Climactic times lie up ahead for the Puritans. What will they do? Will many Puritans leave their present national encampment in the New World? Is it possible that in a future national/international crisis that they might cross over and rejoin their friends, the Pilgrims? Might they then journey onwards together towards the Holy City to realize their common destiny in the mansions of glory?
An essay by Gavin Finley MB BS
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.
THE FUTURE OFWhat will the future hold for the Puritans? For those who walk with God and have a biblical world view shaped by Bible prophecy the answer to this question is well known. The apocalyptic scriptures are quite clear. The final seven years of this age will open up into a history of epic, even Biblical proportions.
The 70th week of Daniel will be a time of trial and tribulation for all who dwell upon this earth. In those times to come the hearts of many will ponder the weighty covenant issues of God. It will be a time of decision and new resolve. Many nominal Christians will fall away from the faith. Others will press in closer to discover a new deeper relationship with God. They will find themselves carried across a threshold. In a serendipity they will find themselves drawn deeper into the divine romance. It will be an adventure, and an experience far more wonderful than they have ever known. The prophet Daniel inquired about this seeming paradox. He was given this cryptic message by the angel Gabriel,But Daniel was also told,
7b " ......... and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.
8 Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, "My lord, what shall be the end of these things?"
9 And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand."3 Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament,So what about the Puritans in that epic future time?
And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.
What lies out there in the future for them?
Certainly they will never let go of their dream of an earthly 'nation under God'. This is a God given dream. But will they continue to believe that they can expect to see this come to pass in the New World and in this age? Will they continue to believe that their dream of a better world can be achieved under the present angelic principalities, rulers and powers and under the present human rulers of the present world system?
We can expect the Puritans to be sorely tempted and tested in all this. Will they ever compromise the Biblical doctrines of the faith as the ecumenical church has done? Surely this would be very difficult for Puritan Christians. But we can be sure that this is precisely what they will be asked to do. Being the politically engaged Christians that they are there is a very real danger of some spiritually deadly compromise here. Will they enter into negotiations for a leading role in the emerging New World Order? God forbid! But what might happen if they do? Just how far will they go? Will they forget their faith and calling in Christ and sell themselves to a compromised ecumenically "sanctified" socialistic New World Order?
Pray God that they will never do this. But as holy history moves onwards into the 70th week what will become of them? Will the Puritans be willing to compromise their faith? Will their negotiations turn out well?
Perhaps they might. For a season perhaps. Perhaps those first 3.5 years of the final seven years of this age might offer them a chance for immense prosperity and power. So what might the Puritans do as the Apocalypse opens up? Where will they be when a harlot, rides a beast with ten horns? And later on, when a prince turns out to be a beast, the opposite of the Disney story, what will they do then? And what will happen as history moves on and the midpoint of the 70th week leads into the final three and a half years under the Antichrist and his 666 system?
These are serious questions for us to consider. What will happen to the Puritans as this age approaches its appointed climax? Will they continue on in active politics? Will they try to plot a course between the Devil and the deep blue sea? If they do then there is no doubt that they will find themselves between a Rock and a hard place. Hopefully they will choose the Rock, even the "Rock of Ages", and commit themselves totally to Him.
How about the Puritan proclivity for politicking for a righteous and Godly society? After the midweek abomination of desolation and the emergence of the 666 economic system will they give up on their earthly goal? Will they decide that this vision of a Kingdom Now is a fruitless task and an impossible dream? Will they decide to wait for Messiah to return to bring in the Kingdom? This would be a significant step towards the Pilgrim position. As the time of tribulation opens up will the Puritans back away from their temporal hopes in the governments of men and turn to face the real Master of their destiny?
If they do decide to forgo their earthly goal then all is not lost. The vision of that shining Celestial City will still be there before them. Will the Puritans realize then that they must continue on the Pilgrim pathway a bit further? Will they put down their sword, (or gun)? Will they take up their cross and follow Jesus their Messiah? Will they rejoin the Pilgrims on the highway of holiness, even toward the final witness of the 5th seal?
Up there ahead on the pathway the road forks.
Some Puritans may choose the low road, yes this is true.
And some Pilgrims may choose the low road as well.
But the Highway of Holiness lies before them. (Isa.35)
And it leads upwards. The Paradise Road beckons them onwards.
Which pathway will they choose?
This is an interesting question. After all, the Puritans are, and always have been, on a spiritual and an historical interface with their brethren, the Pilgrim separatists. They have been friends since the scriptures came out of the monasteries in the 1500's and found Johannes Gutenberg's new printing presses. Back in 1620 as those Pilgrims and Puritans landed and signed the Mayflower Compact the flux was from Pilgrim to Puritan.
In times to come could we see the opposite?
In times to come will it be from Puritan to Pilgrim?
Back in 1620 many of the Pilgrims crossed over and signed on with the Puritans when they signed the Mayflower Compact. In covenanting to become one "body politic" they were now setting aside their pilgrim role to becoming nation builders. With a decision of the heart and a stroke of the pen the Pilgrims had become Puritans. Will the process be reversed next time? Will the Puritans cross over and join the Pilgrims in those epic future days of decision? Or will they take up the sword and continue to adopt the patriotic military stance engendered in the Church by Constantine against their future arch enemies?
The culture and literature of America demonstrates many prophetic elements. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is a case in point. It certainly portrays a climactic, even apocalyptic American history. The Pax Americana abuts right into the the end of the age. What if American history interfaces with the 70th week of Daniel? Have we even thought about that possibility? How will the Puritans deal with the matter of peace in the Middle east? Will they continue to support Israel? And how will they deal with the rising clamor of the Third Jihad? A global peacemaker will broker an epic global peace covenant? - Dan.9:27 Who will this be? And just how will the Puritans be disposed towards him? And at the middle 70th week the global peacemaker will betray the nation of Israel. Just how will they handle this? And how will they deal with the subsequent 666 beast system? Will they be against him? Or united with him?
If the Puritans do war against the coming Antichrist then what sort of a conflict will that turn out to be? Will it all end with a bang? - Or a whimper? Will patriots become 'freedom fighters' once again? Or will they be labeled terrorists? That will depend on who is writing the headlines at the time.
What if the New World Order transitions into the final 4th beast system of Daniel chapter 7? How will that play out?
One thing we know for a certainty. If Christendom does enter the end time drama and figures that they will try to take on the Antichrist system then they may as well know what God says about it. That campaign will go very badly. The Holy Scriptures tell us clearly and unmistakably what the outcome will be.
They will lose.
See Dan.7:21, Dan.18:9-12, Dan.8:24 and Dan. 12:7, Rev.13:7
The prophet Daniel fainted when he saw the vision. When the 'little horn' wages war on the saints and the mighty men it will not be a pretty sight. Those who take up arms against him will be defeated. ~Dan.8:27 In such a military action God, it appears, will not be disposed to support His people. They will be acting on their own. God has determined that the end time will be a time for witness. And it is hard for saints to witness of the things of Christ over a smoking gun.
Jesus has shown us His example. We saw Him face up to the witness in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus has also instructed us to'Be as wise as serpents, and as harmless as doves". (Mat.10:16)For Pilgrim Christians the words of Jesus still speak to us in the Olivet Discourse. Our coming Messiah is the Prince of Peace. Yet it was in the Garden of Gethsemane, the oil press, and the place of crushing, that Peter had some misgivings about the plans and purposes of God. He reacted in anger. He struck the servant of the high priest with his sword. He cut off his ear.
How well do people hear us share the Gospel when we are striking off their ears? The old returning crusaders might tell us if they were able to sit down with us and talk. But then again, they might not. They might be too ashamed to speak of these things. How well do people hear the gentle wooing of the Bridegroom in the strife and clamor of battle? Are we as Pilgrim Christians called to bring in the Kingdom with the force of the sword?
Let us take a trip back to the time of the early church. Just how did the saints back then handle opposition and persecution? Did we see any of our 12 Apostles take up the sword save in this incident with Peter here? Every one of the Apostles was martyred, except John. Take a quick read through the Acts of the Apostles. Did any of the apostles or the early Christians show any survivalist inclinations whatsoever? Did the disciples enlist the aid of the zealots to support Jesus and themselves and their property?
Well we know one that did.
His name was Judas Iscario.
And we know what happened to him.
Let us return to the Garden of Gethsemane, the place of the oil press.
Jesus was right in the midst of his hour of trial.
He was approached by armed men with swords and torches.
Peter struck out with the sword. It had to happen.
There is an exceedingly important lesson here for us.
Jesus said to Peter,"Put your sword back into its place,These words of instruction still hold for us today. Jesus brings an extremely important message for us here. The end-time Puritans and Pilgrims will be sorely tested. We shall witness before people who will often be frightened and angry. We shall come to know the cup of Christ just as the early church did. Of that we can be sure. The Christian discipline of 'grace under fire' will be a new threshold for many Puritan fundamentalists.
for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.
It seems that American history is almost certainly going to enter into, (and be wrapped up in), the Apocalypse. This is even seen in that great American anthem the Battle Hymn of the Republic".
We cannot escape holy history. It has been written. So it will surely come to pass. Truly these will be times to get right with our God. Somewhere up ahead the American Puritans and Pilgrims will enter into a serendipity. They will find themselves led by history and wooed by God into the End time Revival.
No group of Christians has been so focused on spiritual things and Bible prophecy as the American evangelicals have been. They seem to sense that their history will somehow lead them into the climactic events at the end of this present age. American Christians buy huge amounts of religious information, books, tapes, videos etc. Many want to find out about the end-time drama. Others want to buy sugar coated religious assurances. Some want their hired churchmen to tell them that they don't need to worry about these things. For these people it is "business as usual". But their self-adsorbed slumbers will not last forever. At some point in the future they will face the Apocalypse and the Day of Reckoning.
Shouldn't we be mindful of these things?
Shouldn't we prepare our hearts right now?
We are now living in the days and history of the Pax Americana. Our history may soon slip out from beneath our own personal control. Our lives may not be always tucked away neatly inside our own little boxes. God has our number. And He has our address. And He knows our ways. Even now He is standing at the door and knocking.
Like Christian, in Pilgrim's Progress, we may soon find that we have come to a strait gate. It is a difficult passage. Many will balk at this gate. Many will be offended. But the pathway leads us onto the highway of holiness (Isa.35) and towards the Holy City.
Many are the challenges Christendom has faced in these past 2,000 years. For those who call themselves Christians there is another big checkpoint up ahead. It is the Gate of Joseph. It seems that God is requiring something more of us in the "personal commitment and integrity" department. God is calling out His people once again. The days ahead will call for a new ekklesia/congregation for God's Elect. He is drawing us, even wooing us into a deeper blood covenant walk with Him. He is knocking at the door of our heart.
Can we hear Him?
The days are soon coming when the books of Daniel and Revelation will be unsealed. (Dan.12:4) For those whom God is calling this knowledge of what God is doing in Bible prophecy will be more important than turning on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox, (the crusader television network). When the saints open up their Bibles and face the facts there will be some revelations. The normal and appropriate response to all this is not to get fearful or angry. It is to get on our knees before God.
The times will come when our lives will be changed forever. Our own heart attitude will change as well. God is calling us into all this. Such things happen when those epic times come, the times that try men's souls. We shall come face to face with the God of history. He is the Ancient of Days,(Dan.7:9) the Holy One of Israel. The Sovereign God sits in the heavens. He is the One who judges in the end-time affairs of men and nations. He calls the shots. He stills the waves of the sea and the raging of nations. The time will come when the popular syrupy eschatology of the end-time will no longer suffice. We may have paid good money for it. But it will be in the dumpster. It will be time to "Wake up and smell the coffee." This sort of soporific pap just won't "cut it" anymore.
Easy-believism has always gone down well with the religious masses. Soporific religion is a multi billion dollar a year business. The religious bazaars today are doing a roaring trade. The selling of motivational programs with a religious twist and the dream of the "self-made man" is mixed in with a host of salable religious materials produced by 'Merchandising of the Anointing'. Then there are today's modern "indulgences" especially prepared for semi-committed Christians living on the carnal side of their nature. The most popular end-time dream evangelicals purchase is the 170 year old pre-tribulation rapture dream. In this dream carnal minimal Christians don't have to worry about their responsibility in Christian witness at the end of the age. Not at all. Because they figure that they won't be here!
Can fundamentalist Christians really imagine that they can abandon ship and leave everybody behind like that? Are we as western evangelicals just yellow deserters?
God forbid! Corrie Ten Boom has warned us about this very thing.
This is very disturbing. Jesus has told us to
"Take up your cross and follow me." But many of His followers today have turned away from the Way of the cross. At present many seem to be tilting towards the harlot spirit who whispers seductively saying, "I sit as a queen, and I will see no sorrow". (Rev.18:7)
Oh yes, we are bound for glory. This is a wonderful assurance God gives us. But what if the Glory Train leaves at the end of the 7 year drama, like after we have finished the climactic end-time witness? What if His return is not at the beginning as we have been told? Are we prepared? Do we have the oil of anointing? Do we have the oil for our lamps against the coming night?
Time passes on. The nations rage against sure knowledge of the coming Messiah and bring in new histories. But God is in control here. History is "His story". He sets the main characters in time and space. He has His protagonists in place and on stage of history at the right time. And the antagonists come out as well to make their play. The plot thickens as we find out just what is motivating these characters. The 'mystery of Godliness' and the 'mystery of iniquity' are on the same stage together! The play reveals these characters for who they really are. The actors make their play before men and angels, acting out their epic choices of the heart. Their choices lead on to personal triumph or disaster. Oh yes, this is no longer a voyeuristic Hollywood melodrama climaxed with a love scene or a chase scene or a big explosion with all the action being "out there". The drama is now happening up close and personal. It is all happening right inside our own heart. Soon we shall be making our own actions for all time and eternity. Do we know what our testimony will be?
Two roads will open up before us, and a choice. The low road leads to Apostasy and a lost eternity of torment in hell.
But there is an alternative to this. God has placed before us a highway for people who have resolved to be set apart or consecrated to Him. This highway leads into an End Time Revival of unimaginable splendor.
Then comes the grand conclusion to the epic relay race of the saints. The fireworks show comes to a climax in a grand finale. Many will be the surprises revealed to us at the end. The Apocalypse is not all doom and gloom. It certainly is a curtain of horror for the wicked. But for the called, the chosen, and the faithful God has a wonderful unexpected serendipity. We find ourselves under His covering. He is with us in our hour of trial. And when all is said and done the final acts of the play lead us into a joyful reconciliation in another Kingdom. There is, after all is said and done, a storybook ending. The Bride and the Prince live happily ever after.
God is in control here below. He has written the Play of the Ages. History is "His story". It is not a meaningless cycle or an unending "balance" of ying and yang as eastern mysticism has hypnotized us to believe. History is linear and teleological. Our God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning (in creation), and the end, on the Day of the Lord. Holy history, or as our German friends call it, "heilsgeschicte" or "salvation history" comes to a great and glorious conclusion. The God of history is taking us on a road. It is a road with a fork, each road of which leads somewhere. History has a meaning. It has a purpose. Men and nations are sifted like wheat. They are refined in the fire. The dross is skimmed off as the gold is refined. Oh yes, humanistic man can play God with their programs, their algorithms, their thesis and an antithesis, and their beloved "synthesis". But all this must be judged by God Almighty in the crucible of holy history. The days of deals and compromise will eventually come to an end. Eventually there must be a climax to the story. Someone will be coming. And He will reconcile the accounts, even on a Day of Atonement. The scriptures tell us that Christ Himself will come again. He will return to judge the wicked and deliver His saints. He Himself will bring His final judgment and conclusion to the matter!
The angels are watching from above as events unfold down here, even from out of this fallen creation. The gathering lights shine in splendor dispelling the darkness. ~ Heb.12:1 And the myriad company of Abraham, as a wedding party, with lamps shining brightly passes up along the highway of holiness. ~Isa.35
History goes somewhere. It is not just an endless series of meaningless circles of life and death as our gurus of eastern mysticism would like us to believe. Our God began His work of redemption in the Garden of Eden six millennia ago. ~ Gen.3:15 And He will finish His work before the sun sets on this age. He will bring His magnificent story to its appointed conclusion at His set time. Holy history will unfold in a day of judgment for the wicked and a blaze of glory for the righteous just as it was written. (Rev.19:11-21:8)
As for the Puritans we should harbor no doubts about their continuing zeal. Nor should we doubt their willingness to finish the course set before them. Right from their early beginnings they regarded their life in God as a great adventure. It would seem that the Puritans are already up on stage. And in some future year they will come to the climax of their history. And there they will embrace their destiny.
What will happen? One thing we can say with some assurance. The American Puritans are up front and center! Right now, at this point in history, they are it! That is until the seven year peace treaty is forged with Israel which opens up the 70th week of Daniel. In those epic future times the coming Kingdom of God will be announced. Will it come in with the blowing of trumpets? One thing we can definitely say about that Day. With all those enormous opposing spiritual forces upon them the latter day Pilgrims and Puritans will most certainly usher in the most awesome and spellbinding history that this world has ever seen.
May God be with them and preserve them.
Grace and peace to all who love His appearing.