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WHAT REMAINS ?
There is the Remnant, the Remainder and the
Implementation of the Visible Distinction
What remains ? Indeed this question might be asked; and it is time it had a simple answer.
What remains, or WHO remains ? to use the word of Zechariah 9:7. He who remains, the word of God declares, it is our GOD. When the Cross is past, the glory has been revealed, the historical ingredients have had their way and day, man's destitution without God has been demonstrated as well as long remonstrated, the resurrection is over, once and for all, and the coming restoration, of better augury infinitely than that of the unhappy Stuarts in English history, laps on the shores of times as the surging tide prepares to inundate: when all this is done, and the End draws near like the delicate dawn, soon to break into the sun in its heat: what remains ?
What are you waiting for ? roars the drill instructor. For your order, sir! even the recruit might reply. It is all ordered, as well as organised, and nearly all the orders are now given to fulfil all that the Lord has prescribed, to the last jot and tittle, so it is now of vast interest to consider in proper perspective, fitting for such a scope and sweep of coverage in the past, what remains. What has the future to reveal, and what are we to look for ? The seismological experts tell of this or that magnitude to expect, and this or that likely type of tsunamis which may again inflict themselves on the Islamic Sumatra, but what is far more important, is what remains for the entire world, of which that heresy is but one small part of the current turmoil and torment of false christs and false prophets.
Indeed, despite one's natural feeling of admiration for the young 13 year old, now famous in the Palestinian arena, and one's agreement in part, that it would be better by education and effort to show WORTHINESS than to do less, of less admirable kind, if they want significant world attention, yet this is merely one more false prophet. The emphasis is not only on that good element, but on the Koran with its violence intact, even in the arena of faith, for it is there and cannot be hidden*1
What remains for Him to do ? Much has been done, and to this in order we first must look.
Thus two verses ahead, in Zechariah 9:9, we see the Messiah (as in 3:9, 12:10, 6:12ff.), Him who bears the glory, seated on an ass's colt. It is a nice touch that, is it not ? it is not enough when God is speaking to declare that it will be on some animal, or even that the type of animal will be that defunct hybrid, the donkey, but it must be further stated that it will be the foal of an ass, a colt.
This is so typical of that grand and literally divine capacity to reveal things of the utmost significance in the system and drive of salvation itself, while doing so in a casual seeming fashion, in the Lord's incomparable manner. It is done with the sort of ease that can be used by those of great strength, power or authority in their ordinary domains of achievement, but here it is differentiated in the inimitable provision of minute data millenia ahead, that God provides or could provide*2. In all literature, it is in the Bible alone, and it has simply no competitors.
As to that vast tumult to come, it is best seen in the quiet conspectus, such as Psalm 49 so penetratingly provides - for the word of God discerns between soul and spirit - and then the movement can be seen as if from 'heavenly places'. To this first, then, we now turn.
THE CONSPECTUS FROM PSALM 49,
AS CLEAR THEN AS NOW IN CONTOUR
Where Man is Powerless to Help,
God Makes Only One Provision
The heading declares the point: ONLY ONE.
To be sure, God may help in lovingkindness, deep and intimate concern, in healing diseases, in strengthening the mind, in giving vision and guidance and in countless ways; but where man is entirely powerless to cover and control, first in the arena of life as such, facing the world ,then in the need for the right function of life in itself, for we are self-conscious, and finally before God Himself, there is only one way as a foundation. All the rest follows if you have it, lacks if you do not. It is necessary to find the beginning, if you are to end well.
Psalm 49 stresses this fact and we turn to it, no lullaby this, but the declaration from the Lord. We therefore must listen very carefully, neither swooning with uncontrolled emotions nor vexatious in irrational rumblings. HEAR! is the criterion when the Creator speaks, whether into the vast coded packs of information in your genes, or to your very ears, now formed by His specifications, transported by procreation in the most intimate of marvels, with variations about a kind, to multiplied generations.
The spiritual alphabet, that communication form with its expressive formations of thought and will which display the mind of God, is found in the Bible; and it is not now found anywhere else. The words which He builds for our advice and counsel, from His own mind, these are found there and not in any other dreamed up book. He applies them at will, fulfils them in history or in counsel as He will, and who dare limit the Lord but one who jumps without parachute from the plane of life; but He does not move from His mind, His declaration or His word as sure as man's own genome, and surer, since it is not susceptible to radiation.
It endures. Man endures - so far; and the need to heed endures to the end.
Here also in this one and only verified and validated book of counsel from the Most High*3, is the action which enables man to become a child of God. Found in word, there, in declaration, it is shown in deed in Christ, in confirmation; and it is not found anywhere else (as also is stressed in Galatians 1). God is one, knows His own mind and declares His thought to man, as you see Him both saying and doing in Amos.
He is not interested in being formulated, forced or formed by some distillate of man's thought, some ferocity of despair or some blighting unrealism of flighty optimism without ground, some angst of tiresome ingenuity that flounders like a fish new dropped into the bottom of the fisherman's boat. It is man, not God, who is being fished. God DECLARES to make man, and then to make of man, for as many as receive His word and truth, a child of God.
It is a wonderful experience, as you read His successive declarations and confrontations with Israel in Amos, to come at last to that summary, that thundering declamatory fact, in Amos 4:13. It arrives like a tornado, after the preludes of 1:3, 1:6, 1:11, 1:13, 2:1, 2:4, 2:6, 3:1, 3:11, 3:12, 3:15, 4:1, 4:6, 4:9, 3:10, 4:11, where in DETAIL He declares. But now it comes in principle, following the enunciation of the RESULT of so much said, with so little right response from man!
In one grand summary and never to be forgotten declaration,
God then shows the position of His precepts once and for all, 4:11-13 (colour added):
" 'I overthrew some of you,
As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
And you were like a firebrand plucked from the burning;
Yet you have not returned to Me,'
Says the Lord.
" 'Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel;
Because I will do this to you,
Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!'
He who forms mountains,
And creates the wind,
Who declares to man what His thought is,
And makes the morning darkness,
Who treads the high places of the earth -
The Lord God of hosts is His name."
The power to enable these things and confer eternal life is found through the Redeemer in whose gift it lies. We come to this in due course in Psalm 49 (in fact at 49:7-9,15, where the purpose of redemption, impossible to sinful man, and available only from God, is found so that as to man 'he might live forever'.
This divine declaration, duly verified and validated, it is not found anywhere else but in the written, and in fulfilment, the living word of God, Jesus the Christ (as in John 14:6).
As we will come to see: this Psalm 49 is profoundly simple and it is simply profound. First, it needs to be read.
"Hear this, all peoples;
Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
Both low and high,
Rich and poor together.
"My mouth shall speak wisdom,
And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will disclose my dark saying on the harp.
"Why should I fear in the days of evil,
When the iniquity at my heels surrounds me?
Those who trust in their wealth
And boast in the multitude of their riches,
None of them can by any means redeem his brother,
Nor give to God a ransom for him—
For the redemption of their souls is costly,
And it shall cease forever—
That he should continue to live eternally,
And not see the Pit.
"For he sees wise men die;
Likewise the fool and the senseless person perish,
And leave their wealth to others.
Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever,
Their dwelling places to all generations;
They call their lands after their own names.
Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain;
He is like the beasts that perish.
"This is the way of those who are foolish,
And of their posterity who approve their sayings. Selah
Like sheep they are laid in the grave;
Death shall feed on them;
The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning;
And their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling.
"But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave,
For He shall receive me. Selah"
"Do not be afraid when one becomes rich,
When the glory of his house is increased;
For when he dies he shall carry nothing away;
His glory shall not descend after him.
"Though while he lives he blesses himself
(For men will praise you when you do well for yourself),
He shall go to the generation of his fathers;
They shall never see light.
A man who is in honor, yet does not understand,
Is like the beasts that perish."
Now one needs to ponder it and examine what it is saying.
I THE PERSPECTIVE FOR COURAGE
and the RULE FOR LIFE 49:1-9
In verses 1-4, mystery is declared, like goods for customs, as about to be revealed.
At verses 5-9, we are shown that evil days of trouble hold no terror, for even wealth has tied hands, when it comes to death and judgment. From these, none can deliver; no man can even REDEEM his brother. Money is irrelevant, desire is feeble, effort is unrewarding. It is OUT OF BOUNDS. Moreover, it COSTS too much, for it requires a gift of righteousness, to cover sin and not an addition of some other sinner, as if his sins could redeem those of a second sinner. Debts do not cover costs!
When once it is paid, however, this immense sum
to cover the sum of the sins of all who require and receive their pardon,
there are no other options.
It ceases for ever, this redemption.
Christ covered the case, ONCE, and He has provided the way of SALVATION SINGLY,
and having died, is risen;
so there are NO MORE ways, options or hopes.
It is this or nothing. He gave all; and we have to take all that He has provided.
It is a matter of ‘alls’ not supermarket choices (Luke 14:27ff.). People love to take some and spit out the rest, explicitly or implicitly; but that has nothing to do with it. With God, it is all or nothing.
He is like that. The infinite is beyond reproach, revision or co-piloting complications. He is
comradely to His saints, but not subject to them.
This Psalm 49 is doubtless later than the Psalms of David where there appears the divine way, in Psalms 22. 16 and 40. These specify in order,
the crucifixion of Christ,
His resurrection and
when a body was prepared for Him, showing how He delighted to do the work of redemption, costly though it was. Love is like that; but the love of God has no bounds in its thrust, while moving in just one way in its "must", the obligation to receive it where it is (as in Isaiah 55).
Eternal life, as we have already observed and seen from this Psalm, is the product of this redemption for it is Christ's to give, since it is His own life (I John 1:1-4).
Try Romanism, Communism, sects or Islam, that specialised sect, and you are as far off as before. It is ONE WAY, the biblical way since God IN this book of the Lord has designated for mankind what is His will and mind, and shown His heart in the sending of Christ to DO it. He is not going to be TOLD how to pardon, INSTRUCTED in how to redeem, or taught lessons from sinners about how to love! Love does not forget about the realities in and for man, and provides for these, not for some imaginary splendour of dreaming minds.
Yet the reality provided far surpasses any dream, being precisely the need for man: the pardon, the peace and the power, the presence of God through His Holy Spirit and the whole attendant needs met as you do His will.
II THE PLACE FOR FAITH 49:10-15
In high contrast to this, man without God seeks eternal remembrance on earth, instead of before God, even naming his estates after himself with this in view; but the soul shrinking from cover meets death as a fool, unredeemed, unpardoned, displaced, in purpose-built peril that has no hope, no outlet, no good. There is ONE WAY, for as there is ONE GOD so He knows His own mind. So is it in vv. 10-12. Then in 13-15, we see that the rebels are worm fodder, and when the Redeemer comes to rule on earth, His majestic presence will ensure that in that day, the righteous shall have dominion over the spiritual rebels, whose end is in obscurity (40:19). This reminds one of Matthew 13:43, 19:28, Rev. 20:6 and Psalm 2.
III THE GLORY THAT WELCOMES AND THE FLICKER
THAT FLEES AND FAILS 49:16-20
That is their way, denizens of darkness, their fling a failure without light; but as to the Psalmist and those who are Christ's, the case is in vital contrast. God Himself redeems a people, one by one, for Himself (Psalm 49:15); and it is He who brings you, welcomed in (cf. Acts 7 at the death of Stephen, with Hosea 13:14, John 6:50ff.). But remember to be dressed (Matthew 22:1-15), in the righteousness of Christ, for there is no other RELEVANT, pure, purposeful and loving and available enough, to cover in its depth and breath, the whole scope of human sin in as many as receive this Gospel grace.
Meanwhile, remember that earth's glory and power need no awe; for glory without God evaporates at death. There is no security to be found, nor any peace administered in the empty praise of the socially oriented, whose words may die with them. Nor does any real or feigned admiration of theirs provide light for the darkness which comes where it belongs! When flesh exalts itself, it ends ruined and meaningless before God. But as for God’s own, transformed and redeemed people, as if with David,
“I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Your likeness”,
for “I will see Your face in righteousness”, (bold added),
itself the very gift of God (Romans 5:17).
THE SHADOW OF DEATH THROUGH WHICH SHINES
THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE
From such a perspective, then, divinely given, let us look at events, humanly worked yet still within the overarching perspective and final control of the absolute God. It is a little like horse-riding, where you let the horse have its head, and only intervene as you resolve, the thundering hooves very much its own, the will and the whinny entirely from itself, but some supervision of events nevertheless, supervening from your hand, balance, weight shifting, and even the direction of your eye.
More abstractly, for those who want this, God can,
through the providential foreknowledge of circumstances,
the sublime architecture of thrust and control of impacts innumerable, like the structuring of a scenario for the 'actors', or more directly in miraculous acts, expose evil by letting it come, repress it by making it go, make an example of it as with Hitler , by letting its Macbeth-like insanities rise all but to the heavens, the more obviously and conspicuously then to fall to hell,
exhibit the vanity of human self-reliance, even if He will,
letting mere and impure reaction, as in many academic places in the 1960s and 1970s,
take over from reason and reality, so that Communism's notorious oppressions and fictions*4 were lauded to the point of delusion, until its perpetration reached an all time low in morals, humanity and finances, when the 'mood' changed.
Thus, events are moving swiftly, but there is no rush.
Things arise like weeds, but the gardener is near.
The sallow, callow, shallow superficialities of spirit which like acne on the face, defile this world as its leaders chafe and speak and unspeak and double speak, as the case may be, it continues to its depths, when the abyss opens like a yawning mouth, too tired to give much attention, but still capacious enough.
Yes, the Jews are back as they had to be*2 , Jerusalem is theirs again, as predicted to be, its triumphant wars have been waged, as God foretold, in all their amazing statistical detail, vast hordes of many nations folding in their efforts to overcome tiny, not yet national Israel in May 1948, to follow the result in 1967 and 1973, as if routine, which is almost an oxymoron, a 'routine miracle', except for one thing. What is that thing ? It is this, that GOD SAID IT WOULD HAPPEN, in all its seemingly outrageous impossibility, even after the long foretold "time of Jacob's trouble" (cf. The Biblical Workman Ch. 1), in Zechariah 12.
Here it all is, and it goes straight on to show the REPENTANCE of Israel for PIERCING the LORD, in times past. It is so fascinating to think that God, over all time as an author over the 'time' in his book, showed this 500 years or so BEFORE Christ was so much as crucified, this repentance long after the event, for doing it, on the part of a vast throbbing mass of Jews in Jerusalem and environs!
So that is to come, the last stone on the arch in that arena.
The assault on Israel is to come, the one which will receive a come-uppance comparable with that of the Exodus, dealt to Pharaoh (cf. SMR pp. 502ff., esp. 510ff.). The wars have come, while that one is still to come. The Caucasus from which it may come, is suitably in ferment, and suitably in a studious state of rabbled emotions as militant Moslem desires move to capture power and importance, a change from suppressed impotence under the USSR; and the hatred of Israel is fanned by every fanfare available, so that the land of hatred becomes a focus of grasping attention by many.
The clouds gather for these conspicuous coming events. For many, such events will come beyond the crypt, after they themselves have died in
Life does not provide itself to bane, but in blessing; and the Jewish Messiah, who was foretold to be for all nations, while no less foretold (Psalm 22, Isaiah 49:7), even the one, Israel, to which He came rejected Him. It has now among the nations, many followers in this feature! It alas, the site for His coming, has suffered as this was a culmination of the rejection, reviling and derogation of many prophets, and its advice and notice was over one millenium in advance!
Indeed, to this day, for this folly it has so suffered; yet in His faithfulness (as He also foretold - cf. SMR Appendix A), the One who DECLARED to us His mind, who told what He would do with Israel, including this return (cf. Galloping Events Chs. 3, 4): He remains.
That Israel has been removed and now returned, and that all the detailed data concerning this series of events has occurred (cf. SMR Ch. 9), is one of the attestations of that fact. He speaks. History follows. You can murder, you can mock, you can tell God to go; but the word, the work and the way of God does not move one millimetre, His timing does not change by one nanosecond, His control is not budged by one watt, nor is His light altered by one scintilla. In Canada, this author first heard a new 'word' which while a trifle barbaric possibly, is rather emphatic: 'irregardless'! Irrespective, He remains; irrepressible, He continues; irresistible, His power which made it all, with His wisdom which understands it all, and His word which says His mind to man and declares it, REMAIN.
The divine script has it all clear, and the world follows, like a bleating lamb after its ambling mother; but its bleatings are often roaring, since many of the 'lambs' have only sheep's clothing. Yet they cannot resist any more than can a dying dog caught in a vast oceanic vortex. Force's embodiment is dragged down, as it deserves, and the flow continues, according to the word of God.
Thus the empty mouthings of the UN are an excellent prelude to the 'pompous words' of the man of sin of Daniel 7, Revelation 13, while the national aggregations of Europe, move towards that dire dynamic of evil to which it is destined. Thus its dumping of Christianity even for REFERENCE in terms of its cultural, religious and national past, fulfils to the uttermost the scriptural prediction that they will dump the harlot, Babylon in its finale of Roman format, in whose cup was blood on which she had become drunk, even the blood of the saints, as in Revelation 17 (cf. SMR pp. 946ff.5).
The world is going into a final tail-spin of mysticism, secularism, humanism, relativism, cultural agnosticism, commercial convenience the criterion, peace a process, not built on truth, and accord a name, not derived from the heart. It moves as it has to move, not because God is forcing it to do so, but because He, knowing the heart and spirit to come, has addressed it and defined the outcome, not preventing its self-declaration, nor suffering it without its end in the eventual directives of the divine dynamic, where judgment is the final event, according to righteousness and reality.
Because these dynamisms have their own constraints which force them into such devastations as are shortly to come, the end comes quickly, neither distorted nor yet autonomous, as the Lord exposes all things, some now in might self-glorification, some nibbling for necessities, according to truth. .
In our next chapter, we shall seek to complete this coverage of the phases of the issues, here raised.
See Divine Agenda Ch. 6 (numerous refs. to Koran, News 138, Sudan - lost boys);
Red Alert Ch. 10, *4 (summary Koran stress),
More Marvels Ch. 4 (composite coverage),
and Index (Moslem).
*2 See TWO CHOIRS,
SMR Ch. 9, 8, Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 4
Great Execrations Ch. 10, Little Things 9 (including spirit of the Age), 10 ,
Divine Agenda Ch. 6, With Heart ... Chs. 9, 10 (Britain, Europe and decline phase included)
On recent developments in Europe,
fulfilling Scripture, and the biblical background over time, see:
Three Anzas ... Ch. 5
The Grating Grandeur ... Ch. 2 ,
Beyond the Crypt Ch. 1 (overview of some modern developments of the 'empire' No. 4 of Daniel),
Beyond the Crypt ... Ch. 1
What is the Chaff to the Wheat! Ch. 10
(recent developments towards the final format),
Christ, the Cumulative and the Culmination Ch. 4,
The Pitter-Patter ... Ch. 1 with
Highway of Holiness Ch. 10 (comprehensive outline Babylon, Rome and Daniel-Europe ),
Three Anzas ... Chs. 5, 2 ,
Outrageous Outages ... Chs. 3, 5,
His Wounds Opened Eternity ... Ch. 3
(and meaning, and EU constitution).
On the collective tartan fabric, unique in kind, clear in testimony, concentrated on the
currently all but totally fulfilled criteria for Christ's return (which had to arise simultaneously in kind and quality, to fulfil scripture):
see Answers to Questions Ch. 5.
Let God be God Ch. 6 (as to the Bible:its testability and versatility to the uttermost);
Verification and validation alike are unique to the Bible in the whole scope of universal thought and practical action.
Reason, Revelation and the Redeemer
Repent or Perish Ch. 7,
TMR Ch. 5,
SMR Chs. 8-9,
The Pitter-Patter ... Ch. 4.
On this failure, confusion and delusion, see ...
Aviary of Idolatry, Delusive Drift ... Ch. 5,
News 44, 69, 97, 98, Tender Times ... Ch. 8;
The Grating Grandeur and Aggrandisement of Man ...Ch 2;
SMR pp. 925ff.;
News 97 (the exploiters, the fanciful, the Communists, the de-godders and the realities)
Beauty for Ashes Ch. 6 (and Hong Kong, and the movement of nations in the last century a concern),
News 98, News 37;
Beauty of Holiness Ch. 3 (war and force, rising downwards, Tiananmen and truth),
4 (liberty, Tiananmen,
worship and its direction in time, its terms and code of truth);
TAIWAN News 150,
History, Review and Overview Ch. 1,
Impossible for Man, Open to God Ch. 5.
See on Rome, Babylon and recent European developments in fulfilment of prophecy:
The Grating Grandeur ...Ch. 2 (overview of some modern developments
of the 'empire' No. 4 of Daniel),
Three Anzas ... Ch. 5,
Ch. 1 above,
What is the Chaff to the Wheat! 10
(recent developments towards the final format),
Christ, theCumulative and the Culmination Ch. 4,
The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 1 with
Highway of Holiness Ch. 10 (comprehensive outline Babylon),
with Biblical Blessings ... Ch. 2.