The New Order

There never was such unanimity of thought and speech in this land as now. Statesmen, celebrated authors, leaders of political parties, bishops and ministers of religion are all agreed about one thing: from pulpit, press and over the air sounds the same voice. There must be a new world when Britain and her allies have crushed this hateful Nazidom; a cleaner, happier, better world, from which tyranny and force shall be driven; in which individuals and nations shall be allowed to live according to their bent; democracy is to triumph and dictators be a discredited thing of history. The same things were said during the last war, only now they are being said with more assurance and greater resolution.

We do not question the sincerity of those who are making these promises, and we most heartily share their indignation against those evil men whose unbridled ambition has laid nations in chains. We also are looking for the age of peace, and that age shall most surely come, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it. But will the overthrow of Hitler bring it in? A multitude of voices answer Yes. But——

Hitler also has a new order in view for Europe and the world, and what of that? His order would be the order of the coming Beast (Rev. 13). He is not the Beast, but he approximates more nearly to him than any other man who has ever arisen to oppress his fellows. The Beast when he does appear on the scene will be devil-inspired and devil-empowered, and will suffer no check. He will be so successful and brutal in his fight for world power that the lesser peoples will say, “Who is like unto the Beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (v. 5); he will persecute and endeavour to exterminate what saints of God remain on the earth (chiefly Jews) and will overcome them (v. 7); he will have power over all kindreds and tongues and peoples, they will acknowledge him as their overlord and leader (v. 8); none will be permitted to buy or sell except those that receive his mark in their foreheads and hands (v. 17); he will banish the worship of God from his realm, and compel men to render divine homage to himself (2 Thess. 2:4), and unite the nations to fight against God and His Christ (Rev. 17).

It is not difficult to discern all these features in a shadowy way in the Nazi leader, only now the Holy Spirit of God dwells on earth in the Church of God and He restrains the full development of this evil order of things but when He is taken out of the way, as He will be (2 Thess. 2:7) at the coming of the Lord Jesus for His Church (1 Thess. 4:16-17), then this “new order” will be revealed in all its satanic subtlety and power, and men will accept it and glory in it, believing it to be the coming triumph of man over God. “Because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved, God will send them this strong delusion, that they should believe this lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2:10-12).

The Beast will continue forty-two month only, then his end will come with catastrophic speed, for the Lamb against whom he will finally match his power will overcome him, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings (Rev. 17:14). The Beast and his ally the Antichrist, shall be cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone (Rev. 19:20). And that will be the end of every order for mankind but God’s.

It must not be forgotten, for God has not forgotten it, that when He sent His Son into this world to reconcile it to Himself and to save it, He was rejected and murdered. The Stone, “chosen of God and precious,” was cast out by the builders of this world’s proud edifice. They could find no place for Him in their schemes for the world’s advancement. There was room for Romans, Greeks and Jews, for Pharisees and Sadducees, for Pilate and Herod and Barabbas but no room for Jesus in their world. And since then every effort to put the world right has failed, and will fail and must fail until He returns to judge the world and to reign in righteousness. “I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is: I will give it to Him” (Ezek. 21:27). That is a word that should cause men to think. We await His coming and should with greater earnestness pray “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

But how will that Kingdom come? Let us first consider what it will be like when it does come. The last words of David, the son of Jesse, describe it. He said, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me and His word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds, as the tender grass springs out of the earth by clear shining after rain” (2 Sam. 23:2-4). This word is confirmed in Isaiah 32, “Behold a King shall reign in righteousness … and the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever” (vv. 1-17). The New Testament tells us who this King is who shall bring in righteousness and rule with justice. There we read, “God now commands all men everywhere to repent: because He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He has ordained, whereby He has given assurance unto all men in that He has raised Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). He is the once despised and rejected Jesus of Nazareth.

There are many glowing passages in the prophets that describe His Kingdom when it shall appear. Let us consider first of all Isaiah 2:1-5. “The word that Isaiah the son of Amos saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the Hills; and all nations shall flow into it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

PEACE will be the first effect of the establishment of God’s new order on earth. No more will the keenest brains in all nations be taxed to the utmost to invent and roll out weapons of destruction, no more shall force be matched to force, and bomb for bomb, and the flower of the race be drilled and trained to destroy one another. That which treaties, pacts, Leagues of Nations, democratic government and all the efforts of well-meaning men have failed to do, will be the first thing that will be done when out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” That word will bring war to a complete end, and nations will set themselves with a hearty good will to transform their mighty, death-dealing armaments into instruments for the universal good. The plough and the pruning-book will come into their own, and men will go back to the land; for this industrial age will give place to an agricultural age, and the great questions of Capital and Labour will trouble men no more. The cultivation of the soil will be easy for the curse that came upon it, because of man’s disobedience and sin, will be lifted. God said to Adam, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field: in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou return unto the ground: for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:17-19).

The earth still groans under that curse, but when the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings, creation will be delivered from its bondage by His beneficent rays: it will cease to groan, the morning without clouds shall break, and toil and the sweat of the face and the fear of death will give place to security, contentment and rest. The prophet Micah tells us this in a refreshing word which he adds to Isaiah’s prediction. He says, “They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it” (chap. 4:4). No words could more fitly describe the change from the old order to the new. Every man will have his own holding, whether small or large matters not, and each will be contented with his lot. I say contented, not satisfied, for no earthly good can satisfy the human heart. They will be satisfied with the knowledge of God, for “in that day they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for all shall know Me from the least to the greatest” (Heb. 8:11; Jer. 31:34). It is when a man is satisfied with God that he will be contented with his lot, and “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6).

Individual ownership will be the order of that day, for the individual will never be lost in the mass. Every man will be responsible to God for the use that he makes of his life and possessions, even as he is today. “For it is written, as I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:11-12). But every man in this new order will be contended with his own holding: each will sit under his own vine and fig tree, no one will cast covetous eyes upon his neighbour’s plot, and because no one will covet or desire to steal, they will not sin against each other and there will be no need for locks and bars, and watchdogs and police; all will dwell securely and none shall make them afraid. The word is sure, for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken it.

But while there will be individual ownership the state will be thoroughly and truly social. Zechariah, the post-exile prophet, adds this beautiful colour to Isaiah’s picture and fills it out. He says, “In that day, says the Lord of Hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree” (ch. 3:10). Clearly each one will love his neighbour as himself, with the utmost sincerity, and not in word only, but in deed. There will be no agricultural shows in that day to show how much better one man can cultivate his land than another, but the successful agriculturist will place all his experience and skill at the disposal of his less fortunate neighbour and will not be satisfied until his neighbour’s fields yield as well as his own. Peace, security, contentment, rest and brotherly love are the features of God’s new order for men. THERE WILL BE PERFECT SOCIAL CONDITIONS UNDER AN ABSOLUTE MONARCH.

I will quote another of Isaiah’s glowing prophecies:

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord; and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid: and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”

The former passage tells of all the weapons of war being beaten into instruments of peace, of all hostility between nations ceasing for ever, in this passage we learn that there will be an inward change in men. The wolf, the leopard, and the young lion will cease to raven of course, but there is more in the passage than that; these fierce beasts represent the lust for blood and power in men, the cause of all the strife, they picture the inhumanity in them “that makes countless thousands mourn,” and the unbridled passions that drive them to brutal deeds. But all that will be changed. “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fading together and a little child shalt lead them.” This will be done by the power of God. Men will be born again. He says of His own people in that day, “I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh … and they shall be My people, and I will be their God” (Ezek. 11:19).

“A little child shall lead them.” It is an interesting fact that the Gospel of Matthew, in which the Lord Jesus is presented as King, there is more said about little children than in any other, and to be converted and become as little children is the only way of entrance into the true Kingdom. The Kingdom will take its character from the King; He was meek and lowly in heart; He never strove for His rights, but was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and was dumb before His foes as a sheep is dumb before her theatres. There never was such apparent weakness as that which was seen in the lowly Nazarene when men rose up against Him; and they despised Him for it, for He was not only rejected but despised of men. If He had defended Himself, or even made an effort to do so, they might have respected Him. But He did not use His power, and the bitter taunt that they cast upon Him as He hung in His last agony upon the cross was, “Himself He cannot save.” That was the jest of Jerusalem on that day.

But that which they despised as weakness, was the very might of God; there and then omnipotent love secured salvation for men, overthrew the dominion of the devil, and gained a signal, overwhelming and eternal victory.

“By weakness and defeat,
    He won the meed and crown,
  Trod all our foes beneath His feet
    By being trodden down.”

Thrice blessed Victor. He went down into the lowest depths, for He humbled Himself even to the death of the cross, “Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name: that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).

What a change, and how completely new for men, when meekness and lowliness, gentleness and trustfulness, the qualities of the little child, lead. In every department of state and relationship of life, when the “meekness and gentleness of Christ” is sought after in every land instead of power and wealth and place and fame.

But how shall this longed-for new order come into being? Not by the triumph and united will of the great democracies, not by benevolent legislation for the poor and afflicted, not by the friendly co-operation of all classes and nations who are sick of war and tyrannies, not even by the worldwide preaching of the gospel. There is only one way by which this change shall come, and that is by the righteous judgment of God upon evil men and evil systems, and the regeneration of the rest. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these saying, “The Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among men of all their ungodly deeds” (Jude 14-15). “Behold He comes with clouds, and every eye shall see Him … and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen” (Rev. 1:7). The blessing will most surely come, but it will follow the judgment. “He shall come down like rain.” That surely means blessing. Yes, but it will be “upon the mown grass” (Ps. 72). The scythe of judgment will have first swept the field.

“The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity; and shalt cast them into a furnace of fire.” The tares shall be gathered together and burned (Matt. 13:40-41). “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in Thy sickle and reap, for the time is come for Thee to reap … And another angel … thrust in his sharp sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God” (Rev. 14:14-20). The Son of Man will reap a harvest of golden grain and gather it into His garner for His glory and everlasting joy, the fruit of His suffering and death; and His angels shall gather from that same world the godless Christ-rejecters, those who loved the lie and had pleasure in unrighteousness, for the winepress of the wrath of God.

The gospel is being preached throughout the whole world to take out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation a people for God (Acts 15:14). All these—all who have received the gospel in living faith—are redeemed to God by the blood of the Lamb that has been slain, and they form His true Church, and before the Lord comes to judge the world in righteousness they will be caught up to heaven out of the world. As Enoch was taken up before the flood, and as Lot was taken out of Sodom before the fire of God fell upon it, so shall the Church be delivered from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10). We read of this in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, and words could not be plainer, “And this we say by the word of the Lord … The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Following that great event, affairs will go ill with the world. Satan will be cast down out of the heavens, from whence he now rules and deceives the whole world; he is its “god” and its “prince,” “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). Then will be fulfilled the solemn word of Revelation 1:12, “Woe unto the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea, for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.” Then will the world feel the bitterness of having turned the back upon God and His gospel and listened to the devil’s lie and served him. The devil can only fight against God through men and with this in view he will give “his power, and his seat, and great authority to the Beast” (Rev. 13), who will be supported by the Antichrist, the false prophet, and the Rome-Jerusalem axis will operate, as inspired and empowered by the devil, to hold the kingdoms of the world against God and His Christ. But who can fight against God and triumph? The doom of these men and all who follow them is certain, as we have already seen, and the devil himself will be taken and cast into the bottomless pit and shut up there, “that he should deceive the nations no more for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:1-3), and finally he will be cast into the lake of fire where the Beast and false prophet are, to be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (v. 10).

Then “the Son of Man shall come in His glory and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another; as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left. Then shall the King say unto Them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world … Then shall He say unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels … These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt. 25:31-46).

Thus will be answered the prayer that has gone up to God from His Church for more than 1,900 years, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In that day the Lord shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. All kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him. He shall deliver the needy when he cries, and shall save the souls of the needy. His Name shall endure for ever, and all nations shall call Him blessed. And blessed be His glorious Name for ever, and let the whole earth be filled with His glory: Amen and Amen” (Ps. 72).

“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way when His wrath is kindled but a little. BLESSED ARE ALL THEY THAT PUT THEIR TRUST IN HIM” (Ps. 2).

J. T. Mawson