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WHO, WHEN and HOW ?
The Show MUST go on ?
It is God's show and
its time is coming!
The Australian June 3, 2002 *1
It is of course rather old idiom, but still usable. The concept was simply that there would be some play, picture or production which, despite various and intrusive difficulties, obstructions or mini-calamities, HAD TO GO ON until it was finished. Duty, discipline and application simply had to make sure that it did. That was all.
With this world, there is with some, a not dissimilar attitude. SURVIVAL must go on; the HUMAN RACE must go on. Life in the form of depraved, deprived, delinquent and sometimes noble, visionary and splendid things (the balance is changing), has to secure for itself a perch, and sit on it. The cameras that tell of what it does must proceed whirring; the scenes, tableaux and motifs must not be molested. People, peoples or civilisations may have to go; freedom may have to die under duress; common people may have to be uncommonly repressed, disciplined or RUN as on a ship: but the show, the world, its wisdom, ways and aspirations must go on. That is the confining vision, the undistilled wisdom of this world.
Again, many would seek to have it this way also. The world is here, and God is ... there. Here is the talk of town. Here it is which must be taken, triumphantly attired in durability, however much the chameleon skin may have to change, even if it be to a rich and perplexing tartan. Interesting, is it not, that tartan and tartar differ by only one letter, and again 'a fair tartar' is rather an old idiom, but it meant someone acrid and demanding, hard to please and given more to the militant march of personality than the parade of peace or the serenade of kindliness! So the world may have to become, one approach has it, a fair tartar if necessary. Hitler felt the same, as did Stalin, only they thought that AFTER it was WON, then it could be heaven or haven or something else, according to taste.
They lost. It did not even begin to become anything except more and more a parallel to hell, as their vicious dreams and visionary vices pursued their desiccated ways, the juice gone, the jaw out-thrust, the payments horrendous for dreaming awake.
More is coming, more dreamers, as Jude declares it (v. 18-19, bold added), "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. These are worldly persons who cause division, not having the Spirit. But you beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life..."
How do you mock ? You make fun of something, illustrate its alleged faults with comedy, with diverting antics of word or deed, dance on their pretended graves, who are your victims, expose their imagined faults as ludicrous, treat them with ignominy, seek to ally yourselves with those who dislike them and seek to make those who do not disparage them, learn to do so. Are there then those who so mock Christianity ? Why of course, the Liberal line, so popular in the early to mid-twentieth century, now a ghastly grave-yard of disproven hypotheses and invalid assumptions, which made man a partial criterion of God, and God a partial creation of man, in practice, which poured scorn on things holy and sought to torpedo below the line of sight, things sacred, this was more disastrous in many churches than the September 11, 2001 affair ever was on the United States.
That is very passť of course, for its premises were mere banality, and its pretensions did not because they could not stand (cf. SMR Ch. 1, 67ff., 1082ff., 1185-1186C, 375ff., TMR Ch. 5, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6, and 7, Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 16); and C.S. Lewis was amongst those who exhibited the folly of its lure and lust, as some of the secondary infections, such as those of Bultmann (SMR 857ff., 726-727, ), and mythical evolutionism (SMR pp. 112ff., *20 on 207). Yet there have been neo-orthodox mockers who used old definitions of the faith for new meanings so that they could deceive, if it were possible, the very elect (Matthew 24:24).
False prophecy, the work of misled pedants, this production has been a marvellous biblical tool, in this, that if it had not happened in this vast, engineered swelling of spiritual lust, the Bible's predictions would have been wrong. On the contrary, the character of the disease has been pre-assessed, and not merely the syndrome, but the success of it with many (as in II Peter 2, II Timothy 3) has been made a CONDITION of the COMING OF THE END OF THE SHOW! It HAD to happen; GOD said so.
If it had not happened, the
end would not be in sight! It has however happened about as much as welfare
payments, indiscriminately given where drunkenness and drugs are its feeble
fruit. False prophets sell like beer. The show proceeds according to plan, and
the last act for our Age is undoubtedly near.
Indeed, the cost of the SHOW is becoming prodigiously high, and everything is being sold, Christ, the Faith, the Gospel, so that whether it be the atheistic myth, or the syncretistic substitutes for Christianity, the erosion is going two ways, and the ground is being prepared (SMR pp. 354-385, 999ff., 1002Cff.).
Meanwhile, these varied myths, being composed into ever new flirtations with fancy, are tossed about like the Crown Jewels so that this WORLD MAY GO ON.
DOES GO ON, however, only until, as is normal with shows, it is complete! That
time is now very near (Answers to Questions Ch.
5), so that it is time to remove a few more myths about it also, the manner
of its coming, the nature of the selection (yes, there is a survival of the
elect, not the fittest, for God conceives this to be fitting, that those who
receive remedy for their plight, pollution and deprivations, should be saved,
not those too full already!); and the results. Let us then look at these things
in their precise scriptural harmony and their beautiful completeness of scope.
IT IS NOT
Vast as is the destiny of Israel, precise as are the dispositions for it in the scope of biblical prophecy, including its return to its land, its mighty wars of amazing and wholly disproportionate victory, its triumphs, its sufferings, its enormous losses of large percentages of its people, its tree plantation fame, its floral abundance, its continuing unbelief while the Lord performs all these wonders prior to His return (cf. SMR Chs. 8 and 9, Galloping Events), this is not to say that it is to Israel that the glory is to come (cf. Isaiah 19:22-25).
Rather, much of Israel is to come to the glory where it is, where for millenia it has been and will continue to be, in the Lord Jesus Christ (as forecast precisely in Zech. 12:10ff., for example).
FAR is it from being the
case that a secular nation Israel will be the glory centre, for in fact it is
ONLY when Israel has fully realised its DISJUNCTION from the glory (dramatised
for a short time in Ezekiel 19), incisively and unforgettably depicted in
Isaiah 65:12-16, so that the Gospel (as in Isaiah 52-53) which it was forecast
to reject (Isaiah 49:7) continues without it (as in Isaiah 49:6, 42:6, 66:18ff.),
that its true time comes. To be sure, its return to its land is dramatic,
highly visible, bitterly contested (as in Zechariah 12:1-4), and surrounded
with hate. All this had to be. There would be those who would ARRANGE things
for them (Zech. 12); but to their detriment.
which is to come to Christ,
The rule of
this world in the millenium is to be by CHRIST (seen returning for this purpose
in Zechariah 14:5, and similarly noted in I Thessalonians , II Thess. 1, Revelation 19).
One of the lessons to be learned, the points of the process ? It is that the world may KNOW that the reason it went into its disarray, its scattering throughout the world, with all the contempt and disregard it suffered was divine discipline (forecast in Leviticus 26 for example, in some detail), not human error, or this world's puny power (cf. Isaiah 40:15ff.); and that the reason, in perfect parallel, that it has been brought back is divine faithfulness to His promises (cf. Galloping Events Ch. 4), and divine decision, announced millenia in advance from Moses on (Deuteronomy 32:28-43).
Israel HAS BEEN a show-case of divine power, a testimony to divine glory (Isaiah 43:21), and an exemplar for trust in the Lord, in its calling and in some of its history, as often under David, under Hezekiah, Josiah and others, but it is also an exhibit of divine discipline. Further it has been a site for the collection of the word of God, the SOLE authorised word of God to mankind, in the OLD COVENANT phase, and for the arrival of the Messiah, on the female line according to long promise, from David (cf. SMR pp. 770ff., Divine Agenda Ch. 5, News 87 for a sequence oriented treatment). It was Israel which likewise was selected for having the opportunity, direct and intimate, of showing when God came as man so that all was definitive, what it would do with Him!
It was now more than words,
since they could get their hands on Him, in the selected, programmed
predestined procedure. For evermore, this has shown man in his relationship to
God, to the extent that not only (SOME of)
Likewise millions who are not Jews, have done much the same in their hearts with the Gospel, murdering its ministration and casting to the garbage its offered gift : except that this time, it is only the offer that is cast, for Christ is no more available for this purpose, once having been sufficient as in Hebrews 9! It is only metaphorically, though it may indeed be spiritually that they "crucify Him afresh for themselves the Son of God" - Heb. 6:6.Quite simply, they CRUCIFIED the LORD!
9:1-5 shows many of these things which God used
IT IS NOT
There is likewise an error on the other side which does not lack some popularity. Like many errors, these two by no means cancel each other out. Each is a trespass on the word of God. Let us now consider this rather contrary one.
While of course
However some have a concept that Israel as a nation will be left for a new gospel, in a new age, for a new purpose, so that in some new way the thing can be consummated; and some even go further, and would have the old things of the Old Covenant in that New Age! There is no limit, it seems, to the confusion which is spread. Yet the word of God is not confused, but speaks what it has a mind to do!
Thus we have already noticed the bold and splendid presence of Israel, the converted, in Revelation 14, paraded in particularisation which however is no kind of separation of spirit, in the midst of the redeemed. Again, Matthew 25:1-10 shows us the bridesmaids awaiting the return of the Groom, Christ (as in Matthew -17), and the bride in the wedding (as in Revelation 19:8ff.) is of course not minus an arm, leg or foot! It is an integral reunion of Christ with His body, the Church, of which the Jewish segment is NOT ONLY that which, like the apostles themselves and those of the early Jerusalem church, in their thousands, has come over time, but that which is to come IN ITS TIME (as expressly in Romans 11:25), when this leads on to that glorious and dramatised UNITY of the disparate, that REUNIFICATION of the diverse, which Paul so acclaims in Romans 11:25-36). There is no unity in division, no marriage in absence, no division of the bride and no glory of console completion in that which is incomplete.
The newly converted segment
Again, there is NO OTHER
GOSPEL (Galatians 1, and see in detail, in this application, in The
Impregnable Tower Ch. 8), nor is any
reversion to anything else conceivable (cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 9). No, neither is there some other God,
some variegated Gospel, some other progression or some other nation which
apart, will be some other kingdom for some other reason. The WHOLE bride is
taken from this world to the ONE wedding for the ONE Christ who with
Much of Israel in its new contribution to the Christian Church, has come in the end, following its conversion (Zech. 12:10) which comes before the return of Christ with His saints (Zech.14:5), and AMIDST fierce wars wholly repulsed, against Jerusalem; and it so comes decisively before that last final gathering at Armageddon (Revelation 16) which induces His return with His saints: ALL of them (Zech. 14:5, I Thess. 3:13), it is written, and not some of them at this time.
It is not
Thus the secular myths (and we are regarding myths as secular when this world is their source, inspiration or substance) are to be detached from what the Bible actually teaches.
HAD a distinctive past, and that in two grades, the preparation of the things
for Christ, and the rejection AS a nation of Christ, with the sword of
following horrors which this world has seen for nearly two millenia, and which
the Palestinians and their perfectly explicit Moslem backers continue to wield
in harassment, to this present hour.
IT IS NOT THIS WORLD WHICH SHALL RULE
As well promote garbage as prince, as this world for glory. That it the biblical position.
The world has other ideas for its glory. It will try. That is another most conspicuous scriptural theme as in Genesis 11, Revelation 13, 17 and implied in Revelation 13 with 17-18, where the Romanistic glory is given its drab assessment (already long exposed before it so much as arose, as in I Timothy 4:1-5). It is indeed this forbidding to marry which in this 21st century is giving to Romanism a name which even this world is beginning to find offensive, as cases of sexual abuse of minors multiply, corrupt negligence abounds, large payments helping silence are endlessly protested, and the whole unnaturalness of this anti-biblical fraud at this sexual level, from priesthood to violations in sodomy and fornication is mere human assertion.
It is of this world, but declines even from it; and as Revelation 13, 17-18 show, this world will lose patience with it ultimately, and that day, it may not be very far off! (cf. Regal Rays from Revelation Ch. 11).
But with or without
is exceedingly interesting that it is AGAINST the Lord expressly that the
Infernal Sovereignty which yet cannot rule, comes in Revelation 19:19ff.. It is
for this purpose that the forces are gathered together. Their loss is the last
for a millenium!
THE MILLENIUM IS NOT KID'S STUFF
The rule of Christ on this earth is not desirable for this world. It does not like it. It wants to do it 'my way', and have whatever concept of superiority, value, use and progress appeals. It wants quite simply to conquer, coerce, charm or inveigle, get in some way, what it wants from what it has been given: namely the world. Its cosmos concepts would make it rule (cf. TMR Ch. 7 with Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 13, and Wake Up World! Ch. 6, and Chs. 4-5, 7-10), and its delusive enchantments, like those of Rome, would put it where God is (cf. SMR pp. 1033ff., 946ff., 902ff.)..
However it never has been quite successful, and currently, as empires and political concepts fold less neatly than toy aeroplanes (cf. SMR pp. 611ff., 664ff., 925ff.), it continues unrepentant in its deceit, fraud and power play (SMR pp. 620ff., 623ff., 648ff.), just as forecast. Indeed, the whole array or organised failure continues in every dimension as forecast (SMR Ch. 8), except that the additional success of prophecy comes in this, that it also forecast that KNOWLEDGE WOULD INCREASE, and travel (cf. SMR p. 707). Knowledge and naÔvetť now combine in raucous union, expressed in their children, disunity, talk of community and concepts of clash.
Very well: it all fails after its last drunken follies of spirit; and the Lordís return for, and then with His saints (as in Matthew 24 and I Thess. 3:13 and 4) comes like Spring after so long a Winter. Then as John tells us in Revelation 20, the devil being confined, and thus indisposed for his normal deadly dynamics (against which Christ however readily prevails - I John 4:4), the testimony of the love, righteousness and grand majesty and splendid nobility of the Lord ruling on this earth, proceeds. It is just a simple matter of fact that the earth, this earth, will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea!
Intolerable! says the world. But of course! This is like the loser in a tennis match, smashing his racket on the flowers. It is a myth that some even in churches are confused enough to take, that the world is NOT going to have the sort of display, for the sort of reasons which GOD SAYS it is GOING TO HAVE (cf. Habakkuk 2:14, Isaiah 2:2,4, 10 -17,22, 11:4-10, 65:20ff.). The millenium! It snorts.
But God says it is to be, and declares His reasons for it! Rest assured therefore that it will be; that is the way of the word of the Lord. He says; it does.
It is instituted with martial rigour (Revelation 19, Micah 7, Isaiah 66) and is closely associated, though not identical with the deliverance of Israel from the international squad predicted to make a final assault on her (Ezekiel 38ff., Micah 7, Isaiah 66, Deuteronomy 32, Romans 11).
As to Israel, the deliverance is FROM assault before the Lord returns; as to the millenium, it is instituted BY His return. As to Israel, the multi-national assault is by no means from or indeed OF Europe, but from the North (Ezekiel 38:8), whereas in Armageddon, it is the Beast centred in Europe who is the contestant (Rev. 19:19, 13:1ff. and see Biblical BlessingsCh. 2).
With Israel, the result is months of body burial (Ezekiel 39:14ff.), so that the nations realise the lessons the Lord has had in mind with Israel, as we noted above from Ezekiel 39. With Armageddon, on the other hand, the result is the onset of the Lord, in His return to this earth, and the abrupt judgment on the devil, leading thereafter to the explicitly stated millenium (Rev. 19-20). The lesson is far greater and broader in this case! (cf. Isaiah 2!).
Again, the delivered people (as in Zech. 12:10ff., 13:1ff.), one by one, find the Lord, in the case of the international sortieing into Israel; but in the Armageddon battle, the Lord at once proceeds to invest the earth as in Rev. 19. The former case is to restore Israel from its menacing foes, after which as in Ezekiel 39, Zech. 12:10, they are seen converted - "So the House of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day forward"; the latter, to judge the world for all its works.
In the former, the target is Israel, victim of the coalition of evil of Ezekiel 38; in the latter, the target is the LORD, already slain, and now coming TO THE WORLD with retribution for the unbelief that has weathered 2000 years or so of truth and exhibition of the word of God, the gospel of grace and the glory of Christ.
Thus, they gather, we read in Rev. 19:19, against HIM! Zechariah presents first the one, then the other; and they are quite divided, chapters apart in signification, worlds apart in import.
No, they are not the same, the deliverance of Israel and the Judgment on the World; but chronologically they appear close. It is, quite simply, before the return of the Lord, Zech. 14, that the glorious conversion of so many Jews of Zech. 12, occurs, and in His return, ALL His saints are with Him (v. 5).
That said, we must note that the treatment of Israel's enemies, and the conversion of many in Israel in the very midst of these marauding assailants is ONE of the great pivotal lessons of history, allied to and parallel with the Exodus (as Micah 7:15 would instruct). It is ever so simple. GOD CHOSE a man, a nation for a purpose and made several undertakings (as in Galloping Events Ch. 4 for example). GOD STATED in advance what He would do with the chosen nation (as in Amos 3:7, He declared HE WOULD DECLARE, this being the prophecy about prophecy!).
Further, God stated His purpose for them, how they would treat it and what He would thereupon do, and that it would eventually come to be in a stage of severity. He announced that the Messiah would come, filled to repletion with grace and power, healing and wonder (Isaiah 11, 7, 9, 29, 35, 52-53, 42:6, 49:6) and provide the Gospel for Jew and Gentile alike. Further, He intimated that the Gentiles would have an entire AGE in which they would be the recipients, until Israel, at last back in their place (as in Luke 21:24ff., cf. Matthew 24:2ff., Romans 11), would exhibit in the midst of amazing wars, a mass return to their slain Messiah.
Past that, a mass of marauding nations would seek once and for all to 'handle' Israel, and God would Himself 'handle' them (cf. Isaiah 66, Deut. 32, Isaiah 63, Mich 7, Ezekiel 38-39), so that He would make quite clear that Israel was being treated as INITIALLY stated, for the sins DIAGNOSED before they occurred, and treated faithfully in its restoration to what had been unconditionally given, and in His outpouring of His Spirit. Israel went OUT for Godís discipline, and came back for His honour! THIS the world would at last learn, and learn with some severity for its own part!
There is no real conspectus of 'comparative religions' (cf. SMR pp. 823-825), just the word of God, the history God has given, the prophecies which contain it and the outworking of His stated purposes.
What do we then find ? :
Our present point is merely this: that this MILLENIUM is not for the JEW, or for the GENTILE, or for the NATIONS, and it is not for NOTHING. It is for the LORD to accomplish as always, His own stated purposes. Since it follows the resurrection, the saints there are resurrected (Rev. 20:6), which is expressly stated of the period of those RULING with Him. As noted in The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 9, pp. 187ff., No. 16, there is a mistranslation in Rev. 20:4 in the AV, which should read as the New American Standard Version has it. The NASV rightly puts:
"I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."
Accordingly, we observe:
Thus the Millenium has a grand, serene, sovereign purpose, and series of purposes, not least, it would appear, to show that GIVEN ANY ENVIRONMENT there is a heart, common among men, which will REBEL ANYWAY! even after a millenium (whatever its actual length cf. Sparkling Life in Jesus Christ Ch. 10). This occurs in Rev. 20:7-8, and the principle is as observable in Isaiah 26:10.
The millenium ? It is for one, it is for ALL Christians: both from the tribulation and other times. It is for one racial contributor, it is for ALL; and it is for this world, NOTHING to do with it, for its cosmos questing arrogance, to control what it did not make, is mere imagination in a rut, a highly expensive one which stops, in the end, the world from going on with its nefarious purposes, since Christ is coming and it is caught in its own irreconcilable follies and inveterate confusions.
Accordingly, the Millenium has a grand, serene, sovereign purpose, and series of purposes, not least, it would appear, to show that GIVEN ANY ENVIRONMENT there is a heart, common among men, which will REBEL ANYWAY! even after a millenium (whatever its actual length cf. Sparkling Life in Jesus ChristCh. 10). It for one, it is for ALL Christians: both from the tribulation and other times; it is for one racial contributor, it is for ALL; and it is for this world, NOTHING to do with it, for its cosmos questing arrogance, to control what it did not make, is mere imagination in a rut, a highly expensive one which stops, in the end, the world from going on with its nefarious purposes, since Christ is coming.
Thus ALL these secular myths are mistaken. The coming era is clear. It is a past pilgrimage time for the saints (as in I Cor. 15), when their labours are past; but life lives, and though the pilgrimage is no more, the love of God in the hearts of His people does end in inaction, but proceeds with action and the millenium, as He sees fit to glorify His own name in it, is but part. A New heaven and a New earth comes also, in which righteousness dwells, when all these former things are past away, just as the Old Covenant has grown obsolescent, and no place being found for the old version, the world and all its works being burnt up (II Peter 3), the inward newness of the saints NOW (I Cor. 5:17) becomes matched with the outward newness of an entirely new environment.
Travel ? I have enjoyed Canada and New Zealand especially, the nobility and majesty of the scenes in the former, the quiet gentleness and variety of the other, but this! It is the hand of the artist which will bring forth His new product, for His same people, with His same Gospel, His same salvation, His same love, then as ever.
The sacred truth never alters; this world never ceases to alter.
The world MUST alter for two reasons: it is decaying away (as in Isaiah 51:6), and it has the curse (cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 7). It still has a magnificent redolence of beauty; but it is passing, its form and its fashion is going. The word of God empirically DOES NOT ALTER for two reasons: God has said it, and He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), and God has power.
Power, indeed, as David was inspired to write, belongs to God (Psalm 57). It would be better if this world in its wickedness realised that. The best is also the enduring. The right is also the final. It is best that it is, for ONLY GOD IS GOOD without qualification or variation, beginning or end. And HOW GOOD HE IS! That to this author is the fundamental fact: GOODNESS ? Forget it, it is in God that it leaves all comparison behind. His goodness is a marvel, His mercy does not falter, His Fatherhood is delicious, His nobility and grace is inimitable, His truth does not shake, but it is He, yes He, in the end, who SHAKES THIS WORLD (cf. Haggai 2:6, Hebrews 12:26ff.).
Why not ? Does not even a teacher at times, perhaps, shake a student who is so soporific or so immersed in nonsense, that the action, seemingly a little discourteous, has a good result! Perhaps it is now taboo, as one of the secular myths. However, it is not really the shaking, but the degree of it, the understanding in it, the love behind it and the grace with it that matters. This author always remembers being shaken when about 9, since the co-ordination with some physical gymnastics was a trifle on the dreamy side. It is not resented. I think it was, for me, a good idea!
Then again, you can do it with a tree, to see if any of the fruit is ripe. If of course there IS no fruit, then the tree may eventually have to be uprooted, as Christ indicated. The trees planted by God however are assured, for His they are and He tends them (Matthew 15:13, Luke 13:7-9, I John 3:9, John 5:24), and never gives up on His own.
world ? You do not uproot the world, but you do remove its foundations, or
rather God does, when its purpose is complete. Then what is without foundation,
is free to fall, without limit.
This error, so ludicrously contrary to I Corinthians 4:9-13, II Cor. 4:8-15, I Cor. 15:31 with II Cor. 4:11, Luke 14:27,33, Matthew 6:24, James 4:4ff., 5:1ff., Matthew 6:21, confusing the riches of giving with the riches of getting (Acts 20:35), and especially contrary to Philippians 3:8 and 13, is banal, jejune and unrooted. It is so absolutely contrary in character to dying daily and giving up all things for Christ, and finding the desire for the true riches of righteousness a passion in contrast to the fleeting vanities men call wealth ( Proverbs 8:17-19, 30:8, Matthew 13:22, I Timothy 6:17, James 5:1-2, Mark 10:23), that it savours clearly of some other religion. Indeed, it has made recent news.
In The Australian, Monday June 3, p. 11 of Features, we hear an account or report concerning the tragic-seeming case of South African cricketer Hansie Cronje. It appears he confessed to paying money to team members, he being captain, to play below capacity, and took around one quarter of a million dollars (in Australian terms) for varied deals with bookmakers, on the ground that he was underpaid. He - all this according to the report following his death - apparently confessed, at length, his complicity, and noted that Satan had deceived him.
Now the point is this. The particular sort of religion, some form of Pentecostalism, to which he devoted himself, it appears from the article, stressed prosperity Christianity - to have included the concept that your worth is reflected in your earnings, your wealth. Thus, Christ would be worth less than nothing since He did not even keep His clothes ? At all events, this distortion of the Biblical teaching to a catastrophic degree, may have induced Cronje to seek the representation of 'worth' in dollars, when available, and finding it available, and allegedly seething moreover over one match lost on a controversial umpire's decision, it seems he took this step. He would make extra money by dealing in matters not strictly cricket, and officially, strictly not cricket.
One cannot help conceiving the case of Judas, where it is most interesting, in that he was remorseful of the action of getting the money, BEFORE Christ was crucified (Matthew 27:1-10), realising his error when he saw merely that the Lord was condemned. What did he then do ? He did not come and face Christ, but instead perhaps merely regretting the action of putting wealth where it did not belong, rather than failure to seek life through faith in Christ, acting on mere proximity, rather than truth and life and peace, he took his famous steps.
From this, it may be considered quite possible that Judas was hoping to make some money out of Christianity, as if the priests, if you will for the purposes of analogy only, were bookmakers. This perhaps was to be an aside, a supplement to his wealth. Perhaps, despite the clear instruction of Christ on His becoming a sacrifice (as in Matthew 17:22-23, John 6, cf. John 1:29 much earlier, concerning Him), Judas expected He would somehow like Samson break all restraint and overturn the priestly efforts. Money would start to flow around the place, and Christ would break free: this may have been his conception. On seeing a meek Christ led as a lamb to the slaughter, but BEFORE the slaughter, he hanged himself.
It is of great pertinence that the Greek word in Matthew, concerning Judas' regret is NOT that for repentance, but that for feeling sorrow: it denotes a movement of emotion rather than a change of heart. The latter has its own common, highly specific Greek term. It is not used of Judas.
As to Cronje, what he might at length have felt, done and how related to the Lord, one does not know; but the report needs thought.
Let us then look further at the scriptures on such a topic.
Also fascinating is the way in which, in Matthew, no sooner have we seen Peter go and weep bitterly in a sort of stage expression of repentance, if you want to conceive of it in terms of drama for illustrative purposes only: than we come to the case of Judas.
We see Peter weep for his own failure of nerve, following the blustering sword play which Christ rebuked, and then the account of this other option appears.
That ? here, as the new chapter takes over from the old, we see Judas almost in the next verse, experiencing an emotional negativity at what he had done, so that he threw back the money and hanged himself.
Both had failed. One indeed betrayed also; but one sought and found forgiveness; the other did not.
The world of Christ was not that which Judas had envisaged. The action Christ took was in this world's eyes, not even for its own good: indeed, it was not worldly at all.
Christ quite simply and essentially came to manifest the Father (John 14:9, I Timothy 3:16), die for sin, exhibit who He was so that people might categorically believe in God definitively expressed, and forever have this direct link (cf. Matthew 16, at Caesarea Philip); to be resurrected so that His personal power could be seen in comparison with that of creating the universe, showing its precision and its pertinence to man in that inestimably priceless relationship of believer to his God; and to present to this world the Gospel. THAT is the missing link in this world, in its ways; but not in its knowledge. There is no other but this; there is no failure like this. It is not a loss of data; it is a loss of willingness to use it.
This then was to be, and is, a black and white matter: the world black, the Gospel white (Ephesians 2, 4). It would continue thus till Christ came back as Stage Manager to interview, review and consider the cast! (cf. Matthew 25, Acts 17:31).
Seen in His light, and by His word, the sort of prosperity Christianity to which Cronje apparently was lured, may well have been close to that of Judas. it perhaps had some such message as this: that in some way, despite all the appearances to the contrary, Christ is going to give you a five-gong this-world award in which really for the pleasure loving, or pleasure seeking, or self-esteem seeking person, it is going to be just intoxicatingly delightful. If so, it is a sort of selfishness by vicarious victory.
Nothing could be further from the truth, which is this, that the Christian is like Paul, always to be "bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body", for "we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh." This is in II Cor. 4:11ff., where a contrary and complacent view meets with a rather caustic wit from the apostle, led of the Lord!
To the point,
this provides us with ONE MORE of the many diversions, and that in a
highly dramatic and readily understood form, of the deviations from
Christianity which through false prophets were predicted to come as the world
would draw near to its come-uppance, its judgment (Matthew 24:24).