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Let God be God
Let His word be His only
Cynicism and Actuality
The cynicism*1 which tends to pervade more and more of Western society, not always in philosophical dress, but simply in emotional ennui, or distaste for the realities while the superificialities may be seduced into substitution for them: it is a thing that has many causes and so too, results!
You can call it Post-Modernism to be modish if you will, or post-Cold-War blues,
or anything at all.
It is however a compound of
and personal affirmation of impersonalism*2,
doubting anything of note of the past, such as
love of God,
and affirming anything that
is other, such as
anti-Jew Palestinian and Islamic rape of what is left of Israel*4,
the International Court of Justice and UN specifications on morals, religion*5,
or anything else
that happens to be seen as 'green',
or that is as to perceptible trend,
new, different, man-affirming and naturalistically*6 bent.
It is modish to have such a mood. Thus you read in the same work of Le Carré*7 mentioned in the last chapter, of the scornful dismissal (in the words of one of the characters, admittedly far from angelic himself) of the odious militarism of some God. Now this may refer to the Old Testament invasion by Israel of Canaan*8, and the help given Joshua for this purpose. Whether or not this is the intention, let us consider such a proposition. Oddly enough, virtually on the same day, I heard something beginning to be a little like it on the telephone.
People seem nowadays very much pre-disposed to having an inoperative, inarticulate God, without even their own otherwise inexplicable spirit, mind or indeed body, and often to resent His DOING anything or STATING anything, for all the world like robbers caught in some castle of a nobleman, in which they are determined to extinguish any and all sign of his purchase of the property, and development of the same. It is THEIRS, THEIRS, THEIRS, and though they have no expertise in making castles whatsoever, this merely seems to make their vociferous contentions the more demanding. Their wills demand what their wills cannot supply, and this is the exact case, for example, in organic evolution at this day, with Stephen Jay Gould and Hoyle pouring contempt on the Darwinian gradualism, and having nothing whatever to the logical point instead.
Let us however revert to the facts about Israel in ancient days. The non-fact stress of contemporary society in the field of religion is endemic, pandemic, irrationality as ruler, and fantasy as king. Let us dismiss these masters in mirage, and return to the actual scene.
A FEW FACTS,
THAT SUBLIME ANTIDOTE TO PROPAGANDA
ONCE God sent a nation to subdue a people and take over an area. In Genesis 15:13-17, God makes it clear to Abraham that the Amorites of Canaan, though wicked indeed, were not yet at that ripeness of evil which would involve condign, divine judgment. He was told that Israel would be absent from its divinely promised land, having to work in Egypt for 400 years; and that then they would be anointed to invade the Amorite's land and bring the judgment of God upon them, for then the "cup of wickedness" of that people would be "full".
This is far from tribal war dignified by attribution of divine blessing. It is a sketch of what Israel would suffer with some servitude for a vast period of time, including their being outside their own appointed land; of what a relevant people on God's earth (this term is used in the literal, creator sense) deserved - the Amorites, and what would thus unfold in their country, Canaan when He rebuked them; of the delay on God's part before judging that erring people; of His patience, and of His plan, when as He foreknew, their laboratory episode in the history of the earth, showed them ripe to be dealt with; and thus their Act V of their drama at its conclusion stage, when Israel would be led by God to take over that land.
It was then that the Amorites would be faced with such a particular mode of judgment. The wheels were in men; the steering and the power was from God!
This judgment on the people of such maturing evil, would consist in an invasion by a divinely assisted Israel, which having suffered itself, would now be used as, you might discern, an annealed steel hammer, to show the wrath of God on such a people as those in the land to be their own. Another mode of judgment was used in the interim, indeed before Israel (i.e. Jacob, by another name) was born. It is seen occurring on another people, namely the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, as detailed in Genesis 18-19.
In this case, so far from the myth of some tribal ferocity impelling some spiritual dead-beats to harass their 'god'( a secular misconstruction of ill-repute and no ground) into invasive activity, to sate lust, the factual case is as far from this as a flood from a puddle. Let us consider the perspectives in view in this situation.
So far from their own desires being sanctified by religious projection, some folly of immature invention, the historic record shows that Abraham was deeply concerned at the increasingly likely approaching devastation even of these two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and reasoned with God in terms of RIGHTEOUSNESS. He learned that this could happen in talking to God, and from this was spurred to open a questionnaire to present to the Lord, while communing with Him in spirit.
Consider now the questions which he asked. HOW MANY righteous people would be in a position to weigh with God, should they be found in the doomed cities, so that He suspend the destruction of the cities, on their account ? Would 50 righteous inhabitants be enough to stay proceedings, to stop judgment of the whole city ? would 45 ? 40 ? 30 ? Even if there were a mere 30, the whole city would be spared. That was the divine answer.
If 30 people have sacrificial status with God, repentant sinners covered by faith, as always, and hence could be deemed righteous before God (cf. Psalm 32, Genesis 22:8ff.), then God would spare the city. Abraham's obvious, commendable and intense desire for sparing what might be spared in terms of righteousness, which of course also includes its fruits in equity and judgment of heart, since the changed heart acts as it is, even if imperfectly (like a sound car, though not perfect): this simple fact shows the precise opposite to the secular postulate.
It is never good to make a theory based on what is contrary to the data on which it is to be built. This then becomes a mind game, void of history but perhaps suitable for those whose minds find no fruitful exercise in the domain of evidence.
Not being so placed, let us proceed. Thus on this occasion God decided, with Sodom, to bring about a devastation, just as earlier He had acted to reduce the earth to near ruin, in the flood (Genesis 6), being similarly concerned at the almost universal, chronic and gutted condition of goodness, while evil activated men like a typist on a typewriter (Genesis 6:5). Then ONCE ONLY in those days, as His word declares, He set about USING a nation, itself much chastened, to bring judgment on those in an entire area.
This nation, to be called Israel, which was APPOINTED to show His name, His word and His ways to the world (cf. Isaiah 43:21), would invade, taking the land promised, and held in view of the judgment about to come on its evil inhabitants, and living it as a people to praise God. Thus, after much FORBEARANCE on His part, amounting to hundreds of years of longsuffering, in a judicious way God proceeded, using Israel, to impart condign judgment.
THE PLAN OF
AND THE POWER OF GOD IN HISTORY
This invasion by Israel, under Joshua came at last. Not remotely precipitate or dependent on swelling emotion, it was postponed because of sin from many (Numbers 14), failing BY FAITH to enter the land at the outset; and Moses himself was not allowed to lead it into that promised land, because he had failed at one crucial point to distinguish between HIS leadership and word, and that of the LORD (cf. Psalm 106:32-33, Numbers 20:3-13). The issues were perpetually and to the utmost degree, what is righteous, what is just, what is godly, what is the way that answers to the holy standards of God, and waits on Him for His direction, even the pillar of fire and the cloud by day, speaking of just that!
It was not an exercise, even to a slight degree, in man's power, or racial superiority. It was a testimony from first to last, and when Israel erred, as when she thought to go into Canaan in the days of Moses, despite not going in by faith in the first place, she was summarily repulsed with loss of life. Moses told them it was useless to contravene the divine decision, and rebuke; but they ignored this and learned the same thing in deeds, which they ignored in its earlier declaration.
When therefore the invasion came, that whole generation having passed which jibbed at it, leaving Joshua and Caleb who had had the faith to enter in the first place, then Joshua led it. Discipline was not just for this or that people, but for ANY people, including Israel, who would not show the sublime mercy of God and His truth and justice in word and deed. Mercy operated; they were not destroyed; but so did judgment, the generation that failed, being just that, and sidelined to their lives were over, and their children then had the opportunity to enter. Being a Jew merely gave them opportunity to enter into the promised land; but the issues were not power, but purity, not aggression but judgment, not trifling but truth.
This invasion under Joshua, it was an amazing work, but it was pregnant with integral meaning in the whole sum and system and plan which God divulged. It was no mere specimen; it was a part of a structure, planned with sublime architecture, for millenia. It is not something to be invented because someone feels like it; it is something which, with its attendant confirmations over the centuries, notably in the exodus from Egypt, was to be understood not as a practice, but as a divine procedure for eventual testimony of truth, demonstration of power and presentation of salvation. To be duplicated, it would require another plan of salvation and another world. In this case, in this world, it was confirmed on all sides for all time, from its inception to the end, which is now approaching for our Age, to all these preliminaries (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
In the interim of centuries, before Israel was directed to make the pre-announced, morally conditioned invasion, it suffered in Egypt, as predicted, the first confirmation. In what way then was there confirmation in Egypt ? Why, in their exit from it, the EXODUS, which was more power-assisted than any aircraft by its after-burner. It was brought successfully and even triumphantly out of the bondage imposed on it in Egypt, long before it ever entered Canaan. THAT part of the prediction to Abraham was faithfully performed, fulfilled and that with a panache, even in the very mist of the intractable truculence of the Pharaoh, almost made with power.
Turned into slaves were the Jews, and that through treachery, by Egypt which had become their temporary host nation. At that time perhaps the mightiest nation on earth, this certainly the most famous empire. Thus God simply used this fact, as an expert batsman uses his wrists accurately to deflect a fast hall, to illustrate His own power, so that it could be seen what was the true perspective: God using His power, after much patience, to direct events according to His word.
Thus there came such a divine order of events and provision of a series of miracles, indeed a program of divine interventions to one purpose, with one method, but variety of species to that method, in the 10 plagues of Egypt: that it has become a miracle concentrate for all time, often surveyed, often ground of reflection on the part of Israel ever since, and frequently in the Scripture (cf. Exodus 15, Psalm 105, 106). It is also used as a standard for reference (Micah 7:15ff.), for the time following the Messiah (Micah 5:1-3), when Israel would at last be finally vindicated not for its own righteousness, but for its own place in the divine mercy, when it returned to the Lord (cf. Ezekiel 36-39).
This is the second confirmation, that even if the greatest power on earth should try to abort God's pre-announced plan for Israel, Canaan, then it would receive what it took, yes even in graciously measured steps until the point was made, until it released the said nation, Israel, so that it could get on with its history, which was to lead not only to its excavation of a PLACE on earth which was to be for its own, in Canaan, but of a GRACE for man, in another but related matter.
What was this second blessing, in addition to its enclave in the promised land to show the praises and truth of God ? It was this: that through one of the descendants of Abraham, by promise, would come a blessing to ALL the nations of the earth (Genesis 12).
How ? How was this to be done ?
The ram which was used to substitute for any sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22) made the point at once, and it had been made long before the long Egyptian sojourn. It was not some sinner who would be the redeemer, for how does what is sinful COVER what is sinful (i.e. the nation, or those of it who repent and believe in and so take the redemption). No, in vain would Abraham even entertain the notion of sacrificing even his own son. Inadequate, futile, undivine in conception was such a sinner for sinner exchange. What then ? In that account, we find firstly that GOD PROVIDED the sacrifice for Abraham, by which to approach God. SECONDLY, God caused it to be readily available, for the ram was caught in a thicket (as Christ was, to fulfil the meaning). THIRDLY, THIS lamb, so caught, was acceptable to the Lord, as Christ was, who being sent for the purpose, was so trapped, His virtue tapped, His power provided, His resurrection confirming His divine status, equal with God, true in word and deed, claim and conversation.
In the case, then, with Abraham and Isaac, it was only ONE ram that was needed to save the lad, and so it was, only one Messiah was needed (as in Isaiah 52-53, Psalm 45, Psalm 2), but He needed to be sinless, as an effectual sacrifice, and He needed to be divine (Isaiah 48:16, where God sends God), so that limitations would not reduce His effectuality for all. Exactly as in Genesis 3, where the seed of woman, though the race was now in servitude because of sin, would break the Evil One's power, so here.
Just as what was not only from Eve but from God would be needed, for sin had brought the whole race under curse, so the cure would not need to be cursed! Isaac as a sacrifice was ridiculous; but MAN as a sacrifice, this was not ridiculous! What would God then do BY a man who yet was GOD ? This was shown step by step, from the first, and to the last, the steps would be followed with more than surgical precision; for the surgeon can fail to cauterise a vein, but God failed in NOTHING.
Genesis 12, from the very first report of the call of Abraham, had made this unconditional promise clear, concerning the blessing to all nations, in terms of a descendant of Abraham. In exact parallel, in Genesis 17, a later recorded conversation of faith in which Abraham speaks to God, who provided the medium of exchange by His Spirit, there is made another unconditional promise, and it is made with perfect clarity: this was for ALL GENERATIONS, this land for Israel (17:7-8).
Whatever discipline because of
SIN would come to Israel (for God has no favourites,
and Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 32
show there would be VERY MUCH,
yet the promise was made and would
be fulfilled (as you see echoed in Ezekiel 36:22).
What then of these two unconditional blessings through, and in the other case, to Israel ?
The first was shown in increasingly detail over the millenia
of preparation for this ONCE ONLY COVER to come from God, this blessing for all
nations, in terms of the Messiah, the divine One, the anointed one, the One to
proceed from heaven in
a prepared body (Psalm 40, cf. Joyful Jottings
The second, then, although unconditional, involved equally divine sanctions against, this time, Israel itself, should it also prove disobedient, should it join the follies of the nations whose land it was sent to take, whose ways it was to be used to reprove with the power of God. In Leviticus 26, you see these mounting in extreme gravity, including exile from their land, as successive sins were envisaged, in something bringing to mind the term SPIRITUAL CYCLOTRON.
Each movement astray would bring the next phase into a more vigorous rebuke, continuing with a dramatic and decisive thrust of discipline, which no nation need envy! All of this was part of the provision, in prophecy, precisely equivalent to what happened in history. What fits these facts is history; and what fits irrelevant theories, is the dunce's cap, based on nothing, explaining nothing, while the facts interlock like the better sort of Summer singlet, with delightful firmness and soundness.
Hence it is not with tribal desire at all, that the concern here is, but with justice, divinity, truth, mercy, sin, judgment, judiciousness, and above all, the divine plan to arrange for a nation to be a repository of truth, an exhibition of mercy, in summary and clear form (Isaiah 42:21), in a way express and certain, continually verifying whether by blessing or cursing, both quite explicit, the divine One and His ways. It has been such that if any outsider wanted to be a member of the so-called 'chosen people', in terms of suffering as a criterion, his sanity might be questioned.
This is where it mounts with wings! into a copper sky. One reason is the intractable unbelief which has so marred Israel for so long, as a nation, that she has become, as God indicated in advance, a proverb among the nations (cf. Jeremiah 24:9, Ezekiel 36:15). Indeed, let us hear the prediction of what some would say of their debacles in the time of their divine rebukes, yes even Israel, which has suffered for centuries, in continuing unbelief in their own foretold Messiah, who came on the time announced (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4).
"Even all nations shall say, Why has the LORD done thus unto this land? what does the heat of this great anger mean ? Then men will say,
Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them: And the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book ..." (Deuteronomy 29:24-27).
For long, many were the peoples who saw the folly of Israel, and sought to make her suffer for it, persecuting her; and in this, they have added to their own vulnerabilities! (cf. Isaiah 51:21ff.). They should have learned what God said and did to victorious Sennacherib, who taunted Israel and vaunted his power, only to be told that God had prepared him for a purpose, to deal with many nations, but now He would deal with Him! (Isaiah 37). Cursing is not an advised occupation for man!
Why, what Israel has suffered, yes they the called nation to exhibit the testimony of truth and the ways of God: this has become horrendous, a parable of punishment, an example of national justice, this time not visited BY them, by again by DIVINE DECREE, upon them.
Thus the secular misconception, like all its brothers, is found on fancy, devoid of facts, not even a significant or in any way useful caricature or distortion of the historic realities, both forecast, and, no less important, fulfilled and performed. Israel was given a place by grace so that the truth should have a site to show itself, a plan to exhibit itself, a confirmation to manifest itself, whether by blessing or cursing, and a history to fulfil in order that a testimony which is given ONCE ONLY to this earth, might be sure upon it. It is the acceptance of everyone who looks; it has no competitors.
Nothing else has evidence, far less an evidential tartan of millenia in this manner, far less one in which justice and judgment on the one hand, and mercy and kindness on the other, show the way of blessing and the sanctity of calling, and the high cost of belittling truth. Only a godly repentance can begin restoration, in which truth supervenes, and pretence and distraction, false worship and feeble idols being seen to be a powerless combination of erratic thought and wild spirit, are equated with chaff fit for wind; while redemption appears in its true clothes. Those ? A necessity so vast for a sin so total, that ONLY GOD COULD POSSIBLY PAY IT.
This then brings to the Messiah just as Israel will shortly be brought to Him in large numbers (Zechariah 12:10-13:1ff., Romans 11), and intense as is the divine insistence on righteousness, here is the satisfaction gained. THIS SERVANT IN WHOM HE DELIGHTS (Isaiah 42:1), despite the inability of all mere men to cope with the demands let alone to meet the cost of paying for the sins of others (cf. Isaiah 41:28-29, 51:17ff.), this Saviour, when ONLY GOD is the Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11), this sinless sacrifice (Isaiah 53), this mutilated offering assailed by men in their sinful seizures (52:12ff.): He, as God does the work of God. As God He is sent by God (Isaiah 48:16, Zechariah 2:8, cf. 3:9, Psalm 45:6-8)
Of gods, there are many, pretentious pretenders who are to meet their own judgment for their arrogant assertions of autonomy (cf. Psalm 82, which dramatises the fact); but as to God, there is ONE ONLY. It is He whether as the celestial el or elohim, both Hebrew terms in rapid succession being used to show that HE ALONE IS GOD (Isaiah 45:21ff.). If you are referring to God, there is ONE ONLY, and if to the plan of salvation, then in strict accord, there is ONE ONLY, and if to the Saviour, there is ONE ONLY. As to God, even in heaven, NONE is even LIKE Him. This One, however, is infinitely like, being a member of the trinity, one Being, three persons, itself (Hebrews 1:3).
Let therefore God be God, for anything else is infinitely, irrepressibly, indefeasibly, illimitably beaten to a pulp like a fly making 'assault' on a spray-gun.
All these things are done in three
ways in the end. First it is in word, when the plan is announced,
and its particulars are exposed clearly to mortal view. Second it is in deed, wrought in fact,
the symbols of words becoming the substance of history. This is not only in details, this or that, but in direction, in dynamic and in overall pageant of performance, like a programmed opera. In this case, it is God's opera, in both senses, the works and the drama, performed with the music of mercy and judgment, wrought with the power which no other has, has shown, or could have in order to show it, taught with the omniscience which by its nature, is His.
This could repose only in one, the infinite one, capable and competent to handle the entire scope of history in general and in particular, so that not one particle of His word would fall or drop.
ALL things He works after the counsel of His OWN will (Ephesians 1:11), so that Christ was not only ABLE to say truthfully, that not one jot or tittle of the law (the scriptures given to Israel) would fail to all was fulfilled, but to see to it in His own history on this earth, that this standard was exactingly met, even on the Cross, even when He was pierced as predicted (Psalm 22, Zechariah 12:10, Joyful Jottings 25), even when Israel rejected Him as pre-announced (Isaiah 49:7), even when they accounted Him among the criminals and so treated Him (as in Isaiah 53:9).
THE PURPOSE AND SUFFERING OF ISRAEL
Thus the deportment of Israel, whether in conquering the land to be theirs, or inhabiting it, or returning to it, is a teaching black-board (or now, white-board) for the Lord, being presented
as a SITE for the EXHIBITION of the
plan of salvation including the PERSON on whom it rested, the Messiah, or
as a SITE for the DEMONSTRATION of
the justice of God, in judging them severely
as a SITE FOR EVACUATION and
ABOMINATION, which was also foretold by Christ and by Moses,
as a site for ISRAEL'S RESTORATION
(in 1948, confirmed in the victories of 1967, 1973,
is a crucial feature of the whole of human history. It is not that the JEW is wonderful; it is rather this, that GOD is wonderful, and has in HIS OWN PLAN chosen this race to do certain things of the utmost moment, and in case any should imagine for one moment that this is favouritism, He has exacted of them what He did of others, yet has insisted that ALL He said concerning them would be FULFILLED TO THE LETTER, which to an almost complete degree, it now has been, the rest being in the exact 'line of fire' of current events.
Israel, and indeed, its relationships from Egypt on, from Canaan on, from unbelief in the days of the prophets on, from crucifixion of the Messiah onward, from exile amid mockery to its restortion in triumph against any possible consideration of statistical 'realities' (surveyed in that sense minus God), is thus a testable signal, like that of so many atomic bombs, bombs of history,
explosions of prediction into fulfilment, of plan into performance, of the word of God into the history of man. Indeed, a the atomic bomb, for that matter, is in a similar category (cf. Joel 2:30 cf. SMR pp. 692ff, 790-794, 803-804).
Indeed, so vast is this panorama of prediction, evaluation, analysis and oversight of the Lord, that it shows that truth, mercy and justice, with judgment when after much patience, required; it shows not only that but the REASONS for it, and the PERSPECTIVE over it, and the EXPECTATIONS OF GOD for all of it.
Not only so, it expresses in word first, then in multiplied deeds of a vast variety of layers, as well as in overall coverage of trend and atmosphere, then in the EXPRESS WORD put into the format of man, the Messiah (as in Psalm 45, Psalm 2, 110, Isaiah 2,7,9,12, 22, 26, 32, 49-55, 60-63), this too fulfilling in fact what was in word but doing far more even than that. It made the plan awake into personal format, allowing the PERSONAL GOD to have personal dealings with personal people, saving such of them quite explicitly and without any priestly order whatever, except in the Messiah's own person, the people of all nations which were to be His, those who would receive Him. To these, as many as came, He gave the authority to become the children of God, as He said He would do (John 1:1-14, Hosea 1, 11, 13, Isaiah 53:6-10).
The endeavour now, as precisely was the case with Pharaoh the Egyptian, on the part of Palestinians a s catspaw for the Islamic followers of the false prophet Muhammad (cf. SMR pp. 1080ff., More Marvels ...Ch. 4), to destroy Israel, now back after the predicted long exile (cf. Hosea 3:1-5, Deuteronomy 32), in the very face of the fact noted in our last reference, that when God sees that the strength of Israel is gone THEN HE WILL ACT WITH HIS OWN POWER to deliver them, is one of the marvels of unbelief.
The blind however cannot see, especially if they close their eyes (cf. Matthew 13:14ff.); and this disease of the heart that manifests itself in the eye, is not limited to Israel of whom God said it (as in Romans 11:25, where it is given a terminus when sight is to return), not to them alone by any means!
Thus Matthew 24 shows that the Gentiles nations will become prime examples of war, hatred, folly and iniquity, unbelief and religious apostasy (cf. SMR pp. 691ff, 699ff.), so scaled human life could not even continue without Christ's own return in the role equally predicted, that of Royal Redeemer over all the earth (cf. Isaiah 2, 11, Psalm 2, 110, Zechariah 14, Isaiah 63, 54, Habakkuk 3), to which He Himself referred in terms of the glory after the suffering (Luke 24:25-26). In blindness will the moves be made (cf. Ezekiel 39ff., cf. SMR pp. 505ff.), hostile and invasive to Israel as has already occurred in 1948, 1973, and in wakeful watchfulness will the divine response be made (cf. Micah 7:15fff.). It is foretold that this will be made in a scope and height comparable to the divine action taken to EJECT ISRAEL FROM EGYPT. This time it is to DELETE the invasion of Israel.
ALL SUFFER, and how acutely in contest with the truth itself, alas, suffer those who reject the ONLY DIVINE PLAN ever made and stated and performed that this earth has ever seen, a plan of judgment and of justice, of mercy and of patience, of personal involvement by God in the paths of a nation, both to bless and to curse, both to foretell and to do, both to speak of love and to be executed in the form of a man, in the execution of that love, that man might be spared. Since faith is not a futile exercise of self-interest, but a confidence in God that communes with Him on His provided access, this provision is not available for plunder, as in the time when Christ came and offered Himself, it is in the last analysis in His own power. In love He seeks; in truth He knows (cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4, Great Execrations, Great Enervations, Greater Grace Ch. 7).
It is all on a prepared and stated basis with a prepared result, in exile, in restoration, in the Messiah, in His death and resurrection (cf. Isaiah 26:19, Psalm 16,22), in the sending of His Spirit (Joel 2, cited also in Acts 2), in the founding of His church (cf. Isaiah 60,66) using Jews not least, in the inclusion of Gentiles in it (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6) in a substantial manner, in the ruin of their land when the Jewish nation rejected the Messiah and in their eventual restoration (Luke 21:24) as the day of Gentile power waned into the coming time assigned for the Messiah as Royal Redeemer.
The milieu for this Royal Return amid Gentiles is foretold, just as in earlier time, was there forecast of the date of the Messiah's advent incarnate, to become a sacrifice and a demonstration of the love of God (cf. Highway of Holiness Ch. 4).
NO DATE however is even PERMITTED (Acts 1), for the date of His Royal Return. Merely its accompanying and definitive circumstances are revealed (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
Rather this coming date is kept under wraps, so that the guilty may be surprised in their predicted unbelief (just precisely as in Matthew 24:36ff., II Peter 3), ignoring the former judgment of the world-wide flood, and the coming of the Lord alike. It is made clear (II Peter 2), that many of these will be in things CALLED Churches, but in fact run by wolves, false teaches. Lack of natural affection and gross iniquity, such as is seen in paedophilia, false doctrine, false morals, false teaching, it is all foretold, has happened, is happening, is increasing, is marching to its inevitable confrontation, not this time with Israel invading the Amorites, but with God in judgment direct!
The truth cannot be tied up, restrained, inhibited; and though Christ had all these iniquities performed on Him, His words endured, His plan was fulfilled, His ways were vindicated, His resurrection claim founded on the thousand year old prediction, was verified, none able to do anything to find the body except those whom He knew. His FORM was apprehended, and His chosen FORMAT as Messiah was killed, but nothing could contain His words, part of which were directed again and again, to indicate to His people that in dying, He would fulfil the plan, in rising overcome the judgment, and give life to as many as received Him.
And where was it foretold ? and what is the world's ONLY BOOK which is verifiable concerning God ?
THE SINGULARITY OF THE TRUTH
There is ONE BOOK (Isaiah 34:16, Matthew 5:17ff.), one history that follows it, that of man, one faith, that of Christ and the book, all in perfect unison and all governed by God, whose very excursion to flesh is without parallel in prediction or in performance, whose very credentials enabled what His presence performed, in humble form a litany of love and a pulse of power that has never been equalled, let alone in unison! In holiness, healing raising the dead, He equally set Himself to becoming a sacrifice, rather than using others in such a role.
There is ONE MESSIAH, as told in the book and shown in history; there is ONE HISTORY as predicted, so passing into sight. There is ONE JUDGMENT coming surely; and there is ONE WAY of responding that is godly. It is to repent, it is to become no more blind in cultural occlusion of the optic nerve of the mind, it is to open the eyes, it is to look upon the Saviour (John 6:40, Isaiah 45:22), and in faith to receive Him and not this world or its philosophies. What then are those ? Figments are they, that last a little, like a glider flight, mounting only on hot air, and then they fall in every case over the millenia, dashed on the ground with contempt, and not rescue crews, looking on (as I Corinthians 1 and so in reality - cf. SMR, Secular Myths... ).
This is not the theory as in secular myths that bypass facts; this is the fact. Faith fits fact as a hand in glove. Fact is merely knowable; faith is divinely donated, directed to God, using the means provided at infinite cost, the line of communication the Cross of Christ, the cancellation of debt the same, the power to prevail that of the Holy Spirit, the donation the gift of eternal life, the result, freely given (Romans 5:15), by grace (Ephesians 2:1-12), with eternal reconciliation with God based on eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12-10:14, Romans 5:1-12) the beauty of it.
If these things are spiritually discerned, it is assuredly NOT because they are factually bereft; and if they are relatively rarely adopted, it is not because their sight is not to be found. NOTHING else is to be found, that either evidence or logic can endorese; but until life is yielded to its Maker on HIS TERMS, and not those of the proud and arrogant forfeiture of grace and blessing, it is but a shadow. As to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, offered not only with the best will in the world, but with that ONLY ULTIMATE GOOD, God Himself as its basis and Guarantor (Colossians 1:19ff., I Timothy 2), He is to be received, or else transgressed yet more (cf. Hebrews 10:29ff.).
But if He is not ...?
Thus does sin mount like a tsunami: even as the waters of hope are drawn back, so the rising tide prepares to inundate.
SO unnecessary is this result, when facts are considered, realities are watched, when God is there. But what does it say, Seek the Lord WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND (Isaiah 55:6).
If you have found Him, you KNOW; if you have not, YOU GO! Whatever other counsel could be honestly provided!
For some nation now
unheralded in prophecy, unsanctioned by validation, unverified in fulfilling
what their alleged 'almighty' Allah tells them*9, baulked by a kitten of a new nation, Israel,
of limited land, left-overs in part from Nazi atrocities -
to join with other sponsor nations and try to eliminate the kitten, and fail in this atrocious act
for 65 years, is a most perfect dismissal. If anti-verification EVER had a case,
COULD ever have an example, this is it.
Vain is the al Qaeda destruction of what it cannot build. Vain is the array of Islamic nations encircling deprived Israel like a set of maddened bees, demanding, extorting, murdering, using the Palestinians and making them murderers in significant part, rather than letting them become citizens, whether in Israel, or Jordan*9, which is itself much of Palestine that was, and where they were allowed citizenship, until they abused it by making Jordan a base for assaults on Israel.
Small wonder, then, that these Islamic assailants join the Romans, the Nazis and the earlier Islam exponents who nearly, but not quite and then not at all took Europe, as the new exemplars of the non-performance of their mirage-style Allah with his use of force and subjugation, in lieu of freedom, liberty and demonstration. Small wonder too, that they join them in failures, fiascos, whether by Jewish or other means. When it seems impossible that the Jew-exterminators (consult your local yellow pages), the senders of the Jews into the sea (as it used to be phrased last century) could fail, they fail.
So in Christ's own infancy, when it seemed that Herod could not fail to murder the Christ child, even exterminating vast numbers of Jewish boys in hope of cutting off what God had ordained by what man determined, he failed. Christ went to Egypt.
When now it seems very numerous nations with vast tracts of lands like a prairie, encircling Israel, COULD not possibly fail to exterminate it, as Dr Mahathir so clearly acknowledge recently, yet they do.
The reason is not this, that the Jews are tough, for few nations have ever suffered so, such much gross immorality, theft, persecution, judicious, self-serving harassment from other nations. It is this: that God, as He has said for nearly 3500 years, has a PLAN and Israel was, and is part of it. The sheer ferocity of Muslim scimitars did not do it; the gluttony of Nazi efficiency camps did not do it, the sheer numbers of Arab nations did not do it, the sheer weight of Islamic numbers in the globe, making Jewish numbers a sheer matter of mirth, so small are they: this could not do it. All these things together, they could not do it.
It could not be done, because from the first God did not ordain that it should be done. He ordained that it would not, and could not be done because the nation had been divinely selected for a basis for the Bible, by its prophets, for the coming of Christ, via a woman, and by God the Father, for a discipline as required. God the disciplinarian, acting after centuries of profound provocation as He indeed foretold, sent them into an exile, many nations their tormentors, as foretold; and from this, for a restoration, where many nations were predicted to fail in the latest efforts to exterminate this, just as earlier there was effort to exterminate the place under Rome.
They have sought as foretold to harass into subjugation and to have; and they have failed. It continues for ONE ONLY REASON, that God this as part of His plan.
In Revelation 12, you see the dragon or Satan trying to snatch Christ when He was born, and then that assailant's endeavours to persecute those who follow Him; and how he has tried! In how many nations has he strenuously sought to overthrow the church, starting with Stephen and some of the apostles, Jewish as they were. Failing this, he desires to exterminate Israel. Failing this, he seeks to undermine the Gentile church, making its seminaries droleries of indiscipline and unbelief, and in this last, just like Hitler in the World War II, he has done very well, but not nearly well enough.
God knows how SIMULTANEOUSLY to discipline and to direct, to chide and to deliver, to purge and to bring in His remnant; and this He has done with the Church, which is His people (not the bodies controlled by wolves without the word of God), and in other ways, while they remain spiritually alien, with Israel.
As to Christ, however, this was TOTAL death of His human life, and yet He broke death, like some celestial Houdini, smiling in its face, since sin is its only hold. The Church has broken the unbelief patterns, though all its sedated sanctimony is exploded, and vast structures like the melting ice-bergs of Antarctica are moving out to sea; yet Christianity remains. So too, at another level, the national, Israel has been assailed on all sides, and yet, despite its continued national unbelief, it continues, all of this precisely as predicted (seen in the fact, as in Zechariah 12, that only AFTER their successful wars, was their symptom of a national repentance, as there written and so boldly displayed at such length).
There is no current plan to use a nation to exterminate Israel, to permit the extermination of the Church; though both are vastly forwarded by the United Nations with its godless Declarations (such as the Declaration for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination in Religion or Belief cf. Mystery of Iniquity). Those who make their own plan to exterminate Israel are mere murderers. There is no current role for headquarters without God, to rule in His world. Those are mere dreamers, and their dreams will almost come true (as in Revelation 13); but they too, they will not prevail. In this line of art, NOBODY EVER DOES.
THE WORD OF GOD AND THE WORDS OF MEN
The word that prevails is that of God, the one attested, invested in history, expressed in fulfilment, true in power, powerful in truth, testable, verified, validated, without competitor, such that when it says, it happens.
It is this word which is to be
revered, not some imagination. Using the term "God" no more gives weight or
credibility than signing a cheque. It is only where the evidence is, that
imagination is not creating idolatry for worship, and vanity for mind. That
procedure however, that invention without truth, in the field of religion and
the knowledge of God: it
is everywhere except in Christ, everywhere beyond, below or other than the
God is not a lot of things. He does a lot of things, but He who does them is God. Persons, except when insane, are not a lot of things: they are the ones they are. Their minds, will and beings are what they are. They may be known. They love or hate, this or that, say or are silent on this or that, have this or that attributes, atmosphere ... God is not less.
He is not a generalisation, for generalities did not make man or matter (cf. Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 13). He is who He is. He speaks the mind He has, not yours or mine. He uses the words He wishes, not what you or I might choose (cf. I Corinthians 2:9-13, Matthew 4:4,and see SMR Appendix D). Yet in some kind of massive combination of mutiny and muddle, it has become chic to act as if any God who may be around, could not possibly be definite, distinct, even when those irrationally proposing such knowledge in their protested ignorances about WHO HE IS, are MOST definite despite their lack of knowledge. THEY KNOW, they SAY, they THINK.
It is the case very simply that their enormous disapproval of any God who would care or dare to SAY ANYTHING to men not only verges on hostility; it breaches rationality. He must not speak, since those who say in pseudo-church affairs, in political platforms, in academic scenic drives, are otherwise not free to say what they want, ignoring truth, decrying it and asserting it simultaneously; and as it is all so very limiting, He must shut up. This appears to be for many, the cosmos of comprehension! How DARE He speak ? He who gave to man the rationality and spirit with which to formulate and speak, HE SPEAK! Never. There is the intransigeant (one softens the g, but the word is hard!) will leaving mind and making a world in the mind, which will never follow in fact, just as this world is given to, not made by the mind of man! That very mind of man, quite without validity as a mere reaction reservoir, yet tells God where to get off, not realising that it has no power to tell anything while it subverts, by an inane model, all opportunity for its own rationality. Yet the will is there, on fire!
Thus the creator of speech is to be suppressed, while the speakers wrought as to equipment, in a dynamic work in the dust, and as to spirit, in a specialised draft from the invisible hand of God (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, TMR Appendix, Dayspring), these say mountains of things, all of their mountains however being hidden in caves, for their reasons have caved in. The maker of speech cannot speak ? are they out of their minds! They can speak, and have personal individuality, but He cannot ?
Why are they so self-forgetful ? Any God whom they will hear must speak in some terms relating to the culture, that is the ways and knowledge of man ? He must not know much, if anything ? Not only could He not so demean His majesty as to be a cultural captive of man, but to expect Creator to accept such limits is to make Him variable, as if He had not foreseen what is best, or did not always have what was needed, or could be changed by rebellion into some kind of pulpy president of a spiritual banana republic. The audacity of man may produce goose-pimples in the mind; but the awe is at the folly, like some young person loving flying, diving straight into the earth, in an ecstasy of internally passionate, subjective desire, votary of death, slave of will.
It is not inability of the maker of speech to speak, and it is not ability of man to determine the nature of things without Him, or for Him, for then the point and purpose of the plan is excised a priori: not at all, but rather what matters at the outset, it is the torrents of inability to be found in man to be WILLING to LISTEN!
Listen or not however, this race called mankind: the word of God is WHAT HE HAS SAID. As shown above, it is without competitors for the very good reason that of God, there is ONE, and of His will, there exhibition is one cohesive plan; and of His plan for man there is ONE, and of His personal expressions there is ONE, and when He speaks His mind it is as it is, and He has proceeded show what it is by what He does.
Let therefore the word of God be His only, in your thought follow it; for not only does this alone resolve all the chronic problems of philosophy and meet without others in sight, the desire to understand, it is more. Whether you like it or not, truth is and cannot be bent; and when you unrepentantly dismiss, discharge or counterfeit it, you change nothing but your own destiny.
*1 On this spiritual pathology, see SMR pp. 255ff..
*2 See It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls Ch. 9, Little Things Ch. 5, Divine Deliverance Ch. 8, and Calibrating Myths ... Ch. 3. Appositely to our present concern is the following quotation from the last reference just noted.
Man WILL not have, by a sort of bravado and bluster, increasingly, any meaning EXCEPT what he chooses to assert, and increasingly, in the end, this is that he is a great old soul, a find contender, a wonder amender of life, and will PUT from his infinite resources of knowledge and skill, into this life a meaning it will bear from HIS CREATION OF IT. Playing God, however, is hard work, and the results are not playful. To give an opinion of the meaning of all things is not meaningful unless the soul itself has meaning, which it then manages to impart, in conformity to reality. At once that abandons the concept of the meaningless. HE or SHE makes sense, and because this makes sense, the thoughts of this sense-making and so eminently meaningful person makes sense, so that here is the very height of sense, its depth, its stay.
Further, to give something its TRUE meaning, you need truth which, without God, is simply not available, for the destruction of the absolute by the whim of caprice does two things: it removes appeal to it for truth and prevents its impartation to you in truth. What is not there, is not admissible as a model ploy, for action! Thus, in such parameters, the concept is meaningless by being a contradiction in terms. (Cf. Preface above.) Even hoping it might be true, is no different, for the same reality of God is a necessary preliminary even for the admission of the possibility, for a relativistic world admits no absolutes, and impressions of flitting imagination are not to the point, but the truth, the question at issue alone here relevant. Knowing what is not there to be known may be classed a miracle, but it is certainly a self-contradiction, and without God, miracles are the same!
If a man, however, is simply to declare it, then that man is deploying what God only knows, and is not merely acting as God, but equally denying Him, making himself, his own little self, into an apotheosis, a fine outcome for the majesty of man, but unimpressive when you are born without consent, die without consultation and are equipped with DNA without giving your advice first about its composition. Fairy tales are always best left for children.
*3 Multiculturalism has been a devil's baggage terminologically. Strictly, as Devine points out, it should be multi-ethnicity. The concept of having to share CULTURE, which includes morals, ideals, religion, as if this is the necessity of tolerance is simply a slide. To be patient to people of other races, other skin colours and other ways, because of the place where they have lived, ethnically, is one thing, and a very good thing in principle. To imagine that there has to be some succulence or even admiration or 'respect' for their forms of religion, because of this: that becomes a direct assault on truth.
It is not, as far as this author is concerned and as far as the Bible directs, possible to have respect for what disregards the God of creation and redemption. The fool, says the Psalm (53:1), has said in his heart that there is no God. We have seen that reason says this too, that it is a foolish error; and as the Bible points out, it is a pandemic situation in which reason is overcast by the pale cloud of rebellion (Romans 1, Ephesians 2, 4). To harass the helpful, the gracious, the courteous, the thoughtful, the kindly who wish to help, as they may, people who are different from themselves in racial background or history, the true point of multiculturalism if it has a meaning which is not debased, so that they must ALSO mythicise religions (as if they DO NOT MATTER, are in the same basket as table manners, in terms of diversities), is an assault on Christ, on truth itself, on integrity. It is propaganda, indefensible, illicit, intruded like the nose of a peeping Tom, into what is not his concern.
Such arrogation of divine things in terms of showing human kindness is an evil and a grotesque thing, that does not like to acknowledge this foul and blasphemous aspect. Further, it requires, before and irrespective of investigation and empirical reality, a judgment.
It is corrupt. This endeavour to merge kindly courtesy and tolerance with disregard of the holy name of God, as though it could be smiled on that this is abominated or defiled by those who serve gods without warrant, basis for belief or in some cases, any moral scope worthy of regard in their imperialistic use of force, is simply a corruptive agency. If it is found in politics, using survival, or social quietness as a hammer with which to destroy truth and acumen, it is merely the worse for that; and it is normally based on a relativism in religion - sometimes explicitly so as in the case of the South Australian Education Department's manifesto on religion, which is intrusive, dictatorial and logically impossible, as detailed in TMR Ch. 8.
If there is not truth in religion, how is this known ? If all is relative, how is this absolutely true ? If God cannot be personally known and propositionally articulate, how is this known, and why is the empirical and logical evidence for this to be ignored ? (cf. SMR, Lead us Not into Educational Temptation).
It is possible to love and help people even if their morals, religion or both be astray; but it is neither good nor necessary to pretend to any sort of harmony with their religion. Again, if they do not wish to discuss it, that is their privilege. Truth can afford to be courteous in manner, but not corrupt in matter.
See also Index on Multiculturalism, under Australia.
See Overflight in Christ, Ch. 6, It Bubbles Ch. 10, Galloping Events Ch. 4.
See Mystery of Iniquity.
See Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 9.
In this book, Our Game, Le Carré's main character, one of principle in word when deeply challenged near the end, but not in deed, when his various epics are wrought, represents one of the signals of the sedition of the human soul, in modern dress. The method of telling his life-story becomes after a time, like an existential, impressionistic flow-chart.
It is worth a moment's attention. This character has various loves, mainly of persons, subordinately of principles of loyalty, honour, service and the like, having been detached by ends which subordinate immoral means to attain them, from abiding principles of truth. In his furore of disdain, unsettlement and dishonesty, always or at least frequently excused in terms of expediency when the moral ship is already sunk, he pursues, eventually with passion, the persons whom he loves, even though this love is of an intemperate kind, verging on personality passion, excited not least by spiritual meaning.
Lost, he seeks to be found, to gain meaning, in other people, in their ways and complementarity to himself.
In the end, in a foreign country, pursued by his own, seeking to bring help to a friend whom he had once tried to kill, in a sort of mêlée of consciousness, flaking conscience, revenge and exasperation, and having lost his other friend, while losing likewise the company of the pseudo-altruistic work in which his friend he finds, had died: he is left in a lostness of darkness so total, that the pathos sinks like a stone to the bottom of a still pool, enveloping, disappearing.
Such is the poetry, or if you like, the romance, or the novel or the account of a soul which has overthrown at the first, reality and truth, for expediency in terms, in this case, of a desire to protect his country from a foreign power, in the secret service. Having done this, his life shows the constant strains, appearing like faint cracks at first, such as come into the tail-plane of some metallically 'tired' aircraft. With him, they appear as the stuff of confusion, one motive now colluding, now colliding with another, one aspiration becoming cynical because defrauded, another crowing because rewarded. These things remind one very much of Romans 2:15, referring to the thoughts of the Gentiles, EXCUSING and ACCUSING each other.
Seeking relief in love of persons, he mixes this with ideological, moral and psychological aims, all of it in some artificial type of ambit, conditioned by relativism which crushes, and the desire for stability, which eludes, since in all this shambles there is no meaning.
In the end, his meaninglessness,
the consequence of playing God with reality, principle and motive,
the struts and props removed,
life but a rind.
The extremes to which he goes at times, in the midst of such confusion, the recklessness which seeks to overcome the inward destruction by ACTION, action, action, merely accentuates that the hearth is bare of truth. Without it, he is scarcely a man at all.
The way back for such as these, is to the truth, and in the profundity of the mercy of God, through repentance and access to the Saviour, who IS the truth (John 14:6). It is in that way, that the night is swallowed up in light, the errors and excesses forgiven in One marred beyond the form of a man (Isaiah 52), in providing satisfaction and atonement for sin, by bearing it.
In the novel, however, the anti-hero does not proceed in this way, and gives in measure, a picture of hell. Having forsaken the word of God, and not returning to find it, he is bereft, without hope, without God, without covenant, without mercy.
On the Saviour, the Prince needed, see especially the next Chapter.
Cf. SMR pp. 1186Aff.. This is best read in the context of the entire Appendix D in which it is found, showing the thing in perspective and point, with its implications carefully dissected for our purpose in hand.
See More Marvels ... Ch. 4, SMR pp. 1080ff., 829ff.. See also concerning the place of Jordan in these things, as a repository, and related matters in The Defining Drama Ch. 10, It Bubbles ... Ch. 10.