Shadows of the Second Coming
is the title of the second chapter of Kingdom Come. Here we are introduced to the apocalyptic vision that drove Lipscomb and Harding's vision of the Kingdom. You can purchase the book HERE
At the turn of the 19th century there was a strong sense of American patriotism that was embraced by evangelical religion. Lipscomb did not embrace patriotism, and even regarded civil government as a tool of Satan to draw our full devotion away from God. Harding was in agreement. "With one foot in the primeval age and the other squarely in the shadows of the second coming, Harding believed that only God's government reigned from the first and only his will reign in the end
" (p. 29)
So how are Christians to live in a world ruled by the kingdoms of men? They accept the role of being foreigners in a strange land, with ultimate allegiance to Jesus Christ. H & V describe a kingdom vision that draws its purpose in being distinctively devoted to God in a world that will ultimately be ruled again by God's will. This apocalyptic vision was the driver of life decisions and doctrinal understandings of both Harding and Lipscomb.
H & V do a superb job of leading us through the world view that begins with the "paradise of shalom
", tracing it's loss in the garden, and leading us to our day that is "characterized by death, anguish, lust and violence
. But God purposed to restore creation to its original blessedness, to restore shalom upon the earth
." Using Scripture and descriptive terms, a beautiful picture of the intended kingdom is presented through these pages.
A danger that is presented is our willingness to conform to the world rather than live counter culture. Our ammunition against such seduction is to keep in view the second coming of Christ. "To live in the shadows is to live in anticipation of God's ultimate victory
" (p. 35). And so God calls us to the life of aliens...Foreigners on a sojourn. But this is often rejected by Christians of today.
"Through the years, however, this kingdom vision was lost through the instituionalization of the church. Church, here, does not mean the people who have been called out of this present age by grace into covenant with God. Rather "church" became concern for proper doctrine, and rather esoteric doctrine couched in Greek philosophy. "Church" became involved in power struggles within itself and in time even secular government became enmeshed in what was once a small brand of rag-tag believers in a Messiah who was killed by that very government
" (p. 39) That paragraph alone deserves a book.
If we are to embrace this apocalyptic kingdom vision, we will face taking unpopular stances, resist the temptations of materialism, and sink our hopes deep in the power of prayer.
The questions, challenges, prayer, and resources listed at the end of this chapter are very valuable. What stood out to you as you read the chapter? What are your observations?