus, taking into account the age when Jesus began His ministry. Whatever the actual date may be it certainly is not far away and there are plenty of signs around us today.


C. CUBITS SYMBOLIZE TIME IN THE TABERNACLE ITSELF


The tabernacle of Moses was built specifically to God’s instructions and hides many secrets which have been slowly unravelled over recent years by many authors, particularly by KJ Conner in ‘The Tabernacle of Moses’, Acacia Press PTY. LTD., Blackburn, Victoria (1982). For handy reference we refer you to the John Robert Lucas Ministries link, https://www.templebuildersministry.com/


The Tabernacle of Moses was set up by God so that man could have direct access to God through a mediator, the man Moses, but not without first shedding blood in the Outer Court of the tabernacle. God was particularly concerned that Moses built the tabernacle according to the pattern shown him on the mount. The rituals carried out in each of the three compartments known as the Outer Court, The Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, and the items of furniture in each compartment, speak prophetically to Christian applications.

The open Outer Court, completely surrounded by 1500 square cubits of curtains where animals were sacrificed, equate to the approximately 1500 years of Law from Moses to Christ. The law period was an extremely bloody period of time, especially during Feasts of Passover, foreshadowing the once and for all sacrifice of Christ. The Outer Court and priests were drenched with blood especially in the vicinity of the altar of burnt sacrifice.


In the literal fulfilment of the Outer Court function centuries later Christ already began to bleed in the Garden of Gethsemane and then terribly so in the hands of the priests and the Romans. The tabernacle was only a prophetic shadow of God's plan for the future. This is why the priests had to fulfil their duties to the letter upon the pain of death for disobedience. Ignorance was not excused and was treated by God as equivalent to sin. Sins of ignorance however were forgiven and cleansed on the annually repeated Day of Atonement in the 7th month of God's new calendar.



Jesus left a trail of blood from the Garden to the cross, fulfilling all five offering of the Temple. The five offerings contain so much detail that we shall bypass those to achieve our purpose in providing a brief overview. The gruesome details provided in the film, 'The Passion of Christ', directed by Mel Gibson, are no exaggerated. His face was disfigured beyond recognition (Isaiah 52:14). I saw the disfigured face of my poor wife when she only struck her cheek into the corner of a bedside table. The bruising and blood blisters were horrible, almost hiding one eye and going down one side of her face.


The priests struck Jesus on the head with a reed, slapped his face vigorously and pulled parts of his beard out (Isaiah 50:6). His face was already disfigured before the populace saw him. The Romans (representing the gentiles) did the rest. He felt every pain and discomfort that you and I would have felt. He would have grieved and had a broken heart that His own people, the very individuals He had foreseen and pre-destined for salvation, did it to Him. He suffered and felt the horrendous pain in the flesh as any person would have, which is why He was also called the Son of Man. For the joy set before Him he endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).


The Holy Place, the first roofed chamber in the tent, contained the golden lampstand with the 7 lamps. The lampstand provided the only light in the Holy Place, which equates with the church age of 2000 years by having a volume measurement of 20 x 10 x 10 cubic cubits. The only light during the dark ages of history was that provided by small remnants of the church here and there. Today the lampstand represents us as well as the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit because, as Jesus said, we are the light of the world. Jesus explained to the apostle John that the candlestick or lampstand in the Holy Place represents the church (Revelation 1:20).


The dimensions of the Holy Place, in relation to the Most Holy Place, needed to be deduced by bible scholarship by many as Kevin J Conner acknowledges in his book 'The Tabernacle of Moses' (Pages 112-113 in the 1991 print of the First Australian Edition issued in 1982). Nevertheless, none of the justifications are as satisfying as the ones I have provided on this website ("The Holy of Holies"). The 'Tent of the Meeting' was sturdier than just an ordinary tent. Illustrations generally only show the outer covering of badger skin, but there were other layers underneath and the whole structure was maintained by upright posts and boards overlaid with gold. By rigorous study of the width of the boards the number of pillars and their placement and the curtains which covered them allowed scholars to deduce with fair certainty that the Holy Place measured 10 x 20 cubits squared in area with a height of 10 cubits giving it a prophetic volume of 2000 cubits cubed. The 7-branched lampstand and the glowing embers on the golden altar of incense standing before the vail of the Most Holy Place provided the only illumination. The Most Holy Place was a perfect cube measuring 10 x 10 x 10 cubits cubed. When the high priest was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place was illuminated by the glowing coals on his censer and by the Shekinah glory of the Lord coming from between the two cherubim of the Mercy Seat on top of the gold-covered Ark of the Covenant. The cherubim and the Mercy Seat was beaten from one lump of gold and served as the lid for the box. He sprinkled the blood of the covenant 7-times on the mercy seat.


Within the box was another three-fold witness of the Trinity. The tablets of stone of the 10 commandments, the almond rod of Aaron which budded and had fruit and the golden pot of manna which never perished but always remained fresh.


The Holy Place also contained a table of twelve loaves of sacred bread, which represented the 12 apostles of the early church age and their apostolic doctrine - the bread of life. Placed before the veil, that separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place, was an altar of incense, which the Bible itself interprets as the prayers of the saints. Only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, was the High Priest allowed through the veil into the Most Holy Place. On that day, the High Priest would sprinkle blood on the top of the ark 7 times, onto the golden mercy seat that was guarded by two winged golden cherubim. (They represented the witness of the Father and the Holy Spirit looking upon the Son on Earth). God would speak from above the mercy seat from the midst of the cherubim. This Most Holy Place measured 10 x 10 x 10 cubits where God displayed His presence. This compartment of the tabernacle represented the 1000-year Millennium that is still to come when we shall all be in the very presence of God.


Please note that the authors of the web site linked below should have used multiplication, instead of plus signs, to avoid confusion for their prophetic temple measurements:

https://www.templebuildersministry.com/Index_Tabernacle_of_Moses_2.php.


Nevertheless, we recommend their material and their studies. These authors suggest that the 2000-year period (the church age) will end at about 2030 AD presumably taking into account that Jesus began his ministry at the age of 30, as was also the custom for Levites. As we have already said all our charts are only approximate indicators so take plus or minus a few years plus being the more likely.



PILGRIMAGE OF THE CHURCH SINCE CHRIST


Leaving the Outer Court to proceed into the Holy Place then facing the Most Holy Place is a picture of man’s individual and collective pilgrimage towards the very presence of God – it is a shadow of every believer’s pilgrimage towards God. Any gentile coming into the Outer Court was to be killed because he was not covered by the blood nor did any uncircumcised belong to the covenant people. Thus guards were allocated to oversee that all the laws were kept. The angelic administration in heaven saw to that (READ Ezekiel’s visions).


As the symbolism of the tabernacle foreshadowed we can only come into Christ through His shed blood and our repentance followed by water baptism which Christ commanded for all on His ascension. Any individual not covered by the blood of Christ faces eternal existence in hell. The holiness of the Father requires the death penalty for sin, which Jesus fortunately took in our place if we believe - His substitutionary offering.


Most people carry a burden of sins of ignorance today, but God does not excuse our ignorance. The only way that can be covered is by the blood of Jesus. That is why the Holy Spirit has the important job of convicting us of sin. 'But I tell you the truth it is expedient for you that I go away for, if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you. But, if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when that One comes He will convict the world concerning sin and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment' (John 16:7-8).

Temple furniture and rituals

All pieces of temple furniture in the Outer Court, the altar of burnt sacrifice and the laver of water for cleansing, were made of brass which speaks of repentance. Remember how Christ appeared to the apostle John on the island of Patmos to bring the 7 churches, the 7 speaking of all churches, to repentance, ‘His head and his hair were white as wool or snow, and his eyes looked like flames of fire. His feet were glowing like bronze being heated in a furnace and his voice sounded like the roar of a waterfall. He held seven stars in his right hand and a sharp double-edged sword was coming from his mouth. His face was shining as bright as the sun at noon. When I saw him I fell at his feet like a dead person. But he put his right hand on me and said: Don't be afraid! I am the first, the last’ (Revelation 1:14-17).


In essence, nobody could proceed forward in the tabernacle without repentance and the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of their sin. People had to lay their hands on their animal before it was killed for their sins to be transferred into the sinless animal. It is interesting to note that the priests who arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane also literally ‘laid hands’ on Him (Matthew 26:50). This transferred their sins upon Him, the Lamb of God, who took upon Himself the sins of the world – if we choose to believe.


However, as the apostles explained at the beginning of the church age, none of these rituals, no matter how diligently performed, could change the heart and so the Law had to be done away with to bring in the new – grace through Jesus Christ. The Tabernacle only pictured or foreshadowed the heavenly things to come, step by step, concerning our walk towards and with Christ. Not wishing to labour the reader with a whole study on the tabernacle I invite you to visit the web sites through the links provided to other sources and consider how all of this fits into our scheme, verifying the 2000-year church age and the 1000 year-long Millennium.



The above illustration from a 1782 Bible shows Moses overseeing the High Priest Aaron and other wise men during the construction of the Tabernacle and its vessels. During its construction and transport the Ark was always covered and carefully hidden from the sight of man demonstrating that man was not yet ready to see God face to face. The full revelation of Jesus will be experienced in our resurrection bodies at His second coming, which begins the 1000 year-long day of rest with Christ. Thus the Ark could not be viewed from the Holy Place. This means that, except for the High Priest, priests trimming the wicks of the lamps in the Holy Place never laid eyes on the Ark. It's the same with us in the church today. None of us have seen the Lord (1 Corinthians 13:12), but we shall see Him face to face during the Millennium.


The Ark was hidden from view beyond the veil so the three million men, women and children who participated in the Exodus from Egypt never laid eyes on the Ark either. The two beams of light radiating from the head of Moses was the artist’s method of indicating that the face of Moses was still glowing after having come down from the Mountain of God. The sketch views the Tabernacle from the East. Many teams of Levites were dedicated to serving the temple day and night. The fire under the altar was never allowed to go out, which speaks of the continuing work of the Holy Spirit day and night.


Our next step will be to look at the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. The Lord gave the revelation of its mode of construction to King David, but God gave the task of building it to his son Solomon.

D. HIDDEN CONNECTION BETWEEN THE 3 KINGS OF ISRAEL, NOAH'S FLOOD AND JESUS

There is potential gold in having a closer look at patterns that tie these three events together. Perhaps you could follow this up yourself and check it out for interest. Let me give a few pointers without quoting all the scriptures:

  • Noah's father was Lamech who lived for 777 years. Three sevens are a perfect witness that something catastrophic in God's plan is about to happen. Seven sevens appear in the account of Noah's flood in Genesis chapters 6-8. This links it to end times. The book of Revelations is known as the book of 7's.

  • The number 40 is mentioned 6 times in the flood account. Six is the number of man. 40 is a time allocated to man. 40 days were given to the twelve spies to search out the Land of Promise when Israel was still in the wilderness. When 10 spies came back with an evil report causing the people to revolt against the Lord God sentenced them to wander for 40 years in the wilderness. 'According to the number of the days in which you searched the land, forty days, each day for a year you shall bear your iniquities, forty years; and you shall know My alienation' (Numbers 14:34). Notice how these 10 men failed the test of faith confirming the significance of the number 10! God penalized them one year for every day of rebellion.


  • Examples of prophetic days and years can be found throughout scripture. For example, sentencing Judah for 70 years of captivity in Babylon for the seventy times that they did not rest the land on the Sabbath Year in every week of years - (over 490 years) (2 Chronicles 36:20-21). After His resurrection Jesus favoured his disciples with 40 days of His presence. 40 years was also given to each king while Israel was united. Thus Saul, David and Solomon ruled for a total of 120 years (3x40) over a united Israel.

  • Moses was given 3 x 40 = 120 years of life on earth. Noah was given 3 x 40 years to build the ark before the end came. 120 disciples were filled with the Spirit signifying a new beginning and the end of fleshly ways. Jesus was handed over to the devil for 40 days to be tempted three times in the wilderness of Judea - the devil delayed his temptation until Jesus was at his weakest point towards the end of His fast.

  • Noah's great flood began on the 17th day of the month and ended on the 17th day of the 7th month of the civil calendar, which is Nisan, the first month of the new calendar. God established the new calendar for the first Passover at the time of the Exodus from Egypt.

  • Jesus rose on the 17th day of Nisan during Passover.

  • Collectively, these will become important factors when we fit the jigsaw pieces together to determine the time allocated to planet Earth. The jigsaw pieces become overwhelmingly convincing when we consider all the interlocking clues the Lord has given us in His word. Each is a fragment that leads to the whole.




PATTERNS WITHIN PATTERNS. LET'S LOOK AGAIN AT THE 3 KINGS OF UNITED ISRAEL:


United Israel only ever had three kings - Saul, David and Solomon. Each ruled over Israel for 40 years. David was the man in the middle as is Jesus. David, a man after God's heart, was a type of Jesus. The doorway into Noah's ark was on the middle floor - the scriptures tell us that Jesus is the door! Jesus is always in the middle, the centre piece of our faith, Father - Son - Holy Spirit.


The Ark had three stories signifying that in salvation all three members of the trinity are involved. King David was not allowed to build the temple, but prepared materials and supplies for its construction. David was disallowed from building because God called him a 'man of blood'. Jesus is the man of blood. It's the Holy Spirit building the church, not Jesus!


The Lord also called David a 'man of his own heart'. David was a type of Jesus in line with what the Father declared of Jesus at His baptism in the Jordan, 'This is my Son in whom I am well pleased'. David was the man who defeated Goliath the Philistine stamped with the number 6, as already discussed. It is Jesus who will defeat the man of sin, 666. Let our faith grow because the Bible is full of beautiful patterns, all pointing to Jesus.

The Temple of Solomon figuratively speaks on end times.


The Temple of Solomon is all about Jesus and the end-time church. Its administrations and ceremonial protocols are clues to the end-time administration of the church. Ezekiel's Temple expands on the functions of the Body of Christ (Ezekiel Chapter 47). Why do I say that?


End times are going to be very testing of our faith. 'Then they will deliver you up to be afflicted and will kill you. And you will be hated of all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another. And many false prophets will rise and deceive many. And, because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will become cold. But he who endures to the end the same shall be kept safe' (Matthew 24:9-13). 'And shall not God avenge His own elect who cry day and night to Him though He has been long-suffering over them? I say to you that He will avenge them speedily. Yet when the Son of Man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?' (Luke 18:7-8).

Ten is the number indicative of trials or testing. In comparing the Temple of Solomon with the tabernacle of Moses we find that a number of critical items of furniture were multiplied 10-fold in Solomon's Temple: The 10 lavers in the Outer Court for washing sacrifices, the 10 lampstands and the 10 lots of showbread opposite each lampstand in the Holy Place, the church age. Thus we have 120 loaves of holy bread, a 120 cubit-tall tower signifying entrance in a repentant state, 120 signifying the end of flesh - an absolutely total and perhaps unimaginable, transition from carnality to spirituality.


That in itself will be a hard cross to bear for many of us Christians. There might even be a tendency for many to fall away, but for the grace of God. The 'sea' filled with 2000 baths of water was supported by 12 oxen, facing the four corners of the world. The oxen speak of burden bearers and represent the apostles. The 2000 baths required for cleansing of priests speaks of the 2000 years of the church age (1 Kings 7:26). The remaining capacity of 1000 baths was not required because it symbolized the 1000 years of peace with Christ (The Millennium, 2 Chronicles 4:5). By that time all believers will have been cleansed and resurrected.

How are those difficult times to be overcome by the church at the time of the end? Clearly, the answer lies in appropriate leadership, holding fast to sound apostolic doctrine and by the emergence of 12 latter-day apostles (Revelations Chapters 5 and 12). These are newly-appointed apostles of the lamb as distinct from ascension gift apostleships - we shall touch on that later when we consider Jachin and Boaz, the two columns of brass that stand guard outside the Holy Place in Solomon's Temple.


God is looking to a time when all will come to the full stature of the man Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:1-15). Can you imagine that as a reality in your life? Impossible, we might say, but that's not what the word of God says. For Him nothing is impossible. It would certainly be impossible if we tried to achieve that in our own strength. It will have to be the work of the Holy Spirit. The obligation on us will be to completely surrender to truth. Can you imagine yourself praying as diligently as Jesus did? I can't. It's not in my flesh yet.


That will require some loving, gentle and persistent 'bloodletting' to come in the future. The flesh will not give up its control readily, but by the grace and love of God it can be achieved. It has to be so because the perfected bride of Christ on Earth will be presented to the groom without blemish, spot or wrinkle, or any such thing - no doubt about it whatsoever, with or without you or me! 'Therefore, as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself as the glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that it should be holy and without blemish' (Ephesians 5:24-27).

The phases of this process are elaborated in Ephesians chapters 4 and 1:

'In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He caused to abound toward us in all wisdom and understanding; having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, for an administration of the fullness of times, to head up all things in Christ, both the things in Heaven and the things on earth, even in Him, in whom also we have been chosen to an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His own will, for us to be to the praise of His glory, who previously had trusted in Christ; in whom also you, hearing the Word of Truth, the gospel of our salvation, in whom also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise who is the earnest of our inheritance, to the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory' (Ephesians 1:7-14).

'And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. And this until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ' (Ephesians 4:11-13).


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