What Happens During The Second Visionary Call?
September 10, 2021Empowering Influence, Spiritual Intimacy
When Jesus Christ appeared in human history, the first vision of a national response to God’s guidance had deteriorated into a religion of rules and restrictions with over 600 Laws (Jewish Torah). It is truly amazing how many rules can be created to exercise control.
In our last blog, we examined God’s first call to be “My People.” It began with a physical deliverance and 1500 years later ceased to function as a nation. So God promised a New Covenant Vision for His “People of Faith.” (a) [see end notes for all Scriptures] So, what happens during the second visionary call?
When Jesus Christ appeared in History, he introduced the “New Covenant” as “The Kingdom of God.” This call to gather would focus more on what the first experience largely refused: one-on-one interactions with God. This relational response would allow God to write His directives and ways upon their hearts. (b) God proclaimed through the Old Testament prophets that this New Covenant experience “would never end or cease to be in the earth.” (c)
Jesus declared this fresh visionary call was becoming a reality in his day, saying “the Kingdom of God is at hand,” readily available – within your personal reach. (d) Jesus even expressed God’s desire in a prayer; “That we would be as he was,” following God’s guidance while living natural lives. (e)
The renewed vision is described in Matthew’s chapter 13, as: “full of mystery,” (11) yet, “a hearing and understanding that becomes fruitful.” (19, 23) It is “spread as sowing seed” (24, 31) and “expands to affect everyone it touches.” (33) It’s “a costly treasure” (44-46) and can “appeal to everyone.” (47) Yes, God’s Kingly reign in the earth “includes divisions and stumbling blocks,” (36-43) yet our pursuit of its experience “brings righteousness, peace and joy.” (f)
God’s Kingdom is an ever expanding and improving reality that allows for variables and levels of response. This New Covenant Vision did not include a specific place, just “willing hearts” that resolve to live and love as “God’s People.” (g) What a comfort to realize that God is as distant as our fingertips. We just need to give Him our attention.
As leaders of the old order opposed this fresh response to God, Jesus declared Judaism’s stifling oversight of God’s people was ending. He went on to say “that generation” would see the vision for My People, Israel “transfer to a more responsive people.” (h) To amplify they were no longer relevant, Judaism’s sacred Temple and City were destroyed in 70 AD.
God’s Kingdom is an ever expanding and improving reality that allows for variables and levels of response.
Spirit Manages the Natural
Following the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, he appeared with the look and form of the man they had known, yet he was a Spirit. A few days after he ascended out of natural sight, Jesus returned, immersing people in the Holy Spirit. (j) Now they could understand how Jesus would always be with them, “disclosing himself as the abiding Spirit of the Father and Son.” (k) Their perception of Jesus changed from a man of God to the Spirit of God.
Acceptance of God’s presence with them was a vast improvement over the refusal of the first gathering of “My People.” (l) Multitudes responded and allowed God-in-Christ to be an anointing and insightful presence in their various circumstances wherever they lived.
This call transformed perceptions of God’s kingly reign. While it did not include any specific place or one man, the vision was freeing and empowered natural life. For several generations, people proclaimed, “God is with us” and “upset the world’s” concept that relegated God to a Temple or an emblem on a shelf. (m) The vision spread all over the world.
John saw and declared the reality of the New Vision: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them…the first things have passed away…Behold, I am making all things new.” (n)
God created us to live in this world as natural and spiritual people. Everyone has a natural body and a deposit of the Spirit of God enabling us to sense both natural and spiritual realities. We are designed to live as natural people who are led, taught, and disciplined by the Spirit of God.
God created us to live in this world as natural and spiritual people.
Overlords Take Control
For 300 years, people responded to God’s presence as their primary guide and principal source of wisdom. Local men and women, recognized as wise elders, discerned between disputes, just like old Israel’s elders and judges. (o) Believers were godly examples of love and sharing everywhere they lived.
Eventually, teachers began to promote the ways of the world and introduced the idea of bishops having authority over each area. The idea was initially rejected, but eventually was accepted.
In 313 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine assembled the bishops into councils to form an official belief system. All other views and experiences were then labeled heresy. The first houses of worship were constructed and ministers were appointed as spiritual mediators. Once again, a two class society was introduced into Kingdom life.
As reliance on God apart from the official religion was forbidden, the concept of the Body of Christ dependent on “God with us” began to fade from view. The New Covenant Vision of “My People” functioning as God’s Kingdom appeared to be lost as though a veil covered the hearts, minds, and actions of people and nations. His presence with us became a forgotten reality.
As with the first call to gather as a people, we can learn a lot from this second historical response. We want to remember: the first call began with a physical deliverance and without a heartfelt commitment to God they eventually fell into physical dispersion. (p) The second call began as a spiritual awakening and eventually came under religious overlords.
So we ask – will we, as responsive people, ever get this right? Join us for our next blog in this Vision Series, as we dive into the Third call to respond to God as His People.
We are designed to live as natural people who are led, taught, and disciplined by the Spirit of God.
a) Galatians 3:6-9; Romans 4:9-16; b) Hebrews 8:7-13; c) Isaiah 4:2-7; Daniel 7:13-14; 2:35, 44-45; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18; d) Matthew 3:2; e) John 14:3; 17:24; f) Romans 14:17; g) John 3:14-15; Acts 3:19; h) Matthew 21:43; 23:36; 24:34; j) Acts 2:33, 39; k) John 14:21-23; l) Deuteronomy 5:4, 22-29; Exodus 20:19; m) Acts 17:6; n) Revelations 21:3-5; o) 1 Corinthians 6:1-5; p) Isaiah 11:12; John 7:35; 11:47
Keith Carroll, “The Relationship Guy”
Relational Gospel Founder