in the administration (dispensation, plan) [a prepositional phrase referring to the magnitude of scope of the plan unfolding IN CHRIST]
at the right time (in the fullness of time) [a temporal prepositional phrase setting the time frame for the action]
to bring everything under the headship (authority) of Christ [an infinitive clause of purpose or intent; the end point]Ephesians 1:9-10)
- Ah but when is the right time?
- What does the fullness of time mean?
- What do the versions say?
- AMP the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages
- ASV, ISV, KJV, LITV, MKJV, Murdock, NASB, RV, Webster, YLY – the fullness of the times ESV the fullness of time
- BBE The ordering of the times when they are complete
- GNB, CEV, Then when the time is right // NLT At the right time
- GW He planned to bring all of history to its goal
- (MSG) a long-range plan
A dispensationalist view of the fulness of times is when the times were fully completed; when all the periods should have passed by which He had prescribed.
The period referred to here is that when all things shall be gathered together in the Redeemer at the winding up of human affairs, or the consummation of all things. The plan stretched from before “the foundation of the world” to the period when all times should be completed; and of course all the events occurring in that intermediate period were completed according to the plan. Notice there is a difference in meaning or inference between “the fullness of times” and “the fullness of time”.
What term (terms) does the Bible use for this idea of the time of the consummation of all things?
- “the fullness of the time” (Gal_4:4).
- “the ages to come” (Eph_2:7).
- “The ends of the ages” (Greek, 1Co_10:11);
- “the times (same Greek as here, ‘the seasons,’ or ‘until the times of the nations (Gentiles)are fulfilled.” (Luk_21:24);
- “the times or seasons” (Act_1:7);
- “until the times of restoration of all things” (Act_3:20, Act_3:21).
- “in due time” / “in its own seasons,” (1Ti_2:6)
- “when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled,” I.e. The conversion of the Jews and the preparation for the end of time.
- * the second coming of Christ,
- * the “restitution of all things,”
- * the millennial kingdom,
- * the new heaven and earth,
All of the asterisked examples which would be interpreted by dispensationalist as events related to their respective “times”.
I trust this gives you a good summary of the meaning of “the fullness of times” – the literal translation of the Greek text. Now you can make up your own mind as to what you conclude about it all.
These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter…I go somewhere to get something and then wonder what I’m here after.Anon
Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.Anon
Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them.Dion Boucicault
Time goes, you say? No, time stays, we go.Henry Dobson
Don’t ever kill time; you don’t have enough of it to do that. Make every minute count. Seize the moment. Suck the marrow out of life.Ian Vail