Thursday, May 22, 2014

Twelve Stages of Redemption History

The Bible has a central theme, which is a complete story of redemption. It begins the story at the creation of the world and ends when the New Jerusalem at the end of the Book of Revelation. There are, however, many stages in between. I thought I would briefly summarize those stages. By knowing them, it will show how the Bible unfolds thematically. It reveals the progression of God' plan for his people.  

According to Willem Van Gemmeran, there are twelve stages of redemptive history. The Bible moves from creation in harmony stage (1) where Yahweh is King and Adam and Eve function as his sinless vice regents. Then sin enters the world beginning in chapter 3 and from there to chapter 11, stage (2) begins the rebellion against God’s kingship. In Genesis 12 until Genesis 50 Moses records stage (3) of God’s plan as he outlines the promise given to Abraham to be the father of many nations and the plan of salvation that is accessed by faith alone. As the plan progresses, God develops a nation called Israel who are chosen to be his people.

The Patriarchs of this people are found in stage 3, but stage (4) in Genesis through Joshua, the Bible records God’s plan to develop a holy nation by giving them the Mosaic law and his presence with the purpose of developing a holy nation. During the period of the Judges until to midpoint of the book of Samuel, the Bible moves to stage (5), revealing how Israel rebelled against God and his theocracy and lived like the other nations. God, in his infinite grace though, extends to Israel his mercy, and in stage (6) makes them a royal nation by enacting of a covenant he made with David to produce a glorious theocratic community which enjoyed God’s presence in the temple. Then in stage (7) sin takes place and the Davidic dynasty ends and God judges Israel by divided the Kingdom into two parts, namely Israel and Judah. This stage takes place beginning in I Kings 12 until 2 Kings 25, and is also reflected in 2 Chron. 10-36. God doesn’t leave the nation divided forever, as he sends the prophets to preach a massage of reform and renewal of the covenant, resulting in stage (8) of his plan. This stage carries over until the New Testament begins with Jesus coming and the beginning of His Kingdom, which is stage (9)

In stage (10) the apostolic era begins and this begins to lay the groundwork for stage (11) which is the church age. During this age God moves it focus from developing a nation to developing a bride called the church. This is the age we currently find ourselves. God is seeking to build a holy and royal people that is comprised of all the nations of the world. The periods culminate in stage (12), which is the New Jerusalem. The salvation process culminates in the glorification of God’s saints and God developing a new heaven and a new earth (Gen. 3:1-Rev. 22:21).[1]

[1] Willem Van Gemeren. The Progress of Redemption: The Story of Salvation from Creation to the New Jerusalem. Grand Rapids: Baker Books (1988) 32

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