As the world plunges deeper into crisis and the advent of a third world war global war looms closer those who fear the Lord are asking: ‘What is God saying at this time?’ And it is significant that so-called Christian ‘prophets’, who until recently abounded in hopeful predictions, now have little or nothing to say in reply.

But the Bible does tell us what God is both saying and doing at this time, for the Lord is the creator of the ages and the dispenser of times and seasons (Hebrews 1:1, 11:3 - where ‘worlds’ means ages). What’s more He has a plan for good He will bring to pass despite man’s deepening sin and the darkening evil of the world. It begins with the ‘Day of Christ’ (Phil: 1:6) and concludes ages later in  the ‘dispensation of the fullness of times’ when God will ‘gather together in one all things in Christ’ (Eph. 1:10).

Only by understanding God’s plan of redemption for the world and mankind, as set out in scripture, can we answer such questions as: Why does God allow evil, why is the visible church so ineffective, why does it seem that for many the gospel has lost its power to save?

Right now God is speaking out the message we need to know in our generation but his words about it are only found in the portions of the Bible specifically directed to our time. They are the last seven epistles of the Apostle Paul; that is, the “prison epistles” of Ephesians, Philippian, Colossians 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon.

If we study, understand and believe these writings we will learn ‘present truth’. The phrase comes from 2 Peter 1:12 where the Apostle said Jewish believers knew and were established in the ‘present truth’ for their time.

Present truth’ to Jewish people in Peter’s time was that their Messiah Jesus had “fulfilled” all that the prophets has said He should suffer and that God had raised Him from the dead and made Him “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36), “Lord” meaning God of all and “Christ” meaning  their Saviour and Redeemer. Jewish believers, therefore, were to sanctify themselves by adding add various accomplishments to their faith “for so an entrance will be supplied to you into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-7).

But is that God’s message to Christians today, living as we do in the current age or dispensation of grace? True, like them we are saved by Christ who died on the cross to pay for our sins. But the “present truth” God would reveal to believers today is that of a new and different way of sanctification.

This is not based on adding “virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance and godliness to faith”) by our own human efforts, in order to seek entrance into the Lord’s kingdom on earth as Peter taught. Rather, it is being saved “by grace through faith”... not (by, or) of “works” (Eph. 2:8). What’s more, today fully receiving God’s grace leads to the sure and ‘blessed hope’ of being changed to be like Him at his APPEARING in glory in heaven (Titus 2:13, Col.3:1-4).

So then, ‘present truth’ for us in 2024 is, among other things, to “know what is the hope of his calling” (Eph. 1:18), which is his APPEARING, as outlined above, and to become part of the “riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18). However, this hope can only be known if the “eyes of your understanding (have been) enlightened by the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the nowledge of Him” [i.e. Christ] (Eph. 1:17-18). For, it is only by revelation of God’s Spirit we can learn “present truth” and thus hear what God is saying today.

Sadly, it seems only those with a deep hunger for God and a burning desire to know and walk more closely with “… the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13) will set aside what they have held until now to receive this revelation.

Others will continue to treat most scripture as though it is all equally applicable to us in 2024 even though Heb. 1:1 makes clear that God speaks to different people at different times with different messages.

It is not for nothing that the Apostle Paul at least twice urges believers to distinguish that which was spoken to Hebrew believers from that later announced through Paul to Gentiles. In Phil. 1:9-10 he prays the believers at Philippi will “… in love abound more in knowledge and in all judgement. So that ye may approve things that are excellent, and that ye may be sincere and without offence until the Day of Christ”.

So it is, that in the Bible there are some truths that are more excellent, that are better. They are also different, because the KJV margin note for “the things that are excellent” also translate it as “the things that differ”.

One such difference is that the “Day of Christ” is a different era to the “Day of the Lord”. In the latter event Christ appears in flaming fire taking vengeance on those that disobey the gospel (2 Thess. 1:7). In the former He appears in love and grace to all mankind bringing great blessing and restoring things on earth to their pre-Flood beauty (see Acts 3:19:21).

So, Christ speaking through Paul in Phil. 1:9-10 makes clear that for all mankind the imminent “Day of Christ” is the “present (or soon-to-be) truth” He would have us believe now. Which is why in Titus 2:13 we are told to be:

Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing (His appearing in glory) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous for good works.

Thankfully, the “great tribulation”, together with the catching up to meet the Lord in the air at his return in flaming fire taking vengeance in the future “Day of the Lord”, is not “present truth”.  However, these events will certainly take place in a later age.

Other strong Bible advice to distinguish the “things that differ” is found in 2 Timothy 2:15 where Timothy is commanded: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.

Finis Jennings Dake, the man who produced Dake’s Annotated Bible, wrote that “rightly dividing” means that in order “to give true meaning and application to the various times and [different] classes of people; [Bible] truth must be divided dispensationally, prophetically, historically and with regard to classes and subjects”.

I sincerely suggest that refusal by most Christians to follow these and other scriptural instructions on how to understand the Bible and thus determine ‘present truth’ is why the visible church of today is of little effect in the current world crisis.

John Dudley Aldworth July 2024

Email: john.aldworth@hotmail.com