Friday, November 03, 2006

Aftermath of Catastrophe

If employing typology as a prophetic tool finds the world facing not one but two divinely caused mega-catastrophes intended to topple existing belief paradigms within a three and a half year period, then the power [God] that causes these catastrophes should also warn those who are of Him about what will happen—and this is the case. However, that warning contains the less welcome warning that God will not intervene in the lives of Christians or non-Christians for these three and a half years, but that even the saints will be delivered into the hand of the lawless one, meaning that when social structures break down help will have to come from individuals not from a supernatural power, nor from government agencies. All of the help a Christian will have is full liberation from indwelling sin so that the mind and heart can reign over the flesh. Humankind will be on its own in providing for itself food, water, and shelter for these three and a half years. Then those who will be of God will have to survive by faith without buying and selling for the following three and a half years, thereby making these seven years the most difficult period of human survival the world has known.

Of course, Christians employing differing reading strategies take different meanings from the same words. Some find divine escapism either upward in a bodily rapture to heaven or outward in a place of physical safety. Few will disagree, though, that the run-up to the seven endtime years of tribulation includes wars, famines, and earthquakes. Hurricanes can be added to this list. So a Christian can expect to again see what occurred immediately following the landfall of Katrina in the New Orleans area, September 2005; or what occurred following the tsunami in Southeast Asia, December 2004. Social and civil agencies were unable to fully cope with what were really localized catastrophes.

If a second Katrina would have hit Florida and the Carolinas within a few days or even a few weeks later—still a localized catastrophe—of when New Orleans was devastated, how would a third of all Americans have fared? How would another third fare if Mount Rainer erupts violently, or if an earthquake the size of the Alaskan quake of 1964 strikes the coasts of Oregon, Washington, California? And while thinking about such natural disasters, return to typology and consider the real probability of a second Passover giving of lives. What would have been short term catastrophes now returns humankind to a pre-industrial age that has cell phones and cell phone towers but not the social infrastructure to keep them operating; that has fields planted but a broken delivery system for distributing the crop or supplying fuel for harvesting the crop; that has everyone thinking about “getting right” with God but violent disagreements about how to do this; that has the Church as the only social organization trusted enough and resilient enough to intervene at the local level to provide needed goods and services; that has one particular denomination that has prepared for such a catastrophe leveraging food into discipleship.

The contemplation of all things not continuing on as they presently are tends to produce fatalistic exasperation expressed in some variation of Oh well, nothing can be done about it so why worry about it, or the inward protection of the self found in survivalists hoarding foodstuffs, arms and ammo in isolated rural locations. And while wheat, beans, and toilet paper might well be the currency of value during a period of social chaos, emphasis on protecting the self will inevitably lead to the self being killed, for with hoarding will go looting. Additionally, even the denomination that has its members putting-by a year’s worth of everything the family will need doesn’t store enough to survive on existing foodstuffs for three and a half years, let alone seven years. Survival of the body [the flesh] will depend upon social skills and specific knowledge most Americans do not today possess, but knowledge that can be acquired.

This blog is about what it takes to survive as a true disciple in a period of social chaos and natural calamities. It is about retrieving lost skills and knowledge, developing survival strategies, sharing what can be known, and warning against trading a person’s beliefs for a bowl of lentils. If any organization requires that a person be baptized in its water before feeding and clothing the person, the organization should be avoided. Hunger is a terrible tyrant, but it is only a spiritually fatal tyrant when it causes the person to do what the person would not otherwise do. Thus, this blog is about physically and spiritually redeeming the time a person has between now and when seven lean years come upon even disciples who worship God in spirit and in truth.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Coming - A Second Passover

The essence of Christian theology is the anticipated return of Jesus Christ at the end of the age, an event foreshadowed by the Creator of the universe coming as the man Jesus nearly two thousand years ago. So within the broad scope of Christian thought, an end to the world that we presently know is prophesied—and when this end is more closely examined within canonical Scripture, a thousand year long reign by Jesus Christ will serve to contrast the six thousand year long reign by the prince of this world. Still more closely examined, a seven year long period of tribulation marks the transition between the reigns of the prince of this world, and Christ Jesus, with the territory over which both reign being the mental topography of humankind. Thus, neither the prince of this world now nor Christ Jesus in the future will reign as President Bush does, or as any human leader does. Rather, they will reign through controlling the territory from which thoughts sprout and grow as weeds or wheat. The contrariness, the latent rebellion, the disobedience of human nature—all come from the prince of this world and his influence on or control of human nature. And here is where a differing reading strategy than usually employed by Christians opens up Scripture through the creation of a hypertext that is the same text taken upward into the realm where the prince of this world now reigns, and from where Christ Jesus will reign upon His return.

Taking meaning from Scripture through typology [typological exegesis] suggests that the prophetic endtime recovery of Israel from the North Country (Jer 16:14-15; 23:7-8) is similar to but of more significance than the recovery of ancient Israel from Egypt. As such, Israel’s recovery from the North Country would be preceded by a second Passover liberation of Israel, a reality suggested by the prophet Isaiah (43:3-4) and a reality that involves the revealing of the Son of Man (Luke 17:26-30). And if this second Passover liberation again sees the lives of men given as ransom for the release of Israel from [moving up to the level at which the prince of this world reigns] indwelling sin and death through Israel being filled with the Holy Spirit as foreshadowed by what happened on that day of Pentecost following Calvary, then worldwide catastrophes on a scale not previously imagined will occur: two plus billion people will suddenly die, a truly incomprehensible reality that will not only rock the foundational constructs of human society, but will focus every person’s attention on supernatural powers perceived today to be merely ancient myths.

God will suddenly seem real. He will have gotten the world’s attention, and He will be blasphemed for causing the deaths of so many “innocent” people. And here is where the figurative rubber meets the road: Israel consists of those individuals who, by faith, keep the precepts of the law, thereby causing both outwardly circumcised and uncircumcised persons to be counted as circumcised of heart and mind; for all of endtime Israel has hearts circumcised by the Holy Spirit (Rom 2:26-29). So it isn’t the entirety of the Christian Church that is Israel, nor is it all of Judaism. Rather, endtime Israel is that portion of the Christian Church that keeps the precepts of the law by faith, and that portion of Observant Judaism that by faith professes that Jesus is Lord and believes that the Father raised Him from the dead (Rom 10:6-9). Therefore, the difference between a Christian Israelite and a Jewish Israelite is not inward but only outward in the flesh, for both will live by every word that has proceeded from the mouth of God. And both will be persecuted for what they believe by the greater Christian Church as well as the remainder of the world. Both will see friends and colleagues slain. Both will be in constant danger of being killed themselves.

The transition between this present world and Christ Jesus’ Millennium reign are seven years of tribulation that begin with a second Passover slaughter of firstborns not covered by the blood of the Lamb of God. This slaughter of firstborns was foreshadowed by the ancient slaughter of Egyptians when the first Passover was instituted, and this slaughter foreshadows a third of humankind being slain when the four angels are released from where they are bound at the River Euphrates [the sixth Trumpet plague]. And as Egypt was devastated by the first Passover liberation of Israel, the world will be devastated by the second Passover liberation of Israel. In a figurative sense, the world will be hit below the belt. With one punch, God will double over and wobble the reigning kingdom of this world. With a second punch about halfway through the seven endtime years, God will topple Babylon. The kingdom of the world will be given to one like the son of man (cf. Dan 7:13-14; Rev 11:15). But three and a half years of very difficult living by faith remain before the Millennium begins; however, once the kingdom of the world is given to the Son of Man, the Holy Spirit will be poured out on all flesh, thereby producing the situation that all who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13). And it is this good news that must be proclaimed to the world before the end comes (v. 14).

While others practicing differing reading strategies will take differing meanings from the same texts, if typological exegesis is valid and a second Passover liberation of Israel occurs as typology suggests that it will, then what can be done?