By Georgie Lee FGB Singapore
Not long ago, the United States of America narrowly averted another crisis over its debt ceiling. The temporary respite may be short-lived as the nation has merely deferred its day of reckoning. The United States of America is today one of the most indebted nations in the world with national debt in excess of US$16 trillion.
This is not the first and certainly, nor will it be the last of the many global crises that have rocked the world. Prior to the 18th century, there was the Tulip Mania in the Netherlands and the South Sea Bubble in Great Britain. In 1929, the world saw the Wall Street Crash and the accompanying Great Depression and In 1997, the Asian Financial Crisis. In more recent years, the globalised world was buffeted by the sub-prime crisis, the Eurozone crisis, and the biggest fraud in history, – Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
The economic decline suffered particularly by the Western powers accompanies a similar decline in morality in these nations. The so-called Christian nations of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States are among the 10 nations or so which have either legalised or are close to legalising same sex marriage and gay adoption.
The Bible has warned us of tribulations, increasing turmoil, and immorality in the end times. In Revelation 18:4, believers have been told to “come out of Babylon, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues”. The crises that have afflicted the world have their roots in the Babylonian system – the kingdom of this world.
Ed Silvoso in his book, Transformation, talks of the Bible being the tale of two cities engaged in a battle for control of the world. The two cities are Babylon and Jerusalem, and they represent two kingdoms – God’s kingdom and the kingdom of the world. The players are the peoples and nations of the world. Jerusalem embodies the glory and presence of God depicted in the Book of Revelation 20 and 21. Babylon represents the depraved centre of commerce and oppression, and is described as ” the mother of harlots and of the abominations in the earth.” (Rev 17:5)
Babylon originated from the Tower of Babel, where men wanted to have control of the human race, indulged in immorality, self-centredness, greed, and exploitation in rebellion against God. These same values are enshrined in the worldly kingdoms today. Peoples and nations are driven by them, and they rear their ugly heads in today’s world in the form of debt economies, banking collapses, financial crises, systemic poverty, trade exploitation, humanistic philosophies, immorality, and corrupt governments.
Sadly, many believers have also been caught up in the onslaught of depravity. Paul warns us in Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”
Despite satanic forces hard at work to escalate evil in the world, believers have been warned to “come out of Babylon.” They are to forsake the values of the worldly kingdom. And not only that, they are to bring transformation to the world. In Genesis 1:28, God has given His people, the mandate to exercise dominion and stewardship over the earth. Also, Jesus in His parable reminded the faithful to “occupy till I come.” (Luke 19:13). His vision was a complete transformation of the world and everything in it. He said in Luke 12:49, “I came to bring fire to the earth.” He has commanded all believers to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is a call to bring transformation to the world. When that happens and at the end of times, believers can then declare, as Revelation 11:15 says, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.”
Scott Allen, Darrow Miller and Bob Moffitt of Disciple Nations Alliance in their article said, “The kingdoms of this world expand their territories through warfare, bloodshed, and colonialism… Unlike the kingdom of this world, the Kingdom of God does not invade a country militarily and imposing a godly culture on it. Rather, the transformation of nations begins with the inward regeneration of individuals.” Jesus made this very clear in His discussion with the inquiring Nicodemus: “I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3).
After individual regeneration, transformation then works its way outward, through the institutions of the family and the church, into the structures and institutions of communities, nations and eventually, the world. There is only one force in the universe strong enough to destroy the walls and change the human heart. That force is God Himself. working through the power of the Holy Spirit and His all-powerful living Word.
If we seek to advance God’s Kingdom, then we must start by dealing with fallen people at the level of their heart. We must be engaged in both proclaiming and demonstrating the Gospel. While the advancement of the Kingdom of God begins in the human heart and mind, it certainly does not end there! Many in the church today who are passionate about evangelism, missions and church planting have forgotten this important truth. The Kingdom of God is more than saving souls for heaven and planting churches. The Kingdom of God is comprehensive. It is meant to impact all of life and society. The Kingdom of God goes beyond the salvation of individual people and extends to the complete and total transformation of nations. This is ultimately what Jesus commanded when He said to make disciples of all nations.”
The battle between the two kingdoms continues unabated and it will not go away until the Lord’s Kingdom is eventually established. Believers cannot remain disengaged. Brother Tan Gee Paw, a honorary fellow at the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia which is conducting a research project on ‘Engaging Society,’, observed that many Christians today are content to develop a deeply private spiritual life which does not necessarily help him or her engage the world as it passes by. Yet the world will not leave us nor our children alone, for it moves inexorably towards the future, taking us headlong into its secular culture.
In exhorting Spirit-filled Christians to be involved in the world, Ed Silvoso said: “This is why it is imperative that we Christians change paradigms and get into the marketplace to do business with Kingdom principles. Babylon has enlisted the most talented leaders in nation after nation to run its corrupt system. We must present these “indentured workers” with an alternative.”
As Jesus also has prayed, “As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18), believers have an apostolic mandate in the world as ‘sent ones’ in the gate where God has placed them so that “the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
The Bible is the tale of two cities engaged in control of the world – Jerusalem & Babylon (Ed Silvoso).
They represent two Kingdoms: The Kingdom of God & the kingdom of the World.
|The Kingdom of God – Jerusalem||The Kingdom of the World – Babylon|
|Jerusalem – The glory & presence of God (Rev 20 & 21)||Babylon – Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth (Rev 17:5)|
|God’s Glory||Self Glory|
|God First||Self First|
|God in control||Man in control|
|Submission||Power & Position|
|Good News to the Poor||Oppression of the Poor|
|Honesty & Transparency||Deceit, Dishonesty, Corruption|
|Fairness & Justice||Injustice|