“When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman…..” (Galatians 4:4)
How is “the fullness of time” determined? Ultimately we can never know the formula God used to determine when “the right time,” or “the fullness of time,” or “the perfect moment” came for Christ to be “sent forth.” We can, however, discern some remarkable things that were happening in the hour of Christ’s birth:
- The Dispersion of the Jews. The Jewish people by now had, due to persecution, military conflict, and an evangelistic zeal among some of them, moved to most parts of the known Roman world of that day. The first thing they did when establishing a colony was to build a synagogue where Torah and Law could be taught. These were the birthplaces of some of the earliest Christian teaching with ready-made public platforms.
- The Protection of the Jews. For the first seventy years following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the Christian faith (“The Way”) did not exist as a “stand alone” religion but instead was considered legally a sect of Judaism under Roman Law. Because of their inability to break the Jews by making them worship Caesar as every other religion under Rome was forced to do, they granted an exemption to this idolatrous act. Christianity was protected under that same principle of law.
The Culture of the World. The culture of that day had been overtaken by Greece. While the Romans conquered the world militarily and enforced the rule of law of the people conquered, Greece captured the hearts and minds of the people. Koine Greek was spoken almost everywhere by nearly every person. It was in that common (koine) language that the New Testament was first written.
- The Peace of Rome. Christ was born into a world no longer at war. Rome had conquered the world. This left thousands of unemployed soldiers looking for work….and they were hired by Rome as “security guards” to build and protect the intricate highway system that interconnected the empire. Early Christians could travel safely on these roads and even the waterways courtesy of the “pax Romana…” The peace of Rome.
These factors alone made this “the right time;” the FULLNESS OF TIME for God to send forth His Son into the world….to redeem those who were under the law. The early church thrived in this environment socially, culturally, politically, and philosophically. It was, indeed, a time of the Father’s choosing.
The “fullness of time.”