Lightning from East to West

What on earth is Jesus doing?


“Based on covenant history, the fact that God’s words now enrage His enemies is not a sign of failure. It is a sign of their imminent doom.”

With same sex marriage now legalized in many Western countries, and militant Islam ravaging the East, Christians might be wondering what God is doing. With the repeated failure of predictions of an imminent second coming, is the Bible any help to us at all in predicting what will happen next? I believe it is.

And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day,
for before this they had been at enmity with each other.

(Luke 23:12)

The New Testament writers often quote the Old Testament in crazy ways because they understood that God’s covenants are “harvest cycles.” They could refer to events in previous covenants and say, “Look, it’s happening again! See how God reunited Israel? Now He is reuniting Jew and Gentile!” (Hebrews 8:7-13)

The moral degradation of Western culture and the rise of militant Islam make perfect sense when understood in the light of sacred architecture and the “harvest” process it represents. So we will take a brief look into the Holy Place of the Tabernacle, observe how this pattern shaped the events of the first century, and quickly trace it to the madness of our own day.

The Holy Place

In the Holy Place were three articles of furniture which represented three offices: Priest, King and Prophet. These three describe a process of maturity. The Priest listens, the King acts, and the Prophet speaks. This is what was required of Adam in the Garden of Eden, and it also gives us three clear stages in the history and literature of ancient Israel.

The Table of Showbread is the Priest (manna and grapes in the wilderness), the Lampstand is the King (the light of the law for wisdom in governing) and the Incense Altar is the elders who advise in the courts of heaven and guide history on earth. Of course, Christ is the first one who truly united these three offices.

Since the Tabernacle layout is cross-shaped, these three items are two hands, left and right, and the bosom or breastplate in the center. This is why Christ holds seven stars in His right hand in Revelation 1 (the church rulers). He is the Tabernacle fulfilled. As His body, Christians are a royal priesthood, a combination of priest and king with a voice from heaven.

The First Century

The conflict between Priesthood and Kingdom, Church and State, can be traced throughout Scripture, seen very clearly in the hatred of Abel by Cain, and Jacob by Esau, and in the Egyptians’ regard of shepherds as detestable (Genesis 46:34). However, only a faithful combination of Priesthood and Kingdom results in a voice that is truly Prophetic. This is why the Ascension of Christ was followed by the Day of Pentecost and resulted in both the apostolic witness and the New Testament document.

However, Priesthood and Kingdom often collude against the true prophets. That is always the nature of Babel. The Jews hated the Romans, and yet Herod and Pilate became friends over the crucifixion of Christ. This was repeated “institutionally” a generation later, when Herodian worship (left hand) and Neronic rule (right hand) joined forces against the Christian church, the Body of Christ.

The Global Church

All of this helps us to understand the major tensions in the world today. On one hand, we have Islam, an insane parody of Priesthood, a religion which prohibits the wine, women and song of adulthood, everything Kingly and Prophetic. Holiness comes via coercion. One must listen and not question. It is a religion which puts everyone under the sword, a tyrannizing order like that of the Pharisees and Herods in first century Jerusalem. It expresses itself through bloodshed, circumcision for males and females, violence against girls and women, and jihad.

On the other hand, we have the Secular West, which no longer listens to God and has given itself to “kingly” sins, murder and adultery, the amassing of gold and war horses, and the infant sacrifice of abortion. Secular humanism is Kingdom taken to the extreme, the “guns, girls, and gold” prohibited by Moses (Deuteronomy 17:14-20) and amassed by Solomon, which began the downfall of Israel.

Islam and Secularism are vehemently opposed. Like the Roman Empire, secularism calls Muslims to assimilate. Like Jews under the Law of Moses, this is something Muslims under Sharia law are unable to do. In the wisdom of God, the two sides are forever set at enmity. One claims divine authority (Priesthood), the other claims infinite wisdom (Kingdom). Both invent history in order to claim the future (Prophecy).

In between these two perversions, one of Priesthood and the other of Kingdom, we have the Christian Church, a Body which unites true Priesthood and true Kingdom, a royal priesthood given the task of divine testimony to the world. Like Herod and Pilate, the only thing Islam and Secularism have in common is a hatred for Christianity, the fragrant bride in the bosom of Adam, the supernatural institution which, by the Spirit of the ascended Christ, is truly Prophetic.

It is easy to blame the Church for the degeneration of Western culture, but the prophetic witness in our culture has in reality been reasonably consistent. Based on Covenant history, the fact that God’s words now enrage His enemies is not a sign of our failure. It is a sign of their imminent doom.

Romans 1 tells us that cultural homosexuality is a sign of the end of a culture, the final proof that it has gone insane. But subsequent chapters also describe the hypocrisy and futility of a carnal priesthood. Paganism and Judaism were castrated forever, their “ministries” replaced by the enthronement of the fragrant firstborn from the dead.

This explains the natures of Islam and Secularism. In this age, everything is Christian. With paganism and Judaism disempowered, to have any real longevity, any idolatry must now be a distorted form of Christianity. Islam is Christianity without sacrament, without grace. Secularism is Christianity without discipline, without self-government. Islam and Secularism are thus the bipolar moods of Christless Christianity, schizoid faces of a global perversion of the prophetic Gospel. Christians in the East testify like Elijah against false Priesthood. Christians in the West, like the angels sent to Sodom, testify against false Kingdom. Sacrament and Govern-ment can only be united under the Word by the Spirit.

But both extremes are not only the enemies of the Gospel, they are the results of the Gospel. Islam and Secularism are rebellion against Christ taken to its logical conclusion in opposite directions: legalism or licentiousness. With no spiritual weapons, both “hands” are reduced to bearing the sword in their respective ways. They can be united only in death, and their current victories are suicides in disguise. As it was in the first century, the only solution to the enmity is faith in Christ.

The Whole World in His Hands

When God’s people persevere, God confuses their enemies and sets them against each other. Rome devoured Jerusalem, and then the New Jerusalem devoured Rome. The prophetic voice of Christ and His martyrs was vindicated. Released from the trappings of the old order, and possessing both the divine authority of the Jew and the earthly abundance of the Gentile, the Gospel began its transformation of the empire.

What does the future hold? If the events of the first century are repeated, the false kings will destroy the false priests, but the false kings will be entirely shaken up in the process, being humbled that they might bow the knee to Christ. Many saints will die but through their testimony they will eventually conquer the false kingdom from the inside. The Future belongs to the Bride.

When Sodom was destroyed, Sarah conceived. When Israel committed similar sins, Ruth and Hannah conceived. In God’s kingdom, the last days are only ever the last days of the old order. A bipolarity of Priesthood and Kingdom expressed in global culture means some kind of Prophetic resurrection across the world is at hand, a Christendom more faithful, wiser, and bigger than even the saints could imagine, the next “growth ring” of the kingdom of God.

The inheritance of Jesus includes both East and West, just as it included Jew and Gentile, set in opposition by the Law: divide and conquer, circumcise and baptize.

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. (Ephesians 2:14-16)

With the Spirit of God in us, and the lessons of the millennia, God’s thoughts are not so high above ours any more. And that was always the plan: that all His people might be Prophets, wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

This essay is from Inquiétude: Essays for a People Without Eyes. The original version was published at Theopolis Institute.

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