THE GOD of this AGE
BY: JONATHAN MITCHELL
Who is the God (or: god) of this age? Most Christians will without hesitation answer, “Satan.” Why do we think this to be true? The phrase comes from 2 Cor. 4:4, so let us read verses 3 and 4, to see the context:
Vs 3. Now if the good news coming from us (or: our message of goodness, ease and wellness) continues being covered from having been veiled with a head-covering, it continues being thus covered within the midst of and among those on their way to ruin (being progressively lost; repeatedly loosing-away so as to be undone; or: destroying themselves),
Vs 4. within and among which folks the God of this age (or: the God who owns this indefinite time-period; the God Who is in relationship with this eon) blinds (or: deprived of the ability to see) the effects of the intellects and mental powers (or: the results of directing the mind to something) of those without faith (of the un-trusting ones; of the unbelieving and disloyal), [leading them] into the [situation that] the shining forth of light and the illumination of (or: the beaming forth of enlightenment from) the good news of the glory of the Christ (or: of the message of goodness, ease and wellness whose source is the glory of the Anointed One; of the glad tidings pertaining to the manifestation which calls forth praise to the [Messiah]) – Who continuously exists being God’s image (a resemblance and likeness of [Concordant Text adds: the unseen; the invisible] God) – would not shine forth as the dawn to irradiate them.
First of all, you can see my take on this passage, in that I capitalized the word “God” in vs. 4, so right up front you have a hint of where I am going with this study. But please don’t cry “Heresy!” yet, and read on, with an open (un-blinded) mind. Now in the second place, keep in mind that our verses, above, follow the context of ch. 3 where it speaks of Israel‘s minds being blinded, there being a “veil upon their hearts.“ (vs. 10-11) This is talking about when they are reading Moses (i.e., God’s Word). So who put the veil there, and thus blinded them?
In Isa. 6:10, Yahweh says, “Stouten the heart of this people, and make its ears heavy, and make its eyes squint, lest it may see with its eyes, and with its ears it may hear, and with its heart it may understand, and it gets healing again for itself” (CVOT). So this was the work of Yahweh, just as where, in another place, He said, “Let there be light.” Now John quotes this text, in his gospel, in Ch. 12:40. “He has blinded their eyes with the present result that they are still blind, and He hardened (or: petrified) their heart, to the end that they could (or: should; would) not see with [their] eyes nor could they direct [their] mind so as to perceive and get the thought in (or: with) the heart and be turned, so I, Myself, will heal (or: cure) them.” [Isa. 6:10]
Notice that in vs. 39 of this chapter, John says “On account of this they were unable (or: they had no power) to be trusting or believing” and this was because of what Isaiah said.
Do you notice that there is no mention of satan in these passages? It was God who did this. Paul takes up this theme in Rom. 11:7-12 and 25.
Vs 7. What, then? That which Israel is constantly searching for (or: seeking out), this it did not encounter (or: did not hit upon the mark, and thus, obtain), yet The Selected One (the Picked-out and Chosen One; or: the choice collection; the elect – that which is chosen out) hit upon the mark, encountered and obtained it. But the rest (the folks remaining) were petrified (were turned into stone; were made calloused and were hardened),
Vs 8. just as it has been and stands written, “God gives (or: at one point gave) to them a spirit (breath-effect and attitude) of stupor, from receiving a piercing blow (or: deep sleep; a senseless mental condition), eyes of the [condition] to not see, ears of the [condition] to not hear, until this very day (or: until today’s day).” [Deut. 29:4; Isa. 29:10]
Vs 9. And David is saying, “Let their table be birthed into a snare (a trap) and into a wild beast trap-net and into a trap-stick, even into a repayment to them (for them; in them).
Vs 10. “Let their eyes be darkened, to not see, and let them bend (or: bow) their back together [in bondage] through all (or: every [situation]).” [Ps. 69:23-24]
But lest we feel saddened by God’s actions to Israel, Paul tells us His purpose in vs. 12:
Vs 12. Now since (or: if) their fall to the side [brings, or, is] enrichment of the world (universe; the ordered system outside of Israel) and their lessened condition (their lapse; their diminishing; their loss; = their defeat) [brings, or, is] enrichment of the nations (the ethnic multitudes; the non-Jews; the Gentiles), how much exceedingly more their filled-full condition (their full measure with the entire contents)!
If you have eyes to see, you will realize that this was also the same purpose of the fall of humanity, and the expulsion from Eden. It was for enrichment.
Paul continues this theme in vs. 25, where he speaks of God’s actions as “a secret,” or, “a mystery,
Vs 25. For I am not willing for you folks to continue being ignorant of this secret (or: mystery), brothers, in order that you folks may not continue being thoughtful, prudent or discreet by yourselves [other MSS: among yourselves (or: within yourselves)], that a petrifying, from a part (a stone-like hardening in some measure; a callousness [extending over] a part), has been birthed and come into existence in Israel (or: has happened to Israel) until which [time; situation] the full measure (or: the entire content; = full number) from the nations (or: of the ethnic multitudes who are non-Jews) may enter in.
Now reread our text, above – and note the action of the God of this age. It is the same as what we have read in these other passages. There is only one God who has any power. All other gods are imaginary, and are not gods at all. Sadly, orthodox Christianity participates in dualism. They have a good God, and a bad god (satan). But this view is false. The God of this age is the same God of every age.
The writer of Hebrews gives insight into the origins of the ages. In Ch. 1:2 we see,
Vs 2. upon [the] last of these days spoke to us in a Son whom He placed (or: sets) [as; to be] Heir of all (or: One who receives all men as an allotment; or: heir of all things; or: One who received everything as his allotted inheritance) through Whom He also made (or: formed; constructed) the ages (or: various designated periods of time).
The One who constructed the ages is the God of the ages, the Creator. Again, the thought expressed above is seen in Ch. 11:3,
Vs 3. In faith and by trust, with the mind we constantly perceive (with the intellect understand) the ages to have been completely equipped by (and, or: thoroughly adjusted to; knit together and put in order in) God’s declaration (that which flowed in speech that had the source, character and qualities of God; or: a spoken word which was God).
Again, the One who completely equipped the ages did it through His declaration. Yet someone may ask, “Well what about Gal. 1:4, where Paul speaks of ‘the present wicked (or: evil) age’?” My expanded version reads thus:
Vs 4 – the One at one point giving Himself, over the situation of (or: on behalf of; for the sake of; [p46, Aleph*, A, D & other MSS read: concerning]) our failures (situations and occasions of falling short or to the side of the target; deviations; mistakes; errors; sins) so that He could carry us out from the midst of the present misery-gushing and worthless age (or: bear us forth from the indefinite period of time – characterized by toil, grievous plights and bad situations – having taken a stand in [our] midst; or: extricate us from the space of time having been inserted and now standing in union with base qualities), corresponding to (or: down from; in accord with; in line with; in the sphere and to the level of) the effect of the will (or: intent; purpose; design) of our God and Father,
The question implied is, “Did God construct this ‘misery-gushing, worthless age’?” Let us see who creates evil:
“Former of light and Creator of darkness,
Maker of good and Creator of evil,
I, Yahweh, make all these things!” (Isa. 45:7, CVOT)
The God of this present age of bad situations and grievous plights made this age this way! Yahweh said in Amos 3:6. “Would there come to be evil in a city and Yahweh not have done it?” (CVOT) Only faith can answer, “No.”
GOD of this AGE, THE [Jonathan Mitchell] 1