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THE EPICS AND THE EPOCHS IN THE DIVINE WAY
Just as there is a time for the intertwining things of the natural word, and a time to avoid mere entanglement with them, and a time for severing the untimely and finding the timeless, beyond time, delighting in it and not disdaining it, so there are epochs and within them, epics. It is not then a matter of tracing this or that race and its naturalistic, or self-glorifying backgrounds, but of considering the human race itself, with or without atomic power and glowering in the turmoils of foul play, and even fouler works. Rather than the history, real or imagined, of any one segment, rather this concerns the background for us all, the epochs sustained in our joint history, and the futility of trying for a kind of history-ectomy, as if to banish our position from polite review, and made us gods, but maddened ones without knowledge of ourselves or reflection.
Man is not in danger of acting like beasts which, being with all of nature subjected to curse, are thus often far from commendable, but more of acting like devils. As if a ludicrous lord over a large estate, in nation after nation he rushes into ruin as if he were without his own Maker. Europe in many, has impoverished itself; China appears to be seeking to glorify itself, on a rather tired pattern.
How fallen man loves the dissolution of following desire, whether seeming good or bad, so long as it is his own. The USA, once the ideal of many as allowing free and uninhibited worship of God without State control invading his conscience, now is growing in disgrace as a land of the free for folly, as the national character seems to be changing into illusion, confusion and leaders out of control. It is not alone; but in terms of the amount of its fall so far, it is one of the world leaders.
In this, Australia has for some years seemingly been following the leader,
dabbling in dangerous debt while congratulating itself on its wisdom
(the new Government calling that formerly incurred profligacy,
not without substantial grounds),
forsaking the Almighty as if intoxicated with mind-blowing drugs,
teaching its children myths with no sympathy for empirical bases for the same whatever*1 ,
flirting with anti-design*2,
same-sex misuse of sexuality, as condemned in the Bible*3
and in its own shores not so long ago, and
becoming more and more a bright performer in the vaudeville of unrestraint.
Once again, the national character is near to changing from some very bright qualities, to the satisfaction of unmitigated desire and the leadership of those attendant to the call. There are many, very many good things remaining in this land; but the erosion is rapid.
Thus a survey reported in The Advertiser today shows that in 1911 a census report showed one in 250 cited no religion; in 2011, over one in 5 did so. That is in ratio, 4 per thousand negative here in 1911,moving to 200 per thousand near to now, a rise of 50 times. That is like four in a thousand with paralysis compared with 50 times that, 200 per thousand, from the all but negligible to the very substantial, so that if trends continue, the larger figure will swell heavily. Similar rises in the negative are reported for the USA, Canada, NZ, England Wales and Ireland, and actual participation in a religious group surpasses the slender in its comparative littleness.
Results accrue. While divorce-prone marriages increase their rate, marriages themselves diminish, giving children a multipartite and changing complexity to face, where to say no more, love does not so manifestly flourish as an example, and unity as a theme; and there is much strength in sound unity. Binge drinking increases, apparently senseless violence soars to keep pace with religiously directed violence, without logically sustainable grounds, obesity increases in children, while another report shows, exercise whether or not in school, continues to decrease among them.
Confusion continues in politics, one atrocious case being this, that a political potentate was seeking to make subjective offence a matter for law to deal with, with damages and sessions of counsel and the like irrespective of objective truth: one who then apparently made history in designating a former PM with a word not known to have been publicly so used of a male by a woman in politics, one not merely offensive but crude and gross. So do many delude themselves with unrealistic principles and ideas they do not even endorse within themselves. It appears God, being displaced in many such, has to be replaced with superficial and often supercilious pretensions.
Slogans and party-thrusts continue their march to replacing thought, and rubbishing on unproven grounds has become an art form, a matter of psychic manipulation of the electorate, instead of steadily watchful sharing, albeit if need be, competitively with the one great object of RESOLVING issues. Australia's defence lacks nuclear deterrent, jobs are in danger of replacing efficiency for defence gear, and debt merely adds to the weakness, as pleasant things multiply for the electorate, and necessary ones fail, for lack of vision.
Thus as Britain and the USA have lost world hegemony in deteriorating states, declining in comparative power, soaring in debt, there is increasing in confusion as to AIMS, VALUES and OBJECTIVES, with more and more obvious departure from Christ, seminaries subverted almost as routine, and many Churches preaching philosophy with some elastic biblical reference, while Anglican Churches worldwide are told that sexual deviants who are baptised and received are part of the body of Christ. Thus wish becomes will, and will presumes to legislate as it will. Meanwhile, from Moses to Paul, biblically there is in judgment exclusion (as in I Timothy 1:10, II Corinthians 5-6, Romans 1) of those so practising; indeed, it is a matter of some judicial vigour, relating to the misuse of apparatus as given, for other purpose. Such is the position for what is in defiance of God who made the match for man and woman, gave the Bible, both Testaments, and in these terms, treats with outage, subversion or scorn offered both to the commands and the provisions for the Designer (*2).
Many may be weak in this or that, and at this time and that; but this is not a matter of performance but principle, of righteousness and rectitude, of wisdom and understanding, of man versus God, of what is ruinous to design and what is not; and Romans 1 sets it all in the underlying principles and overlying issues.
Man CAN create his own gods; but this does not put them there, mere baggage in his mind.
Let the alternate creators SHOW their power! and let the imaginers of cause-free construction illustrate their wares in what works, as this does, in the entire trilogy of man! Let competitor with the Creator exhibit their powers, and their contentions! It is sad to see such nostrums even inhabiting the minds of many who ostentatiously use the very name of science amid these logical scandals*3A.
To show scorn in theory and practice to your employer, as if his wisdom were null and his ways odd, may risk your work; but to do this to your Maker in the light of your demonstrable equipment, as if using a pen for a plough, not only risks your life in the mercies of the Lord, but puts your spiritual head on the chopping block. If you fight your Maker, you fight your relief, redemption, acceptance, restoration and salvation. You do not care ? then this is part of the entire carefully linked series of falls until the acme of the affair of many components, but one spirit, leads on to the war directly with God, as indicated is to come, as in Revelation 19:19, a fruition unheeded by many, but with immeasurable results.
Man is becoming weak where he was strong, confused where he was clear, and what is already confused, continues its increasing rapacity and rampancy *4 on many counts.
Moreover, man is more and more clamorously, becoming in some ways notably worse than beasts in his wars and hatreds. What beast so foul in persistence, so deadly in conspiracies innumerable, so subtle in refined torture, so persistent in trying to seize the mind of its prey, to dash its individuality and to smash its virtue. Devilry is the art form of aggressive fallen image-of-God bearers, and it has many of the habiliments of hell. Indeed, many in the ludicrous but deadly lordships of Communism, Nazism, Islam and the Japanese 'son of God' imperial power, all of which have used force not marginally but massively and often with unrestrained physical and mental torture, to accomplish their ends concerning the will and work of man, are only examples of the lordly luxury of man to be as a god to his fellows, or to make his appointee to be so, without ground or validity.
By torture and imprisonment, by burning churches by the score, robbing, pillaging, containing Christian populaces with corrupt laws that favour this or that without warrant other than convenience to the religionists concerned*5, using force directly to MAKE men submit to their findings, while oppressing them mightily if they do not: this becomes a more substantive news item, decade by decade. Not in the distant past alone, but with increasing liberty, torture and self-assertion in hideous arrogance, even to the point where faith is the criterion, and must be seized by the diseased acting with invasive thunder, flourish like army ants.
They move with incantation, organisation, and often loathing against their victims: these have felt the lash of contempt, inveterate destruction and the overweaning thrusts of delusion on the part of the tormentors, delighting often enough to test out the endurance of their faith in the midst of malign maelstroms of continuous pressure. Gifts such as those of man lend themselves to devilry as much as to the angelic, and he can take on many profiles; for the higher the potential, the greater the scope for its misuse.
While none of these false religions and orientations have any rational foundation, available for due testing and finding in the area of adequate verification and validation*2, *5, they all have available the Founder of Faith and the Finder of Function in the living God; for to Him they could turn, as Israel sometimes did, in its flirtations with naturalistic and other fantasies in its recorded history in Kings and Chronicles. It erred often enough (cf. Ezekiel 20), and now this world is becoming like a dog following its master, in doing likewise, but worse. It moves now on a far broader scale of rebellion, in the face of brilliantly exhibited testimony, rushing ahead as knowledge increases, of the architectural facility and mathematical marvels, the coherent commands and the unique intricacy in our construction. The guilt grows as atomic radiation increases its enduring threats to our only homeland, before we return to God who made us.
The testimony of the tongue becomes fiery against the Lord, but it was He and not the tongue of creation who began creation and rapidly ended it, as the Bible indicates and science attests*3A, creating our creativity as part of it, as detailed. It is this earlier start in the organisation of concatenated information on a vast integral scale, that is found, just as its stoppage now applies that is found by genuine investigatory science, where not taken over by philosophy. It is this which it actually finds, empirically discovers.
Data production in command and communication settings, with control in natural formats, at the major creative phase is not only over, but as Professor Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard at such length and with such passion declared in his Wonderful Life, the major designs of life, once flourishing in vast multiplicities, are now far less than they were. They tended to come, he asserts, with multiplied sub-types, spread out, not singularly with their variations popping up in due course as expected. Contradiction he found as a rule, for theoretical expectation based on naturalism in this sphere; conformity to biblical statements were in fact the nature of his data in these crucial fields. It is good to see someone who despite irrational theory, does at least look at the relevant empirical data without using a blind eye to the telescope directed to fact. What applies ? It is this: Cessation altogether of the rush of correlative commands creatively inducing originals and inducing through reproduction, replicas of what is never found from nature, only FOR IT.
What the BIble declares finished, does not continue, as if a factory had cars coming even when it was shut down. You just have to examine factories, to find that out, and it is not different in the factories of life, except in this, that this Builder builds direct, and leaves His programs intact, though subject to deterioration as Isaiah so clearly pointed out in 51:6. It is all to wear and to be discarded in time. It has its use, is made; has its deterioration and misuse and is judged; it has its replacement for the profound purposes held from the first, for which this world is but the preliminary. God, unlike many nations, knows just what He is doing and has shown it continually both in word, in the Bible, and in work, that of creation itself here now done, long done, and unable to be resuscitated as if it were making itself before it was there to do it, from the first. Nature is given what it's got; God is He who gave it.
The testimony of the creation is that it is running down*6, not up; the Second Law of Thermodynamics is not wrong*7. Exceptions and exemptions are not its rule. It relates to this creation, this world, not to what is done to make it. The evidence does not and cannot conform to fantasy, be it made in the name of a scientific sub-set of scholars or anyone else.
Attrition of the commands which created life from God, His word, this is the finding as by Professor Sanford of Cornell University; and it is not just an academic matter; for the genome of man is degenerating over time, just as the Second Law of Thermodynamics would indicate; and in this case, by report, it evidently is doing so at a rate little short of alarming. The genetic base for arguing with God is itself becoming a smaller island, as the shores are eroded; the comic faces man so often makes to his Creator, must laugh with the vulnerability of his misled mischief in mockery.
Separation from God and degeneration as an ageing product, these are hinges for the unholiness of mankind as this marvel of a creation moves directionally, till the door is shut, and grace relenting as judgment sets in, leaves man to his devices and destiny. Without repentance and faith in that other creation of God, the salvation which man needs, this destiny is negative, just as his religious slants and denials have been, these inheriting what he has sought to create, abortively, so leaving a field of dissolution without hope.
It is no use making yourselves gods, when you are but men; but it is a common thing to do. It does not work, as dramatically shown in Ezekiel 28:9, as the fall successively of the Japanese, Nazi, and USSR empires attest. Indeed, these follow exemplars of the type from earlier times, such as Babylon, Nineveh, Tyre, and for reduced status, Egypt*8.
Stubborn cases gain stubborn overthrow, just as Ezekiel 21:26-27 forecast. What WILL be stable in this surging world, stricken in its sin, is He whose right and due it is, and until then, there is nothing that endures among the rules of man, in their unruliness, some much better, some far worse. As they seek to mimick God, or ignore Him, they go. More recently, the USSR did just that, telling God to get out, bag and baggage, a few decades before He gave them their marching order, and they qjuit. He remains.
And why are such regimes of man so often so unruly, despite often gaining many blessings, and why is such regimentation as men use to seek to control their fellows, ludicrous in very notion ? It is because in a race, a contestant may outshine by small margin, another contender; but when with the validated and verified word of God facing you, the ONLY such word on this earth, the Bible, you try your strength against IT, condemning it and replacing it, then you are like a grass-hopper fighting a 1000 m.p.h. wind. It is mere folly. It cannot work.
Nor does it.
But let us be more particular about what the Lord has done.
When the Almighty unleashes liberty in man, as in angels, there are results. IF and when this becomes an estrangement from grace, a tent-city of separation from its foundations, planned and planted by God, then immediately there are results. They do not linger and languish, as if the ways of God had but marginal impact on man, or were regarded indifferently by the Father of spirits, from which come the diversities, beauties and derangements alike, of man, the former by gift, the latter by its abuse and the accompanying judgments.
Thus even in the very day of rebellion, there was announcement of results. As in Genesis 3, Adam hid. God found, and gave His finding. Cursed was the very ground for the toil of the god-aspirant, deluded by Satan's obviously idle talk, in the midst of his arrogant deceptions and delusive, illusory plans. How many devils have done much the same to what then became fallen man, waxing eloquent about what would only wither, as with the returning soldiers after the failure of Russia in World War I, enticed with land, and often landing in labour camps with inadequate nourishment and vile conditions in Siberia: admittedly a vast land, but not what was advertised!
From the first, man feel. It was clear that man was not created to be counselled by beasts, with or without a satanic infusion; he was made for God by God in a very prodigy of grace, capable of communing with not less than God Himself, even to be a friend of God, as Abraham was, told even of the coming of the Saviour. Right from the first, in Eden, it was shown that deliverance from his folly would come to man; but that it would be through a divine act, by the work of a humanly formatted person. Further declared was this: that it would involve cost to the deliverer, and crushing to the tempter, that devil to whom man chose to listen, and to whom this human race increasingly gives heed at national and international levels. Thus there mounts testimony continually of man making the revolting revolts more and more, often composed in flaming words, as man is discomposed and discountenanced in deeds, where valour is useless and mutilating power can be that from a button. Such a little thing, an atom; but such energy! Marvellous if rightly used ...
So God in His glory laughs as man in his vainglory, as foretold in Psalm 2, in connection with the unruly and rampant rejection of the only Redeemer and the eventual exposure of the divine reply to this. At this point in the Psalm, we gain new information. It leads to advice to the 'judges', the powers that be on this earth, to consider, for their power will soon be one more has-been, their brittle glory swept aside like broken pottery. The Lord, it declared from around 1000 B.C., will establish His Messiah despite the efforts of many peoples to destroy Him, and HE WILL RULE. Unlike many, HE is competent, compassionate, kindly, enduring cost to bring even the possibility of peace to man (Psalm 72, Isaiah 9:6-7, 11), and its actuality to those who, believing God, embrace His gift of eternal life, while discarding the horror of sin, brash and ruthless, in all its ways (cf. II Corinthians 5:17-21).
They take a long time to learn this, and so the prophetic scenario moves on to its last phase as shown in Answers to Questions Ch. 5. That is now. When the Titanic is near to hitting its ice-berg, it is well to be aware, and preferably, well before that!
What then ? Christ has come and done all as prescribed for that coming. SINCE this was told from the first. The message then: that HE would come, at cost, to deliver, in man's format; and so it has been true to the last; and indeed He HAS come in mixed power and meekness, and paid already. It is a question of ticketing, of coming for entry now, to Him. We look to that shortly.
No pretence of a religion that does not provide such immediate answer when man first fell into the sin which deludes, denudes, distresses, divorces from God in His perfection and peace, can be true. If God finds a gifted, created and fallen adventurer who seeks to elevate his or her wares, wisdom and ways, while destroying his own integrity in his opportunities for felicity and function, then He either removes this caricature, this folly, this contradiction of Himself and His ways and works; or provides remedy (cf. *2 and 10 above and below).
He chose the latter and immediately announced it as in Genesis 3. It is not a mystery of power and force with no apparent ground or reason; it is a divinely declared status for fallen man that is accorded. You come in repentance to the prepared salvation (rather like an anti-biotic, but in this case a pro-biotic); or you do not (Luke 13:1-3).
If not, your irruption of rebellion becomes the father of your ruin.
If so, however, and you receive, like the newness of life you were first given, His pardon in peace through His Messiah, now come, then you are returned to a communion so glorious, that its taste is like nectar, its peace deeper than the earth and its glory above the heavens; and live with it. Of such things, there has been some treatment*9 in former Chapters in this volume, and much earlier. Now we are looking more at sequence.
So the FOUNDATIONS have been laid for man, in the surrounding creation, in the provision of liberty and in that of salvation for and from its misuse.
Of these, there are epochs.
First has come the creation, sharp, short, and then discontinued, so that information is not found fathered by inert nature, but cradled in miniature into it, into man in particular in his DNA, which deteriorates, and does not advance.
intelligence formed*10, formulated and fashioned its ingenious contrivances, which empirically are attested always to have worked on earth, and never to have been elementary, for our God is competent from the first to the last:
when it stops, just as when we stop our own little creations of books or bridges, they too do not continue of themselves.
God also has added programmatically controlled pro-creation; but it is on mould. Creation itself for nature, is on hold. It was and so were results.
Then has come fall (Romans 5, 8); and its fellow, the provided salvation, as prescribed by the Great Physician, and paid for as prophetically predicted from the first, and this with constantly increased detail as to the way of it, in the then coming Saviour. God Himself is He, for God by His own word*10 is the ONLY SAVIOUR, there having been no god before Him nor is there to be any after Him (Isaiah 43:10). He is, and on Him, all depends (Romans 11:36). When you have the beginner and ender of the creation of all things, who invented both time and space and what takes place in kind, that is the way it is. You do not and cannot spawn the eternal, for He was there that it might begin, the product of nothing being nothing, which comes to nothing.
Thus there have been three epics, in two epochs: creation, and fall-salvation.
As to that salvation, it has had its historical enactment, its laboratory of life observability (just as the DNA is observable, being clearly done, ever afterwards till its time comes). This has involved an identikit of great and grand substance in the prophets for the coming Messiah, including His sinlessness, His substitutionary atonement, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God, His sufferings and crucifixion (Psalm 22, Zechariah 11-12, Isaiah 50, 52-53), together with the sense of separation even of the Eternal as Son from His Father (Psalm 22:1, Matthew 26:46), when self-lowered onto earth. But why ? The message was in the prophets as it is in the New Testament, from their mouths as from His own, in order to reach us where we are, so that just as He TOOK a body in incarnation, so was it RESCUED in manifestation of God's power over and in creation. This He did without once losing His consistency is USING what He took FOR man, that very body, both as sacrifice and demonstration unit, both in death and in resurrection from death, attesting thereby not only His depth of humiliation on our account, but His towering power to back it up (Romans 1:4).
Irenaeus, one of the most famous of the very early Christian writers, has much to say, as in his famed work, Against Heresies, concerning this mode of salvation, and it is worth regarding some of his contribution.
“For if the flesh were not to be saved the Word of God would not have become flesh (John 1:14) and if the blood of the just were not to be requited the Lord would not have had blood.”
“For God wanted his firstborn Word to descend into his creation and be held by it, and in turn for the creation to hold the Word and ascend to him, thus surpassing the angels and coming to be in the image and likeness of God.”
God is thorough and intensely and intensively reliable as you find both in the word concerning His ways from His only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ (Matthew 5:17-20), and in history as He fulfilled and fulfils all that He said. As to Him, He does not play with words, His imagery as in parables being readily interpretable. As with any good writer, He is pellucid on the distinctions of meaning in matrix or imagination, and is clear to the willing understanding (Proverbs 8:8), such is His wisdom.
So we find phases, whether in epochs as from the first, or in epics, such as quickly established in a mere three or so decades on earth, rather more than occupied in the creation, but still an exceeding small period.
His profundity in depth discovered, His answer to critics in sudden thrusts,
unanswerable by young or old, learned or sedate (Matthew 22:29-33,46),
His illimitable power to heal whether myriads, or whole listings of kinds of diseases,
in multitudes or in separate cases,
His unavailability for successful temptation,
His openness to be tried,
His readiness for trial and illicit condemnation
by those envying Him and trying to preserve their own lives at the expense of His,
a common human failing here dramatised and stylised even into salvation.
Just as He willingly took their hate and in dying to bring man freely back from otherwise inescapable guilt, so He used it to liberate, whether some of these or others, even all who should call upon Him.
He showed that death could not short-change Him, raising at will, and famously in the specially delayed case of His long dead Lazarus, coming after several days to categorically display what would equally be displayed in His own coming resurrection, after several days. The former was seen by many, and created havoc amid the envious and rebellious priests (John 11), leading to early plans for His murder; the latter only by apparently dazed guards, with mixed terror and guilt, fear and wonder stirred together, as His body was removed in their very presence, from death, as was that of Peter later, from prison (Acts 12).
In the Lord's case, it was overcoming the judgment on man's sin and demonstrating that fact for His own; in that of Peter, it was overcoming 16 guards and various gates, leading to deliverance from the approach, but in that case, not the actuality of death! The coin of life can pay for any judgment; but judgment insisted on, without repentance or even the willingness to take it freely, remains (John 3:36). It resembles fog in an industrial town, spewing without cease, its noxious wares.
But God intervened.
So was Christ stricken as forecast by Zechariah 13:7, and indeed earlier sold for thirty pieces of silver, as forecast in Zechariah 11, a price He treated with a profound contempt Zechariah 11:12). But in His power, living, dying or resurrected, He always instantly available for work in contest, to meet any challenge whether from man or in terms of the prophesied powers and graces He was to have, and had, overcoming whatever obstacle was placed before Him in His mission and commission. This ? it was for the obtaining of our salvation, and solemnly was it placed before Him*11. HE would not sell His soul to the devil, even for literally the whole world, as a kingdom with present domain and dominion! Indeed, he mocked the Gentile misuse of power in lordly arrogance, and showed His kingdom spiritually based on service in sanctity before God, not on preening and overweening pride! (Matthew 20:25).
Thus in His own due time, He though Shepherd, was stricken, the better to fulfil what was written, "By His stripes we are healed," as in Isaiah 53, which delivered the grounds and way of it, with the rest of Isaiah 42, with 49-55, in such detail and dynamic. This was realised as shown in Matthew 26:31-32, for history and prophecy were so wedded that the union was as clear as light, that drives away darkness. At first, just as He was stricken, so the 'sheep' as He pointed out at the time, were scattered in this epic giving new grace to history; but it was all trial, test; and the evidencing and the scenario were as before in the mind of the Creator-Redeemer, who declared it before it came, did it and confirmed it afterwards in His resurrection, Church and moulding of history till it reached what was to come before His return, as is now before us, each event concerning Israel as the Gentile world, happening precisely as stated, stipulated and secured.
Not only does our current history so vastly attest the attention to detail in what the Lord says, just as does our DNA, with enormous system upon system, all concurrent and co-operative as required, in one basic language; it also shows that the Lord means exactly what He says, not allegorising as if religion meant obscurity, but using any mode, with or without imagery, as He desired. Where as shown before in this volume and that preceding, the words have no ground for turning into mere imagination, then the present shows this to be so, for it has come to pass not in mere imagination but in actual fact, even in my lifetime, with a thunderous continuity like that of bombardment, but this with facts; yet still some will not believe, just as they did not in the day of His resurrection. Indeed, it is as if some are a different breed of Thomases, who even WHEN sticking their finger in the wound, still reject it.
Think back to the crucifixion day and the ensuring two. Into this situation, with the foundations of His kingdom seemingly stricken and ruined, it was instead a resilence, a restoration, a demonstration at once of two things: What He said about simple sequences of events in a given context, was deliberately done (cf. Matthew 5:17-20), and He would not withdraw one detail. Secondly, where power was the need, it would be given at whatever level, once the ways of God were in place, so that it was not mere dazzlement, but in settled service and underlying humility, in justice or in mercy, as He had outlined it in general and in particular.
What then ? At the outset, in His death, it was more like Autumn leaves, indeed falling to the ground, detached from their posts, but in their fall, manifesting a certain beauty, while the tree ? that of faith and fixture, of God and His salvation, it remained. It is always God who remains (cf. Zechariah 9:7). Some things are shakeable; God is not (Hebrews 12:25-28).
He remained in charge, even when charged (cf. Mark 14:62). He did not re-define, as some scholars seem to love to do; nor did He equivocate as some lawyers like the scribes, may be; He did not hedge, but using various means of impact, told the truth fearlessly, coherently, in entire consonance with all the word of God written: so that as written was He smitten, did He rise, the corruption of the flesh dismissed by this One who had no sin (I Peter 2), being God on earth in the garment of flesh.
Thus He was SHOWN, STRICKEN and then SECURED.
Secure was He who was secured; for not only were His words unanswerable, His power undimmed, but His sacrifice was according to plan, even His death date*12 pre-announced by centuries*12, just as was His bodily demonstration in the resurrection, which neither mind nor history could overthrow, came with quiet majesty and continuing confirmation. Indeed, to the last detail, just as He had indicated that with the fulfilment of His appointment with death complete, and death disrupted, so would He meet them, in His body, In Galilee, so did they find Him in Galilee (John 20), and so was His commission given in forgiveness of an astounding order, to Peter for example, just as He had given attestation earlier to Thomas. With God, to say it is as secure as doing it! That is what His saints find, as did Peter, and in Him they rejoice, for what He does say, has love and mercy, truth and reality in it, and as His word made the world, so it moves it, in the end, over the head of any rebellion or counter-thrust. God is like that; and our God has these qualities, for they never fail (Zephaniah 3:5).
So He met them in Galilee, the site so focussed way back in Isaiah 9, as to be famous for His works (cf. Matthew 26:31-32). That appointment was indeed kept, and so was He secured, who was stricken. Again, He instructed them for 40 days, and then went as evacuated from their presence, moving upwards to the clouds, of which He had said, that on His return He would come with these. All was ordered like a tour, equipped with divine power, compassion and passion.
As He had forecast and instructed, so it was profitable, advantageous, expedient for them that He SHOULD go for a time, as then the Spirit of Truth would come (John 14:26, 15:15, 16:13-14), available in many times and places until His return, instructing as from heaven, not of Himself, but as directed from heaven from that self-same Christ, held to the restitution of all things, in heaven, for what was on earth (Hebrews 7:25, Acts 3:19-22). Thus severed from earth to be active in His place, there would be times of refreshing dispensed, as noted in Acts 3, and a pouring out of His Spirit as foretold in Joel 2:28ff. and Isaiah 32:17.
That would be, as it has been, another epic in this epoch, that of the wholesale proclamation of the Gospel, authorised grandly in Matthew 28:18-20. One part of this epic would however be increasingly denied in this epoch as it matured to the condition of over-ripe and ready for judgment. Consider the Great Commission of Matthew 28. It is to preach the Gospel. Remember it ? Do you also remember what is CO-ORDINATE with this preaching ? Do you! It is the TEACHING of His COMMANDMENTS. As Lord, He had already shown the dismal scene of people calling Him Lord, Lord and not doing what He said (Luke 6:46, cf. Matthew 7:22ff.). NOW is this rebellion most obvious. As recently pointed out in an editorial in The Australian, we have at this point a massive selectivity in the persecution of Christians throughout the world. It mounts as on vulture wings; it falls like an eagle; it tangles like barbed wire; it is intemperate, evil, devilish, satanic, settled in hatred and carried out with abandon.
So does the epoch continue to its end, which is fitting and will be seen to be such, with that royal power returning to rule, as in Psalm 2, as in Deuteronomy 32, Isaiah 66, Micah 7, Revelation 19, Habakkuk 3, Psalm 72. Itrs threshold is judicial power; its lingering exhibit in vindication and illustration of His kingdom supervenes, till this same earth, just as Christ's same body was resurrected, will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11, Habakkuk 2:14).
Meanwhile in this Epoch of Evacuation, churches become liable for judgment, or praise, as shown in particular in Revelation 2:5 and 3:7ff.. Essential is the continuation in the first love of God, as when one is first found, and the strengthening of the things that remain, as raging seas of popular purgings from the populace, seek variously to erode, to deride, and to be rid of the Gospel, now the enemy, as before was the Lord Himself. Give us the world, the atom, the power, the products, the laws, the ordered universe, the wonders, and get out, say the robbers attacking the bank of truth. But they being themselves unfunded, merely founder in mutual hatred, emulation, envy, delusion and savagely unsuitable slogans, deriding each other, at times supported, like a willy-willy, curling and swirling in the dust before it expires.
The refreshings from time to time, the revivals meanwhile come and refresh the people of God, as noted in Ch. 9 above. Power seeks to crush by miseducation, misalignment, mischievous irrationality, empirical blindness and invalid premises, and many follow it, as if numbers made wealth, rather than merely reflecting it. The nominal however can and does never replace the phenomenal; and the truth remains, kept potent through the word of God and the power of the Spirit of God, through whom the testimony of Christ continues like the breakers of the ocean, displaced by winds or vessels, but continuing unchanged in their composition and power, procedure and endurance.
THE SOVEREIGN RULE RESUMED
Take it or leave it, but God will do it!
So does Reformation come from time to time (as in the period 1500 - 1700), and potency inhibit overthrow (as in the British empire, say from AD 1600-1950), and the earlier phase of the USA (till more recently when Christianity itself is becoming increasingly disdained and dismissed nationally by those in authority, first in their words, and own as in Obama, in a speech unashamedly delivered). So is there restoration as the powers of this world seek overthrow, and continuation as they seek to bury what they could bury, if not the Christ, then His testimony; but the truth continues, the Church of God, despite the overthrow of many time-serving ecclesiastical Judases (as expected from II Peter 2, II Timothy 3-4), does not fail, and the day of deliverance draws near as did the fated aircraft, carrying the atomic bomb to Japan in its day. That was a vast and expansive destruction; but in that which comes, there is first a vast deliverance, when Christ comes to take His Church to share for a little time, His own earlier evacuation, before returning WITH THEM as in I Thessalonians 3:13, Zechariah 14:5.
As the day comes near, there is thus REFORMATION, RESTORATION AND REINFORCEMENT; THERE ARE THOSE VALIANT FOR THE TRUTH, AND THE BODY OF TESTIMONY proceeds, though more and more underground, to arise before its transhipment to heaven, prelude to its return with the Lord Himself (as in Matthew 24:36-51, Revelation 11, cf. Acme, Alpha and Omega Ch. 5 ). Not only will the Lord do this, but He has carefully hidden this time from the eyes of His servants and this world alike, lest they scheme to be ready, when not; so that His surprise will be when they are not looking, when they do not think it will be so!
Criminals would probably have disbelieved a report of the coming of the Nuremburg trials, in the days of Hitler, that is, official criminals called reliable servants of the Third Reich; and no more does this world and its surrogate worldly churches, want to hear of this very personal and powerful action from God; but it is written with a singular clarity, and just as some did not want the crucifixion, many in parallel preferring nothing so intimate and ultimate as that judgment, and arrest of man, in trials and tribulations, by the power of GOD ALONE, so here. Yet disinclination is not dictation; and the dictators, whether philosophical or religious or secular of this world, will find that out to the full! Such is the simple and sovereign testimony of Psalm 2; and the serene and beautiful testimony of Psalm 72, and Isaiah 11.
An allegory can be a beautiful thing, a sustained story, inventive, illustrative, perhaps with a story, venturing towards thd parable. But much of its beauty lies in its art, the skill which while seeming rather realistic (often with deliberate variations put in by exuberant and attesting imagination), is clearly not so. The parables of Christ are never hard to differentiate from the reality on which they impinge; and where it is not clear where fancy or fact is in view, poor is the perception of writer, reader or both.
When imagery flaunts itself, this determines nothing, for reality can have transparent meaning as can story; but there is a way of telling which is in a solid context, its grounds set, which fits and what sits unsteadily. Thus when we read a a mighty rule and the mode of it, on the part of a known character to come, and the ways of it, we are not tempted to imagine it imaginary. The case is too well established; hence the depiction need not be so clearly defined, since, in effect, here it defines itself.
When a King, Messiah in fact, is to rule, and this is attested in book after book, in this element and in that, at this phase and at that, then we do not take lightly the identikit thus provided, or the history thus depicted. It may have obvious imagery incorporated in its solid matrix or not (as in Malachi 3:17, where the process of differentiate and collection of the saints by the Lord, is in not the slightest danger of being misread, when it comes to His act to "make up My jewels" as if the Lord were distracted into some kind of adornment office. Similarly, when in Isaiah 11 we read of what in the flesh, is a physical descendant of King David, on whom vast wisdom will rest, in whom vast power and from whom immense overthrow of the whole order of evil, we do not need to recast this historical assemblage concerning the already known, physically formatted Messiah, now risen in power. There is neither warrant nor allowance for making it SOMETHING ELSE, of which such powers are not on this earth. That is simply to truncate what God has to say about the office of the Messiah, as if telling Him rudely to shut up, while the theologians take over! In this they need no encouragement, though many are careful.
When Christ's feet thus come to the Mount of Olives, when there is a fault line apparently operative at that time, just as there was a physical resurrection earlier, there is neither warrant nor excuse to imagine this means some other person, or time, or mode to be in operate. It is intensively physical at this time, as it was earlier both politically, militarily and physically, when the piercing of the Messiah was in view (Zechariah 12).
Meddling with the physical and the allegorical is not safe; God has given us grounds for ascription of the various uses of imagery, and assurance that His word does not lack perspicuity, as it would, if it were available for substantive alteration in a given context, where sudden take-offs are imagined, with neither hint nor warrant, and contrary to warrant. This has nothing to do with literal interpretations or allegorical as such; but it does concern the criteria for either, which must be present either in overall biblical context, or local one, or in various; and the Lord is not He who leaves His word unclear.
The substance applies unless due warning is given that it is only a shadow of something else which is really in mind. The imagery once started applies, unless there is clear indication of its cessation. Evidence is always the determinant, the Spirit helping; and to add or subtract without warrant is as intrusive as to remove or add to the text itself. It is necessary to be sober, never engaging in what is dispelled by evidence or assured by it; and never making the merely probable certain. THAT can be kept as an option for opinion; what is demonstrable is for teaching.
Thus when we learn of the coming Sovereign rule, making a categorical differentiation from the current situation, and of the application of this to the style of judgment and conformity to truth, and cessation of hurt from evil, as in Isaiah 11, it is mere presumption, nothing less indeed, to make up some idea that it is not so on earth, is so to be found only in heaven, or that some notion in heaven is having some quite contrary impact on earth. This is to change the substance over many passages, in this one, and to isolate what is common, as in Isaiah 66, 32, 11 from its peers because of preference. That there is a time when it is obvious, as in Isaiah 60, when the very walls are salvation, that some kind of allegory or imagery is in view, and not to heed this, as if to cling to some 'viewpoint' instead of to what is written; or as in Isaiah 61, where the type of prisoners is not to be read out of the context of the type of thing in view, does not alter, but merely illustrates the same principle. Exposition requires one to take off one's hat, even if it be trimmed with a brand or band of 'ism', and to inspect bareheaded, what is before one.
With this caveat, however, we return to the Sovereign Rule Resumed category among the phases of history, following the Foundation and the Evacuation.
Thus we find new epics in this epoch. The Lord, as pre-announced thousands of years before (cf. Peter's insistence on patience, in II Peter 3:9), will remove His figurative body, just as He removed His physical and resurrected one, in the Ascension. So as in Isaiah 26:19 and Matthew 24, I Thessalonians 4, the smitten sheep will be taken to their stricken Shepherd, whose time to come for them is near, and there is a marriage in heaven (Revelation 19:8), that is, an externally visible and non-inferential alliance in which the Lord and His body become solemnly and publicly seen as One, a matter shown with imagery, in Revelation 7:14ff..
With this, the next epic is their coming together as in I Thess. 3:1;3, to this earth, in an august display of power and glory where it belongs, in the Lord alone. As He for sundry reasons associated with salvation, came in the flesh, so now in the glorified body (John 7:39, 20:17), He comes with His saints, and rules as in Psalm 72, Isaiah 11, till this warped world is righted, and His grace is vindicated, the inoperable and clashing kingdoms of this world, available now for inspection in the laboratory of history, as THEIR LORD was, when He first came. God is a God of truth, and not of mere philosophical imagination, or the prescriptions of dreamers, via or in spite of text, as the case may be.
God's categorical confirmation that despite the injustice and evil of men this world WILL BE FILLED WITH THE GLORY OF GOD AS THE WATERS COVER THE SEA, is a direct challenge to revisionism, which ignores the power of the resurrection and refashions a nice little god who does not do overmuch with this earth, or for that matter with many, with His sovereignty over sin! The POWER of God is one of the ideological casualties, and often helped by casuistical qualifications of what is declared in His name, as the last times come; and we must not be in time with their beat! (II Timothy 3:5). It is easy to reduce things to a "form of godliness" , while pushing aside the power, like vanishing cream which disappears into the skin, when rubbed.
Thus the sheep are brought from earth to the Shepherd as in Revelation 19, and there they congregate before His majestic and magisterial coming to this earth, to judge it whether positively by showing what it could have and should have been, or negatively, by condemning the intractable, and the denizens of the forests of the liar (John 8:44).
That is another epic, and a further one is the rule on earth, itself, when the judges who have opened their mouths for so long in so much that is so shamelessly mere rant, will be ashamed, and having disobeyed divine cautions, find that divine patience and prolonged proclamation of salvation is not to be equated with any listlessly, but with love. Similarly in the lead up to these things, as the passions mount before the expression of God's power to deliver Israel, a particular pocket in His scenario (cf. Romans 11), there will be no divine listlessness in accounting for these rambunctious endeavours to obliterate the testimony of truth and to grab treasure on the earth; for the nations will AFTERWARDS KNOW, that it was not some secular thing, but a divine order which brought shame to Israel for its sins; just as a divine mercy brought back this people, already known as the Lord's, from this two step action: removal from the blessedness they had known, and restoration to where they were, but this time, with the Messiah not to come, as in their earlier history, but already come with one Gospel, alike for all, giving merit to none.
That His multiplied references to the significance of Jerusalem in this epic master-stroke do not abolish its historicity, is as clear as the creation of the heavens and the earth, and His BODILY resurrection. These are the items on the template, the elements in the scenario, which is both multiple and deep as Paul so observes at the end of Romans 11, and they are not for imagination. Thus when in Zechariah 12, we find Israel back in its place, which Christ foretold as in Luke 21:44, we do not need to re-write prophetic history. That is a divinely delivered datum. Like all the others, when its time comes, it is done. Now it is done, the laboratory exhibition of the word of the Lord, just as is creation from the first, examined to the last for what it is.
When we learn in Zechariah of the repentance of the actions against the Messiah, by faith, with personal repentance, this being the nature of the Gospel, we do not imagine it means something else. This is its contextual and repetitive place in the oft-repeated scenario. When they are predicted to come back to their land as the time for the return of the Messiah, the Christ draws near (Ezekiel 37:24) as in the intensively national, and definitively unique portrait given of them in Ezekiel 37, they are still unconverted, dead, an assembly of bones in obviously metaphorical language, since bones do not so assemble, and the pathos is apparent. The subsequent gift of life, of spirit, and in this case, of a blessed spirit to these, is made later, in a separate part of the scenario.
Thus as in Zechariah 12:10 centred in Jerusalem as in 12:6, and indeed all of Ch. 12, returned amid the nations, still harassing them (as has been the case since they became a nation again, in 1948), so are they now but one step away from the mass conversion which is to come so a substantial and characterisable number of them, the fountain of forgiveness strongly experienced in that self-same Jerusalem which slew Him. They look not on imaginary ideas of pierced hands, but on what was so pierced in history; and they are back, not as a church not converted, the height of the absurd, but as Israel ready for the long restoration as in the poignant book of Hosea. As always, as it was to be, so it is, and how comforting is this fact, continually attested as history unfolds, like the curtain in a play house drawn back, so that the things set down by the playwright might occur. But this is no play, but the very work of God.
What then when this comes to Israel ? THEN Israel learns of its error, and the other nations of their misinterpretation. Now instructed at last by the sight of their eyes, this act of God, they awake to their fallacious fancies; Israel went out for sin, and came back for mercy, and is then coming to the Lord! This, like the incarnation, speaks for itself, but benefits by proclamation based on fact! God is the God of truth; and poetry is a mode of expression, used to adorn, not subvert, when applied to a given historical context (cf. Ezekiel 39:21-29). Israel, they are a people once precious and prized, then removed, a people who hallowed His name and then departed from it, whom He harried, and then relented from it, brought back to their land so that the nations could realise, and Israel alike, the mercy and the truth, the faithfulness and the judgments of the Lord. It is not something else: this is the coherent, historical, didactic, fact-and-application of fact context. The participant in view is unique by definition; this world has nothing like that, only the one, who fits into the overall scenario as Paul declares it in Romans 11.
So the new EPOCH has many EPICS within it, just as did the first advent of Christ, from the murder of many babes, to the raising of Lazarus, the sale of Christ for 30 pieces and the resurrection of His body (Zechariah 11, Psalm 16 with 22).
Redemption is realised in the generic Gospel (Isaiah 49:6), applicable to Israel on repentance and faith, as to the Gentile world (Galatians 3). Its application in its time to Israel, in the gathering of Christ's people as one in heaven, and His advent, the second, with them as a royal retinue at His coming, ensues. It is like American and British aeroplanes in 1943, all massed on British soil for nearness to the target, but coming from very distinct sites with one mission, their commitment.
Christ the author of salvation, He WENT alone; but He comes with many whom, through one act in one body on one Cross at one time, He redeemed, confirming the evidence of His resurrection, as of its date, so in its site for meeting, in Galilee. Christ moved on like a stately vessel, though never one so disdained, with further performance before He left, moving to the comfort of Mary, the restoration of Peter, the convincing of Thomas, the teaching for 40 days and the ascension pending a return with a Judgment, which the Gospel has warded off till the time comes. He does not disdain to attest the kingdom on earth as in Psalm 73, Isaiah 11, Micah 4, Revelation 20; for it WILL be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea. The image is there, but the intent is the move obvious for that, and spelled out in detail in Isaiah 11.
All this is to be done, as were all the preliminary steps; but then there no longer pauses when the Age is over, for then the assizes are complete, and the books, whether of grace to life, or works to death being open, the judgments and pardons foreknown before time, are applied. Then in turn, comes the normal passage with the heaven and the earth dismissed, no place found for them (Revelation 20, Isaiah 51:6, II Peter 3), and the trials are finished just as the crucifixion and resurrection finished the eternal redemption, now applied to the uttermost (Hebrews 9:12-28).
Such is the restoration following the severance, of Christ to His kingdom, as within that as a side-issue but profound in the integrity of the whole, are the cases of Israel to its land, Jerusalem to its place, not as a wonderful Israeli capital, but the former temporary tomb of the Lord's body, and site which in history led to the transmission of this available power to all believers, as given prototype in Christ's own rupture on their behalf, of death's fear and horror, cleavage and separation (Isaiah 2, Micah 4).
That dispensationalists glamorise Israel, or amillenialists may excise Christ's own place in all its phases, these are real side-issues; for in this, each transgresses against what is so very clearly written (cf. Isaiah 65:13-15, Jeremiah 3:16, Zechariah 12:6). So far from the latter signifying something about the Christian Church as such, THIS Jerusalem is one to which Israel returns from having FIRST been the Lord's people, known as such for millenia, and THEN having been discarded pending mercy, and THEN returned to Jerusalem as STILL not converted, a point reversed later as in Zechariah 12:10. You cannot with complete and total irrationality make something refer to something else, and then have that something else not present when the type is applied! That is confusion, not exegesis.
So the Bible stresses it, as did Christ: Jerusalem is trodden down for a long time by Gentiles, and then at His own time, it is delivered, as the Age in general comes towards its dramatic conclusion as in Luke 21:24ff.: for both and for all. Christ is not speaking of the New Testament Church before it is given its operational place, in terms of the city of His crucifixion, while speaking of the grounds and fact of the coming destruction of the Temple (Matthew 24). Indeed, as a practical index for behaviour and a warning, Christ in Luke 21 is speaking of the city as about to surrounded by armies (the Church ALWAYS is so surrounded by the surrogate efforts of Satan), even Jerusalem, and of what to do about it when this particular development comes on line; as of Jerusalem's utter failure in fruit, inserting in the midst, that though this war is to come to Jerusalem at a time, yet there will come a time when the city in view will no longer be trodden down by its non-founders, that is, the Gentiles.
At that highly particular and terminal time for the phase of history, there will be commotions leading on to the end of the Age. It is impossible to translate these historical associations concerning Israel, a people once out, once in and then put out by the Lord, with its trailing history, with those who are simply sinners once saved; for that is as if meaning had no point, substance no existence, and definitions no place, so that changes can occur without warrant or sign, at will, without warning; and the utterly disparate made the same, contrary to definition. Do that, and fly; why not ? It is the same principle, ignoring the gravity of the situation, and the forces holding things in place.
This all done, and the Lord dealing with the Judges of this earth (to mention but some, as in Psalm 2's warning), in their deformities, and bringing back conformity to truth, abashment of evil, deliverance from destruction in all His holy hill, the earth recipient, as before of actual creation, now of actual deliverance, purging and restoration: then the whole heavens and earth are removed.
The temporary to this presdent point is now fulfilled, every jot and tittle (let alone a maxi-jot, a city the size of Jerusalem, and a nation of the historical definition of Israel!), and the Lord is vindicated as the set scene gloriously unfolds, His grace demonstrated, the chronic abhorrence of some to the truth, the mercy and the lovingkindness of God, preferring their hideous contracts and contrasts, exposed to the eye, as in due course, to judgment.
The whole earth has been shown the one Gospel, the one Lord, the one redemption, the course back of the pilot nation, all for all on exhibit; and in a little, with the ire of the evil fire unquenched, it suddenly erupts, like a spiritual volcano. Its quakings as prelude, like a not so distant rumble are rife in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Egypt, with distant eruptions in China and India, as in the threats and careering of Russia. WHY DO the nations so furiously rage together ? Ultimately as the Psalm 2 indicates, it concerns the REFUSAL to settle ith the Lord, even when He proposes, propounds and founds the Gospel, offering it freely, even when He continues the scenario fo predicted history, precisely as given. Some were unwilling to believe the resurrection of Christ's body, despite the evidence, just as some decline to believe the prophetic restoration of Israel as announced from millenia ago and so often confirmed and extended in predicted detail.
For some facts and definitions are not enough, whether in much or in little. But they DO speak, just as God has spoken and acted, with no slightest wavering of change, proceeding from Old Covenant to New for the reasons noted (cf. Isaiah 49-66:3), when the payment proposed to cover sin, became the payment made by Christ at the time appointed (cf. Galatians 4:4).
To the uttermost the evils have throughout the ages, been experienced without God. Just as Israel was to come back, so Christ Himself is to come back, with Jew and Gentile then in one Gospel, one Church, one body, the body of Christ, to be resurrected (Isaiah 26:19, I Thessalonians 4). When the millenial reign is over, the capstone of completion, and in its period the wonders have been shown without the pollutions of evil overcast, like the smog one once saw at Gary, Indiana, so that all these things are complete, then the finale of folly arises and departs, like a grasshopper plague (Revelation 20:7-15).
God created as He would, and sent the Gospel as He would, and will judge as He declared, by one man, the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 17:31).Moreover, He will demonstrate as He wishes, exhibiting to an earth no longer dynamised by evil as freedom rouses its fire, the wonder of His holiness and the joy of His way as foretold. When all is over, every quibble met, all opportunities given in all ways, THEN the judgment and the dismissal of heaven and earth. It is hard for some to picture this; but then you make a new house, or even buy a holiday house. For God, the universe is like a house, and He stretched it out as Isaiah declares; and when its time comes, He will replace it.
It is necessary not only to love God, the God of truth and reality, but to realise HIS POWER, a fatal fault in much of the religion of our present Age, and indeed generation, as a listless lack of realisation comes on it like sleeping sickness, the devil the tsetse fly.
Thus a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells is already commissioned to be planted; and as for the old one, the Lord gives a statement: there is no place found for it! You can disbelieve it, but there is no place for this, but defiance; you can doubt it, but the truth never wavers: over all these thousands of years, it always conforms to what is written. There is no exception.
So is God glorified, a mountain of righteousness, deeper than the depths, a wonder of holiness, a rest of godliness, a joy in redemption, a provision of sanctification, all taken off pause and put into action. Eternal life has its own dwellings (John 14), duly prepared. Nations prepare for war; God for peace AFTER the war. In a new heavens and new earth, free of evil, In such eternity one can dwell; for it is as if some art-lover were to live as the pictures are made, or in a private gallery where new paintings are being depicted, by one artist with one character. It is better; for this artist does not touch things eternal, but IS the Eternal God. Here the Creator is present and known direct, face to face (I Cor. 13, Revelation 22:4); and grace is shown, Spirit to spirit, and Christ is in all and for all, and the family of God lives before Him.
On the logical necessity
of our being designed, see
Deity and Design, Designation and Destiny.
On VERIFICATION and VALIDITY in religion, and its contestants, and that unique to biblical Christianity, see for example:
TMR 5, 7 , It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, esp. *1A, The Bright Light ... 7,
Repent or Perish, Ch. 7, pp. 152ff.; Ch. 2;
Christ, the Wisdom ... Ch. 6; BAB 29, 19;
A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-3; SMR 3,
Little Things Ch. 5, Wake Up World! ... Ch. 5, End-Note 1A,
Tender Times ... Ch. 11;
Barbs ... 29, 19;
TMR 9, Grand Biblical Perspectives Ch. 7,
What is the Chaff to the Wheat! Chs. 3, 4, 10, 11,
Deity and Design, Designation and Destiny, esp. Chs. 3, *3, 8,
SMR pp. 931-973A.
See also Predestination and Freewill, which shows that no solution of the tensions in this area, including determinism, responsibility and voluntarism, is available, EXCEPT there be God and the God who has no select aims for His own self, as merely misusing the creation for His ulterior ideas. This God being shown to be true in SMR, TMR and other volumes, and the work of crucifixion to cover free pardon for sin being an extreme of altruism, the cover is provided. This is another validation, in that the requirement of logic that God be, and speak, met by the provision of empirical reality that there is one uniquely testable book of this kind, gives validation in that the quality of the statements where only God could know, meets any and all definitional requirement.
See I Timothy 1:10, I Corinthians 5-6, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1.
You may attempt to change the way children are procreated, ignoring completely obvious design (see *1 above), with its own safety provision, for this wonder of the transmission through use of that design, of the most complex and remarkable presentation of sophisticated and specialised programmatic enablement, visible on earth. Moreover, as if this were not enough, it is presented together with joint provision for mind and spirit in unison, so that for man as trilogy, mind, matter and spirit, such matters might even be discussed. You may attempt to change likewise the variety of provisions made for man and woman, relative to child care, and insert your own ideas instead. You may even scorn what the Creator has done so readily, as you seek complex substitutes, or go further, and seek to penalise those who stand for God and His work in this sphere, lest they be permitted to speak otherwise than you speak and do, and so dictate as well. All these things you may do, but they do not alter the confrontation with your Maker, even if those differing should be counselled, imprisoned or disdained.
You do not in so acting, in whole or in part, change the design or the Designer, but you do, if you do not repent, on biblical authority, you duly meet your Designer on designated terms at the judgment. Displacement of the Almighty is not a good idea, since it is confrontation with your Maker, who knows you far better than you know yourself, with your prodigious limits: and if He were not wise, what would you be ? In Him is truth, for when He speaks it is of what He has done, except for the results of the freedom He also created: all things being created by Him.
He is not in confrontation with Himself, which would be destruction on an infinite scale; and if He were, then it would not be God, for there is nothing imposed on Him, or composed for Him, with which to be in confrontation; He is as He would be, and has always been as He is. Time is a creation of His, and space; both of which do not dictate, but receive their being from Him. Nothing changes here; but sin changes; and when you turn a valuable jewel into carbon, just a modest change for a diamond you may say (wrongly), carbon it is, and so may it be treated. See SMR, for example, and The gods of naturalism have no go!
See for example SMR pp. 252A - N, The Way of Truth and the Way of Error Ch. 8,
Secular Myths and Sacred Truth, Wake Up World! ... Chs. 4, 5, 6.
See SMR Chs. 2-4, Ch. 8 incl. pp. 750Bff., 699ff..
See The Word and the Ways of God and the Wisdom of Men Ch. 8,
Department of Bible, Vol. 1, Ch. 11,
REASON, REVELATION and the REDEEMER,
RELIGION, RELIGIOSITY AND REALITY IN CHRIST.
See in particular, Waiting for Wonder, Appendix.
See for example TMR Ch. 1 as marked.
That last case, Egypt is as found in Ezekiel 29:9-16. Others are given attention in The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet, Ch. 4.
In various regards, for this, you may consult TMR Chs. 2 and 3, with Jesus Christ, Defaced, Unfazed ... 17.
See earlier in this volume, Ch. 3; and in Volume 2 of this present series, Department of Bible and Spiritual Affairs, Ch. 8. Intelligence with energy is more effective than nothing, if you are looking to account for something. It has logic on its side. If it were mere laws and stuff, matter and motion and rules and forms and formats, then that has no basis, but nothing; or something. If something, then it must be adequate for all to follow, or inadequate. If inadequate, it will not follow; but it did. Hence there was something with whatever empirically and logically it takes to make conceptualisable mathematics, laws and formats, energy transference, thought about it and means for this, and will to be ready to think (or not).
There is only one verified and validated such source. The Bible is not an option, but a logical necessity. What it says, happens. Nothing else can match this over millenia. For more on this topic, see also*2 above, Repent or Perish Chs. 2 and 7, and Barbs... 6 and 7.
See Psalm 40, Matthew 26:52ff., with Ch. 3 above.
On the predicted death date for the Christ see:
Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 2,
The Christian Prescription Ch. 2,
Highway of Holiness Chs. 4, 7,
Mini-Messages with Maxi-Point for the Call of Christ Ch. 10,
SMR pp. 886-900, pp. 943-946, pp. 959ff..
cf. SMR Ch. 9, The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 2,
A Spiritual Potpourri 18.