VISIONS IN COLLISION
There is an almost universal awareness today that history is hurtling to its climactic predetermined glorious climax.
God’s word has been spoken! Every knee WILL bow and every tongue WILL confess that Jesus Messiah is Lord! God’s plan, released by His word, is unstoppable! His plan WILL be done on the Earth. 'Then the Lord said “As surely as I live the earth WILL be filled with the glory of the Lord.” (Num. 14:21)
“Without A Vision The People Perish”
As believers we have received from the scriptures God’s vision of world redemption. This vision infuses our lives with heavenly purpose and hope. Paul was inspired by this vision. “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” (Acts 26:19) However, the ‘heavenly vision’ is in direct conflict with the humanistic vision of the world powers. The two are on a collision course that will result, first in persecution or marginalization of the church as it proclaims the heavenly vision, and then the ultimate triumph of God’s plan at the return of the Lord - a conflict between THE WORD and THE WORLD.
The Humanistic Vision
In the 19th century the German philosopher GEORGE HEGEL proposed the view that history is driven by great ideas. Once an idea is released into mass consciousness it has the power to propel history along. Thus when ideas like ‘liberty’ and ‘human rights’ are released they have within themselves the power to drive historical events. He called this theory "Dialectical Idealism.” Hegel believed that history is driven not only by converging ideas but also by opposing and opposite ideas. An idea once proposed begins to catch the public imagination. It then becomes the dominant thinking until a reaction to this idea emerges and people swing to the opposite idea. This swing of ideas he called “Dialectical Idealism.” Thus for example “Colonialism” gave rise to its opposite idea “Nationalism”. “Nationalism” gave rise to its opposite idea “Internationalism.” “Internationalism” gives rise to a new world global order. The dynamic created by large opposing ideas propel history and cultures forward whether we like it or not.
Marx modified Hegel's ideas to say that history was propelled not by great ideas but by the material conditions. The injustice and inequality created by one economic order propels the economic forces to produce a new order of things. For him history was not just propelled by the great ideas but by the material dynamics within society. He called his theory “Dialectical Materialism.”
Today’s events seem to support both these theories. We can see the world being driven by great ideas on the one hand and by material economic conditions on the other. These twin pressures are pushing the world inexorably towards a world order. Whether we like it or not our nations are being carried along by these great forces and we are powerless to stop it.
This secular world order has no reference to God or to the plan of God. To be sure the idea of God is sometimes tolerated, but God is relegated to a personal option, like a hobby, such as stamp collecting, or a personal lifestyle choice such as a fitness regimen or a dietary plan. But the God of the Bible, the awesome Being who created us; to whom we have to give an account and on whom we depend for everything has no place in this world view.
On The Other Hand
On the other hand, God has set up an unstoppable dynamic of His own. It is far more powerful than the natural laws of materialistic and idealistic determinism, spoken of by Hegel and Marx. His plan does not come from the boiling pot of human ideas and competing economic interests and movements. It comes from an entirely different dimension - the Throne of Heaven itself. God who spoke the worlds into existence by His Word has a “plan for the fullness of the times to unite all things in Himself, things in Heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1:18) He has spoken this plan into existence and it cannot be stopped.
“I have sworn by Myself,
The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness
And will not turn back;
‘to Me every knee will bow,
every tongue will swear allegiance’.” (Isaiah 45:23)
Ideological and material conditions of this world are pressing all nations into a world order that is hostile to the plan of God. But God has released His own plan through His spoken His word. Such is the power of the word that goes forth from His lips, it cannot be stopped until it is accomplished.
“For as the rain comes down,
and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
and bread to the eater,
So shall My word that goes forth from My mouth
shall not return to Me void,
but it shall accomplish what I please” (Is 55:10,11)
God’s plan is wonderful, glorious and inspiring. He is engineering events to bring us to a day when there will be no more wars, no more social injustice, no more famines, no more earthquakes, tsunamis or natural disasters. The earth WILL be filled with the knowledge of God and the whole world will walk in love toward one another.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days,
that the mountain of the Lord's house
shall be established in the top of the mountains,
and all nations shall flow unto it.
And many people shall go and say,
Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob;
and he will teach us of his ways,
and we will walk in his paths:
for out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
And he shall judge among the nations,
and shall rebuke many people:
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks:
nation shall not lift up sword against nation;
neither shall they learn war any more." (Isa 2:1-4)
"There shall come forth a shoot
from the stump of Jesse,
and a Branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide fairly for the meek of the earth;
and strike the earth with the rod of his mouth.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full
of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.." (Isa 11)
This vision from God is sure and is predetermined, irrevocable and totally unstoppable. It remains for us to embrace it and present it to the world.
Most of us live with divided loyalties, but in these days we are being forced to choose between the vision of the WORLD or the vision of the WORD. "Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)
Inspiring This Generation
If the ideas such as "nationalism" and "communism" have ignited people into passionate commitment in the past, how much more can the vision of Jesus inspire this generation today.
As the world gropes in darkness, reeling from one ideological movement to another, from one utopian idea to the next we have three choices.
1. Despair and the meaninglessness of everything;
2. False hope based on utopian ideologies that will ultimately fail;
3. The true hope for mankind based on the plans and purpose of our Creator which came into being before the foundation of the world. They are all tied together in the Messiah.
In general Christianity has been distracted from this vision by the lesser visions of our denominational or ministry agendas. Now is time for us to offer the people of our generation the true hope for their future. We cannot allow ourselves to be pushed into a little corner of irrelevance, or bogged down by the smaller visions of our denominational competitive plans.
In a world where millions live without hope and without a reason for living, we can offer a plan worth living for - a vision of a God given destiny – that will not disappoint. This is the vision of the Kingdom of God and the redemption of the world, foretold by the prophets, won by Jesus on the Cross and proclaimed by the apostles. All other plans will fail and end in disillusionment, but this one is sure and will succeed.
Fulfilled prophecy shows the inexorable enfoldment of God’s unstoppable plan. The regathering of Israel is the sign that God has never abandoned His plan, and is a trumpet call to all people everywhere to turn around, repent of lives of futility and get on board with God's awesome plan.
The ideological and materialistic course of the world order is on a collision course with the plan of God to redeem the earth. Ultimately all other plans will be blown away like dry grass in a windstorm at the coming of the Lord. This will surely happen but not before the kingdoms of this world have sought to control the entire world and rule it without reference to God's plan.
The vision of God’s magnificent plan in Messiah Jesus must be released and presented to this generation. There is an alternative to the futile direction of the global world order. We can look beyond the plans of the international diplomats and bankers for our hope and future. This GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM is a vision and a hope for every nation. Everything else will collapse and fail but this hope is sure.
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it;
because it will surely come.” (Hab. 2:3)
“The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15)
Which kingdom will we serve? Which vision will we follow: a vision that promises peace and freedom but ends in slavery, death and disillusionment; or the kingdom of righteousness peace and joy that cannot fail? Now is the time of decision. But how can they decide unless we present the vision?