W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
THE WONDERFUL ZERO:
Man Facing the Infinite God
With nothing to talk about!
From Barbs, Arrows and Balms 29
NOTHING DOING FROM NOTHING
The Nihilism of Communism is merely
a Symptom of its Wider Forms,
with face pock-marked both empirically and logically,
as it trembles in writhing irrationalities.
Let us look now at a companion folly in "life sciences" so that the "political science" exponents here may at least have company. Then let us look at life!
THAT THERE IS MUCH DONE,
AND TO DO BE DONE,
BY WHAT IS NOT NOTHING!
To this ...
DANIEL HAS A WORD
Talking of 'nothing doing',
let's take a casual look at organic evolution. We have considered it in detail
in many places, such as SMR Chs.1-3,10, That Magnificent Rock,
Ch.1, A Spiritual Potpourri
Chs.1-9, but for the moment let's take just a
stroll through it, on the way to something about nothing which is very weighty,
from the prophet Daniel.
organic evolution, you require
NOT a mere statistical monstrosity...
In ever higher circles and circuits:
but a connotational escalation (cf. SMR pp.315A-316H, 329-332H, 421-422W)
(for concepts and orders are involved),
a connotational synthesis
(for correlation and precision of interaction),
and a connotational gestaltism
(an integral correlation, integration and wholeness).
is it merely that such things are never observed to
adequate causal and creative capacities at work!
Or that the logical machinery is not found
on analysis in thought (SMR Chs. 1-3, 5 Part 1, 396ff., Ch. 4, Part 3, pp. That Magnificent Rock Chs.1,7, Predestination and Freewill, Appendix on Kant),
any more than are to be found
the progressive stages in empirical reality.
It is rather that in
addition what is found
the exact opposite is found -
in the case of eyes, or mammals for example,
with their extraordinary development suddenly; and
in the case of eyes, merely to take an example,
this is found
These well exemplify the factual Cambrian counter to the processive-progressive theories.
Nor is conceptual advance utilisable in actual life, until it is abundantly fortified in vast co-ordination that integrally lifts the whole onto the performance platform. Engineer's sketches are inadequate, even if there were engineers. Moreover, on the way in this mystical, mythical process, is only anti-survival, dysfunction. If you want to be practical, why then: Better a stone than a half-made gun!
Beyond all this, chance really does not have the capacity to create law - the concepts are mutually exclusive: systematic regularity and unsystematic irregularity.
Differently put: there are whole realms of thought involved in progressive operational integrity; dozens of them have to be invented ... the instinctive, the integration of mobility of body, of thought, the control for liberty-program synthesis, the will, its co-ordination with effective and analytical thought, the invention of the last named and so on as shown in more detail in pp.332H, SMR.
To require their invention from what neither has them nor contains them, nor their properties nor what transcends and gives them the facility to exist in the integrity of their various worlds, on the delusive grounds that instruments in material form can be deployed to express thought just as, at another level, fingers which are material in feature can be used to express thought which transcends their work, is to forget that fingers do not create what they signal. They specify but they cannot invent it.
Confusions in this sphere are not even subtle (cf. SMR pp. 316Dff.). Fingers which express the requirements of symbolic logic neither create it nor invent it, are not container units for it, are not some sort of synthesis of matter of mind. They are mere instruments, however marvellously they are themselves co-ordinated AS instruments for the obedience to the thoughts for which they are merely instrument. Instrumentation does not invent the significance of the symbols which it may display.
Indeed, logical impossibility arises just as soon as systematic inadequacy, designated insufficiency in any form, is postulated as the productive mechanism. Intelligence is not possible as a by-product of unintelligence, even at the latter's "height". What lacks is supplied by imagination in thought; but not in fact*1.
Causality is just not like that (cf. Chs.1-5, SMR - and see Index; Ch.7That Magnificent Rock). Something for nothing does not work. Something may be GIVEN by one who has it; but in that case, it is a moral sense in which we speak; for the PRODUCTION comes from the ONE WHO GIVES, and not from nothing.*2
Nor is it, for that matter, the case that nothing comes from something. There are result, whether interrupted or allayed by discretion or mercy, by love or patience (cf. II Peter 3:9, Ezekiel 33:11, II Chronicles 36).
In fact, God is not mocked. The Jews as a nation answered for that; now the Gentiles as internationally pluralistic, but still mankind, join the Jews as a category of pulsating rejection of the God who creates sweep the dearth; for the God who creates, speaks and holds man responsible (Amos 4:1-13, Romans 1:18ff.).
In Daniel 9:26, we read
that as to the Messiah, the anointed One who is also a prince, that is the
Christ: "there is nothing for Him". These words are massive in
significance, like the
(and of course actually was, at the due date - cf. SMR pp. 886ff., since God without exception, does what He undertakes to do)...
cut off from the people,
in the majesty of His office, relegated to nothing.
All that He was, could have performed for the nation by continuance
there after that time was pressed back to heaven by the pathway, as far as
available, of hell, at the Cross. He was "cut off". "Slain"
The words of the text in Daniel focus His ... removal in a desolatory manner, from what belonged to Him as Messiah. In the rest of v.26 and in v.27, which it is essential to ponder, we read of progressive, intrusive, relentless desolation on the architecture of the temple and in the midst of the nation, indeed in the city which hosted the event ( a sort of Contra-Theological Olympics, now mirrored in so many seminaries called 'Christian'). As the NASV has it, in the margin, "war will be decreed for desolations". In addition as it escalates, the "consummation" is poured out on the desolator, amid the desolations. Further, the matter is "determined". No rapprochement is in view, no terminus of the "affair of the Messiah", since He is God and His offer is mercy and the cost is despised, to this hour by the many.
History pulses in this ravaging scenario, which as shown in SMR pp. 886ff., is calibrated for the assault on the Messiah around A.D. 30.
The scenario, the scene and the demeaning are all known to God with precision, effected with plan and participate in that Everlasting Gospel of which the nature was shown earlier, where God, visiting the oppressive darkness which this scene illustrates, and this action of the Messiah penetrates, brings out the exuberance of joy to those who receive it. There is the contrast: the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and it is easy to see when the eyes are not ... closed (Matthew ).
Let us however now paraphrase Daniel 9:26, in the relevant section and in the context which in an amazing way goes on to stress desolation, ruin, chronic and awesome devastation without peace, like a revolving flood of ruin, coming in succeeding waves. We might express it in this way:
The Messiah will be formally rejected by and from the midst of the people, His claims nullified, His place annulled, His recognition set at nought. Nothing will be what is left for Him as He is bundled from life.
It would also seem to imply, in the majesty and solemnity of the drapings of the passage, that the 'cutting off' is a matter of nothing (righteous), of nothings (in equity), of an intrusive wresting of truth and integrity, if it were possible, from the very bosom of the victim. At all events, such a meaning in this Danielic context of judgment on the judges, in conjunction with Isaiah 53, is clearly the overall impact. In the latter, we read this:
made His grave with the wicked -
And with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth."
Note then, it has a cause. Things always do, even our thoughts, be it validity or invalidity which is their nursemaid. It was BECAUSE He had done no violence, that He was put to death. Likewise, it was BECAUSE His mouth spoke truth, did not bend for convenience or survival, that He was put to death. NOT MERELY was it DESPITE His harmlessness and truth, that He was put to death; it was BECAUSE OF THESE LOVELY VIRTUES THAT HE WAS CONSIGNED TO DIE. Had He exercised His power (Matthew 26: 52-53), or deceit (John 14:6, -26,40), then by force or by deviousness, He could have lived on.
Small wonder then that desolation that invents the scenes of the desolate, like an artist interpreter of genius at work, follows in the rest of this chapter 9 (vv.26-27) of Daniel, like a funeral lament, over-ridden with the losses resulting from the outrage, in one awesomely funereal scene of dark splendour.
Grammatically, the clause regarding "there is nothing for Him", or Nothingness is for Him, could be rendered, Nothing is to Him, nothing is all He deserves of this invective, this crass cruelty just noted (v.24); and for Him, nothing that He has done, is the call of justice in His death. Its ground, though meeting the demands of truth and judgment, is far other.
Thus the meaning of the
KJV, "but not for Himself" may be understood. That rendering itself
has indeed two possible senses -
a) as result, it was not HIS due, and did not depend on His actions ;
b) nor as to purpose, was it for His own concerns that He so bore, but for others in view. Such phrasing however (KJV) does not appear to cover precisely what is expressly dominant in the text itself here, but rather to incorporate or allow for some of the implications; though the thought of denial is written in fatal force.
Nothing is rightly pinned to His tunic, set on His brow, affixed to His "case", for as Pilate put it, "I find no guilt in Him" (NASB, John 19:6). Attributions are nullified - even that of justice!
Thus the Berkeley Version has this: the cutting off will occur "though there is nothing against Him" - 'against' is also possible, in the sense 'on account of': that is, there is in all this 'nothing on his account' - as to existence, there is simply nothing on His account, nothing against Him.
The original clause which we are examining is multiply negative . Thus this may serve in such a weighted context to express absence of charges sustainable in terms of the rejection depicted and portrayed in such a bottomless pit sort of horror. Isaiah had earlier set the tempo, and this is the accompaniment, lugubrious with poetic horror. THIS, it was not for Himself that this fiasco of judgment was written on Him; His design and determination was for another field altogether: that of sinners who receive Him.
As Isaiah 53:1 has it: "Who has believed our report and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed!"
Again he writes under the inspiration of the Lord:
He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed" - 53:5 (NASB). So is it for those who are healed, so was it for Him who provided for any, and who knows who are His.
To summarise this aspect of Daniel however: It would seem, then to me, that the form, or literary formula chosen in this context in the Hebrew deserves and is ripe to gain in poetry, every aspect it evokes; and to this aspect also the KJV paraphrase is justified. (Literally, as E.J. Young puts it in his "The Prophecy of DanieI", 'there is not to him'.) Indeed, in the light of Isaiah 53 it is also validated, that is, in the already existing prophecies before Daniel, in the environment of terms which was the living and acutely known background to the prophecy and to the event. However, certainly, as Keil puts it, the concept of universality of nothingness relative to Messiahship is prominent, and it seems, dominant (cf. Luke -11, in the actual event). With the removal of this bond, this ground of action, in His cutting off, He is killed, the only way to "stop" His majestic power and discerning grace, as depicted in such places as Isaiah 11, 32.
Stop it! Stop this feast of blessing, release from prison, conquest by grace, gift of love, profusion of vitality, donation of eternal life! What irony! Let us look at this action against Christ (Luke , -11, -54, John ). Notice both that He was "vehemently accused" and that they "set Him at nought"! as He was taken to judgment. And see how earlier there was this earnest and intense desire to set Him at nothing:
There is thoroughness! And how thoroughly likewise, it is all fulfilled in the dusky murk of first-century history! A murk which led to literal darkness over this affront of dimness to the brilliance of the Son (Luke -47). How strange that Luke the physician should have these "symptoms" to report!
Let us now however revert
to a preliminary to this height of divine action and redeeming power. Consider Jerusalem when it was set at nought, broken and bruised, a ruin after such loveliness in
586 B.C. ... How poetically beautiful is the sense of
empathetic grief - brought out from the divine mind - in which the destroyed
Of this poignancy of folly, breached, which was and could have been so noble, there is this sense in the Lamentations of Jeremiah: such wonder held for so long in such tenderness, now so ruined by its obduracy and disregard. Looking in grief upon it, the prophet Jeremiah makes his question.
"Is it nothing to you," queried the distraught and grieved prophet, in the name of the Lord, "Is it nothing to you who pass by!" LAMENTATIONS 1:12). "Behold and see if there be any sorrow like my sorrow..." So in turn, Isaiah declares of that sacrifice for release from judgment, to replace the unbearable onslaught of judgment such as the city endured: "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him! HE has put Him to grief" (Isaiah 53:10). THERE, there is love! Put His delight to grief! (Isaiah 41:28-42:3). This time it was not a city destroyed for its sins, a holy city defiled, but the Son of God freely evacuating from those who believe in Him, the penalties and power of their doom, their woes and their weakness, bearing it like some target vessel for many guns, on Himself.
On this aspect, consider Isaiah 53:10 -"When you make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed" - which as was noted in The Kingdom of Heaven... Ch.9, pp. 157-160 et al., reflects the OUTCOME of love, in this, that there is a practical way in which you who sin without the Lord may be adopted BY the Lord, so giving to Him who HAD no offspring (Isaiah 53:8), a generation of His own, His own spiritual children - cf. Psalm 22:30 - "A seed shall serve Him. It shall be counted to the Lord for a generation", says David, after exposing the travail, then to come, of the Messiah in that Psalm.
This death, then, that of Christ ?
He was as it were, 'nothing' to so many who at that time 'passed by', in His crucifixion and entire rejection. They contributed to Him derision, and the pregnant phrases of solemnly blind wit, staring at Him who was interceding for them, despising their only way of salvation (Matthew 27:41-42-43) .
evoked such pity,
and poignant grief in its time,
what then must the Messiah,
vicariously suffering in His 'ruin' on the Cross,
provoke in the heart that will consider this thing!
A city justly destroyed whatever its proper function and former heights: that is one thing. But the King of Kings, foully accorded nothing but lamentable desolation; and that indeed willingly receiving, that it might be avoided for those who should escape their own desolations in His provisions for them.. what in comparison is that!
Set at nothing! HE! But what of the reality!
· So far from nothing,
· still handed to Christ by the current aggressively regressive generation of the late twentieth century (SMR pp. 839-840), so woefully mistaught by so many of its seniors, in Universities and in seminaries aplenty where the current generation of high priests hand out the treacherous oscars:
· the reality of the Messiah is magnificence as superabundantly attested by every phase, stage and aspect of investigation that may be made (cf. SMR Chs.5-6,8-9; pp. 380ff., 422Eff., 931ff.). Moreover this magnificence is eternal and intrinsic, His whose goings are everlasting (Micah 5:1-3, Psalm 45, 2).
Now to set magnificence at nothing, and to attribute creation to nothing (whether absolutely or processively makes no significant logical or religious difference), what of that! These two, they will not breed or produce nothing! There is nothing in such a concept as that. In fact, reality is quite ruinous, in the end, when it is ignored; because, you see, it is there!
Whether by a bicyclist at a heavy traffic intersection, or in other ways, the penalties for setting something as nothing, when it is something and distinctly operational, these can be intense.
When to this, gross disregard of authentic and majestic rule is added, the request for ruin is yet higher, the provocation more immeasurable - just as the succeeding words in Daniel 9 attest, in their dynamics of desolation. When the provocation is the impenitent violence towards and violation of mercy, what harbour is left, what place remains!
When people trade on mercy, complacently imagining that nothing will come, that all can be overlooked, held in abeyance, disregarded: in the end it becomes a vile and villainous abuse, and the abusers, the abasers of this glory, the glory of God, lock into a spiritual cancer situation which, though it may seem slow for a time, in the end eats the heart, when the end strikes the life like a leopard that has been in hiding. So too while the historical climax for the human race comes, and is coming surely with that appalling hour that it enshrines in its unholiness, invested and infested by the "man of sin" (II Thess.2) , yet many are the individual tragedies before this, apparent in many a heart, in many a life. The peak caps not plains but rising slopes.
Such just divine action to man, city or nation, may be ignored like pain in the distressed, or doom by the ignorant; but it moves in the secret places meant for other Occupant than merely man, for the very fellowship of God. If not however apparent sooner, then cumulatively and consummately, all will be manifested at the judgment of all by the Lord who made them (cf. Matthew 25, Revelation 19-20, II Thessalonians 2, Daniel 7, Romans 2:2).
Thus see Daniel 12:1-3, II Thessalonians 1, Psalm 2:7-12, Exodus 20:7, Proverbs 1.
Righteousness will be fulfilled and this in the presence of Him whose it is: as when waters pound over the overflowing reservoir runways, as Daniel from the first attests in 9:24-26 and later in 12:1ff..
As to mercy, it is not achieved, but must be received, according to the grandeur of its own graces, in the light of the Lord who pierced not only His flesh, but effectually, also the earth with His nails, that it might freely flow like a spring to its inhabitants. That it may be so received (John 1:1-4), there, there is the balm! As to that (Acts -12), the attested word is one only (SMR Ch.1). It does not change. The everlasting Gospel (Item 17 above) is as impervious to alteration as day and night, and more so, for they? They are simply made by its AUTHOR!
*1 How gloriously consistent is the NON-PROVISION of fact for such exotic and despotic theory, is seen for example in A Spiritual Potpourri, Ch.1, TheA Grade and the F Grade Schools; and if the excursion is woeful, it would be almost hilarious, were its results not so fatal. The empirical void is the butt of a theoretical nightmare, espoused with gravity and felled by logic with the same thoroughness as by fact. (See *2; and SMR pp. 208ff., 251ff and Index.)
To assert the presence of what is never functionally observable, or structurally evident, or logically attributable is bad enough, either at the beginning or at any succeeding phase of action, either absolutely indeed, or at any designable level. It is certainly both contradictory of scientific method and wholly irrational, an exercise in illusion. To assert however that nothing, either absolutely or at the relevant level, is the productive ground of something: again, either at the first or at any imagined "stage", is logically to claim a categorical impossibility, to invent or subscribe to a contradiction both in terms, and of logical necessity; and represents a confusion of categories of the first magnitude (That Magnificent Rock, Ch.7, A Spiritual Potpourri Chs.1-8, SMR Ch. 2, pp. 251-252N, S1-S34; 210-211, 135-136, 222-235;Ch. 3; Ch. 4 Part C - proceed to next section; Ch. 10).
chance does not by its nature create law, or law freedom, or the analysable, the analyst, so likewise synthetic progressive
conceptual elevation does not "arise" from an absence of conceptual
powers. The requisites for the requisition, the calling into being of mind, of
matter and of spirit differ so distinctly from their mere operational and
structural characteristics as to make the omission a reduction to absurdity equalled only by the absurdity of nothing, as a ground of
The city of
THIS WAS FULFILLED IN
Christ, the Lamb of God (Hebrews 8-10, John ): so that
It may be helpful to extend this expression of symbol-sacrifice, pattern-substance, preliminary-consummation, relative to Temple, City and Christ, the "stone which the builders rejected" who has become "the Headstone" and "the foundation", the "Lamb slain before the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8, cf. Ephesians 1:4, where the being chosen, for Christians, is IN HIM, and "before the foundation of the world".
Thus we look at Psalm 68:16-20:
There, in the solemn realities of life and death, and the Lord's hand beyond them both, amid a context of the Almighty power of God exercised on behalf of His redeemed people (68:1-14), and the tenderness of His provisions (68:13), we come to the fact that this Lord is not only God, but the God who has revealed Himself categorically, and made preparations on this earth to express and maintain this revelation, distinctively, and contra-distinctively to any substitute, artifice, scheme or plan of man to confuse the issue, to combine Him with something lesser or other.
Hence the OTHER high hills
of the area are considered symbolically and poetically AS IF they were envious
In 68:18 (quoted by St Paul in Ephesians 4:6-11 as referring to Christ's ascension following the crucifixion and the endurance of evil He there achieved, to break its power and expose its nature, while satisfying justice - Ephesians 2), we find the broader canvas. Often enough we read of the humiliation and suffering of the Messiah (cf. SMR Ch.9, and Item 17 above), and of the power He will exhibit in the teeth of the assaults (cf. Psalm 2), but here we read of the divine power to be expressed, the divine deliverance, the divine victory and the divine triumph, in the vein of Hosea 13:13-14 where God will personally break the curse implicit in death.
Coming down in humility (cf. Psalm 102:16-21, and Isaiah 61:1-3, quoted of Himself by Jesus Christ), He will arise in glory (cf. Luke 24:25-43., where He exposed His resurrected body and with it, ate in their presence), giving "gifts for men", rewards, results, triumphalist portions of His amazing act (cf. II Cor. 2:14), His personal act, what Isaiah calls "His strange act" and a "marvellous work" (Isaiah 29:14, 28:15-21), what Paul calls "the foolishness of God" in poetic symbol, meaning the profound wisdom of God which LOOKS LIKE foolishness, because it is not a survival of the fittest macho theme, but a caring, concerned, fearlessly self-humbling plan to bear the brunt of sin and freely grant exemption and expiation to those receiving Him in THIS mode. The gifts, we are not left without knowing, these are "for the rebellious also". This means that here is no mere outpouring of the Creator's power to crush folly, but rather a provision of the Saviour's strength to redeem and restore in pity, the lost, the straying the rebellious indeed, for as Paul puts it in Romans 5:6-8
Psalm 68 goes on after this jewel, set in the heart of so many resounding, resonating parallel scriptures: he dwells now on the function which God has assumed of being SAVIOUR, "Blessed be the Lord... the God of our salvation" (v.19). He emphasises and extends this at once: "He who is our God is the God of salvation" - that is WHO HE IS, or as Isaiah 43:10-11 puts it:
The Jehovah's Witnesses are acting as if to take over from "my servant whom I have chosen" (cf. Isaiah 41-42:3), in whom He delights, His fellow (Zechariah 6:12-13, 3:8-10) who will bear the iniquity and be the Saviour, who as God alone, represents God-the-sent, commissioned for this by the eternal Father for His Son, whose ways are from eternity (Micah 5:1-3, Psalm 45). It is a hard road for someone who is not God to supplant God in witnessing of Him! THAT witness if the Lord Jesus Christ, who spoke what His Father commanded (John -50), and in HIS witness, did the work of salvation itself.
But let us return to the
Thus we have concerning
Not then tied, as if by a leg-rope, or localised as if by restraint or restriction, but given particular and authentic expression, the Lord was pleased to show in special ways His presence, honouring this place of patterns and teaching and authorised expression of Himself, being available in answer to prayer. This divine access to Himself then was to be (and has become) fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, on whom the whole paraphernalia of divine sacrificial directions and pictures, the whole pageantry was to be tied (Isaiah 22:23-25, Zechariah 3:3-10, 6:12ff.). ON HIM it would be placed, and WITH HIM it would fall, fulfilled in its requirements, not annulled. In the process, the sin of believers would be inscribed on this "stone", or fall with this pageantry, placed on the steadfast security, the nail, of His flesh.
Solemnity and sacrifice issue in 'that prophet', then (Deut. 18:18-19), the Messiah who would (and did) complete the picture by showing His own face (II Cor. 4:6), He both the truth of God, being God-the-sent (Isaiah 28:16), and the word eternal (John 1:1-3) of that One God (Ephesians 4:4-6, Exodus 20, Isaiah 45:21ff., Titus 2:13-14, 3:4-7, Philippians 2) who alone is the Saviour (Isaiah 43:10).
His face however was not only the expression for man to see in Him the true God, explicit and express, but shown far more than this, and far less. It showed at the crucifixion nothing less than the sin of man, when His face was disfigured (Isaiah 52:14) "more than any man" - an exposure of the sinfulness of sin in the process of bearing it for those who receive Him, while exhibiting it openly to those who refuse Him, an expression of things to come for those who reject the operation of His mercy, either inwardly (Hosea 11:7-12, 7:11-16) or outwardly as well (cf. Psalm 2:7-12, John 3:33-36).
In this also, however, He yet showed the glory of God, for the love of God in which He came (cf. John 3:17), not to condemn but that people should be saved through Him was there given expression in practical needs not only of power (the resurrection) but of intent, of compassion and of a fearless will which did not stop short of doing as man, what man could not do, so that man could come to God by the bridge which He thus made, the bridge of the Cross (Galatians 6:14).
No, it was not nothing. As He said to the "daughters of
Nor was it for nothing. His
rescue in redemption more than covers all that comes, could come, does come;
for God works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11),
and just as by divine foreknowledge
(Acts 2:23), Christ died and rose, so does the world take its course from symbol to substance, from death to life, from redemption to renewal, from the vanishing as in a cloud (Isaiah 51:6) of its substance, so that the things unshakeable may remain (Hebrews 12); and those who are His remain with them. If a person does not thirst (Isaiah 55), then his parched throat has no call; but if he does, then the waters of life are yet available freely (Revelation -12, 16-17).
have sent mine angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the
root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the
Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him who hears say, Come. And let him
who is athirst come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life