Bible Mysteries: The Church Age
Before we address the signs of the end of the age, perhaps this would be a good time to discuss the age itself. Most dispensationalists describe the period in which we are living as the Church Age. And, in fact, that is an excellent name for it. But, the Church Age is a parenthetical period, in that, it does not appear in the prophecies of Israel. It is one of the many biblical mysteries, especially to the Jew.
A mystery in the Scriptures is a previously hidden truth which has been revealed to some, but not to everyone. Jesus tells His disciples that He speaks in parables so that some can know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but so others can not (Mk. 4:11). Speaking of Christ’s Atonement, Paul calls it a mystery hidden even before creation occurred (I Cor. 2:7-8). There is also the mystery of the end of the Church Age known as the Rapture (I Cor. 15:51; I Thes. 4:13-18). And, there is the mystery of the blindness of Israel, which hinders Jews from recognizing their Messiah (Rom. 11:25). So, when the disciples ask about the end of the age, they are speaking of the Dispensation of the Law, in which they were living.
Question 3: The Sign of the End of the Age
Another way of describing the period, or age prior to Christ’s second coming, is “the times of the Gentiles" (Lk. 21:24). Perhaps this is a better way of looking at the signs because the Church will not be here when the age ends. All, or at least partial control of Jerusalem by the Gentiles, will continue until the signing of the seven year peace treaty, giving Israel total control of their land for three and a half years. Then, the treaty will be broken by the abomination of desolation previously mentioned (Dan. 9:27). So, although the Church is predominately made up of Gentiles, it has nothing to do with control of Jerusalem.
The Church began on the day of Pentecost and will be here until the Rapture removes it. Israel, on the other hand, has been under the domination of Gentiles since the Babylonian captivity. The list of those controlling Jerusalem is long and varied, but every nation listed is a Gentile nation. Following Babylon were the Medes, the Persians, Greece, Rome, the Arabs and Christians during the crusades, the Mamluks and Ottoman Sultans, the British, and the Palestinians (who hold control of a small portion of Jerusalem even today). True, Israel took control of Jerusalem in the 1967 War, but the infamous Dome of the Rock, a Gentile religious landmark, still dominates the city skyline from every approach.
To be continued, Lord willing.