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We are not part of random events spiralling out of control, writes Ivan Grindlay.
The notion of global conspiracies fed by today's ''gaming'' industry and social media, focuses on cyber warfare and world conquest. It satisfies the curious and feeds the human appetite for control and significance. In a society that has lost its spiritual bearings, ''fantasy'' momentarily fills the vacuum of the soul vexed by insecurity and fear. But it points to the reality of a greater plan, reassuring us that we're not all part of random events that are spiralling out of control.
It all began when the sovereign God created the universe, the realm of His kingdom. He created two subjects to serve Him: angels and people. Angels served in the heavenly realm and people in the earthly. It was a theocracy. God ruled through the first man, Adam, who administered God's rule as He intended. It was ''very good''.
Sadly, choice brought change. The highest-ranked cherub, ''perfect until iniquity was found in him'', became consumed with pride and power. He began a universal war aimed at overthrowing God as universal Ruler. Determined to usurp that position, he boasted, ''I will be like the Most High''. Thus Satan became God's great adversary, opposing His purposes for this world. He prompted an angelic revolt. Adam too defected, ending the earthly theocracy. By joining the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm, Adam handed the rule of this worldly system to God's great enemy. Satan, prince of the power of the air, has dominated it ever since.
But God will vindicate His purpose in history and glorify Himself by demonstrating that He alone is rightly the sovereign God of the universe. To accomplish this, He must do certain things before human history ends. Firstly, He must crush Satan and His evil rule, restoring His theocracy on Earth. It will require another ''Adam'', a perfect human representative, to administer God's rule on Earth for its remaining history. If not accomplished before the present Earth ends, then God would be defeated by his archenemy within the scope of present history.
When Adam defected, God informed Satan that a man-child born of a virgin would crush him. God later revealed that this promised Redeemer would be born of a Jewish woman in Bethlehem. In the fullness of time, God sent His Son. This key event we remember at Christmas.
The Redeemer, God's key to Satan's defeat, was Jewish, pointing to Israel's key role in fulfilling God's plan in human history. Its role has not finished.
Jesus' birth was only the first step in reversing the angelic revolt and Adam's defection.
According to the prophet Zechariah, the Redeemer will not crush Satan and his forces until the nation of Israel repents of its current rebellion against God. When Israel does so, it will be reconciled to Jesus as its Messiah and Saviour. It will be Israel, not Gentiles, who will be reconciled to God before His purpose in history is fulfilled.
Nations of the world will invade Israel, attempting to destroy it. Two thirds of all Jews will perish. The remaining third will be surrounded, attacked, and defeat will be imminent. When they can appeal to no nation for help, Israel will realise that God alone is its sole hope of survival. Then, the nation will turn to God, cease trusting itself and its allies, and cry to Him to intervene. God will respond in deliverance, sending the resurrected and glorified Redeemer, Jesus Christ, from heaven.
Israel will look on Messiah whom they pierced as one mourns an only child. When they see the resurrected, glorified Saviour descend from heaven bearing the wounds of the crucified, they will recognise Him and repent. Their minds changed, they will accept Him as their Messiah and God will cleanse them of their sin. Then Christ will fight for Israel, destroying the nations of the world with their leaders, and imprison Satan in the bottomless pit for 1000 years. Christ will restore God's theocracy, and ultimately forever on the new eternal Earth. Having fulfilled His purpose for history, God will receive rightful glory demonstrating that He alone is the sovereign God of the universe.
The final act of this drama has obvious implications for Israel, and for the advocates of ''Replacement Theology''. God has not replaced His ancient covenant people for the Church of Jesus Christ, as they contend. God will fulfil His promises to Israel, made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In the restored theocracy, Israel will be world spiritual leader, God reserving this position for them alone. A spiritual leader who is in rebellion against God cannot lead others into a relationship with Him. It is crucial that Israel be reconciled to its Messiah as God will not crush Satan or restore His theocracy until the nation to be spiritual leader is itself reconciled to Him. Then Israel will become political capital and world spiritual centre.
When we get the bigger picture in perspective, having come to know the Revealer of secrets, God himself, we will not need to resort to fantasy and role-playing and endless speculation and posturing.
- Ivan Grindlay is an elder at Caversham Community Church.