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"And it will come about in the last days
That the mountain of the House of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains
And it will be raised above the hills. . . ."
How's Your Self-Esteem?
Nobody wants to be a "loser." Everyone wants to be on the "winning" side.
|Yet for more than a hundred years,
Christians have been preaching defeat. Christ said Christianity would storm the fortresses
of hell, and the gates of hell would "not prevail" against the Christian
offensive (Matthew 16:18). But most Christians visualize the gates of hell storming the
Church, a tiny unarmed band of misfits and losers cowering in the corner, waiting for
Jesus to "rapture" them. Wrong! This is a bizarre
misinterpretation of Christ's promise.
Christ promised that the forces of evil could not withstand attack from the forces of good. The Ancient Biblical Gospel is a promise of Spiritual strength and world-wide victory. The Modern American "gospel" is a message of pessimism, impotence, and defeat. We've been hearing this sorry "gospel" for decades.
there is a tiny thread of truth holding the modern "gospel" together.
It must be agreed that true victory does not come when a small percentage of
Christians vote their friends into office and impose "victory" on an unconverted
slave-like population using the strong-arm of a military-socialist State. This is a
Marxist approach, and, ironically, was put into practice by the Puritans, now historically
irrelevant, but imitated in our day by the politically-active Religious Right.
The only road which leads to Victory is the road to the Cross; this is the only road which leads to Resurrection. But it does lead to Resurrection, not irrelevance and escape.
THE PROPHETIC VISION
THE JEWISH HOPE / THE FUNDAMENTALIST ERROR
THE CHRISTIAN REALITY
THE SPIRIT'S PROMISE
Micah and the Prophets spoke of victory.
They foretold a day when faith would be transferred from human and demonic kings to the
King of kings. They visualized global allegiance to the coming Messiah, and saw it
bringing sacrificial love and service, and a repudiation of the militarism and materialism
which characterized those who had left the Household of Faith to "be as gods"
Israel rejected this prophetic hope, and consistently embraced the Caesars of the nations around them (I Samuel 8; John 19:15). 20th-century Christian fundamentalists make the same mistake. The results are horrifying.
We live in the
most violent century in human history. As the 20th century comes to a close, we can
look back and see the murder of nearly 10,000 human beings each and every day of the
century. This figure does not include the pre-born, as many as 1,000 of whom are murdered
every hour of every day of the year around the world in 1997. Our first response is to
plead innocent by virtue of blissful ignorance. But we deceive ourselves. Surely the death
of chivalry and the rise of domestic violence are related to the fact that all these
murders are either committed or sanctioned by "the government" of "the
People." This institution, in turn, is patriotically supported by institutions called
"churches." When called by our "government," we dutifully don a
uniform and participate in the killings. But there's more.
What is the reaction of American Christians to the great evils which exist in our day: war, abortion, crime, genocide, racism, poverty, addiction, statism? Most Christians say nothing. They are content with a warm fuzzy "spiritual" feeling and a programmable VCR. In fact, many Christians seem to hope that things will actually get worse, finding confirmation of their hope that Jesus Christ is going to return again "at any moment." They allege that we are in the "last days" of planetary history. They believe that Christ came the first time to establish a political empire to rival the Roman Empire, to defeat them with military force, and to rule over them from a throne in Jerusalem. After suffering an embarrassing defeat (their Messiah executed by "the government" as a lower-class rebel), God settled for "Plan B," and these Christians anxiously await the end of the unpredicted "parenthetical" age in which we now live, an end which will come amidst nuclear war and destruction. "Any day now," Christians will be "raptured" from their problems, and Jesus will return to Jerusalem and impose a violent rule upon an unwilling slave-like population, we are told.
"Any moment now."
There is a connection between self-centered apathetic
inaction in the face of great social evil and this view of "the last days" and
"the Second Coming." The schizophrenic mistake of these Christians is a desire
for personal escape and vicarious victory. They refuse to
"exercise dominion over the earth" (Genesis 1:26-28), and yet they fantasize
participating in a top-down political kingdom based on military force and legal coercion
-- power which Jesus explicitly rejected (Luke
4:5-8; Matthew 16:21-23; 26:52). The Kingdom Christ came to establish is not a Zionistic
Police State. Christ's Power does not come from the barrel of a gun.
Christ's Kingdom was established at His First Advent. It is a Spiritual Kingdom; a peaceful Kingdom of regenerated hearts. Jesus came to convert or dethrone all politicians and emperors (1 Corinthians 15:24-25). Christ established His Kingdom in "the last days" of the Old Covenant world, culminating in a fiery judgment of power-worshipping apostasy and pharisaism, destroying the Jewish system of ritual worship and pedagogical government in A.D. 70.
In the Power of His Resurrection and Ascension to the Right Hand of God, Christ inaugurated a New Heavens and a New Earth. We are preparing to enter the Third Day of this New Age (Isaiah 65:17-25).
Can we hope to be instruments through which God extends His Kingdom without working to overthrow the "fundamentalistic" "premillennialist" doctrine of the "imminent return" and the military socialist vision of a top-down millennial Kingdom? Can we hope to be effectively used if we ourselves are bound down and crippled by the view that we are predestined to failure, regression, stagnation, collapse, and defeat? Can we be peacemakers if our allegiance is to an institution of war, and we grant the moral legitimacy of its vengeance and killing? Unfortunately, the expression has a very real element of truth in it: if we feel we can't beat 'em, we'll be tempted to join 'em.
American Christians are a friend of the system (James 4:4).
The Saints have been given the Kingdom, anointed as priests and kings under Christ, and reign in Christ, not by wielding a sword but by working productively and serving others in personal, self-sacrificing ministry. The Holy Spirit blesses this obedience to God's Law under the terms of the Covenant between King Jesus and His vassals (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).
Both beliefs are at the heart of "The Christmas Conspiracy" and the "Vine & Fig Tree" vision of Christian Patriarchy.
The Christmas Conspiracy Extends Christ's Kingdom
Begin Your Study of the Vine & Fig Tree archetype of VICTORY:
The Christmas Conspiracy: The Victory
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