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GIANT SURF FOR DWARFS
THE STATE OF THE KINGDOM OF AHAZ A WARNING TO MANY ANOTHER
The Fate of that Kingdom
and the Fateful Future for the Kingdoms of this
The State of the Kingdom and the Fate of the Furore
The case of Ahaz was unsightly, ungainly and all but absurd. He was of course a King of Judah, noted in the Bible at Isaiah 7, notoriously, as in II Kings 16 and II Chronicles 28.
Here was a King, son and grandson of two righteous kings (though they had their problems in passing), who became a connoisseur of evil, an art collector of gods, an invader of the Temple, intemperate and weak, willowy without having the stream by which willows grow, arid trendy in heart and tricky.
Two enemies decide to gang together to mafia-ise him. They threaten, their intentions and their duet an opera script of menace. One is enough; Israel to the North of the residual Judah was always a threat, and a bombastic site for idolatry, famous for its recidivist mode golden calf, centre for worship, already divinely denounced with an ultimate destruction assured for the secularised, idol site (I Kings 13). He foretold the coming of the later King Josiah, who would destroy it and sacrifice the paganised priests who tended it and burn men's bones on it. It was not a promising outlook. Moreover, it was sure. It duly happened as shown in II Kings 23:15ff..
With such a publicised paganism, a recidivist smouldering there was a bold adventurism. Harassing Judah, with which it had formerly been one nation, if not a game, was an exploit, Here with alliance from the King of Syria, an age-old source of torment for Israel when it slithered, was this Israel to the North: and these two kings were as Japan and Germany in World War II as England suffered menace.
What would Ahaz do ? The prophet Isaiah came with an astonishing, a marvellous offer, like that of Autumn weather in the midst of a fiery crusade in Victoria. ASK anything, as what is high going upwards, or low going downwards, but ASK! No, said the faithless king (literally so), I will not ask. Now that is nothing new or amazing. People do it all the time and the world grows weary in its whirling as they do so, making a monotony of horror from its failed opportunities for dealings with the God of power and pity. Yet so he did.
What marked as extraordinary his mode of handling this gracious offer of God, it was this: He tried to make it sound sanctified, spiritual. You get a lot of that nowadays concerning the Middle East from such bodies as the Madrid Quartet, when it is ostensibly for Israel's own good that they would help other countries gain still more of it!
I will not ask, said dear Ahaz, I will not tempt the Lord. Thus now the nations do not ask God for His direction, such as is clearly contained in the Bible, but seeking to maul or misread, ditch or de-classify the text, make for themselves a ditch of pitch in the Middle East. Let us however return to King Ahaz.
Now to 'tempt' the Lord means to push it, to try more than enough to vex His patience, offend His purity or misuse His name. It is 'ask for it'! HOW in this world could anyone, therefore, be said to 'tempt' the Lord by asking for what HE offers. What a disingenuous and all but fatuous thing for Ahaz to say, as if this were any rational ground for refusing an OFFER BY GOD.
Things seem turned around here, just as Isaiah condemned as a custom developing, a national upside-down syndrome, in Isaiah 29:13-20, in composition with 5:18-26.
It is well here to gain the full impact of the divine dismissal of such dismal energies, singing in the dark, so let us inspect these two biblical passages.
"Therefore the Lord said, Inasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.
"Woe unto those who seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say,
'Who sees us ?' and 'who knows us ?'
"Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for will the work say of him who made it, He did not make me? or will the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding ? "
"Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon will be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field will be esteemed as a forest? And in that day will the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind will see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off..."
Here the churning in pace of yearning, the inversion and perversion of truth in a calamity of conceptual confusion, a profusion of rebellion with sauciness to add: this is not only disjoined from any desirable destiny by the Lord, but woe is pronounced against such calumniating self-assertion, deadly to themselves and distorting to God. Instead, in His own timing, the Lord will bring out a redemption and a deliverance for those made meek, who seek Him out and follow Him, as in Isaiah 52-55 (cf. Zephaniah 3:8ff.).
In other words, if you want to invent a new spiritual genome for your life (to speak figuratively), and imagine you have wisdom in these matters, and detonate godliness and spread dirty radioactive bombs of godlessness over civilisation by being uncivil to truth and twisty to reality, then you will receive what you are asking for in due time; but mankind will be given a more kindly treatment, a fine and final offer in the Messiah, who will invent for man something of which glorious things will be spoken as in Isaiah 60ff., and for whom they will be done as in Isaiah 61, providing a lively life in the very grace and forgiveness of the glorious God.
Isaiah 5 expatiates somewhat more on the twisty option, so popular then as now, one in which humanism and self-assertion have their day.
"Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity,
And sin as if with a cart rope;
'Let Him make speed and hasten His work,
That we may see it;
And let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come,
That we may know it.'
"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!
Woe to men mighty at drinking wine,
Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,
Who justify the wicked for a bribe,
And take away justice from the righteous man!
Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble,
And the flame consumes the chaff,
So their root will be as rottenness,
And their blossom will ascend like dust;
Because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
"Therefore the anger of the Lord is aroused against His people;
He has stretched out His hand against them
And stricken them,
And the hills trembled.
Their carcasses were as refuse in the midst of the streets.
For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still."
Conflict is divine in status before its fruit is found at the human level. If peace with God is found in the heart that lives in, with and for Him, then this is as oil on the waters, though the remedies required may be difficult to take. If however God is demeaned, which really means that man is distorted, disordered and vauntingly vicious in misconception, and such a callow prescription must lead to harm through its very disorientation; and it has done so for a specious century that has covered this earth with multiplied millions of corpses, many at first deprived, starved, tortured, disdained, depersonalised as far as may be, by demons in human form, on the way: then what else could you expect ? Empirically, you get it, we have got it and yet many do not 'get it', to use the vernacular.
Now let us pursue our historical excursion. Ahaz, then, was sanctimoniously, rather like the UN, declaring his little precepts and ideas in manifest collision, like the UN, with the God of creation. Thus the UN wants a brotherhood of mutual respect positing a brotherhood of man in a religious fervour; but what it is that DESERVES the respect, and what is the source and meaning and manifest duty of man, as a subject and thing made, this is avoided. From this, eyes averted, while all sorts of pseudo-morals are invented in order to have man rule man, while making it sound free. In making this brotherhood with all its inhibitions and requirements (cf. News 42), the UN is merely putting up its own plastic idol, requiring as ultimate the things of man, the community says syndrome (The Frantic Millenium ... Ch. 7), and using this illusory unmeasured and unknown source, jutting in some daggers of desire, while making a series of obligations which omitting God, are sermons from the sod.
He was, this Ahaz, given the opportunity without limit, to ask of God for what seemed needed. Make it high, going upwards, low, going downwards, but ASK! This was the amazingly free offer! No! said the severed religionist, whose trust in the power and point of God seemed indeed to have approached zero, like a car with an empty petrol tank. It does not go.
He deferred, scrupulously religious, scoundrellishly unspiritual. Very well, the Lord responded, and set forth the coming virgin with child (cf. SMR pp. 770ff.), who as in Matthew 1, duly arrived some 700 years later, precisely the date that Daniel had foretold*1 . This would of course not help Ahaz, already disjoined from practical relationship with the Lord. But it would be the ANSWER whether to belief or unbelief, for pardon or for judgment, but in any case, in reality and manifest action. Faith might miss the call to exercise itself, in Ahaz, since it was not there; but God did not miss the call to provide the ultimate answer to all who would call upon Him in truth, and seeking His face, find His mouth and what it uttered!
So when in the kingdoms of this world, man becomes self-righteous, heady, large-headed, an evolutionary apex of nothing doing its thing in its customary pagan portentousness, rather than a simple creation of God for whom relationship is therefore quintessential on the provided lines: there is lost for the TIME, as now in this twenty first century, the health and the healing, the truth revealed and pardon manifest, that is needed. Instead, rousing rows and murderous missions become things of pseudo-faith and ferment; but it is directed to man and his cultural epics and religious inventions, which he shares to this day with Ahaz.
The kingdoms of this world squirm and parade, are militant and merciless and woeful and pitiful, in turns, as they vamp and camp and cramp and become marvels of cruelty by 'necessity' or seek to sing a sweeter song, betimes, to soften things. The kingdoms of this world are to become the kingdom of the Lord and of His Christ (Revelation 11:13, 17-18), for which we thank the God who made us. There is, if you will, a transformation like that of a seed into an oak; and the seed, it is sown by God (cf. Matthew 15:13).
As to the querulous substitutes, now self-vaunting, now self-taunting, now voracious for glory, now with no glimmer of light but a darkness infernal: we dote on their very absence. In the meantime, however, we have mission as do all Christians, to present the truth in the Gospel of our Lord and of His Christ, while time remains. Better whisk out of the flames some child of hope, than have all go headlong to a due end.
Ahaz, then, he was told as in Isaiah 7 we see, of the final solution, not now for him in any invented way, since he disdained to ask the Lord. With this, in the midst of his insidiously and invidiously treacherous sophistries, he is informed of the coming of the Assyrians to defile the land. Relatively little Syria and Israel ? They could have been readily dismissed; but in the place if disfaith, now there is much more to face. ASSYRIA, citadel of violence and vileness, arrogance and imperiousness, THIS is to come to harass, unhallowed and horrible.
This duly happened in the day of the good King Hezekiah, whose faith was as notable as Ahaz's infidelity was notorious; and marvellous was the direct answer of the Lord to the faith which reached him at that day, making what archeology attests to be an amazing deliverance for Judah. Of this one may read in II Chronicles 31-32. It gave a magnificent foretaste of what the Lord would eventually do.
However we continue our watch over the ways of Ahaz, as an example of the kingdoms of this world. Now consider this: as you see in Isaiah 7, the Lord dismissed as miserable and of small import the threat of Syria and Israel, but ONLY in the light of His power moving through faith to the kingdom if it sought Him. SINCE IT DID NOT at this time at the testing point, seek him but instead 'wearied God' with its perfidious pseudo-sanctity, then it neither gained the wonder of the day, which had been freely offered (and would be discovered at its delightful flow by Hezekiah later), nor escaped the temporary and impending dangers. I WILL NOT ASK, is the best way to ensure you do not get, as far as in you lies.
Accordingly, the relatively slight danger was permitted to become vast, and the avoidable disaster bloomed like an evil plantation of noxious flowers, in fact weeds rejoicing.
Of this, we read in II Chronicles 28:5-27, the whole inglorious gamut of it. Not only did Israel and Syria do harm, the former carrying away a multitude of captives (and consider the slave potential and plight of ANY ONE of these!), but the former part of Israel, the kingdom to the North which retained the name, it carried away 200,000 captives, women and children from Judah, after slaying 120,000 soldiers in one day! How disfaith finds its come-uppance! How failure to trust produces trouble, as if incarnate, that commodity lunged for recognition!
So this world, with the kingdoms of this world, set on their godless paths, combining softness to militant Islam in its belligerent bombast, even criticising Israel for its resistance to this aggression, with softness to Romanism in its famed idolatries (cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H, 911ff.), and weaving evolutionary religious messages from the pontiff* 2 now a parade, with avaricious sounding lusts for former realms from bin Laden (cf. Lord of Life Ch. 8, *1), moves on its unhallowed way. With all this, is combined vast overuse of credit, intoxicated seeming take-overs of almost anything by vast powers who gain debt rankings almost incredible, lest there be stability and function rather than fame and name: and the whole presents a world of illusion and delusion, national elevations and degradations, which increasingly moves with faithless feet towards what feats will be shown soon enough (as we see in Revelation 6ff.).
The prodigious power available in this world, a datum which is merely packaged from the Almighty, is being sought so that, in the darkness of mutual conflict, suspicion and grounds for it, there might be a better decimation of the globe, with declarations of independence from the Lord mingled like tar and water, with declarations of their own desperation and lordly intentions for the race.
The way of Ahaz is inglorious. It was so degraded, that it is amazing that one of the most outstanding Kings of Judah succeeded him, and it is amazing that this was his own son, Hezekiah, a man of mercy and strategy, vision and goodness that could almost be felt, a testimony of faith and simplicity of heart, who though tried in his latter days, yet proceeded, healed of sickness by divine intervention, to his place in the Lord.
Similarly, as in a parable, we in this twenty first century world, have a future. It is not only the gloomy gutters of grime, as from some overclouded coal mine, but the glory of the coming King, the Messiah. He has already done the WORK, for our redemption, offered now, right now, to one as to all, who with repentance for the sins of past times, accept the Saviour for present and future times. When all offers are done, the battle is already won, and His coming is the most exquisite relief. He came to suffer; He comes to rule. There is an old song, from World War I: The Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming ... a relief indeed after some 4 years of unspeakable horror in trench warfare. OVER THERE! it proceeds, OVER THERE. The Yanks are coming over there...
It is not the Yanks, the USA, which is now needed. It is a nation which has with good effect intervened in two world wars in the last century, providing an amelioration for this world. Indeed, it is now itself a nation in desperate plights because of turning away, in more and more churches and civic matters, from the Lord, as though there were some kind of development that dynamises folly and welcomes ruin through faithlessness and the fathering and furtherance of degradation. The devil is not lazy!
This world has had many great things, though always somewhat marred, and the British Empire in its Protestant but too much formalised presentation gave much stability and testimony; just as the USA has contributed vast work in missions and relief. Now these are eroded at the national and faith level, almost to small hill residues.
It is Jesus Christ who is coming, when the kingdoms of this world have at last shown to all for all time their majestic impotence and their faithless fraud, an onset like ashes after a bush-fire, as this and that tree of hope lies cut, and burnt. While some have soared somewhat, they fall; and while great deeds have been wrought, the residual rump of this world is now like an asthenic invalid, mixed with some gargantuan gangster, making a sad showing.
There always has been, and till judgment, will always be one opportunity, one way, one life, one Lord, one eternal life as in I John 1, who came to this earth, one redemption, one plan, one Saviour and one Lord, one pilot for this world.
There is no other; never has been or will be for this race of sinners, nor indeed for any in heaven or earth (Colossians 1:19ff., Acts 4:11ff.), who has breached the ways, wisdom and witness of the Lord. ALL must worship Him whose gift is life and whose grace is a prodigy, whose creation is a gift and whose redemption its consummation for a fallen people. It is His kingdom, "the kingdom of our Lord" (acknowledged or not, He does not need election), "and of His Christ" (accepted or not, His salvation is not broken because men break their own hearts without Him); and He remains present for any, for all who in faith receive it.
THAT is what will remain: the kingdom of heaven right now present 'in your midst' where remain faith and not ferment, truth and not pretence, the Bible and not some summary or substitute, His commands and not conquest by false prophets and prophecy. The kingdoms of this world will become that kingdom; for when tests are done, truth is sublimely manifest openly, and not as now, hidden in scurrilous secretions and potent confusion mixtures, the religious drugs and shameless thuggeries that disadorn this torn and bleeding earth.
Praise God that though this world proceeds to its judgment, that judgment is borne for all who will receive its ransoming Redeemer, by faith, leaving the terrestrial calumnies against Him, for the celestial truth concerning Him, without whom is eternal desolation, like a wombless infant, trying to be born, but lacking the way.
Highway of Holiness Ch. 4, with Mini-Messages with Maxi-Point Ch. 10).
This pontifical trend and culmination is documented in:
On this area, see TMR Ch. 1 with The gods of naturalism have no go, and Deity and Design ...
This anarchic recidivism, in which naturalism is given obeisance by a fallen religious body, where tradition is given grandeur and extra-biblical ideas are foisted on the faith of the Bible (cf. SMR pp. 1042ff.), is of extreme importance, for as the biblically designated 'harlot' (cf. SMR pp. 946ff.) comes of age in this Age, the marks are such that it is impossible to ignore them, even by those intoxicated with pomp.
The fall of this body is not only ultimately to be of political importance, but as always, spiritual significance as in Revelation 18-19. The world is growing old, and its time is coming near.