We are going to discuss a very important concept that must be understood if you are going to interpret the Scriptures correctly, and that is the concept of “here now, but not yet” and how it relates to eschatology. This concept is based on the Scripture found in Num 24.17 that says, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; a star shall come forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall arise from Israel, and shall crush through the forehead of Moab, and tear down all the sons of Sheth.” An example of this concept can be found in 2 Kings 20.1-6. Hezekiah is told by the prophet Isaiah that he is going to die, but he has no heir. He asks God to remember him, and Isaiah turns around and tells Hezekiah he has 15 more years. The time of his death was “here now” but “not yet” (15 more years). We have a pattern in the Scriptures where we will come to a certain point, but it is not over. For instance, the festival of Hag ha Matzah is at the beginning of the religious year based on Exo 12. It is during the month of Nisan, and Adar is the last month of the religious calendar. In Exo 23.16 we have what is called “Hag ha Oseif” which means the feast of the Ingathering. That would be the festival of Sukkot, in the 7th month of Tishri. The verse says it is the “end of the year” but it is not Adar on the religious calendar, but Tishri. How can that be “the end?” It can be when you have two calendars in operation. The “end” means “turning” of the year at Tishri 1, the civil year begins at Rosh ha Shannah. In Duet 14.28 also refers to this concept when it talks about “the end of every third year” and Exo 34.22 also refers to this “turning of the year.” Again we have a “here now, but not yet” concept demonstrated.
Another example of this concept can be found in the “Ages.” We should not try and figure these out with our western, American mindset because it has a different type of logic. The ages as found in the Scriptures will be based on two things, chronology and what state of being the individual is in. If you try and figure this out with just chronology without state of being, you will get very frustrated. We know that time was created by God, but he is not restricted to time, or “in” time. Time was created for man, and he did it with what is called his “7000 year plan.” Now, this 7000 years is divided into two ages, the Olam ha Zeh (present age) and the Olam Haba (world to come). The Olam ha Zeh “proper” is 6000 years long, but it can extend for 1000 years more. After 6000 years, we begin what is called the Atid Lavo (future age, also known as the “Day of the Lord/Messianic Kingdom”). At the end of the Atid Lavo, all creation goes into the Olam Haba, or “eternity.”
We can subdivide the Olam ha Zeh into three sub-ages of 2000 years each, called Tohu (desolation); Torah (instruction) and Yomot Mashiach (Days of the Messiah). Chronologically, we had Messiah come forth at year 4000. He dies and is resurrected after three days. He then entered the Olam Haba three days after his death in the Olam ha Zeh chronologically. But the rest of the people were still in the Olam ha Zeh. This is because it relates to whatever your state of being is. Yeshua is in the Olam Haba now, with a glorified body which will never die or get sick, but he will be visiting and talking to the talmidim who are still in the Olam ha Zeh (an example of “here now, but not yet”). Yeshua can eat, but then walk through the wall, or “disappear.” As you can see, it does not follow the chronological sequence as far as your “state of being” is concerned. At the end of the Olam ha Zeh “proper” (6000 years), those that have received the redemption are either changed or resurrected. They will enter into the Olam Haba also, but those that are left are still in the Olam ha Zeh and enter into the Atid Lavo chronologically. When Yeshua returns, survivors of the Birth-pains are either slain (the unrighteous) or remain alive in the Olam ha Zeh/Atid Lavo in their physical state, while those who come with Yeshua are in the Olam Haba because they have glorified bodies.
In Part 2, we will begin to develop this concept using the book of Hebrews, and having these concepts in mind will help us interpret what is being said correctly.