THE NEW GENTILES AND THE NEXT REVELATION OF CHRIST
IV. Modern Christianity and the New Gentiles
Having laid the groundwork for this article, I'm ready to elaborate on what I see as the imminent next revelation of God to the world. We stand at a time 2,000 years since the last revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ and its committal to the apostles. When we take an overview of the present situation and the long-term historic effects of Christianity under the gospel, two things become apparent:
1) all present ministry looks backward to a past revelation of Christ through the gospel. Everything is oriented to what Christ did 2,000 years ago. As the only revelation of Christ in this age, the gospel is now a very old revelation.
2) Everywhere the 2,OOO year old Christian revelation has gone, its long-term effect has been the developing of the same tell-tale powerless sub-culture as the Shemites and the ancient Jews had under their revelations.
Notwithstanding recent restorations and revivals, Christianity's long term effect throughout the world has been to become a minority sub-culture with little power to convert the heathen to anything but the sub-culture. The restoration movements have not given it lasting power, only a temporary facelift.
Within a few years of any restoration, its back to "business as usual" for the church and for the society in which the church is found. Overall, world Christianity has come to that same place as past revelations where it is powerful enough only to be a nuisance to the heathen world, but not powerful enough to overcome it.
In the places where Christianity has had its longest historic influence (such as Europe and New England), the surrounding world has become virtually impervious to the gospel, "vaccinated" if you will. The revelation that once was the "power of God to salvation" is now just a passing curiosity in the marketplace of ideas.
Where the gospel may have quelled the influence of paganism during a given generation, its own influence in these societies has now been replaced by a gospel-proof strain of heathenism composed of sterile secular humanism, science, moral relativity, and closet New Age-ism. A New Gentile culture has arisen for which the old Christian message is no match.
At the same time, though this revived heathenism is less vulnerable than ever to Christianity, neither has it mustered the power to root out Christianity. With all its secular political power (both democratic and socialistic), it persecutes the Christians as it did the Shemites and Jews. Yet it can never quite get rid of them. The Christian sub-culture survives on.
So it is we are come to the same worldwide religious standoff as existed in the days prior to the past new revelations of God.
- The Signs Say It All
Can you see with me that the signs of the times point to an imminent new revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ? This revelation will not be just another level of restoration based on the original gospel. It will be a new revelation that will subsume the gospel into it as well as every other revelation that has gone before. It's going to be the Gospel II. Its reference point will not be what Jesus accomplished 2,000 years ago, but something the Lord is accomplishing or has just accomplished NOW as a result of His original sacrifice!
I cannot describe this next revelation to you because I have not received it. I don't believe it has been imparted yet. I can only tell you the following:
1) this revelation is imminent,
2) when it comes, it will supercede "Christianity" as we know it, thus breaking the stalemate between Christianity and the New Heathenism,
3) we can prepare for it by studying the prophetic patterns that mark transitions between revelational eras.
The things I am about to share with you are to help you prepare for the unexpectable. Because we are so "sold" on what we call Christianity, some of what I will tell you may sound heretical. I ask you to pray about those things. When I am done, I hope I will not only have helped prepare you for what is coming, but that you'll understand why I believe God is now calling my family back to the secular world here in New England.
If my prophetic perception is accurate here, the regions in the world that have developed the great end-time secular anti-virus to the gospel will become the centers for the birth and development of the next revelation of Christ to the world.
V. The End of the Age: What It Means for the Current Revelation of Christ
When Jesus referred to the end of the age, he was not merely referring to the completion of a period of time after which He would come back. He was referring to the end of a dispensation in the way God would be revealing Himself to man.
For 2,000 years, God has revealed his Son through the gospel message based in the Scriptures accompanied by the Spirit. In this time, a great spiritually powerless ghetto has grown up around the preaching of this message throughout the world. That ghetto is called Christianity--enclaves of people who adhere to the gospel and who may be persecuted for it, but who have otherwise adapted to the surrounding world with no appreciable influence on it.
In light of this, there are two things I must get across to you: 1) The re-telling of the gospel is about to be replaced as the primary means of revealing Christ to the world, and 2) God is finished with Christianity as we know it.
A. The Replacing of the Gospel
Of everything I will say in this article, my statement that the re-telling of the New Testament gospel will be superseded by the next revelation of Christ as the medium of salvation will be the hardest to swallow. Yet in the near future, John 3:16, the Romans Road and the Four Spiritual Laws will no longer be the currency by which God works to redeem men.
Like every revelation of God for salvation, this means of revelation too is subject to replacement. But hear me carefully! I am not saying that the death and resurrection of Christ will no longer be the basis for salvation. (I repeat: I am not saying that the death and resurrection of Christ will no longer be the basis for salvation.)
The work of Christ will always remain the basis of salvation for all eternity! However, the re-telling of the historical accomplishment of that work will be replaced as the medium for imparting salvation. It will be replaced by a new revelation of Christ that supersedes the telling of a story for effecting the new birth.
- A Look at the Evidence
There are some things I cannot prove to you. This is one of them. But I want to make a couple points that I hope can bear witness to what I am saying. From there, you pray about it.
First, look at the long-term effect of the gospel on society as well as in your own life. While in our hearts all of us believe the gospel, we've all had this gnawing in our conscience that says "I know the gospel is the truth, so why does it have so little effect on society?" How is it that for something declared by Paul to be the power of God unto salvation, the gospel has less power today on anybody that hears it than it ever did? Never has there been more preaching of the gospel and less fruit for it.
If you're like me, you've been saying for a generation, "Why evangelize? My words have no power as I retell the 'old old story.' Nobody listens, except maybe a few isolated converts--and even when they get converted, their zeal for God is burned out after 5 years! Besides, where do I tell them to go worship? My own church is dead enough [or else running on "hype"] as it is. Why should I pollute the lives of these new ones?"
Not all the modern self-help books, courses, and evangelistic arts techniques have done anything to change this. The bottom line is that, to evangelize, you have to live a double life--boldly offering what you know is the truth while secretly being ashamed of everything in society that already bears the name of that truth!
- The Life Span of Seeds
The following illustration will demonstrate why I believe this has come to be the state of things. The other day Sue came inside to plant some old flower seeds she had had for a number of years. She wasn't even really sure if they would grow, but she tried. Well, after some time, nothing happened with most of the seeds. One packet of seeds did not grow at all. From the other packet, some grew, but their shoots were weak and emaciated.
We have to understand that the gospel too is a seed. As such, like all seeds it has a certain limited span of viability. Once the life span of an ungerminated seed is up, its time to get new seed. The problem with the gospel is that we are trying to plant gardens of salvation with 2,000 year old seed. As a result, the crop we are bringing up now at the end of the age is weak and emaciated. This is an indicator that God is ready to introduce a new kind of revelational seed in the earth.
Now you may argue with this conclusion based on scriptures that say the gospel is (present tense) the power of God for salvation, and the seed of the Word is incorruptible. You might also warn me against the promoting of "another gospel"(-- though weren't similar arguments about the Law's permanence the basis on which the Jews refused the new revelation through Christ?)
But to allay your fears over these very justifiable cautions, let me make these observations:
First, that the gospel "is the power of God unto salvation" does not mean it is the only and greatest demonstration of God's power unto salvation in His long term dispensational plan such that it cannot be superceded by a still greater more glory-empowered means of salvation in a later age.
The idea of a new revelation of Christ transmitted by a more powerful means of salvation than the gospel is not prohibited by the statement that the gospel "is the power of God unto salvation." Paul, who penned these words, while knowing his gospel was a culminating revelation for his age that had just commenced (Eph. 3:5), nevertheless also recognized that there were still more "perfect" things to come in a plan that covers many ages (I Cor. 13:9-10; Eph. 2:7).
Next, the inherent "incorruptibility" of the gospel does not mean the gospel is not saddled with limitations under a time dispensation that cannot be improved on by a greater revelation to come. The gospel's incorruptibility did not preclude all idea of its having limited adequacy in this age for converting men. Even Paul had to concede that, despite the power of his gospel to save men, his word still had to contend with the corruptible "infirmity of the flesh" in men which could thwart the power of his word. (Rom. 6:19).
Even Jesus said that the gospel "seed" could sprout but weakly and be "choked out," (Mt. 13:5-7) showing a certain limitation in its viability against certain elements in this age. He could just as easily have said that if the seed lay too long on any ground without being germinated, it eventually would not sprout--which in effect He did say in warning people about long term hearing of the gospel without responding to it.
Such limitations on the Word due to factors in men's hearts do not reflect on the word's otherwise internally "incorruptible" nature. But at the same time, the gospel's internal incorruptibility doesn't mean God has no different, better, more glorious and effective "seed" revelation for dealing with men's hearts in a new age of planting than our remaining old gospel.
Third, Paul's warning against "another gospel" in no way limits God from replacing it later according to His plans over ages. This is an issue of context. Paul is speaking about a competing gospel confined to the same age as his gospel that denies his gospel. It would be like Moses saying, "Beware of anyone bringing you another Law to live by." Such a statement couldn't preclude the first revelation of Christ who replaced the Law by fulfilling it, not destroying it. Neither therefore does Paul's warning against "another gospel" preclude another revelation of Christ that will replace it, and in so doing, fulfill the purpose of the gospel without succumbing to its age-inherent limitations.
Let me conclude my case by pointing out that, by the time we get to the end of the age in Revelation 14:7, there is a definite change in the gospel message. It no longer tells the "old, old story." Instead it declares, "Fear God, and give him glory, for the hour of His judgment is come." This is called the "everlasting gospel," yet it sounds nothing like the gospel espoused by Paul. And it is based in the present tense action of God in that generation. This demonstrates not only that there is a change to come in the revelation of Jesus Christ to mankind, but it gives us a hint of the flavor that revelation will embody as the "Gospel II."
B. The End of "Christianity"
What we today call Christianity is a replica of the Jewish sub-culture that existed at the time of Christ's first coming. Judaism was rooted in the truth of an old old revelation of God, but had no saving impact on the Roman world. It was a ghetto that kept to itself.
Except for an insignificant amount of proselytizing, the Jews just debated with themselves through the synagogues, rabbinical schools, and religious hierarchies while waiting for the Messiah. True, there were also activist zealots, many of whom were either thrown in jail or killed. But neither the jewish academics nor zealots offered any victory over Roman heathenism or its political power.
Today, the New Roman Empire is the democratic world empire administered from America by those planning for a single world government. Christianity is the New Judaism replete with its own social and media ghetto within that empire. Its professors debate the issues of the day in the Bible schools and seminaries, and its activists are out "witnessing" to the gospel, or else picketing, or sometimes resorting to violence against the latest evil plot.
But otherwise, the Christian church is largely without power over the New Gentiles and their culture. In fact, American Christianity as a social force is but one of 6 co-equal sub-cultures vying for control in the arena of public life. (For a look at the other 5, get the book A House Divided, by Mark Gerzon, published by Putnam, 1996 [avoid Chapter 4])
What we must understand beyond all shadow of doubt is that, like the ancient Jewish society in Rome, today's great burdensome worldwide religious society called Christianity (or Christendom) is not at the heart of God's plan for mankind and will not be the carrier of the next revelation of Christ. At best, it has been a cocoon for what will be that revelation even as Israel served as a cocoon to steward the law until Christ.
Christ was the fulfillment of what Israel was all about, but Israel under the law was not that fulfillment. In like manner, this church age has only stewarded the gospel as a womb awaiting to birth a far more powerful revelation of Christ at the end of the age. This new revelation will fulfil what the church age was all about. But "evangelical spirit-filled" Christianity (never mind catholicism) with its gospel is not that fulfillment! God is already done with Christianity. But this will also not become really apparent until the new revelation breaks forth.
VI. What about the Restoration Movements and the Promised End-Time Revival?
Since before 1517, the Lord has been doing a restoring work concerning the role of the Scriptures in the church. Since about 1730, He has also been doing a reviving work concerning the place of the Spirit of God. These two, the Word and the Spirit, have been the essence of what the Gospel Age has been all about. Today, there is more Word and more Spirit than there has ever been.
But if you will note, neither of these has changed the situation at large concerning Christianity in the world. It all still operates in this great ghetto that leaves the New Gentiles untouched. The surrounding society is still decaying at a rapid rate. This is because the restorations and revivals we have seen in history and at present are not what the new revelation of Christ will be about. They only point to that coming revelation.
"But what about China where the gospel is gaining great headway? And what about the promise that the gospel must be preached in every nation before the end comes? Do not these show that the gospel will remain the standard of revelation right to the very end?"
These are good questions. My answer to them is this: Yes, the gospel must be preached in every nation before the end. But that does not mean there will not be a new revelation of Christ before the end that supersedes the gospel. As for China and other lands where the gospel is presently burning brightly, these are still but harbingers of a nearing superior revelation of the Lord.
We still need to understand that even the present revivals are fraught with interwoven deception and counterfeit work of the enemy--all of which demonstrates their limited viability for bringing the kingdom to earth. Remember, Old Testament Israel had revivals too. But the Old Testament revelation was superseded just the same.
The earth has been like one great charcoal grill sprayed with a round of lighter fluid called the gospel. The match was lit 2,000 years ago in Europe, and thence the flame travelled to North America, and now most recently to the Far East. But there's been one problem. The charcoal is wet! So the flame goes out in one place before it even reaches the next place in the grill. It will take a new fluid, one that dries out the charcoal as well as burns it before the charcoal will catch and the whole grill burns. The next revelation will be the fluid that does precisely that.
Right now, the church is looking to one last great revival of the old gospel to come and finally set the record straight. While it's true that restoration and revival must reach a certain fullness before the Lord appears (Acts 3:21), revival is but a precursor to the next age of revelation.
The coming revelation will altogether transcend revival as we know it. What revival fires of the original gospel may still be burning when the new revelation appears will be overtaken by the greater flame of the new revelation while in progress: "The reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes" (Am. 9:13).
But because we are looking only for revival, we are, like the ancient Jews, looking for salvation from the wrong corner. We are looking for the wrong thing. And when the real thing comes, we will not recognize it because it will not answer to anything we have called "revival" or "restoration" in this era.
The word revival does not do justice to what is coming, because it will not be a revival at all, but a naturally unrecognizable new planting--a new revelation with a saving power unlike anything we have seen in the gospel age. It will fulfil what all restorations and revivals have pointed to in the gospel age, but it will not be a final revival or ultimate restoration of the gospel age or of the "lost New Testament church."
- Difference between Restoration and Fulfillment
To understand how this next move will not be an ultimate restoration of the church, but a fulfillment of it, we have to see the ante-type in the transition from the Old to New Testament. What in our age has been the combined ministries of the Word and Spirit was in the Old Testament called the Law and the Prophets.
We are told that the Law and the Prophets were until John, but then the kingdom was preached (Lk 16:16). John was the last restorer. But when Jesus arrived, He came not as an ultimate restoration of the Law and Prophets, but as their fulfillment. He did not finally bring back the Law and Prophets. He embodied them, from whence He imparted His life to His new covenant people.
Similarly, in this dispensation we have lived under discipline of the Word and the Spirit. In the last 500 years, we have witnessed restoration of the Word, and in the last 100-200 years the revival of the Spirit. But this next revelation of Christ to man will not be an ultimate restoration of the Word or an ultimate revival under the Spirit. It will be the consummate embodiment of both.
This will be the inheritance of the new New Testament people to whom the Lord will come. Where it was said "until John were the law and prophets, then the kingdom was preached," it will then be said, "until the new revelation of Christ, the Word and the Spirit were being restored, but now the Kingdom is realized."
[In Part 3: The Sorting and Forming of a New Lineage of Faith ]
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
4/96 [ed. 11/09]
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Page updated November 2, 2009