I am greatly enjoying North’s book Millennialism and Social Theory. First, the admirable cover that cuts right to the chase:
Of course, I see no reason why we should wait until the Second Coming before deciding to rise in victory.
Victory now, and buildingon that victory afterwards, is a lot better rather than crawl in defeat, as our Masters insist – and the vast majority of western Christians are comfortable doing, regardless of the obvious shortsightedness and incompetence of the Right Sort.
What is the biggest problem facing the world today?
I have a traditional answer to this question. Why traditional? Because the question is itself traditional. The answer to this question has been the same from the day that Cain killed Abel. The biggest problem facing the world is that the vast majority of the people in this world are headed straight to hell. If “the world” means the people who live on planet earth, then this is the number-one problem on earth. It can be solved in only one way: a huge, rapid, historically unprecedented wave of conversions to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
This would have been nearly impossible to accomplish before the Internet. But now, as Nisbet once wrote…
Let us be clear on two points. (1) Events do not marry and have little events that grow into big events which in turn marry and have little events, etc.; (2) small social changes do not accumulate directionally and continuously to become big changes. We pretend in our histories and sociologies that such is the case, but it is all a posteriori. . . . It is very different with studies of change in human history. Here the Random Event, the Maniac, the Prophet, and the Genius have to be reckoned with.
We have absolutely no way of escaping them. The future-predictors don’t suggest that we can avoid or escape them — or ever be able to predict or forecast them. What the future-predictors, the change-analysts, and the trend-tenders say in effect is that with the aid of institute resources, computers, linear programming, etc. they will deal with the kinds of change that are not the consequence of the Random Event, the Genius, the Maniac, and the Prophet.
To which I can only say: there really aren’t any; not worth looking at anyhow.
There is going to be an internet-powered preacher eventually: yes, a real evangelist, not just another self-serving faker. This man will change the world, pushing forward the Kingdom greatly. I hope it’s this guy.
“No flash, no signs and wonders… but godly teaching, day by day.” Reach the 2/3rds world successfully, and you have laid the foundations for the Kingdom of God.
(On the other hand… whether Trump is an internet-fueled Genius or Maniac… or if his election is merely a Random Event… is something we will discover soon enough.)
Anyways, back to where we left off…
Christians say that anything that happens to an individual on earth is insignificant, compared to his eternity. But is this really true? It is not true, but this is how Christian evangelists have traditionally described the problem. The problem is not stated correctly. One event that happens to a person on earth is vastly more important than anything that happens to him in eternity: his acceptance or rejection of Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. This event can take place only on earth and in history.
THIS is the event that saves a man… and its absence damns a man, for all eternity. In our lives, “all the rest is commentary.”
I wish Christians really believed this… and structured their lives on this truth.
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). This covenantal (judicial) decision will determine where the person spends eternity, so it has to be far more important than eternity itself.
The decision for Christ is THE key decision. The next billion or trillion years is an irrelevancy, compared to this decision.
After all, something that Adam and Eve did on earth and in history got humanity into this frightful legal position in the first place.
Jesus was quite clear about what is most important in life and death, and why: .
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life (John 5:24).
“Is passed from death unto life”: this is the heart of the matter.
When we say to someone, “You’re history,” we mean it is all over for him in our eyes. When, at the moment of a person’s death, God says, “You’re history,” He really means “You’re eternity.” It is all over for him in God’s eyes. These are the only eyes that really count. So, the greatest problem facing the world today is the same old problem: most people have not accepted Jesus Christ’s atoning work on the cross as their only legitimate, acceptable payment to a God of wrath. (How about you?)
From the Introduction:
Will God remember sin? Not judicially. (Obviously, God does not develop a case of total amnesia.) His grace in history is sufficient.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him (Psa. 103:8-13).
A day is coming when men’s cultural deliverance will be so widespread, because of men’s widespread repentance, that God will bring unprecedented blessings in history.
What, then, of eternity?
That day is a day in history.
In time, and on earth.
Not just some pie-in-the-sky spiritualized vagueness far away somewhere, while Satan and his bull-whipping minions grind their heel in the faces of God’s children.
Did you seriously think that a righteous, holy, just, and almighty God would just let that stand — or grow worse and worse — forever?
God’s Name is Holy and Sacred, and is not to be slandered!
Deliverance in Eternity
Jesus came to placate God’s wrath. He lived a perfect life, died at the hands of sinners, and rose again. He ascended into heaven. Sinful men’s debt to God has been paid. They can appropriate this payment as their own. On this legal basis, and only on this legal basis, men can find deliverance from God’s eternal wrath to come. This deliverance begins in history. This is the New Testament’s version of the fundamental biblical theme of the transition from cursing to blessing.
It is clear that in the Old Testament, the discontinuities of this transition – captivity and deliverance – were historical. What about the discontinuities in the New Testament?
It is also clear that the ultimate discontinuity in this life is the transition from God’s wrath to His grace. This is a far greater discontinuity than mere physical death. It takes place in history.
The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:35-36).
God’s free gift of eternal life is offered in history (and only in history), and it is accepted in history (and only in history).
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation (Heb. 9:27-28).
What this means is simple to state: eternal deliverance takes place in history. The problem is, Christian theologians have not taken this principle seriously outside of the doctrine of soteriology (salvation), narrowly defined as soul-saving alone.
They have chosen to keep the area of Christian action as tiny, as limited, as weak as possible without actually encouraging unbelief.
But this is the old-fashioned deceptions, rooted in the pre-1850 delusions of the Christian Intellectual Elite. Nowadays, most are either effective or actual atheists, and the few that aren’t place their trust in powerful men, government power, or some Rapture escape. Almost all are careful to follow the Smart, Credentialed, Incompetent Secularists who set the pace and the agenda for our society.
And the only reason why they set the agenda is because most Christians shun responsibility, and will pay no price for the growth and expansion of God’s Kingdom.
God, being wise and just, has chosen to repay our churches, our leadership, and ourselves for our idolatry, laziness, and non-existent willingness to sacrifice for Him and His Kingdom.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. — Matthew 1:13
I certainly don’t expect the current ruling generation of Western Christians to repent in the slightest, despite the blindingly obvious results of their decisions. But many of the younger generation, rising up in the ruins of society and the smashed idols of the welfare state, will take up and relight the torch the older Christian culture has stamped out and flung into the sea.
The Ultimate Discontinuities Are Historical
There are three great discontinuities in history: (1) Adam’s fall, which was the judicial basis of mankind’s transition from grace to wrath; (2) the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity in human flesh; and (3) Jesus Christ’s separation from God the Father on the cross. Compared to these three events, all other historical and cosmic discontinuities are minor. While most Christians would agree with this in principle, they are still almost hypnotized by those passages that describe the discontinuity between this world and the final judgment. They regard the coming fiery transformation of the skies as the really big event – in their own thinking, dwarfing the death of Christ.
Signs and wonders, flash and noise, lots of ear-tickling talk, great entertinment, and a flood of donations for a time…
…instead of steady obedience, humble service, noble and worthy sacrifice, regular tithing to the church, and the blessings of victory and Divine approval, as we live and on the world as well as in eternity.
God has given the Church the wages she has worked for.
Don’t you want something better?
Time to do better!
The order of magnitude separating the death of Christ from the final judgment is much greater than the order of magnitude between this world and the post-resurrection world. How can I be so sure? Because I recognize that the order of magnitude separating (1) Adam’s legal status before God immediately prior to his fall from (2) his legal status immediately after was far greater than the order of magnitude separating (a) the pre-fall physical world from (b) the post-fall physical world. Transgressing God’s one law in Eden was a monumental discontinuity. God’s curse on the world was merely God’s negative physical sanction. God’s common grace to Adam and the creation, made possible because of Christ’s payment to God on the cross, allowed God to reduce His negative physical sanctions on both Adam and the environment. God’s negative physical sanctions were minimal compared to Adam’s transgression. Therefore, compared with the death of Christ, the future positive physical sanctions of final judgment and the post-judgment world will also be minimal.
Let me put this a different way. The order of magnitude of the separation of Jesus Christ from God the Father at the cross was analogous to the separation of heaven from hell or the post-judgment perfection of the· New Heaven and New Earth from the perfection of the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14-15). This is the judicial difference between “saved” and “lost.” Compared to this, the physical circumstances of Christ’s bodily return to earth are minimal. Therefore, the magnitude of the judicial transition from wrath to grace in history far overshadows the physical transition from this world to the next.
It is the spirit that leads, and the body that follows.
A powerful Spirit, the Holy Spirit, is sure to change the entire world even as we speak!
How can we limit God’s Spirit to immaterial, post-historical, and (implicitly) irrelevant and unknowable things?
That’s just another tactic to Get God to Just Shut Up.
If you want to be a God-hating atheist (certainly NOT a contradiction in terms, judging by the behaviour of atheists!) then be a man and call yourself one! You will certainly be welcomed by the Right Sort, invited into the Correct Circles, and beloved by the Major Media Organs…
(I always did have more respect for Nietzsche than for his namby-pamby successors, making their righteous poses when they despise the very concept of an unchanging, perfect righteousness standard.
Certain pagans have some level of integrity, and are capable of following a chain of logic. Others lack even this.)
Adam’s physical death was a covenantal result (sanctions) of his transgression in history. Jesus’ physical resurrection was a covenantal result of His perfect atonement in history of God’s wrath. It is not physical death that stands as life’s greatest discontinuity. The greatest discontinuity in life is the judicial transition from wrath to grace. Jesus made this plain when He told men what to fear most:
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28).
Each person’s discontinuity from grace to wrath is judicial and automatic. Everyone is born under the judicial curse against Adam. This is the doctrine of original sin. Thus, there is no major transition from covenant-breaking in history to hell. There is no judicial transition. Eternity in the lake of fire is merely an extension of life lived apart from God’s redeeming grace in history.
Many, many deny this with their mouths… but watch their actions, their dreams, their fundamental hopelessness. Self-delusion only goes so far…
In short, deliverance in eternity begins in history.
The Church has always said that it believes this. Nevertheless, the Church has only rarely applied this most fundamental of all biblical themes to its overall theological system. Specifically, churches have refused to apply this principle to eschatology. One thing that churches agree on today is that man’s covenantal-judicial deliverance in history must be understood as strictly spiritual-personal and in no sense social. The judicial transition from wrath to grace supposedly applies only to the individual soul, not to the physical body or the body politic.
This is false. Why should any believer limit the saving power of Christ in this way?
What, then, of the Old Testament? Is it simply “God’s Word, emeritus”? For the major theme of the Old Testament is God’s social and institutional deliverance of His people in history. Does the New Testament abandon this perspective? Or does it simply not emphasize it, taking for granted our acceptance of the Old Testament’s message of comprehensive deliverance in history?
The answers to these questions have divided the Church for almost nineteen hundred years. We need to get agreement.
I suspect that agreement will be gained the old-fashioned way: those churches who are closer to God will thrive and grow more, while growth, social impact and cultural power will diminish rapidly the farther you get from God’s truth.
Survival of the most righteous, most obedient, most dedicated to the expansion of Christ and His Kingdom. That’s what I’m looking for!
This book is a reassessment of three covenantal themes: biblical law, God’s sanctions in history, and the millennium, though primarily the latter two. I begin with this obvious New Testament teaching: the fundamental transition from personal wrath to grace is historical, not post-final judgment. What I try to show is that the Bible teaches that this fundamental historical transition from wrath to grace is also social and cultural.
Not just Jesus and I.
Jesus Christ is king of a lot more than your soul, and your time at church on Sunday, 10:00 – 12:00.
The post-judgment New Heaven and New Earth will be an extension of the historical New Heaven and New Earth, as surely as each redeemed person’s resurrected body will be an extension of his historical body. There is therefore a very significant continuity between this world and the world to come. This is true of both aspects of both worlds: saved vs. lost. The implications of this statement are monumental, as I hope to show in this book.
A good reason to get the book!
There is a coming discontinuity called the final judgment, but compared to the discontinuity in history from God’s wrath to God’s grace (Christ’s atonement and His saints’ personal regeneration), it will be a comparatively minor affair. Lots of trumpets and noise, plus a few million (or a few billion) people flying upward all at once, but hardly anything on the order of magnitude of the judicial discontinuity of personal regeneration in history: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17).
The Final Judgement simply confirms what we actually are already: conformity is a lot more common than non-conformity here.
The elect, those going for heaven, are already part-way there even as they live.
And the damned, those going to hell, are also already part-way there, right now.
We need to obey God, so we are used by His Holy Spirit to bring in more of society and economics and science, as well as individual souls, into the heaven-bound group.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” – Luke 11:2