Monday, May 23, 2011

Times of the Gentiles (3) - Truncated Church Constrained Spirit

At the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles, the Roman Empire scattering the Jewish people to the nations across the earth. For people who loved their land, this was like being in "a desert", but it is also a safe place. God keeps his people safe in exile during Times of the Gentiles.

During the Times of the Gentiles, most of the Jewish people will be unable to receive it because their hearts are hardened. They are reluctant to recognise him as their Messiah, so the church is filled up with gentiles. The gentile nations dominate the world.

The church is truncated because the Jewish people have hardened their hearts against Jesus and are missing from his body. A church without the chosen people is incomplete. With part of the team missing, the church is ineffective.

During the Times of the Gentiles, the Holy Spirit will be constrained by lack of faith, and be unable to operate to his full potential. When this season ends, the Holy Spirit will be able to speak and act effectively on earth.

The church cannot not reach its full potential during the the Times of the Gentiles, because the Jews are missing. That has been the story for the last two thousand years. Towards the end of this season, the church will come under extreme pressure from the world, but God will pour out his Spirit in preparation for launching the age of the Kingdom.

Power without suffering always fails. During the Times of the Gentiles, the church uses spiritual power to control the political powers, in the same way that Elijah attempted to control King Ahab. It tries to advance the Kingdom of God by imposing Christian laws on the rest of society. This strategy fails, because God intends his church to pursue the cross, not power.

Towards the end of the season, the political powers will persecute the church so severely, that it appears to be dead. The people of the world celebrate joyously, because a minor irritant is gone, but God has a surprise for them. When the church seems to be dead, he breathes the life of the Spirit into it and raises it up to victory.

A radical church that has survived underground and prepared while not one has notices will burst onto the world stage, knowing that in Christ, it is seated at his right hand of the Father in heaven. The people of the world will be shocked when they realise that church is not dead, just different and far more powerful.

A detailed study of these themes can be found in Time Times and Half a Time, with apologies for a few numerics.

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