How and When to Establish a Christian Nation: Part 3
Dec 26, 2006
The Kingdom of God must be established by peaceful methods, that is, by the willing consent of the people, not by violence that forces people to accept what they do not believe or want.
Men have argued in the past that if we wait for this to happen, it will never happen. Their view is based upon the fact that they do not see the Holy Spirit manifested in any significant way. So, given this fact, the only way to establish the Kingdom is by force. The result is that men have converted others by force of arms. "Convert or die," became their motto. And men did indeed convert. They did not convert to Christ. They converted to a religion or a religious organization. They came into submission to men acting in the name of God.
It was argued that even if the hearts of that first generation were not really converted, the religion would be accepted without question by succeeding generations. The end justified the means, and so we see certain parts of the world heavily dominated by one religion or another. Even though their ancestors were conquered by religionists and forcibly converted, most of them do not remember and do not seem to care.
But conversion to a religion by force has its price tag. The original religion becomes inundated with "pagans and infidels" who go through the motions but who do not really have the kind of faith that God desires. This changes the character of the religion itself and (in the case of Christianity) moved it farther from the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:12,
"And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force."
John the Baptist had already been imprisoned and was soon to lose his head. Jesus' statement was not made to condone violence, as many have taken it. It was a statement of fact that from the beginning, the Kingdom of God was suffering from violence. Violence does not promote the Kingdom of God. It destroys the Kingdom while promoting the religion.
All the prophets in the past were killed by religious men who thought they were promoting, defending, or establishing the Kingdom of God. In fact, however, the prophets were killed to establish the religious organization that men incorrectly presumed was the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God will not and cannot be established apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men. Therefore, the first and primary way for us to establish the Kingdom is to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is something that everyone may do. It is not difficult or complicated. It is easy and simple.
The Holy Spirit has come in various ways and times throughout history. Each of these times has had some effect upon that generation. But each time it has proven to be a temporary flash that has come and gone without finishing the work. This is because in the past all the "revivals" were under the authority of the Pentecostal Age. Pentecost is good, but it is insufficient to finish the work that lies ahead.
This brings me to the subject of timing. In the past 2,000 years men prayed for God to move by His Spirit, and often they had to wait many years to see it actually happen on a historic level. Individually, of course, there have always been examples of the action of the Holy Spirit. We should all be led by the Spirit. I find minor miracles to be so commonplace that I have become immune from them. I see plenty of evidence that there is a God in heaven who works in the affairs of men on earth.
In the past century, there was the Pentecostal revival that occurred under Charles Parham beginning on January 1, 1901. There was a secondary echo effect that occurred in April 1906 at Azusa Street in Los Angeles. After this died down and began to degenerate into denominationalism, the Holy Spirit did not return in a big way until 1947 and 1948, called the "Latter Rain."
Out of this came the Full Gospel Business Men's Association in 1952-1955, which focused on people's personal testimonies but which gave little or no Kingdom teaching. The Charismatic Movement came next in the 1960's as another echo effect from the dried-up "Latter Rain." The Charismatic Movement begat the Word of Faith Movement in the 1980's, and Word of Faith begat the Laughing Movement in 1993.
Each Movement was thought by its followers to be the next great move of the Holy Spirit and perhaps even the final greatest Movement. In my view, they were not. They came and went their course and became asterisks in the pages of history.
In my view, each of these movements had one great impediment. They were born in the days of King Saul, the Pentecostal, and so it was not yet time to see what the people longed to see. Pentecost transitioned into the Tabernacles Age from 1993-2000. I believe that we are now in the time when the greatest Holy Spirit move of all time is possible.
The other factor is "how". Not only is it to be done through peace, but it must also be established by the Word itself. By this, I mean the Gospel of the Kingdom. Not just the gospel of Salvation, which has been preached for a long time. Not just the Gospel of Pentecost, which has also been preached for the past century at least. These are all parts of the Word. If the Kingdom of God is to have a strong foundation that will carry us to the Great White Throne, it must be founded on the Word itself.
This has been the missing ingredient especially in the past Pentecostal Century. Previous to that, men learned the Word, but lacked the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Revelation. And so, their pure Bible study was done largely under the power of the natural mind. The Pentecostals revolted from this and sought experiential knowledge. They largely rejected the study of the Word and even refused (at first) to set up Bible Colleges.
I understand their concern. Bible College has its place, of course, but a graduation certificate is no guarantee that the minister is qualified in the eyes of God. The most important things about the ministry cannot be taught in Bible College. Bible College cannot teach a minister how to hear the voice of God. Well, Pentecostal denominations eventually established Bible Colleges, but yet the Pentecostal Century was characterized by a massive dilution of Truth and knowledge of the Word.
The concept of the Rapture replaced what little knowledge there was of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Israeli state replaced the knowledge of true Israel, both "natural" and "spiritual." The art of persuasion replaced Faith. Television glitz and entertainment replaced serious Bible study. Beautiful buildings and architecture attracted the attention of the people. Emotion became a substitute for the Holy Spirit. Wealth became evidence of godliness.
In 1984 a friend of mine made an unforgettable statement: "If those who have the Word ever merge with those who have the Holy Spirit and hear God's voice, the world will be moved."
To me, this is the winning combination. To have one or the other is insufficient to establish the Kingdom of God. I believe that God is now laying that foundation of the Word, combined with a revelation of hearing His voice, that will make it possible to see the next great move of the Holy Spirit. This will change history forever.
When men see the Holy Spirit in action and receive a true revelation of Christ, they will want to become citizens of the Kingdom of God. There will be no need to force men to accept it by compulsion. Christ will indeed "drag" all men to Himself, but the force will be His Love.
This is the third part of a series titled "How and When to Establish a Christian Nation." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones