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NOT IN THE OLYMPICS OF GREECE
BUT IN THE GRACE OF GENESIS
DOES MAN FIND HIS PLACE
From Genesis to Ebla,
From Mt Sinai to Jerusalem,
From Jerusalem to Athens,
Athens to London
A LITTLE JOURNEY FOR THE MIND
A LOOK BACK OVER ONE'S SHOULDER
One hears now so much, partly excusable in the excitement of the Olympic Games in Greece, about the birthplace of Western civilisation and the like, for that nation, that it becomes a little sickening.
To be sure, if you were to say that Greece was a site of major input for myths, febrile philosophies and god-ware, with a degree of dissociation of government from high rule, and opportunity for voting, one could but agree. Greece in this sense is certainly a major node in the dissociation of man from God, from His glory and association with his own kind amid fiestas of religious sport or wonder.
Even Plato tended to be rather disgusted with the unsustained liberties idly wrought in the flitting cultural fashions.
Again, if you like slavery, then perhaps this will stimulate you to emulate this sort of 'democracy', for what voting power do slaves have ? Certainly, the athletic emphasis, with contestants able to perform and do as they could was a wise additive; but the slighting of the most important things in favour of secondary ones scarcely makes of ancient Greece, for all its fascination, an oasis of understanding. If it held Aristotle and Plato with a restless sense of interrogation (q.v. Index), it also held Socrates’ execution and a spirit of enquiry which if notable, was tending towards the febrile, dissociated and the incomplete. Indeed, none other than Aristotle was tutor to Alexander the Great, starting instruction of the 13 year old by royal invitation, and it is reported that he inculcated into the lad a sense of Greek superiority over barbarians; and if this be so, it held a vast consequence to the extent that Alexander became impassioned with projects of conquest. If indeed the young man's pre-occupation with power and conquest turned knowledge to account, yet it made the account out to passion. It ever tends to be so, when strength increases and direction is in a maze.
No, Greece is not the birthplace of Western civilisation, and far from it: but it is a birth site of some of its degenerations, and some of its stimuli. Thus, while it is interesting to be able to have your own religion, it is dangerous to any State to have its full meed of irreligion, especially religious fiascos of the same, like airless rooms surrounded, outside the windows, by fresh blowing atmosphere.
From Greece, but not from this source alone, has come that superficial combination of erratic myth, arrant philosopher mixed with some clear thought, broad investigation mixed with pseudo-science and charm which makes up a recipe for what in fact followed: its supersession by someone else, in this case, Rome. Rome had more drive, more unity and of course, more horror! ... at the last, when it too fell, both becoming the last year's model as civilisation retrogressed and became even worse.
Savagery was still available, but in a civilised form, or indeed forum, in the case of Rome; and its early structural wonders, feats of discipline, labour intensive thrust were indeed an end to the falling empire of what was once the glory of Alexander the Great, his legacy becoming of course arthritic in its fourfold division, while that dank gallows of human history, duplicity, scheming and endless wars proceeded to divert and devastate the race, by alternation. Of these we read in Ussher's Annals of History in such wanton profusion, deceit and dynamism mixed, like some new concoction from al Qaeda for destroying the race, that one wonders how the world has continued at all. It both did and does ache... however.
Before all this, there was Genesis, in its record apparently inclusive of carefully transmitted historical documents (cf. P.J. Wiseman's New Discoveries in Babylonia about Genesis); and in this way, liberty turned to lifelessness by murder, from near the outset. In the image of God, man was obviously going to have enormous imagination for good or evil, and having failed the test in that very dimension, showing preference for a vain and futile effort to become parallel with God, instead of having Him available for communing and communication, he became evil. That ironic end to his quest for the 'knowledge of good and of evil' as shown in Genesis 3, was tragic in the extreme, for evil has been his normative way ever since. It has been virtuous evil, with labour and pride, or vicious evil with tyranny, and myriadform tyrannies over mind or spirit or body, if possible; and over the latter if not possible!
Law and grace, love and legislation, truth and fiction, imagination and consternation, repentance and peace, all these things came quickly into being, like scratches and polish on a new car. This one however has some damage to the steering! As we read in Genesis of the early history*1, we are filled with an awe at mismanagement and mischief, beauty and truth, coming in waves.
Moving from God, man became so wanton in idle speculation about good and evil, making himself increasingly the criterion, that instead of becoming by some miracle, equal to his eternal Creator, he became worse than the beasts in much, and often. If cunning contrivance, multiplicious duplicities, evil thoughts, woeful speculations, insidious propagandas and cruelties almost past belief are the measure of evil, then it has large feet that trample, not merely conveniently, but with astute wantonry.
In the opposite extreme, you get someone whose grace and peace in the presence of God left him without further tie to this earth, like Enoch, for "God took him" (Genesis 5:24). Like students, some are marvels and some are horrors; and so it was.
God chose Noah (Genesis 6) in the midst of this evil, and wiped away the mud slides of immemorable morals with waters that covered the earth; but the guilt was not so covered.
Abraham came on the scene, and the protevangelium of Genesis 3:15 soon became more and more manifest, as we have just seen in the last Chapter (Ch. 5). Meanwhile, ancient civilisations, from our perspective, arose and we read of one in Genesis, started by Nimrod.
EBLA and EGYPT
As man proliferated, his God-given gifts became basic to many a flourishing civilisation. Thus, found at Ebla in Syria, not far from the biblical site of Eden, is one of the most robust in law, commerce, mathematics, religion and writing, with extensive libraries. It is here that words very like those in Genesis 1:1 were found in the writings left from that time.
From SMR, p. 68, the following quotation is made.
Here also, not only does the Bible abound in remedy and verification in volumes; fulfil the logical need, hence being clearly the truth. It fulfils this need par excellence. Thus, archeology also, the force of evidence being in view, continually abounds nowadays as science makes it so effective, in confirmation of the Bible. Perhaps the most remarkable find in recent years is that at EBLA where the very early Old Testament names, places and customs are staggeringly verified in a civilisation going back to around 1000 years before Moses, as Dr Clifford Wilson of Monash University indicates in his work, The Impact of Ebla... (1977, p. 24).
Further is found on p. 378 (op.cit.):
The Ebla materials include what appears to be a statement on creation not unlike that found in Genesis (incidentally, perhaps suggestive of Wiseman's view of ancient background materials used by Moses, as detailed in his New Discoveries In Babylonia About Genesis). Complaints against cultural backgrounds, as not fitting Biblical dates, look more than foolish. The mot juste is 'obsessive' though 'obstructionist' would do. The cultural norms and phases of those times, revealed in the Bible, are so adroitly confirmed both from Hammurabi's time (in Babylon), and Ebla (in Syria); and in the time of the Canaanite labourers near Sinai, before Moses, as well as at Tell-el-Amarna, with its incessant official communications about invasion of the area which was taken by the Jews; at Ras Shamra with its exposure of the corruption of the Canaanites whom God sent Joshua to judge, and so forth ... that it is a marvel that even dedicated unbelief dares to speak any more at all, in this field.
Archeologically, this is a fascinating exhibit of the entire precision of the Biblical record; in terms of the ways of man and our target, the background of Europe, it helps us focus on the intensity and immensity of the civilisation just on Europe's border. This it was which was to be used by God when the time came, in the days of Moses, by which time also Egypt had long enjoyed her own diversions and diversities of many gods and wisdoms, with power to enslave abundantly used, to protect and project her arrogance. Her treatment by God is to be seen not only in the Exodus (cf. The Exodus Escape), where her gods are purposely humbled in the format of plagues, which in fact they were before ever they assumed a physical devastation when God summoned His people out of slavery in that land.
It is seen also in some of the most moving words, found in Ezekiel 30-32, with its long-term debasement from its former grandeur proclaimed in 29:15, just as it has been fulfilled ever since. As testimony alike to the power of such civilisations and their estimate and governance by God, it is needful to ponder these words from Ezekiel 31:2-17.
" ‘Whom are you like in your greatness?
Indeed Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon,
With fine branches that shaded the forest,
And of high stature;
And its top was among the thick boughs.
'The waters made it grow;
Underground waters gave it height,
With their rivers running around the place where it was planted,
And sent out rivulets to all the trees of the field.
'Therefore its height was exalted above all the trees of the field;
Its boughs were multiplied,
And its branches became long because of the abundance of water,
As it sent them out.
All the birds of the heavens made their nests in its boughs;
Under its branches all the beasts of the field brought forth their young;
And in its shadow all great nations made their home.
'Thus it was beautiful in greatness and in the length of its branches,
Because its roots reached to abundant waters.
The cedars in the garden of God could not hide it;
The fir trees were not like its boughs,
And the chestnut trees were not like its branches;
No tree in the garden of God was like it in beauty.
'I made it beautiful with a multitude of branches,
So that all the trees of Eden envied it,
That were in the garden of God.’
"Therefore thus says the Lord God:
‘Because you have increased in height, and it set its top among the thick boughs, and its heart was lifted up in its height, therefore I will deliver it into the hand of the mighty one of the nations, and he shall surely deal with it; I have driven it out for its wickedness. And aliens, the most terrible of the nations, have cut it down and left it; its branches have fallen on the mountains and in all the valleys; its boughs lie broken by all the rivers of the land; and all the peoples of the earth have gone from under its shadow and left it.
‘On its ruin will remain all the birds of the heavens,
And all the beasts of the field will come to its branches—
So that no trees by the waters may ever again exalt themselves for their height, nor set their tops among the thick boughs, that no tree which drinks water may ever be high enough to reach up to them.
‘For they have all been delivered to death,
To the depths of the earth,
Among the children of men who go down to the Pit.’
"Thus says the Lord God:
‘In the day when it went down to hell, I caused mourning. I covered the deep because of it. I restrained its rivers, and the great waters were held back. I caused Lebanon to mourn for it, and all the trees of the field wilted because of it. I made the nations shake at the sound of its fall, when I cast it down to hell together with those who descend into the Pit; and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, were comforted in the depths of the earth. They also went down to hell with it, with those slain by the sword; and those who were its strong arm dwelt in its shadows among the nations. To which of the trees in Eden will you then be likened in glory and greatness? Yet you shall be brought down with the trees of Eden to the depths of the earth; you shall lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, with those slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude,’ says the Lord God."
Thus did the God of creation deal with desecration through multiplication of deities, scarification of man by man and false attributions of glory by that creation, man, to himself as if he were indeed self-made, who cannot even understand his own making. Thus to this day, we hear as just yesterday on ABC News Radio, questions such as this: What is consciousness ? They do not know. They seem confused. Consciousness is the self-awareness of the spirit of man in its formatted setting, and of course no will will, since no one COULD understand it as if it were some strange magic which arises from ashes. The ultimates are spiritual, whether in a sense of beauty, truth or validity, in awareness of purpose in war or peace, in understanding and in realisation, and none of this is to be confused with the equipment which enables its outreach and impact in a world such as this.
Once that is clear, then what consciousness is moves so far from being a problem, that it would be ridiculous to imagine a person whose abilities did not include this: made in the image of God and unable to know it! Is God thought of as nescient ? is He who made the ear not to hear, or the understanding not to understand! (Psalm 94). On the other hand, is he who is made by the God of all understanding and comfort, not to know that he is! Ectypes (q.v. Index) have their own format and integral reality which has its own form of consciousness, each enabled to be what the design calls for; but man, he has the consciousness which includes that of God, though it be warped by desire, denuded by culture and eroded by eruptions of passion.
Of this he must become conscious, that God has spoken, and that the impact of His words has nothing comparable on earth, far less in Europe where they have been applied, lived and gloried in, even given the compliment of vast distortions so that the glory of God might be possessed by man and used for his own glory!
While thus in many ways and climes man wrought out his desires, in Israel God proceeded with His vast plan for the race (Isaiah 43:21), enabling deliverance from deadly dynamisms which man is ever slow to realise, even when he destroys himself! (cf. Hosea 13:9).
In that one place, God provided that line of biblical prophets of the ancestry for the human side of Christ, working through miracles of so extraordinary a character that they have altered world history to the uttermost, involving
the wisdom of Joseph as chancellor, if one can use that term
the servitude of those after him as the 400 years the Lord had specified
and the deliverance of those enslaved, in the marvellous drama of the Exodus:
It was this race which the Lord had chosen to have in ONE PLACE (cf. SMR pp. 822-829), in their promised land (Genesis 17:7-8), with His ONE GRACE provided in His merciful pardon and sacrificially based covenant, with ONE SITE, in ONE CENTRE in Jerusalem. It was this which became the place of the Cross of Christ when He in turn, fulfilled not a slavery but a service which culminated in His predicted murder (cf. SMR pp. 755ff.), so that the very agents of hatred in executioner's role, became the offerors of His splendour, a King on a Cross to cover the guilt of a people. It was FOR all, but operative ONLY in those who received it (Isaiah 53:1,10, John 1:12, Deuteronomy 29:18-20).
In David and with Solomon, this kingdom grew till the wisdom of Solomon astounded the Queen of Sheba who, coming to discern whether his fame were more illusion than illustrious, found that the half had not been told her. Here commerce, wealth, power, empire all flourished, and the word of God in its book grew as there developed more and more fully, its record of God's one salvation, with focus on the coming of the Messiah. It was He who would first to suffer for salvation and then implement it by His Spirit (cf. John 16:13ff., Isaiah 32:15ff., Joel 2:28ff.), in terms of the Gospel. This shone with increasing clarity, brilliance and depth in Psalm and later prophet, until the very date for that event being specified (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), this vast basis became a site for a building which God only could fashion, the entry to which is life (John 10:9), Christ Himself the door.
In its provisions, it has no competitor; in its unity, in its grace, its pity, in its lamentations and in its precision, in its integrity and above all in its inspiration, so that not mere drama, but direction to history is found in its pages, with all the versatility of message out of love (Hosea 12:10), and depths of divine desire (Hosea 13:14), with that tenderness and appeal which only God can express. Not merely, moreover, is it the 'appeal' of what may be found appealing; it is the appeal of One who puts to man His ways, and contrasts them with the witless ways of wilful ignorance of His Maker, Ransom and redemption, and it is addressed to man as one might appeal to one in a burning house, who refuses to belief it until he is incinerated (cf. Proverbs 1, 8).
Its provisions including that of a paraphernalia of ritual laws of symbolic significance until Christ came (Deuteronomy 18); and this were expressly to await fulfilment, just as the very Gospel itself was descried, discerned and declared in detail long before Christ arrived (cf. Isaiah 50-55).
There is nothing like this in the multiplicity of mere emotion, the accomplishments of mere artistry; and no words have such power to perform their design in history or to move hearts; for it is not mere expression but the divulgements of the God of creation who speaks here to His people in terms neither negotiable nor lacking in mercy.
Thus from Jerusalem came the call, and it is not as if the nation or its city were splendid in their mere selves, though under David and Solomon both kingdom and city held a mighty place of power and intelligence, industry and imagination, character and command, passionate for equity, concerned for the poor, filled with mercy and intense for purity of heart. It was only as a vehicle for the divine movement that it held glory, and that, it was the glory of the Lord. Nothing could be clearer than its derivative status, but alas, what could be more obvious than the penalty that suffering race has paid for its negligence and its rejection!
Nothing glorious in itself stands, and that is why man's walls fall; yet in this place and people, there was a glory which would be sustained only when it was vested where it belonged, in the God who spoke (cf. Psalms 84,85, 122, 127). Israel suffered for lack of faith, diversification of desires and design, arrogance before God, and though often rebuked, reproved, shown mercy, and delivered, yet at last she killed her King, and has been wandering since, until after "many days" (Hosea 3:4), she has been brought back by divine design (SMR Appendix A, It Bubbles ...Ch. 10).
This is done, and she has had her predicted triumphs (Zechariah 12), but suffers still until in her restored geographical role she realises that the glory is not for man, but for God (Zech. 12:10, Isaiah 1-2): that it is not in killing a Christ but in being dead to sin in His pardon, and alive to God, that glory is to be found.
It is this prophetic power, spiritual fire, brilliant reality, divine grace, triumphant message, sustained truth which has arrested Europe from the days of Paul; it is this which led to the Roman Empire becoming formally Christian in the days of Emperor Constantine, with whatever error of siting a thing spiritual in a legal sense to govern. It is this which led to the martyrs as Rome combined pagan thought and biblical belief, to the detriment of life and the murder of many. It is this which led to the Reformation, to the British Empire, to the German revival and ultimately to the American outbursting of energy as the Gospel coursed in that nation, with so many of its immigrants from Europe.
To seek to denude Europe of this is like denuding your body of its spine. It could be done; but not with any residue of life ...
Let us return however to our time line, and having visited Genesis, Ebla, Jerusalem, and noted the spread of man on the earth, let us follow on a little.
GREECE and ATHENS
Many were the civilisations, as in China with their reference to God, and Egypt, and much was mythical confusion, as man in direct conflict with God, made up gods for himself, rather like children who make up stories when reality is not attractive. In due course, that of Philip of Macedon became prominent, and Alexander the Great exported much the fame of Greece from its northern aspects, to a world not entirely enamoured of his strange dictatorial, and yet earthily brotherly and highly mixed ways. It is in that milieu, much before it, but with this emissary, that the power of Greece was felt, although Alexander was not given all even of that as a gift! From that came Rome, and with the sense of glory, came that of power; and in the end, Rome made contributions which helped amass pantheon participants to rival those of Greece.
Thus Greece*2 indeed prevailed in works of literature, drama, eloquence, as did Rome, and in works of imagination in the field of multiplex gods, as also in a sense of locality and limited democracy: but in honour of precisely what ? that was the question which Alexander answered with POWER. This we have already considered at the first of this article, which we thus continue here.
It is always an easy option when you are confused to put accomplishment, power and rule, assertion and coverage into the ascendancy; for it is little more than a cover up for a vacancy. In Alexander's case, there was according to the historical references available, a tremendous religious aspiration for glory, felt to proceed from some holy commission. Tinctured in youth in his education from Aristotle, militant in mind, religious in disposition (reputedly Alexander received with homage a priestly party which came out of Jerusalem, and went in worshipful mode to the temple*2A, where the prophecy concerning him, from Daniel - 8, was shown to his grateful eyes), Alexander was the perfect case of rich endowments, cultural grandeur, ardent energy, religious diversification and almost nil direction! To move was to be, it almost seems. Motion however has meaning, and without it is mere peril, empty passion, deletive of man sooner or later, whether it be in a nation or an individual.
As to his ambition, indeed, it appears that when he was in Egypt he may have gone far towards EXTORTING some prophetic word to support his desire!
IS THIS IT THEN, THIS LANDSLIDE ?
IS THAT WHAT BUILT THE MONUMENT
Is this broad Grecian project then the source of 'Western Civilisation' ? Hardly. It is certainly one of its GENERATING SOURCES, and it has much that is in a limited sense, really admirable. However, in terms of the direction of flow, it is downstream. The PURPOSE becomes clouded, the METHOD begins to supplant the aim, and the aim to become so worldly, that even the multitude of gods can scarcely lift it. Indeed, as to its god, these have immoralities of their own, in the Grecian prose on the topic!
Now in the European Union*3 negotiations concerning their Constitution, the fact that 'Christianity' has had a large input has figured and featured profoundly; even though, in good accord with the prophecy of Revelation 17, Rome in terms of Romanism, has lost notice at this level. Its heritage contribution was not received into the document.
Although it is well that Romanism*4 failed in this distortion, now endemic to the system, it is nevertheless true that Christianity, as defined by Christ and the Bible, has indeed played an enormous role in Europe. It is not only pleasant games and pagan names that distinguish its past, nor even literature, dynamic drive and engineering feats, religious proliferation and pollutions not a few. Far greater than these, there has been what stands because it cannot fall, though it be pushed with tractors innumerable with the dynamic of intractable spirits at large.
Britain and the Life of London
In Europe, Christ's testimony has been grave, glorious and crowded, the way of the cross in and out of season trodden, not in priestly robes of blasphemous arrogation of Christ's sacrifice, but by those summarily and sometimes slowly sacrificed by her worldly substitute for the way and life of Christ, governed by the forbidden papa, ‘father’ pope (cf. Matthew 23:8-10). It has been forwarded by the testimony of the strength of Elizabethan England, and the bountiful days beyond, which contained many outstanding testimonies, and of many enormously original scientists, like Faraday, Maxwell, Boyle, Newton, yes and great writers like Browning, Tennyson, Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Dickens; and as to young King Henry VI, what a delight was there, in youthful wisdom and dedication, in one who died so young.
Christianity of Protestant clarity was even formally that of Britain, in its vast developments throughout the world in the days of its Empire: even though it erred exceedingly in making the church a function of the State, which not being actually Christian, but merely populated by many who were, could not govern what was not its own, but Christ's. On the other hand, it was wonderful that the whole nation was formally committed to Christianity, and how its massive weight and significance grew. Not small is its contribution, and no wonder that Reader's Digest, in a recent poll, found that there was a prevailing sentiment that when it came to which nation has made the greatest CONTRIBUTION, it was England!
Sweden too has had its grand moments in Christian history, Finland to this day, Switzerland a veritable mine of information and scholarship; and as to France, it at least managed to export John Calvin, though it was by his own personal act, to Geneva! Germany's Lutheran fame after indeed a most unfortunate war, so that some freedom from papacy might be gained, is moreover of vast cultural significance, Bach himself being one of its children, while Handel in parallel in England, with him has given not only to Europe but to the world, a heritage that needs no listing, for it lists itself in the minds and hearts of countless millions.
For individual liberty, England eventually reached a height of fame most justly deserved, and if in the USA, the desire for the same, without the address of a national commitment to Christianity, has led to horrors almost too appalling to mention in sect and sexuality, yet England’s contribution is merely for that, the more precious. Let it not be thought that the wonderful contribution of the USA in its grander moments is being given but slender acknowledgement, for it has been vast indeed; but it is not our present topic, which is Europe.
Thus the day of Genesis, and the day of Jerusalem, centuries before Greece's eminence, these are contributions through the Bible and its initial elements, and through the power of God who gave them, which have indeed moulded Europe as nothing nameable that is other, has done. Nothing like this has so moved Europe, unless it be the proliferation of complex and corrupt purposes, the effort to force a religion of peace with war onto mankind, or the rejoicing in the philosophic muddle which became Europe's 'enlightened' contribution to the pastiche of pollution which is now its very own.
We have seen something of this in SMR Ch. 3 (cf. Chs. 5, 10), and its perplexities from Hume to Kant, from Schopenhauer to Sartre, from Darwin to Marx, have been part of the March of Time (as the newsreels proudly announced it in the thirties of last century). The march alas became not least a forced march, as mad as a March hare in the minds of many dictators and their enthroning mobs; and it has been more of a march on the plank to the seas of confusion than any other.
The detachment of drive from clarity, of dynamic from deity, of energy from understanding, of peaceableness from desire, of toleration from truth, this has led to the detachment of goodwill from the community of Europe, which is in fact a seething disunity, where men are using dreams as stitching to see if it can in some way, like a patched umbrella, be made to withstand the winds of circumstance.
This now enables us to answer the question posed as the commencement of this section: it was not the landslide which enabled the building of the monument, but rather did it give rubble for confusion, so that what is now built is of most heterogeneous and broken kind. After all, that is precisely how the final kingdom which has been traced on this site before*5, that of Europe, is characterised: partly strong, partly broken, or fragile (Daniel 2:42). That is precisely what it has shown itself to be, and has become.
In some of its more ferocious moments, such as that when Pilate, the Roman Governor in the Empire days, yielded to priestly and popular pressures to kill Christ Jesus their Lord, it has shown its beastly character, in terms such as Daniel provided for the series of empires he prophetically reviewed (cf. Heart and Soul... Ch. 10). It is one of the divine ironies that while the then potent power of Rome the great city and the Empire of which it was the centre seemed far stronger than Christ, yet it has left itself a mere shell that was broken as corruption within made its exterior the more readily puncturable. Christ’s kingdom by contrast continues immovable, unmoved. Europe’s kingdom(s) continue variable with their vagaries, and how it has offered to this world already, the very epitome of war and devastation, as if its advancement were in martial arts, this above all.
It has hatched numbers of substitutes, such as the Holy Roman Empire, and now the European Union; and while fragments do not normally become new ways for hatching further eggs, what has been hatched is in another sense very fragmentary, not even finding agreement on what it is about in the Constitution crisis just past, but still determining to find a 'common destiny'.
Part of that common destiny, it is now doubly apparent, is NOT Christ Jesus the Lord. There is literally no place found for Him in the sometimes naive and sometimes sophisticated protestations and implications of the Common Market nations, which in the last few years, have progressively moved from a trend to excluding anything Moslem, to excluding anything which offends it: so long as some sort of democracy is to be found, somehow, somewhere, to some extent anyway.
How like the World Council of Churches it is, which is going places together, only the rudder being unspeakably wobbly! (cf. Tender Times ... Ch. 8, SMR p. 743, It Bubbles... Ch. 11).
They DO however all go, because of the current of the times, the day of the antichrist which is scheduled and which aggressive, subtle, secular humanism and retrograde pseudo-christianity wedded to all sorts of philosophic weeds and scrubby consorts is fulfilling as if trying even in such folly, to glorify the God who predicted it all so clearly*6.
OR ETERNITY BY HIS WOUNDS
Meanwhile, while the world is being won in this diffuse and fragmentary manner, for purposes unspeakable (they actually CANNOT at this stage be spoken, or any unity of the European Union would be lost, and since they want to gain this world, lost it is!), it is not the wounding power of any new blighting agency which is paramount (the old one causes trouble enough - Revelation 20:2); this is merely the polluted portion of European history coming home with many millions in his bank account. It will act as it has acted for millenia, with minimisation of liberty, maximisation of force and portmanteaux crushed full of subtlety and subversion of righteousness. It has not only been thus; but you see, the other part, the Christian, the heritage which stretches long before Europe's power, but which gave it much of what it eventually had, this is being subverted now quite systematically. It is not to receive ANY MENTION!
It is rather like having a constitution in which the heart MUST NOT be mentioned! It is rather upbeat perhaps, but then, it is not very likely to beat at all.
Beaten is the Christ, and wounded was His frame; and it is this and not the upbeat suspension of purpose until it becomes, as in Hitler's day and as in Stalin's, all too clear, which is central to the passion which alone can deliver Europe or any other person or nation. England no more is insisting on what made it great, but is quietly being subverted, first within, and now in this extraordinary LOSS so soon after it WON in World War II, this loss of liberty and of its former actual constitutional basis, so that Europe may fulfil its ghastly role.
In the early days there were some like the Duke of Windsor, by report, who favoured Hitler, and many who thought Mussolini had social contributions to make. However, based awry, they wrought twisting and torment. Based on sand, all is mere grain and wind. It is His wounds, not the weather's winds, which matter; it is love, not unity which is important; it is unity where love is, not whatever it may be where unity is, which matters. It is truth, not fiction, whatever the price in faction. It is reality not convenience, and it is the focus on the faith which rests in God's own provision, not man's own revision which alone brings either peace or rest.
It is not for this world now; but it is available to any and all who come: whatever Europe does, England does or the world does, as it seeks to see how close it can come to blowing itself up, starving itself weak, polluted its very procreative source until it becomes a ground of degeneration for the next generation, and confusing itself with vague concepts of progress where the nature of the destiny is sure, but not specifiable.
What is requisite for man, for Europe and for this world is not the worries of pretension and the vagaries of aims which have no formulation. It is instead the wounds of Christ, the love back of them, the propitiation and reconciliation available through them, the power inherent in the resurrection which followed them, the truth which preceded and succeeded them, the healing that antedated them, the grace which surrounded them as He prayed for His murderers. It is the Cross which bore them, and the plan of salvation which foretold them, the marring which resulted from them, and the pardon which they procured for those who by faith receive Him whose they are, and that as Lord and Saviour, not suggestion box and cheer leader.
If it is all but devastating (and Christ WEPT for Jerusalem BEFORE it was devastated - Luke 19:42ff.), that this world is going the way not of cross but loss; and that it will torment itself still further until judgment comes to clear away what is not clean, this time in the end by fire, not flood as II Peter 2-3 tells us. It also advises that men in this final period will be intolerant of facing the reality of the flood in the past, just as averse to the concept of the Lord's return in the present phase of history. As then, so now, they are too wise. Yet He who speaks is wise, and wise are they who know the name of the Lord, for He has made them so (Micah 6:9). "Wisdom shall know His name."
As to Europe as a Union: it has conveniently forgotten it.
Israel once did the same.
The end for each is the same, but for Israel there is at least that restoration which is to precede the finality which the world faces, and if not all come, yet the nation is to yield abundant fruit at the last (cf. SMR Appendix A, It Bubbles ... Ch. 10, The Biblical Workman Ch. 1, *3 and Ch. 3, *1, Romans 11, Zechariah 12:10). Some equally of the Gentile nations will come from their abyss to His keeping (cf. Revelation 14). In reality, man does not need to wound himself any more; it is the wounds of Christ which should bring His mind back to the Lord and to that new creation of heart and mind, not that old confusion of spirit and soul, which alone is fit for peace, is granted it and is graced for it.
Bring its MIND back ? it is here that there is the entrance to immortality, the gate to eternity and the place of pardon which produces an empowering for service, a mastery of meaning, a direction for dynamic and a peace of heart which, being true and truly from God, surpasses all understanding.
Truly Titus 2-3 has glory in its placement of the same, and let us ponder this in conclusion.
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for
the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed
and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
"Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.
"Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
"For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to His mercy He saved us,
through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
that having been justified by His grace
we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
"This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men."
As there is ONE LORD (Ephesians 4:4), so must our obedience of course be FIRST to Him as you see so clearly illustrated in Acts (4:19, 5:29ff.), and no silence is ever suitable for truth, or those who delight in Him who is it, Jesus Christ (John 14:6, Isaiah 56:10). In ALL THINGS ALWAYS (Colossians 3:17), Christ has the pre-eminence who reflects the Father with precision (Hebrew 1:1-3). All things on earth must first of all start, and last of all, finish with Him. No other wounds are worthwhile but those in His service; and none but His subdue the exclusion which is the world’s woe and man’s curse (Galatians 3:1-10).
Purity is the prize of peace, and it is subject to purification, and that to mercy whose channel is through suffering, HIS, and whose culmination is in death, His, whose consummation is in life, through Him whose it is.
See The Biblical Workman Ch. 7,
Ancient Words, Modern Events Ch. 9
GG 6, A Spiritual Potpourri 1-9 ,
SMR 1-2 , pp. 76ff., 27ff., 226ff., 211ff., 234ff., 250ff., 315Aff., 419-422W,
JOY Ch. 1;
SMR Ch. 2 Supplement, pp. S 1-34, esp. S4 ff.,
Perspective is vital in overview, and it is necessary to differentiate between a list of accomplishments and their outcome, their dynamic, their organisation and their import as history developed.
It is easy to be fascinated by the power of some student, nation or body, and not to realise that ultimately it is confused, its purposes unsure, its wit erratic and its sense of purpose superficial, so that its end is predictable because of its lack of depth, realism and truth. What Greece in fact contributed to 'Western civilisation' has been a combination which Rome developed, and other civilisations in their own way, in some part mirrored, in other ways developing their own expression of human capacity.
As to Greece, its golden time is assuredly distinctive, but the outcome in Alexander the Great is more than historical 'accident'. Rather is it an incident in a false sense of glory in man which grips Europe to this day, having elevated the papacy of man, to the post of God Almighty on earth (SMR pp. 913, 915-916 ), 'alone most high', 'greater than man'; and now in more secular vein of vanity in the Constitution of the European Union, what is in it and what is left out, setting about making the machinations of man to have their own purpose, their assured destiny together as they fulfil the finale for their lands, in arrogation of the divine to human desire.
*2A Ussher's Annals of the World at 332 B.C.. Here appear cited references from Josephus, Antiquities Bk. 2, Ch. 8 (327-337); Loeb Series, Bk. 6, pp. 473-477.
See THREE ANZAS, ONE ANSWER Chs. 5, 2, and Ch. 3 above.
SMR pp. 1032-1088H, Highway to Hell.
See Highway of Holiness, Ch. 10, Heart and Soul ... Ch. 10,
See Biblical Blessings Ch. 2.