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The First of Triplets, the rest to Follow in Chapters 13-14
Boisterous Evil, Frustrated Saints
and the Way On with the Redeemer
Frustrated saints, this is not a normative option. It is a possible one in given cases; but these, though they may suddenly occur, must in the end, be depart like rubbish collected. In short, frustration may come even to the saint, like a Summer shower; but peace is the end of the matter when the Beginning is one's Lord and one's Redeemer, and not the beginners, who inhabit this globe with their speciousness and insalubrious storms.
Before however we venture into Psalm 77, where such a case flits across the screen, like a screaming jet on its way to an early completion of its thrust, let us see the sort of evils which can arouse such storms, or precipitate such showers, be the case gentler or more furious or injurious. We need also to consider the sufferings which are evoked and something of their meaning.
It is hard to forget Jonah's roused temper as he sat frustrated outside a Nineveh which, having repented, was not destroyed (Jonah 4). Successful to an extraordinary degree in his mission, the erring prophet was still in need of polishing of those coarser grains which spoiled the mirror of his surface, so that now here, now there, whether seeking to escape his commission or annoyed at its outcome, he went astray. A storm arose and soon passed, as the Lord took tender but telling steps to teach him the value of mercy, the point of pity and the ways of grace.
Let us now take the case of Jeremiah 31, where Rachel is shown so empathetically, so grievously weeping for her children. Has she not brought her children to birth ? This figure from antiquity which is being simply used as a personification for Israel, for Judah in its provision of the virgin for the coming of the Messiah from the Lord, shows her grief. She weeps for her children. They were conceived, they were successfully brought out of the womb to this world, they were growing, all was well, and then in direct obstruction of this normal purpose and growth into life and vitality, they are removed in one foul sweep of a tyrant's hand. They ARE NOT! as Jeremiah is moved to write it as a secretary to the Lord, who so foretold the event, some 6 centuries before it happened.
As this is in the national and overall context of Israel's history, set like a gem in the midst of a prophetic concentration on the Messiah in Jeremiah (as shown in The Secular, the Sacred and the Sublime Ch. 3), two things become apparent. Firstly, this is no small event, but one of truly national significance, something resembling the Manhattan Tower episode for the USA, or for Japan, Hiroshima. Secondly, it has a national significance, the whole country is moved by it. Thirdly, it has some bearing on the introduction of the Messiah into Israel, when that time should come. It is part of a closely knit ensemble of Messianic motion and perspective crowding into this context, as the Chapter noted above has shown in some detail.
THE SON OF MAN AND THE SON OF PERDITION
(the titles as in Luke 9:18-22, II Thessalonians 2:3-11)
THE PRINCE OF THIS
WORLD DOES NOT TREASURE CHRIST
BUT RATHER HIS TRANSMUTATION OR ABSENCE
In Matthew 2:16-18, the event, as always in the end in prophetic material in the Bible, actually arrives. Now that history has duly moved into place, we know that the perpetrator of the occasion for this grief is a certain King Herod. SOMEONE has to do it, if human agency be involved. He was good at murder, a specialist in conniving cunning, and he put his trained mind to the task. Without, in all probability, knowing he was doing it, he figured in the fulfilment of prophecy. God uses whom He will, and the evil heart is prone for selection for evil purposes, to expose the evil and provide the good, that men be instructed, truth be verified, righteousness be vindicated and the telling tale of history be made eloquent for one and for all.
The time has come. The holy babe has at last been despatched from heaven. It has been deposited in human format, and the King is born. The wise men from the East, in their arresting and impressive scenario, arrive to seek, as a matter of course, assured in the knowledge they have gained, that this is where this thing is to happen. Consultation with prophecy reveals, from Micah 5, that it is in Bethlehem. This information from research is delivered to them, after the city of Jerusalem is awakened to nature of their search; and then in their meeting with Herod, they are asked just WHEN they saw the star appear, which stirred their coming. He has an interest in it, as well as they! He computes the possible age of the child for extermination purposes, making a wide span to be sure, in his death squad coverage.
To this site, then, Bethlehem, they repair. Herod is impressed. No doubts need arise. Kill the kids of 2 years and under, allowing for travelling time and such knowledge of sighting of the star as might be involved, and lo and behold, the thing is clear: take ALL and you'll get the one you want.
This rather reminds this author of a time when teaching at a College with a Boarding School attachment, in the country. One teacher, in charge of the Boarding School, felt himself insulted by some member of the young schoolers. He could not identify this person. No action would betray that culprit. He hit upon the measure, then, of caning ALL so that the perpetrator of the derogation of his dignity could be met and dealt with... even if on incognito terms. it was, to be sure, one way of doing it, unless of course the child concerned made himself sick and was invulnerable to such treatment, being a piteous patient in the School ward at the time.
Herod had no scruples. Dynasty for the future, desire for the present: if this was the intention, then what of an obstacle ? remove it.
But Rachel, as in Jeremiah in prospect, as in Matthew in the contemporary scene, she ... a name for the Jewish women involved .. was still weeping as well she might. Consider it: what is the nature of a serious sickness, that slowly crushes a child ? It is an harassment and a grief. What however is the case when the arrogant mien and mentally deranged appetite of an alien tyrant, sets about cutting with the cunning shears of majesty, with the arrogance of man in power, a piece out of the nation!
Seen as a meal: He merely claps his hands and some barbaric agent slices life from the child, as if it were a piece of bread sliced from a loaf, the loaf of life.
What however did it show, since the OCCASION of this event was the advent of the Messiah ?
It demonstrated at once, precisely as in Revelation 12, that the Prince of this World (of which Herod was merely a local agent, or if you prefer, manifestation) is far from happy at any contest with his caprice, at any challenge to his power or interference with his will. It is enough, he wearily sighs, to be active in getting my way; I will not SUFFER anything else to come in between me and my aims. Let it be supernatural (you remember the devil as in Revelation 12, hungrily if not impatiently, and certainly impenitently waiting for the babe to be born, the Messiah, so that he might devour it ?), he will not alter. Let God be involved, Herod will take action as he can.
There is in the Beast (cf. Daniel 2, 7-8, Revelation 13), that summary essence of political-military-personal power which from time to time manifests itself in an Empire or region, or that lurid pseudo-personal dynamic, that spiritual flame which seeks to enforce its desire in leadership in thought or movement among men in some impactive sense or setting, jcrushing any or all as it may, in its avid intolerance of any interference. The school bully, as you see so comically in Calvin and Hobbes, is not of a sensitive disposition, but one thing he desires: it is his will, way and means to match.
This intemperate spirit, this lustful lordliness, it is not limited to the young; nor to the ignorant, though it methods quickly alienate truth, and the dynamics of the route depersonalise those who travel it in ugly stages, so that they become shreds of humanity, dressed up to look real.
Thus the FIRST thing to notice in this Herod
infanticide march is
was almost entirely the same in essence, spirit and ambition.
Both however became precursors
Our early example in this continuing business, this evil enterprise, is Herod. He met the tang of envy against all that might arise above him in his career, with action, and the perceived threat of vulnerability for his own admittedly not wondrously clean life, with rapid and rabid response. The method, increasingly in later years the norm, was rampant murder, he being stirred the more by the fact that the battle scene appeared to be set in ultimate terms. There could be no compromise. LET the kid come if need be; but he would fix it. He would KILL the lot, to crush the movement. What can a little flesh do against his official power!
This is the perpetual pathology and delusion of the tyrant, made the more rank when its target, directly or indirectly, intentionally or not, evokes in the ambitious heart, a hatred of the living God, with flurries or flames of passion against Him
In this, as cosmic tyrants all tend sooner or later to do, possessed by what they desire, and often desired by what they possess - the devil within them: he made an intolerable omission. In all practical terms, though concentrating on the practical, He forgot the practices and the power of God. To forget God is not only a lapse in memory; it is like forgetting which sign to put before the financial figure of one's resources: a plus or a minus. It DOES make a difference!
In human terms, is rather like attacking the USA, forgetting that it has the atomic bomb... a little omission.
It is habitual and part of the disease, to ignore the main point. Ultimately, it is no particular nation who is to be feared, but God who made all nations. Yet the tyrant, by his very nature - when it comes to ultimates as it often does, as for example in the Inquisition, or in the Islamic menace to Europe in the 7th and 8th centuries, or in the Communist one aroused in the 20th. – in his passion, does not rest. He will tend either to indulge desire to dabble in deity, per false prophets, or seek to dismiss Him outright, who nevertheless remains, as is seen in something of the Nietzsche spirit in Hitler.
That is the fatal and fateful error. This ultimate desire is to come in even vaster measure as history moves to its precipice. It will come to seem inevitable to many, who will sell God as truly as did Judas Iscariot. As in the days of the Inquisition, the powers which kill and maim and rob, they may seek so vast in scope and devastation that it might be understood how some bow, and indeed how some thought that Roman slaughter over pallid centuries in Europe was the end. In fact, it was merely a foothill; and Hitler has shown no lesser capacity to mirror the end, on the way! (cf. Ancient Words and Modern Events Ch. 14.
Some seek to attribute their power to the subjectivity of the victims, and to act as if all conquering; while some who suffer begin to imagine the evil can be dispersed or charmed, or will make peace on conditions, and for yieldings of this or that. But it is not so. Man seeks the patterns, and God sets the limits to all instructed, the affair ends (Revelation 19).
War takes many forms. As you see in Lead us Not into Educational Temptation, and in particular Ch. 4 of that volume, efforts may be made to delude the godly, to obscure the issues, to bring in counterfeit notes and to have people invest in godlessness, sometimes dressing it in reverential terms. That is old hat. If you cannot beat by confrontation, do so by dissimulation. This was as seen in the above reference, apparent in excruciating horror in the so-called Russell report, a delusive engine in the State of Victoria, just as it is in the much later but no better Government Circular to Principals in the State, the State of Delusion ? of South Australia, as shown in TMR Ch. 8.
You see the same sort of thing as in Great Britain, in the muddle and befuddling confusion of the obvious with the imaginary, the factual with the fictitious, as words are made like swords to wound. Thus, as an illustration, even some who live in the arena of science, are concussed by the compulsive removal of creationism, at whatever cost to evidential reality (as in Beauty for Ashes Ch. 3).
Indeed, Satan is not blind, only obscured in vision. You have a notorious case where the Home Secretary of Great Britain all but incredibly launched an attack on 'evangelical Christians' by looting their good name and placing it effectively, in a category with that of terrorists. This is a way of reducing the impact of truth by vilifying it. (See Deserts and Deserts, Delicacies and Desiccations Ch. 6.)
It is no objection if people speak evil of you, as a Christian; they often kill as foretold by Christ in John 16:2. When however they use the idea that two parties have absolute convictions concerning the absolute (as do all, for even the cynic is absolutely sure that nothing is sure and so has access to his own hideous defilement of logic in straight self-contradiction, in defilement of truth), terrorists being one, and the said Christians the other, THAT both are abominable, or intolerable, or to be decried, then you have the end of the rope, the hanging rope. They are both certain of basic principles; they are fundamentalists: if then one is wrong, so is the other, if one is violent, so is the other, if one is perilous, so is the other. You do not need to think. You just know: same word, different areas, but the same thing. No sweat!
It is impressive anaesthesia of logic.
Such shameless slander is not uncommon. It was not installed with victims on the gallows on that particular occasion. It was merely twirled about. Consider it however.
Thus you might say that two women being married to two husbands, they enter into the 'married' class, so that if one of them is a murderess, so is the other. This ludicrous abuse of logic however does not spell the demise of reason as such, in the perpetrator. It merely illustrates what is found continually, that when what is an ultimate philosophical position is taken, and power is provided, and truth is in the way, then it is frequently given a dynamic, a thrust. It becomes the equivalent of a good shove by one boy to another, to induce it to go away. Easier is to defame the other boy so that the Headmaster deals with him; for then his name as well as his physical results are secured without much effort.
So it goes. Such is godless man, whether using idols or nothing as his unlovely basis. His power, he boasts, this is not nothing. That is only because God who has it, is not based on nothing, so that something indeed happens in the end: first it is folly and then in its time and place, there is judgment.
Much the same has been done with the term 'fundamentalism', to embrace anyone who holds to some account of truth as being true, concerning man and his world. It may be those who love to kill, maim and assault as in the case of al Qaeda (whatever the alleged cause), or those who love to heal and help, and bring peace if they may, as in the case of Evangelical Christianity. But the very 'word', like an icon, or an account number with access to vast wealth or debt, by manipulation, is used to turn to one or the other indifferently. It is hideously intellectually dishonest, a farce beyond reason, but people actually do it! (see The Biblical Workman Appendix III, and Light of Dawn Ch. 2).
If therefore, anyone should want contemporary illustration of the principles to be found operative in the case of Herod and the so-named 'slaughter of the innocents', the mass infanticide which he occasioned, giving Hitler a few points on radicalism in the process; and if anyone should seek this for use with some other than Jews, in other ways and in other times: then here it is in our own midst. Indeed, the closeness can be taken even further. Thus untrained youth, and even children, are put here in schools (and South Australia is FAR from being the only such educational operative involved in the process .... it is just that it has a certain distinction in crassness as shown in TMR Ch. 8): and this, in effect, only to be, as far as may be, spiritually slaughtered.
One does not think the term too strong. How MANY will tell you that their earlier training from the Bible led them to a the God of love and creation, but their later indoctrination (in South Australia no RATIONAL debate is permitted in the creation-evolution field in science or elsewhere in the Class-room, such is the fear and the weakness, the lack of transparency and the indoctrination!), this changed things. Many take on the colours, like a chameleon, of their environment, being too ignorant or unconcerned, to know differently.
Such abuse of academic liberty and such discrimination against some students in the interests of philosophy, brought such things into disrepute with them. You prefer 'turned them off'! Optional.
It is not that reason is used; it is forbidden to the relevant point with that open framework which is necessary to its operation, when it is operative at all. Such is the South Australian case, and often in effect, tht elsewhere, where subtler but similar means of despotism are used, involving for lecturers either tenure or appointment at all, for students a pass or distinction, withheld on spurious grounds, ultimately ideological.
The case is this: freakish misuse of data is combined with endless repetition until what is never actually ... found, happening at all, or shown to have happened, what has no principles for powers to make it happen, nor any which can so much as be induced to happen, is made the criterion and its empty credentials are paraded with tags of untruth. On the other hand, what is in all respects verified whenever the case permits it, is disallowed. (On this, you may see The gods of naturalism have no go! where this is a major concern, or even, Scientific Method, Satanic Method and the Model of Salvation, where methodology is paramount.)
╬Thus as we survey Rachel weeping for her children, because they are not, in the prophecy and in the historical replica of what was foretold, we see first of all, this point: that as to the Prince of this world, the very essence and spirit of worldliness, the aspirant for darkness whose delusions can make almost pitiful his seduced servitors, he has an unchanged hostility to truth but this the more so when the God of creation and redemption appears and is held to in integrity and certainty.
His followers, unaware of his domain and dynamic, may in such dark pursuits, programs or cultures, become so confused as to be confounded, as is seen in simple and immediate terms in the case with the birth of Christ. To thwart God he did everything and achieved nothing. He felt envy, harassment, danger and the need to act; so act he did and slaughtered a generation of children where this seemed to the point for his program, purposes and individual pursuits.
In the hideously ironic case of actually killing Christ Himself (glorious plan so that the murderers became in effect priests offering the ultimate sacrifice for sin, Jesus Christ), one of the agents of Satan actually saw it with a sort of spurious, surrealistic simplicity. IT IS EXPEDIENT, said he, in speaking of the coming murder of Jesus Christ, that one man perish for the people! In fact, that 'one man' was Lord, and in His death there came a guilt which has slaughtered millions, in their FAILURE THEREBY to have the power of God and His peace in their lives, and His support, all as predicted (Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 32) from of old. Yet in the grace and courtesy of God, each one of them is, from that day to this, as are all the Gentiles, INVITED to receive the RESULT of the killing of the Redeemer, namely eternal redemption (cf. Hebrews 9:12). God for His part, KNOWS what He is DOING, and does it. It works.
This world however as a spiritual entity, it does not value Christ. It would seduce Him if possible (the devil himself had a go at it, as seen in Matthew 4), or seek to do the same to His servants, if necessary. You saw that type of thing in the Hellenist party in the day of Antiochus Epiphanes, that great, insidious tyrant, some centuries before Christ, who stopped at nothing to corrupt and corrode the faith among the Jews, till something not of this world arranged for his cessation! Ecumenical madness, very different from the ecumenical mandate, does this now (cf. News 121, 122). It seeks to unify what is contrary, to compress what is varied, bringing belief in the word of God and disbelief into one, and to essentialise what is divergent. This it does to the point that the Bible becomes merely a straw in the wind, and the philosophy of the pedants back of it becomes the new Bible, into which in effect the Bible can fit as one edited chapter!
To the contrary, Christian ecumenism as in John 17, STARTS with those who have received the words of Jesus Christ, and communes with Him, not with His adversaries and those who would supplant with their use of HIS name for their focus, and abuse of it for their philosophy. HIS is the name that counts; so they count it, but discount it as their leisure, rather like trap-door spiders which offer so open and easy a way IN, but as to the way on and out, it is a far cry from that!
Hence it is, this world, where it is. In the end, light shines either in the heart of the believer, or in the plight of the despiser, whether this be by indifference or by design.
The matter reaches its end. In the terminus, the distance travelled is not only more apparent, but the DIRECTION! We have arrived, as far as the prelude for the return of Christ is concerned (cf. Matthew 24, Luke 21:24). The world is near to a multi-national heart-attack as it seeks to extract more and yet more from the disenfranchised Israel, butt of the renegacy of the UN toward the provisions of the League of Nations, which accorded PALESTINE to it, in the 1920s, while as yet, it has but little of it.
╬ More! more! cry the programs, from Clinton to the Madrid Quartet. Give more of Israel in its tininess, to the mob, to the many, to the multitude of those with almost all the land, directly or indirectly for many miles around her.
Always, they need more. So they gained Gaza, gift of the grace of Israel. Then what ? What is the integrity of the reception ? Alas, then they use Gaza, given back, to fire rockets, and then they clamour at the response of Israel to such ingratitude, when it seeks to stop them using this gift as a new base. From this, the enemies of Israel, seek from a nearer and given platform, to gain more of the tiny strip which is Israel, presumably for the same purpose. Let me annihilate Israel, says Iran's notorious President, while he exudes charm in diplomacy.
What of Israel ? It is just, like an infant, something small and apparently vulnerable, and SET THERE BY GOD FOR A STATED PURPOSE. Failed, it was punished; favoured, it is brought back as God in His program proposed, purposed and decreed. It is back. Therefore it must go, lest the power of God be seen, as it is seen, and has been seen these last 60 years, in the amazing and predicted victories of Israel against almost unnumbered foes (cf. SMR Ch. 9). Such is the vision of vice, amid the victory of God. The thing is not hidden; it was foretold and it is seen (cf. Zechariah 12-13).
That is all very natural, if not necessary for the frenzies of unbelief, since the god of this world has now, as it had in the day of Rachel's grief, an INVETERATE desire to eliminate the whole testimony of the God of creation and of redemption, whether by false prophets or secular manipulation. He would have NONE of Him. While nations at times have been greatly drawn to Christ, and that colossus, far more tolerant than many, the British Empire actually had Him in various ways at the Head (but in vain in the end, since if the nation is to rule the church, and the people itself becomes non-Christian, then what results becomes no Christian country at all!), yet they no more yield effectual fealty.
The nations accrue, the EU with its common but unstated destiny and its religious vacuum, to be filled in due course, these move in one direction: new morals in amorality, new powers in overall direction, new education in naturalistic delusion, new lusts in common approbation where they were once old sins, new curbs to liberty of speech and new looks for old harassments, while an infected freedom dismisses itself for the common desire.
They use international glues instead of the divine Gospel. They do not work ? of course not; but they are something to do prior to judgment which descends increasingly obviously, till the spin doctors are almost distracted, and the predicted end of ice in the Arctic, which some scientists foretell, is made to be as if nothing with no significance, a thing not affecting this world materially at all.
No, very decidedly, the Prince of this World, as Christ declared from the first, is the one coming for this age in its secular transience, and "he has nothing in Me!"
His special march started with Herod, and his successors have the same step.
The Son of Man (God using the human format via a virgin in definitive incarnation) has come and given; the Son of perdition (cf. II Thessalonians 2), the high profile, low-hearted emblem and potentate to represent the devil when the final Scene in the Last Act of the Age has come, a human so vile that the devil is satisfied to have his scheme summed up in him: they do not mix. They do not cohere any more than dirt mixes with hygiene, sin with holiness, the defiled with the sublime, God with sin.
The One has sin met by sacrifice to re-introduce man to God on an assured and eternal basis; the other has sin indemnified by the loss to be sustained where no cover is provided. This world is an engine of loss, so that its gains continually become the prelude to loss, because unbased. Its rambunctious ramblings, like those before the flood, end this time in fire (II Peter 3).