Fullness Of Time Then And Now

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5, ESV).

The first time Jesus came – it was the fullness of time.

What was so different when Jesus came than 20 or 200 or 2000 years before He was born?

Michael Green, in his book Evangelism in the Early Church, lists several “fullness” factors that happened just before Jesus.

  1. Pax Romana or Roman Peace.  Augustus was the Roman emperor when Jesus was born. He had established a peace across the known world. As Green says, “The spread of Christianity would have been inconceivable had Jesus been born a half century earlier.”
  2. Transportation.  Roman roads were built everywhere – from one end of the empire to another. Add to this a massive shipping industry. For the first time in history, available transportation, along with peace, allowed freedom of empire-wide travel.
  3. Same Language.  When the Romans conquered, they took the Greek language. As Michael Green says, “It was normal for Roman education to be conducted in Greek.” Wherever early missionaries went, there was a common language for the good news of Jesus to be preached.
  4. Jews as a focal point.  When the Apostle Paul or other first century missionaries traveled, they could find a Jewish synagogue in almost any city, town, or village. When the Jews were dispersed after the Babylonian captivity, they took their religion with them. In every community, monotheistic theology and a physical building gave early missionaries a conducive thought environment and actual place to first preach the gospel.

At the first coming of Jesus, for the first time, the world was prepared for a rapid spread of the gospel. Now, let’s examine prophecies for the second coming of Jesus and note the parallels.

  1. Peace and Safety!  The Apostle Paul indicates in a prophecy in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 that the end times will have people crying, “Peace and safety.” Today, there is relative peace and safety in travel.
  2. Transportation.  The Prophet Daniel predicts that in the end times, “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4).
  3. English.  I have Zoom© conferences with Filipinos, Nigerians, and, soon, pastors from Myanmar. English is spoken around the globe as the primary language. Many countries teach English along with their native language.
  4. Jews as a focal point.  The book of Ezekiel says concerning the Jewish people, “For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land” (36:34, NASB1995).

There was a historical anomaly that the Apostle Paul described as “the fullness of time” that embraced the first coming of Jesus.  

The same circumstances exist today, right before the second coming of Jesus. All four of the “second coming signs” have intensified in the last few decades. 

More Jews are returning to Israel from both Russia and Ukraine; the focal point of world politics continues to be Israel; travel allows anyone to reach anywhere in the world in a few hours; English, and even computer coding languages, are known globally; and the world continues to strive for “peace and safety.”

Even believers too often think, “Peace and safety!” 

Instead, followers should remember what Jesus said, “When you see all these things, recognize that I am near, right at the door” (Matthew 24:33).

The fullness of time for the first coming and now the fullness of time for the second coming.

Fullness – then and now!