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PROFILES OF PROFANENESS
AND PURGES OF PEACE
MESSAGES IN MALACHI
Mendacity does not Meet with the Messiah
the Messiah Merges it with Dust
WHAT OUGHT TO BE
Let us begin with Malachi 2:
"If you will not take it to heart to give glory to My name,
says the Lord of Hosts,
I will send a curse upon you."
Made by God, man is mandated to be a responsible agent on the earth, sincere in his fealty to his God, his relationships with others to be in the form divinely made. Having been given liberty to distort, reject, disrelish or hate God and His ways, and hence others whom He has made, men often opts for explicit rebellion against God, with a variety of free selections of mistreatments of his fellows. As to the former, the madness of a construction seeking to conquer its maker becomes a mere commencement to the carnage; for it means not only external war with God, but also internal war on what you are. Thus both your being and its source are subjects of your war. In this case, man is by no means insulated through insincerity, formalism or tokenism in his religious attitudes and ineptitudes. Indifference is only an indirect mode, involving lèse-majesté, and invention of gods or ideals from the inner space of one's mind, or that of another, is mere imagination running riot, another form of rebellion against its maker.
With Israel the case was even worse, though not much worse than that in many parts of Europe, America and the former British Empire. It had a covenant, not merely the creation covenant which confronted the first man and woman, to which the willowy wisdom of man is again beginning to point - but that of a redemptive character, one freely opted and adopted as you see in the last Chapter of Joshua, and that in very searching circumstances.
If however some other nation, as with Britain and Australia, for example, has had its laws formulated on such a basis, at the first in our own case, and long ago in that of Britain, and if again in the latter case, a national Church has been ordained to represent the nation, what of the parallel to Israel there ? Has not each of these two nations tasted amazing wealth or power, on the one hand, and prosperity and - relative to much of this world - peace on the other! To go forward into oblivion now, it is an unsound choice. It is like being an orange tree, and having the top of the tree move forward to the trunk breaks and it spills onto the ground.
Yet this advance into estrangement from God in Britain is one which has been pursued for many years, even the Chunnel a mere prelude and symbol of the Europeanisation of Britain, so that now it can be COMMANDED to provide means for homosexual persons to live conjointly in the Army, on pain of ...? not this time an invasion by Hitler as the price of liberty, but of confrontation with a European conglomerate. Was this what was fought for ? In Australia, in a substantive parallel, long have children been subjected to forcible indoctrination with naturalism, as a train of thought and training in science, and in this State of South Australia, it has the pretty addendum that students may neither have creationism reviewed in science class, nor argue with rational force to establish related matters in religion, in this field.
Muted and mentally molested, they become subjects of a militant State. If, like the USSR which could refer to other Communist atrocities in other States, excuse in sought in what some others are doing, this is irrelevant. For Hitler to invade Austria and Czechoslovakia is no kind of excuse or explanation for invading Yugoslavia.
Repetition of evil by many, does nothing to sanctify any given case; yet such an irrelevant posture is one eagerly sought.
Thus on the one hand, the young are given, with unblushing unscholarliness, a route march to the indefensible mental modelling in radical evolutionary myth*1, that can face no challenge even from scientific method*1A, for they are simply immersed in its miasma like dogs in a fog; and on the other, they may not answer rationally even in science, despite their being so young, for it is verboten, in a way unknown to science in principle, or in other domains. In the science cases, it is excluded; in other subjects, as to creation, its decisive defence is not allowed. So truth lies fallen in the street, and inequity rules*2.
So does intellectual terrorism with tax aid, reign over the young.
You say this is too much ? It is; such things should never have happened where youth is cared for, or truth. Yet if by this, you meant that the terminology on terrorism is unwarranted, one must take issue. When one is young, and not informed, and religious issues like this arise, involving the ultimate meaning of creation and method, and hence the ultimate powers back of ourselves and our lives, and some Hitler or teacher in some strange variant of nominal democracy, some Mao or some Stalin, or some modern invader, bashes your ear with his or her ideas about these things, NEVER supported empirically, NEVER based rationally*3 to withstand rebuttal, then wisdom has ceased. The young mind is confronted, then affronted, ideas of logic are twisted, scientific method is aborted, a rustling in the reeds like that of a snake is found and poisoned barbs draw near to the flesh.
If teachers are unaware of what they do, is the result changed by that ? If the State authorises such action, theirs is the greater evil.
Have you ever been young ? If when you were young, such things as these being taught, were to please your ego, forward your own violent designs, immoral lusts, because of the implications of its field, then you gain a specious but actual advantage in privilege, over those who find it disgusting invention. If, when young, on the other hand, you were to find its bombast ruined your dreams or insulted your ideals, affronted your mind whichever, there is a war in you or on you or even through you, poor puppet of the irrational passions of someone else.
In the young interior of your soul, you conform, lose marks, or else act speciously, citing the unbelievable with some show of plausibility, though holding in disregard and contempt. Many may do this, for value added in the form of extra marks comes from conformity in science when this field is in view; and violation is merely extended by the consideration that empirical facts refuse to mingle with theory. This setting is therefore an outrage, a comedy and a tragedy mixed. It is the first, because it is premeditated inculcation of a personal religion, added to science and in the name of science, to take over by force the thinking and acknowledgement of work from the student. It is not a matter of reason; it is one of authority; it does not admit argument: so it is violence.
It is so not only openly but with appalling subtlety; for because of these methods, enshrined in a curriculum, some resent, reject, detest these ideas, or are slowly fried in its sauces by long habituation, before their thoughts have had time to form. Unlike presentations, to take a parallel, in the case in a Church, there is NO LIBERTY to differ, diverge and formally adopt a different course, far less have provided any literature and teaching aid in it, in the sincere pursuit of a divergence from the official line. That many famous scientists, recent and classical in their innovative fields, agree with such creationist children does nothing to make this case of mandatory mythology on the part of the State, any better. When such things appear in the State's schools, deforming the character of information and scientific method alike, there is provided courtesy of State care, an harassing violence to matters mental, sacred and secular alike.
If this presents a delusive force, a reluctant conformity, or even an uninformed basis in the child, and awakens emotions of a negative kind, then into the whole conspectus of conscience, thought, understanding and orientation there comes a thing of terror, a wild and ornery grossness which is the very essence of terrorism.
It is not unknown. Long have the Communists used mental devices, prohibitions and inhibitions, before physical torture, to imbue their victims (those living in their lands) with their values, ideas and schemes, their schemas and their plots, happily terminated in the most famous case of the USSR around 1990. This which may be seen in kind at least, in no small part of the Australian mainland, is no better, except in this, that it is only in professional domains that the liability is felt. Students are not put in prison for non-conformity or physically tortured. To be sure, they may have to avoid an appealing career, because of this violence, unscholarly dictatorship, unrealistic romancing; they may be marked down and lose a University place. Still, harassment to non-conformists in the field of authoritarian pseudo-science, does not extend to the rattan, or the inquisitor, as occurred in the case of Romanism for centuries.
Like the Inquisition, however, in the religious body which left biblical discipline*4, this governmental schooling imperils integrity. Surely it is a good test; but it is bad education.
It is invasion of those whose thought and understanding, not to say methodological fidelity cannot be maintained without loss or compromise; and where uncompromised, whose honours are missing, whose thoughts are ridiculed, or whose projects are disenabled, as one has seen in person, even at the teaching level.
This is merely one element in the increasing force in the land, a more immediately practical one, which would make immorality moral, morality immoral and truth an abomination. Thus we move toward the concept that to condemn what the Bible does, as immoral, IS itself immoral, since it violates someone's feelings. Yet biblically righteousness exalts a nation, and to be condemned for reminding it, and seeking its gain, is a delusive and dynamic thrust of more terrorism into the land. DO NOT voice your beliefs, even if they involve no violence, but only the statement of reasoned, religious truth; do not EXPRESS yourself publicly, but batten down the hatches, and submerge or become a criminal, a subject of fines, of social molestation. In vain is there protest that academic matters are protected; there is provision even in the Commonwealth formulations in this type of liberty, for what a reasonable person would think. As noted*5, in history this sort of appeal has had some grisly interpretations, as kindred passions have moved people to follies almost unspeakable.
The cases need not be extended. As the land moves morally backward into this forwardness for anti-biblical passion, thundering in reverse gear, straining the neck, and sanctions it in various educational and social manners, never with sustainable rationality*6, so it begins to resemble ancient Israel the more. While this, our land was not subject to a covenant with God, as Israel was, in a specific sense, it was nonetheless the recipient of such laws, morality, attitudes, perspectives at the official level which, however poor the practice of many, helped to shape its progress and lead to measures of diligence and self-control. It certainly led on to wealth, as did the lesser but still far from minor moral commitments in the United States Constitution, to which was added an immense input of Protestant religion, biblical emphasis from Britain.
Moving to manipulate the nation, so that in the USA certain moral matters become WRONG, ILLEGAL, such as in California, those concerning the anti-physical considerations of same-gender marriage, is thus a thrust so violent, so total in the land, such an upside-down turn-about, that the place no more has the implicit and often explicit testimony of Jesus Christ, to provide. This, at many earlier times was not so greatly muted, but it has been taught and wrought in society vastly. This current mood and mode, including the moral input in this field from the US President, is deranged from this dutifulness, distanced from this orientation, so that unless it stops abruptly, this its defilement of direction, it becomes a venture into explicit rebellion against God, moved in the modelling sanctions of society.
Many have been the preliminaries. This is merely the tip as the iceberg reaches further south, to the chilling hearts that despise their own design, ignore the verifiable and validated*7 word of their Creator, and bring their nation to the point that contrast with many other nations now degraded, becomes more and more difficult. IN GOD WE TRUST ? The gods of naturalism have no go; but those who follow them have places to go, alas; and nations likewise. A warning is the work of a friend!
To be at war with God is worse than fighting Hitler, Mao and Stalin at once. It means death. It may take a while; but when it involves something comparable in part to a divorce after marriage, as to no small extent in these nations, and some of Europe, and when in addition, there is the moral swagger to call these things right, which vitiate both reason and reality, while executing a withdrawal from former occupancy of design, duty and practicality, with a take-over for new occupations forces, at one and the same time: then the case becomes decisive.
These things may help one see the extreme step which ancient Israel had taken, and to bring a better understanding, by comparison with things to which one is more accustomed, to the words of Malachi 2: 2,
"I will curse your blessing. Yes, I have cursed the already, because you do not take it to heart."
These were directed to the priests, those instructed, who backed off from giving glory to the name of God, either making a new one from their arrogant minds or defiling the name of the actual one by their deeds (as in Zephaniah 3:3-5, Isaiah 1).
Now one might wonder in what way these things represent what ought to be: they do this, however in terms of NOT TAKING to heart the covenant, thereby indicated, the real relationship to God as distinct from certain formal flummeries which taken alone (2:3), are but forms, and do nothing to removal rebellion of heart, of spirit.
But now we come to things more direct. The Lord looks back to former times when the priest was a moral beacon:
"The law of truth was in his mouth,
and injustice was not found on his lips,
He walked with Me in peace and equity,
and turned many away from iniquity."
People OUGHT to be able to find the law from his lips (2:7); but the priest of Malachi's day was more likely to "cause many to stumble at the law"! They had "corrupted the covenant" of their foundation and made themselves contemptible.
They were practitioners evocative of contempt, of a contemptible servitude to sin. The Maker of Life becomes therefore alien to them, and as they proceed, alienated from them; and only by massive action on His part is their any hope; and this, it does not involve changing the truth, but making a painfully beautify way open, to come back to it. The cost however for Israel, as currently in many a nation going the same sort of way, mounts! Let us consider further what the nation was then doing.
THE THREE TREACHERIES
Indeed, the land of Israel at that time had "married the daughter of a foreign god".
Here is a different perspective. At times as in Ezekiel 20, Israel is seen in womanly mode seek virile love from other peoples, meaning that its religious vagrancy had led it to accept other religious masters, gods. Here however it is seen as a suitor FOR a woman. This time Israel as a man is looking about for himself, seeing foreign maidens (gods, goddesses), products of their basic religions, countries with this or that adaptation, variant or version of various nature gods and myths. Then, finding some version attractive, equipped with the right amount of desirable languor or whatever other feature is being sought, the nation 'marries' this daughter of a foreign god. It is so with a nation, with an individual, for the treachery to the given truth is of a kind.
Marriage being the figure, the fixture becomes adultery; the religious meaning, idolatry (2:11), the cavils become casuistry, the inveterate hunting, unsustainable lust. Whether the one who teaches or learns, be astray in this way, this lordly lapse warrants action, just as in normal marriage. Treachery in Israel to its Founder and Maker, its deliverer and God, becomes like a searing lust in marriage, devoid of reality in its lunge from the beginning, to the futile furore of the end. Nor is man outside Israel different in principle, when finding the answers, he disdains them, looking askance, he ignores them, finding his will, he deploys it, as if the world were a sheep-farm, and he the owner, manager, disposer of events. Nor is any land different, when having savoured and in some cases even been founded with high regard for truth and biblical revelation, its grounds and attestation, it then slumps like a drunk at the whirling wheel of a car destined for disaster, and weaves its way to sinuous and equivocating ruin. The mode is as popular now as it ever was in Israel then.
Nor is this enough. In actual physical marriage, which is far more than this, but does involve two visible persons, there can be an abominable heartlessness, just as at the spiritual level, there was a defiled and defiant spirit towards God in Israel, now so precisely paralleled in so many countries and culture and leaders, for whom faithfulness is abandoned for fecklessness. In Malachi 2:14, we see that men were actually marrying, proceeding with all the responsibilities and labours involved, in a duo, and then, in unspeakable selfishness and amorous autonomy, actually divorcing their wives, forgetful of the faithfulness of the wife of youth.
How could such abominable misuse of women be conceived! What is this but a treachery to the woman, as to the Lord, who made marriage with a godly offspring in view (2:13-15). In making man, the Lord had not finished with the creative thrust of His Spirit (2:15), for there was a residual creative intention. In so making woman, He had in mind a loyalty as an example, as a bond for function and as a beauty for service, as the young were nestled, nurtured and educated: but what now! Self-indulgence makes ruin of the social marriage as of the spiritual one. They are two counts down and falling!
Treachery is becoming the name of the game, and this provision for the imagination at the expense of responsibility to woman and child is a hateful thing (2:16), an affair of (manly) violence. Where of course a woman has a social chance to do just the same, just the same applies to the result, since marriage is a joint affair with a joint purpose as defined by the Lord, and apparent to the eye for the next generation, which in this way may fare not only badly, but worse than the present one, so assiduously seeking its ruin, whether alert to it or not.
Nor is this all. There is even abroad a spiritual verbal disease, the decease of a lively spirit. People, even priests, are beginning to become wearisome relics of the joy and exuberance of life. It is wearisome even to God to be with them. They mouth their fallen words, like someone, in modern parlance, dribbling out words from one corner of the mouth, while having the other one filled with a half-smoked centre for drooling, a remnant cigarette.
"Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord!"
So they speak.
This may be the cynical utterance of those who say, "Go for it!" when anything to one's material advantage is in view, morals set aside. All but incredible corruption, then as now, makes many rich, and as they break laws and connive together for profit, it seems to the listless who hates self-discipline and has no love of righteousness, that their riches are their reward, and forgetful of the meaning of life, they imagine that such wealth vagrants, apt to evil, slow to do good, consumed in spirit and empt at heart, are being blessed by God, despite the contrary message of Psalm 73.
This is a shallow rejection of the meaning of self-discipline, principle, love and mercy, in the interests not only of short-term gain as a measure of godliness, but of corruption as irrelevant. In ANY action, the moral, ethical, religious, psychological, personal and responsibility elements are THERE, ignored or not. To measure on such a lean and short-term measure as power to manipulate goods is meaningless, a sop to the soiled spirit; and so they speak without knowledge, of hollowed-out souls, emptied to gain, and gaining emptiness for their acquisitiveness.
It goes further in its lounging tongue-lashing of this price of liberty, its possible misuse: yes, such people are even saying that God "delights" in unwise warpings for riches, and embarking on an indirect confrontation, they chide, "Where is the God of justice!" They lampoon, scorn with scathing echoes of the first words of the devil to man, as in Genesis 3, Has God said! Rejection is as ripe as a rotting fruit, and its odours are as cunning as the clandestine move of the fox in the fowl yard. They pass over reason, they ignore impossibility, they lord it over any god, they have truth while they disown its basis, they have reason while they refuse to use, the exploit the magnificent ingenuities of reason at work in their own bodies and minds, as if nothing produced it, or it came in stages from nowhere, needing no reason to arrive, and so in self-contradiction, they flourish for a time, like a run-away horse on the roads.
This is the third treachery, the philosophic rejection of the value of truth, peace, the beauty of holiness and spiritual meaning in life, in a cynical sophistication that sees only the surface, with sceptical sallies at the very nature of test, liberty, love and character, as if life SHOULD be measured in terms of pleasure and power! (cf. SMR Chs. 3 - 4). What is a test for if it, does not admit of violation ? What is liberty if it cannot be used ? What is life if it lacks liberty ? Where is love if liberty cannot be found ?
What is such a blind measure of life to record, if sickeningly slick misinterpretations of the whole point of it can ooze out in this manner, implicitly congratulating their loss with wry grief, delinquent substitutes for the zealous people of lively character and deep-set values, that God desires and life, even eternal life can find!
In fact, life valued with such a criterion is a farce in its very model, a comic caricature that has wealth and power for glory, the price of their acquisition left untold, the fate of their idolatry unimagined, with blind eyes watching a wicked world, like a child thinking that having more ice-cream is the greatest, and that others who do, are the dream of life.
It is as if such children, or those of such values, now grown older, come to pretend that crooked paths pay cost-free dividends, that sin is substance, greed met is praise given by God; but since it is not so, and those who so speak in slanders of God, are treacherous to truth (as in Malachi 2-4), they merely malign its Maker, imagining a model which suffers evil to be run for it, to constitute its reward, not to be met by its peaceable provision for pathology. Instead of using these facilities, relentlessly ruinous, in its twisted pleasures it pursues its detached life on a moral credit card, that can never be paid. Repentance both for the crimes of guilt in guileful and lawless grasping gain, as by the wicked, being no less needed than for other sin, spiritual, moral or psychic, as with all such labours in delinquent diversity from the weal of the Creator, what if it still lacks ?
Then and therefore, at length the self-made victims are paid the wages of death. It is BECAUSE this is not what life is about, indeed, that such vilifying of God and departure from truth is even engaged in, in a kinky kind of implicit morality. Disdaining absolute truth, they proclaim their wares as if with it, defend their wretchedness despite its accessibility, ruined by theories of the mind, disparaging its Maker and elevating His product to the realm of knowledgeability in a dream that knows no end, but just and due judgment.
The idolatry implicit where procurements equal praise, and that as if by God, where success in low aims machinates to its satisfaction, is only one more offence. Here indeed, this time, is a third divorce, that from the very mind of God, articulated with insistence, pursued with presumption: indeed they lack even a distant awareness of who He is and the purpose of life, its nature and its wonder, mistaking the rind for the kind, and its trip-wires for its glory. Does he who "does evil" then gain a divine praise because his objectives are low, and does God delight in empty options because ogling their gains hypnotises the unholy! (cf. Malachi 2:17, Psalm 73:15-28, 37:16-24, James 5:1-7, Isaiah 3, Matthew 5).
Three treacheries therefore make a mess in the land, like a violent fever, the spiritual, the marital and the mouth that defiles life, slandering even the mind of God before whom the fashioning of liberty liberates love, and tests enable testimony, the fallen resembling falling stars that flash at night, glowing without glory, mere meteorites that flash as they go.
This is what is. We were beginning to see above from Malachi, what ought to be. The difference is that between settled splendour and beneficent beauty and ogrish ugliness, between moral vigour and appetite, and the anguished littleness of self-centred souls that have no light, strangely shimmering in the darkness of tedious thoughts, tired minds and uninventive understanding, dismal, dim, distant from all the abundance of life. The three treacheries, along with the personal atmospherics and hypocritical formalism, in unison make for a bath in hot asphalt. Who can long bear it! Here then instead of a light and aid from God through responsible and prepared people, settled commandments, a known way, an access to wonder, a route to realisation of truth with delightful intensity, what do you behold ? You find exposed cynical, spiritual roués, men of the world, defiling the name of the living God, while even USING it!
Does this exculpate those who have not accepted the word of God, or those in our own generation whose nations have never nibbled, or nibbled but little at the loaf of life, from divine condemnation, irrespective of their morals and ways, whatever their nobbled life style and preferred social standards, personal abuse of conscience and suppression of the same, often mixed with loud careers of oppression and visible misuse of force ?
Far from it, for as we see in Malachi 4, the day of the Lord is "coming, burning like an oven." It will meet "all who do wickedly" as fire meets stubble, so that "the day which is coming will burn them up."
There is no racism in morality. Have whatever skin you will, the judgment is the same. Human racism is the ruse of reaction. What however is it but that last resort of the deluded, who imagine that some kind of all-race humanism is the answer. Yet it is the foul thing it is because it sets man as such, against God, or else even refuses to see Him at all (as in Romans 1:17ff.), and seeks to resolve racial diversity of culture by uniting all against God, a denominator deplored, if not in war then as a common discard, or to have various symbols of little meaning while the major emphasis is man, himself a mere product, even if one of an exalted kind, in that he may know God.
Will those who NEVER touched the Lord,
lands of this kind, societies, communities, cultures, be exempt because their
wicked neglect of the Lord, as His light has spread these millenia, has been
more consistent, be in better case ? Is entire negligence a court of
appeal, or persistent delusion a handy barrister for excuse ? Hardly. While it is treachery to play the
fool with God, coming and going like an hysterical dog, it is worthless to
ignore Him, like a stray who wants his own way. The result in the end is just
THE SOCIAL SIDE AND SLIDE
Thus, just as there is a completeness in judgment against the revolters from and revilers of God, as in Malachi 3:5, so is there in Isaiah 24 a similar case for those who simply would not heed.
In Malachi, we have this:
" 'I will come near you for judgment:
I will be a swift witness
Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans,
And against those who turn away an alien,
Because they do not fear Me,' says the Lord of hosts."
On the other side, for the whole world, we find this in Isaiah 24:
"The earth mourns and fades away,
The world languishes and fades away;
The haughty people of the earth languish.
The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants,
Because they have transgressed the laws,
Changed the ordinance,
Broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore the curse has devoured the earth ..."
From the first there was a way for man, trust in the Creator, attention to His word, acceptance of His wonder, persuance of His provisions, delight in His presence. It was broken, and it needs to be healed. If in the process a man or woman or a nation or culture becomes thrilled with the options of desire, be this physical or metaphysical, mythical or magisterial, it is merely a format for the same rebellion, if not wrought as with the first pair, from innocence to guilt, then from failure to revolt.
Thus it moves, and if one were living in Sudan, or India or China, in Iran or much of the Middle East one would be less inclined to share with the cynics, as they ignore their Maker, and inflame their passions for a passing touch of this or that trivia. One might instead consider how near some of these things come to the invention of hell on earth, yet without its full force, since on this earth there is yet hope, and in the Gospel there is yet access.
Yet it is ghoulish and ghastly, the rape of the earth, with misguided illusions, all with that one common denominator, they will not trust Him who made them, brought salvation to remove their devilries and delusions, ready access to the penitent and eternal life to those who receive the salvation which delivered itself, walking into time, in the Person of Jesus Christ. God was not slack, but He sent Him, on time at the time appointed (cf. Highway of Holiness Ch. 4). Man is slack, if he refuses to meet Him. Slackness can move from seduction to its children with horrendous ease. It is necessary to repent, not refuse.
Thus in Hebrews 12:25 we find these words of warning and encouragement alike:
"See that you do not refuse Him who speaks.
"For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth,
much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
whose voice then shook the earth: but now He has promised, saying:
'Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven;
"Now this, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain."
There are things that can be shaken, and there are things that cannot. God always remains as He always was, and His pathways, His ways are everlasting (Habakkuk 3:6); yet for the penitent and those who receive His action in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, He never fails (Zephaniah 3:5). If we have to be as spiritual athletes, spiritual soldiers, yet never such an Office as this! If the way is narrow, it does not end; and if the challenge is great, the God of all greatness is greater. Moreover His commands are not grievous, and in love they are to be tested always, for God is love, nothing to the contrary having life in Him; while what insists on removal from His premises, or living apart, cannot know it, for it is His alone, and any separation from its source at last must and does foul the residue, which has no life, an assemblage of resultants, those of one own fragmentation or those adopted from another. Cut branches are like that (John 15).
While millions rue the conflagrations whether of Communism or Islamic militancy, extant since Muhammad invaded Mecca with force and imposed religion, of baseless opinings or exalted concepts of various kinds and faiths or dis-faiths made in man, a factory ingenious, splenetic, frenetic, ignorant in its pretended wisdoms, they see standards abused, rapes of protestors reported as a refined torture in Iran, devilries with dissenters, operations not quite mystical with votes, all for a most exalted cause, some zealotry or other: till the tears at such vile triumphs make many wonder WHY! Why indeed, is evil to be protected by religious veneers, when it is God who insists on that respect for His creations which does not make the case worse, by venerating their fallen opinions and fatal, frenzied creeds, but requires blood of the hand that sheds it, and provides rebuke for rebellion from the zealots who invent religions and ruin for man.
What does it say in Isaiah 24:2 ? It is this.
"And it shall be:
As with the people, so with the priest;
As with the servant, so with his master,
As with the maid, so with her mistress
As with the buyer, so with the seller,
As with the lender, so with the borrower
Ás with the creditor,
so with the debtor.
The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered ..."
What does it say in Psalm 2 to this point ? It is this.
"Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing ?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and His Messiah, saying
'Let us break their bonds in pieces,
And cast away their cords from us.' "
Cited in Acts 2, this has been the harassment and the unyielding encounter of many; but in the end, when liberty has had its due occasions and love has presented its sacrifice with holy hands for millenia, when the time is ripe as Peter exhorted, saying that the Lord is not slack concerning the Lord's return, but for Him in this patience, a thousand years is as a day, then it comes. You see it in Psalm 3:9.
"You will break them wiht a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel."
This is what comes after the Lord begets from death (Psalm 22) in resurrection (Psalm 16 predicts this), this same Messiah, when time is up, when the punch-drunk must become sober, when love having done the utmost (as in Psalm 40, Isaiah 52-53), truth must rule and justice be dispensed. Nuremberg was but an image. "Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him" (Psalm 2:12), so "be instructed you judges of the earth." God does not long to judge but to show mercy (Ezekiel 33:11, Jeremiah 48:30-36, 51:9); but when it is dismissed where He may be found (Isaiah 53-55), it is but vanity and provocation to try to drag it where He has not appointed, as to direct His majesty.
The time is coming, says Isaiah 24, when "the earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly", as in Haggai 2:6-7, and Hebrews 12:26ff., before its final demise (II Peter 3). Kept perfectly stable by the creation ordinance and divine protection (Psalm 93:1), yet for the sake of judgment, it will be shaken, removed and replaced (Revelation 20-21): and this by that very divine hand which, in prodigious energy now found locked away in atoms in no small part, made it. The earth is thus ESTABLISHED so that it cannot be moved; but when the One who established it, wishes to end it, that is his option. You can have a car of remarkable self-maintenance; but it cannot stand your own removal of it in a compressor!
How many nations have suffered, been devastated in places like Sudan, Cambodia, Vietnam, and how many millions have been used to populate the soil, in the USSR and China, and how much devastation has now twice, in less than one century, been visited even on Europe as its religion both strays and decays, and how much more is needed in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Africa more generally with its Aids and famines, lawless moralities and illusionist ideals, rampant in many, like a burning fever! It is time to turn, for the day is far spent and the night is coming in which no man can work (John 9:4). It is better to have HIS light before that happens!
There have been episodes, and now the scope is enlarged and gets its last times gloss as one finds in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, with tempestuous forces released, waves roaring, horrible sights, earthquakes and famines, a returned Israel to its land and humanistic self-centredness invading even the churches in many cases (cf. II Timothy 3).
THE INEVITABLE JUDGMENT
All this forms part of the inevitable judgment resulting from the multipartite zest for reviling, defiling, annihilating the things of truth, morality and divinity. To be sure, annihilation is more in spirit than in substance, for always, God remains (Zechariah 9:6-10); but here indeed, it is the thought that counts! Violation in heart still counts for the doing of it, when the hand is bound!
Nor is this merely an escalation. There are two major developments, one seen in Malachi 3, before such a thing comes; and slow is the Lord to anger, and longsuffering to the point that you have the cynics trying to equate His patience with indifference or lack, despite the judgments already.
If the divine judgments are less, where is HE! they whine.
If they are more, then - Why does He so afflict! they rage.
But His ways are eternal, and He moves mountains for faith, and imposes them for the frenzy of dis-faith, dissidence from His holiness and indifference to His truth, constitutive, gracious, realistic, unchanging, beautiful in power, merciful in application. If the waters flood for years, is the sudden breach a surprise ? Once again, no breach, and they complain; too soon, and they complain. It is God who remains, and His righteousness, and the joy of His people, an everlasting joy (Isaiah 51:11, I Peter 1:5-8, John 16:22 ), that remains. This world demands payment often enough, for the difference! It does not like the joy in Christ. There is challenge, often confrontation. Such is its test.
The two developments of major and normative divine revelation are as proclaimed for millenia, yet the former for way over three millenia, and this contained the kernel and forecast of the latter, now applied these two millenia.
What was the former covenant, revelation, promise to man ? First as a basis for praise, an exhibition hall for the word of God, there was a chosen people for the task. The revelation, equipped with power on display throughout their history, came into being as the Old Testament or Covenant. Through the gift to Israel, this had a base in divine blessing and deliverance, famous in the Exodus from what then was the mightiest, molesting power on earth, with the grant of the law, and the way to walk with the Lord. This included references all but innumerable, direct, detailed, arithmetic, localised, generalised, in terms of power, peace, pardon, presence, incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, concerning the Saviour for this world which would bring an international felicity to every one who seeks (cf. Isaiah 55, 42:6,49:6, 11:10). Enclosed in this Old Covenant was in bud, the new, to bloom not only in word, but in the Person of Jesus Christ, the like of whom this world has never seen, nor could see, since there is but one God and this is His exact likeness, set as a man to bring to man by one vested with his own format, all his need.
This done we now have the application ... the Gospel till He comes (Acts 1:7ff.), in termination procedures.
The second development, then, was found in this same Jesus the Christ, foretold, forerunner in resurrection, procurer of pardon,. Here was the incarnation of the deity, once for all, without precedent, without succession, to die once for all, to cover sin for the penitent who receive Him: God as He is, without human alteration, adornment or moulding. He is offered to all and found by those in repentance, having faith in Him and His redemption, who find in Him a companion of eternal might and intimate glory. It came in the Christ, Jesus, at the date appointed (cf. Highway of Holiness Ch. 4, Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 2), the place cited, for the reasons given and with the power on display.
How great can become the human revolt ? It is enlarged with the disposition to dispose of BOTH of these revelations, the first an introductory and specialised covenant to emplace the Messiah, and the second a generalised covenant for the whole earth, through the work of this same Messiah. Yet this earth, this world through Israel and Rome, at Calvary, misplaced the Messiah, who nevertheless in forgiving grace, was still open to all, until the final judgment. Indeed, to this day of writing, He still is and continues to be, until He comes (I Corinthians 11:26, Acts 1:7ff., Matthew 24). So is the Old Covenant enlarged with the practical fulfilment of all it proclaimed.
WHAT IS TO BE
In what way is it so enlarged ? It is NOT with the rejection of the reality of the first covenant (cf. Genesis 12:1ff., 17:1-8), with its unconditional apportionment of Israel to its land, subject indeed to dispersal for sin, but restoration because of grace (as in Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 32, Romans 11 with Luke 21:24). Whatever is not fulfilled, will be fulfilled, message of Christ in Matthew 5:17ff.. There are neither exemptions nor exclusions. God from the first has appointed a geographical site to a named people for a stated purpose (Genesis 12, 15, 17, Isaiah 43:21, Deuteronomy 7, 12), and a coverage in advance of coming history, including their removal from that land for rebellion culminating in the murder of the Messiah. and restoration in the times of the coming of the Messiah (Ezekiel 36-39, Hosea, Romans 11, Isaiah 49, 65-66, Micah 4). This is His divine symphony, and not one jot or tittle will He alter, having already (cf. SMR Chs. 8, 9) brought back the people, while delaying a little their repentance, as in Ezekiel 37 (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 10).
Then, after so long a time (cf. Hosea 1-3), the Spirit being sent forth to their hearts, at last comes the generation to repent at His death at the hand of their nation, with that murky Roman aid, turn from His death to pardon in His life, so much later (as in Zechariah 12-13:1), and after so long a time.
Thus the First and preliminary Covenant has many consequences. Man is not limited in rebellion to any one nation. If some rebelled at this point, others at that.
That is the early point. Take the Madrid Quartet. Woe to it alas, it is an exponent of this humanistic grilling of Israel, drilling, reduction, majestic arrogance of others nations to settle its affairs, dispose its borders, slice its city, ignore their Maker and His word. They ignore what the Lord has said. It is becoming nearly universal, this thing. Always, however, as in the case of Egypt oppressing Israel, God keeps His plan; and here it is to protect an exiled, disciplined and returned nation with His own power, who keeps His word (Joel 2:11, Micah 7:14, Isaiah 65-66, Ezekiel 36-39 cf. SMR Appendix A, It Bubbles ... Ch. 10).
That is the first fundamental resistance to the covenants of God, where of course the Arab and the Islamic peoples are most forceful, not to say violent, in their continual schemings and workings to eliminate Israel, as if the mere language to that effect were not a vainly inflammatory fireball. Now they are joined in this by Iran's playful-seeming toying with words about its increasingly near nuclear capacity to remove Israel; which it might indeed have been able to do, if its chief enemy were not the Lord, who being omniscient, almighty and writer of the script, may elect to use the evil bent of man to accomplish His purposes with a facility of wisdom which is awesome. Though never inducing it, He can simply utilise its follies to secure the exhibition of the final wisdom to His glory, and the joy of those who believe in Him, through Jesus Christ.
This was in essence the plan at the time of the Exodus, and it will so act once more (cf. Ezekiel 38-39, Micah 7:15ff., Romans 9:15-17). If madness murders the mind of man, God is able to use the possessed, the proud, to expose their own folly and bring salutary light to the winding mind of man. So He did; and so statedly as in Micah, He will do once more, pity at our plight active with realism concerning our need: the Gospel constantly in all this, available as ever, and mercy without price in the only One who EVER came to this earth and put on display IN PERSON, the power, purity, nature and grace of God, with neither impediment or inaccuracy, failure or fall, even Him whose goings are everlasting (Micah 5:1-3, John 8:58).
This brings us to the other mode of rejection, which is final and functional. Israel in its culminations from the first covenant, leading on to their inclusion in its fulfilment in the New Covenant in the predicted Messiah, Jesus Christ, that is the one.
Now the other arrives to our eyes, unlimited in its application to all races. It is the meeting of Christ with the mind and heart and soul and life of mankind.
It is the pure presentation of Jesus Christ Himself direct, even Him who, as predicted (Isaiah 42:6) IN HIMSELF IS THE COVENANT. Of this, Lord willing, more will be said in the next Chapter; but for now, one notes that it is He who constitutes the character of divine offer, being the exact image of the divine Person, eternal by nature and the very Word of God in personal form (Hebrews 1, John 8:58, John 1 cf. The Bright Light and the Uncomprehending Darkness Ch. 10).
It is He who is the "Messenger of the Covenant" - Malachi 3:1ff., who is like a refiner's fire and a launderer's soap, who came both to cleanse and to pardon, but to be withstood by none. It is He to whose hands, once pierced in love's plan of atonement (Psalm 22, Matthew 27), as He was put to death in hatred, yet should would and did overcrow the thing in grace by bearing sin, even of His oppressors, indeed for as many as received Him, to whom He even conferred eternal life, physically rupturing death in attestation (Psalm 2, 16, 22, 72, Isaiah 49-55, Zechariah 11-13).
This involves an offering advent, and a judicial one. There are these two. The one is past.
That is the offer in compassion and kindness.
The other is yet to come. That is the judgment in the finale when faith being rejected, pardon ignored, grace despised, reality dismissed, it is ... the only thing left. This you find in its final unleashing, like a bush fire invited for years, accepting at last in some black day, lit by fire, black with smoke.
The first advent, as predicted centuries before, came to the sacrificial death so exceedingly closely predicted (Psalm 2, 22, 16, Isaiah 52-53, Zechariah 11-12 and so on), leading on to the people of Christ, called the Christian Church, though many are the predicted frauds in this matter, since the devil is an ingeniously intricate, deviously insidious contender. Often the most effective assault is from within; he has specialised in this, but as Paul declares, "we are not ignorant of his wiles."
It is like being a batsman, and being acquainted with the bowler, his mind, his techniques, traps and sudden assaults. Christ is adequate for His Church, but HOW it is tested! But then, so is a good aircraft design, very often, in the wind tunnel.
The OFFERING ADVENT is now past these two millenia. The JUDGMENTAL one is close (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
Malachi 3 deals with the former; Malachi 4 with the latter. These are cumulative divine operations, and they involve what might be called ...
THE CHANGELESS STANDARD
You meet this in Malachi 3:6. The statement is clear and simple, and the implications are deep. Having announced His intention of sending "the Messenger of the Covenant", and making the rhetorical question, "Who can stand the day of His coming!", the Lord indicates a purge, a moral-spiritual assessment and confrontation to come, and we have touched on the exhaustive character of this, in THE SOCIAL SIDE AND SLIDE, above.
Israel, the nation of the day of Malachi, is here precisely in focus, as when one adjusts a lens for a special focal point.
In view of the rigour of that coming examination, in fact conducted by Jesus Christ at His coming in confrontation with a false Judaism, bent to kill the Son of God, God makes an elemental declaration. I DO NOT CHANGE, He states. This is not at all difficult to understand. It means that there is an everlasting, beyond-our-transient time durability and immutability about God which is beyond any approach of the declines and deviations, oddities and developments, envelopments and groans of our world. It is He who imposes these results of sinful abandon (Romans 8:17ff.), and do nothing to bring deterioration or defilement to the Author of man who is the derivative who through liberty becomes the author of sin through desire.
If it were not so, with God over all, and if He could be changed, then He would of course be subject to imposition from outside, or incompleteness on the inside, in reality or potential, which would indicate a GIVEN nature into which He was growing. If ANYTHING however were to be GIVEN TO GOD, then the one who did it would BE the God beyond all, donor of anything. We would in such a case merely be talking about something in mind, not God.
So He does not change, logical with that perfect comprehensibility which is a glory of His self-declaring truth, declarative with that directness which leaves nothing in doubt. It is He who is the basis of logic, and to our minds it is granted as a resource and recourse (cf. Isaiah 1:18, I Peter 3:15ff., Romans 1:17ff., John 1:1ff., Proverbs 8).
God is unchangeable, change-free. What of this ? In Malachi 3:6ff, we then learn that there is a result of this fact. Since that result is relevant to the message which is here being brought by Malachi, the basis for it is given: that is, that God does not change. It is not only a fact, but a fact relevant to results to come.
What then is this result ? It is this: that Israel for THAT REASON is not burnt up, is not irreducibly ruined, is not a mere mesh of radioactive bits, a graveyard forever. With all the evils already outlined, one might well have expected that this would be the case; but it is not so. BECAUSE God does not change, therefore Israel still is. It still exists. Promises have not been broken, once divinely made, assurances to Abraham and Isaac, to Jacob have not been voided. The declared plan of Genesis 12 has not been rescinded, there has been no breach of trust. God is reliable, even faithful, and faithful (Revelation 19) is His name!
Thus HAVING SAID that He will rescue Israel in the end, as in Hosea 1-3, as in Micah 7, as in Deuteronomy 32, as in Isaiah, in Jeremiah, in Joel, as in Romans 11, as in Ezekiel 36ff., HE THEREFORE WILL DO IT. As He declares in the prophecy through Joel (2:11), "Strong is the One who executes His word, for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible, and who can endure it!" Only those who have His cover (cf. II Corinthians 5:9-11, John 5:24, Isaiah 51:11, Psalm 32).
Why then is this so, that they are to continue and not be quenched ? It is because HE DOES NOT CHANGE. He said what He would assuredly do, in promise, being of this mind; He does it being of this mind.
It was an unqualified announcement, offer, donation; and it WILL BE DONE. Pardon would come: it WILL come. THEREFORE they are not consumed. How could they be, unless He changed. This He does not do. Hence that, what He promised, is what He does.
Accordingly we have it clearly put: BECAUSE I do not change, He says, YOU are not consumed.
If He lied, if He were subject to moods, if He were to decide like some politicians, to show the REAL personality after hiding it, if He grew up or down or laterally, in spirit, and changed His metaphysical make-up, if He drifted or became imperious or determined to violate what He had held dear: then Israel would have no assurance, guarantee. Since however GOD DOES NOT CHANGE,
ISRAEL IS NOT CONSUMED.
That is what Malachi is used to declare in this first part of Chapter 3.
This has nothing to do with their conduct, for since "the days of your fathers you have gone sway from My ordinances, and have not kept them" (3:7). Instead, it has to do with the fact that the Lord delights in mercy (Micah 7:19ff.), that the wicked when turning from his way to trust in the Lord according to His word, will find abundant pardon, and that this being an unchanging reality, it is assured.
The fact remains that this is what Israel meets: "Return to Me, and I will return to you." He has not changed.
How glorious to find this not only as a once in a time offer, but an enduring one, as long as the Age of grace lasts, and judgment has not yet come in its finale. What a joy for the Jew! What a hope for the Gentile (Isaiah 11:10, 42:6,49:6, Jeremiah 16:19-20)! What a balm for the human race, as many as DO come.
Even for those who do not come, in view of the fact that God is on record as desiring the reconciliation of ALL THINGS to Himself, whether these be in heaven or on earth (Colossians 1:19ff.), there is a mercy in this, prodigious in kind, that they can have the liberty to look on it, and if so moved take it.
As to that, God NOT changing, this being His nature, both what He is disposed to be, and is, THEREFORE there is no lack in the love that urges to come. On the contrary, His foreknowledge is the guarantee that to what love is, they may indeed come, and while the sleazy dealers in hypocrisy will never be mistaken for coming by the discerning eye and mind of God (Matthew 7:21ff.), and coming is no slippery slide (Matthew 7:15ff.), but a constrained matter involving real repentance and realisation: yet this is available as in Proverbs 1, and foreknowledge means that there can be no mistake.
TWICE HE COMES, ONE DOWN, ONE TO COME
In Malachi 3, before this statement of immutability, we have the account of His coming to discern, to test, to confront, to come suddenly to His temple, as the Messenger of the Covenant, unendurable in the very blaze of His truth, exposing, but when all is said and done, not bringing destruction since His unchangeable grace is such that this is done minus the ruin that sin deserves. Till flesh is coming close to being past its time, like a baby post-time, post-mature, man is given scope; but when there is time no more, then judgment sits.
In Malachi 3, we find the arrival of the Saviour, not yet to burn what insists on a career as spiritual rubbish, chaff, being cut up by this world and its desires, but to burn with truth into the very heart, sparing none, revealing all! Such was indeed His coming (cf. John 2, Matthew 21, 23, Luke 11, Matthew 5-7).
Like a refiner's fire, for all that, a launderer's soap is He, as one who purifies silver, a swift witness against corrupt riches as social exploitation, as indeed He was, as you see in Luke 15:19ff., Matthew 23:17ff..
The fire of His eye, the justice of His heart, the perception of His Spirit were such that the only escape for the priests, and many of the people, though mercifully by no means all, was this: to kill Him.
This, duly, they did. As for the chief priests, they did it ON PRINCIPLE (John 11:46ff.), a principle of self-preservation which blew their city and temple if not into atoms, then at least into Roman atrocities and abundant destruction. All these results were as foretold, and when foretold, and where foretold, and why foretold. He was ABHORRED by the operative authorities (Isaiah 49:7, cf. Luke 23ff.) , despised by the arbiters whom God had already warned in the prediction of Psalm 2, (because they feared and envied Him (John 11:49ff., Matthew 27:18); but this was the divine wisdom at work so that He might be crucified by them, in their midst, in the most public way possible, within demonstrable illegality, without equity, Himself the ultimate butt of oppression. It was that He should do this, suffer this, bear sin for those who would repent and believe despite all the shame on His name that they had poured, and yet, and yet ... "make intercession for the transgressors" even as He was being killed.
Love is not a luxury but the most fundamental reality with truth and mercy, yet it is as it is found in the Lord, who thus displayed its colours and took no shield to His sacrificial dealings, clean in concept, pure in heart, effective in deed, forgiving even when ON the Cross, one who had just finished reviling Him, since this one both repented of his past life and believed in Him next to whom he too was being crucified, though for a very different reason.
Thus did the "Messenger of the Covenant" suffer, as prescribed in Isaiah 52-53, as sin-bearer, not indiscriminately let us always remember, for our God is precise, and when He covers, it is irreducible (II Timothy 1:7ff., Romans 8:29ff., John 5:24, 4:14, 10:9 and vv. 27-28). In truth, He was offered to all as usual in Israel with the annual sacrifice (cf. I John 2:1-2), but received by those who alone would be covered (as in Deuteronomy 29:18ff.). Faith is always required in dealings with God (Hebrews 11:1-6), and saving faith is the relevant one here. Those for whom He was delivered up, actually yielded up their sins to Him, for otherwise they would die with them (John 8:24), there being no conveyor belt of faith. To these "all things are given," even those for whom in reality and in faith's operative sphere of relevance, He is "delivered up". Such is the message of Christ as of Paul. Without faith, it is IMPOSSIBLE to please Him, and the rich in spirit are sent empty away!
In Malachi, this messenger of the Covenant, in Isaiah 42, the One who also IS the Covenant, so that only in receiving HIM can you receive the covenant, appears the same one as the Angel of the Presence, who accompanied Israel in its journeyings as specified in Isaiah 63:9 (cf. Exodus 14:19): and what mercy is His! Thus in Isaiah 63, we learn of the "lovingkindnesses of the Lord", indeed of the "multitude" of these, saying "Surely they are My people, children who will not lie," and this was not all. "In all their affliction, He was afflicted, and the Angel of His presence saved them."
In His love and in His pity He brought them both out and on and into the land promised. It was precisely this disposition which was made manifest later when He actually BORE in penal servitude of Spirit and body and mind the lashings of sin, the piercings of its pollutions, at the penalty level, though nothing could penetrate His purity. This burden He bore, indeed afflicted with their affliction. There is no greater degree to which this is possible; there is no further avenue for love to present itself in the salvation of the lost; and this is already a measurement of the magnificent magnitude of His lovingkindnesses, so that if any still reject such a saving Sovereign as this, then their hearts deny to themselves pastures of peace and adorable goodnesses in the very God of their creation.
Such has been the predicted and fulfilled way of the love of God, and the Holy Spirit has applied this word and the results of this work to millions over millenia now. But let us return to Malachi's review for Israel of his day. In this first coming of Malachi 3, although piercing, penetrating and in spirit unavoidable, yet there is the hope of a good outcome, for
"He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver,
that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness."
Many priests did indeed come to the Lord, despite the role of the misled chief priests in the murder (Acts 6:7). Yes, a great many of these received His salvation.
Yet, how often had the many yielded simply to more transgressions. Despite such a blessed time as Isaiah 63 declares, almost abruptly after it, indeed, we find these words - "But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit."
How many were there wobblings (II Chronicles 36, Ezekiel 20).
It is great to read in Malachi 3:3, therefore, of this offering up of themselves as living sacrifices, being purged of their sin, on the part of many, very much as in Romans 12:1-2, a message for one as for all.
But what of those who did not yield, using disfaith as a shield ? Accordingly, truth had no more to cover them, and mercy no more to shield them, and judgment came in successive impacts over time, despite His tremendous and enduring mercies before this actually happened in the destruction of Jerusalem. It happened once. It happened one generation after Christ's atoning sacrifice, still headily rejected by the nation.
As to the former destruction, even when on the very brink of disaster, they were again offered through Jeremiah opportunity upon opportunity. Yet they rejected it and would not hear (cf. the moving approaches in Jeremiah 13:15ff., 9:1ff., 17:19ff., and again in 38:14ff.). Even then, as you see in Jeremiah 1-17, more and more were the multiplied opportunities, for king and people, if only they would repent and return.
But they did not then, and Jerusalem went. The nation did not again repent, after one whole generation following the murder of Christ; and again Jerusalem was destroyed, this time more thoroughly and for longer and with more humiliation.
Even as the prophet Malachi predicted the coming of Christ to rebuke sin and open eyes, in Malachi 3, so came the offer.
As Malachi declares concerning the same waywardness: "Return to Me, and I will return to you," in 3:7.
But alas, as visible in Malachi 3:13-15, instead there is only the national response of a resolute rebelliousness. It is this which became manifest, at the time of the crucifixion, in the high priestly party, and it was given power through that weakness in Pilate in his enablement of their plan of vice, considered in Ch. 4 above.
Meanwhile, we see that mode and mood developing, as in Malachi 3:13-15.
God remonstrates with them in their folly.
"You have said,
'It is useless to serve God:
what profit is it if we have kept His ordinance'. "
Indeed, they pursued their acrimony,
we call the proud blessed,
for those who do wickedness are raised up.'
'Those who tempt God go free!' -
they flung these thoughts to the heavens!
Be careful what you say, for if in a fit of dysfunction of your mind, and solace for your wandering soul, you chuck choice words to the skies, consider what you do and to whom, and what He has done for you, whether you have seen fit to take it or not.
Remember the lavish luxury of God's offer in Proverbs 1, where if you but turn to Him, HE WILL MAKE KNOWN HIS WORDS: what marvellous free tutorials! Remember no less the result of refusal, as then shown later in that same first Chapter; and that in Proverbs 8. There, it is the keenness of those who wait daily at His doors which is lively and blessed, while ALL those who hate Him, "love death". You either HEED or do not FEED, and in relegating the wisdom of God Almighty to disregard, your contempt speaks in your actions.
What is the use of distancing from life's source! It is like entering the Artic because Spring is too good where its atmosphere is balmy!
So we turn from His FIRST ADVENT, born babe in Bethlehem as predicted
(and WHAT a splurge of excited refutation would the sharp-eyed critics have had if He had been born elsewhere! - they had motive and means aplenty to attack wherever they could),
He arrived in our world. In this, His coming was not to judge (as in John 3:17), but to expose, and the judgment was UPON HIM.
What then of His SECOND ADVENT, coming to judge. To this we have already looked, a day when the proud will burn like stubble, and those who do wickedly with them. Root and branch will be their extirpation as in Malachi 4, and of this we read in Psalm 73, 2, 110, Micah 4, Isaiah 2 and I Thessalonians 3:13 and Revelation 19-20. Here is the result of the rejection by many of His first coming: then it was eye-opening; now it is that ultimate response leading to judgment according to truth. This comes in the end, when mercy not merely at a discount, but relegated to a mindless oblivion, an utter dismissal. Malachi 4 leads our eyes to that end.
For long His mercy was active. You see this at the end of Malachi 3, when the abominable words of 3:13-15 are tauntingly sent up to the very heavens. Yet even here, because HE DOES NOT CHANGE, yet mercy is active, for He delights in it.
Thus in Malachi 3:16-18, we find those who DO NOT AGREE with the cynical slitherers who defile the name of God in their impetuous impatience and unruly impenitence, grouping together. This they do in order to make a testimony to the contrary. Instead, moved by the love to God, for His faithfulness to His truth, they write "a book of remembrance." They declare themselves, make a testimony, refuse to be counted together with the dissidents, the deviants from truth and doctrine, the slitherrs and the bold.
The Lord too responds. Thus we read:
" 'they shall be Mine,' says the Lord of hosts,
'on the day that I make them My jewels,
and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him,' "
so here is parallel in Malachi 4:2ff..
How so ? It is because even as the day of judgment comes in indisputable fire and burning, in that Chapter, there is the provision for those as in Malachi 3:16ff., "who fear My name." What then for them ?
"To you who fear the Lord,
the Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in His wings,"
just as indicated in Matthew 13:43!
How revealing is this healing, in His wings as was the place for the chickens called this comfort by the hen who, having long called her chicks (Matthew 23:37), at last has them tucked away, where they belong.
Then and for them, the cynical maladies are past, no longer to be borne, for
"you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked,
between one who serves God and one sho does not serve Him."
The substitutes for thought and understanding just cited earlier in Malachi, will be obvious as such, just as they were to righteousness and reason before; but now, it will be as starkly apparent as is the sun!
"Then the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear,"
Rejoice therefore in the truth, and delight in Him whose it is, and do not grow weary in well-doing; for God is a God of knowledge, and great is His lovingkindness, pure His heart and kindly is the desideratum for the hearts of all His people. Blessed are such who so come, for these shall see God!
On this point, see especially, Secular Myth and Sacred Truth, Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming, Chs. 4-6.
Se .SCIENTIFIC METHOD...
See these things in TMR Ch. 8.
The gods of naturalism have no go!
SMR and TMR, esp. TMR Chs. 1, 7, SMR pp. 140ff., Ch. 2,
Deity and Design ... and
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
Who Answers Riddles
and Where He is, Darkness Departs
Bible or Blight, Christ or Confusion:
The Comprehensive Resolution of Man's Intractable Problems
is Found Only in the Bible, the Word of God
See SMR pp. 96, 345, 734, 809, 844-846, 903-905, 923-924, 949-955, 969ff., 992ff., 1033-1041, 1088G.
See also Ancient Words ... Ch. 14.
See *3 of The Face of God ... Ch. 6, and its context, which gives data on the governmental approach. A small quotation from this endnote follows.
Not only does Stephen's death, in the situation of fury of hurt feelings and inability to answer in reason his inspired rebuttal of their challenge, show the prevailing sentiments of the people. It also illustrates the need for more care when dabbling in social dynamics; it is Christ Himself who is the very criterion of goodness, both saying and doing what none other ever did or could (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 2, SMR Ch. 6, Magnificence of the Messiah, Christ the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 8).
This was one evil surge amid the people, resulting in stoning. Did they admit even to themselves, that their failure to prevail was relevant ? Was it not even worse than this, for was not a woeful warranty for the sense of outrage reasoned about (John 11), in terms of social dynamics!
Such things in spirit are not by any means the sole prerogative of Israel. What abominations of hypocritical formalism and furies of torture have been inflicted even on fraudulent religious grounds amid the Gentile peoples! some indeed, not only in spirit similar to those of Israel in its worst and lowest hour, but evilly inflicted ON them, even while despising them. What heroism in such heroics, what exploration of the depths of the pit in such Gentile behaviour!
It does not, however, have to be practised on the body. Taunts and discrimination, affront and fraud can be practised quite well even in a modern, Western style democracy. Censorship of what may be said, or preached, or put on the internet is now moving in just such directions, subtly but yet for all that, with a clarity all but too horrible to contemplate, in official legislation.
One has had occasion to review this issue before, in News 145, from which an excerpt is taken, below (adapted for this purpose). The issue was one of censorship, a close parallel to personal censorship in terms of fines or other acts so readily becoming the artifices of exclusion.
What is 'likely to be objectionable to a reasonable adult' is the phrasing reportedly used by a former Attorney-General, in a Murdoch University speech. There was an endeavour, on the point of freedom of speech, to mitigate the huge power to discriminate against matters that MIGHT upset some, such as questions of religion and other deep subjects. Certainly, these might thus be FORBIDDEN, and action taken against offenders. But, for all that, it was put, there was a limit.
If they felt that a reasonable person would permit it, it would be permitted. Reasonable! what criterion of a changing culture is this, that those who deem themselves of such a hue, have the power to determine and judge and assault those who speak with their laws and criminal-voicing speech!
Under these circumstances, this 'reasonable' concept tends to become the criterion of liberty, as sure as the winds, as secure as the waves, as ill-defined as the clouds, nugatory, nebulous, nubilous extravaganzas of unholy humbug, waving phrases, not praises, and making the very waves the ruler.
Did reasonable men make Hitler ruler ? sustain him as he advanced ?
Did reasonable men seek to exterminate the Jews to the extent of some 50% of the world population, and continue it for years ?
Did reasonable men twist the thumbs, crush the bones and extort 'confessions' from countless impoverished and persecuted victims, in religious persecution during the Inquisition in Europe, and continue such things for centuries ?
Did reasonable men put millions of kulaks into Siberian torture and deprivations unspeakable, over years of horror, because they had the eminent crime, a matter judged to be so, by those who doubtless deemed themselves, reasonable people - of having farms ? …
Did reasonable men make thousands of slaves, and make them work, after kidnapping them, in conditions often both miserly and inhuman, or deem them 'something else' than human ? actions which whole sophisticated and civilised nations by repute, engaged in over long periods of such insensitivity and closed thought as makes one more amazed than does any atomic bomb!
At their time, such people, were they not of this persuasion ? Is superiority to become a criterion of judgment, then, for this nation ?
We are too good, perhaps, to be so duped ? Delusion frequently precedes destruction, and elevation, depression.
Are we then, even in Australia, to make hay while the sun shines, even if it be of the skin of the backs of those victims assailed by agents of the so noble cause of victimisation! Alleged victims on any urbane and inadequate basis, readily become victimisers, and the horrible cycle of subjectivity proceeds to its wanton end.
If the evils are real, so must be the corrections, and not a mere instrument for releasing more evils. Law needs adequate safeguard, if it is not to become the mere agent of sects, sectors and socially charged incursions.
Or again, is the UN notable for being 'reasonable' even though such an appeal is one of its benchmarks ? Look at this aspect which has been little other than a new religion, based on articulated premises, where the tyranny of presumption becomes the assumption for action! What the UN SAYS, like Simon says in the children's game, is to BE religion, under whatever name, and in THIS way, says its own documentation, is the child to be brought up! (See - Mystery of Iniquity, and News 152, especially in these two sites.)
If then the UN is so cavalier in its disregard, and so voluble in the wonder of its good intentions, is anyone to conceive that 'reasonable' as a mantra will secure any sort of safety from statistical culture, divorced from truth, aligned to feeling, enforcing its wishes in persecutions as notable as many in the past. In Victoria penalties can already be severe, take years of labour and odium; and when once a people suffers the merely desired, based on premises as secure as sand, to become the code, then it asks for all that history so abundantly informs it, it will get.
Why ask! there are far better things to ask for, like truth and justice, wisdom and that toleration which fears no truth, and allows truth as a criterion in all things, lest the current psychic twinges and cultural binges become just one more tyrant.
See News 19. Basing morals on desire, statistics, voting, hoping, preference or anything short of an absolute index is mere pretence. What is good and right is as far divorced in thought and definition from what is desired as is wisdom from will. If what is desired were all that were meant by goodness, then the arresting power of the concept of goodness would fail. Contrary to the imagination of some, other people are not endemically mad, while only the protagonist of some view is to be called sane! Confusion of this kind merely illustrates if not a congenital, then at least an obfuscatory failure to see the point of inspiration and ideals altogether. Cynicism no more creates reality than a fog creates a view.
On this, see SMR Ch. 3.
See *3 above.
Deity and Design ... 3, *3, 8,
and What is the Chaff to the Wheat! Chs. 3, 4, 10, 11,
The Bright Light and the Uncomprehending Darkness Ch. 7, with
Let's Be Reasonable, for God is Ch. 2.