“The summing up of all things” is the target of God’s work. It commands central attention across the universe and “in the heavenlies,” Paul wrote. Eph. 1:10 describes the “New Promise” (also called the New Covenant or New Testament in archaic terms), which is a contract—God’s Promise. It was decreed 2600 years ago by Jeremiah the prophet, writing,
“‘This is the [promise] which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will put My Torah [instruction/direction] within them. On their heart I will write it. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’” (Jer. 31:33)
What an amazing promise! God’s direction, God’s way of thinking written deep within my heart! How is that possible? Almost 600 years later, after the New Promise arrived, Paul described this marvelous work of God as something…
a view to an Administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the Summing Up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. (Ephesians 1:10)
Jeremiah describes the internal effect of the New Promise, having God’s way of thinking written deep in my awareness—my personality. Paul describes the external effect, in the form of an Administration that extends across this planet, into the heavenlies. It suddenly made sense in the 1st C, AD when the New Promise began racing across the Roman Empire unchecked, unstoppable, despite the full weight of the Empire thrown against it. Scholars estimate God’s movement grew to almost one million by the end of the first century. Certainly, by 64 AD—30 years after JC died on the cross—these new Believers were so well known and so populous that Emperor Nero could blame Christians for the fire he set ablaze in Rome, and nobody wondered what a Christian was. Christians were so disruptive and so different, Romans believed these social degenerates did burn down Rome.
Today, 2000 years after Paul described it, the New Promise is highly undervalued. Ho-hum. Tens of millions of Christians are sprawling across the USA, wandering, lost and vacant, research says, as if the New Promise became the Dead Promise. Their offspring call themselves “Nones”, not Christians. Why? Because they believe in something called “None”? No, they simply refuse to call themselves by the name of any organized religion. Nones are not atheists, but they are so disillusioned with institutional religion, they are close. Confused, without direction, they are agnostics, essentially. Only about five percent (or less) of the population are atheists, but about 20% are agnostics, which is quite a jump. And what’s the difference? Agnostics say, “Don’t wanna talk about it!” At a practical level, agnostics and atheists are similar, having no allegiance to any specific deity. Which means about 25% of the US population are deeply disillusioned or completely alienated against the New Promise, which once electrified the world.
The religion of Nones is a novel social phenomena which breeds a touchy uncertainty, where any debate is an attack. The only way to discuss spiritual topics is by asking questions. Gently. But that should not be a problem. JC asked questions all the time. Spiritual touchiness really is not new. It’s not the special purview of Nones. Spiritual insecurity is a classic foible for anyone who doesn’t know God, or know much, but dares not admit it.
Believers who don’t participate in the New Promise of God’s Administration will grow bored with their religious convictions. Their kids certainly get bored with attending church. To watch and not participate in God’s Administration creates religious ambiguity. Yet the direction of religious tradition has been to create a distinction between participants and observers. Observers were labelled laypeople, while participators were clergymen. For centuries, clergymen carried on rituals in Latin, while laypeople observed. guessing what it meant. The ambiguity was filled with sonorous, singing worship services and ponderous liturgies which, to be sure, created an atmosphere of The Sublime. People felt close to God, filled with sublime feelings, but still had no idea what God was doing.
The Big Show of The Sublime works no more. The music of the Secular Big Show is more skilled and spectacular, smothering any sonorous worship service—adding fog machines and million-dollar light shows could never compete with the music of the Secular Big Show.
The New Promise must be significant beyond compare since God made a supreme effort to describe it from beginning to end in the Bible. Then He preserved the Bible for millennia. Intact. Containing God’s blueprints for humanity, reading it opens something hugely significant and exciting. The Bible is the most widely distributed, widely purchased, bestselling book in history. Still today, it outsells any book on the NY Times bestseller list. The Bible is significant. God’s’ Administration is significant. The movement is significant. The work is significant. Those who participate become significant.
Believers should never live outside the spiritual zip, zap and zowie of the New Promise, where God takes up residence in human hearts, writing His thoughts and His insights deep inside. It means having a close, intimate fellowship with Creator God. It means sharing in God’s Eternal Plan. Such closeness between God and human was never available before 33 AD, on a global scale—only certain prophets experienced it, and then it was temporary. After Jesus resurrected from death, he told his followers, “Now, go wait for the Holy Spirit!” Suddenly, in one moment, during one of the most crowded festivals in Jerusalem, the New Promise was born. It was Pentecost, the international Jewish festival of “First Fruits” celebrating the first harvest of the growing season. Why did God choose that event to inaugurate the New Promise? Not for the great crowds, not for the international attention, not for the festival’s celebrations—although they are wonderful reasons—but primarily because the New Promise was the beginning of God’s great harvest.
Nothing really compares to the first Pentecost, where thousands were suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit. Pentecost made such a splash, Peter the Apostle had to explain it to amazed onlookers:
“These people are not drunk, as you presume…This is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: ‘And in the last days it shall be,’ God declares, ‘that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams…’ And so it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” (Acts 2:16-21)
Entry into the New Promise and all it unleashes is insanely simple. Purely spiritual. “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” ignites spiritual life like the “tongues of fire” dancing over people’s heads in 33 A.D. (Like birthday candles!) Suddenly the ability to see things clearly, spiritually opens. To “prophesy” and “see visions” occurs. It is well-described as stepping out of a black-and-white world into kaleidoscopic colors blooming everywhere—like a psychedelic trip without the psychedelia. Or the flip-outs. Or the LSD. It’s hard to describe. For sure, it means escape from the zombie-like, herd mentality driving humankind.
The Kaleidoscopic Life
“Your old men shall dream dreams,” it said, and I know what it means. Old men like me “dream” kaleidoscopic dreams of God’s work over the decades. Old men remember sweet glory (and can’t resist telling young people stories about it). I saw this phenomenon in my 97-year-old dad, who slept 16 hours a day. Now it’s my turn. My heart is filled with indescribable joy scanning decades gone by, and I can’t help muttering about it. Which I must do now.
Living now in life’s twilight, O! What sweet memories parade around me! I see the Jesus Freak movement. It caught tens of millions of listless revolutionaries holding popped balloons from the Summer of Love or Woodstock. Jesus Freaks caught Bob Dylan, the poetic prophet of the Boomer Generation. I see his “Slow Train Coming” concert at OSU’s auditorium where he testified, “Signs and wonders! Signs and wonders!” Cryptic Dylan words mixed with guitar licks. And a drunk fool yelling curses at Bobby’s love for JC.
I remember the birth of the Fish House when it exploded from 30 savage pagans-turned-Believers and reached beyond 5000 adults—kids weren’t counted then. It wouldn’t matter, there were only about a dozen. The Fish, an underground newspaper, handing out on campus. I printed 1000s on an offset press in a friend’s basement—truly an underground press! Meeting and talking with free spirits on High Street on the edge of the largest university in the US. Probably the world. Hitchhikers, drifters from California or Maine, disenchanted with the dream that drugs could change the world and end war. So many were thrilled about a “House Church” as a pew church alternative. Without pews, we sat cross-legged, smashed together in the Fish House living room without air conditioning. Lots of BO. That was OK, it was natural. Our ministry house was surrounded by Frat Row. Wackos drifted in. Traveling minstrels, like my roomie Louie—now dead—who carried a palm tree of crazy hair. He sat up until 4 a.m. picking toe jam and flicking it at me. It was just rapping (“talking”, not beloved Rap music). And skinny Brian, a saxophonist with fat lungs who swung with John Klemmer, a big-name California hip-jazz bandleader. Then Jim, my favorite, my beloved brother still living and serving in the inner-city of Buffalo. His wife threatened divorce the day after he he received JC as his savior without permission. All sweet dreams from my service as an Administrator in God’s movement, “Summing up all things in Christ.” I saw what Summing Up looked like, how it changed truly savage pagans.
Young men are different. “Your young men shall see visions,” it says. They see sweet glory coming their way, not back there. They prophesy. They have visions. Sweet dreams are made of these, decades later.
Paul describes what changes God comes with God’s Administration, step by step, in the preamble leading up to the great Universal Digest in Ephesians 1:10.
Two Peace Movements
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph.1:1) describes the work of God’s Administration. This is how God performs “the Summing Up of all things.” He unleashes “grace to you and peace” against the conflict on earth, in families, in hearts filled with conflict, which reaches “in the heavenlies.” War spans all Creation, probably like earth’s long history of war, but much longer. “In the heavenlies” it must be more hideous, with superior creatures involved, with superior power beyond human comprehension. No matter—the conflict is great, but God’s “grace to you and peace” is greater.
Consider peace—the greatest need on earth. The need for peace cannot be ignored in the globalized world. Global warming and global threats like global pandemics and economic meltdowns need urgent attention. Peace on earth eclipses all urgencies. The same conflicts and deep alienation in families also create wars making it impossible to resolve global problems. Global treaties and promises cannot last without global peace.
New and younger generations are facing global threats unlike any in history, and it terrifies them. Rightfully, they protest global indifference toward global threats. They hope to launch an era of global cooperation. It seems to work. Many protests go viral, launching global protests in world capitals. They hope global threats may compel cooperation unlike ever before, replacing nationalism with international accord. But it is an alternative peace movement, not God’s peace movement.
The quest for global unity under human leadership will spell the end of humankind. That message lies at the very beginning of the Bible, at the infamous Tower of Babel:
The LORD said, “Look! They are one people, and they all have the same language…and now nothing they purpose to do will be impossible for them!” (Genesis 11:6)
At that time, God then fractured humanity through language barriers. Today, technology is eliminating those barriers, and the growth of AI will keep dissolving language barriers. Why does God want humanity fractured? Because “nothing they purpose to do will be impossible for them!” United humankind is capable of astonishing feats. Humanity carries a latent strength that becomes poisonous when united. Unity strengthens the human propensity for explosive conflict and calloused violence.
The Tower of Babel was constructed under the leadership of an exceptionally cruel man who was “like a hunter in God’s face” (Gen. 10:9). He was a killer, without conscience or concern about facing God. He constructed his tower by the blood and suffering of his subjects. Babel became Babylon, a monumental theme often resurrected in Bible history. It culminates in Revelation 19 as Mystery Babylon, which is the epitome of the World System—the epitome of organized, systematized evil. Humans build systems which exclude God and replace God. Excluding God means excluding God’s love, and “loveless” is exactly what makes human systems so evil. This is truly evident in the modern Tower of Babel, known as Silicone Valley. The rise of GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) demonstrates how threatening global systems are. There are good reasons to fear GAFA-like apparitions. The historical, worldwide characteristic of all civilizations to build systems within systems, cold, indifferent and cruel leads to conquest. The only way love survives—that humanity survived until now—is that civilizations never coalesced, always divided by language.
God’s Word says humankind will evolve and peacefully unite to overcome global threats. It must and will occur. The complexity of the World System, the severity of global threats mandates it. Europe will be the center for a “New World Order” President G.W. Bush longed to establish back in the ‘90s. He failed. Europe will succeed, God said. It will be a peace movement that peacefully establishes global peace. Unlike any other period of history, it will be a kingdom that does not rely on conquest. Pax Romana was an oxymoron because Roman Peace required mass crucifixions and bloody conquest. But the future global kingdom will break down after three years, God’s Word says. Russia will violate the international treaties along with a coalition of Mideastern nations all hostile to Israel—a coalition unimaginable in history because Israel’s neighbors always hated each other, ferociously. Today their hatred of Israel overwhelms their loathing of each other. China enters the Mideast conflict with a massive army of 200 million. Such predictions were crazy, until now. Aside from the unimaginable numbers, the logistics of moving such an army were infinitely complex. Until now. Military technologies enable it, but also China is building the “Silk Road” superhighway into the Mideast (Turkey), which can greatly facilitate such massive, military movements. However accomplished, that massive army floods the Mideast like lightening, on the heels of the Russian-led coalition. European- armies also jump in to restore global unity. Peace by armed force is not what the world embraced. The result is called Armageddon. Everyone knows the word, but how many know it is God’s Word? That it’s a real place? It’s also called the Valley of Jezreel. I’ve been there. I watched F-14 jets roar across the skies there, along with 40+ brothers and sisters from Freedom Fellowship. As hideous as the biblical picture is, it also contains the promise JC made to intervene, “Otherwise, no one would be left alive on earth.”
Everything is now in place. Global armed conflicts today revolve around the restoration of Israel, which was prophesied long ago, then fulfilled in 1948. Jerusalem will be “a cup that makes the nations of the earth drunk,” God prophesied. At that time, 2500 years ago, Jerusalem was reduced to a pile of rubble by the Babylonians. Insignificant. Now Jerusalem is the most hotly contested, explosive place on earth. Now Israel owns it, after 2000 years of exile. Unbelievable.
My greatest burden is to alert new generations not to get swept away. By necessity, the World System is growing so complex, it must self-destruct. “Do not love the World System, nor the things of the World System,” God warns, “because the form of this World is passing away.” It is difficult to resist the pull of globalization. Miraculous technology amplified by global communication accelerates the speed of change. Techno-miracles are capturing the world’s focus and individuals’ hearts. Believers must see how lethal globalized excitement will become.
The information explosion is growing exponentially, so human knowledge is doubling every 12 hours. Big Data and Artificial Intelligence and a host of new technologies are creating insane shortcuts to knowledge acquisition. Knowledge of all kinds—including dangerous knowledge—is spreading beyond containment. The Doomsday Clock, which nuclear scientists historically used to depict the proximity of nuclear war, is now set to two minutes before midnight. The condition is more dangerous than during the Cold War, say nuclear scientists. IBM says Artificial Intelligence will render 80 percent of all jobs obsolete in a decade. Globalization means pandemics like COVID-19 can shut down even the strongest economies within months or weeks. These are a few of the tsunamis rolling across the world, forcing global solutions. Urgent issues like Global Warming suddenly fade as the next global tsunami rises. World consortiums cannot meet fast enough to catch up.
I am so burdened to communicate to upcoming generations how radically different their world is from what I was born into. Globalization was impossible in my young world. The great divisions between Communism and Capitalism and dictatorships and monarchies created a a jigsaw puzzle of isolated nations. The country with the greatest military power determined everything for everyone. Forcefully. Through slash-and-burn diplomacy.
Today’s world is a fantastic reversal of world history. Today cooperation is mandated, so only those cooperating will have any say. Only a global peace movement can stop humankind from bickering long enough to address global threats. The pace of global change cannot be sustained without breaking the Old-World order, so “New World Order” will emerge with a global roar, no longer the dream of old G. W. Bush. Combined with the astonishing speed biblical prophecies are now bearing fruit means Christians must watch God’s leadership closely and fight the urge to be pulled along with the global, stampeding herd. Hordes of Christians are failing to watch out, and they disappear in the latest, clueless “Wisdom of the Crowd.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” Paul writes. What a wonderful change of focus! This is how God’s people escape global delusion. God’s movement of “Grace and Peace” arrived in 33 AD to save humanity from itself. Withdrawal from the World System is not God’s will, JC said, and withdrawal is impossible. Changing focus changes everything. God’s peace campaign penetrating the World System is what matters. “The summing up of all things on earth…” matters. The right focus means being an Administrator of God’s Peace while at work. At school, it means learning skills to facilitate a more competent, relevant career as God’s Administrator. The right focus influences purchases, what to do with a house, how to build a household, what a marriage can accomplish, or how to raise kids. There are two different ways to live in the same spaces—one life follows the herd into fear and slaughter, the other life compels praise. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” expresses the most significant and exciting life possible.
- Digesting the Universe
- The Social Justice Cops