Ok, so this post is more of a lead into my next post. I’m breaking them up so that it’s not completely unbearably long, lol. This will make sense after my next post, but I think my next post will make more sense after this one, so please bear with me.
The Jews believed, and some still do, that there would only be three sections of time as we look at the spiritual history of the world. There was the time of perfection (my words), before Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit. Then once man fell, sin and death reigned on earth, and they called this period of time “This present, evil age”. There would then come a third period of time, which would be when the Messiah would come to earth and restore His kingdom. The Jews saw this as a one shot thing, the Messiah would come back and free the world of sin and death and establish His kingdom when He came. In conjunction with this belief, the Jews believed that their eternal residence would be determined at the end of their life, based on how well they kept the law of the Old Testament.
This is why the Biblical record of the Messiah’s first advent was so confusing to them. Their Messiah didn’t come and establish His kingdom, triumphing over His enemies and ridding the world of sin and death, at least not the way they would expect him to have done so. Scripture does tell us that the Messiah conquered sin and death at the cross, which brings us into the difference between the Christian view of time and the Jewish view. The Christian view holds to the time of perfection, and of “this present, evil age”, the difference is we believe that the Messiah did conquer sin and death at the cross, so sin no longer reigns freely in this world. We believe that the cross defeated sin and death, even though the earth hasn’t been restored to its perfect state. We also believe that we do not have to wait until the end of our lives to know where we will spend eternity, we can know that now based on our faith in the work the Messiah did at the cross. This is the time period in between “this present, evil age” and when the Messiah comes back to restore the earth to perfect. This is the “already, not yet”. The Messiah did establish His kingdom and defeated sin and death, but did not return His people and creation to its state of perfection.