Here a thought I've been toying with lately: What if we are "Early Christians"? What I mean is this: What if, relatively speaking, we are still in the early stages of the expansion of the Kingdom of God throughout the earth? What if 12,000 years from now, a world in which the Kingdom of God is fully manifest on earth looks back on us in the year 2010 as having been still at the relative beginning of the establishment and spread of God's Kingdom on earth?
I wonder if that's what Martin Luther King had in mind when he said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." Beginnings are, by nature, incomplete but filled with potential. Our current experience of God's will being done here on earth as it is in heaven could certainly be described as "incomplete". But there is great potential.
We've gotten so used to thinking in the short-term, and so many Christians assume that they are living in the "Last Days" (as have Christians throughout the last 2,000 years: imagine living in the 14th century when the Black Plague killed half the population of Europe--you might be justified in thinking that the "Last Days" had come!). I have a great book entitled "The Day and The Hour
" which lists various "Last Days" predictions made throughout the past two millenia--all of them wrong.
Biblically speaking, the "Last Days" have already come and gone. Take a look at Acts 2:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-2 (as well as 9:26 & 8:13); 1 Corinthians 10:11 and James 5:1-9 (among others). The writers of the New Testament understood themselves to be living in the "Last Days" of the Jewish Temple system and in the beginning of a whole new epoch during which God would dwell in the hearts of people.
So what if we started thinking in terms of the 21st century still being the "First Days" with a long arc ahead of us and much Kingdom work to be done?