A Pivot Point In History!
The last two extraordinary years may be connected to the sweeping purposes of God, and here’s how you can respond to that:
“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” – Acts 17:26
In July 2017 I sat outside The Queens House looking up towards the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, home of the Prime Meridian of the World, the site from where we get Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). It is the place where east meets west and where we on earth interpret solar time and align our clocks. In 1884 the Greenwich Meridian was recommended as the Prime Meridian of the World, the centre of world time and the basis for our global system of time zones.
You could say it is the place where the movement of the heavens are interpreted to give us timings on the earth.
And here I was, on a summer prayer and study sabbatical, looking out from an ancient royal home, toward the place where we look to the heavens to discern our times.
So of course, God spoke to me!
I had been living with a word from God for about 8 months – a word about the significance of the 2017, 500-year anniversary of the commencement of The Reformation – when Martin Luther sent lasting ripples of transformation through the world, simply by questioning the status quo.
In October 1517, 500 years ago, Luther had begun a powerful and surprising work of restoration in the Church, but that led me to ask if a 500-year era might have been significant in history before?
I know that God has often moved in specific seasons, Daniel 2:21 stating that God “changes times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others” and that He “gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.” In Acts 17:26 the Bible says God “determines our pre-appointed times.” I also know that in 1 Chronicles 12:32 it says that the sons of Issachar “had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do.” God loves to reveal His seasons and timings to His people, so is there a secret for us to find in this time?
Seasons and Times
Numbers are incredibly important in the Bible. If you were to read my 2017 book “500” you would find a study of numbers in the Bible. The numbers 3, 7, 12, 40 are all significant numbers that often define seasons, the completion of a cycle or mark the arrival at some pivot point. But did you know the number 500 is important too? And most importantly, the number 500 might well deeply affect your life today, if you are alive anywhere near 2017!
As I have studied Biblical and Church history, it would seem that approximately every 500 years some radical change takes place between God, how He interacts with mankind or how mankind grasps God’s divine purpose.
By this I do not mean that everything changes at exactly 500 years to the minute, as the clock strikes midnight. I mean rather, that God moves like the slow turn of a giant battleship changing course in the ocean, about every 500 years or so. Every five centuries God’s purposes on earth seem to haul us into a new age, slowly carving a new course on the seas of history, the change sometimes taking several decades to emerge. Like a heavy castle gate, swinging slowly on giant hinges, God takes mankind through a colossal historical adjustment that ultimately leads to the unfolding of His purpose for humanity.
Now pause as you read the next line because this is important:
You are alive at one of those turning points in history.
In “500” I take the reader back through eight, 500-year eras, so we can see that something extraordinary has taken place at the five century pivot point, every time:
It’s 500 years from Noah and the flood, to Abraham and his family, and from Moses to David, from the Exile and great national turmoil, to Jesus Himself and the birth of the early Church.
Of course, Jesus is the most obvious of all great pivotal points in our history – when He came He split history between B.C. and A.D., between Old Testament and New, between Law and Grace and between the old flesh and the empowerment of the Spirit! Jesus, the cross and resurrection IS the greatest pivot point of all history.
But this pattern didn’t stop with Jesus and the era of the Biblical writings. It is amazing that Jesus came just after the birth of the Roman empire in 31BC, allowing the Gospel to spread rapidly along those straight Roman roads for almost 500 years! In AD476 the Roman empire declined and we entered the 1000 year long Dark Ages.
500 years into the Dark Ages we find the Great Schism, where there was a break of communion between what are now the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches due to infighting and the politicizing of power and authority across the Church. Then 500 years after that Great Schism, as the Dark Ages were ending, came the Reformation.
The 500-year pivot points are astonishingly clear.
On All Saints’ Eve, 1517AD, after 1000 years of comparative Church powerlessness, a man called Martin Luther was about to become another pivotal character in global history. Luther publicly objected to the way preacher Johann Tetzel was selling indulgences (A supposed way to reduce the amount of punishment one has to undergo for sins) so he famously nailed his 95 Theses to a castle church door, calling for a public debate. His Theses spread across Germany causing shockwaves as he questioned the authority of the pope, a move which ultimately led to a transformation we can still feel today.
Luther was a man of faith who stood against the corrupt political power-game that the Church had become. He stood for the authority of scripture and the idea of salvation by grace. Little did he know that his actions would usher in 500 years of Reformation that would ultimately bring the Church back to her original passion, power and purpose.
Across the last 5 centuries years wave after wave of reforming and restoring power have washed the Church bringing her back to God’s original design. To read more about all this, pick up my book “500” and discover the great pivot moments of history, including how the last 500 years have been an amazing era of reformation and restoration. You can also read the numerous prophetic words from across many decades, about what God is going to do next – the first waves of which are beginning to lap upon the shores of our own lives today.
Let me repeat the thought I want you to grasp from this chapter more than any other: You are alive at a pivotal turning point in history. It is no wonder to me therefore, that difficult global storm surges are announcing the change of eras, like the trumpets of heaven in the book of Revelation. You don’t usually glide into new epochs; historically there is often more of a violent birthing that takes place!
New eras have been accompanied in the past by catastrophic events like global floods, invasions, exiles, conflicts, plagues, wars, occupations, genocide, infanticide, political exploitation, cruelty, murder and much grief.
Yet they are also marked as times of encounter, redemption, rescue, calling, glory, burning fire and blazing mountains, of God coming close and man being graced. They are usually great times of prophetic enlightenment, divine clarity, long-awaited fulfilment and surprising revelations, of healing, restoration, refreshing and renewal. They feel to the righteous as if the accumulation of years of longing, praying, seeking and prophesying, finally burst forth from the heavens and rain on the soil of our suffering, bringing to birth a new day.
You are alive in such a day.
So the great question now is, what comes next? What are the prophets saying now in response to this Divine Reset? This is not just the end of a 500-year era – we are at the BEGINNING of one! What will that era look like? What is going to happen? And what can we do to be ready for all God wants to do?
AN EXTRACT FROM THE DIVINE RESET
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