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Combination of Concepts
Clash of Culture with the King
CULTURAL CONDITIONS FOR CLASH
You see it in Mark 14:62, the response of the Incarnate King of the Kingdom of Truth, Jesus Christ (John 18:37), to the Priest, the Emblem of the Corrosive Cultural of Israel's official religion. Such priests had poured this deadly culture into the wounds of the nation, religious culture, traditional synthetics from God and man, as unrecognisable as the word of God as the face of Christ would shortly become from the wounds (Isaiah 52:13-15) they imparted when their Culture clashed with the King. Many were captured by their slick, synthetic culture which worked like a leaven, or even a bacterial strain amid the people (Matthew 16:11-12, Luke 12:1, 11:49-54).
Put differently, what they had done with their cultivated traditions, with which they dared to outfit the word of God (Mark 7:7ff.), was in effect to make it null or void, as Christ declared by their careful conformity to such dogmatic junk. At best it was a diversion (Matthew 23:23-24), at worst like the annulment of a marriage, remade to incorporate another.
So well had the pure waters of divine truth been treated with the pollutions of culture, that in some ways, this was downstream from a chemical factory.
Whatever image be used, the result was the same (Mark 7:6-7):
"This people honours Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me,
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."
Small wonder Christ had called them "blind leaders of the blind" (Matthew 15:14), "whitewashed tombs", and graves over which one could walk, without knowing it! (Matthew 23:24,47, Luke 11:44), adding that they would 'strain at gnats and swallow camels ' being inwardly, 'full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness' (Matthew 23:27). Scribes and Pharisees did not, in general, achieve His recognition, though their educational revolution was found revolting indeed. If judgment is to be, as it is, according to truth (Romans 2:1), one would not covet their positions. Indeed, far would they be from desire, or even acceptance, unless they repented as many priests evidently did.
Moreover, this all must do, whether from the general slackness of sin, or from such special sins as these, leaving their fallen brothers in arms (Acts 6:7), who often moving from God as a racing car from its start - Hosea 11:2. How great is the separation from the Maker as men rove from reality and rave on in infidelity, constructing not only gods of their own hearts, but afflicting the people with the iniquity and inequity (cf. Micah 3:3-8, Ezekiel 34, Zephaniah 3:3ff., Jeremiah 5:31, Hosea 4:6-10); and alas, as the people who are misled. follow, so it is "like priest, like people." Indeed, escaping one evil, they fall for another, so that when they seek to purge their inequities, they continue their iniquities as in Romans 10:1-3). Attacking, as they did and do, the name of the Lord, their very self-righteousness blinds the eyes, and warps their works, and removing the foundations, they erect plaques for themselves, which like tooth plaque, merely pollutes.
The Bible often uses dramatic imagery, for the purpose of arousing those that sleep (Hosea 12:10), such as that famous depiction of false prophets as "wolves in sheep's clothing" (Matthew 7:15), false teachers as lively enemies, though many nowadays pay them well (as II Peter 2 predicted would be the case) as they invite them amid the lambs of the flock!
As to the Sadducees, well represented in the top priesthood posts, some of them tried to trap Him with words (Mark 12:18). Inclined to make up a puzzle out of the resurrection, which they rejected, they fondly but foolishly imagined that in heaven genders would persist, so in reply He told them they were mistaken "because you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God" Mark 12:24-28). Fashioned for eternity, the resurrected body involves no marriage. Thus "... when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage" - He told them, pointing out that as to the resurrection, in the burning bush episode with Moses, the Lord told Moses, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,' for "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
Thus, the resurrection of the body by the power of God is a trans-biological, eternal corporicity (II Corinthians 5:1ff., I Corinthians 15), "a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (NAB), glorious advance on our test body situation on earth, for then "this mortal must put on immortality", so that marital concepts applied to it are not a relevant idea or rational test.
So has the word of God taught whether in the Psalms implicitly (Psalm 22) or explicitly (Psalm 16), in episode with Elijah (II Kings 2), in prediction (Isaiah 26:19, Daniel 12:1ff.), or in direct divine testimony (as in Hosea 6:1-3, 13:14): for God Himself in abolishing death and raising the dead, performs precisely that, the resurrection of the body. So long as words express thoughts and not mere convention, since this, the resurrection of the body, is one of the sine qua non elements of the salvation of the soul (Romans 10:9, I Corinthians 15), so the lurking spirit of disbelief in the Sadducees or their modern counterparts is simply disfaith.
To the point in Christ's confrontation with their unbelief, marriage is inapplicable, for they knew neither the scriptures nor the power of God; and one of the predictions of Paul by the Spirit (I Corinthians 2:9-13), was this, that the denial of the power of God would be one of the symptoms of the spiritual disease of unbelief when the Age was drawing near to its close. In such matters, the perspective is given a touch test! This applied in the fallen Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, where one had the privilege of being the only one in the national Assembly, in the end of the matter of their new and unbelieving Resurrection Statement, to have his dissent recorded.
So did it become, not merely a decline, but an ecclesiastical disaster, from which one not without grief, had to leave, as the people voted in their unhappy bacillus of unbelief.
It is nothing strange therefore, this attitude of the Sadducees. As to the resurrection, they had simply no idea of it, and in fact, as a group, did not believe in it. Loving this world's ways more than those of its Author, it was small wonder such sought to trap Him.
John the Baptist had characterised such camps as the Sadducees', as "a generation of vipers" (Matthew 3).
To say no more, their culture, which was filled with traditional exercises wrought by the fidgetty philosophical preconceptions of man, polluted the waters of truth, for one as for all who listened to them (Mark 7:7ff., Luke 11:52). THAT, it was a work of elegant self-will on the part of those supposed to represent the majesty of the Almighty, by teaching His word. The people, said Malachi 2, should be able to seek from the lips of the priest, the words of knowledge (2:7-8), "but you have corrupted the covenant of Levi," declared the prophet, and "have caused many to stumble at the law."
Theirs was not the last culture to pollute and corrupt, to corrode and to twist the word of God IN HIS NAME! Many in churches of the 20th century did a thorough-going work in the same deadly direction, as did the Romanists before them, the one adding what expressed desire, the other often subtracting what demanded faith, till the totality became like a restless set of swampy shallows, and no more the calm blue depths of the divine sea of truth, on which the blessed vessels of joy could sail unsmitten. Winds of pompous words prevailed (as epitomised in the forecast of Peter in II Peter 2:18-20), and evils proliferated (cf. SMR pp. 912ff., 661ff., 685ff.).
The World Council of Churches*1, which sank so low as to contain representatives, it appears, of the KGB, scarcely noticed, and put its hand to such projects as Liberation Theology. Thus they could embrace what conveniently classified Christ as a revolutionary, and ignored the fact that it was a reformation back to what had been ordained, not a tumult to grab power by this or that sector, that was His work, restoration not revolution. So they have entertained such constant distortions that passed for theology, but were in fact plagiaristic prisons for the word of God.
Yet the word of God is not bound (II Timothy 2:9). It is only their own imaginations which they hold, themselves its prisoners.
They forgot that its crucifixion was not wrought by vulcanic power but by permission of the love of God, to enable a sacrificial death to exhibit the wicked corruption of man in his heart, and enable escape BACK to the truth (cf. SMR pp. 743ff.), and many would collaborate with and further the implicit humanism, if mystically presented (cf. 750Bff.), that such false positions and propositions forwarded. Thus many were making use of Christ for ulterior purposes, theological mutants, their ideas wrought by the craft of man (cf. II Corinthians 4 and 11).
CULTURE'S CLASH WITH THE KING OF TRUTH
When therefore culture's elect arrested Christ, in line with its excellent morality, at night by using soldiers and a treacherous traitor to whom they paid the price of a block of land for the privilege, at last they were so exasperated with their inability to nail Him (verbally), that to do so (physically) they resorted to asking questions and giving estimates of the answers. It was as if wine tasters had assembled to try a wine, and kill the producer, if the vintage were found disagreeable to the palate.
"Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed ?" asked the priestly potentate.
Since this was categorically the heart of the matter, only a clear answer would do.
"I AM," said Christ.
Now note how He said this, for in Greek the emphatic words are ego eimi. It is these that are used in the Greek Septuagint, popular Old Testament translation, when God spoke to Moses, as HIS INVETERATE NAME! Tell them that I AM has sent you! the Lord instructed Moses as we see in the following Hebrew original.
I AM WHO I AM, God told Moses, and thus you will tell the children of Israel that I AM has sent you. Here is the very name of God, august, continuing, subject neither to development nor to change, One always to be recognised, never to be the subject of doubt, His word always to be relied on, His definition in Himself, dependent on none and on nothing, uninhibited, as exhibited, faithful and the One, who BEING always invariant, fulfils His word (which accordingly must not change, as in Deuteronomy 4 and 12). This we see, for example, in Deuteronomy 7:9, Psalm 119:138.
Thus when He assured Moses that He would be with him, it was not that a will-o'-the-wisp would be with him, but the God whose word would stand though the years should be subdued, and endure without contrariety or contradiction, alive to His word, His word alive to Himself, for ever and ever. HENCE His predictions and assurances could be relied on (Genesis 15:13ff., Exodus 12:25ff.), over the centuries; as also their various undertakings. His testimonies would be fulfilled; for He is altogether outside of and beyond this changeable world of sudden events, marring and masquerading (as in Psalm 102). Even when He acts on earth, it is not that He changes in heaven. On the contrary, it is the earth which changes.
Accordingly, citing Isaiah 40, Peter in I Peter 1:24 is given to declare:
"All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
'The grass withers,
And its flower falls say,
But the word of the LORD endures forever."
"Of old," says the Psalmist in 102,
"You have laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
They will perish, but You will endure.
Yes they will all grow old like a garment;
like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed.
But You are the same, and Your years will have no end."
Than this, nothing could be clearer.
When therefore Christ declared (John 8:58) that "before Abraham was, I AM," it was a declaration of deity in the most intimate format conceivable; for not only did it use the WORD, the NAME given, "I am," but it used it in a context that consciously and directly violated all normal sense of time. HE was continuing His time-free existence as eternal BY NATURE, before Abraham day's was allowed to burnish the clouds. HE was not only the Messiah, but that God who speaks to man, who is from everlasting to everlasting, who then was, now is and was before all time of our venue, that comes to go and for which one waits.
Such things no doubt had been noted by the priest-mafia (a component in charge), and indeed when Jesus made His statement (John 10:30), "I and My Father are one," it was apparent that this was taken as being equal with God, for on that STATED basis they sought to stone Him! In fact, WHEN He made that statement, it was in the context that His sheep were given to Him, and they had eternal life: in this realm of eternity, it was that He and His Father were one. The revelation was met with detestation, for it was from self-same God that Israel had been in top echelons of authority, turned and turned once again. Here was the critical test, not in waverings and wanderings of philosophy, but in ONE man with one face and one mouth whose words were like goads to the goats, rivers of living water to those who knew God.
This is the way it is with the Lord; His nature is eternal, His words do not change.
In Exodus 3:14 God made it clear that His was a meta-temporal existence, one constant so that His word would not change, self-affirmatory, dependent on nothing, reliable, and in no need of making provisional statements, all time being before Him (as in Isaiah 46:10).
It would have been meaningless to have been taken to mean, "I will be," for WHAT would He be, if He were not self-existent and immovable ? someone without a voice, or mind or capacity to remain faithful, subject to change ? Hardly, for then the signature would have been both valueless and meaningless. As He states in Malachi 3:6, I do not change THEREFORE you are not burnt up. That is the point.
When therefore, having used the term I AM in this amazing fashion in John 8:58, a direct reflection of Exodus 3:14, with contextual reinforcement that the blind might see, and a supra-temporal ascription to boot, with Abraham rejoicing to see His day, yes with the stark grammatical fact that in this relationship, He was the I AM and not the I WAS, or I HAVE BEEN, there was a certainty that His enemies would act. They changed and loved their power as Matthew 23 shows, their place. Thus when in addition Christ, at the time recorded in John 10, Christ made the statement that He and His Father are one, and that He acts in His Father's name (John 10:25) as a Son might!, the move to stone Him was of a stated kind. It was for giving to Himself equality with God.
Two plus two DO equal four, and Christ BEING in the FORM of God, and humbling Himself for serviceable action into the format of man, yet without sin, did not cease in His own Being to be equal with the Father, as the Word with the Speaker. In humiliation, His judgment was taken away, and in His testimonial life of obedience, He was subject to His Father as indeed to the law! That was part of the portfolio of salvation, not to lord it over us, but to share our lowliness, and bear our guilt.
His portion on this earth was the Jewish reaction, with the Roman reinforcement; and small wonder the priests later thought it immediate blasphemy. "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed ?" They ponderously thundered at Him. "I AM," replied Christ, ego eimi, in the emphatic grammatical mode which includes these very words (Mark 10:62).
When, at His trial, He added that He would be seen coming the clouds of heaven, there was no possible twist or turn left. That is from Daniel 7, where you see the Son of man with all nations, tongues and languages gathered before Him, and to Him is given an eternal dominion. He was also given glory by the Ancient of Days, who is NOT willing to give His glory to another, to share it (Isaiah 42:8), since there is an infinite difference, and that would be to authorise a misconception. Nothing of that type ever comes from the Lord, who is the truth.
Yet in Daniel it is God who GIVES GLORY to this eternal ruler of mankind, to this Son of man, whom all are to serve. His is the throne of God (Psalm 45), who is even addressed as God.
Blessing and honour and power and glory are to be given IN ONE AGENDA to the Father and the Lamb for ever and ever, says Revelation 5:13, so that the Jews who took up stones were RIGHT in their understanding, as was the murderous priestly party; but they were wrong in another way.
They withheld acceptance, assumed error when they saw the Lord, whom to see was to see God, and in theory having their lessons ready, in practice, they failed. They could not see under the microscope of history, what was the entire point: they did not, because they WOULD not know God. Hence, remaining in ignorance through pure wilful ignoring of the ineffaceable evidence, they defaced Him who as God was given to them, so defiling their coming history for many a year. Consider now what they did, as in spirit millions appear to have done since, amid Jew or Gentile races.
If, suppose, there were some great meeting during World War II, and atomic secrets were in view before the work of New Mexico was finished, and to a secret meeting someone came and said, I AM EINSTEIN. If then he used a word that was his secret word, then there are two options. EITHER they believe him and so are glad to have his presence and listen; or ELSE, they do not so believe, and so clamp him in irons or other arraignment, to secure this impostor. In such a case, his contributions could make the difference, given interest and due scrutiny.
Now in this imagined case, Einstein had been seen before; but in human form, God had not. When therefore He used this code word for God, and in addition stated that yes I AM the Son of the blessed, and then added directly from Daniel, the reference to His coming with the clouds of heaven as cited in Daniel for the Son of man, that in itself being one of the chief titles Christ had given to Himself over the years of His ministry, one thing was categorically clear. Not only is He saying, yes He is the Son of the Blessed, but He is putting it in the most provocative of contexts for the rank unbeliever, and spiritual outsider, such as the banefully ignorant priests. They SHOULD have known, but their closed eyes prevented sight.
Thus did He make it clear not only that YES, He was the Son of man, the Son of the blessed, the incarnate deity, but He left no room for twiddling. It was THAT Son of man, the One in Daniel that he had meant all along, and it was as this Messianic Master that He had come (as in Matthew 23:8-10), one with no diminutive status, no surrogate, no derivative or stand-in! ONE ONLY was He. He and God were the same Being, He the very living word of God, alive before Abraham, and that in an eternal life that had no passing away (cf. I John 1).
The priests, despite His performances of the ministry, healing in innumerable crowds all who came and who received that which He gave, answering the realities with squalid dreams that prevented the perception of what had come. Their precocioius intensity in folly to make them seem in contest, as Primary School children using slates in First Grade. To Him who had shown Himself possessing power over evil spirits and wind and weather alike, and to them, as a final horror for unbelief, over the very death of the body as in the famous case of Lazarus, and that not the first, had only one move: REMOVE HIM!
He however, fulfilling all the detailed identikit of Old Testament for the Messiah in PHASE ONE, SUFFERING, had long presented the practical testimony of works fitting (John 14:11); but to Him, as to these, they said no. It was as if the Einstein figure had demonstrated the theory of relativity before their faces in a short half hour format for the sophisticated, and made some new applications, and still they said: IMPOSTOR.
Why say that ?
Take our imaginary case for comparison: They could not have done so if they wanted Einstein, for here was verity verified.
With Christ, anyone could do what He did, provided that anyone was someone called God; but no one else could (as in John 15:22ff.).
Christ demonstrated; culture remonstrated; ignored the evidence as does the theory of organic evolution, and then they killed Him, as they seek to kill creationism in schools in this land, not because it does not answer well any challenge from scientific method, but because it DOES, as nothing else does, and therefore it is completely intolerable. WHY ? It does all things well, as part of the testimony of truth of which Christ is the centre. It is as with the priestly party: IT DOES NOT DO WHAT THEY WANT, and moreover, it EXPOSES THEM!*2
Hence some in the 'Church', that is the nominal offscouring, the mere rind which is the residue of that living body of Christ over which HE IS and REMAINS Master forever, produce a dead scum, from the living body. They invent theistic evolution. In this, God is made to use cruelty, deceit, trickery, treachery, cunning, death-dives, passion, to upgrade things, despite the lack of any such thing that eye has seen, or even new information upgrading anything without intelligence at work.
Thus the very character of God is sacrificed in such dealings, arrested and impugned, as Jesus was, moved from purity for the sake of the impotence of a speechless testimony from laboratory and past works. This is done as surely as was that work with nails, at Calvary; for His very NAME is defiled by such means, as much as is the evidence rejected in favour of theoretical imaginations, never attested, philosophic computations without rational ground, lacking both empirical support and laboratory visibility.
In a similar, bold fashion, they have fashioned new christs, one as a clown, one as a revolutionary, one as a good man (so good in that case, that in claiming to be the Eternal and Beyond-our-Time God, that imagined christ would have failed, as C.S. Lewis put it, to the point that he might conceive himself a poached egg. So does fantasy work. Such an error, being the illusory lust for what is NOT GOD, infinitely wrong, categorically calamitous, notionally insane, egregiously egotistic, a harrowing of the most elementary reality about what one can do when GOD, and cannot, when not: it would betoken a lost soul of the most ghoulish proportions. You cannot have a non-deity Jesus Christ without insanity, and you cannot have the same, with evidence, since His words and His works alike attest triumph in the test mode, not only in healing power, verbal prevailing, testimonial felicity, deeds to match words which none other ever spoke, but in character and personal prevailing, one against all the power structures, His words confirming His deity to the last post, which He passed in the resurrection of the body which none could display, but He, at His will and to whomever He would. He literally walked out on them, for all their puny power, just as He had Peter do the same when imprisoned, in a lesser degree (Acts 12), through the same power.
So do they make in theistic evolution an impoverished, a defiled god, and dare to attach the name to Him who created, who is love, for whom sin is a show-down, and the Cross is a show up, where He came to make up the difference, being defiled by their murder, but not in spirit, which remains as it always was, good and without iniquity, filled with lovingkindness. Yet He is not one to acquit the wicked, and so demands repentance. You have to be changed to be chosen, and to be chosen you have to avoid the preference for darkness, such as this evil imagination would foist on the witless victim of its anti-evidential mullings. This is not to say that all such will be damned; but that they damage the truth, and if in their hearts, they worship such a God as they seem to create, how can they then escape ?
Moreover, this is but one of the defiling, laying on of violent hands of the Christ they would yet act to mutilate, yet without effect; yet it is not so on the lambs! As they so defile, yet they speak, as those who would try to pass off their changed gods, as having some bearing on Jesus Christ. As to Him, and to His Father, to God, He does not change, and though He may bring calamity, yet He is slow to anger, and cares for the concerns of His own people, whom the wolves molest and those changeable as the winds, strike like a hurricane when they can.
The Christ of God remains unchanged, and unchangeable, answering all questions, all confusions cleared, all attacks rebutted. Even if some would prefer an insane maestro, to finding there their God, yet if sanity is anything testable (it is GOOD to test, including false hypotheses, and that is one major criterion of scientific method), then One who can forecast events over millenia is the opposite, dismiss disease at a word is the contradiction, one who can raise the dead shows the very acme of understanding. Realism and capacity to engage in it is the opposite of what is apposite to insanity. Indeed, all the false christs that are now so popular, invented like plagues of rats, mice and locusts (as predicted - Matthew 24:24), are mere culturally clammy corpses, based on nothing, rinds from the fruit of Christ.
Let's be more direct to the point.
It is not the One whose works remain who is mistaken, but His theological plastic surgeons, who with a brutality and a futility and a guilt which resembles that of the priestly party of His day, mould a new christ, painstakingly altering His face: as did the soldiers of the day!
Such is the cultural clash with the King of Truth.
PLANS AND PERFORMANCE, MOTIVES AND MOTIF
Thus, we find Christ providing a parable, a little before His Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem, seated on an ass (as forecast by Zechariah 9 of the Lord, meek and having salvation), to the acclamation, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. That word is taken from the Messianic Psalm 118, where He is the chief cornerstone of the temple, which the builders have rejected, as He indicated directly (Matthew 21:42). Whoever falls on this stone, He at that time had declared, will be ground to powder. On the other hand, His words were the Rock on which wise builders would build, yet only God is that Rock! (Psalm 18:31, II Samuel 22:32, Psalm 62:1ff.). It is He, here as always, who is that God, incarnate for resolution of the sin problem, by redemption as man for man, as many as receive Him as He is.
After all, it was in departing from the God of creation as He is, in favour of another word, perspective, idea and order, which started which does not stop, except in the hearts of the redeemed, in the minds of those to be delivered, in the souls of the lovers of truth, of God, without whom no truth could even exist, but a whirl of events, which in that case could not even be known to be so. Contradiction of God, contradiction of one's own self in fallen models from the machinations of the heart of fallen men, this is one option and the one leads to the other. On the other side, there is God, from the first, to the last, unchanging, unchangeable, Author of our time, Maker of man, His love and mercy inviting, His pardon near, but not found in hope, but in faith, as man returns to God who made him, and the salvation which He prepared for man.
Much He told in parables, such as that in Luke, shortly before His coming to be acclaimed as the Messiah, into Jerusalem, a week before His crucifixion.
What is the thrust of that parable ? The story is the one of the nobleman who went to claim a kingdom and at his going, had the word sent after him, "We will not have this man to reign over us!" (Luke 19:14). It is significant that this is just before we read of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem in Luke 19:28. What did this show as applied to the current events ? It was that in their hearts they DID NOT WANT HIM. His was the kingdom, theirs was the negative preference (as in John 3:19). It was all as planned and predicted, not least in Isaiah 49:7, 52-55, Psalm 16,22,40).
Indeed, surely the priests supported the plan for the journey AWAY from them, and sent out the word after Him (like the crashing chord of a Sergeant-Majors voice): WE DO NOT WANT YOU!
While they 'were supportive of the journey OUT, however, and even made arrangements to aid it with speed, even starting it at NIGHT, yet they could not determine its DIRECTION, back to His Father, nor its result, the resurrection of the just. This would certainly come for those whom God Himself warrants to be justified (as in Romans 5:1, Titus 3:5ff.), for these are contained in cover, in the resurrection of the body of Christ (as in Luke 24, I Cor. 15, Isaiah 26:19). HIS dead body will they arise from their death, His word there declares; and so in Him is that peace, that perfect peace of each one "whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength" (translatable as Rock of Ages). Such is the message, such is the power: so is there peace in the God of creation, who made what is good, who is without iniquity, who condemns the evil, the unjust, the crooked, who insists on straightness, integrity and honesty, and on loving your neighbour as yourself (Deuteronomy 32:4, 19:8, Genesis 1, Psalm 24, I John 1-5).
What then did the careful plotters for a changed God, a mutilated Christ, a dead King (whom even Pilate insisted on being called The King of the Jews, not downgraded to His having SAID He was) ? They got what they wished, to the death, His; they failed to remove what they hated - His life, which was resurrected, as will all be, to go where they are placed, some having preferred darkness when the light came!
Later their people got what they asked for, the city's entire devastation.
Thus, even if it meant their losing all, despatching the greatest power ever seen in mankind, who tested them as one tests for precious metal (most of it is not that!), they still would not have this man to reign over them. They trusted in dreams, but their party did not end in dream, but doom; and how anguished that was, and for how long it has been, for an unrepentant nation! May the Lord soon have mercy on them as predicted in Zechariah 12-13, by sending out His Spirit to convict them, that they might repent, and thus inherit that blessing to all nations which Christ has continued to offer, to one and to all. Such is His forgiving spirit, and such is the divine grace.
Never forget the involvement of Rome, in its Empire: it too has found little peace, except where repentance has come; and as to its lingering Church, the Church of God adapted, rather as the priests adapted Christ to their wishes, to this world, it has not only broken the peace of nations, but assailed the body of Christ in the Inquisition and in false sacrifices, just as Judaism continued their own false sacrifices, till the Temple gone, they could do so no longer! (cf. Ancient Words ... Ch. 14, SMR pp. 1032-1088H).
With those who will serve Him as He is, as the unchanging and unchangeable I AM, the case is utterly different. Thus, in the end of the parable of the nobleman, found in Luke 19:11ff., there is the calling to account of the servants to whom talents for service had been given. The one who had hidden the gift, distrusting the one who gave it to him, had his talent taken away: but to whom was it given ? It was donated to the one who had shown most proficiency. Thus there was a giving to the one who HAS and taken from the one who HAS NOT!
Why ? It is presumably because such as have abundant life in Christ (as certified in John 10:10), who thus exercise the more what is already given, being endued with the streams of action moving rapidly (John 7:37), these gain more flow. For this, they have more talent added that the more should grow. It is, again, like the watering of an excellent tree, well supplied with water. What does not grow, and is merely a bush so called by a formality, in its necrotic state needs nothing, and is already all but dead upon its decaying roots, ready to be uprooted (as in Matthew 15:13). From death, that which dies, the talent is taken for life.
Thus there is through Christ, a contract of life (John 3:16) and a contract of death (John 3:36), and both apply, each to its own. A culturally captured christ is a mere imagination, for that is precisely what culture could never do; even though it could and did kill, it could not capture. It is ever so with sin: it lays its nets, but the meek are enabled, the poor in spirit, to flow through them.
Those who want to capitalise on culture, as do many of the time-serving governments and marriages of convenience of evil and pragmatism, where Christ has for that reason no place (John 14:30), what of them ? This: they act as if to decapitate Christ. However, the action is lost, for the opportunity is gone, since as in Revelation 1:18, He "who was dead," is "alive for evermore," and never again is the scope for such scheming provided!
and while they can imprison and fine His servants, they can not alter Him at all, His words, contract, covenant, His stated outcomes, their loss from His offer's refusal, or His judgment. Where the living Christ who rose from the dead, and is the Judge of all nations, is deeded as if dead, so is the one who so deeds. While the one who invents his god or gods, arises to judgment received, so He who once arose when slain, arisen, judges all things (Acts 17:30, John 5:19ff.)
Without Christ in their hearts, through His Spirit (Romans 8:9, Colossians 1:27), His word in His covenant, they are "children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:12); and so far from their culture saving them, it becomes for many the receptacle for their damnation as in John 3:36. Culture does not save, but given liberty and requiring fealty, it can be a useful weapon for the devil, to secure judgment for its followers. In this, it is as with any other idol. Man as worshipping and following man, himself as identified in a 'culture' is no more divine than is a stone, and without the Saviour, is no more a claimant for heaven, than a disease; for polluted and infected with philosophy, its willing vassal, he is faced with one simple fact: NO MAN CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS. If culture masters, then Christ is no leader there.
Such is Christ's explicit instruction (Matthew 6:24).
Let him who has ears, and her, heed.
*1 See It Bubbles ... Ch. 11, Questions and Answers Ch. 4 and index.
See: The gods of naturalism have no go! Wake Up World! ... Chs. 4-6, SMR pp. 140ff..