Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
When you listen to or read the writing of Evangelical or Fundamental Christianity, their expressed purpose is to escape hell, to spend eternity in heaven. There is, however, a noteworthy lack of any mention of "spending eternity" one place or the other in the prayer Jesus taught His disciples.
Instead, He begins with a declaration of lineage and proceeds with a proclamation of purpose. Your kingdom come, your will be done ON EARTH… To what extent is the Father's kingdom to come and His will to be done on Earth? As it is in Heaven.
The answer to our prayer has its beginning in the present. "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Lo, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold the kingdom of God is within you. (Lk. 17:20-21)The Earth shattering, cataclysmic event many look for from Revelations is "Your kingdom come, your will be done IN ME as it is in Heaven." This is the beginning, but there is a progression that follows. "Your kingdom come, your will be done in me as it is in heaven; so that your kingdom come your will be done IN US as it is in me, as it is in Heaven; so that your kingdom come, your will be done ON EARTH as it is in us, as it is in me, as it is in Heaven.
Jesus is announcing that his purpose, and that of those who follow Him, is the complete restoration of creation. Like the leaven hidden in the lump of dough, we have much work to do.
Now two questions arise. First, "How are we to know the Father's will?"
Historically, there have been two main answers put forth: Catholicism says, "Church hierarchy"; Protestantism says, "the Bible", which they call "the Word of God." In either case the kingdom of God is only ushered in and His will done on Earth as it is in Heaven at the end of time when we are all dead. This is the picture of a Church shut up and imprisoned behind the gates of Hell. And that has been Earth's experience of the "Church" for the better part of 2,000 years.
Two notable exceptions to the above is the apostolic Church and the early Quakers. The apostles and the early Quakers declared that Christ is the Word of God, that Christ is the prophet like Moses who reveals the Father's will. See Dan Davenport's blog on Christ as the prophet like Moses.
The second question is, "Once knowing the Father's will, how am I to have the power to accomplish it?"
A major component of Fox's writing and preaching centered on the necessity of knowing Jesus in our midst in all his offices. It is when we know Him among us as our King, our Shepherd, our Teacher, our Bishop, our Priest, our Prophet, our Counselor, and so on, that we have come into the right relationship with him. It is in this relationship of hearing the voice of Christ and following Him, we as individuals, we as the Church are made partakers of His purpose. He, who then is our leader, has a power greater than death and darkness, those gates that would imprison all in hell.
Again I quote from Edward Burrough's Introduction to Fox's Works, Vol. III (pp. 13 and 14). Note the language. The events described in Revelations are related as being experienced by those gathered to wait upon, to hear, and to follow Christ.
"And so we ceased from the teachings of all men, and their words, and their worships, and their temples, and all their baptisms and churches; and we ceased from our own words, and professions, and practices in religion, in times before zealously performed by us, through divers forms, and we became fools for Christ's sake, that we might become truly wise. And by this light of Christ in us were we led out of all false ways, and false preachings, and from false ministers, and we met together often, and waited upon the Lord in pure silence from our own words, and all men's words, and hearkened to the voice of the Lord, and felt his word in our hearts, to burn up and beat down all that was contrary to God; and we obeyed the light of Christ in us, and followed the motions of the Lord's pure spirit, and took up the cross to all earthly glories, crowns, and ways, and denied ourselves, our relations, and all that stood in the way betwixt us and the Lord; and we chose to suffer with and for the name of Christ, rather than enjoy all the pleasures upon earth, or all our former zealous professions and practices in religion without the power and spirit of God, which the world yet lives in. And while waiting upon the Lord in silence, as often we did for many hours together, with our minds and hearts toward him, being staid in the light of Christ within us, from all thoughts, fleshly motions, and desires, in our diligent waiting and fear of his name, and hearkening to his word, we received often the pouring down of the spirit upon us, and the gift of God's holy eternal spirit as in the days of old, and our hearts were made glad, and our tongues loosed, and our mouths opened, and we spake with new tongues, as the Lord gave us utterance, and as his spirit let us, which was poured down upon us, on sons and daughters. And to us hereby were the deep things of God revealed and things unutterable wer known and made manifest; and the glory of the Father was revealed, and then began we to sing praises to the Lord God Almighty, and to the Lamb for ever, who had redeemed us to God, and brought us out of the captivity and bondage of the world and put an end to sin and death; and all this was by and through, and in the light of Christ within us. And much more might be declared hereof, that which could not be believed if it were spoken, of the several and particular operations and manifestations of the everlasting spirit that was given us, and revealed in us. But this is the sum: life and immortality were brought to light, power from on high and wisdom were made manifest, and the day everlasting appeared unto us, and the joyful sun of righteousness did arise and shine forth unto us and in us; and the holy anointing, the everlasting comforter, we received; and the babe of glory was born, and the heir of the promise brought forth to reign over the earth, and over hell and death, whereby we entered into everlasting union, and fellowship and covenant with the Lord God, whose mercies are sure and infinite, and his promise never fails. We were raised from death to life, and changed from satan's power to God, and gathered from all the dumb shepherds, and off all the barren mountains, into the fold of eternal peace and rest, and mighty and wonderful things hath the Lord wrought for us, and by us, by his own outstretched arm.
And thus we became followers of the Lamb whithersoever he goes; and he hath called us to make war in righteousness for his name's sake against hell and death, and all the powers of darkness, and against the beast and false prophet, which have deceived the nations. And we are of the royal seed elect, chosen and faithful, and we war in truth and just judgment; not with weapons that are carnal, but by the sword that goes out of his mouth, which shall slay the wicked, and cut them to pieces. And after this manner was our birth or bringing forth, and thus hath the Lord chosen us and made us an army dreadful and terrible, before whom the wicked do fear and tremble; and our standard is truth, justice, righteousness, and equity; and all that come unto us, must cleave thereunto, and fight under that banner without fear, and without doubting, and they shall never be ashamed nor put to flight, neither shall they ever be conquered by hell or death, or by the powers of darkness; but the Lord shall be their armour, weapon, and defence for evermore. And they that follow the Lamb shall overcome, and get the victory over the beast, and over the dragon, and over the gates of hell; for the Lord is with us, and who shall be able to make us afraid?"
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