GLOBAL TRANSFORMATION - By David Orton
"Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Mtt 6:10
The Scriptures promise a golden era of human history. An era when the kingdom comes to earth - when all men will live in peace and justice. Despite the marring of sin, man (male and female), as God's image bearer, has longed for this era from time immemorial. This was captured poignantly in our time by Martin Luther King's headliner, "I have dreamed a dream"!
The Birth of a Dream
No matter what our political posture the civil rights, peace, student and hippie movements of the 1960's were a watershed. They signalled a shift for this generation - the birth of a dream.
For many though, this dream either died in a drug haze of hippie escapism, or faltered in the failed youth revolution. And both, apart from some underground remnants and the outbreak of the Jesus Revolution, were ultimately overrun by the pressures of material success and survival in the Western world. It is significant, though, that this decade of revolution converged with the now well documented worldwide Charismatic Renewal.
As one who zealously "dreamed the dream" of the late 1960's pursuing the student and hippie revolutions, I instead found myself in 1970 (the Beatles had disbanded, and the flower of the hippie dream was already dying in the darkness of addiction and hard drugs) in a headlong supernatural encounter with the creator of the universe!
The God of History at Work
So, what was this all about? The God of history was at work. Through these deep societal shifts the materialistic foundations of the West were being upturned. Spiritually impotent values and social mores were being challenged.
Institutionalised religion had lost its credence. And a deep soul-cry for reality went up from the youth of a new generation. God's prophetic purpose in the nations had not changed.
Jeremiah was appointed over the nations to uproot, tear down, destroy, and overthrow prior to building and planting (see Jer 1:1:10). We are living in the "hinge of history". A point in time on which swings an open door to a new epoch of human history. I would suggest the period from the 1950's through to 2025 represents this hinge - a period of both convergence and transition. An era of deep societal shifts converging under the impetus of the creator-God's sovereign power with the heart-cry of a generation for reality.
An era, therefore, also of transition as the ground is cleared for building and planting, as the way is prepared for the coming of the kingdom of God.
The Destruction of Every Idol
This by necessity demands the uprooting and throwing down, the destruction of every idol, false belief, and value that has supplanted the living God in the affections of men.
We have seen the supremacy of the Church in the Middle Ages, and of Man in the Modern Age (1500- 1950), but we will finally see the supremacy of the creator-God in the coming age - what many are now calling the Post-Modern Era (1950-?).
The idol of the Church has already fallen. While this is a new thought to the religiously "enculturated" it is not to the larger society. We, in the church, are still playing a game of catch up. God inexorably moves on, with the flow of history ultimately converging in one head, Christ (see Eph 1:10). He is shaking everything that can be shaken so that only the unshakeable will remain - the reign of God in Christ (see Heb 12:25-29). And he is not waiting for our permission! Every vestige and residual influence of false gods, of the Church and of Man, is coming under the judgement of God.
A generation of forerunners under the Elijah anointing is crying out in the wilderness of the Western church, "Prepare the way of the Lord!"
And then, in the larger society, the divinely orchestrated shifts of history, in synergy with this new prophetic company, will bring down the false gods of secular and religious Man, blazing the trail for the coming glory of God in a world-transforming awakening. And this, of truly cosmic proportions, for Christ, "after the suffering of his soul will see the light of life and be satisfied" - he will "justify the many" and "divide the booty with the strong" (see Isa 53:11-12).
Issues of Eschatology
This is not the time or the place to engage in a lengthy discourse on the issues of "eschatology" (end things). And I certainly appreciate there are many and varied views, and all dearly held. Even so, I would suggest, at the risk of being perceived as somewhat "simplistic", that there is one underlying principle in this hotly debated area that will always swing us back to "true north". And it is this: the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus (see Rev 19:10).
In other words, a truer understanding of end things can only emerge from a truer revelation of Christ. Our eschatology must be governed by our Christology.
This is why, right now, there is an increase of the prophetic spirit and of the revelation of Christ as the fullness of God in the church. And to the degree we see him in his fullness to that degree we will also see him filling the earth, as victorious in a time-space world (see Eph 1:22-23).
God in Christ
The intersection of the ages occurred in the first advent - the coming of God in the person of Christ. The Cross, and all that surrounds it - the incarnation of Christ, his suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension - is the divide of history. At this point sin and death were conquered. Through the "seed of the woman", the awesome miracle of God becoming man, the serpent's head was crushed. Satan was utterly destroyed, and man completely set free.
And now, through the obedience of faith, this reality is appropriated by all those who believe. The kingdom has come definitively, is coming progressively, and will come consumatively. Christ's advent in history, particularly his ascension as the God-man to the right hand of the Father, has triggered a process of kingdom growth. A river is now flowing from the throne through the earth, bringing healing to the nations (see Rev 22:1-3).
Through the outpouring of the Spirit the miraculous work of conversion and regeneration is increasingly under way, culminating ultimately in the glorious return of Christ for a Bride without spot or blemish, and for a world conquered by righteousness, peace, and joy (see Rom 14:17; Mtt 13:33; 1 Cor 15:24-26; Rev 11:15).
Nations & the Kingdom-Corporate Christ
All that Christ suffered for will be accomplished. He will see it and be satisfied. The nations will flow to the "mountain of the Lord's house", to the kingdom-corporate Christ (see Isa 2:2; Eph 2:11-18). He will receive them as his inheritance (see Psa 2). Through unparalleled outpourings of the Spirit the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. The fullness of the Gentiles will come and all Israel will be saved (see Rom 11:11-26). Christ in his body, "will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore" (see Isa 2:3-4; also 1 Cor 6:1-3). How will this be?
The world will be transformed. But how will this be? Through the removal of every non-kingdom thing.
Through every false god - every idolatrous motivation, value, and system, in the church first and then in the world, being uprooted, overthrown and destroyed.
And it begins in us! Individual by individual, from one people group to another, nation by nation, the God of history is removing all things that offend, bringing all things in heaven and on earth together into one head, Christ.
Now is the time to have done with lesser things - for personal revival and for social revolution!
It is time to dream the dream again, praying,
"Father, let your kingdom come - let your will be done in this piece of earth as it is in heaven".
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Copyright © David Orton 2003