“And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever...”
- Daniel 2.44
The ancient fortresses of the pagans, to which title had been gained by long habitation,
are empty and without worship like the place where Lugaid dwelt.
The little places that were settled by twos and threes
are Romes, with assemblies of hundreds and thousands.
Though it was far-flung and splendid, paganism has been destroyed:
the kingdom of God the Father has filled heaven, earth, and sea.
- Oengus mac Oengobann, Féilire Oengusso, Irish, 9th century
Oengus was reflecting on the complete victory of the Kingdom of God over all the pagan deities and religions of Ireland in the centuries up to his day. His “Martyrology” celebrates the work of faithful saints who believed God that His Kingdom would grow and overcome all obstacles and opposition to fill “heaven, earth, and sea.”
The Celtic Revival (ca 430-900 AD) is but one demonstration of the truth of Daniel’s vision of the Kingdom of God growing and overwhelming all opposition to bring grace, truth, justice, mercy, goodness, beauty, and stability to societies and nations through the proclamation of the Gospel. Ireland was a wildest and dangerous place in Patrick’s day; but it could not resist the power of the Gospel in the hands of courageous, faithful saints like him.
Why should we not expect the Kingdom of God to do the same thing in our day? The fact is we don’t expect it. Most Christians believe things are going to go from bad to worse, and we just have to hold on for dear life until, just before we’re all swallowed up by the Beast, the Lord comes to rescue us.
This is not the teaching of Scripture, and it is not the record of Church history. Our faulty understanding of the Gospel and of the Kingdom is keeping us from knowing the kind of reviving and reforming power that set the Irish free from paganism and liberated all of Western Europe into the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God.
Why not in our day, too?
The difference between us and the saints Oengus celebrated is they really believed their Bible, and they staked their lives on it.
Psalm 48.4-8 (Cwm Rhondda: “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah”)
Earthly kings, amazed and wond’ring, look upon the Church with fear.
See them flee in dread and anguish, knowing that the Lord is near.
For the City of the Savior God will keep forevermore!
God will keep forevermore!
Lord, give me boldness to believe that Your Kingdom is coming on earth as it is in heaven, and that I have a role in seeing that come to pass.
T. M. Moore, Principal