Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Rom 12:2
Yesterday, Turkey just voted on a new political system with a very strong president. They used to have a shared executive power between president and prime minister, with the parliament having to confirm the ministers the prime minister would appoint, a legislative that has the say on law making, and a self-appointed judiciary system. Now, the presidential office is combined with the prime minister, the president appoints all ministers at wish, introduces laws, has veto rights on all laws from parliament, and appoints about a third of the top judges.
Power has just been culminated to one person – Mr. Erdogan – with his party in a comfortable 60%+ majority in parliament.
History tells us that Turkey is modern day Kush.
I am certain that I am not the first to expect Christians to conclude that this is Revelation playing out in front of our eyes.
Getting your Theology from the Newspaper
I do not agree. I hate it when people look into the newspaper and interpret the bible through that lens.
Years ago, Kush has been likened to Russia – which has been scientifically proven wrong by now – and the same applications have been made for several Russian leaders. And they have been wrong.
Chip implants, bar codes, credit cards, the elimination of cash, the EU, even the house in Belgium that was to house a computer called the beast and was six stories high (and today is a car park) – so many things have been likened to the pictures used in Revelation. And been wrong.
We still think as the world thinks. And we fear the future. A church too weak to deal with a defeated devil that it has to be ransomed from this world and replaced by first the Jews and then Jesus himself clearing up the mess?
But are there things we can deduct from looking at reality and the development of society that help us in our Christian walk?
What we can learn from the Time
The sons of Simeon were able to read and interpret the signs of the times. It is biblical to look at what is happening and derive some conclusions from it.
So what do I see fit for this?
I think that human behaviour mirrors our deepest desires and mimics the ways God wants to lead us.
How do I mean that?
Let’s look at organisational structures. In the bible, the first structure of Israel was tribes, families, fathers, elders, and a lot of personal responsibility, with strong leaders in times of trouble. But then they wanted a king.
In business, Taylorismus mimicked the peoples desire to have a king. It portrayed the predominant organisational structure of the church: a strong leadership figure with middle management organising the mindless workers. Just as Henry For said:
“Why is it every time I ask for a pair of hands, they come with a brain attached?”
People felt neglected, worthless, untrusted, abused, and their productivity deteriorated. Not to trust their will to work became self-fulfilling prophecy.
Business has changed a lot, first with many tailored and more humane versions of Taylorism, but today, we are talking and implementing Holacracy. A self-governing company built around trustful relationships. This brought back much self-worth to all participants by giving a leap of faith to everybody – just as God does to us.
Longevity is a major undertaking in medicine as of today. People believe that life expectancy can be dramatically expanded, and soon, death can be conquered. There are several paths to do so. Genetic engineering (CRISPR), nootropics, human intelligence, the marrying of humans with technology as cyborgs, and the download of human consciousness into computers. (We are not talking about doability or morality here, just about the underlying desires.)
The last enemy put under Jesus’ feet will be death, and he is our physician. There is no sickness nor disease that has not been conquered at the cross.
Romans 8:19 tells us that the whole creation yearns for the appearance of the sons of God. The bible also tells us that Jesus is waiting for all his enemies to be put under his feet, and that he then will return. Further, we are called his body, therefore featuring his feet. We are to put all his enemies under his feet – enemies he defeated some 2000 years ago.
Will Jesus return to conquer death as the last enemy? How could he if he only returns when all his enemies have been put under his feet?
Is it then our chore to conquer death? I believe that there will be a company of Sons of God (Rev 12:5), a many membered child, that will conquer death and usher in Christ.
Will it be through medicine? It might well be, as we are to govern all creation. It might be purely in faith, or a combination of both.
The church is waiting to go to heaven, yet in Revelation, the city, the new Jerusalem is coming down to earth.
The church looks at the universe and talks about the splendid abundance of God, who created a whole universe as a habitat for humanity. Confining us to one planet, and then taking us out and destroying the whole thing, making a new home for us with a mansion for each of us.
The world wants to fulfil God’s purpose and govern all creation. Including outer space. Conquering planets, harvesting asteroids, traveling at near light speed to places no man has ever gone before. Who now is more true to his own purpose?
But let’s come back to earth.
We are building self-driving cars, autonomous planes. We are building share economies where we will not own a car any longer, but call one when needed.
We are building virtual and augmented reality to reduce the need for mobility, as we will be able to meet up without actually being there, to cooperate without the necessity to travel.
Philipp was translated from the road called straight to Samaria with no vehicle and no time loss.
This has been mimicked in Star Treck with a technology called beaming.
I believe that we will translate from place to place just like Philipp. And since we will be in God’s will and work together with him, it will be at will to where we want to go.
The world wants to decouple work from worth. At first, physical work became worth less and less. Now, even white collar work undergoes the same change.
This even more with automation. Many jobs are lost to robots and artificial intelligence. And not only conveyor belt production line work. An AI is searching laws and researching for lawyers more accurately than a human researcher does on average already.
Work has been assigned to Adam in the garden, true. But his value and his earnings have never depended upon this work. Until the fall.
We live in a restored world – we just have to put the curses and the enemies underneath Jesus’ feet.
The world tries to eliminate cash – for surveillance means. It also tries to come up with alternative forms of salary – like unconditional basic income – to replace the money for work model. Soon, money will be eliminated all together in a democratisation process making basic needs free and freely available in abundance.
But what will be man’s motivation then?
Adventure, the urge to discover. His purpose: to subdue all creation.
This could be extended to many other trends happening right now. Just think of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn as ripoff of the Body of Christ, the most beautiful network of relationship and co-work that will ever exist.
The church fights all this. Their lens on the world is tainted. Their understanding of Revelation and Daniel and the olivet discourse prevents them from seeing a bright future. Everything is mistrusted, from the devil, and therefore of no good.
Are those technologies good and healthy? Most probably not. But they are a deep expression of even deeper desires of mankind. Some are poorly executed, some are absolutely non-biblical in nature and underlying principles, some are inspired.
The church has to learn from those trends. We are not to embrace them, but we are to meet the underlying needs and desires.
So, instead of being afraid of Erdogan, yet excited because we can leave this planet soon looking at the things transpiring, we are to take up our assignment and further the Kingdom. Be the answer to both the needs and the desires of mankind as the only Jesus that most will ever see.
Read the signs of the times. What do you think?