A militant image and message from a popular prophetic ministry.
AND THE PUSH FOR
AND "KINGDOM NOW"
An essay by Gavin Finley MD
|1. Puritan History, Past, Present and Future. An Introduction to this study.|
|2. John Winthrop and the Puritan dream of a shining 'city upon a hill'.|
|3. 'Manifest Destiny' is rooted in the Puritan dream of a 'nation under God'.|
|4. The Puritan belief in a 'Nation Under God' goes back to ancient Israel.|
|5. Gutenberg, Bibles and the Reformation bring in the Pilgrims and Puritans.|
|6. The Puritans rise up in the 1600's to dominate English Parliament.|
|7. The Puritan Army goes to battle against the king in the English Civil War.|
|8. The Puritan Army wears yellow ribbons and sashes in the English Civil War.|
|9. The Puritan Religion supports Parliament in the English Civil War.|
|10. Puritans vs. Pilgrims. Similarities and differences.|
|11. The Puritans in the New World and the signing of the Mayflower Compact.|
|12. Puritan belief and the American Revolution vs. the French Revolution.|
|13. America's Puritans today and the 'Religious Right'|
|14. The abortion issue and America's Puritans today|
|15. Today's Puritans and the expansion of America's global peacemaking role.|
|16. Today's American Puritans and the rise of Dominion Theology|
|17. Puritan belief and the future history of America.|
It is the contention of this writer that Puritan Christians are alive and well in America today. They just do not wear the name 'Puritan' on their sleeves anymore than their cousins from the former British Empire would own the name 'Victorian'. They would say that the age of the Puritans is over. Nevertheless that Puritan dream of building a 'nation under God' is still generating spirited political action from Today's Puritans nestled in amongst the 'Religious Right'. . Have their dreams and goals been realized. No. Not by a long shot. The Puritan agenda is still sitting there waiting to be implemented. That Puritan dream and the Puritan agenda of a righteous political leadership in the nation is quite often heard being expressed in society today. The Puritan agenda has not changed in 400 years. They are still totally committed to bringing in a pure Christian society upon this earth by faith and by the hard work Puritans are renowned for.
Here is the thesis of this article. That same militant Puritan spirit seen in England in the 1600's in the days of the English Civil War is still with us today in America. Their Puritan zeal is still just as fiery hot. Just a few years ago the so called "religious right" impeached President Bill Clinton for 'moral failure'. I submit to you that once again this was the Puritans at work here. Such a thing would never happen in Europe or any other nation in the world for that matter.
How are Puritans different from their
Pilgrim brothers and sisters?
Well for one thing
they are not too impressed with the call for Christians to
'turn the other cheek' or to just 'take up their cross and follow Christ'.
Nor do you hear Puritans speak much of
'entering into the fellowship of Christ's sufferings'.
They are happy see their task accomplished
in the holy flows of Christian witness and ministry yes.
But they are also quite willing to use political and military
force to achieve their goals if necessary.
They are not ones to dwell too much on such biblical themes as
'the patience of the saints'.
Nor are they inclined to wait around for the return of the Messiah to
see His Kingdom established.
They want to and plan to bring in His Kingdom now!
Even if their political task becomes a global undertaking our Puritan friends are prepared to tackle it head on. Today's Puritans appreciate their Pilgrim brothers and sisters. Their fellow Christians, the Pilgrims, walk with God in the quiet evangelism of the heart. Their main devotion and work is in the spreading of the Gospel and missions abroad. But our Puritans are zealous to to more than this. The Puritans of today still have their main focus on the domestic issues at home in America. They they want to set something in motion that is more than just the Gospel outreach. They want to control the whole church-state system, not only nationally but on an international scale. They want to set their programs in place not for mere evangelism but for the evangelization of the nations. This is a powerful vision and it is giving rise to many powerful programs. And no one can put a program together like the American Puritans. That was the case 400 years ago in England. And it is true today.
Will the Puritans take government or corporate assistance for their ministries if it is offered? Just how far are they prepared to enter into covenant with the government with "faith based initiatives"? Will they go as far as their British Victorian cousins did in the days of the British Empire? This remains to be seen. But this pattern of church-state collusion has been seen in history before. We not only saw it with the British Victorians in the 19th century but we saw it with the Jesuits back in the days when the Spanish and French had their turn at being the superpower in Christendom. It is quite possible that they might. They do sincerely believe that with a powerful church-state collusion they can bring in the 'Kingdom Now'.
The pattern of Puritan 'faith in action' is well established.
The formula advanced by Rev. Robert Schuller is a typical example.
It is as follows.
The Puritan method is to see the vision. Then they visualize themselves seizing the objective. The next thing to do is take the matter to prayer. Often they will find an example of a similar challenge in scripture with a story of victory in God and an associated promise. Then they claim it by faith. After that they go out and do the work.
This is the method advanced by the "five-fold" church leadership rising up now among the New Charismatics. They have a formula for success. So they may well be inclined to lay hold of any earthly power or state funding that seems appropriate to the achievement of their goals.
The mindset of the Puritan is clear. God has given the Christian church the dominion in this age. They fully believe this rule can and will come into being under the current Church system. They fully intend to be the ones to bring it in. What is more, they plan to wrap this whole global evangelization thing up before the second coming of Messiah.
The victory is ours, (they say). What Christians need to do, is to 'rise up' and 'seize the moment'. This dominion, they truly believe, is theirs for the taking. They consider it to be the ongoing expression of 'manifest destiny'.
No one doubts their sincerity. It seems clear that this is an ambitious and militant sector of today's Puritan activists. They will leave their mark on American history just as they did when they rose up in English Parliament 400 years ago.
The Puritan dream continues. We see it pass on from the former Puritans who rose up during the days of Oliver Cromwell. The rise of the English Puritans onto the stage of history back in those days was nothing short of awesome. It led directly to the English Civil War and the overthrow of the king. The Army of Parliament triumphed over the English Crown, the royalty and the aristocracy. This in turn led to the coming to power of a Christian fundamentalist, an a veritable dictatorship under Oliver Cromwell. If this was not "taking dominion" then what was it?
The dream of a Christian church-state dominion in this present age did not fade away in England with the death of Oliver Cromwell. It lives on. It came over to America by ship with the Puritans. Its first document was penned on board the Mayflower Compact.
It was there that many Pilgrims joined the ranks of the Puritans. This was the beginning of the Puritan dream. It was then, (and is now), a dream of a "nation under God". For some Puritans today that dream has gone global. Today's dominionists dream of the Kingdom of God being established over the entire earth aided by the Pax Americana.
Can the Kingdom of God be established globally under a New World church-state leadership? This is an interesting question. Many Puritans are Utopians. They believe that this can be done. And many believe that it is God's will for it to be done.
There are some major theological wrinkles in all of this. While the evangelicals caught up in this Dominionist mindset would deny that they have shifted to a postmillennial theological position they actually have. In fact they have joined forces with Calvinist Reconstructionists. These Covenant Theology Christians from some of the older denominations embrace a similar form of Dominion Theology. They believe that the Kingdom of God is in the church now and will be birthed in the world some day. They also believe that this present church age is the millennium. They expect to see a non-Jewish ecclesiastical form of "Kingdom of God" fully established here on earth. They will see it brought in by the present church leadership before Messiah returns. This is crux of Dominion Theology.
Dominionists also believe that God is finished with the Jewish nation. According to them, all the covenants and promises God had with Israel are passe'. As they see it all the blessings have now passed on to the church. This is the essence of 'Replacement Theology'. This doctrine of Amillennialism" or "No-Millennium" is still embraced by in the older denominations. It has been in the church since the days of Augustine and Origen. Given this denial of a future earthly one thousand year Millennial Kingdom under Messiah is not too difficult to see why antisemitism persists in the church.
Among the evangelicals and 'New Charismatics' here in America over the past 50 years we are seeing the powerful new 'Latter Rain' or 'Kingdom Now' movements. These are rising up to actually join hands with the old denomination Restorationists. Dominionists are birds of a feather in matters of church-state politics. The "Kingdom Now/Latter Rain" movements have much the same sort of beliefs and expectations as the old line Dominionists regarding the victorious destiny of the church in taking over the world. Both believe that the church can pull this off in this age and before Messiah comes. Christian Utopians and take over agents are burying their differences. They are joining ranks together for a major political power play in the halls of big government. They are becoming extremely powerful Many are becoming very wealthy as well as the work the church-state interface.
Strange to say there is significant incongruity of the Dominionist's postmillennial view with those more biblically founded pre-millennialist evangelical views. But this does not seem to be a bother to either party. In spite of a different eschatology and a different view of the Millennium they both seem to have agreed to put their theological differences aside. They sideline their Biblical doctrine for the sake of their 'unity'.
Have we seen this dominionist mindset before in history? Oh yes we have. Let us make no mistake about it. This doctrine of a 'church universal and triumphant' in this age is the very same post-millennialism which became popular in the late Victorian age. We saw it in the early 20th century. During these heady Edwardian years the British Empire, like the American Multinational Corporate monopoly today, were about to take over the world.
The Edwardian age was a heady time. The British Empire was at the peak of its power. British colonies and dominions covered fully one quarter of the globe. Many British colonialists had become fabulously wealthy. The Edwardians of those pre-war years were the 'yuppies' in that era of British world dominance. Under the spell of men like Cecil Rhodes they believed that total global dominion under the Christian British Empire was just within their grasp.
Was this scriptural? Did the Bible give them any reason to go along with this? Well no it did not. But that didn't matter. There was a party going on! Politics, power, patriotism, wealth, powerful friends, slaps on the back.... And you, the vicar, are invited! Who would want to rain on this parade? Who would want to walk away from such a prosperous, powerful, and happy crowd? Who would want to walk off into a cold oblivion?
The English churchmen had to compromise here, - or resign. They knew which side their bread was buttered on. So they were happy to agree. They would go along with this British national vision and this agenda. This post-millennial dream of a "Christian Millennium" brought in by the British Empire was not written in their Bibles. But what did it matter. Everyone believed it! And it was politically and socially popular. So as a matter of political expediency and as a matter of pragmatism their post-millennial theology became a "truism". It was forced upon them by the politics of their time. They didn't want to believe the truth. They didn't want to believe that it was an erroneous doctrine and unsupported by Holy Scripture. As long as it was "politically correct" and the king and the crowds were happy with it then who cared?
There is no question that this post-millennialism of a Christian world under the British Empire was a Utopian dream. It had crept in and was nestling itself into the English Church. It came in when the British were at the peak of their power. Could the same thing happen to the American Church? Apparently this has already started to happen.
Jingoism is an intoxicating thing. During those years the whole British church-state system believed that they were on the threshold of their dream. They felt that they were on the verge of wrapping things up worldwide for 'God and King'. Why not just bundle up the entire planet?! Then the Archbishop of Canterbury could hand the world over to Christ when He came back. Jesus could make a special guest appearance at Canterbury Cathedral to hand out the awards to the British king and his church leaders.
Unfortunately for the British, their plans
were soon to be canceled.
And their post-millennialist eschatology with its
Dominion Theology was about to take a tumble as well.
Once again it would go into the dustbin of history.
Until next time.
The peak time of British pretension and vainglory came in the early years of the 20th century. This just happened to be the time period when the Germans were beginning to rise up in Europe. It was during these these intoxicating times, April of 1912, when that 'unsinkable' emblem of the British Empire, R.M.S. Titanic, sailed out of Southampton. The British church-state party was in full roar. But it was about to come to an end.
The loss of the "Titanic" was a terrible shock to Great Britain. Many considered it a stern warning from God. It turned out to be the beginning of the end for the great British Empire. Great Britain would not deliver up the world to Christ after all. Two years later a generation of British young men were in the trenches in France under shellfire the likes of which the world had never seen before. They had no rest from the constant barrage. Many became "shell shocked" There they were in the rain and mud facing barbed wire and German machine guns.
When World War 1 ended all was quiet on the western front. But the flower of British and British Commonwealth youth lay silent in Flanders Fields.
Do the British have a lesson to pass on to their friends across the pond?
In the American churches too we are also seeing a new political pugnacity coming into vogue. In the southern Sudan two million Christians have died by Muslim hands. Christian missions send in food and medical supplies. But some televangelists want us to do more. They want U.S. forces to take military action in the Sudan. They are now lobbying Washington to send in our military forces to subdue the Islamic army in the north. Quite understandably they want to put a stop to this horrific Muslim genocide against the Christian Sudanese in the south.
This is interesting. The Sudan Interior Mission was one of the early missionary outreaches into East Africa. The British Army and British missionaries were there back in late 19th century colonial times. General Gordon fought the Muslims up in Khartoum during the colonial wars back in those times. (As somewhat of a Bible scholar General Gordon was also the man who discovered the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem). Will English speaking soldiers return to fight in Khartoum once again?
There is a lot of talk in the American churches about "taking dominion" and "bringing in the kingdom". This is clearly post-millennialist language. It is at variance with the accepted Biblically based pre-millennialist doctrine traditionally held by careful and Biblically well founded evangelicals.
This is no arcane matter. Evangelicals in the past have typically been pre-millennialists. They believed that there would be a time of trouble at the end of the age. It would be a time of testing and refinement of the Church, salvation of the Jewish nation (Zech.12:7-13:1), and preaching of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. They believe that Christ will return as Messiah at the last day to judge the wicked, deliver His people and straighten out this wicked world system. Then He will establish His Millennial Kingdom to bring peace on earth and restore the created ecosystems to order and beauty again.
Post-millennialists have a different eschatology. The popular doctrine of the end-time we now see emerging holds that the Church will rise up and set things right! Christians will "rise up" and be the ones to take over the planet. If we pause and think about this for a moment the issue becomes clear. What they are proposing is a 'last crusade'!
These crusader Christians now coming on the scene believe that they have a mandate from God. The agenda is very clear. They plan to take over the political powers of this world for Christ. Quite obviously they want to bring in the 'Kingdom Now'! They are under the gun here. To their way of thinking Jesus is not coming back until they "finish the job!"
This is an awful vision for the people of God's grace to try to fulfill. It is a terrible burden for flaming churchmen to place on the Church. This post-millennialist doctrine of the end-time is an impossible dream. It will have both awesome and awful consequences. Christian activists will turn out to be a terrible, even terrifying, group of Christian people. This "last crusade", just like the former crusades, is somewhat presumptuous from a Pilgrim perspective. It goes far beyond the responsibility we have been given in the Holy Scriptures. Jesus Himself gave us our orders in the Great Commission.
Do these Utopian post-millennialist Christian Dominionists really believe that they will succeed in their quest? Most assuredly they do. They believe that when the established unified World Church has straightened out everything on the planet then the Second Coming of Christ will come. Only by that time His coming will be just be a formality. They will then be the princes of peace. They will have everything wrapped up. Jesus Christ will merely be coming back to officiate at their church sponsored awards ceremony in Jerusalem. The Victorious Church will set up their Christian Television cameras on the Mount of Olives and whistle for Jesus to come back. He will dutifully return and start handing out rewards to "Five fold ministry" dominionist Church leaders. They will then be truly sanctified to rule the planet.
Can this post-millennial Christian World Empire agenda be achieved? Is the doctrine even believable?
Traditional evangelicals, from the Early Church Fathers onwards have believed the scriptures which tell of a showdown between good and evil at the end of the age. It will not be a "Church Universal and Triumphant" at all. Indeed Messiah Himself will have to come in and sort things out here below. Then He will establish His Millennial Kingdom for a literal thousand years. This is Historical Premillennialism.
Our Pilgrim types are listening to all this talk of 'taking over the world for Christ'. They look up from their Bible reading and raise one eyebrow. They are somewhat puzzled and bemused by all this. They scratch their head and wonder. Just what Bible have these people been reading? (See Dan.12:7)
This view of a 'Church Triumphant, United, and Overcoming' is a real strain on those who believe story which is taught in the holy scriptures. There is a pugnacious, sometimes even arrogant, new mindset emerging in western Christianity today. The call to politico/military action here is quite different from the traditional evangelical zeal to see the Gospel preached around the world. It goes far beyond our traditional missionary work of sending in food to the starving, medical assistance to the sick, establishing orphanages, digging wells etc. But then this has always been the essential difference between the Pilgrims and the Puritans.
'Taking dominion' is the 'in' word at the cutting edge of the American church these days. These militant Christians are not just speaking of a spiritual dominion. To the Puritan mind the earthly agenda in America is every bit as important as the Gospel and the missionary agenda abroad. Dominionist and 'Kingdom Now' thinking is not unlike Victorian thinking during the years of the British Empire. It is similar to Jesuit thinking in the 1500's when Spain was the superpower in Christendom and the politically active Jesuits were taking over the French Church. Dominionism sees the Christian Gospel being backed up by the state using the sword or military power.
How about the way in which America wages war? Do they take to occupation in the same thorough manner in which, (say), the Germans occupied France and Europe? Therein lies an interesting issue. Americans are a freedom loving people. Their soldiers are the same. They want to foster the establishment of home-grown democracies wherever they can. Police states are not their 'thing'.
But what if a war becomes a guerrilla war? Can it be won with just air power and the occasional patrol into 'unsecured' territory? How else is a guerrilla war to be won but by setting up an administration on the ground. And how else could this be done other than by a regime based on martial law?
We need to check our history here. Isn't this martial law policy something that the British did during the Boer War? Lord Kitchener set up concentration camps and administered martial law throughout the Transvaal. Oh yes, it was us, the British, who began this concentration camp tradition in the 20th century.
How about our German brethren? Their bid was to establish a Pax Germanica to bring 'order' to the world in the first half of the 20th Century. Were they forced to do some rather unpleasant things to keep law and order in the lands they occupied? Just how far can Christian believers go in this business of "taking dominion".
During the Vietnam War American generals must have known about the necessity for martial law. The administration of a population was necessary in order to stop guerrilla attacks and squelch insurgencies. They must have read their history books and known how the British under Lord Kitchener won the Boer War against the Afrikaans guerrillas in 1900. It was a policy of scorched earth, destruction of farms and the herding of women and children into concentration camps.
This shocking aspect of British history has not been taught in the schools. The German demonstration of the same lesson is much more well known. Population control with ID carding was the first order of business for the Gestapo. So the American generals during the Vietnam War must have known that they could not win a guerrilla war without establishing a strong ground based administration. This would involve a police state and concentration camps for political enemies. But except for the secret Phoenix Programs (which were very 'successful' they were unable and unwilling to do this on a broad scale in Vietnam. Americans a are freedom loving people. And American soldiers do not take to establishing martial law very well. The pressmen were also watching pretty closely back in those days.
The result was that the Americans pursued the Vietnam War without securing the countryside or establishing generalized martial law. After each engagement with the Viet Cong they merely called in the press for a body count and a photo session. Then they got in their helicopters and flew off like eagles leaving a kill. They withdrew from the area. They did not 'occupy' the land. Nor did they 'win the hearts and minds' of the Vietnamese people. And so in spite of a massive advantage in firepower the Americans were forced to withdraw. They lost the war.
Can self respecting fair minded English speaking people expect their soldiers to run a police state? The British did in the Boer War. Later, after World War 2 they tried to control matters in Israel with crowd control etc. But in 1948 they eventually had to pull out.
Later on in India as the colonial era was winding down English soldiers were sent to subdue crowds. There were occasions when they fired on unarmed people. They could not continue to do this for very long without suffering a devastating collapse of morale. The soldiers would simply refuse to leave their barracks.
How about Puritan Christian men? Can they enact martial law? Can they be expected to herd innocents, conduct interrogations etc.? The English Puritans did do this to some extent back in the 1600's during the English Civil War. One classic example is seen in the famous 19th century painting, 'When did you last see your father?' by W.F. Yeames. It shows an interrogation of women and children of a Royalist family by agents and soldiers of Oliver Cromwell's Puritan Army.
If we take a look at the painting we see something very interesting. The sergeant and the cavaliers, along with the Parliamentarian investigators, are all wearing a yellow sash. Are we seeing 'yellow ribbons' in the picture here?
We are certainly seeing the yellow ribbons in America at war today. And just what is the meaning of the yellow ribbons? They are now being displayed all across America. Are they a connection to our Puritan past?
"When Did You Last See Your Father?"
As we see in the painting there are some interesting elements in the scene. Some of the Puritan interrogators are deadly serious. Yes, we see the man in black, the stern faced Puritan the liberal soul loves to hate. They are keen and zealous to pursue the matter no matter what. But take a look at the sergeant, with his arm around the little girl. He does not appear too happy about the whole proceeding does he?
If American history today is a continuing stream dating back to Puritan history in England in the 1640's's then what does this tell us about ourselves? It means that at a future time in history when the curtain opens up on pivotal world events, we might well expect to see the American Puritans emerge onto the stage again in a very big way. America is now the superpower. And the world has now become a very dangerous place. Whole cities can be incinerated by one devilish act by a madman with a missing nuke. Someone has to take charge here!
If today's Puritans are well represented in the American military they fully realize that they have the responsibility before God. They must take the initiative to bring in a just and lasting peace on earth before it is too late.
Like the Pilgrim Christians today's Puritans
also have a Godly and global mandate in the Gospel and the
We can expect the Gospel and the political agenda to be mixed together
again just as we saw with the Victorians
during the days of the British Empire.
Will God use the Puritans as we come to the end of this present age?
Oh yes. - See Joel 2.
The Puritans have a long history of hard hitting
political and military action.
We can expect them to continue to act in the same energetic and
decisive way they did 460 years ago.
We can fully anticipate that they will come on the scene
with the same vigor and holy zeal
they showed when they went to war for a godly cause back
during the English Civil War.
At that time every unit in the Puritan Army had its own preacher.
And from history we know that the injection of religion into
a war makes it all the more effective.
And all the more terrible.
Are we are seeing the Puritans on the rise again? If we are, then we can be sure that they will not be content to just sit around and debate the issues forever. When those issues are moral issues of great importance and they feel that their 'nation under God' is being taken down the road to Sodom and Gomorrah or is becoming an abortion mill or a house of prostitution or pornography and is in danger of losing God's favor then they will act. We can expect them to rise up politically and militarily too. They will impact the world in a major and historic way just as they have done in times past.
This re-emerging Puritan history has yet to be realized by most Americans. Most of them haven't a clue about the awesome events that lie ahead of us. Most still believe that all their problems can be resolved by a little media massage, some political sophistry on CNN or Fox, and a few payouts here and there. They trust the Hegelian dialectic as it plays out in the deal-making of international affairs. Since the modern Puritans are now in the drivers seat alongside, (or in), the present American superpower and have seen the 'gunboat diplomacy' of the British Empire go a step further to "Tomahawk missile diplomacy" they are quite understandably in awe of the power of the present American superpower. The Pax Americana seem invincable. Our modern Puritans are excited and enthused. Why not put most of our Christian eggs in this basket?
Again, the American Pilgrim looks up from reading the reports from
missions abroad and from reading his Bible.
And he raises one eyebrow.
The modern Puritans along with Americans in general, are very optimistic about the future. This is to their credit. God only knows what a mess this world would be in without their strong and consistent leadership over the last half century. The proliferation of nuclear devices and the fact that a lot of bomb grade plutonium has 'gone missing' from the Russian arsenal is a real concern. God only knows the disasters that the Pax Americana is preventing now and will prevent in the future. The fact is that despite all the hubbub about unfair trade practices in the World Trade Organization and the recent militancy in the cradle of civilization America has in fact maintained a pretty good peace in the world since World War 2.
What about the future? Where do we go from here? America, (and our modern Puritans as well), believe that as they continue on this road of peaceful compromise and constructive engagement that this process will eventually lead to lasting peace throughout the world. They even believe that if they can pull off a peace in the Middle East with their "Roadmap to Peace". Then it will be all downhill from there. That will be the key to wrapping things up for climactic and global peace under Worldwide Christendom.
But is this likely? What do the one billion Muslims in the world think about all this? Perhaps that "last crusade" will be a reality after all. Perhaps it has already begun! Didn't something significant happen on 9-11 of 2001. - Dan. 11:40
Obviously there will be some wrinkles in this plan for world peace and world 'evangelization' as we move on into the future. Our modern postmillennial Christians would deny that these problems are insurmountable. They believe that allied with the present all powerful unsinkable Pax Americana they can achieve their goal.
The Bible, however, indicates otherwise.
It speaks of a rather significant end-time drama.
Fortunately there is some good news in all this.
There will also be an End-Time Revival to go along with it.
Nations who preside over the status quo always try to make their game continue on forever. But their efforts are in vain. Leaders who try to "smooth over" great international issues and their own national sins are always rudely interrupted by a fresh upwelling of new 'history' in which a new leadership is called for. It happens every time.
For America, the current presiding superpower, it will be no different. No matter whom they elect to political office, the history which emerges at the end of this age will be that which has been prophesied. The story will not be decided in the committee rooms of the UN. Nor will it be established in the governmental centers in Washington or the business centers of New York. It will not be established by the Pax Americana any more than it was established in Berlin in the 30's or London in the early 1900's or Paris back during the early 1800's during the peak of the Napoleonic Age. The story of the end of this present age will not be determined by men.
It has been said that "Man proposes; but God disposes". In times to come it will be the Ancient of Days who will be holding court. - Dan.7:9-14 It will be His agenda that will be played out on earth. He is the One who determines the limits of the outrages of men. - Job.38:11 He is the One who sits in judgment. King David wrote a song concerning this end-time raging of nations. We can read the lyrics in Psalm 2. He will be the One who sits in judgment in that day. And He will call for His witnesses at the 5th seal. He is the Holy One of Israel, the King of Kings, and the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe. He is God Almighty. He is the One who sets forth holy history according to His holy purposes.
The nations may rage against the coming of His Son to rule as Messiah. He will rule for a thousand years. - Rev.20 Nationalists and humanists, both secular humanists and religious humanists, might not like it one bit. The fact of the matter is that raging nations don't want to hear about a coming Messiah. And they do not want their churchmen bringing it up in the pulpits either. This is why there are no readings of the Second coming in the liturgy of most state churches. According to the view of dominion minded national leaders and their clergy Christ's Second Coming to "take care of business" at Armageddon and at Bozrah has been, well, ... sort of overstated. His second coming in vengeance on His enemies will be entirely unnecessary once they have subdued the earth and once they have taken dominion. The Amillennialist and Postmillennialist hired churchmen agree with their political rulers to keep their job and see that their denomination is "established". But is theirs the true vision of the future? Is a Kingdom Now, a global dominion under the Christian Church the way it is really going to be?
Our Bible tells the real story. The events of the end-time drama have already been written out. The Holy Scriptures lays out the final acts of the play. If we care to seek the face of God, surrender ourselves to Him, and open up our Bibles He will show us what our real role in all this is really going to be. And he will explain to us just why it has to be that way. If we are willing to come into this deeper devotion to Christ then the future will not appear as impossible as it seems. The gnostic religious fog will clear. And the truth will be revealed to us.
Here is a lesson of history for ruling powers, central planners, and committee members. There is an angelic realm of principalities and powers who rule over the political and religious hierarchies set up by men. When nations become immensely powerful and take on superpower status they enter into dangerous spiritual territory. Their crusading is inclined to come into direct conflict with God Almighty.
Men do not fashion history. History calls for, (and usually gets), its man. A nation usually gets the leader they deserve. Hopefully he is sent and led by the nation's "better angels". That human leader reflects the spirit of the people and the spirit of the age. A leader is caught in this spiritual vortex between politics and the angelic rulers above. He is forced to 'toe the line' to bring in the policies that will manifest that spirit of the age. The "man of the hour" has a habit of emerging at a threshold of history. And he comes in right on time.
Here is a case in point. In 1939 the men who set their agenda inside the halls of the British superpower of that day were in the driver's seat; (or so they thought). As Hitler and a re-arming Germany was on the rise the British tried to proclaim and to declare how things were going to be and how European history was going to unfold. They were going to compromise. They would appease Hitler to maintain the peace. After a meeting with Hitler in Munich, Neville Chamberlain brought back a piece of paper and waved it before England and the world. It had Hitler's signature on it. He waved it in the air and declared, "peace in our time". But alas, it was not to be. The history emerging in 1939 was something entirely different from the overly optimistic political agenda the British government of that time had laid out. An entirely new historical reality was emerging in Europe. And the best laid plans of mice and men had again come to nought. This new reality was outside the British political matrix of the time. The new game emerging in Europe was fascism. Hitler's vision was for a new Europe under Germany, a Pax Germanica. And he was about to make his play.
So here it was. It was a new threshold in world history.
An entirely new and previously unseen history was emerging.
Oh yes, the British leadership of the time were dealing with it.
But not in any decisive sort of a way.
So that new history was now coming to the fore.
It was going to be calling for a new leader in England.
History was calling for a man who would be prepared to face up to the
the new reality, and tackle the challenge of the day head on.
That man, of course, was Winston Churchill. For that hour in the history of Great Britain he was "the man".
What will history call for in times to come?
And what sort of men will emerge out of that history? And just how will it impact Israel and Christendom at the end of this age? These are the issues that impinge on Israel and End-Time Bible Prophecy. Biblical Christians, not surprisingly, are beginning to sit up and take notice. Because the wise ones amongst them are now coming to realize that they will soon be going up onto the stage of history.
What is going to happen if the Pax Americana should happen to abut into the Apocalypse? Will it be as the hymn-writer describes in the Battle Hymn of the Republic? Jesus has given us the answer to that question. He told us quite clearly and specifically that there would be some real problems with the policy of compromise His covenant people engage in at the end of the age. His covenant people will turn their back on Him and choose a false messiah. (John 5:43) (John 5:43) So did the prophet Daniel. (Dan.9:27) And our Apostle Paul told us quite clearly that because there would be a 'great falling away' from the faith in Israel and in Christendom. For a large chunk of God's covenant people there would be an outright apostasy. Many Christians will turn their backs on God and His Word and the pathway of faithful witness as we came into the final years of this age. Once again, the lights would be going out in the political houses of the established western world.
Will this be the end? No. Not at all. The saints will 'rise and shine' even in the midnight darkness. They will leave their present places of comfort and go out. They would be traveling out as a wedding party in the darkness. It would be a journey of adventure and romance. They would be on their way to meet the Bridegroom.
If the saints are the woman of Revelation 12 will they
escape from the face of the Dragon?
Oh yes, there will be climactic witness of the saints. And yes, many will be martyred. There is also evidence of an airlift and exile of many to a place of safety. John saw the woman of Revelation 12 flying off on the wings of a great eagle to a place of spiritual nurturing. And in this place of exile she will stay for 1260 days (Rev.12:6) or 3.5 years, (Rev.12:14). This is the precise duration of the Great Tribulation (Dan.12:7), the trampling of Jerusalem, (Rev.11:2) and the reign of the Beast Antichrist and his 666 economic system. (Rev.13:5). This exile of the woman of Revelation 12 is probably linked to the Bozrah story of Isaiah 63 and Micah 2:12-13. Both these scriptures speak of a magnificent event related to the Second Coming of Christ we might term The Bozrah Deliverance. The prophet Micah tells us the gist of the story as it leads up to the coming of Messiah as "the Breaker". Do we know all the details? And do we know the geographical location of this latter day stronghold of the end-time Edomites?
No. Not yet.
Great epic dramas of American and world history are destined to unfold into the Apocalypse at some future times. The saints will bring their witness before the great assembly of watching angels and men. (Heb. 12:1) Far from being 'past history' or raptured and 'outta here' 7 years ahead of schedule the Anglo-American Puritans and the Pilgrims will be there. At some point in the future they will face another reality. They will awaken one day to the sound of the trumpet. And with this they will find themselves catapulted into another history.
That new reality does not appear on their radar screens right now. Their present religious eschatology does not take them beyond the threshold of the current Pax Americana. And when they ask about it they are told, "dont worry about it. You won't be there". The current pre-trib dispensationalism has set forth an agenda of escapism and survivalism. Can it be sustained in the times to come? No it cannot. It is not the way of the cross.
For many the opening of future events will come as a complete surprise. They will have to re-adjust their thinking rather quickly. But the future adventures will draw out from within them a Christian devotion that they have never known before. Many of today's shepherds who have led us away from the Holy Scriptures and away from the holy walk with God will be ashamed in that day. Those who have led the covenant people of God into compromise and failed to prepare the saints for witness will see their present ministry canceled and come to an end. (Ezek.34:1-16)
The western Christians will indeed be present for these epic and climactic future events. By that time those who have not turned away from the faith will be the best informed Christians of all time. They will be very much needed for the final witness. They will know that. They will also know that they cannot possibly even think of 'skipping out' on the Great Commission seven years before it expires. They cannot think of "going A.W.O.L or "Absent without leave" from their Commander in Chief, the returning Messiah.. They will be on the scene. In fact, they will be more than just 'on the scene'. They will be 'up front and center'! How else are the Western Christian believers going to have anything really worthwhile to talk about when they get to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?
May God bring His grace and peace to all the saints.
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