Shaking the Heavens and the Earth
Haggai 2:6-9 (New International Version)
6 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.
7 I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the LORD Almighty.
8 'The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the LORD Almighty.
9 'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the LORD Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the LORD Almighty."
Hebrews 12:26-29 (New International Version)
26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens."
27 The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
29for our "God is a consuming fire."
Change has Come to the Earth
Change has come! A violent disruption of the status quo has rushed in upon all the nations of the earth like “the roaring and the tossing of the sea.” A former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board has described the financial collapse as a “global financial tsunami.” Surrounding the election of Barack Obama, change has inundated the United States. This election has swept away the presuppositions of two hundred and thirty-one years. The social order of racial inequality has been breached and overwhelmed by a convincing majority of voters. This change will not recede. It signals a permanent alteration of this once settled order. The younger generation has participated in this change in record numbers and they consider it their revolution. They already declare this to be the beginning of the post–racial society. An epoch that bears their stamp.
On the political landscape, the Democratic Party has extended its control of the Senate and the House of Representatives, making it easier to push through programs that will alter the direction of American society. It also makes it easier to gain approval of Supreme Court nominees and federal judges, further extending structural changes in the nation’s future direction.
In contrast, the Republican Party is divided and in disarray. The current president will leave office at the bottom of the scale of public opinion. The general view is that he, more than any other, is responsible for the nation’s financial crisis and for its plummeting status in the world among friendly nations and enemies alike.
The governor of Alaska is currently seen as the strongest voice in the Republican Party, and, at the same time, she is the public face of the Christian voting block. The Christian religious faction within the Republican Party became the most powerful voice in the nation’s politics since it was mobilized seven election cycles ago. It dominated the political agenda of the party by the introduction of religious mandates under the labels of values, morality, and social conservatism. For twenty of the last twenty eight years, it has been the force that elected presidents and shaped the direction of the nation. Even in the Clinton years it continued to grow in influence, and was largely behind the effort to remove him from office. It reached its apogee with the Bush administration and has become indistinguishable from republican politics. The loss of power following the election makes the Republican Party the minority party, and the Christian view the opposing view. Evangelical leaders are reeling from the loss of power and are dazed and confused. Some have resorted to blaming their constituency for not praying hard enough. One prophet who twice picked republican candidates to win the presidency, (Brownback and later McCain) explained this dilemma by saying that sometimes, God does not speak plainly. Among Roman Catholics, the bishops are meeting to discuss their apparent loss of control over their flock which generally ignored their admonition to vote on the basis of the “ life issues.”
Meanwhile, during the same period, a stridently antichristian attitude has been developing in the nation. On one hand, it points to the moral failures and legal troubles of key figures in the church /politics nexus as proof that the values and morals platform is hypocritical and has resulted in intolerance and exclusion. On the other hand it began to develop its own brand of political spirituality. One that is more global in its appeal and more national in its inclusively. It is built around new values, and advocates different morals. It does not mind being called liberal. It has deftly shifted the ground under social conservatives by tying them to both greed and bigotry. It pins the financial crisis on the Republican Party and associates it with the climate of greed and irresponsibility. This new national culture has reached out to minorities and whites alike, and easily spans the gap between generations. Its values are hope and hard work. Its morals are stewardship of the environment, and being our brother’s keeper. Policies of wealth distribution and tolerance of extreme differences have been reassembled and are being presented as the new moral index. This new culture appeals to the world with the promise to end wars while isolating and punishing threats to global peace. It advocates direct talks with friends and enemies alike. It promises an age of peace and safety. If it can successfully address the current financial crisis and restore global financial stability, it will replace Christianity as the new social orthodoxy. The idea of a spiritual/political nexus introduced by the evangelical church will be perfected by this new global order. The Christian right introduced this phenomenon in its hope of using the power of government to restrain the society’s drift toward moral nihilism. Now political unity is being achieved around secular spirituality. The people shouted, “Yes, we can!” Thus has come to pass the saying: “The voice of the people is the voice of God.”
The strength of the conflict of views evidenced in the general election will not fade quickly because the philosophies of the religious church and those of the political majority are irreconcilably different. Before long, the hostilities underlying these views will translate into open confrontation. As public policy shifts toward these new realities, and tax dollars are expended in support of controversial policies, Christians will be seen as those opposed to good will and to progress.
Although we are faced with sweeping global changes, the church fails to acknowledge that we are in a new season. Various religious groups are mired in internal conflict and are thoroughly distracted from any significant prophetic insight. Internal conflicts—ranging from lawsuits related to sexual abuse of children, to division over approval of homosexual clergy—have stifled church membership and repulsed a generation of young believers. Evangelicals and Charismatics are equally mired in self-induced turmoil. Ministries have been built on the wisdom of the marketplace rather than on eternal truths, and the economies supporting these visions have run their life cycles. Plummeting memberships and the break up of networks are the undeniable results. Financial bankruptcies threaten major denominations and storefront groups alike. The financial meltdown that is destroying businesses will also claim many ministries among its casualties. Even spirit-filled leaders are finding themselves impaled upon their own ambitions, and are busy explaining their lack of discernment to their conference-weary followers. Apostolic and prophetic presbyteries are being quickly emptied of their crowd-sponsored anointings.
The church is lethargic to acknowledge the reality of a new epoch. In its disbelief, it assumes that the current events will have only a momentary and fleeting impact and that the dust will settle and things will return to their former states. Nothing is further from the truth. This apathy will result in missed opportunity and in the end will prove to be disastrous. In this continuing failure of vision, the religio/political leaders within the church will continue to follow the course criticizing the Obama administration and urging its constituency to support various political propositions and initiatives. It will remain largely blind to the reality of change, and will squander the next four years pursuing political dead ends instead of understanding how to engage the new season. Despite the best efforts of its leaders, the people are going to go through a period of disillusionment. In the period just ahead, new leaders will begin to come to the forefront, and with them, a new vision will begin to surface. Christians will divide over this new emerging reality. Partly as a reaction to the previous direction of the religio/political focus, and partly as a genuine search for a relationship to God himself, this new phenomena will sharply divide the ranks of the church. A new order of Believers will be born out of the ranks of the political church. They will be united with fellow believers fleeing the chaos of the older institutions. A new order of church is being born.
Though the current headlines exhibit the changed epoch, its true meaning is far beyond the grasp of the media. Whereas there are immediate consequences to the world, the nation, and to specific people groups; the ultimate outcome of this season is that an irreconcilable divide between the church and the nations of the world will become the new reality.
The present impasse between the two sides will harden into conflict at both the ideological and practical levels. The current leaders on both sides of this divide will not be the same ones who preside over the fully matured conflict, and the issues will change from the present debates over values and their attendant public policy implications to the actual philosophies underlying the values themselves. These philosophies will center on the definition of God with specific focus on the person of Jesus, the Christ. The church will lose this fight, and the consequences will be both severe and extreme.
Global Financial Crisis
The current global financial crisis is the background against which the new American administration’s foreign and domestic policies will be framed. Most of the early initiatives of the new administration and the Democratic Party will be justified as either what is required to correct the failures of the previous administration or what is necessary to implement the agreements to which the nation has already been irrevocably committed.
The weakened Republican Party will not be successful in opposing important policy shifts. It will be engaged in an internal ideological struggle. Its main question will be the extent to which it can continue to accommodate the ideas of its religious faction and yet expand its base to appeal to a broad coalition who sees the religious right as the albatross around the neck of the party.
The most important economic policy shift will be toward creating new global financial regulations deemed necessary to address the current economic debacle. These initiatives are already well underway. The finance ministers of the G7 have already met in Washington D.C. to create the outlines of this new policy, and the G7 ministers will meet in mid-November for further deliberations. Before the change of administrations on January 20, 2009, a new global financial system will be in place! The implications of this stunning development are both ominous and chilling.
For the nation, the implications are that it can no longer make unilateral decisions in its own interest—no matter how threatening those circumstances may be to the nation’s security. The only decisions the nation will be able to make are those decisions that do not require significant funding. The nation will be required to secure the cooperation of its creditors before it is free to embark on policies requiring significant funding. This represents a constructive loss of national sovereignty (Recall: “Judgment On America,” still available on website).
For the church, this development of a global financial system represents the growing power of the Beast of Daniel 7, and Revelation 13 (See series entitled “Seven Heads and Ten Horns,” also available on website). For the Beast, the coming forth of the Financial System is going to be overshadowed only by the emergence of the last and greatest system, the Religious Head, the one that brings religious unity and the promise of a golden age of peace.
When all of the systems are linked together and this kingdom becomes fully operational, the church will be identified as the common enemy. A Spokesman will emerge and will engage the church with blasphemous discourses presented as well spoken utterances. God will become a secularized concept and truth will be assigned different values. Those who do not love the truth will be taken in by the plausibility of these pronouncements. The dividing issue will be whether Jesus is the Son of God and therefore the exclusive representation of the true nature of God. New leaders will emerge on both sides of this divide. Some of the church will be deceived by the subtlety of this attack. Others will be intimidated by the virulence of the assault against their persons and possessions when they fail to confirm. Those whose interests are mainly in their continued well being will accept the offer of provision and protection extended by the new order. The rest will be the true Body of Christ.
The Rise of Kings
For the nations of the world, this new season will bring new hope for international cooperation. This new order of cooperation will spring from business necessity and from common global interests. Human priorities will emerge above national interests and will shape national policies. Individuals of global standing will advise national governments. Throughout the world, groups of people will form to advocate these common human interests. These groups will exert as much influence on key global issues as the most powerful nations. Saving the planet will be the underlying philosophy behind the search for and the development of energy sources. The operative terms describing acceptable energy supplies will be: cheap, clean, eco-friendly, sustainable and renewable. Saving at-risk populations will be a central concern for international cooperation. The battles to stop the spread of the AIDS/HIV virus and to end global hunger will continue to dominate international cooperation. There will be increased concentration on conflict resolution. Peace will be pursued through rebuilding old alliances and on forming new ones. This order will be implemented with promises of economic help and the threat of exclusion from global trade and financial markets.
These international efforts will obviously require coordination and prioritization, calling forth an administrative head. The motivation towards this order will be seen as the new spirituality. It will be an irresistible draw for religious figures and organizations alike seeking to redefine their relevance. The religious church will finally agree that the epoch has changed, and though arriving late to this conclusion, will seek to install itself into the new order by offering its blessing to a new global order. It will do so by pronouncing that this result was the true intention of God for all of humanity. This new religious order will be welcomed as the official spiritual orthodoxy of the new world of global cooperation, and because of its goal of harmony and peace, any alternative presentation will be viewed as an attempt to revive a previously discredited and divisive order. These new directions will decentralize power from national governments.
Out of this environment, individuals around the world will arise as men and women of enormous global credibility. Their standing will be supported by their stunning personal accomplishments. They will lead these efforts at global unity and resource allocations. Their authority will be greater than that of individual governments. Their independence will confer an altruism that places them above meaningful scrutiny. They will arise from the current nexus of business, politics, culture, religion, the professions and philanthropy. They will enjoy preeminent status. A few may even come from current royal families but they will all be kings in a new definition of royalty. Their influence and fame will place them higher in the pantheon of the new secular order than even rock stars. They will be the preachers and priests of the new world.
Change Within the Black Church
For ethnic minorities all over the world, and for African Americans in particular, the election of Barack Obama to what is currently the most powerful position in the world has monumental implications. For minority populations, particularly oppressed peoples, perhaps the most important result is that they believe that their causes will come to international attention. Mr. Obama himself spoke of people in the “forgotten corners of the world.”
For the African American, the election of Mr. Obama means that anything is possible. This fundamentally changes a key element of black culture. The history of slavery made the concept of personal responsibility optional in black culture. The slave’s labor mainly benefited the master, and the slave had no reason to be grateful for the meager provisions of the master. It was always less then the value of his labor. The slave needed to look no further than the manor house to understand the true value of his labor. As long as he could not make the decisions that ultimately governed his own life, this culture of disparity persisted. In the two hundred and thirty-one years of the nation’s history, it was only a few months ago that anyone thought that a person of color might actually be the president of the nation.
Before this time the operative assumption within the black community of the United States was that a black person could not be the President, therefore, blacks were still not in control of their destinies, and not fully emancipated. Black effort was never going to be rewarded fairly, at least not with uniformity. While some blacks who had attained success through hard work and engagement of the status quo advocated personal responsibility as the way forward, black religious leaders argued for an independent cultural and spiritual identity. Christian and Muslim leaders alike rejected the concept of a cultural détente and argued for a separate path. Political and social activists argued for better infrastructures for black communities and often worked to attain those results by cooperating with national political parties and private and public sector resources. Personal responsibility remained a matter of individual choice. The operative assumption remained that the black person could rely on no one but himself and on the black community. That community was usually the church. The extent of his aspirations would be that which could be supported by these two things. Institutions of the nation such as banking, legal and educational institutions were seen as largely inaccessible. The white majority was seen as unsympathetic and even hostile. A black person could not count on those resources. The promise of emancipation was held hostage to these perceptions and realities.
This key element of black culture has imploded and with it the lingering connection to the mother culture of slavery. A new culture has arisen in black society and has immediately taken root among the under-forty generation. The election of the first black president of the nation brings a final end to the culture of slavery. For young black people, anything is now possible. The older generation will still maintain its skepticisms and its suspicions. This has created a profound division in black society. This cultural divide is comparable to the decade of the sixties in white society, when such a separation occurred between the generations. Younger blacks will be willing to consider any relationship that will help them achieve their dreams. They will see themselves first as individuals and secondarily as black. This is an irreversible change and will become the normal thinking for the generations to come. In embracing the challenges associated with the pursuit of their destinies, they will sacrifice tradition for truth. They will align themselves with those persons, regardless of race, who can help them realize their dreams. They live in the day when white people, young and old, wealthy and working class, chose a black man over a white man of the ruling class, to be their leader.
Fatherlessness is the dominant reality of an entire generation and acutely so among black people. Currently, sixty-seven percent of children born to black families are born to single mothers. White children are becoming fatherless through the divorce of their parents at nearly the same rate. The need for fathers as role models has become critical. The supply is dangerously lacking in the spheres of black society and in the larger national community. In order to take advantage of the promise of this season, the stability of families led by loving, caring fathers is an absolute necessity. The serious shortage of fathers, together with a suddenly irrelevant theological message, means that young black people looking for fatherly role models are going to look increasingly to spiritual fathers for answers. For young people as a whole, this is already a post racial society. They will relate to any father who speaks truth to them, and is a role model of love and caring. The natural evidence of this is that the young people were motivated to vote for Obama because he represented a father who understood them, and cared about their concerns.
White churches, particularly evangelical churches, are so deeply connected to the Republican Party that they will continue to oppose the Obama presidency. They will fail to notice that his achievement has precipitated this earth shaking shift in black culture. It is glaringly apparent that the prophetic establishment has simply not seen that God is speaking to black people in a language they understand perfectly. When Obama stepped out on the stage to accept the nomination of the Democratic Party for the presidency, it was on the day of the fortieth anniversary of Martin King famous speech from the Mall in Washington D.C. Among black people, that had the effect of creating a spiritual environment into which God intends to insert massive changes. Because black and white churches have remained segregated even within the same denomination, neither group will be positioned to participate in the next great outpouring of the Spirit of God. Young people of a characteristically fatherless generation seeking spiritual fathers will not turn to the church institutions. They will be looking for real relationships with spiritual fathers, not merely messages from a pulpit. In the information age, it is not necessary to go to a church meeting to get biblical information. This generation’s search is for God the Father in human fathers. Natural fathers who are also spiritual fathers are few and far between. However, this generation will gladly accept spiritual fathers even if they are not their natural fathers, and are of a different race. This will precipitate a genuine spiritual revival among young black people who are demanding real solutions. This revival of interest in truth, and in matters of the Holy Spirit will not be centered in churches. By its very nature, this phenomenon will be relationally based and will function organically.
Redefining the Church
This season of change will profoundly redefine the church. A great falling away, and a great maturing of those left, will occur simultaneously. Nations and systems are being violently shaken. The heavens and the earth are being made subject to divine declarations. Demonic princes are being compelled to give up their occupations of traditional mindsets rooted in cultural stasis. Truth, long hidden, is being brought into the light, and with it entire people groups are being liberated from the chains of traditions. New realities are being released by the decrees of God, communicated through human representatives. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear are being given portentous signs.
Although the Obama administration faces challenges and obstacles that seem almost insurmountable, he will succeed spectacularly. In his victory speech, he said: “Tonight we summon a new spirit…” and the people roared their answer: “Yes we can.” Everyone seeing this epic happening understood that something beyond the visible norm was taking place. As the leader chosen by the people, he summoned a Spirit into the nation. The Spirit could not come unless he was summoned, and he would have no authority unless the one who summoned him had the authority to call him. For a brief period, with help from the spirit, self-reliance and discipline will seem to work. The people will be glad for any help so long as it works. The nation, and the world have changed forever. We have passed the point of repentance and calling on the one true God. From now on, an open opposition to the recognition of God in the affairs of the nation will become superficial. God himself will be redefined as merely some undefined “higher power.” The new president will assemble a team of the best-qualified people in the nation, and they will work diligently with their counterparts around the world to fulfill the promise of building a tower against future floods. When this spirit of self-reliance was first in the world, God said: “There is nothing they cannot do.” At that time He confused their language and scattered them. Since then, mankind has been longing for global unity, and with the help of the newly summoned Spirit, they will, for a season, achieve it. Anyone objecting to this new order of global cooperation will be seen as an enemy of progress and peace.
In time, the much vaunted unity based in human effort will begin to degrade. As the global order begins to fail, its leader’s true nature will become obvious, and will contrast starkly with the growing radiance of a people who have become fully unified in the Spirit of God.
In a mirroring of the spiritual realities, natural events of undeniable significance have suddenly come upon the earth. It is as though a rent has occurred in the fabric of time, and eternal truths are flooding into our temporal environment. The African was brought to the West in the chains of slavery. After 400 years of hard and cruel bondage the son of an African has become the foremost leader in the world! So too were the sons of God taken captive by sin and lived as slaves until the Son came to restore their liberty. The mindset of slaves has continued to oppress the sons of God on account of the culture of religion. However, by the declarations of God in the present season, this mighty demonic prince has been overthrown. The sons of God are again free of the yoke of the spirit of Religion. They are being made ready to represent their Father in the earth. The natural sign confirms the spiritual reality.
The culmination of this change will be that the House of God will finally become a reality, in the fullness originally intended by God Himself. As the Family of God begins to put on display in the earth the love for one another, without regard for backgrounds, the world will begin to see the glory of God’s nature.
The old order of the religious church will simply move on to new harlotries and will join itself to myths and demons. This is a time, more than at any other time, when the events unfolding on the earth will reflect the conflict of invisible forces.
The ancient order of God’s household will now begin to appear in the earth. It will be clothed with heavenly glory. God is shaking the heavens by decrees from the throne of God. Those decrees are being spoken in the earth by sent ones. Demonic schemes that have long veiled the intentions of God are being swept away. The veils are being torn from the top by the invisible hand of God. This shaking is to separate the holy from the profane in the Body of Christ. When this refining work is complete, the House of God will be filled with His glory. The Bride will be lifted out from the adulterous ways of the Harlot, and she will clothe herself with the righteous ways of her Husband. In the midst of her, the peace of God will reign until her witness on the earth will have fully testified to the truth of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will confirm her readiness for the return of her Bridegroom; and He will come. Before Jesus returns, however, the Body of Christ will be opposed on every front by this new emerging world order. It will be in this environment that the church will practice righteous rule, and will emerge as the Light and the Glory of Christ...The City on the Hill.
We are at the beginning of this great culminating epoch.
An apostolic Letter from Sam Soleyn to believers in Christ Jesus scattered throughout the earth.