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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Dec. 18, 2008

  • 2008 Dec 18

The Fullness of Time - The Day Jesus Was Born

The True Glory of Christmas is how perfectly God entered our world that first Christmas. There are six perfections we will see:

  1. His TIMING was Perfect because it was in the Fullness of Time.
  2. His NAMES were Perfect because they reveal we deeply need what only God gives.
  3. His PLAN was Perfect because it was God with us.
  4. His PROMISES were Perfect because they were the culmination of ALL PROPHESY.
  5. His RECEPTION was Perfect because He was found by all who were looking for Him.
  6. His TRADITIONS were Perfect because all the season points to Him.

Thus the world that cradled Christ was the world that Christianity entered - and by God's definition was the Fullness of Time: It was characterized by six things:

  • Worldwide Citizenship
  • Worldwide Language
  • Worldwide Transportation
  • Worldwide Peace
  • Worldwide Moral Decline
  • Worldwide Expectancy

In short order, let me demonstrate this:

God picked a time when there was global citizenship/language - Acts 16:35 But citizenship had its price. The empire began to puts its emphasis on Emperor worship. It was the religious expression of the unity of the State which was seen in the empire, especially Caligula (A. D. 37-41) and Domitian (81-96). The Emperor ranked as:

  1. "God and sovereign Savior of human life" (so already Julius Caesar),
  2. "God's son" (Augustus),
  3. "Lord and God" (Domitian),
  4. "High Priest," "Savior of the World" (Augustus, Claudius, Nero),
  5. "King of Kings."
  6. His decrees were called "gospels" (good news),
  7. His letters "sacred writings."
  8. His arrival was termed a "parousia" (advent),
  9. His visit an "epiphany."

Through all this a clash with early Christianity was unavoidable. It was the chief ground of the persecution of Christians; and at the same time the empire of the first century became a type of Antichrist's empire of the End time "And yet even this imperial will was subject to the will of the Most High.

From the center of the Mediterranean world there issued an order, affecting nations, the census decree of Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1). But in the light of God's Word it was by the hand of the Lord of all Lords. God was about to fulfill an old prophetic word concerning a very small city in the land of Judah, the small city of Bethlehem Ephratah, the city of David (Mic. 5:2; Luke 2:1-7).

  1. God picked a time when there was global LANGUAGE - Greek became the common language. A person could travel the entire known world from India to Britain and never be out of touch with what was going on. The language of the world was in place. So the good news about the sacrificial death of Jesus was quickly understood…
  1. God picked a time when there was global COMMUNICATIONS. In the market place of every city there stood a milestone giving the distance from Rome. In the market of "Rome the eternal" there stood a golden milestone, erected by Augustus, which described the capital city as the heart of this giant, pulsating organism of peoples.

Without this notable world traffic the swift advance of early Christianity would have been inconceivable. Sea traffic was specially important to them, for early Christian gospel work was in great measure a labor in harbor cities, and especially so with Paul.

Yet the land connections also were of the utmost importance. Even the most remote and isolated lands were opened up through roads and bridges. Already at that time a tolerably complete network of well-built highways, protected by walls and fortresses, spread itself over the whole empire. "All roads lead to Rome." On these imperial and main roads the messengers of the gospel later traveled, bringing to the world the joyful news of the Redeemer who had appeared. Some estimate Paul alone journeyed by land and water a total of more than 15,000 miles.

  1. God picked a time when there was global PEACE - This was a benefit from the rule of the Emperors. Since the Romans were the lords of the whole earth, the passions of the people became ever more allayed. There set in the much lauded "Roman Peace." Although the period of Augustus was not entirely free from war, yet nevertheless at last the temple of Janus at Rome, the temple of the God of war, after over 200 years of uninterrupted fighting (since 236) could at length be shut, in the year 29 B. C. And for two centuries, until A. D. 180, the world lay in peace.
  1. God picked a time when there was global DECADENCE/MORAL DECLINE and DEGENERATION - But morally this whole civilized world carried within itself the germ of death. The streams of gold which, especially since the victory over Hannibal (202 B. C.), flowed into the world's capital led to such luxury that filth and vulgarity soon lifted their heads in the most insolent manner.

According to the descriptions of Tacitus, Suetonius, and Juvenal, we cannot portray with adequate blackness the low moral state to which the aristocracy and highest State officials had sunk. Debauchery and gluttony, subornation and poisoning, vulgarity and immorality, unchastity and licentiousness were the order of the day, especially in the middle of the first century. The lowest classes had sunken equally low. In the large Hellenistic cities, especially of Italy, lack of work ruined the masses. "Panem et circenses" - "Bread and Games" - this was their demand to the rulers.

By day they loitered idly around; in the evening they went to the amphitheatre, the disgusting pleasure resort of Roman brutality. So vast were the crowds that pressed to the wild beast hunts, the gladiatorial contests, and the mimic sea battles, that the Emperor Vespasian and Titus caused to be built in Rome the vast Flavian amphitheater, which had 54,000 seats, and at the dedication of which, in spectacles lasting 120 days, not less than 12,000 beasts and 10,000 gladiators lost their lives. It was otherwise with the middle class. Here the papyri witness that there were still much decorum and morality, private family life, and strong religious feeling. Faith in the Gods of Greece and the Italian deities was indeed gone, on which account the mass of the people turned to the oriental deities from the remote East, which, in large numbers, were gaining ground at that time.

Finally, there was one more notable feature of those full times

  1. God picked a time when there was global EXPECTANCY - Out of Egypt, Persia, Babylon and Asia Minor flowed the rivers of human religions and mystery God's. The "Fullness of Time" was also a time of great religious expectancy:
  • Isis and Osiris of Egypt
  • Mithras of Persia
  • Cybele of Asia Minor
  • Emperor Worship from the Orient

Together this was the Oriental/Eastern secret religions. Moreover, most of these Oriental religions had the common root idea of faith in a Nature God who died and came again to life, at which they had arrived by deifying the fading and reviving of the vegetable world or the rising and setting of the sun, moon, and stars.

Thus, the World Law and Language combine with Communication/Peace and out of blackest moral decline is a strange expectancy that as the night is conquered by the light, so…..can we?

Until at last, coming from the East, from the rising of the sun, from the mouth of simple witnesses, becoming ever stronger and stronger, there rings the world-conquering proclamation:









He has come!

Galatians 4:4-5


4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.


Luke 1:78-79

78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; 79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace."

God picked a time when there was
global readiness and at that moment - CHRIST APPEARED!


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