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Are there not the defamatory declarations - from the World Council of Churches continually coming, dismissing this doctrine, dispensing with that; having non-proclamatory dialogue with religions that do not know the Lord Jesus Christ, and communing in its Faith and Order Commission with RC emissaries; funding violence in Africa, under colour of racial justice, and refusing to guarantee that funds will not be so used. Morag Zwartz (in her book, The New Age Gospel: Christ or Counterfeit? pp. 127 ff.) provides some tainted dainties of doctrinal deviation such as these: poll taken of WCC delegates' views indicated that 33% denied the existence of God. The WCC World Conference on Faith, Science and the Future contained the opinion that "Christianity must accept different cultures and religions; Christians have no monopoly of moral concern or ethical insight... We do not regard the Bible as the answer book to our ethical questions."
Predictably it made strong representations for gainful insights in this vacuum, producing 'preaching' from Marx. There, in one step, it denies that the supernatural God with OBJECTIVE AND INTELLIGIBLE COMMUNICATION has successfully intimated what He is, wants, and requires in values. WCC-wise, not only the Christian, but Christianity has to accept these moral insights... from atheists and others. A word with Elijah (I Kings 18) would do so much good to such Biblical illiterates who wallow, in their infirmities. Will we go to the witch of Endor then, for instruction, joining Saul in rebuke and disaster ? If Christians are bidden not to seek judgments and equity among each other from the world, but from the wise, how much less should they seek morals from the machine age moral orphans, who are without God and without hope in the world! (I Corinthians 6:1-5; Ephesians 4:17-18, 2:3,11-13.)
Biblically neither economic height, nor depth, is the criterion of one's actual level of elevation! Psalm 62:9 tells us that "Surely men of low degree are a vapour, men of high degree are a lie; if they are weighed in the balances, they are altogether lighter than vapour." These things contribute zero to worth. It is durable riches which matter and are Biblically recommended (Proverbs 8:18), riches found through the Lord (Proverbs 8:33). Disinclination for Him can, on the other hand, be fatal fast - "All that hate me love death," God in His wisdom declares (8:36).
Marx gets no marks on Biblical premises: so will Christians then learn from him the ethics of a diametrical departure from Christ, in that he teaches, Seek first the kingdom of this world, and all the other stuff will be added, for what it may be worth? Splendid teacher! Just the thing. No, the WCC has stumbled in this statement. It was perhaps mesmerised by its own endless double talk, while using the name of Christ for purposes that should shame the soul of those who plan to attend and participate, let alone formally read, such devilish promotions. Yet even in my own Bible-affirming denomination, some time ago, one Minister, participating, attended such meetings, and the author was libelled by a writer in a Church paper, as if the fact, protested, were in doubt, which had been painstakingly, and with great grief, researched. An official body set up to investigate the matter, eventually with grace advised me that they could find no fault in what I had affirmed.
Readily, in this culture, little licences become vast betrayals, whatever the intentions. When God's principles (Romans 16:17) are broken, man's heart may be also, in due course. Such is the blindness that can develop, even in conservative denominations. The ground is strewn with wrecked ecclesiastical aircraft, and attention is needed to air-traffic control, as in the beneficent Bible.
All this has gone on for so long as to create a specialised syndrome; and it has been departed from by many, including some like a former Australian Anglican Primate who condemned the WCC roundly on television, and said those who condemned it should stand up and be counted! Counted... why ? For the better joy of mathematicians? or in order to act and sever the hated ties as commanded! (Titus 3:10, Romans 16:17, Ephesians 5:7-11). It is a part of the great 'falling away' that there is so widespread a defalcation, a misuse of the riches of Christ's wisdom, a departure from simple commands, as if man had become wiser than God; as if Eve's experience was not enough, and it all had to be experimentally learned, over again, in these last days.
All these things, predicted, are abundantly confirmed, and here (and elsewhere in these volumes) attested. (Cf. *11-721 ff., *17-727 ff., 911 ff., 946 ff., 1072 ff..)
Thus, with the viruses made freer to play in some areas which should be thought of, at least, as the body of the Lord Jesus Christ of glory, bacterial infections can come without delay. They do. One is the New Age movement, bold through the decades of failure by so many large denominations to do their duty and condemn; condemning separate; separating warn, and warning expose this antichristian body which, though in vain, would like to swallow up the church of Jesus Christ. like Joseph's visionary calves, dining on the good ones.
New Age... philosophy, religion ? It is quite a little airship. It has transcendental meditation and varied Hindu methods, it has false prophets who advise that there is an officeof Christ and there are Masters of the office, to which plateau, Jesus may be referred. What a maleficent misuse of the Glory, Power, Miracles and Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. It has the subtlety of the devil. In what way ?
In this: Christ does the deeds which attract the factual, actual attention in a realistic, demonstrative way; and then, Eastern mysticism and Western radicalism are mixed with it. Stirred till hot (very), it evaporates into the atmosphere with an ill-savour which could slay a witch. The 'Christ' office is then declared vacant... for the time? and who, who do you suppose, is to be selected to fill it now ? Why our old acquaintance... that rose of antichrists, bloom of infernal pits, 'the man of sin', that masterpiece of iniquity (II Thessalonians 2:3-8). Why here, it is claimed, supernature has its very acme and there is the 'office' all swept out... garnished you might say, and ready.
Three points emerge. How nice to allow us more scope to check out in practice the wisdom and prediction of Christ... seven worse devils come to the hearth and home where a reformation has occurred, and not an inhabitation of Christ (Luke 11:26).
The last state of that man is worse than the first!Secondly, we see again the depth of divine discernment, when Jesus Christ warned in advance:
See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they tell you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms, do not believe it. (Matthew 24:25-26.)Now of what did Christ say this ? Of this:
For false christs will arise and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect.That is the context.
So thousands of years pass and Christ is not... quite... "this same Jesus", so now a New Age will allow the old seat to be invested, infested with the infatuations of cerebral fancy. (Cf. Zwartz op. cit.; see pp. 366-370 supra.) We read from the extensive quotations supplied in this recent volume, that in the renewed and remoulded heart of the participant in the processes of this New Age 'health' movement, comes one's own (very own ?) 'guru' within.
What then is this source of inward wisdom to advise and counsel, in the seat of Christ, if not a devil ? At best it is an invitation (pp. 19-20, op. cit.); and certainly, as to Christ, it is an imitation (Colossians 1:27). On pp. 19-20, in the large list of spiritual potencies ("swelling words" - II Peter 2:18) supplied for the vagrants from the virtue of Christ, there is even a course on miracles... 'an unorthodox contemporary approach to Christianity, based on a profound shift in perception.' What a splendid basis for the scripturally predicted ''lying wonders'' (II Thessalonians 2:9, cf. Revelation 16:14,, 19:20).
The entry point ? What is the substitute for being scripturally 'born again', as Jesus Christ required: a work performed by the Holy Spirit in His unfathomable power and presence, in terms of that Jesus who both was and is the Lord's Christ, as Luke put it (1:26) ? Why this! this is the ersatz:
It is impossible to overestimate the historic role of psychedelics as an entry point drawing people into other transformative technologies... The changes in brain chemistry triggered by psychedelics cause the familiar world to metamorphose. It gives way to ... a flood of 'new' knowledge. (Cited from Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy, Granada, U. K., 1982, pp. 18,19.)As Zwartz NOTES (pp. 36-37, op.cit.):
The divinity of man is never stated, but it is always implicit in the status given to man.While therefore the equipment of God is prostituted into the paths of men, the antichrist principle finds but new ways of telling its old story. And prophetically, this is just how it 'ought' to be! Zwartz relates from the Humanist Manifesto II, 1973:
We begin with human not God, nature or deity ... humans are responsible for what we are or will become ... No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.So the testament of antichrist continues with plans to control disease (AIDS must be so disappointing), conquer poverty, alter human development and culture and unlock the... (no, they do not say 'supernatural') 'vast' ? powers of man. What man? The one whose breath is in his nostrils (Isaiah 2:22) and who is told so simply by God:
Will you still say before Him who slays you, 'I am a god', when you are a man and not God in the hand of Him who calls you? (Ezekiel 28:9.)As Delitzsch would suggest, in the rather similar Psalm 82: God in the congregation of 'gods', tells them their sentence! There is something beautiful in this rebuke to the pompous rumblings of human rebels, moving into the haughty idiocy of assuming divine status, or acting as if so to do.
Let us however continue our study of this contemporary pathology.
We read of 'self-actualisation' (and as we shall see, what a self!) and the removal of 'inflexible moral and religious ideologies' and antagonisms (not apparently that towards the 'inflexible... ideologies').
Yet while 'God' (their debased substitute) is dethroned and relativistic, in this scenario, man makes his inflexible gods, which will not tolerate any lore but their own. Man makes... and rather systematically now, almost like a mass assembly plant... a new Christ (with various minor and mob extensions, as we shall see, able to do 'wonders' as if to fulfil with passion, Matthew 24:24). Alice Bailey's 'The Reappearance of Christ' (op. cit. p. 14) or Creme's 'The Re-Appearance of Maitreya the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom' give a lead. Is a 'new spirit' abroad ? This, Sir Ninian Stephen is quoted as affirming (op.cit., p. 44). 'A new spirit of humanity rocks across the globe', came as the relevant headline.
'It would have been unheard of 100 years ago,' ran the reported words.
Bailey advises, with a mischievous seeming parallel to Galatians 4:4, that 'Now, in the fulness of time... there is emerging a group who will bring salvation to the world and who (embodying groups and ideas and emphasising the true meaning of the Church of Christ) will so stimulate and energise the mind and souls of men that the New Age will be ushered in by an outpouring of the Love, Knowledge and Harmony of God...' (Bailey op. cit., cited Zwartz, pp. 21-22.)
Produced by the mini-devil or acolyte of 'evolution' (Bailey loc. cit.), these journeying 'Christ' possessors are to stage a take-over of salvation in themselves; and their Christ ? It is one who doesn't mind what your form of faith is, who embraces indeed all faiths! A marvel of modern manipulation that must vie even with Rome for pretension, seems the work of this pseudo-divine crew who may get help, it is made to appear, from such 'spiritual' sources as 'The World Instant of Co-operation'. This is supposed to 'transcend religious boundaries' and proceed from a meditative focus, derived from concentrating people-power. It would seem a mass of persons raise their people-power meditations to whatever it is, in the absence of any actual God, they raise such things to... (This Instant movement has part in - an International Peace Year Global Plan, I986.)
What an appetite for an antichrist is at work here: and how it reminds one of the already noted yearning of Common Marketeer, Henri Spaak for a leader... 'be he god or devil'. The desire is insatiable simply because man is made for God, and in refusing Him, he becomes vulnerable to almost any crazed concept, just as the body, with its immune system impaired, and without proper nourishment, can readily move from a place of performance to a corrupted carcase.
As Ferguson puts it (Zwartz, op.cit. p. 18) of this reaction to rigour and 'dogma': they just know they are 'irrevocably right' - a most flexible substitute for dogma! Of interest in such settings of religion and culture is Mal Garvin of Fusion (cited Zwartz op.cit. p.118), in his utterance that there is much significance in 'the mammoth social revolution that's taken place in human consciousness...' (There is indeed! In fact before the event, we even have a 'Christ' who 'is... returning ', according to Bailey loc. cit., yes rather 'in the process of returning'.)
How different is the Biblical picture of Jesus Christ's return in judgment to a rebellious world - a world that would even dare to manipulate the name of Jesus Christ, who is Himself reserved in heaven "until the restoration of all things" (Acts 3:19-21), and who will come as "this same Jesus" (Acts 1:11), "this Jesus" returning "in like manner" as He left: while unbelief in Him, the exclusive way to God (John 14:6, Acts 4:12) is expressed in a wailing world which seems none too keen to see Him! (Rev. 1:7, Matthew 24:15-31).
Jesus Christ declares indeed (Luke 18:7-8)... "And will not God avenge His own elect, who cry to Him day and night, though He is long-suffering. I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on the earth!" II Thessalonians 1:6-10 relates to those suffering affliction for "this same Jesus", that it is a righteous thing with God to give recompense to those guilty and to His suffering people "rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire rendering vengeance to those who do not know God, and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of His power, when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be marvelled at in all those who believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day." This is the Christ of whose gospel Paul says in Galatians 1:8 -
But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, If any man...What profound verification of the predictive profundity of scripture that Christ saw fit to say (and now we cite this, Matthew 24:23-27, in full):
Then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is the Christ, or there: do not believe him. For there will arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray if it were possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you beforehand (sic). If therefore they will say to you, Behold, He is in the wilderness - do not proceed... Behold He is the inner chambers: don't believe it. For as the lightning comes from the East and shines even to the West: so shall be also the coming of the Son of man.How precisely also He described things when He said: "For wherever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together" (Matthew 24:28). What attraction, to the poor deluded sons of men, is presented by this gospel of human power and potential divinity! (Cf. pp. 305 ff. supra.) The only thing it lacks in divinity... is God.
Meanwhile, a tamed and captive 'Christ' is to come to fulfil and congratulate the happy hearts and contented minds of the unrepentant, who manage to unite over western and eastern religions, polytheism, atheism, agnosticism and 'churches of Christ'... For this substitute, the office chair is already being upholstered with these quaint concepts, by this oppressed labour. Is it not, Down with truth! as surely as in the days when they physically crucified the Lord of glory!
With no body available any more (Acts 3:19-21, John 6:62), they murder instead the name of Jesus and invent a new spirit of 'knowledge'. As Stephen Neill puts it (pp. 16 ff. Christian Faith and Other Faiths): It ...
is naturally offensive to the adherents of every other religious system. It is almost as offensive to modern man, brought up in the atmosphere of relativism, in which tolerance is regarded almost as the highest of the virtues. But we must not suppose that this claim to universal validity is something that can quietly be removed from the Gospel without changing it into something entirely different from what it is ... he was in fact the final and decisive word of God to men ... For the human sickness there is one specific remedy, and this is it. There is no other.Instead of this, and with bonds of togetherness or 'inner connectedness' growing tight and pressing, a 'planetary Christ consciousness' is held to come, leading to the 're-appearance of Christ' as a crest on a wave of 'raised spiritual consciousness' and 'world service'.
Thus the "other Jesus" with "another spirit" and "another gospel" - Paul had it all characterised and covered thousands of years ago (II Corinthians 4:4, 11:4) moves with the prophecies as required, and becomes the very spiritual precincts, for that hilariously but horridly unholy phenomenon: the man of sin "displaying to himself that he is God" in the Temple (II Thessalonians 2).
Self-actualisation with such 'powers'! the programmed becomes his own programmer, the creature constructs his creator and kindly decides to become 'it', and the time-bound (*13) citizens of the earth dispense with the tepid limits of time and gaze into the eyes of the God who (for them) isn't there. What an outcome for the power of positive thinking and self-esteem, with due denigration of the demeaning concept of simply being... sinners! (see p. 1196 infra, Glossary - sinner - self-esteem... ). My deah! It is rather like making millions by dreaming about them. Indeed this is the very designation of scripture in II Peter and Jude. Let us hear Jude 8:
Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of glorious ones ... speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.Enoch, says Jude, prophesied about these men saying: Behold the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints to execute judgment and adds -
But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ : how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts ... not having the Spirit - (Jude 17-18).From these things we learn:
i) more of the adequate and developing, richly delusive and highly organised aspects of suitable preliminaries, for the scriptural prediction of a MAN declaring in the temple that he is God.
ii) more of the fulfilment of the sense of mockery and presumption, in taking over Christian words and concepts in belittling and 'creative' ways, to reconstruct with Christian bricks a temple of untruth.
iii) more of the predicted case of a line of false Christs - here Eastern mysticism is used to produce composite constructions called Christs - while an exalted philosophical atmosphere, deftly dubbed 'dreaming' as predicted, is fulfilled.
iv) more of the "deceptive words" predicted by Peter (II Peter 2:3) in conjunction with the specific feature of denying the Lord "who bought them" (*14). There is here predicted just that close conjunction with, and yet diametrical opposition to Christ (the one in words, the other in deeds and belief) that constitutes the denial (as individuals) of the One who bought (the Church - Acts 20:28, and so ostensibly, those who use its name, and Christ's). It is like telling an adulterous wife: Here you have denied the one you loved... meaning that she ought to have loved and seemed to have loved, and said she loved; but by her deeds, she shows just how little truth there was in those misleading words and meretricious actions. In other words, the heavily sardonic seeming air of this prediction, fits to perfection these contemporary accounts and their arid presumption, as they move to replace the One who is irreplaceable, having the distinction of being the Creator.
"Scoffers" is the term for the predicted phenomenon in II Peter 3:6, people who will deny creation (as they do) and the divine judgment of the flood (as they do). It is, to be sure, difficult to grow into a timeless God, One who created long ago when one did not so much as have a little piece of form on this very great globe. It is hard to be the Almighty by development in a limited frame, to be the Creator as a simple creature, and to be the Designer, when a design!
But then, how better presume on the very word of 'Christ' and 'God', if you are predicted to let flow these "great swelling words" (II Peter 2:18) in the "last days" (3:3); and must fulfil it... than this! How beautiful is the sovereignty of God who can tell us, using models of one time, what will be in another, even when the abuse of His very self, with mocking subtleties is in view. How puny is the pride of man, and how scientifically as always, is this prophecy being fulfilled... How necessary to the integrity of God and verificatory of the grandeur of His power as Almighty that, protecting truth ahead of time and through it, He not only provided a remedy for man, but categorised, coded and condemned the coming destructive caricatures of Himself in advance, in His word! God's necessary remedy (q.v. pp. 43 ff., 88 ff. 316B-C, 348 ff. supra) thus has quinessential call and protection from misrepresentation: communicated in the chosen form of Biblical revelation (cf. pp. 1161, 1158 infra).
Horrible as are these more heinous
than merely brutish ploys of sin in its situation in the human heart, unswept
by the spiritual power of God, unwashed by His redemption, and glorious
as is this provision against deception, the focus one would find here is
the despising of the bounty of the Lord and the passionate pathway of ignoring
the essentials of life. In this theme, let
us here from the music The
Messiah, bringing to light a basic scripture, bearing on the all but unbearable
belligerence towards the Lord, seizing its path when He was in the flesh..
All the remnant ... shall know whose words will stand, mine or theirs - Jeremiah 44:28).In the days of yore, it was Assyria which characteristically bridged the Tigris-Euphrates and it is to this nation that God has predicted ruin.
Perhaps emigrating from Babylon themselves, Assyria came to have a vast kingdom and to become the prime Middle Eastern power, though later declining as Babylon grew to a post of dominance for a time. Now in Micah 5 we see the great Messianic prediction which encompassed the birthplace of the Messiah, something which was of such interest as Luke tells us, to Herod the King. Micah 5: 1-3 sketched in, with boldly beautiful, simple and majestic style, the deity of the incarnate Messiah to be smitten by His subjects; and of their loss as a people, subsequent to this. This is traced out in a highly dramatic form in Micah 7:7-13.
Therefore, says Micah (5:3), following this lèse-majesté, this assault on the regal-deity on earth, the Messiah, on the incarnation of God Himself:
He shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labour has given birth. then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord ... for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth: and this One shall be the peace.As noted elsewhere, Israel has come back still unbelieving in Christ, as predicted in Ezekiel 34-37 and implied in Zechariah 11-12. They have come back in particular from Assyria - that is that whole Middle Eastern area over which Britain had a mandate following World War 1, during the time when she was active in encouraging Jewish return, in terms of the famed Balfour Declaration (1917).
The Jews have been encouraged to return from so many countries; and from the Arab ones not merely by help, but also by stimulus of another kind... from the Arab-Israeli conflicts of 1948 to the present. Yes to the very present: for it is not merely a matter of the wars of 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973; but also that of 1991. Now this return of the Jews fulfils many prophecies as we see in place; but it also in particular fulfils that in Micah 7:12 -
In the day when your walls are to be built, in that day the decree shall go far and wide. In that day they shall come to you from Assyria and the fortified cities, from the fortress to the river, from sea to sea, and mountain to mountain.The Jews, pictured in shame (7:8-10) but waiting for vindication, to come of course only through a belated acceptance of their Messiah: are to be delivered from this oppressive humiliation in this, that they will be re-assembled, who were dispersed: She who was her enemy will see (Micah 7:8-10). She does.
Russia has seen it, as that mighty power of atheistic delusion releases its grip, softened by the concept of most favoured nation treatment from the U.S., and lets the Jews, after decades of oppressive detention in this vile Russian system, come home... The Arabs have seen it, as the Jews have come streaming from the Near East and from Europe. It is to be seen. It is very visible (fulfilling the double prediction of Ezekiel 36:36). Their return from Iraq in particular in this century is also of note because it is in Micah 7:12, following as we saw the penalties flowing from the Messianic chapter 5, the one in which the Jewish (cf. Isaiah 49:7, 53) mistreatment of their Messiah is to lead to a period of waiting (Micah 5:3, cf. 7:7) until the Lord deals with them. It is here that we see something of note concerning Assyria, Iraq, also.
Not only will Jews come from such areas, back after the penal servitude following their malice to the Messiah, erupting in murder (cf. the Jewish Peter's words in Acts 2:23): Iraqis (to use a modern term) will follow them! Yes, and when that happens, there will be ruin to the Iraqis! Let us hear.
When the Assyrian comes into our land, and when he treads in our palaces, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princely men. they shall waste with the sword the land of Assyria, and the land of Nimrod at its entrances: thus He shall deliver us from the Assyrian when he comes into our land (Micah 5:5-6).This happened when a coalition of forces dealt a devastation to the Iraqis, Saddam Hussein mouthing malice, with a braggadocio worthy of an Egyptian Pharaoh against the Jews, and noting with unmeasured venom that Iraq was still at war with Israel (since in fact 1948). There may be some generic reference moreover to the multinational assault to come (Ezekiel 38-39). In terms of Isaiah 66:8, Micah 5:3, following the assault on the Messiah, in a time of Jewish restoration, leads on to our present time, with its massive Jewish repatriation (Micah 5:3, 7:10-11), following their being 'given up'. In this verse, the 'brethren' indeed include some of His own in the Gentiles (cf. Isaiah 66:20), and in this period there is to come the majestic pastoral performance of Jesus Christ; indeed we note:
And now shall He be great to the ends of the earth (Micah 5:4, cf. Psalm 89, 72:11,17).At a certain time, the Jews will return to Him spiritually, as is exegeted in our treatment of Ezekiel 36 and Zechariah 12 (q.v.). However in His restoration of them, as we shall shortly recall in Ezekiel 37, there are two phases; and the point at which each phase occurs is manifested in the places prepared in the scripture, for the topic. Here, in Micah, we find the blessing of the Lord in His greatness to "the ends of the earth", with the strong international restoration of Jews ('he' in Micah 7:12, A.V. - rendered 'they' NKJV) who will come, not excluding those 'captives' from other causes, who share in the blessing on all nations, promised through Abraham and fulfilled in the Messiah (Isaiah 49:6).
It is, then, in this particular and general scriptural context that the Assyrian makes his vain attempt on the Jewish nation. His unworthy flock (Ezekiel 36:32,36) will yet be the focus of His protective zeal (Ezekiel 39:7), which will signalise His majesty both to the Jews and to their enemies. Zechariah 12 looks to the time of massive assault for the massive Jewish conversion to Jesus Christ, so that then the feeding with His faithfulness (Micah 5:4) will be realised as well as present. This resembles the terms of Ezekiel 36, where His custodial care is already at work, even before they know whose protection and grace is operative on their behalf. We recall His word:
"Not for your sakes do I this," says the Lord God, "let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!"If the 'feeding' of the Jews is now preliminary, then it will be consummatory; if it now occurs, it will then be appreciated. What then ?
Even before that climacteric moment of Zechariah l2:10-14, in the assemblage of the day of restoration of Israel, this repulse of Micah 5:6 appears to have happened before our eyes. It relates closely to that massive rebuke to 'Assyria' of Isaiah 30:27-33, in the context of divine purging of Israel (Isaiah 30:22), and to the developing scene that leads to the healing of Israel (Isaiah 30:26), with all its massive military thrust, and divinely directed intervention. It would seem that what we have now is the foothills of His anger, leading on to the massif of wrath that accompanies the outpouring on His beleaguered and beseeching people, the illumination which, another effect of light, leads them to repent the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, as noted in Zechariah 12.
This accords with the reliable absolute fidelity of God's word. It is in Ezekiel 37 that we find two explicit parts of their final restoration (Ezekiel 37:22-24) to their estate. The first is the physical return to their land of their bodies - the assembling of the scattered skeleton of the nation, to one place, their own God-appointed place, after the discipline for so long (37:4-8, cf. 37:21-23, which interprets the vision). Then there comes the second highly differentiated step. This is the giving of the breath or life to them by a separate command of the Lord, the pouring out of His Spirit - Ezekiel 37:9-14, cf. Romans 11:24 ff..
It is to be noted that the purging, the purification, the cleansing, the basic change to the people appears to occur after this repulse to the Assyrian, the Iraqis, from Micah 5:6, 10-15 (the latter verses covering it). The purge is next in line. How long the interval till this, which accords with Zechariah 12:10, we do not know. In terms of sequence it is not far off. It certainly appears as future to the Iraqi attack, and that now has happened. In terms of apologetics we observe:
1) it happened, and did so in its contextual setting.
2) it happened specifically after they had returned to their land, following discipline for mistreatment of the Messiah.
3) it preceded in particular the account of the restoration of their hearts, by faith.
ALL of this being fulfilled, in fact and in sequence, constitutes a considerable swathe of prophetic verification, worked out with all the intricacy of lace work and the power of rebuke. When God sets His mind to deliver, there is none who can stop Him (cf. Isaiah 43:13, cf. 50:7, Hosea 13:14, Jeremiah 33:24-26!).
This repulse has happened before our eyes. God has used His own chosen means to protect the restored people, acting already as their time of conversion draws near. The Saddam Hussein who demanded Palestinian requirements of Israel, and set out to terrorise her cities with sophisticated rockets, invading by air, has acted brashly against the Jews, and been desolated as predicted. That great multinational force which defied, defeated and then, through its leader, despised Hussein's work as ineptitude is already noted as having won one of the military epics of history! How they did... 'lay waste' the land, as God predicted.
This is the scene also that God predicted in Micah 7:14-17. He compares HIS repulse of the aggressors, against the restored Jews, to the Exodus escape:
As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, I will show them marvellous things. The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might: they shall put their hand over their mouth.Now this is to apply to the vast assault of Ezekiel 39, no doubt; as it does in part to the resolution by removal of the Nazi menace. This chapter 39 finale is the sort of scale of operations. Our present point is just this. The Iraqis were specifically mentioned; and... it is done to them as decreed, from of old, in the book of the Lord: verified again as itemised, and in the setting of power into which history has now placed it, a distinguished preliminary and most impressive warning of the mighty acts still to come.
Of course all the world should be ruled by that great embodiment of the life-force, of the evolutionary wave, of the super-man potential, of the next great leap-forward, the German race. Now I have some small percentage of German blood in my veins, I do not speak in derogation of the German people, whose tendency to industry, conscientious endeavour and industrial skill is proverbial. I do mean to speak against what grasped them for a season. (Of course many resisted, but in vain in the popular - and at times less popular - brigandage which took them over: yet the folly was not without many, many accomplices.)
It is necessary to focus the antichrist foothill in this picturesque part of the world. With Nietzsche (see index) in the background, earlier prompting contempt for Christian meekness, allied with a surging setting forth with the 'god of forces', and Hitler in the foreground with his Mein Kampf showing out the superiority of the great race which must re-assert itself for its true splendour and (evolutionary) fulfilment, it was enough to have the once so famed philosopher, Hegel in the background. His part was the sounding out the praises of their grand arrival, in the Phenomenology of the Spirit and his Philosophy of Right, with high impact during his popularity. The stage was set: the rich nutrients of German culture were ready.
This preliminary to antichrist, Adolph Hitler was set in motion like a rolling boulder, ready to crush.
Costly advertisement for evolution that he was, he was no good at all at interior decorating when the earth was his office.
Again, the Japanese leapt towards their assumed national destiny. With an Emperor having the delusive title of son of God, it was perhaps a helpful thought that with him at the helm, something might occur to bring forward the great leap of this industrious people. China for hors d'oeuvres and the world is your oyster.
As with Hitler, this grotesque exercise in delusion was racial and religious in tenor, with the specifically religious fervour which was merely a misplaced miasma taking over from the true God, leading to disastrous results. Another exercise in false worship both religiously and philosophically, this was based on false premises in outrageous derogation of the Christ of God.
These mesmeric movements (and the term is used carefully) by no means finish the national tally for this 'creative' century, in world-aspiring folly. The Russians too have had their delusion on a suitably grand scale for this vast land. German Jew, Karl Marx made his contribution to the folly of the race, to the false-Messiah complex, to the mesmerism of the masses, so numerous by this century that that is a lot of mesmerism! Yet there is plenty about.
Speaking of a heaven that, in practice, came nearer to being hell on earth, and deluding people into the materialist folly, as if it were not their minds which had the theory about matter which depended on the mental validity for any validity of its own, he blamed many. He blamed those allegedly deterministically directed denizens of the earth, for their freely chosen actions in a grandiose goulash that must make the mouth of hell itself drool with pleasure at the sheer effrontery of the deceit. Marx led men like a false Messiah.
They sacrificed and hoped, and despised the Gospel, and contradicted Christ at the core and were assured: they killed millions of people, deceiving and never freely elected, while they appealed to the soft tissue of self-will in the minds of men. They led people like lambs to the slaughter, from which now, in 1990, they are just beginning to flee, realising they do well to escape with their lives from this spirit of antichrist which has crushed, and surged over men like an earth-mover, accidentally in reverse, devouring the road-gang. And what a road it has been!
And what a century it has become! Hitler, Mao and Stalin, each has been credited (or better perhaps, debited) with murders, despatches of souls for reasons of State... in terms of tens of millions. The spirit of communism has led to such ideological 'needs' as the killing of millions in cold blood and compulsive if not obsessive cruelty, in Cambodia; Biafra was a candidate for genocide as the spirit of the Age composed itself; Eastern Europe has been a graveyard resource for Communism, now utilised fast, now more slowly, while folly fumes, frets and fulminates.
With a police State apparatus in substitution for the freedom promised, this god-on-earth madness has been anything but divine. No wonder crowds in Europe in 1991 have been doing what the police alone would have earlier stopped. They chanted: God exists!
Antichrists are abounding, replete with the evolutionary mode, using nationalism and internationalism as the mood, the opportunity and the fatuousness of the sin of the moment may suggest. Mythological evolutionism has helped to destroy man by misdirecting his aspirations where they will not work. Meanwhile, morals fall like industrial pollutants into the hollow of the earth. Matthew 24:6,12, II Timothy 3:1-4, 1 Timothy 4:1, II Thessalonians 2:3 are being verified with accelerating force, as if the world were whirled in a cyclotron for this very purpose.
*2 The Kierkegaardian and more general existential trend to passionate spiritual propulsion into untouchable and unknowable realms, which seem ever to be escaping like theological Scarlet Pimpernels from the inventive but frustrated pilgrims... move the romance on one step. A rebuilt 'Christ' (à la Schweitzer, for example... pseudo-spiritual sculptors abound) soon leads on to a rebuilt pilgrim. It is quite natural that the one does not satisfy the other: man cannot give life to God but must take Him as He is.
On the spiritual, as distinct from the technical, the bionic, the computerised side of things, this is intensely interesting in terms of the prediction of Revelation 13:3-6, 14-15. This deceptive 'life' of the beast is conceptual, technical and dynamic, a fitting model for the final stage. (See *1 supra for some of the preliminaries.)
*3 Schweitzer's product of his mind and Age is a gross distortion of the Biblical facts, as shown in Chapter 6 supra, and Chapter 18, A Spiritual Potpourri, Touchdown. This misty, crazy, hazy combination of a psychiatric turn of thought with an oblivion of the textual facts so complete as to constitute a 'creation', a personally manufactured 'christ' who in this had no more relation to the record than a city street to a jungle track, was worse yet, in this, that it was alas, a plagiarised creation. It took and rejected, stretched and wove with brimming thought and unlicensed art. Thus he would have an ephemeral Christ, not going to a planned death with an assured glory in mind, soon to be given deposit in the physical resurrection (cf. Luke 24:24-26,29, Acts 1:11, 3:19-21), who then, after many wars between many nations, and many components of the terminal syndrome of disaster for this world coming as the BEGINNING of sorrows (Matthew 24:8), before the end and His return should come (Matthew 24). No, it seemed he wanted something suitably liberal... Just as the liberal generation of that era made wars in the grand style, so they warred on God in the grand style. Nowadays it is often more suitably subtle for the serpentine mouth back of it all; but not in essence changed. It slithers with ever 'new' variants of the original strain of re-creative reconstructionism folding something of God into a cocktail of lively components, built from autonomy, expressed with abandon and foisted on the world, like so many cuckhold cooks, seizing what they cannot make, and making what they cannot seize - a god of the imagination.
To say that Schweitzer's conception was 'gratuitous' may, if anything, be an understatement! But the Gentilies are not alone in their foolish inventions. God is wholly un-prone to being invented, and does not change at the asinine efforts in that direction, however muddled or confused the novelists may be in their muddied waters, flooded with the novelties of those dying generations the mental and spiritual pollutions of which are merely mirrored in the environment of the body... THAT is merely the more obvious case!
Thus the Jews in their 'innings' - before nationally they finally repudiated Jesus the Christ - were given fitting rebuke for basically similar anti-spiritual (because super-spiritual) phenomena. Micah puts it with zealous development, like an X-ray plate (3:5-7):
Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets
Who make my people stray;
Who chant "Peace"
While they chew with their teeth,
But who prepare war against Him
Who puts nothing into their mouths.
Therefore you shall have night without vision,
And you shall have darkness without divination;
the sun shall go down on the prophets...
For there is no answer from God.The X-ray is the divine declaration, through the prophet, at which we look, thrilled at the felicity of it: how marvellous! They prepare war against the One who doesnotput into their mouths. They use the name of the Lord with whom they appear to be not even on speaking terms, while rank with verbal and conceptual idolatries: and they expound and explain and expatiate... ostensibly from Him who gave them nothing to say ! How many pulpits are here described, how many long works on 'novel' theologies, how many are portrayed by this brilliant satire!
*4 See pp. 56-59; 699 ff., 721-730, 755-763; 774-778, 785-788 supra.
*5 For a possible format here, see pp. 516-520 supra .
*6 This displacement could occur not only by direct overthrow, but through new sovereignties or federal freedoms of parts of what was till recently the U.S.S.R. - such as that of the Russian republic, itself covering most of the productive power of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev was talking, in June 1990, of a possible federation; and the Russian segment is still speaking of nuclear sovereignty. The possibilities are now multiplied for that agglomerative alliance of nations of which Ezekiel speaks in Chapters 38-39 in the end time (38:16) invasion, launched with storm power, against Israel. Any concept of multiple armies with possible internal alliances, as in 1992, merely makes for the greater instability, facility for regional alignments, with each other or with other nations in the area, such as might serve this or that purpose which might appeal, from time to time.
Allies noted in Ezekiel for this lustful grab, pitiless of a newly returned, long wandering nation (Ezekiel 38:8,10,11,16) seem to relate to areas about the Volga, Caucasus, Black Sea, Libya: their overthrow, wrought by God, includes devastation by fire (Ezekiel 38:22, 39:6) both on the armies and on the 'Northern'1 land of their origin (39:2,6, 38:22). This will happen, and in its time will be available for inspection. Currently we merely noted that the preliminaries are acting as if inspired for the purpose.
Whether or not Gorbachev is bypassed, there may be a new series of federated bodies, of which that centred in Moscow would be merely one, making Ezekiel's scene of a gathering body of allied nations coming like a cloud (Ezekiel 38:9) seem more vivid to the present state of development, than ever. It is noticeable, in this regard, that the new Republic of Russia (1990) has a President not unduly docile.
The euphoria at the end of Communism as the State power in the single U.S.S.R. is being replaced by more particular regard for the national, racial competence of member units to establish themselves and do what they want, a highly relevant development for the purpose before us. See also pp. 516-520 supra.
(Since this was written, the Commonwealth of Independent States has come to be, with emphasis on looseness of association, and the conflict about who owns the Black Sea fleet of the former U.S.S.R. has surfaced, with some thought of a division of this mighty power, between the Ukraine, and Russia, both bordering the Sea. Using his own mathematical perspective, and viewing the increasing independence of varied newly formed independent bodies, a European banker was reported - October 28, 1991, The News, Adelaide - as expressing concern at the increase in war risk, based on a simple mathematical model: one that results from more 'players'; and of course, there are other things to play for, also, for which there are other risks and other partners. This consideration is not without force, in view of the pan-Moslem nexus in what was southern U.S.S.R., and the surrounding or nearby States such as Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan. Muhammad did not scruple to rob caravans as well as execute what might have been thought of as 'holy wars'. Nor are Moslems alone in such possible combinations.)
*7 Extension: On whose words shall stand. See pp. 874-877 infra.
*8 See also and specifically, Chapter 10, including Section 1, esp. Part B(1), pp. 986-993, and Section 2A, pp. 1032-1041; with pp. 917 and 967 ff. infra.
*9 Since the coup of August 1991, which followed most of these writings, but which confirms some of the indications noted earlier: the increases in independence of some of the satellite states, formerly parts of the Soviet Union, like Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, where a sizable Moslem population exists, is arresting.
This merely gives a yet more concrete form to the developments earlier pondered, very much in the same direction. It is of interest therefore to find in Time, September 9, 1991, this statement "Whether Azerbaijan and the Central Asian republics remain connected with Moscow or not, their Muslim populations will ALMOST CERTAINLY TURN INCREASINGLY SOUTHWARD IN THEIR POLITICAL ATTENTIONS, AFFILIATIONS AND MACHINATIONS. That will make the Middle East a yet more interesting place." (Capitals added.)
That may turn out to be the understatement of the century. The pan-Moslem alliances, which could lead to an onslaught of bitter religion, economic aspiration and collective assurance, are of course only one of the possible fulfilments of the Biblical scenario. It is just that this particular one is developing so much according to the earlier noted prospects that it is now worthy of special attention. (Cf. Ezekiel 38-39.)
As to the wave of euphoric 'peace', the 'end' of the cold war, the 'new order' and the need of 'new order', the need of a 'new identity' in the aftermath of the 'super-power' cold war and now the limited Israeli-Palestinian accord (14 Sept. 1993) with its pressurised containment ... and so on: it is also of great moment objectively that Paul declares what now appears amazingly topical:
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labour pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 - italics added).This accords with Christ's words found in Matthew 24:42-44, and is in the setting (1 Thessalonians 4:13 ff.) of the return of Christ and the resurrection.
Any 'search for new identity' such as Time is keen to ponder, is a perfect time for the identification, the self-identification of the modes, views, thoughts and philosophies which, on the one hand, can so well aid the political birth of the "manof sin"- the ultimate antichrist, who is to rule for a little before the end (II Thessalonians 2:3 ff.) and on the other foster, his development.
The signs would seem rather clearly to indicate that the specifics of the cocktail of the twentieth century are well in hand, and being extraordinarily well-shaken for the exact 'nose' predicted. It is less sure that that nose will like the smell of its environment, when the developments are complete; but rather does the line suggest that such a nose may soon be found which would wish it had never been framed.
*10 The read-out of the 1991 'desert-storm' as a purely military tactic and triumph was surely impressive. It should however be seen as part of the series, 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, in this, that Jerusalem was menaced (by the Iraqis in explicit terms of their still being at war with the Jews), per kind favour of Scud missiles.
It is easy to allow the brilliant dynamism of the U.S.-led European war on the Iraqis to obscure this menace on the nerve-centre of Jerusalem, a religious centre and setting of profound moment in different regards, to three religions and hundreds of millions of persons. In this dramatic development for the city, Hussein was prodigiously armed and entirely ruthless in aspect.
This, just as Zechariah 12:2-3 indicated so long before, qualified him for membership with those who wanted to 'heave away' Jerusalem, the stone by which they would be burdened, indeed 'cut to pieces'. This very decidedly was the result in history, as set down first in the writings of Zechariah for such a case at such a time in history.
Thus here was the injury the 'burdensome stone' inflicted, albeit in this case, having already fulfilled most abundantly the prophecies about return of the Jews from their wanderings, and of the Jewish military prowess (Zechariah 12:8), God used someone else to inflict the damage on the aggressor against Jerusalem. After all, Zechariah 12:2-3 is an independent prophetic item in its place, and might be fulfilled in any way God chose. As so often, God has chosen as one ingredient a remarkable originality, an amazing alliance, relative to the purpose! Ironically, these forces were ostensibly those of the U.N., scarcely in the past a friend of the Jews.
The fulfilment of this wasting of Iraq has been as sudden, as powerful, as immense as the prophecies indicated. Further, not only Micah 5 but Isaiah 30:27-33 speaks of the judgments to come to Assyria, where modern Iraq dwells, and this prediction likewise follows, here in the same chapter of Isaiah, a Messianic ingredient. Isaiah 30 contains the reference to a new rest (30:19) and power signalised in 28:16, 32:1-4 as also in chapters 42,49,52-53,61 - is that of the Messiah.
Here in line with Micah 5 and Zechariah 10:9-12, also referring explicitly to the return of the Jews from their second dispersion (Zechariah 10:9-11), the awful fate of the Assyrians, being experienced in Iraq, is spelt out. In fact, it is in Isaiah 11, in a period subsequent to the arrival and power of the Messiah with His wisdom and righteousness, that the Lord indicates He will set His hand 'a second time' to recover the Jews from locations ranging from Assyria to Egypt. This is done while the Lord, as Messiah, is in focus as the One who to the Gentiles is supplying that resting place which is 'glorious'!
Isaiah 30 (28-33) also speaks in ultimate terms of the dire assault on marauding Assyria (Iraq); and even Iran has in its own way suffered in the calamities. The reference in Isaiah, "by the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone", is to a 'kindling' of that nation. It is a punishment to the land which struck Israel with a rod. As to that 'breath' and that fire, Kuwaiti fires give to this a literal rendering; for they were part of ancient Assyria; and for the rest, Iraq has fires of its own. (Cf. p. 782 supra.)
*11 Extension : Amid the jumbling throng of Jesus jostlers. See pp. 864-867 supra.
*12 Extension: On the New Age venue for the antichrist. See pp. 867-874 supra.
*13 Extension: On Time. There is entertaining 'profundity' put forth about time. It is seemingly a chronic human desire to escape it. Even physicists seem inclined quite often to ignore the difference and divergence between various ways of finding, detecting, relating to time, and the process itself; just as visually, it is often easy to allow optical illusions to distort the reality to which one's visual capacity is ostensibly referring. Here reference to Professor Poor (pp. 414-415 supra) is a useful counter to ballooning time concepts.
Time is quite simply not a sort of computer-style reversible option - by any human means. (Cf. pp. 1202-1203 infra.) It is mere futility to speak of going back in time in any other sense than this: that one may find evidences of what happened at such and such a time, conveyed by various glorious or inglorious means, directly, indirectly, subtly, measurably, putatively, disputatiously and so on. One's memory can do much the same in its own psychic depths. Only God is in Himself able to supersede time; His creation may receive what He will as HE uses His power to bring back to it, the realities of past time: as at the Judgment.
That too will come in its time: as He appoints it. Time then is a process, or its measurement: not a continuum. God planted process and process takes time. The continuity is one of action, not of manipulation, that is to say. It is not autonomous, nor is man, in his desires to divorce process, contingent itself upon creation, from its place in time. Time like man, who has been given it, is a creature, not a king; and this we have considered in its place.
All that is necessary in science to show the contrary - were it so - would be to awaken our expectant eyes by the sight of time in fact being reversed; and then we should have fascinating data to ponder! We do not however often see heads being rejoined to bodies, after execution by guillotine, or cars being arrested in mid-air, as in an advertisement, or actually sent back in time from a point after their crash, so that they might resume their pre-crash pristine position. Nor may man by any confusion of measuring methods and evidences of a datum, hope to move it about, as if he were God. It is of course true that the antichrist to come is to seek to change times and laws, having altogether exalted conceptions of his prowess (Daniel 7:25), as in fact did Stalin, whose efforts to change the laws of nature were also sadly for him, and perhaps more so for his mentor, Lysenko, unfulfilled.
We do not however read of scientists doing this, or of politicians ... for all the rumbling of either.
No, corpses do not in normal affairs spring to life, in terms of any pseudo-sophisticated way of regarding them, except by miracle. It is not law or logic which turns back this clock; the logic is that creation has come and it proceeds in time and space by its nature, and it tends to dissipate, except preserved or renewed, or there be highly specific divine intervention, or intervention of what has been given the power to do so, with its own equipment which, in turn on this earth, is subject to decay unless... the Lord acts, as He did at the first, in the creation.
The 'Big Bang' as noted earlier - if it be taken so as some suggest - is a self-attesting irruption that blasts into action and is observably dying into degradation. It is not an amorphous self-creation, being anti-attested as such continually, in numerous antithetical empirical regards (cf. pp. 422H, S26, infra), but that there was an onrush into creation in its own illimitable ways, incisive results and decisive divine direction is certain. Meanwhile, life endures, often unserviced because in rebellion against its Creator, in basic features, amid its deteriorating material medium for operation (i.e. with energy becoming less available and intricate equipment - as in spoiled, defective genes for example - becoming increasingly so).
This is certainly nothing strange. Much good can be wrought, and abundance of life found in a slowly ageing house - there is however an end!
Life is not self-sufficient or eternal per se: it needs abiding in its Maker for that - and redemption to get there, from which it knows no departure.
Let us then look again at one of the possibilities of the more recent evidence, concerning what it may attest.
The minute variations in radiation noted in 1992 possibly found near the first of the 'Big Bang' (if that theory as to the meaning of the 'background radiation' be correct) in the time telescoping suggested by the multiplied evidence mentioned in Chapters 2 and especially relative to the possibly far greater initial velocity of light: these conceivably could exhibit the secondary divine thrusts, fiats, after the initial calling into being of the creation, as in Genesis.
The force of some of the subsequent creative decrees declared in Genesis, as direct divine interpositions, beyond the first outpouring of creative power, as such, could be able to provide reflections in and for time, of their eneregtic impulse. Minor movements therefore relatively near the beginning, could reflect these secondary creative acts.
Decrees to found and to form the universe, all have output, depending on the method and the scope of each. Compared with the founding first decrees, however, the impact of the latter could be more in finesse than force; though by no means lacking in the latter... the matter is comparative.
It is of course predicted that a desire to escape the realities of the divine word by which all things have been called into being, will be a 'nose' if you will, to the wine of the end. That is, such attitudes would be rife, the prophets foretold, at this time. At this time, especially, they are! ( II Peter 3:4-7. Notice the reluctance attributed to the "scoffers" relative to the fact that it was by the "word of God" that "the heavens were of old".)
See Chapter 1, esp.*12 and *13; Ch. 2, pp. 159-172, 239-S32 supra, et al..
*14 This conjunction of talk and contrary walk, this hypocritical face of supposed holiness, put to what actually is disjunction from function, is well seen in Jeremiah 7:8-
Behold, you trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely and burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations. Is this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your eyes ? Behold, even I have seen it, says the Lord.Or again:
Do not trust in lying words, saying, 'The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord...' Behold you trust in lying words.These related passages show God's abhorrence of the misuse of His name and the satire He may show, when people's claims are in utter disregard of the facts both of faith, and of heart. Here we see the Lord parodying their formal theological verbalisings, in a showroom devoid of faith, like thin plastic furniture that no one really believes in, clearly unable to bear weight.
A similar or even greater severity closely related to the II Peter text in view is found in Isaiah 42:19:
Hear, you deaf; and look, you blind, that you may see.Here, specifically, the designations of 'perfect' and 'servant' and 'messenger' are preserved in telling reference to those who formally would seem to merit them, but actually forsake what is involved. The parallel is precise.
Who is blind, but my servant, or deaf as my messenger that I sent ?
Who is blind as he who is perfect, and blind as the Lord's servant.
In other words, the terms apt for designating what is real and sincere are used with sardonic rebuke to seem to characterise those who manifestly have in fact nothing to do with them, except their hypocrisy. So in II Peter 2:1 we have exactly
i) the sort of people, arid hypocrites;
ii) the sort of effrontery, utter brazenness;
iii) the sort of verbose self-assurance; and
iv) the manifest deceit or self-deceit.
This being an established Biblical usage for exactly this situation, it should occasion no wonder if it is employed where, in terms of earlier usages, it fits to perfection. They were no more 'bought' than they were beautiful; just as God's 'servant' was no more 'perfect' than able to see!
1. December 1993 has given significant electoral power to Zhirinovsky's Russian Liberal-Democrats ('Northern' Nazis?). His stated readiness to use 100 nuclear bombs to secure 1 metre of Russian soil, to re-build a Russian Empire, terrorising Finland and so on - stresses the region's turbulent and multiple readiness for fulfilling prophecy.
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