If "before the overthrow of the world" and "before the age times" refer to the same datum line, and, if the "overthrow" be Genesis 1:2, then this must have taken place before the ages began, and consequently we have an indication that the ages are coincident with the present temporary creation, which together with its "firmament" will pass away when the purpose of the ages shall be accomplished.
The opening and closing members of the Purpose of the Ages may be set out as follows:
A | The beginning
a | Christ Firstborn of all Creation. Image of Invisible God
b | Satan Cherub (Ezek. 28:12-19)
c | The overthrow (Gen. 1 :2)
A | The End Ages finish a | Christ Head, Every knee shall bow
b | Church In the heavenlies. Satan destroyed
c | Reconciliation achieved.
The space indicated by the * * * is spanned by the ages. The first of the series of fulnesses that fill this gap is, as we have seen, the "six-day creation" of Genesis 1:3-2:3.
The opening "generation" is NOT that of Adam, as recorded in Genesis 5:1, but of "the heavens and the earth" which occupies Genesis 2:4-4:26. This is followed by twelve generations, which open with "the book of the generations of Adam" (Gen. 5:1), and closes with "the book of the generation of Jesus Christ".
The relationship of these generations may beset out as follows:
A | The generations of the heavens and the earth (Gen. 2:4-4:26)
A | a | The BOOK of the generations of Adam (Gen. 5:1, 6:8) Plural
b | The generations of Noah (Gen. 6:9-9:29)
c | The generations of the Sons of Noah (Gen. 10:1-11:9)
d | The generations of Shem (Gen. 11I :10-26) The Seed
e | The generations of Terah (Gen. 11:27-25:11) Mesopotamia
f | The generations of Ishmael (Gen. 25:12-18) Bondwoman
f | The generations of Isaac (Gen. 25:19-35:29) Free woman
e | The generations of Esau (Gen. 36:1-43) Canaan
d | The generations of Jacob (Gen. 37:2-50:26)
c | The generations of Aaron and Moses (Num. 3:1-4)
b | The generations of Pharez (Ruth 4:18-22) The Seed
a | The BOOK of the generation of Jesus Christ (Matt. I :I-17) Singular.
It will be observed that the word "generation" is used in the plural of each except the last. The generations refer to the descendants, as may be seen by an isolated generation like that of Ruth 4:18-22, the generation of Jesus Christ however, refers to His human ancestry not to His descendants, for He had none.
In the generations of the heaven and the earth, are recorded the following features:
(1) The forming of man from the dust, and his becoming a living soul.
(2) The planting of the garden eastward in Eden.
(3) The prohibition concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
(4) The naming of the animals and Adam's conscious loneliness.
(5) The formation of the woman as a help meet for him.
(6) Tie temptation and the fall, the curse and sorrow.
(7) The promise of the seed of the woman and ultimate victory.
(8) The return of man to the dust from whence he had
(9) The expulsion from Eden and the placing of the Sword and Cherubim.
(10) The two seeds as manifested in Abel and Cain.
(11) The appointment of Seth "instead" of Abel.
Fuller details could, of course, be included, and the reader must remember that there is no significance in the number that we have indicated. In view of the balancing feature in the book of the Revelation we can write over this period the word. "Paradise Lost", without borrowing any ideas from Milton; even as we can write over the closing chapter of the Revelation "Paradise Restored".
Two main themes commence in Genesis three, that continue to the end of time, and which constitute the conflict of the ages, These are (1) the promise of the woman's seed, (2) the continuous enmity between the two seeds until ultimate victory is achieved, (See booklet on "Job".) The loss sustained as a consequence of the fall is symbolized in the expulsion from the garden, with the consequent loss of access to the tree of life, but restoration is pledged by the placing of the Cherubim together with a flaming sword "to keep" the way of the tree of life. (See
CHERUBIM.) In the sequel, when the intervening gap is filled by the fruits o1 redemption, we are taken by a series of steps back to Eden and its blessedness, as is made manifest by the following extract from the close of Revelation.
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away . . . and he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life . . . and there shall be no more curse . . . that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Rev. 21:4; 22:1-3,14).
Here is the complete reversal of the consequence of the fall of man in Eden, and we have surveyed yet another "fulness", the fulness of Redemption that spans the ages and their burden of
sin and death. The creation of the universe, being the act of the infinitely wise God, brought into being a definite purpose, and that purpose can be perceived at least in some measure by reading what the Scriptures indicate will be the condition of things at the end. The Tabernacle of God will then be with men and He will dwell with them, God will be all in all. Two things are linked with the Cherubim in the Scriptures, "dwelling" (1 Sam. 4:4), and. "speaking" (Num. 7:89). Where the word is used in the singular, we read, "He rode upon a Cherub and did fly", but this has to do with deliverance from enemies. While we read both in Exodus and Ezekiel of a "Cherub" in the singular, it always has reference to "one" of the Cherubim, but in Ezekiel 28:14 and 16 "the anointed Cherub" seems to be associated with "the overthrow of the world". The change from the singular to the plural takes place after the fall of man, and the Cherubim with their four faces, the lion, the ox, the man and the eagle, symbolize Adam and the dominion put in subjection under his feet, who in turn is the figure of Him that was to come. While the purpose of God to dwell with His creatures was temporarily checked by the failure of the first creation, it was reintroduced at the creation of man, for we have the homely words of Genesis three, that speaks of the "voice of God" in the garden at the cool of the day" and the call, "Adam, where art thou?" Once again the fall of the creature hindered the attainment of the Divine purpose, yet Love found a way; the purpose was not abandoned but the whole purpose was placed upon a redemptive basis, consequently the Cherubim are seen to be an integral part of the Mercy Seat. Some idea of the way the purpose is pursued through the ages may be visualized by the following graph:
OF TM WORLD
THE "GAP" FILLED
THE GOAL REACHED
The Cherub. "Cover"
28:14,16, Ex. 26:14).
Cherubim. Man and
his dominion, sin enters and Cherubim, now part of the Mercy seat.
"The Tabernacle of God is with men and He will
dwell with them".
THE OVERTHROW OF
DISSOLUTION OF HEAVEN
From the "Anointed" that failed, on via the cross to the glory of the "Anointed" Who gloriously succeeded, the purpose of
love is carried to its goal on the wings of the Cherubim, or rather on the grace that these strange creatures set forth. Thus the outstretched firmament coincides with the outstretched wing of the Cherubim, the whole span of the ages being
Under theRedeeming AEgis.
"The term 'ages', really a Latin word, means `a goat skin', and later a shield .... This redeeming conception took on a primeval form in the cherubim set up, together with the sword of flame, at the gate of the lost Eden . . . the idea of atonement, therefore is as old as the Bible, nay as redemption itself . . . . This `day of Atonement' itself was called `Yom Kippur'; i.e. the `Day of Covering' . . . . Ours is at bottom an evangelical universe, no other form was ever conceived for it in the mind of God". ( Under the Redeeming AEgis, by H. C. Mabie, D.D., LL.D.).
We can, therefore, set out the steps of the goal of the ages, thus:
B The Ages begin Earth -- Remade and blessed (Gen. 1 :2-2:4) Paradise lost
Subjected to curse. Thorns and thistles (Gen. 3)
Man -- For a little lower than angel; (Psa. 8)
The First Adam. Living Soul. The image of God
Dominion over the earth
Usurper -- The Serpent. The Shining one Nachash (Gen. 3)
Ye shall not surely die, Ye shall be as God. Hope -- The seed of the woman
* B The Consummation Earth --Restored and blessed (Hos.2:18-23) of the ages
Curse removed (Rev. 22:3, Isa. 55:13)
Paradise Man -- Christ, made much better than Restored
angels (Heb. 1:4)
Last Adam. Quickening Spirit. Image
Heir -- Lamb is the light, brightness of glory
Immortality conferred (I Cor. 15)
Every knee shall bow Hope -- Creation's groan hushed
(Rom. 8:21, 16:20)