I recently read Kim Riddlebarger’s A Case for Amillennialism. In it, he surveys ways Christians understand (or misunderstand) end times prophesy. I recommend the book for those interested in working through what they believe about the end.
He treats the subject fairly, in my opinion, although he does have a vested interest in Amillennialism. Throughout the text, he explores the concept of multiple fulfillments over time of individual Bible prophesies termed: ‘the now and not yet.’
While reading, it occurred to me that everyone you meet has their own ‘now and not yet.’ Perhaps the following statement seems alien to you:
Though you have not seen Him, you love him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9 English Standard Version (ESV)
Certainly, it’s true that those alive today have not seen the Lord Jesus Christ. This is ‘a now and not yet’ for those who trust Him for salvation.
However, what struck me is that many do not love or even believe in Him. Consider this: perhaps it is not yet your time to believe and be saved from God’s wrath. But it could be, soon; perhaps even today.
Of course, you will be saved not because of anything you have done, but according to His mercy and purpose for you:
Though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— Romans 9:11 (ESV)
What am I trying to get at? Let’s approach it this way. The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the church at Rome:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
And those whom He predestined, He also called, and those whom He called He also justified [i.e., made righteous], and those whom He justified he also glorified.
Romans 8:28-30 (ESV)
Paul speaks of a progressive reveal of those who become His children: from time in eternity past, through our lives, and to eternity future. One commentator points out (see note 270) how Paul describes this process in the past tense to show the certainty of its accomplishment because, by God’s decree, it is as good as already done. There is an element of ‘the now and a not yet’ for each of us as we journey through our lives.
To embark on the next step of your journey, you must believe that God exists and He rewards those that seek Him.
…He appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
Do not harden your hearts.”
Hebrews 4:7 (ESV)
And He calls to us from heaven:
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 (ESV)
The Now and the Not Yet, Amy Grant, YouTube