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FLIGHT FROM BABYLON

 

The Coming Salvation From The Works Of Collective Society

 

 


GRADUAL RESTORATION OF THE KINGDOM GOSPEL

 

 

     By all rights we should already be in the Millennium.1  Jesus should have been able to return before now. The quest for world collectivism should have been destroyed long ago. The three-fold Gospel of Jesus was sufficient to bring a quick end to world babylonianism if it had been faithfully followed. Had it remained unsubverted, the message would have been taken to the ends of the earth where it would have undone all empires and returned the world to the mobility it had before Nimrod. Collectivized society would have disintegrated through the complete salvation of much of the world's people, making possible Jesus' return to shepherd the planet.

 

     But we know it didn't happen this way. There was unseen war in the heavenlies, - factors beyond mere human will to obey the Gospel. The kingdom message was subverted and lost at large. The Church was seduced into "shacking up" with fixed society, facilitated by adulterated kingdom teaching. We saw a nearly exact replay of the fall of Old Israel (despite Paul's warning).2 The night in which no man could work overtook the world.3

 

     One wants to ask why God allowed this? Perhaps the answer is found in the words of Jesus who prophesied that, before a seed can live, it must first die.4 Jesus had already likened His kingdom (hence His Church) to a seed that would grow to cover the earth. Would it not follow that, in terms of God's progressive plan for the Church's ultimate victory over babylonianism, His own plan should be allowed to die only to rise again as He Himself died and was resurrected?

 

     One might also ask why God did not simply cut off the Church as He did with Israel and begin again with a third covenant people? Perhaps it was because, beyond Jesus, there is no more sacrifice for sins.5  There could be no third covenant. If there was to be a People of God to complete the way of Abraham and of Jesus, they would have to be restored from within the dead body of the lost new covenant people even as Samson found honey in the lion's carcass.6  This was not impossible, for we read that one day there will even be a restoration of the first covenant people. They will be made one with the restored new covenant people at the very end - "and so all Israel" (old and new) "will be saved" together.7 

 

     So it pleased God to begin restoring His New Israel from their fallen place. That Restoration is now in progress. The Kingdom Gospel has three dimensions. The dimensions were lost one by one. Two have been restored with one to follow. The dimensions have been restored in opposite order to which they were lost. Salvation from the works of darkness was lost last and restored first. Salvation from the works of the world was lost first and is about to become the last restored.

 

     It is hard to imagine restoration of salvation not yet experienced. For instance, before the Reformation, true salvation from sin's penalty was virtually unknown and therefore nearly impossible to imagine. Now it is largely taken for granted. The simple first-degree "Gospel" is well known throughout the world. Again, before the Holiness-Pentecostal Movement, it pressed human imagination to conceive of a deeper work of the Spirit to free the believer from sin's power into a life of the miraculous. Now the "Full Gospel" is widely known though not as widely received as the simple Gospel.

 

     In the same way, it is now difficult for the Church (especially the Church in the West) to imagine salvation from the dead works of collective, industrial society - even though it was for the purpose of destroying such society that Her salvation from it was ordained. The Church has almost no conception of the need for such salvation. Yet in the Millennium, such salvation will be considered as elementary as the present evangelical world considers first-degree salvation from sin's penalty.

 

     Why God chose to restore the degrees of salvation one at a time instead of all together is another mystery. This staggering-out of the Restoration is at the root of the many heartaches, strifes, and divisions within the overall body. A group saved in one dimension becomes antagonistic toward those who press on into a further degree. Certainly this has worked to obscure the identity of the true Body of Christ in the world. The Church within Herself cannot decide who is "saved" and who is not - each party drawing up its own definition to settle the debate. Perhaps we will find the answer to this later. Suffice it to say here that two distinct degrees of the lost Kingdom Gospel have already been restored. We turn to review the events and patterns of these restorations.

 

 

The Reformation

 

     Each move toward Restoration was spearheaded by pioneers, - apostles raised up by God to take on the surrounding darkness of some form of "salvation-by-dead-works" teaching that blinded the Church.8  Like Abraham, these pioneers were raised up from within the ranks of the overall babylonish body to lead out a major body of believers from the darkness into "new" (ie, restored) light. The pioneers of the first Restoration were men we today call "the Reformers" - Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, and others.

 

      The issue then was as it is now: salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ from dead works. The degree of dead works against which these men preached was the works of man to earn his way out of guilt and into heaven through "the Church". The salvation they preached was first-degree certainty of present eternal life and salvation from  eternal separation from God after death. For their faithfulness in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets, the Reformers were hotly persecuted by the great surrounding harlot-body of Romanism out of which they had been born-again.9

 

     Make no mistake. The Reformers were not the first to recover the light of this salvation. Indeed, God had preserved to Himself a faithful, scattered remnant of little-known believers who had never lost the light of salvation. These had already been persecuted throughout the centuries. But in keeping with the precedent set with Abraham, God raised up the Reformers from the heart of the Roman Church-state when He was ready to challenge it head-on and lead a great body out of it.

 

 

The Holiness-Pentecostal-Charismatic Restoration

 

     As critical as the Reformation was in recovering salvation from the works of darkness, it did not recover the complete Gospel of salvation. The Reformation left untouched salvation from the works of the flesh for perfecting personal holiness. The Reformers offered no salvation by grace from sin's power. Their only solution for holiness was "keep the Law" and "Do your best". (Today, the spiritual descendants of the Reformers and Baptists still preach salvation by works from sin's power through keeping the Law, and/or New Testament ordinances, and/or various other ecclesiastical traditions of men. It is the standard teaching in today's evangelical and fundamentalist circles.)10

 

 

The Holiness Movement

 

     About 250 years after the Reformation began, God initiated a new phase of Restoration to bring back the second degree of the Kingdom Gospel. For this, God reached into the state-churches descended from the Reformers to raise up new apostles. The earliest most notable of these was John Wesley from the English state-church. Others raised up later include Charles Finney, W.E Boardman, Robert and Hannah Smith, D.L. Moody, R.A. Torrey, William Booth, Andrew Murray, A.B. Simpson, A.W. Tozer, and Watchman Nee.

 

     These men all preached a deeper work of salvation by grace after initial conversion. This work was necessary to obtain deliverance from the power of sin in the body and to be able to live a "victorious life" over sin.11 It was described as the "crucifying work of the Spirit".12  Its theme was "the cross"13 and "death to self".14  Its focus was the emotional nature of the soul with its carnal desires. This work of salvation was recognized as a distinct work after conversion, usually centering about a "crisis" in the believer's life. It was vaguely defined by different terms such as "baptism of the Holy Spirit", "sanctification", "second blessing", and "baptism of fire".

 

 

The Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements

 

     The Restoration of salvation from the works of the flesh unfolded into several succeeding phases or "waves" of sub-restoration. About the turn of the 20th century, God expanded the Holiness Restoration to include restoration of the supernatural gifts, anointings, and manifestations of the Holy Spirit.15 Further apostles were raised from the ranks of the Methodists, Wesleyans, and the "deeper life" bodies of believers. These men and women became known as "Apostles of Pentecost." They included such front-runners as Charles Parham, William Seymour, A.J Tomlinson, Smith-Wigglesworth, Aimee Semple MacPherson, Charles Price, Kathryn Kuhlman, Oral Roberts, and Kenneth Hagin - to name just a few. Each was and/or is known for their particular supernatural ministries in healing, faith, and deliverance from demons.16

 

     While the earlier Holiness Restoration dealt primarily with the carnal desires, these later phases specially challenged the works of the carnal mind.17  They attacked the entire world view of naturalism enslaving the western Church since Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. The pioneers of the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements particularly clarified the nature of the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" which to this point had been ill-defined and not precisely identifiable. The Holiness Movement had focused more on the works of the emotional nature. Because of this, the "baptism" had come to be defined in terms of an unpredictable "crisis point" in the believer's life - a teaching which left some trying to "earn" it. But the Apostles of Pentecost showed that the Holy Spirit could be received by faith upon conversion and could be precisely recognized by His manifesting of supernatural gifts in the believer, especially the ability to pray in a heavenly language.18

 

     The Pentecostal Movement evolved into the Charismatic Movement of the 1960's and 70's, recognized by the term "Full Gospel". This in turn branched into the "Discipleship" and "Faith" Movements of the 1970's and 80's.

 

      Unfortunately, with the recovery of the supernatural aspects of salvation, some of the basic stones of earlier Restoration have been bypassed in these later movements. Many people have been drawn into the nets of these later phases of Restoration without having benefited from the foundational messages of Restoration laid through the Reformation and the Holiness Movement. Because of a lack of more foundational truths from earlier Restoration such as the fear, sovereignty, and judgment of God, and self-denial, the later Charismatic Movement and its offspring have been marked by a superficiality and shallowness that has brought needless reproach to their followers and the "Full Gospel". Nevertheless, while some of the apostles and followers of these later restorations have yielded to tangential errors through excesses and personal weaknesses, God has used all of them in some way to recover and deepen the Kingdom Gospel of salvation from the works of the flesh.

 

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[8. NEW PATTERN FOR PERSECUTION ]

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References:

1 (Rev 20:4)  

2 I Cor 10:1-11  Rom 11:17-22  

3 Jn 9:4  

4 Jn 12:24  

5 Heb 10:26  

6 Jg 14:5-9  

7 Rom 11:25-32  (> Ezk 37:15-22)  

8 (I Cor 4:9-13)  

9 (II Cor 4:8-9; 6:4-10)  

10 (Gal 3:1 - 5:26)  

11 Rom 6:19 > 8:13  

12 Rom 8:13 > Col 3:5  Gal 2:20; 5:24  

13 Gal 6:14  Lk 9:23; 14:27  

14 Lk 9:24  Jn 12:25  I Cor 15:31  II Cor 4:10-11  

15 Rom 12  I Cor 12 and 14  

16 Mk 16:17-18  Acts 2:43; 5:15  

17 Rom 12:2  Eph 4:23   

18 Acts 2:1-21,38-39 > 8:14-17; 10:44-46; 19:11-12  (Gal 3:5)

[8. NEW PATTERN FOR PERSECUTION ]

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