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HIS COMPASSIONS DO NOT FAIL, AND THEY CAN FILL THE
CAVITIES WHICH AWAIT THEM
EVEN IN A DRY AND THIRSTY LAND
"Until the Spirit be poured forth from on high..." - Isaiah 32
In Isaiah Ch.32, we see delay. How this can vex, arrest or stir thought, abort hope or make it flourish. It depends. If the conscience is clear, the heart is strong, the faith is sure, the will is steadfast, then this certain knowledge that UNTIL implies a TIME CERTAINLY COMING can be bracing, like an ocean breeze in a twilight walk on the beach. It can betoken the refreshing of the surf awaiting, the coming of an evening of content, the vastnesses of the resources from which it comes, and their great distance from the polluting land.
As to God, He is for the Christian, His always availing resource (Isaish 40:26ff.), neither polluted nor limited, but pure, higher than the heavens, in Christ displayed, rebutting sin, receiving its guilt, destroying its power, arising scathless from its penalties.
When, as in Isaiah, this UNTIL follows on the precise prediction of the coming of the KING, who will rule in righteousness, identified as a descendant of David in Isaiah 11, and God incarnate in Psalm 45 and Isaiah 9:1-7, and Ch.7, as in 52-53, where this same man is to be the SACRIFICE which confers SALVATION, thus enshrining in Himself as Temple (Isaiah 4:6, 32:1-2) this which is God's secure and utter prerogative (Isaiah 43:10): it is then we realise that it all is a matter of relationship to HIM.
Currently, it is a couple of millenia since He came. The
miraculous interventions shown in Isaiah 35 and relayed to the disciples
of John the Baptist (Matthew 11:1-7) by Christ, as testimony of His fulfilment
of this role, and consummated in His body on the cross, and in the ressurrection,
have long since given the name of Christ to the calendar of Europe. It
is our own. The compliment of copying has been phenomenal.
However, no other person CAN USE HIS POWER, or MAKE HIS WORK. It is finished, and His power is for His purposes, now as always. It is not available for contract, for the advance of the spiritual firms which proliferate.
No, it is not from the THOUSANDS OF MILLIONS of those who put up fake spiritual jewellery, like that which apparently deceived Greg Norman, literally; it is not from these sources that the refreshing blessing is to come. It is to come to the WORK OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (Isaiah 32:17), and as to that, it is the one wrought BY CHRIST when "by His knowledge my righteous Servant shall justify many" as the prophecy put it (Isaiah 53). Its ground for conferment: "FOR He shall bear their iniquities". No we are not becoming gods, nor are we seeking for a place in some 144,000, the symbol of the twelve tribes of Jews, or of parallel deployments of the elect: for their multitude is innumerable (Revelation 7:9), and their peace profound. "Strength of salvation", allied to the "fear of the Lord" (Isaiah 32:6) is their lot. "Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times" is their heritage. They do not use this or that device to grab, like stricken dogs, some lump of spiritual meat, leaping and desiring. They are at rest, for "the work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever" - Isaiah 32:17.
The Lord has done what He said:
Sadly for the Mormons, we find then:
"Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel,
And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
'I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides me there is no God...' " (44:6), and indeed sadly for the JW's as well,
"You are my witness, say the LORD,
"and my servant whom I have chosen,
That you may know and believe Me,
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
Nor shall there be after Me.
I, even I, am the LORD,
And besides me there is no Saviour..." (Isaiah 43:10-11).
Christ who is THE SAVIOUR, and hence deity, is indeed God as Paul states (Philippians 2), and the Lord Himself affirms (John 8:58).
There simply IS no rest with all this god-mongering, god-displacing mess.
There is none for the evolutionists who try, contrary to ALL evidence, to make any God there is (in their minds, which vary!) to become the predator back of predation, the spoiler back of spoiling, the systematiser back of cruelty, the ego beck of egotism, the striver back of striving, as if HE created that way, a way which NEVER creates, is NEVER found to create, is ALWAYS missing biologically, as it is spiritually in the precise opposite to the law of Christ, which says this: BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT (cf. Questions and Answers Ch.12, SMR pp. 179ff., That Magnificent Rock Ch. 6) As to Him, "without Him was nothing made that was made" - John 1:3, one of the simplest pieces of utter clarity it is possible even to imagine.
There is no peace for the peace-mongers who lop off God in the interests of a lowest common denominator religion (as shown in detail in LEAD US NOT INTO EDUCATIONAL TEMPTATION).
THERE IS PEACE where and indeed when, it may be found (Isaiah 55:1-7), and nowhere else, for the rest is mere hope and offence, allied with folly and pretence, deception or confusion. It is found in the PRINCE OF PEACE (Isaiah 9), whose kingdom shall not end; and the world finds ad infinitum, that without HIM, there IS NO PEACE. Indeed, death mounts like an evil wind, with tornadoes aplenty (cf. Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 84). It seems hundreds of millions of deaths do not figure, it WILL have it without Him. It will DISMISS Him, as in the UN, it will DISTORT Him as in the sects, it will TAKE HIM OVER as in Rome, it will make bread His recipient as in the Orthodox, it will reduce His status as in all His enemies from the first century on, it will make man the status of redemption as in Communism, perhaps the cruelest since the Inquisition: but it will not WAIT TILL THE SPIRIT BE POURED UPON ON FROM ON HIGH - Isaiah 32:15. It will not wait in HIS NAME, who is the shadow of a mighty rock in a weary land, who makes the "eyes of those who see" not to be dim, and the "heart of the rash" to "understand knowledge" (from Isaiah 32:3-4).
This happened at Pentecost: NOT some extravaganza of the incomprehensible, but the deft, stream-lined spiritual beauty of MAKING INTELLIGIBLE WHAT WAS NOT, because in the commercial dealings of the time, a large assemblage of peoples of many languages had occurred, so that this instantaneous interpreter, long preceding the computer versions, became divinely empowered to present to each in his own language, as we read in Acts 2, the words of the apostles. That is scarcely surprising in view of the magnificence of the occasion. The CHURCH was born in the New Testament era, in the sense of CONTINUING on with the mission, now that Christ had paid for the peace. Pentecostal-ism is really about the birthday gift of the church, in which intelligibility was divinely and DIRECTLY occasioned. I am a Pentecostal-ist then in tins, as are all orthodox Christians, that I believe that GOD ACTED MIRACULOUSLY TO INTERPRET THE WORDS OF THE APOSTLES TO THOSE WHO, SPEAKING OTHER TONGUES, WOULD NOT UNDERSTAND THEM. The concept that you should speak UN-intelligibly because of Pentecost is as from the case as a passenger in Mid-Atlantic from the coast. Alas, in the main, in this scriptural sense, the term seems misappropriate, with magnificent malapropism.
But what of now ? Yes, the time for the JEWISH NATION (NOT RACE - the Christian apostles WERE ALL of that race!) is yet to come as in Zechariah 12:10, when a massive mourning is to break out, as the Lord's pours out, as He says He will do, the "spirit of grace and supplication" and they will "look upon Me whom they have pierced". THAT is one of the great advents to come in this millenium. How does one KNOW that ? It is simple. The signals of His coming are well advanced, and the train of His arrival is nearly complete, like a suburban train going through the routine of the stations before it comes to the end of the line (Luke 21:27-28). ONE of the chief and unique features is this, that JERUSALEM is now in Jewish control (Luke 21:44).
THAT had to happen, and it has duly done so. It was unlikely as is the impact of a huge asteroid, which incidentally is predicted, in some form or other (Revelation 8:8-11). It was more unlikely than that, while half of the race was being exterminated by Hitler. But it happened, because God said it would happen. He is more knowledgeable than those scientists who use ever-changing theories, even preferring to Einstein, inconsistent concepts of causelessness, which they duly develop using the logic of causality to do so, as if bereft of reason (cf. SMR pp. 419ff., and Ch.3, pp. 262ff., 284ff, with That Magnificent Rock, Ch.7).
God KNOWS in advance what is to be, being Creator; and HE SAYS it and HE ASKS us to consider this: WHO ELSE can so foretell as He does (SMR Chs. 8 -9); and it is true, for there is nothing in fact, that is comparable to that; there is NO other, HE HAS THE MONOPOLY on truth. It stays because it is right; it is right because it is His. He has no second edition of His word. The only other One is the One whom He sent, His only begotten Son (Luke 1:35), whom He constituted SAVIOUR (Luke 2:11), though this is His OWN name and UNIQUE prerogative (Isaiah 43:10). THAT ONE, as to Him, HIS goings are from eternity (Micah 5:1-3), and He, God the Sent, comes to act with us, commissioned from God the sender: the Son from the Father, the Word from the Speaker (John 1:1-14, 8:58, Isaiah 48:16, Zechariah 2:8, 3:9, Psalm 40:1-3).
Thus this NATIONAL OUTPOURING of His Spirit is to come, just as the PENTECOSTAL OUTPOURING HAS COME. The one was refreshing in its intensity and results, its prodigality and its power; the other will be (cf. Romans 11:15). Indeed, says Paul, it will be like "life from the dead" when those whose absence was by unbelief, rejoin those whose presence filled the gap of the Jewish NATIONAL absence. These were and are the Gentiles along with the believing Jewish individuals, those whose presence has so blessed the church and provided as means and instruments, nearly all of the BIBLE!
All of this, however is NOT THE LIMIT. It is not equated in the Bible with these episodes. They rather illustrate it. It is true that the scene for this scenario is precisely Israel; but at that, the terminus of the blessing is not so limited. THEY are specially apt for the context, but not entirely monopolising it. After all, Isaiah 11:10 speaks on the Gentiles intimately, relating to this same Messiah, so often featured and focussed. It was indeed Christ said - " 'O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?' And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" - that must have been a magnificent session.
His times and seasons, to come, to die, to rise in body, to ascend, to return, they are all there. Even His date of death is there (cf. SMR pp. 886 ff., and Daniel 9). He made the world (John 1:1-12), and His coming was to, then, as it will be for, in due course, the children of whatever race, or place. It is TO THE WORLD He is to come in person (Acts 1:7-11), first FOR His own people (like collecting the children from school, Matthew 24:29ff., 24:45ff.). As to these, there is no limit except where dis-faith excludes, disbelieve connives with destruction. He is FOR ALL, for neither Greek nor Jew is the focus (Galatians 3:28-29), but "you are all one in Christ Jesus". Thus Isaiah 11 tells us this:
"And in that day there shall be
a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious."
This is just what the shadow of a mighty rock in
a weary land, is; and with it ? "the outpouring
of the Spirit from on high". This both literally and spiritually
will have its effect. Already, as if in preparation, the desert of Israel
(as it was before their return this century) has come to "blossom
like the rose" (cf. SMR pp. 790ff.
and Isaiah 35). More is in store with this outpouring of spiritual waters
to refresh, illuminate, pierce, expose, make manifest what is needed; and
it is needed not only by the Jewish NATION, but by many a Gentile one.
For what NATION is Christian, and to which is the way of Christ the way
of that place!
It is then that His people Jew and Gentile, then indeed, in its acme and culmination in the millenium, "will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quite resting places..."
Isaiah 65 shows some of that time, which will doubtless have no small preliminary, before the finale on this earth, in the blessed epoch when "they shall not hurt nor destroy on all My holy mountain" ensues, before all being wrapped up, and all shown, including this, that:
"Let grace be shown to the wicked,
Yet he will not learn righteousness;
In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly,
And will not behold the majesty of the Lord" - Isaiah 26:10 -
the case is complete; and this world is whirled out of existence (Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 24:35, II Peter 3:11ff.).
It is then that the stage is removed, then that the cast is up for review (Revelation 20:11ff.).
These are the FACTS AND NOTHING IS GOING TO ALTER THEM, for it is so written.
But as to the Spirit being poured out from on high, is
it not by now clear that a receptacle awaiting this blessing is needed,
a container, a humble and a contrite heart (Isaiah 66:2):
THAT is always the way, for "Blessed are you who mourn, for you will be comforted" - Matthew 5.
Seasons of refreshing (Acts 3:19ff.) are ON THE MENU and will be served. Appetite is needed, NOT for spiritual mountaineering, as if our greedy desire or rapacious concern for blessing of some selfish kind were a criterion of divine favour; but for "righteousness", for "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." NOT THEN is there a barren or an empty land. BE FILLED with the Spirit is a COMMAND (Ephesians 5:18). To be so filled, one must desire it, not as some experiential grandeur, but as an operational need, in order that the GRACE and BEAUTY of the Lord should be upon us, as we move and go (PSALM 90:16-17), and His power adequate for our task (Ephesians 1:16ff., 3:16), so that His body should glow with His wonder and express some touch of His presence to those who, hungering and thirsty, though often too preoccupied with little things to realise it, are living parched lives.
WHEN HE DOES FREELY so bless and refresh, so His inheritance, perhaps weary, is able to rejoice as do the little flowers when the rain comes, and the hills flow with little rivulets, and all is abundance (Psalm 104:16,27, 68:9, 19-20,26, Isaiah 40:26ff.).