with Jeremy Westcott –
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11:1 NASB).
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (NKJV).
It is really important for us to know what is to come, because if we do not know we cannot have faith in it. Everything we do, we need to do by faith.
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith (1 John 5:4).
The mandate we have is to bring God’s kingdom rule from heaven to earth. It is the same mandate as when Jesus came ‘to destroy the works of the evil one’ (1 John 3:8). We are overcomers; we are conquerors, because we have the authority of God’s kingdom. So in everything that we are going to have to face; in whatever spiritual warfare that is going to take place; in every arena in which we are going to have to defeat the enemy; in all that battle we have an overcomer’s mantle, because we are born again. Our identity is that of an overcomer. But how is that victory going to be won? It is won through our faith.
That means it is really important that we know what our prophetic expectation is, that we know what we believe God is going to do in the future. If we believe it is going to be defeat, then our faith is going to be in seeing and experiencing defeat. If we believe it is going to be victory, then our faith will be in that victory; and it will be possible for that victory to be outworked in us. Our faith is the substance of that victory; our faith is what will bring it into reality.
Victory consists in fulfilling God’s original intention, which is to see His kingdom filling the earth (Gen 1:28). For man to subdue and rule over it, and bring God’s kingdom: as it is in heaven, so it is on earth. That is quite an expectation, and if that is what we actually are to expect, then we really do need to know.
Pre-, A-, Post- or Pan-?
That brings me to the question of the Millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ.
Now there is a good deal of confusion over this in the body of Christ, many different teachings going around, many different ideas we are likely to hear. If we can get some clarity on it, we will be able to have faith in what is coming. So let me just sum up for you the main strands of teaching and then in coming posts we will begin to look at them in a little more detail:
- Pre-millennial – ‘before’. Jesus is going to return before a period of time called a millennium (which the Latin word for 1000 years).
- A-millennial – ‘non-’. There isn’t actually a millennium at all, and the term is normally understood by those who hold this view to be symbolic of the church age.
- Post-millennial – ‘after’. Jesus is going to come back after a period of His kingdom being on earth.
- Pan-millennial – ‘all’. Or, “Who cares? It will all work out in the end”. This seems to be the camp of those who are unwilling to nail their colours to the mast. Some are unsure, but maybe some are just unwilling to be honest, because they know that if they come out and say what they really believe about this, they are likely get a lot of flak.
In the USA especially, if church leaders and prominent Christian people come out and say that they don’t actually believe in a premillennial return of Jesus, they are likely to find themselves under attack from other Christians. The internet is full of articles and comments from ‘heresy-hunters’ basically just running them down because they have dared to say what they believe. As we have seen before, that premillennial view has pervaded the church like leaven, and a lot of the church don’t even know there is another way of seeing things, or if they do, they don’t understand how that other way could possibly make any sense.
Whereas in fact the church believed something quite different for centuries. And some of us do so today.
Related articles from Freedom ARC
Related articles from others
- Thursday (October 4): “The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.” (shechina.wordpress.com)
- Raptureless (full ebook, free download) – Jonathan Welton