“But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son . . .” Galatians 4:4 KJV
This is a familiar verse to me, but somewhere, somehow, it got associated in my mind with Daniel’s 70 weeks. I perceived an arbitrarily established divine timeline, and the Savior had to be born at an exact time. Clean and simple.
I applied the same thing to my life. I could not do what I am supposed to do in life if I had been born 50 years sooner or later. I had to be born at the right point in history.
Also clean and simple.
Unfortunately, it misses the point entirely.
Let’s look at this verse through the current situation with the National Football League. The players want more money and the owners are not looking with favor on their request. To resolve that problem, the owners locked them out so there would be no football season this year and the players sued.
Then the court said the owners were wrong and they had to play ball. Because of the judge’s edict, the owners started the process of activating the teams. However, the owners also appealed and a few days later a higher court said something different. That meant the owners could stop the process of starting the season. It is now so convoluted that I am not sure what is going on.
But as a businessman, I am appalled at the complexity of the logistics. Suppose everything were resolved today — amicably or otherwise — and the football season could go forward.
You can’t just start to play ball because a judge said so! It will take a huge amount of work to do the player trades that would normally be done during the off-season, to get caught up on pre-season conditioning, to create the schedule of games and playoffs, to rehire the tens of thousands of seasonal employees needed for the stadiums, to adjust the TV contracts to fit the new reality, etc.
I don’t envy the football commissioner. Running a season is a complex job when everything you are doing is just a minor variation on last year’s activities. But having to start at the wrong time of year, and put back in place a structure that was partially dismantled, seems gargantuan.
So I ponder “In the fulness of time . . .” from that grid.
God was not just watching the calendar and sending Christ (or me) into history at the right time, like a relay runner taking the baton. Rather, He was exquisitely crafting an entire global social context that would unpack the treasures which were embedded in the human spirit of The Christ.
The world would have to be in exactly the right condition to provide the perfect playing field for His ministry. You think the commissioner of football has a challenge on his hands! God’s logistical challenge was vastly greater.
Whether the football industry will be ready for the first game or not remains to be seen — if they ever have a next game — but for sure, God was supremely on top of every detail when He sent The Christ into this game. So let’s look over His shoulder as He and the Implementation Angels go over the checklist the final time.
“Your Majesty, we now have a deeply entrenched religious culture. It is split three ways. We have an extremely legalistic, conservative group whose legitimacy is based on a supposed adherence to the Mosaic Law.
“We also have a strong liberal group that is militantly anti-supernatural.
“We have even managed to develop a deviant hybrid group which we describe as ‘political secularist religious leaders.’ They are a remarkably self-contradicting paradox.
“The religious sector demands immense financial support and emotional loyalty from the people. They consume vast resources fighting each other but will form a united front in a heartbeat to oppose anyone who tries to start something new at the grassroots level. In fact, they are lethal when it comes to innovators who want more of You and less of religion.”
“Perfect,” the Lord says. “Check that off the list. Next.”
“Present, Your Majesty. The nation is governed by a politically ruthless narcissist who is incredibly insecure. He is part Jewish and part Gentile so his legitimacy as King of the Jews is constantly in question. He is owned by many special interest groups so he has to keep contradicting himself to stay in power. He is vigorously working the political system to be sure his hand-picked successor can carry out his policies after his death.”
“Check. That will serve our purposes well. Next.”
“The dominant Ruler nation in the region has a stranglehold on the local economy. The locals generally can survive but not thrive. Taxes are high and are a massive source of contention between the average citizens and the government. There is a small business class that is blatantly exploitive and prodigiously unethical.”
“Check. Useful dynamics for The Christ’s work. Next.”
4) Family line
“Your Majesty, the two family lines both have kingly rights to David’s throne, albeit through different pathways. We have verified that there are high levels of the Aramean Curse, the Moabite Curse, the Midianite Curse, the Curse of Jotham, and the negative 5th head of Leviathan present in this gene pool per Your instructions.
“There is a triple portion of the Edomite Curse. It comes from His family, and from the religion and it rides on time as well. That threefold cord will be a formidable barrier. The Curse of Cain is very strong in the whole nation, but particularly in the region where The Christ will be raised and will have His ministry headquarters.
“The Blessing of John and the positive 6th and 7th heads of Leviathan are present in the family line, but by any objective standard, the deck is stacked heavily against Him. He does not stand a chance of getting a project off the ground, much less at leaving a legacy.
“The young couple is guaranteed to be broke and to stay broke for the most part. The brief spike of capital from the Magi will be devoured in Egypt compliments of the Midianite curse, which will continue to be active in His adult life. Money and followers will be like the tide: they will come in and go out the same day.
“The father has the necessary spirit of premature death which will be bequeathed to The Christ through the adoption process.”
“Good job, Implementors! Each of those pieces is essential. Next.”
5) The Culture
“Your Majesty, the culture has reached the highest level of bondage to the mesmerizing spirit we have ever seen. The people spend half their time dreaming about a romanticized vision of the past and the rest of their time fantasizing about a future that will never be. Self-deception is only equalled by the deception they successfully execute on each other. Their inability to comprehend light, truth, love and freedom is monumental. Their commitment to following massively exploitive religious leaders is incomprehensible.
“The Edomite Curse is also at high tide, as You specified. Racism is so powerfully entrenched that people will walk 40 miles out of their way to keep from being associated with another race. Women are massively degraded and the religious caste system is endless in its divisions and divisiveness. Even the labor market is highly discriminatory with shepherds being among the most deeply marginalized. The culture has developed extensive linguistic reaffirmations of the Edomite Curse, so even when discrimination is not being actively practiced, it is being celebrated and reinforced through their speech.”
“Well done. The Edomite Curse is central to allowing my Son to gain the authority He needs. Next.”
6) The Team
“We have worked very hard here, Your Majesty. Every single one of them has huge potential, but they all have the massive legitimacy deficits You specified. Everyone one of the seven foundational legitimacy lies will manifest as soon as they are called into ministry. The other weaknesses such as jealousy, greed and insecurity are scattered throughout the group.
“On paper, they look like a bunch that no leader could hold together for more than a week, even in a no-stress situation. We see no possibility at all of any leader we know of managing to keep the team together for three years, much less getting anything done through them.”
“Perfect. This game plan will work best if He has really high-maintenance followers. And I believe we have one last report.”
7) The Entrance
“Yes, Your Majesty. All is ready. The census will be ordered six years ahead of schedule causing sheer chaos. We have taken massive steps, with significant redundancy, to get so many people into the town for the two weeks before and after Your designated date, that there will be nothing available other than the stable. The emotional climate of the community will be abrasive and volatile. The locals will long since have gotten past their joy over the economic windfall and will simply be fed up with the increasing shortages, constant noise and demanding intruders. The shepherds will be in the vicinity as designated.”
“Angels, well done! I know you have been working on this project for a couple of centuries and the instructions were quite complex. Congratulations on setting the stage magnificently for our greatest triumph over our ancient enemy.”
Then The Almighty arose with intense excitement and called out, “Gabriel! Let’s roll!”
* * * *
As they walked back to the Deployment Center, two Implementation Angels chatted softly.
“Hey, Bro. I don’t get it. Why did The Almighty create such an unbelievable mess before sending The Christ to earth? How is this a good thing?”
“Beats me, but we sure did make The Almighty happy with our precise execution of His instructions. Sure hope it all makes sense to us some day.”
* * * *
In the fullness of time . . . when the stage was perfectly set, Christ came.
And the beauty of it all is that the angels were equally busy setting the stage for you, so that you too would be birthed into an exquisitely prepared world.
Copyright May 2011 by Arthur Burk
From the Quarterdeck, in Anaheim