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MANIPULATIONS BY MAN
MURDER BY ARRANGEMENT
MAGNIFICENCE PAST ALL
Pilate's Parlour called the Praetorium
and the Seditious Call to Israel,
Discourtesy of the Priests
Is not a fond forewarning merely,
but a critical challenge NOW to many nations!
I WHAT CHARGE, WOULD YOU BRING, KIND SIRS ?
First there was protocol. When defilement makes friends with the phoney, form matters. Pilate would hold court in the Praetorium, but some are too pure for such a thing, and with the prospect of the Passover, they would not defile hands and feet by such an environment. When foul is the deed, purity MUST be preserved at least in form, for otherwise, where would it be at all!
Pilate, then, respecting their ... shall we say, in modern terms, cultural proclivities, comes out to them. Let us look back at all and learn something.
This Pilate, Roman Governor, was rather like a batsman about to be bowled out, and make a loathing point for history, because of his equivocation, various desires, and formal ablutions. So do events take hold, and does yielding to 'culture' become the very servant of fiasco, the campus for corruption and the madness of a generation. What ARE these cultures, for one nation or people, or for another, taken by themselves ? These are ways in which people think, act and proceed customarily. By whose verdict ? Partly, it seems, by their statements and partly as ascertained by observation. What then, as with some aboriginal cases, is to be when the two are not the same, or different groups declare now this, now that ?
Then it is time to be reminded that so far from its being sensitivity to respect cultures - that is, act in accord with their suasions - it can become the very ultimate in betrayal of what (if anything) YOU hold dear. So far from being a commendable humbling of your own ways, it becomes a snare because if you fail to JUDGE what is right, then it will judge you. It no more depends on your ideas or theirs or someone else's than does the moon. When a people ceases to conserve what has been its support for generations, then either this is good because they were wrong and now move towards reality, or bad because this was good, and then they move elsewhere.
It could be
to something bad because of lust, or
2) someone else's ideas on how to aspire, desire, know duty, responsibility and righteousness. If the latter, then YOU are responsible for honouring/following/acting in accord with these. If you are right, because they are, then well; if you BECOME wrong, because they are, then not well.
Pilate was not noted for sensitivity (cf. Luke 13:1). In this case, however, there had been a plethora of pronouncements, a ream of real-life healings, a splendour of reputation, a stirring in the forest of the people, as by a wind, and he conformed. Brought before him was this Christ, Jesus of Nazareth. What a todo, and what, more to the point, was he to do ?
Questions of this kind pose themselves to us frequently, and to make it a matter of a squint and a hint, and send it down the shute of culture or preference is a short-circuit to make mere power breaks look trivial. Consider what may occur. Look to Pilate and then to your own heart. Is there any similarity ? One hopes not.
After all, by a little accommodation, he could muse, he might avoid a huge confrontation, not to say, conflagration.
But this way can bring invasion because of evasion. Hope is good, but not as a substitute for faith, and that which does not know the truth, is a mere pittance scarcely deserving the name.
If it did not seem quite so important at first, to Pilate, the matter brought before him swiftly became portentous, even stirring him a little to the depths. If then in yielding to their sensibilities in this case, trying to give the Jews what they wanting without moving too far, it were merely something not significant in principle, perhaps all would be well.
Yet such lazy lassitude betokened a mood which would continue on till an alien culture (to his own) swamped him in its own departure from its own standards, rampantly misapplied by its own corrupted priesthood. There are as in a rainbow, all sorts of colours in these matters, what a people's ways were, what they are, what they are becoming, what some say is the case and what others, who rules now and who did then and what is the direction of flow in a 'culture'. While this is little better than clutter for the mind, and stutter instead of reality, it often acts like a viper. In the multitude of bits, the vision of truth is lost; and in preoccupations for safety, wisdom is discarded.
If then you do not have your own law to consider, both internal for the individual and clear for the nation, then following this or that flow, or some intermingling resultant, this is merely a form of abdication which does nothing, as perhaps the Duke of Windsor once found, to remove the ACTUALITIES of your RESPONSIBILITY. This remains so, WHATEVER you may choose to say and to do about it.
If a nation has so little sense of what is right and what is wrong, leaving its foundations which have made it what it is (in the case of Australia, one of the most statistically popular nations on this earth), then it deserves the debt, the defilement and the follies which it then breeds, as in the current crisis in this country. To try to pass over its declivity as cultural plurality, multi-culturalism or the like, merely a trade-name for departure from one thing to another, as if this were tolerance and not equivocation joined to looseness.
It is precisely this which deserves all it gets; and in this land, the people are now indeed 'getting' it, for problems mount like waves, in an increasingly wildly wavering sense of morals, righteousness and accommodation to anything at all, providing it be popular:
like Nazism in its day;
like Communism in Russia in its sad little, conniving day of pretence and brutality;
like idolatry in Israel in its long, and hazy day, when it failed by cultural accommodation, to find the blessing of the Lord and departed from its point for BEING in the land (as in Isaiah 43:21).
So Pilate made his little move, soon to become a larger move, stirred by excitations to be considered.
What charge do you bring ? he asked.
"What accusation do you bring against this man ?"
The point was relevant. Unpopularity ? Is that a reason for treason to your king ? Some thought so, since otherwise, whoever he was, it could lead to trouble (John 11:47ff.), and this was a view of a high priest. It was, of course, an irrelevance to justice, an impertinence towards truth; but seemingly to some, it represented a shrewd assessment. In fact, it was just this sort of view led to the destruction altogether of Jerusalem in a new conscientious attention to detail in its degradation and disaster, by its captors. It led, indirectly, but more and more surely, to the VERY trouble they sought to avoid by such impure pragmatism, and richly was it deserved. That, it only makes the horror of judgment worse, to DESERVE it!
Besides, what of those thousands of people who did NOT share this cynical view of the High Priest ? Does culture find no place for them ? Are people in power to define culture, in terms of those who support them, selectively ? Are minorities not cultural ? Is there some form of waiver to make them irrelevant ? Yet the consequences of such deeds are not irrelevant! Truth continues, however irresponsible any government, whether in Australia or the USA or Europe or elsewhere may become regarding it! Payment in not for popular answers, but right ones; and for wrong ones, but it comes, but in a different kind of coin.
If you want to do what is good, one of the questions is simple: IS THIS in fact DOING good ? What of certain aboriginal terms in this country*1, IS it doing good, in South Australia, to have some kinds of official government business preceded in a meeting by an ascription of the ownership of the land, possession, guardianship or the like, to a people who were living in some parts of it before the British came ? Why ? Were there others before these as some aver ? What of these ? Is such a right to OWN because you have used some of a thing, so readily made permanent ? Is all else to be so rampantly violated ?
The quasi-religious fervour with which such cultural oddities are performed is of course a violation of this country's subscription to the UN Declaration on Discrimination in regard to religion or belief. If SOME believe such a sojourn of some people at some time in the past, in parts of this land gives some kind of ownership to large lumps of it, or even all, to such people, so that they become custodians of it, then this is a matter of beliefs or values. Thus, in this cultural position, BEING here in SOME parts provides a virtual TRADITIONAL power or prescriptive authority. In other words, the assessing of a former placement at one point becoming a right for cultural authority at many other points, and a mode of rule for varied others. That is detrimental to some, who do not share such a view, whether of themselves or others, at this time or that, and consider that it is the MAKER of the land who has ownership, and not some group at some time in history at some part of a land which has some kind of authority or propriety or ownership. These are moral and spiritual matters.
They lead to cultural assessments in terms of right and wrong, are matters of belief, and as practised, become a violation of the UN Declaration to which this country is party. TO ASK people in a committee to state, declare or assert such things before a meeting is a combination of corruption through culture, this one by preference on the part of some who violate the country's rule, and myth-making, as if such ideas were mere matters of fact. For many, they start with the denial of God and end with the brash, rash encounter with things often almost too horrible to contemplate; and this in turn, can bring a sort of rearguard action on the part of some violators of the flesh of their own race, in the persons of the young, to repel change. Thus many things repugnant in their predatory character, become culturally permitted to continue.
Will not justice declare itself for such a thing? Will empty talk be permitted to masquerade as moral justification ? It did with Israel, when it made its own cultural adjustments in terms of the rights of the priesthood, whatever the LAW might say. Let us then pursue the career of Pilate in his own crucial experience and action in this field.
Having then asked his question: "What accusation do you bring against this man ?" Pilate is met by an invidious, sophistic answer. It pre-judges the issue, as is common in such cultural-impact cases.
"If he were not an evil-doer, we would not have delivered him to you."
That is to say, BECAUSE WE JUDGE this matter, even before you look at it, and so judge HIM TO BE EVIL in action, why do you ask ? Of course, he does wrong. We, in our mini-partition of our culture, we SAY SO. You are not listening!
What a riot of unreason this is. Our infallible min-cultural enclave of self-righteousness is quite sure he is wrong: surely you are not going to question this cultural midget; for after all, WE have power (as nowadays, elements of the press might have for those whose power, influence or money to persuade it one way or the other)!
Here is power, then, and a cultural mini-group is using it; but what has that to do with it! Reason however has no place here, as so often as in the case today of Sudan, where incredible murders, foul functions and the lust of militant religious movements make for things too shocking to be considered, let alone seen, without grief at the fooleries found so starkly in the lust-bust-thrust work of intoxicated man.
The murders that are wrought in the name of this... but we leave this topic for a later chapter.
Pilate, having met this self-serving pronouncement from the aggressive party (in Victoria*1A, not so long ago, the time came when those making such religious charges could be given government assistance, whilst those being assailed by them, were not, showing how close we are coming, in trend, to similar disastrous follies even today).
YOU JUDGE HIM BY YOUR OWN LAW! Pilate responds. "You take Him and judge Him according to your law!"
Here is the multi-cultural skin to the fruit at least called justice. But it will not do. It has black spot. If HE, Pilate is governor, is he to ignore right and wrong WHEN it is brought to him ? Is his government to affect ignorance so that it can have peace ? Does it not know what justice means ? If so, why judge!
Is not justice then made a convenience or convention, and what has this to do with truth ? And if truth does not matter, then lying is indifferent, and meaningless except for judgment is such a society. Does it matter ? In the case of Israel, it did matter enough to exterminate many on crosses outside the city within a generation, to have the capital destroyed with a savage devastation, to bring generations into another land, that of the wilderness of international wandering, where presence does NOT involve guardianship, and injustices aplenty, rush upon them like crazed bulls. It is time to think, as Japan can attest, yes and East Germany (that was), can assert.
Yes, and the financial burdens associated with returning a whole part of Germany to its refinement, after Communist ravagements all but unthinkable in their inhumanity: this too speaks. How ironic, that what offers land and concern for the multitude, offered perhaps less than any regime before it, or at least, is high in the list of those most debased and debasing, most pitiless, merciless and oppressive. The togetherness of the communal is perhaps the greatest divide between pampered and prospered and harassed and humbled ever made. So does man's ignorant philosophy, full of peremptory self-assurance and empty of works, make its hideous antitheses visible in concrete terms. It does not work.
Such is blindness, when you CHOOSE to shut your eyes, and continue in whatever seems to satisfy, be serviceable and pleasing to the cultural palate! It is precisely this that both Isaiah the prophet, and Christ the Messiah, excoriated, and in each case, great devastation followed the ignoring of their words by the cultural sovereignties which blindly asserted themselves, whether at the hand of Babylon, in the case of Isaiah's predictions, or Rome, following the words of Jesus, the Christ. They speak, God acts, history follows. It is like some people with their dogs at walking: you see the one, you find the other.
HE, the Lord, it is whose 'culture' is the same as truth, because it is ONLY GOD who CAN have the truth*2, and He has given indubitable testimony of His identity*3.
That, however, only complicated the position for poor Pilate. Without this truth, and THEREFORE not knowing it, he is left in quandaries if not unspeakable, then unsolvable. It is like saying that you must solve a mathematical problem in which you use the realities of mathematics, but MUST reject that 2 + 2 in any sense, equals 4.
Judge the Christ according to their own law ? Would the populace do this for their Governor ? Would they do what Pilate had suggested ? Far from it! They, in their cultural sovereignty, had found that He was an evil-doer (could the man, Pilate, not remember! they might have fumed inwardly!).
As a matter of empirical fact, they had found Him guilty to the point of death. In that case, their having bypassed the question of justice in favour of the divine right of themselves as judges (nowadays it becomes the social right, whoever being sufficiently sociable insisting on the point, while proceeding to oppress in the name of a baseless liberty, which becomes mere self-indulgence), the issue was simple. Pilate had to do their thing for them, like a good culturally manipulable puppet. What else was he there for ? Any other sort of justice was offensive to them: was that not enough ?
Pilate is now concerned. The fact that his wife had had a dream would intrude, indeed obtrude, in its time. His own mind was stirred even here. He would speak to the person, to the prisoner. Perhaps some resolution could come from this. What is the butt of the writhing and uproarious cultural dynamic to say ? Why! inspiration: ask him!
Back to the Praetorium, for his day at the office, goes the Judge. "Are you the king of the Jews ?" Evidently, he was not at all unaware of the flare in the nation which had brightened its skies and lightened many a heart. It is as if he said: Could I see your identification please ?
Question is met by question, so that the identification may be mutual.
Is this your question, or you simply relaying it from the others ? Christ asked.
"Are you speaking for yourself about this,
or did others tell you this concerning Me ?"
Thus He responded.
Pilate did not wish to divulge how he had heard this, or whether it was a secret part of the attack, already conveyed to him. He simply referred it back to the culture in question. "Am I a Jew ?" Yet could he not know what he heard and saw, irrespective of his racial background ? Did he have no eyes or ears, or thought, or background or basis, or was he some kind of cosmopolitan insect, blown by any wind, and acting on instinct!
The priests and (in some sense ?) the nation had delivered Christ to him.
"What have you done ?"
This was more reasonable. After all, however much Pilate had wriggled, this was to the point. What had He done ? He had healed the sick, raised the dead, brought joy to the downcast, given a rational and revelatory basis for living, brought the people back to the origin of their race, and fulfilled what their own scriptures had declared would happen, and was indeed the prophet who would come, to whom, as Moses said, they should listen on pain of rupture if they did not! (Deuteronomy 18). HIS was the role of the Messiah as in Psalm 22, and of course, 16 (cf. Joyful Jottings 22-25).
"My kingdom is not of this world!"
Christ rejoined. There is a justice which no only should live in the heart of man, but lives whether or not it is to be found there. It may be detested, invested in fraud, but it is there. It is often seen rising like a sea serpent from the brine, when it is a question of one's own justice being bruised, justice for one's own person!
The colossal human desire for it can make mad the passionate, dreamy idiots out of the aspiring and ruin out of its misapplication. It is as natural to man as breathing, and even the most ludicrous will try to weave it somehow, somewhere among their words, except in some cases of power-intoxication such as that of Sennacherib among the Assyrians*4.
Reason and religion do mix, if you open your eyes and look*5; but as in mathematics, it is ONLY where they fit together. It is not ANYWHERE. God has spoken and verified His word, and indeed, in this current instance with Pilate as Governor, the entire cast of the affair was predicted, from the formal abhorrence in Israel (Isaiah 49:7 - along with the informal popularity, as in Isaiah 40:10, in a sort of tug-of-war) for the Messiah. The scenario went as stated, with entire precision: the false charges, the betrayal, the price given for it, the judgment contrary to Him such that He was slain among criminals (Isaiah 53): all this was foretold, and in the very process of ignoring it, it was being carried out, point by point as in an opera.
Any who wanted to dash the new religious fervour could merely cite some prophetic failure; and the reason we cannot find this happening is simple: there WAS NONE. The ludicrous modern pre-occupation with himself, which is man's self-imposed arrogance, now that he knows a little more, and a lot less about what matters most because of spreading deceptions, does nothing to alter one fact. People in those days had as much subtlety and perception humanly as any now, and that is one reason why Latin writers have achieved such fame. IF they could have found ANYTHING from the Bible, they WOULD have use it. They could not, and so did not. The same applies today, far further away, but with different kinds of information (cf. TMR Chs. 1, 7).
So the operatic program of prophecy made centuries before Christ came, broadcast itself. They sang their lines. Yet the singers had not practised their own parts: it might have been better for them, if they had!
That the kingdom of which Christ spoke, and in particular to Pilate, was not of this world, not a worldly kind, nor a forceful and impactive push machine, this was apparent, as Christ continued to show; for if it had NOT been so, then His servants would NOT have turned Him over to His oppressors, His lurking spies, at night. They would instead have FOUGHT; and was it not a matter of record that they had NOT done so. Indeed, He had refused to allow it, recalling Peter's active sword to its place of rest, and personally HEALING the damage done to one of the temple guard, by that sword!
SINCE however, Christ's servants had been prevented from fighting, by His own word and mandate, which is of an entirely different, positive kind, then one can see, He showed Pilate as everyone else, that it is not from THIS earth, that His authority and rule come. From where then ? It is the essence of religion that the God who made us and brought to us life and being, has something to say and to do; and so have we as a consequence. It can be re-defined in terms of the absolute (which, without God is NOT able to be known, amid the mere reactions, and facilities); but such a parody is vain logically. If truth just sat there, its conceptions and perceptions and depictions and oversights, with what would it see, and how would it conceive and with what means would it depict, and how get over what it simply was ? It needs moreover to communicate, for if it did not, then man with his tedious, often traumatic and tilted concepts would act as a distorting filter.
There is only one way to know the truth, and that is from the one who made all things other than Himself, being there eternally that anything else would have somewhere to come from. There is no other logical option. Anything imagined is a thing, and needs a beginning from nothing, or eternity. What is adequate for observable results is called God, and His powers have often been minimally indicated.
Pilate was wandering into awe, skirmishing with truth, flat denying it, attracted by its features, it lack of guile, to the point of going far for its deliverance.
Indeed Governor Pilate wanted a little structure to this for judgmental purposes. He persisted: "Are you a king, then ?"
If he could establish that Christ was a king, in His orientation, then perhaps he could try to manipulate the passions of the sub-set of culture known as the priests (they had, alas, become little more than that through their pragmatic and corrupted ways as in Malachi!). Yes, then, perhaps
1) he could appeal to them to regard their own cultural exhibit, a king!
Come now, what are you going to do about that ? it could be urged. He could perhaps through the unhappy seeming situation, get back to them like that! perhaps even without getting involved at all! Maybe they would just soften a little before such a figure as Christ undoubtedly cut, one of their own people ... at least in racial form.
2) If the worst came to the worst, perhaps they could all agree that being a king was just a little too much, and make some sort of a resolution along those lines, to clip His wings, surround Him, but not butcher.
But Christ is not to be so caught.
He confirmed the concept, and included the nature of the regality in His answer.
"For this cause was I born, and for this cause have I come into this world,
that I should bear witness to the truth.
"Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
It would be perfectly impossible to be clearer. He ENTERED this world on a mission. He was sent. He had a purpose. Not culture but truth was His field; and in the field of truth, His voice was mandatory. Without its acceptance, you both defy and potentially at least, defile the Truth (as they all soon did, in the interests of mutual accommodation in a kind of spurt of multi-cultural activity).
Pilate by now was thoroughly moved, stirred, concerned, and set about a determined set of actions, trying to manipulate back the hostile crowd, or at least to stir their hearts to some realisation of the need for at least some moderation in their clamour, so that their obvious vehemence might be dissipated in some way short of a judicial murder, which to him had little appeal.
So did the scenario of truth reveal itself, and nothing shall be hidden. Already much is shown, and at last, all will be known.
IN TRYING TO RELEASE CHRIST
Thus the first of the obstacles meeting Pilate, as his desire firmed, to release Christ, was this. If at first he simply wanted to avoid needless confrontation with passion, now he was beginning to find an atmosphere, a depth, a non-confrontational non-violence in Christ, which coupled with His quiet claims was unnerving.
Again, at some point, he sent Him to Herod, who wanted only a display of miracles, and got nothing for his profane lust to be amused, tittivated or impressed. Christ came to bear witness to the truth, not to perform for pleasure.
Herod set about questioning him with many words (Luke 23:9), but received no answer for his probing zest. Meanwhile the ever-active chief priests and scribes, ready for the kill, vehemently accused Him before Herod. This led to a quickstep concert of contempt and mockery, an arraignment in a a gorgeous robe to enhance the amusement, which would be less so when Rome took its pleasure against Jerusalem a generation later; and so the patronising spectacle left behind chez Herod, left Pilate with a little more sense of liberty: yet still was operative like a wind within him, this desire to escape the burden of action.
Finally, Pilate announced his thought (as in Luke 22:14): YOU have presented this man to me as one who misleads; but for MY part, having examined him, I find no fault in him, concerning what you state to be your concerns. Nor did Herod, he has nothing that deserves death to report. That was the finding.
What would he do now ? He had put the best face that he could on the Herod extravaganza of ineptitude, and now he wanted to tone down the entire proceeding, having made fair show of interest and action. He offered to chastise and release their king. Now the question of how this could conceivably relate to justice, seemed so far in arrears in terms of any intelligible answer, that it could no longer be seen at all. WHY chastise someone who shows no relevant fault in terms of the charge, when this is as specifically found and announced by the legally competent judge ?
The reason was one of appeasement; but note this, if you seek to appease as the lesser of two MORAL evils, then you are immoral in so doing. Why punish where you find no fault ? Why abuse your judicial procedure, by imposing what meets the emotions of the cultural enclave currently in hideous action, slaves to emotions, manipulees of the dragooning fire-breathings of religiously misbent people in the throes of the cultural mode of murder-by-multitude! What justification other than your own safety, is there for that; and as to this safety, how does your failure in duty come to be acceptable when your own ease is the objective. Does ease equal justice! It is as far from it as the sun from the moon.
So did justice lie slain, before Christ was.
Pilate thought of another escape route. Yearly he would release one prisoner to satisfy any sense of injustice. He had on hand in the prison, a rebel murderer called Barabbas. Let me release Christ to you, then ? yes, that is the way. (Matthew 27:17).
"Whom do you want me to release to you ?
Barabbus or Jesus who is called Christ ?"
he asks, perhaps hoping that the option of a murderer as to be preferred to a worker of weal, would appeal.
No, we want Barabbas comes the unreasoning, unrelenting, passion-sprouting call of the multitude, whipped up to it by the priests.
In political name-calling and manipulation, some reference to narrow, self-serving desire is often made to tilt the floor and improve the voting score. Soon it would be deployed by the priest-party.
By this time, the dream of Pilate's wife had already been made known to him: that he should do not harm to this just person, being its outcome. His wife warned him; a dream warned here.
On the other hand, the chief priests and elders PERSUADED the populace in attendance, to ask for Barabbas, and "destroy Jesus." There you have exterminatory religion, wanting the blood of the Prince of Peace, who had fulfilled all relevant prophecies, and this action was to be in a devastating breach of reality for culture's sake. Destroy something ? Yes, this appealed, and if it were priest-bent, why not enjoy the deployment!
The other part of this corrupted and corrosive culture brought into play was this: IF they did release Jesus, might Rome not take it amiss, and might they not suffer (John 11:48ff.) ?This no doubt worked in the unenlightened and exceedingly selfish interest of the cultural ferment that lusted to kill Christ.
Pilate, losing out on his extemporaneous but persistent will to exclude Christ from crucifixion and even from the less horrid thing, simple murder, pursued his hopes further. He scourged Jesus (a thing which with their whips could bring one near to death anyway). Three times he cried out to the people to consider well. Three times they rejected his judicious efforts. "Away with this man!" they cried. "Why, what evil has he done!" clamoured Pilate, as if the culture were judge, and he a mere recipient, this showing the folly of capitulating to cultural myth. It was then as it is now in some parts of the Australian government, as if it were true that truth does not exist, so just follow your own nose, and move ... forward, ah yes, that is the word, for that is where it points. First, however, position yourself carefully, so that where you face will be where you want to go, then it is easy. Just pre-determine your face, where it is looking, and cry: Forward!
WHY! The question of Pilate continues to throb on the patient air, whether to the ear of Jew or Gentile, both amiss in this. WHY ? Why abandon Christ for atheism, which asserts what the very model would make it impossible to know! Why abandon the ways that brought justice a name and a power, and at least brought an ideal of brotherly love into some regard, quite apart from the multiplied patience of the saints, who spread like a wind through the land, warming it without ravaging. Away with the man! very well. The options are lie and violence, and both accordingly mount; and where there is even less Christian past than in this land, they mount to the heavens, as if imploring judgment, which is coming in measured stages.
These will escalate, as fire once at large, often does (Revelation 6-19). People love to hope that the globe is not warming, and there will be no results; but as they try to parry one thing, ten others happen. It is not ODTAA as some in frustration might feel, but cause and effect, mediated by mercy: thus things are not moving as yet too amazingly quickly. Rather it is merely with a measured and heavy tread, that they proceed, echoing the more as time progresses, to the end of the Age, to which we now draw near (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Chs. 8-9).
We Gentiles have also had our time, and our Pilates have sought to merge culture with desire, to make new gods, newly brought up, just as Israel both did and was predicted to do (Deuteronomy 32:15ff.). These nature myths, rather like those of Egypt and so many others, are just bits of the universe conceptually chewed off and given adoration, the sufficient cause for their existence becoming lost to sight, as the blatancy of worshipping the creation becomes voguish, roguish, appealing, culturally desirable, a rampancy towards ruin of the intoxicated. This is the tale told by the Lord; it is not an idiot who tells it, however, but rather forewarns concerning it. It is following such a syndrome into successive sins which makes for idiocy, foolishness, rebellion and relentless loss (Romans 1).
Such is the biblical depiction. Such is seen in Jeremiah 51:56-57, where this is the result of prolonged and even chronic rebellion against the words of truth, even truth itself, the blindness as also in Isaiah 6, with delusion as in II Thessalonians 2:10. It becomes like drunkenness.
Impervious imperiousness of human culture becomes a prime target of the spiritually intoxicated, a mere model of self-assertion in terms of custom: as if this improved the moral character of what is wrong, that it is done often.
Results ? Indeed, they received the results for two millenia. The indulgence of 'culture' in whatever one of the many faces it can bear, at the expense of truth is not only sacrilege, but near to spiritual insanity. It bites; as it ought.
As to the Truth Himself: He was scourged. Even the soldiers made a game of it, clouting Him, mocking, even pressing upon Him a crown of thorns, though thorns enough would both Empire and nation experience for itself, in due time!
Pilate brought Him forth. Now perhaps the visual effects of this semi-murdered man might enable him, the Judge to deliver Him ? "Look, I am bringing him out to you so that you may know I find no fault in him!" he cried.
"Behold the man!" he declared. This was evidently done so that they might consider had already been done, to whom it was done, and ponder the reason for such gross injustice. "You take Him and crucify Him," He added, capitulating to culture, as a bird to a vulture. The Jews replied that they had a law and since Christ made himself' the Son of God, He had to die. But how could He make Himself what He already was, and as to evidence, how could there be more!
Thus John 7:31 reveals people asking this: "When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this man has done!"
The question, avoided so avidly at the first, when Pilate had to ask: what charge do you bring ? was now answered, when time was spent and Christ's flesh rent. They at first ASSUMED arrogantly that He was wrong because they said so. Now they found that He deserved to die for an assertion which was wrong for one reason only, the same as before, because they said so.
The other option was the only thing that reason could approve (*2, *3 below cf. SMR Ch. 6, Ch. 1); but then reason had no place in them. WHY are we so persecuted ? would the generations that would follow that one fateful one stammer and clamour! WHY! It is because you did not answer that first question at the first:
WHY! You found answer without reason, short-circuited righteous investigation, followed your supposed liberty and transgressed truth, reason, righteousness, fairness and thankfulness in one act, so fatal, so fateful, that only repentance in line with the place of divine mercy could ever remove their lust: "His blood be on us and on our children!" (Matthew 27:25). It is time this was short-circuited by repentance. It WILL come (Romans 11:25ff.); the sooner it does so, the sooner will Israel resume, not this time as the preliminary presenter, but as a faithful friend of God, scoured out as are all others, from the pit of destruction. Moreover there is the inhospitable contempt shown to Israel back in its land. When its affair with the Lord has due repentance, then the Lord will show that it is for HIM to assign land or space or grace, and that prescriptive pronouncements, pronunciamentos or precepts to the contrary will in the end, be nullified with a power like that which led Israel out of Egypt near the first! So it was to be (Micah 7:15ff.), and so it will be (as also in Ezekiel 38ff.).
Some prefer not to look at such things, and make it seem sanctity; but that is precisely as wise as not looking at measles spots or those of chicken pox, especially if you are older. It achieves nothing but the greater grief in the end. So is this world travelling, and one pities it; but cannot pray for it (John 17:9), only for those who are in it; for its path is set.
Even Pilate asked that. Even he tried three times to call to them to consider; even he said he found no fault in the matter: that is, the sort of king in view presented to him no problems, Having no acquaintance with truth himself (John 18:38), he yet did not want to take it upon himself to exclude it.
His conscience began to rattle him, this and his wife's dream and no doubt the violent violation of reason in the multitude and the obvious partisanship of envious priests.
To Christ he turned again: "Where are you from ?"
The question was good. Since Jesus came into this world to bear testimony to the truth, then where was He FROM! The answer was so clear, already noted as the kingdom of truth, which could be found in God alone, and Pilate having perhaps no realistic god of his own, therefore could not envisage it. But this he might well see: that if Christ came from the truth, it could not be merely terrestrial; for it meant that God was, that truth which we all tend to assume quite naturally as part of being created BY it: it produced a cultural hot spot about his mental cool. If it is not of this world, then it must be celestial, and that being so it was a deep matter to proceed further. But Christ gave him no further word, except this.
Hearing Pilate say that he had the power to crucify or exempt Him, Christ made it clear that there was a deity who governed, declaring that Pilate could have no power at all unless it were given from that same source, above the machinations of man. Christ was utterly unvindictive. Therefore, He pursued the point, the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin. Pilate simply becomes a butt for their machinations: not an innocent one, to be sure, but a manipulated one.
Let this man go and you are no friend of Caesar! the mob cries, as if to underline their own corruption, cynical, conniving, contentious. Pilate seeks dramatically to bring home to them their folly:
"Behold your King!" cried Pilate. Before it was merely, "Behold the man!"
Ruined in body, smashed in face, blood oozing, subject of contempt by the spiritually illiterate, as all foretold (cf. Isaiah 49, 52-53), here He was, their King. One last look before two millenia was in this way accorded them, before initiating a period of history as long as they, as a nation, lacked repentance, which now seems very near. In one way, this was as long an Age as they insisted on making it, until they should once again BEHOLD YOUR KING, this time by the vision of the Holy Spirit, as they would "look upon Me whom they pierced" (Zechariah 12:10), at which time
"a fountain shall be opened for the house of David
and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
for sin and for uncleannesss."
May it be soon, for who can regard the results of pre-occupations with human power and priesthood, not even obedient at that (Zephaniah 3:3-4, John 11) without pity both continued and profound, as if a member of one's own family refused to receive repentance and be furnished with spiritual inheritance in a kingdom which does not pass away. What at time is that which remains for those such, for as to Christ, He came on time and died on time (Galatians 4:4, Daniel 9:24ff., cf. Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 2). Is it not time for repentance, now at length, after so long a time, when Israel could then once again, at least in large measure as a people, be called MY PEOPLE, who were not His people!
Whenever this occurs, it will be in
the very midst of such terminal events as concern His own coming again, to the
earth; and as to that, it be at
His own time! Be prepared! He warned. Let every Christian pray for Israel, for
those beguiled as that nation was, with the world, by false religion; and let
all be ready. This is one trip not to miss! Yet let us return to the finale of
the Pilate affair, since it is illustrative of very much.
3 PROGRESS IN TRYING TO CLEAR HIMSELF
So far, Pilate has obviously been swayed by many things, human and perhaps divine, including his wife's dream and the possible end to a hoped for dream run as Governor. He has tried, and tried quite hard to deliver Jesus, impressed, impacted, drawn, and yet at the same time, subjected to his own personal equations of desire. He has spoken to Christ several times, sent Him to Herod, spoken to the turbulent and surging crowd repetitively, given them options, tried to arrest their dynamic thrust often, but failed.
They acted on the view that he would find himself unwilling to take the risk of making Caesar see reason, if it should ever come to that (which was by no means sure, such was the nature of the reputation of Christ, and such was the non-violent nature of His works to healing, but maiming): that he would be too cowardly even to take a relatively slight if intrinsically rather dangerous risk. No, justice could die, but Pilate must live.
How blindly do people populate their minds, very often, with such equations, ignoring the fundamentals for the fidgetty little possibilities, having no faith and heeding no reason, nor even considering implications from truth, while assuming themselves relieved by it, as they search for wisdom. Wisdom without truth is in fact rather like a bird without wings, air without oxygen, a soldier without a cause. It fights and hears the din, but knows not how to win.
One must not omit therefore to note a further work of Pilate. It was his wandering into waters that do not cleanse.
Having tried to clear Christ, and failing in this way and for such a kind of reason, he now tried to clear himself! Before the scourging, and after asking WHY! that question which would haunt many in Israel for long times to come, he had water brought to himself, as if to cleanse in one action ALL that would follow, for his guilty soul. But alas, as Macbeth asked himself so pertinently, after committing murder, "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood ?" and as Lady Macbeth, indirectly but vilely implicated also exclaimed: "Here's the smell of blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand," so Pilate felt the need of cleansing. Less realistic than the infamous pair in Macbeth, Pilate put on a piece of opera. His song was short.
"I am innocent," he now proclaimed. Water he had brought that he might publicly wash.
Yet Pilate could no more remove the fact of his power, by himself asserted, of his ability to deliver Christ than any other ruler, choosing to commit an act of war, when peace was still possible on sound terms.
This was with as little ground for that assertion as had the Jews for their preference for a murderer above one who healed heart, soul and mind, yes and body too, and broke death's power. Of what did he deem himself innocent by washing his hands ? He declared himself innocent "of the blood of this just person."
How come ? I did not want to do it, but I did it. Does this remove the doing of it ? Alas for Pilate, his passion for power eclipsed his desire for justice, and his judgment was itself not only on the victim of its abuse, but on the one who, being judge, allowed himself to be governed by the pneumonia of culture, a clique within a culture, people who themselves were a veritable lapse FROM their own national culture, with crooked leaders voicing their spurious passion. So does evil breed; for hundreds of years earlier had not Malachi noted this failing, here to function so radically!
The God-created religion of Israel was such that from the priests there should have been true leadership, in fealty, reasonableness and righteousness. Once, and then rightly, "the law of truth was in his mouth, and injustice was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in pace and equity, and turned many away from iniquity," was the divine word on the priestly occupant. Now, even in Malachi's day, the situation was far from this, the spiritual disease syndrome epochal:
"For the lips of the priest should keep knowledge
and people should seek the law from his mouth,
for he is the messenger of God.
But you have departed from the way.
You have caused many to stumble at the law.
You have corrupted the covenant..."
What had been given as divine counsel, became a human sculpture class, on a ship, in which gods of desire and rules of unreason came aboard like pirates, and those who sought good, were now taught evil, who sought skill were given mumbo-jumbo. Such has been the way in Europe, increasingly in the USA, and even in Australia as one has reason enough to know*6. In such action, the cultural oddities of those who have never known Christ, become laws for the mind of those who are turning away; and in the end, many even now, turn from or even on Christ, and there arises like a tornado, this final thrust in a land, one which kills.
However, since Christ has already died and risen again, what is killed, though it would BE Christ in spirit were He now again available, it is in fact those who so direct their minds and permit their heart such folly. It is self-immolation, the tender plant of man becoming so bent and weak, that its renegacy becomes its death.
It was so with Pilate and his considerations, it has been so with many for millenia, as they make up gods and call it interpretation, though only desire forces their unreasoning minds. One has reason enough to know of it!
Israel is an example of death-dealing efforts directed at the word of God which has its own plan and projections: unwise is he, is she who ignores it. As Paul makes clear, when Gentiles, given amazing access to the things of God, when Israel turned away from, being a primary mission focus, tend to boast: take care that this clipping off that tree of truth does not happen to you then, to you also! To be sure, many have been grafted into the tree of the unchanging faith, from the Gentile world; but let those who now presume and act amiss in their appalling imaginations realise this, that what God did to Israel in its missionary capacity, He can also do to fraudulent churches, fad people, plagiarists using His name, Christ's kudos, but crucifying Him in their hearts as really as did Israel in their capital city.
If ANY people turn themselves turn from God, there are results. Cannot the Lord as readily remove them from their boastful dominance, as He did Israel, essentially for the same reason! DO NOT BOAST against the branches! Paul warns. What will it be, he insists, when Israel returns to the tree, re-grafted into it, but life from the dead! THAT is what it will be (Romans 11:15, 25ff.).
The opposite is less pleasant, and as with Israel, so with many a Gentile people, the cutting off from this tree is no mere snap. It is a matter of death for life, delusion for truth and desire for duty.
4 REGRESS INTO RUIN
Alas for Pilate! He tried, quite hard. Israel tried harder. He sought many ways to turn them from folly, he called Christ "your King" (John 19:14), and "this righteous person"; but they waved the wand of verbal magicians, providing dreams that threatened, though with no great likelihood of ever becoming reality. Pilate wavered. He tried to secure their minds, their reason, their attention, but the prevailing winds of an inveterately corrupted and corruptive culture moved on the hearts of the people present, and prevailed.
Such is the way of regress to ruin. FAIL to correct things, as your church stays in the World Council of Churches (cf. SMR pp. 743ff., It Bubbles ... Ch. 11 , with all its false christs and naturalistic overtures and overtones, its rank sedition, as in liberation theology, its hunger for Romanist addition; FAIL when your professors leave the Bible for cultural sedition; FAIL when morality is made into a matter of choice: and then watch for the fall of much. Your family ? you are devoted to it ? for what cause then do you leave it where it has no place but the palace of Pilate ? (I Corinthians 5-6, I Timothy 1:10, Romans 16:17 cf. Separation 1997)!
Watch therefore, for inattention to what defiles becomes disease, and this disease has a certain mordant mortality: it is one which readily leads to death. It distinguishes fake from faith.
The process of making of the aboriginal people,
a species of national shrine,
a place for penitence,
a religious icon,
a manifesto for naturalism, though
their own religious background
of serving them loads of money so that, without inspiration and solace, they might spoil themselves and fail to achieve,
is one of the most heartless pieces of idealistic bombast one could ever wish to meet.
Allowing 'culture' for one day to continue - as any undisciplined way of life may readily do - its molestations of children, however much it may be conceived as 'new', to delay and to politicise the moral issue, is a failure beyond pity, it is for lament. Do people not matter ? Do actualities fail to happen because of spin ?
The abominable fraud of Rudd's apology, which implicated necessarily those who had responded to aboriginal requests for help amidst denial or abuse, who had sought to advance and deliver many, who were there as much as any of those exploiters who are to be found all too readily in any program or movement for good, sings to the heavens to be rebuffed for its denigration of such goodness as in Christ's name led many to help. Unqualified, it was both unscholarly and inept, a virtual damnation of deliverances wrought, an insidious and insufferable gesture, as if facts had long ago ceased to matter.
An interesting datum on religion in the Australian aboriginal past is found in TMR Ch. 8. It is this.
One met an aboriginal President of an Australia-wide denomination. Like the writer, that Pastor had no desire for Western dream-time injections into young aboriginal people, in the form of the metaphysical abstraction of organic evolution.
Interestingly, he provided a fascinating document from the history of New South Wales, in which appeared a published account of extensive observations on the beliefs of aborigines at that time (last century) as recorded by eyewitnesses. Much of it involved a clear belief in creation in the rather early days *1 of N.S.W. settlement.
From THE BIBLE, NOT THE DECLAMATIONS OR DISTILLATIONS OF MEN ... Ch. 2, we have this practical testimony
The article is reproduced from The Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday, November 4, 1882. It reported on the monthly meeting of the Royal Society of New South Wales. A paper was read entitled, "NOTES ON THE ABORIGINES OF NEW HOLLAND". It dealt with the period from 1844 of which the speaker reported this: "I had the privilege of taking some interesting notes from the blacks of this colony on the subject of their religious belief. These notes were necessarily and mainly taken from the most intelligent of those natives... No missionaries ever come to the southern district at any time, and it was not until many years later that the missionaries landed in Sydney on their way to Moreton Bay..."
He proceeds: "the notes which I took later on upon the religious belief of the whole of the aborigines of this continent are perfectly true and consistent with their own traditions." He notes that he has met with fresh confirmations in general belief in a Supreme Being in all parts of New South Wales.
Later in his paper, Mr Manning, the speaker, refers to a note in an aboriginal grammar, sent back to England by Archdeacon Gunther. It recorded the missionary's certainty that the aborigines could not have derived the beliefs he noted during his work, from white men, as they had had no communication with them. The beliefs in question included the concept of creation in that they referred to a Being who "made all things", in whom was the outcome of life. He made at the first and would judge at the last.
The point for us is simply this: that this very early report merely confirms other testimony printed more recently to the same effect. There has repeatedly been attested at least a notable belief among many aborigines, in the Creator.
It is therefore not without reason that distaste at the racial or cultural level may enter into the minds of some aborigines, when they are abused with the Circular's prejudices, imposed so cavalierly, a Western dream-time. (See Index, SMR.)
This contemporary secular missionary effort is not at all voluntary in this: that the alternative in education is far from readily obtained. It costs to diverge from the State philosophy; and doubtless it is worth it. Nevertheless, being the victim of others' dreams can be more of an imposition than imposing. It can strike differentially.
It should be borne in mind that the Chapter, TMR 8, from which most of this material was taken, first published in 1996 on this site, the chief topic was a Circular to Principals which had sought to standardise a curriculum in which creationism was not merely denigrated in a cavalier shoddiness that astounded, there exposed in detail, but in a conspectus where an evolutionary concept was made mandatory to the point creation-type materials were to be shielded in the Principal's Office. This of course, as far as any aborigines were concerned in this cultural substitute for education, would clash with such elements of their past as appear above.
Not only so, it clashes with fact and is a Western dream-time, imposing itself on their own aspect of such things. Despite all the hoopla, in rational tests this uniformative religious concept does not match facts, provide law, exhibit empirically observable workings, have a rational theoretical and testable basis, meet information theory or cover contradictory results which abound in various categories. It is time to think, not wave a cultural wand. What has no residues in this field is biblical creation, as shown in no small detail in the composite, The gods of naturalism have no go!
See SMR pp. 140ff., Ch. 2, Secular Myths and Sacred Truth, The gods of naturalism have no go! and TMR Ch. 1 for example.
Education is not a matter of making people receive help in the direction of one cultural idea only; it enables them to be supported in their researches, assisted in their interests in a scholarly manner, without prejudice but with utter preference for truth. What does not meet it is duly exposed BECAUSE it does not meet it.
The failure to do anything remotely approaching this in South Australian schools is one of the damning indictments of this Government, being to every appearance, in stark contradiction of Australian law as contained in the UN Declaration UN Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.
On this, see further in Ch. 6 of Man in Retrospect, in Prospect and in Bold Relief.
Christian schools specialise in what is supported by fact, attested by faith, confirmed by evidence, and testable in the empirical domain. The continuity of the biblical basis is in stark contrast to the discontinuity of the various evolutionary concepts, not least because it is never able to be contradicted by fact, impugned by variability, exposed as are numerous evolutionary nostrums to assault, vulnerable to discounting. Just as this is believed, so is there attestable reason for it.
Where modern ideas can change and clash with colossal clangour (cf. Wake Up World! ... ... Chs. 4-6), and the obvious deficiencies of all types become grounds for mutual assault of the believers in this secular form of religion, the Biblical truth is invariable; it does not need to change.
See The Face of God, Illimitable, Unfunded, Definitive, Decisive Ch. 6.
See *3 below. If everything were limited by its specific nature and the system in which it found itself to be placed, then the overview which sees beyond any such placement, understands all placements and how this one relates to all, and sees beyond all, so that the very nature of placement itself is clear, is missing. This is however, necessary for truth, since just responding according to whatever it is that you have and which delimits you is not a matter of truth, but of construction and placement and the interactive modalities involved.
Matter neither provides nor possessive such an ultra-material and ultra-cosmic capacity; nor does mind, if and when bound to this system, being by definition thereby unable to transcend it to see it as it is: instead it would merely see it as it operates, as its own system operates, as the duo jives, or contrives, or interacts, a mere matter of happenings, not alignable to overall perception, intellection and understanding.
Only WHEN there is a Being over all, beyond all, able to be free from the limitations, delimitations, directives and constraints of all, CAN there be truth so much as in existence. The stubborn desire of the human mind to have it anyway, the truth, independently of whatever model it may seek to institute, instal and make mandatory for others (as do some Education Departments, in shameless shambles of antinomy), merely attests the fact that logically and actually man IS a derivative WITH access to truth. It shows that it is indeed written into his environment (that is God, ultimately), so that when that Creator's truth is found, it is not only bound but discernible. It is not insanity which makes man commit so very many antithetical errors by such assumptions, but the mode of his construction, which this reflects, at the mind of his Creator, the ultimate eternity without which nothing would ever have been able logically to exist.
What then of man ? He is made to know truth, that is his mode; yet being in long rebellion, he tries in this flamboyant or that dull manner to get it, or realising the impossibility on the anti-God model, or the non-God one: in desperation, he invests his thought into ludicrous philosophies, each contradicting itself, not proceeding with any resultant, so that some give up. Others turn from this preliminary presumption, and finding God, find His truth is not only certain, confirmed logically, but logically required and empirically self-attesting as each year passes. In some ways, it does this in the same MANNER over time; in others it makes new impacts, something in which truth specialises, since everything proceeding in accord with it, it is ever showing those who have it how essentially and positively true it is, which of course is not only verification, but delightful.
Indeed, we may proceed further. if you defy or deny logic, then by the very nature of your own model, you cannot use it to establish your own case, and it is then merely a case of abject surrender, which would be better directed toward God than toward logic. Yet when man insists, he becomes bound by lesser things. It is rather like a car that leaves the road, its driver for inscrutable reasons preferring to travel long distances on muddy fields. You CAN proceed in this way, but you will never get anywhere. It is not a suitable way to cover the ground, that is all.
When however you proceed to the placing, delimiting, creative Being over all and from whom all logic proceeds (the term 'logos' though far wider than this, does incorporate it), then the truth being there, it is simple. You just need to know Him. To do this, you need to find out how this may be done. The discipline is not with microscope, but with repentance of what is far from microscopic, and with desire and design to accept His validated and verified word, and believing in His Gospel, to come to meet Him as He is. On this, see TMR Chs. 3 and 4, Barbs ... 17, Ch. 3 above and SMR pp. 520ff., 582ff., 611ff., .
Without this, with mere preference or prejudice your list, you CANNOT know the truth, for it is not available in any other way. Truth is not only to be THERE but INDICATED. all this is to be attributed, including the point that it cannot BE a body in any material sense, since that would leave an unaccounted for delimitation, contrary to logic and science, operative in a scenario not overseen, in a system not placeable in category.
See Barbs 6 - 7, SMR Chs.1, 3, 10. See in terms of verification and validation:
Deity and Design,
Designation and Destiny, with
Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ,
Who Answers Riddles, and where He is, Darkness Departs.
See Isaiah 37, and consult Possess Your Possessions IV, Ch. 2.
See *2 and *3 above, together with REASON, REVELATION and the REDEEMER,
RELIGION, RELIGIOSITY AND REALITY IN CHRIST.
See It happened. See also: Life Story.