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THERE IS A WAR ON, and it is not with IRAQ!
Yes, the new year is near! SO is the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Are you ready for the New Year ? Better yet, are you ready for His Coming!
It will be SUDDEN, UNEXPECTED, GLORIOUS, a cause of DELIGHT for His people, at last delivered, just as HE was from the tomb; and of weeping for the rest, who refuse to know Him, whose end draws near, without any finish to it!
Today, our topic is “There is a war on, and it is not with Iraq!” You see that in Ephesians 6, but in many other ways. Let us look at it.
Looking throughout history, at 25 battles against the Lord and His will, plan and way, or constituted by outrages that required response, we see
10 before Christ
5 directly concerning Christ Himself, and
5 in our present era.
GREETINGS THEN and Blessings in the Lord!
v As to our present era, see it now below, in its historical, biblically outlined perspective: look to the Lord and live; seek to the Lord and grow; love the Lord and know the way of life. Start the year with wisdom, and know that light is sown for the righteous (Psalm 97:11), perceive how blessed is the one to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity (Psalm 32, Romans 3:21ff.), who is covered by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11), that Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:7) who has propitiated the wrath of God (Romans 3:25) by His redemption covering as with a robe with rejoicing (Isaiah 61:10), who has broken the back of death by removing its call and claim (Hebrews 2:8-15), who through death has destroyed the power of death, being disfigured more than any man (Isaiah 52:13-15), that His people, who come to Him freely (Psalm 110), might be regenerated, restored and walk in the light of the Lord, for in His light, they see light (Psalm 36:9).
v It is these (John 1:12) who have received Him, who have taken His word which is His (John 17:17, 14:21-23), who therefore love Him, who know that this, it is He, God manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16, John 8:58, 14:9), who can declare, and should:
v “You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory”
v (Psalm 73:24), and seeing this bridge, their brother who became man FROM glory, to bring them TO it (Hebrews 2), declare,
v “Whom have I in heaven but You ?
v And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You!”
v (Psalm 73:24).
v Shall He who made the ear, not listen, the mouth not speak, the mind not know (cf. Psalm 94), the ground not be able to walk, the future not declare His will, and it is well, for the door is not shut, and you do not live among the dead, who read this: therefore enter this Door, Jesus Christ (John 10:9) and do not delay; and being then within, do not fear (John 10:27-28) for nothing depends on you, but all on Him, even for ever, as He expressly declares again (I Thess. 5:9-10).
v Yet depend upon it, the fear of the Lord is clean (Psalm 19), just as the Rock of life, the only one, is sure (Psalm 62). Walk therefore in this light, as children of the light (Galatians 5:16, Ephesians 5:8). Why worry about the unwisdom of the world (I Corinthians 1:20-30) ? merely seek to find those who will come, that more may be borne to the kingdom of God and born into it, and to walk in wisdom with them; for God has not forgotten His people, and as you abide in Him, and He in you, you shall find that power and presence, that practicality and spirituality, that wonder and that grace which being His, is always to be found in Him.
v May God bless you who heed, in the coming year; for the blessing is in Him only, just as the righteousness who counts, is HIS ONLY (Psalm 71:16), for of all works, ONLY HIS are acceptable for admission to His presence (Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1-10), and adding your own is like adding the cooing of a child, to the work of a maestro. GOD ONLY is your sufficiency if you are His; and this alone is your call, your basis and your adequacy (II Cor. 3:5, 4:2-6, Romans 10:1-13). It is GOD who is the Saviour, and none else (Isaiah 43:10-11), and it is Christ who is the Saviour who in bearing sin (Isaiah 53:4-11), dismissed its claims and dispensed with its judgment; and it is He alone, who as judge and sacrifice, risen from the dead, breaking the bars of death through perfect innocency and sublime deity (Acts 2:23-24, Isaiah 50), confers your place without your aid, just as He made you Himself (Psalm 100, Isaiah 45:12,18): if you receive it!
v Receiving then so great a salvation (Hebrews 2), rejoice in it, relish Him and reason with Him who is reasonable, but do not chide with unbelief which is treasonable against the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16), for mischief is in the division from God, and the full fruit of harmony, of mind, of heart and of spirit, is to be found nowhere else. Heaven has no other door; no other ground; no other way. If God is not enough for you, however, then being your own pilot, contend with Him to your damnation, which is only just, then deserved, you being without excuse, arbitrary in appetite, and groundless in pretence.
v God bless you then in this year, and know that the blessing, it is His. Then remember Ephesians 3:20 and rejoice again, and yet again (Eph. 3:17-18, I Philippians 4:4, I Thess. 5:16).
Now let us attend to history, to find our contemporary place within it, as a generation!
THE MANY EFFORTS OF SATAN TO RUB OUT
THE ROYAL RULE OF CHRIST, THE PEACE OF GOD
AND THE JOY THAT GOES WITH IT
1. From the First
A) ATTACK on MAN’S NATURE.
Think of it! There was the war on Eden, ON FREEDOM. Freedom simply to love and follow God, rejoice in His creation and delight in His way ? Not at all, sneers Satan. Listen buddies, you need to know that the Lord looks after number 1, see, he leers, and that all this stuff about the fruit and all that, it is just a ruse, a snarl. He wants to be top and He knows that if you get that stuff, you’re going to be up there, right up there with Him. Be wise! Look after yourselves!
One might have thought that anyone with such base thoughts would not himself be a good one to follow! and that when God said to RULE the beasts (Gen. 1:28), He did not mean to follow nature! But then, sin is never reasonable. It lusts!
B) ATTACK ON HUMAN LIFE.
Then there was war on the very character of godly living in peace. Sinners now ? Yes, but this went far further. Now not only was God to be ignored in His requirements, but man would kill one of God’s other fabrications, more indeed, one of His other works in His own image: Cain killed Abel, because he was not able to please God, with his offering; and when God indicated to him that it would be well if he had done well; but if he had not done well, the sin, it lay crouching ready to spring, at the door, this did not please Cain at all (Gen. 4:5ff.).
Instead of finding out what God DID want, or DOING it, he killed Abel, so preparing the sort of thing al Qaeda is engaged in, the attempt to rub out what does not join you in your own rebellion against the living God, whose redemption holds life on this earth from obliteration, pending its complete spreading upon the earth (Matthew 24:12, Isaiah 51:16 – see Ch. 3 above, 51:6, Romans 1:16ff., 3:19ff.). The “propitiation” in Romans 3:25 is that the wrath of God should have effect not in the condign judgment on man, but on the Redeemer, so that holiness being vindicated, justice being wrought, mercy might have play.
It is this which gave God the victory in this battle; but its cost was infinite (Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Matthew 26).
C) ATTACK ON ALL VIRTUE.
Genesis 6 shows that when the time of the great Flood drew near (cf. News 1), man’s thoughts and imagination were perennially evil. He was engulfed with the flow of it, captivated with the show of it, hooked with the pull of it, entranced with the way of it, as if a flower show had everything in the way of irrigation, fertilizer and water, but no flowers. They were all – DE-natured.
The universal flood would have wiped man out; for justice has good cause to remove the waste paper basket, residing in the library shelves with its presumption. However God found NOAH who found grace in His sight (Gen. 6:8), and so THROUGH Noah, the history proceeded to that then still coming Saviour, adumbrated in the protevangelion of Genesis 3:15, the God-given entry into man’s history which would bear the evil and give the good the ONLY way that man was now fit to have it: by PURE DONATION (Romans 6:23, 5:15, 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1-12).
God won that battle, through grace enlightening judgment.
D) ATTACK THROUGH MEANINGLESS SEXUAL LUST.
Then there was war on Sodom and Gomorrah, where Abraham’s relative, Lot, was living. Abraham reasoned with God (a lovely practice) and sought help on the topic of anyone in the doomed city who might belong to the Lord (Genesis 18:16-33). Do ALL go ? Then God rescued Lot (but his wife was longing for the ways of Sodom, it seems, and could not get on with the escape!). Abraham saw the smoke, but did not die.
Rescue in urgency was the means, and God in His compassion won that battle against defilement as a strenuously acceptance insistence, corruption as culture, sexual depravity as de rigueur (not unlike the direction of the present in many societies, which has now its own looming answer, with multi-dimensional fires, in the coming judgment, not for time only, but for eternity – cf. Matthew 24:12-14,29ff., I Timothy 1:10, Romans 1, I Corinthians 5:7, 6:9).
E) ATTACK VIA ENVY, DIVISION BY DECEIT
There was war on the line of Jacob, when Joseph by pure jealousy on the part of his brothers, was sold as a slave to Egypt. God won the war, used Joseph to become great in Egypt, and so SAVE his own people by forgiveness and power, in inviting them to Egypt where it was then safe. This account was far more than one of mere deliverance from envy, even than a case of testimony of mercy in the heart of Joseph: it also kept Israel intact, until the Messiah should come, without whom NO-ONE among our race, could be saved from exclusion from God, intrusion of evil and consignment to judgment.
F) ASSAULT BY ENSLAVEMENT
ATTACK ON THE FUTURE LAW-GIVER MOSES
There was war on the people of Israel in Egypt, seemingly by now millions, when they had their boy babes killed, and their bodies set in the sweltering heat, to make bricks in cruel circumstances. God won that war. ONE particular boy babe, Moses by name, was left in a basket in the bulrushes, and God enabled an Egyptian princess, possibly one who later became Queen, to find him. Attracted, she bought him up as an Egyptian cultured prince, and it was this Moses who came in the power and name of Israel’s God, the God who made heaven and earth, to demand an EXIT visa, which being denied, let to the destruction of much of Egypt’s power … AND Israel’s safe exit.
G) ATTACK THROUGH MARAUDING FAITHLESSNESS.
How hopeless it seemed when Israel simply baulked at the open door to victory, peace, rest and realization of the meaning of God’s promises in their new premises! It was as if they had the old timer’s short memory, and forgot about the great miracles by which God had brought them out of the vast power of Egypt’s malice, to follow Him.
Thus, this time there was war from INSIDE Israel, when they refused the faith by which to enter the PROMISED LAND (see Numbers 14), and so had to live in the desert until the next generation grew up, when they went in. Joshua, who was ALWAYS WILLING to go in, then was the leader and they received their land in marvellous ways, just as they left Egypt in wonderful ways. God won that war too.
More than this, just as Joseph gave a lesson in pardon, as a type of Christ, so Joshua gave one in leadership, a type of Christ leading His people to their refuge, rest and joy in heaven (cf. Isaiah 54:6).
H) BATTLE BY DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL, the northern segment.
Wrought by Assyria (II Kings 16-17), this would have ended the race and the plan of God, had it not been for the fact that Hezekiah in the southern segment of the nation, called JUDAH, through faith and grace from God, matched the power of Assyria with faith, sought the Lord and gained a victory of epochal dimensions, God Himself using His own power to decimate the Assyrian army, which returned empty from its hot-mouthed threats and psychological warfare against Judah. To finish the rebuke, the king himself, Sennacherib, was murdered in his temple by his sons! Isaiah 36 gives the contempt of faith for Sennacherib’s devices and intimidation, before his overthrow, as also the record of his ruin at the hand of the Lord, honouring mightily the word of the prophet, spoken in His name.
of course is a pre-run, a trailer if you will, covering what is to happen
Israel at last is returned from its exile (Deuteronomy 32),
still blind in its unbelief in Christ (Romans 11, Isaiah 42 cf. Heart
and Soul, Mind and Strength Ch. 5),
is even rescued by divine intervention (as made clear from Moses on – Deut. 32)
v from its snarling aggressors.
Then, when the nations wrack their brains in finding ways to put Israel once more on the rack (the situation in history has here caught up with prophecy and we see it beginning to develop before our eyes), in their unutterable greed and lust against the true and living God (Zechariah 12), they meet the same opponent as did Assyria! God will act decisively, then, just as He has already done in the preliminaries of 1948, 1967, 1973 and 1991, preserving the newly returned and often menaced Israel, in dazzling and predicted victories (cf. SMR Ch. 9).
Indeed, as Zechariah 12:2ff. with 12:10ff. shows, this at its height is to be associated with a massive return to the Lord within Israel, now returned not only physically, and geographically, but in large measure spiritually*1A precisely as forecast in Ezekiel 37.
This is in the realm of the present; but let us return to the past, and the victory over Assyria, which mirrors our day, both in things already come and coming (cf. Isaiah 30:27-33, Micah 5:1-6, Romans 11).
This epochal victory over Assyria meant that though Israel to the North was gone, yet Judah continued and the line of David continued; the line of Abraham was not lost; and the Messiah in His time, came through that line.
God won that battle using the faith of His people in a time of vast decline, and His own power in response. It also drew attention to the value of the leadership of ONE KING. Then it was the good kin Hezekiah, a type in this of Christ; but in the end, and past all endings, it is Christ the sinless, sovereign Saviour, whose compassion is never divested from truth, whose love is never divested because of shortness of breath, but whose judgments do not swerve, nor do His ways change (Daniel 7, Ephesians 1:10, Revelation 21-22).
I) ATTACK THROUGH DEVITALISED, VITAMISED
CONTINUATION EVEN WHEN THE LAND WAS LOST!
CAPTURE THEIR LAND
Even this was not the limit. Judah too was later exiled in large measure.
Sloppily going through religious motions without the knowledge of God, they joined other ‘faiths’ with the truth, so making it all one stench of incompatible folly, throwing the words of men into the mouth of God, as if some insane dentist gone into reverse gear! (Cf. Hosea 6:4-7, Jeremiah 23). This is paralleled by the Gentiles today, as in ‘W’ below.
They spread folly in the land, worshipped idols and fell into virtual unbelief (in varying degrees, over hundreds of years, after David, and to some extent before that), so that the North was lost, and Judah was overcome by Babylon, as Jeremiah predicted (Jeremiah 25). Yet God gave them mercy as He promised beforehand that He would by sending Cyrus, the famous Persian king, to conquer Babylon, which had taken Judah captive and many of its people, to dispatch home as many as wanted to go (the prediction is in Isaiah 44:25-45:5). They rebuilt in marvellous ways (Ezra and Nehemiah tell you how the Lord arranged it), and God won that war.
J) ATTACK BY DEFILING THEIR SENSE OF THE
EVEN BRINGING IDOLS INTO THE TEMPLE, THAT TEMPLATE OF TRUTH.
Later, terrible things happened, when one of the quarters of the Empire of Alexander the Great, in Syria, had a king, Antiochus Epiphanes who brought an idol into the temple, and sought to TRICK the people into following his INCLUSIVIST ways, in which religions and things were all made into some stew, and this was done so subtlety, just as Satan, weak but wily, loves, so snaring many.
Paralleled in recent times by ‘U’ below, this shows the repetitious surge of this evil in world history.
In the ancient case before us, following this assault on the Temple, wars arose (the famous Maccabaean wars) and a mini-Empire for Judah was gained. Meanwhile, this evil Syrian king died, Israel escaping and resuming control of its religion and temple. Thus God won that war also.
2. In the Messiah’s Day and Way
K) ATTACK BY SEEKING SIMPLY TO ELIMINATE THE MESSIAH.
Now was the time. If MOSES could be rubbed out, what then of the Law ? If Christ could be rubbed out, what then of salvation! Moses was rescued by amazing novelty when the princess found the abandoned child, as if to show that God is quite willing to use tiny little events, where space and time meet like lapping waves, to accomplish mighty wonders!
Let us see how this next and more ambitious step arose: KILL the Messiah.
Worse came. Priesthood could be sold for money; power was lusted after; and soon Israel was beaten by Rome. How could they proceed ? a subject people! Many sought deliverance in violence, and died. Then the Messiah, long predicted by God in the Bible, came and died at the date predicted in Daniel 9, and rose in the third day, as also predicted repeatedly. Israel made war on Him, in its religious and state bodies, and murdered Him. But the resurrection won that war*1B, and Christianity, based on the Messiah promised from Abraham, not only to the Jews but as a light to the Gentiles also (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6), continued the work of presenting God to the world, in which Israel for the time utterly failed.
However, the apostles were Jewish, the Bible and nearly all the New Testament came from Jews, through the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, and the church STARTED with thousands of Jews, even though the nation was against it. The Christian Church of Jesus Christ has continued for millennia, and the Gospel, also predicted in Isaiah centuries beforehand, has continued unchanged, penetrating to all the world, as Christ said it would (Matthew 24:12), and Isaiah predicted (Isaiah 42,49-55). God has won that war too.
L) KILL THE BABY: EXPLOIT THE VULNERABILITY.
But let us not forget one other war, mentioned in Revelation 12, where you see Satan standing by, ready to murder the baby who, not now Moses but the Son of God, would bring deliverance: not this time by the nation, but by HIS VERY SELF (cf. Isaiah 9:1-7). God moved the baby Christ to Egypt while Herod the King slew many babies near Bethlehem, a horrible child massacre which God also predicted (Jeremiah 31, as we saw earlier). Christ the child was brought back when it was safe, grew to manhood, did His wonderful works and spoke His wonderful words, confirming in power, His salvation; and God won that war, bringing many to health and holiness, faith and joy in Him.
M) MUTILATE HIS SANCTITY: MAR THE MESSIAH MORALLY
Nor should we omit the TEMPTATION, of Christ (Matthew 4), when Satan sought to show that God Himself, if only He were put in trying circumstances, could be turned from purity and truth, single-minded dutifulness and nobility, from the beauty of holiness. The test was severe, the temptations subtle; but Christ did not fall. God won that battle.
N) KILL THE MESSIAH
PREMATURELY, SO THAT HIS SACRIFICE WOULD HAPPEN, BUT IN VAIN!
This time, the Messiah journeyed to His home town of Nazareth, announced as the scripture was read, that this day this prediction concerning the Messiah was fulfilled, and then faced the raging frenzy of rejection. They sought to throw Him over a cliff, so that then His whole ministry would be aborted, His testimony shut down before it was well set up, and the predictions of the murder on the Cross (cf. Joyful Jottings 25) would be falsified. It was a magnificently thought out effort; but it was woefully a flop!
God has all knowledge, and Christ passing through them was gone. It is marvellous what a peace and grace can do in horrific circumstances. People can be stopped in the midst of rage, disoriented by sensing, savouring wonder or simply gaining the supernatural impact of goodness and grace. In this instance, God turned their eyes from their target, just as when Elisha calling on God, had the army of Syrians temporarily blinded (II Kings 6:8ff.).
It had to happen, this acme of all assassinations; but not yet. God is in charge of all timing.
God won that battle also.
O) OVERTURN THE WORDS OF THE MESSIAH
How often this was tried! (cf. Matthew 12, 22, Luke 11)! Vehemently they lay in wait, trying to find fault, to discover error, to overthrow the words of the Son of God, while He was Son of Man! In the end, they simply gave up! (Matthew 22:46). Then of course they tried to kill Him on the ground of truth, that He SAID He was the Messiah. The thought of SHOWING that He was wrong in this claim (it was even at the right date as predicted by Daniel – cf. Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), did not seem to occur to them; but then, crime is not good for clarity of thinking.
The other point is this: if you simply CANNOT show a fault in someone, one method remaining is to murder that person – starting with his reputation. This apparently seemed fitting; and it was the natural enough focus WHEN and BECAUSE FAITH was not present, just as it had not been present in the time of Joshua and Caleb, when the people refused to take the promised land when it was offered to them, much earlier! Now it was Christ, the Messiah Himself, whom they refused to take. This for Israel, as now for any, is as costly an action as it is possible to make! History has shown the former; eternity will expose the latter.
God won that war. Murder is easy. Resurrection is no problem to the One who made human life in the first place. It is like an architect with unlimited means, simply rebuilding Sydney Harbour Bridge, if it fell! He even was bold enough to STATE that the murder, which He predicted (Psalm 22, Isaiah 49-55), would be followed by bodily resurrection, as in Acts 2:22ff., cf. Joyful Jottings 22-25.
The embarrassment at being unable to keep Him in their possession, even having killed Him! This was like Nagasaki, like Hiroshima, to the World War II Japanese Empire.
So far we have seen 10 battles before Christ, and 5 upon Him personally.
Now we find 5 more till our own time, and 5 within it.
3. From the Messiah to Yesterday
P) TARGET THE CHRISTIANS.
Then Satan, having failed so often, tried yet once more. Could he intimidate, scare, kill of the CHRISTIANS: and so then, without a Church, where would the Gospel be ? Sure, he failed to get Christ, and when he did murder, he could not keep Him down. Still, hit the Christians!
As Peter declared of Christ:
“Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. For David says concerning Him:
‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
“Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.”
Too bad! says Satan. Lost again!
Still, let’s get the church. You see that in Revelation 12:14-17. He sends out
a flood to drown the church, a flood of evil power, evil nations, evil people,
to kill (John 16:2 shows Christ warning that people will kill Christians, even
thinking they are pleasing God as they do it! for HE KNEW!). Satan tried with
deceptive teaching, divisions, challenges, he tried with murder in masses, with
Rome and its lions and arenas, with mad emperors and sane ones, kill! Kill!
Kill! but in the end,
Q) ATTACK THROUGH THE “I WANT TO BE FIRST” SYNDROME
Then Satan tried to USE the fact of Rome, that great city, to make more trouble. If he could not make it simply suppress the Christians, and if it was in fact starting to think of itself in Christian terms, why not use this very fact. After all, much of the ‘Christianity’ it now began to adopt was superficial!
Why not use Rome to distort, disturb and in the end, almost eliminate Christianity!
This time, Rome was to become puffed up, and call itself the centre of Christianity, and its bishop or minister, was to become first, just as James and John had seemed to think about this, when they were soundly rebuked by Christ for it (and it appears all the disciples were all discussing the topic – Matthew 21:20ff., 18:1ff.).The pope in his day, has called his words the “voice of eternity” and other proud pseudo-plenipotentiary posturing, and Romanism, or Roman Catholicism began to arise, especially after 1000 A.D. roughly, inventing the ‘Mass’ and the infallible papacy, the immaculate conception of Mary and other non-biblical rubbish ready to be trashed in judgment (Revelation 17-18 cf. SMR pp. 946), even making Mary the Redemptrix, female version of the redeemer! though Christ alone paid (Hebrews 9), “not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Pace once for all, having obtained eternal redemption…” (9:12 cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H).
Romanism in the Inquisition, which effectually lasted for centuries around 1200-1700, and in its wars when it tried to manipulate kings to serve it, became as bad a scourge as the Roman Empire ever was.
Ø But the Reformation exposed it,
Ø great nations left it,
Ø Britain helped spread it through the earth,
Ø while Italy had a revolution,
Ø the papacy being shut up to a tiny portion of Rome called the Vatican;
Ø and God won that war also.
R) ATTACK BY FALSE PROPHETS, especially MUHAMMAD
Islam with its lamentably simplistic concept of SUBMIT, then came on the scene, as did many false prophets and distortions, which the early Church fought in its early Councils, resulting in such things as the Nicaean Creed, and the Chalcedon Creed.
However in the 7th century, a man using some Jewish non-scriptural traditions, some knowledge of Christianity and much imagination, made up a book which though it at times seemed almost to reflect the Torah of the Jews, yet failed to be consistent either either with itself or with the prophets who went before, whom it contradicted woefully (cf. SMR pp. 1080ff., More Marvels … Ch. 4). Surging into Africa, where the great Augustine had been so prolific a writer, and yes, into central Europe, it went storming its wrath against the Christians, making these either dead, or ‘converts’ or else, subjected peoples, held like second class citizens on sufferance, so that if they sought escape from this humiliation and submergence, they were to gain terrible vengeance!
The sheer folly of so using force (cf. SMR pp. 50ff., 65ff., 977-996, 1186Aff.), in this sphere and so acting as if to denature man in the offshoot and outcome of such presumption is not limited to Islam, or for that matter, to its two great partners in historic crime in mass execution in this way, Romanism (cf. SMR pp. 912ff., 949ff., 1032ff.) and Communism (cf. SMR pp. 684, 925ff., 911ff., 927ff, 971ff., 955ff., 649). Nevertheless, these religious or thinly veiled religious explosions, as in the last case, putting man’s ideas, or man’s messiahs*1c or man’s imaginary clockwork for the universe, complete with good and evil, into the place of the truth and provision of God, have done one outstanding thing. What is that ?
It is this: they have greatly fulfilled the predictions of Christ in Matthew 24, just as the sects in this time, in the last century or two, have amplified that fulfilment to the same radical dimensions so liberally revealed in the Bible, for the last time, that before the return of Christ. In this, they give real glory to God; for God, He makes the wrath of man to serve or even praise Him. Here is one of the great divine prerogatives, that just as a cricketer can snick a fast ball to the boundary, so He can use the energy of folly, to achieve glory, blessing for His people, and exposure for His enemies (cf. Psalm 76:10).
They thrust their lightning; they press their follies; they expose their pretence with their pretension; they become old, like departed race-horses, idly grazing on trembling legs.
All these have failed, and all are growing stale, Russia itself becoming weary*1 of Communism, the new President, Putin, seemingly keen to foster the Russian Orthodox religion, one of virtual Romanism minus the pope. Islam, sent back at Tours in 732, and thereafter, became a wonderful self-non-fulfilling prophecy of shrinkage, until the present, at which we look shortly. Romanism, even now pondering the strange silence of Pius XII in Nazi days, and long lost in its birth non-control procedures, from much of the world’s favour, just as in its worldly substitutes of papal power for Christ’s spiritual power, is faring no better, priests in this country being in exceedingly short supply.
What has not failed is God’s repeated forecasts of JUST SUCH A SITUATION as this with false prophets and prophecies, for of a truth, they infest the earth so that it is difficult to avoid their impact. In His word versus man’s, God has won this battle also.
S) ATTACK BY NATIONAL CHURCH CONCEPTS in conjunction with social universalism
If however, as we saw in Q above, Britain was one of those who helped the spread of that massive corrective action against the wild excesses in word and deed, of Romanism, yet the devil aptly saw how to use this to make yet another assault. As with Rome, when first it attacked Christianity, and then, this failing, became a centre for a specifically confused spiritual assault on it, so here, Britain helped in the overthrow of the worldly power and domineering violence of Romanism, helping that return to the faith on the part of many which was so vital; but then the flaw appeared.
Had not Britain itself a NATIONAL church ? Had it not in part been supported by tithes from many not of the Church ? Was it not the case that the State had large say in the running of the Church ?
Very well, make its help a hindrance. It remained only
v to use the decline of the religion of purity and godly passion in Britain,
v to reduce the attendance in the national church,
v to make the bishops increasingly worldly in doctrine,
v to seek to wed this national Church to the World Council of Churches,
have it seek alliance with Romanism (all of which happened cf. A Question
of Gifts Section VI):
v and behold, the very universality of the national church (in the sense of ALL the State being involved by various powers)
v became its weakness.
NATIONAL religion became all but a mockery of religion, and the exposure to ‘Christianity’ in Britain, often in the se ways, became more like an inoculation than a fortification.
Other trends in this direction in Europe fared little better, and the loose alliances in the World Council of Churches were made the easier, in Britain’s decline and fall from biblical Christianity, by the very populousness in concept, and increasing unspirituality in kind, of the national power structure. In one sense, it was germane to, in another crying for its international counterpart. If reality is to be lost to a body, then its leaning on others can markedly increase, and its spirituality of the past can be degraded and decried as insularity.
What then might be the diabolical counsel concerning Britain ?
Harass her as a nation far from holiness, and then let her populace and institutions lead a decline in emptiness, till even Romanism may seem a desirable item! Then, when her power is weak, make NEW institutions, international, irrational, contemptible in kind, secular in trend, and let the living church of the God of creation be exposed and collapsed, like a lung that did not breathe.
While at this point, our interest is in the Church, rather than the Empire, the close and even intimate relationship needs attention.
Such then appeared the diabolical desire for the dismemberment of the British Empire as a power surge or at least protector from the worst of insurgencies against the faith, and then the disfigurement of Britain herself, till she should wane into Europe, the off-shore Island, and wax international, in the WCC, her song too long and no longer pure, at least to the extent that it had been. The improper mixture of church and State and the laxities of convenience could thus join together to ensure her departure as a valuable national dynamic in the international scene, for Christ.
The United States, which for long sipped at German theological glasses, and even made excursions into such absurdities as liberalism and neological spiritual neuroses as Barthianism in its neo-orthodoxy, and debilitations such as neo-evangelicalism in its modern dress (cf. Dawn of Light Ch. 2, The Biblical Workman Ch. 8, *2, Appendix III), proliferating sects and excavating the foundations of centuries in many large bodies, could now see whether her spiritual zest could decline, comfort and continuance (things like ‘national interest’ that selfishness expanded into national waistline, of a billowing character) becoming crucial concepts, and confusion a master product of the indulgence.
Nevertheless, all was not quiet in the spiritual street, while some of its structures did indeed fall. Rubble was to be seen around the site of the Presbyterian Church, USA (News 10, Lead us Not into Educational Temptation Ch. 4) in its deplorable Confession of 1967, which theorised instead of proclaiming the very Gospel, and adhering to the word of God not as an index but the word of God; of the Lutheran body which split abruptly in Missouri; of the Baptists competing in segments of no small hostility where there had been more unity, the Southern Baptists ceasing their hegemony of zeal, and tolerating the ecumenical horrors of the Graham movement (cf. News 118), by retaining the leader in their ministerial ranks.
Yet while large numbers of churches permitted membership even in so gospel-deficient and rambling a body as the WCC (cf. SMR p. 743), other bodies and a large percentage of American churches challenged the WCC, formed other organizations, and multiplied Protestants worldwide did not accept the surge of Anglicanism back to Rome, or for that matter, of some of Lutheranism (cf. Stepping out for Christ Ch. 4), but continued as they came, on biblical lines.
What glorified God once more, was this, that the words of Christ,
“I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth ?” (Luke 18:8),
were being meticulously fulfilled, while equally,
the Church of the living God was continuing magnificently operative,
despite all this betrayal and decline.
In other words, the massive structures which at one time seemed by their wealth, the exalted character of many of their members in the land and their operating ability, to have immense influence, have been eroded not a little, and what is faithful to Christ in the way of churches, is now less likely to appear wealthy, or imposing, or spectacular in social power. For example, this is seen in Australia with the appalling decline of the Presbyterian Church*2A leading to the loss of most of its members to the Uniting Church and the failure of the residue of the Presbyterian Church to return to clear biblical teaching, but rather always here a little, there a little, conceding this and that. Even more is it seen in the arising of a Primate for the Anglican Church who specifically denies that faith in Christ is needful for entry to heaven!*2A
Other movements of absorbing kind, and various developments in terms of biblical Christianity withdrawing much of what virtue remains, out of their contributors, are considered in News 121, 122, Beauty of Holiness Ch. 4 and Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 8. (cf. *1C below).
Ø It is not the massifs of vulgar wealth and power which constitute the undying church of Christ:
Ø it is the “faith that works by love” (Galatians 5:6),
Ø faith in the Gospel of Christ (Galatians 1),
Ø faith according to His written word (I Peter 1:22-23, 2:2, John 17:17, 14:21-23, I Corinthians 2:9-13),
Ø not vacillating in law and phrase to preserve a structure, but clear in word and deed to express one;
Ø faith in His living supervision and illimitable power (contrary to the decline specified as to come, in II Timothy 3), which raised Christ bodily from the dead (Romans 10:9, Luke 24), and will complete the task on His body, the living Church on His return in royal glory (I Cor. 15);
Ø faith which being operative in Him, is associated with the washing of regeneration and the sanctification which results in those who are His own:
Ø it is this which is the mark of His people, His church, though its blood, and not its cheque books become its record.
This work continues vigorously and courageously, we read*2, even in China, with tremendous upsurges of evangelical Protestant faith, and despite ever new methods of seeking to suborn the realities into the vexations of ultra-scriptural substitutes, such as multiplied tongues, debased doctrine, political control and the like. This, rather than the formally authorised and watched church, this is this church, often underground but never silent, suffering no Lord but Christ for its spiritual work, just as did the Scottish Covenanters in their own land: this with all those in every land who do likewise, it is this which continues to shame the world, expose its shams and call its people, while there is time, to repentance.
Thus the efforts to invalidate, inebriate and bring in the asthenic debasements of State Churches or other social bastions and generic directives, merely attest what is wanton and expose what is spurious. The church of Jesus Christ continues, and God has long won that battle in blood and by the word of testimony; but not this time, in other people’s blood, rather in the blood given freely by the saints, like so many infusions to the failing world, to stir its heart, or rather, the hearts of those who live in it, are of it, and do not know the difference. It continues as did the faith when the prophets were slain (cf. Matthew 23:30-36), with that refined purification and love which is its place (John 16:2), even when pollution smiles in false glory, over a disastrous tinsel-false church of tipsy glory, a harridan of years, inviting the lost to share her bankrupt estate.
Such was the way of Israel, before its fall (Ezekiel 16, 23); but the faith did not falter, nor its prophets, nor did the word of God, nor its impact, nor did the coming of the Messiah, nor His power, nor His resurrection, nor did His predicted Gospel, nor yet His way with the world. There is only one march which is always in step, the word of God and what receives it.
The more it (the world) changes, the more it (the way of the word of God in it) is the same!
Even in its sickness, its prognosis is constantly verified, and the path of spiritual health is invariably attested from the same word which God has given for millennia.
T) ATTACK BY REMOVING THE BRITISH EMPIRE PER SE
So there was this assault on certain churches.
At the same time, it is often valuable to have a two-pronged attack. If one prong fails, the other may succeed; and even if both succeed only partially, their joint effect may be such that each part magnifies the other, and the joint weakness achieved in the victim, may lead to total or at least partial collapse. It is virus PLUS bacteria approach, as in disease!
Thus while whittling the national Anglican Church down, using for example its amiable inclusivism (where this was mere tolerance and not true abuse of power) to enable ghastly denials of the faith, by including its contrary! the evil one also sought to bring down the British Empire. Did not its long existence and remarkable power, mixed with loyalty and courage, organisation and that famous sense of duty, lead to a period of much abasement for the haughty fist of totalitarian command! Clearly, its demise was desirable, a thing for lust to seek for this reason alone.
Thus both the power and the precept, both the authority and the purity of the Empire, for the purposes of Satan, that self-aggrandising bully, would need to be damaged.
Churchill, though not evidently enjoying the position of ‘presiding over’ the fall of the British Empire, did in effect something very close to it. Church and State had much free falling together*3. The Queen in her majestic formalities, is doing much of the rest, as an increasingly undefined British Commonwealth, or simply Commonwealth of Nations involves itself in ever more disparate actions. Australia has no formal requirements relative to the British base, nor is Canada markedly dependent, and in fact both are pursuing their own increasingly diverse and inchoate preoccupations; while South Africa is twice departed, and India is very much its own, though with Moslem and Hindu, it is not clear who it is that owns.
No more do gun boats settle issues, and even little North Korea is now rattling its sabre, as if to show the scimitar that it does not have it all its own way, however much oil it may use to caress the blade. The cat is otherwise engaged; the mice play; and there are other rodents to gnaw away at international order, sobriety and seek force as their pleasant friend and desired comrade.
In addition, Northern Ireland has for decades progressively, in the illusory name of peace, but really as a surrender to violence, giving up its specifically Protestant character, and the US as we have noted several times, is now more an amalgam of many religions, not merely in tolerance, but in principle, so that there is little left to secure against vicious and militant attack, the rescued church of the Protestant Reformation. A little more, a little more, Romanism may be telling itself, and we shall be BACK!
As with Communism and Islam, being back is not far removed from using force in the realm of religion. Neither is there lacking example either from their ‘sacred writings’ or counterparts in each of these world conspiracies for rule, or in history; nor are they hard to find, nor have they failed repeatedly to be shown on this site (see Index).
The world however is not greatly fascinated by these exhausted bogies, and though they have raised themselves in the days of their power, Islam being overtaken by Romanism, and then this by Communism prior to its fall*3, their claims are not verified, let alone vindicated. Their mandates are not for man! Their surge to FORCE THE WORLD is broken. God has won that battle. The devil will – as God also foretold, be constructing a new synthesis, and Rome will have no part, nor will the old heresies rule. It is NEW, NEW, NEW as in the New Age, nomenclature. As to that body, its name is what the spirit of the Age wants, though its nature is as yet too vague to achieve anything, for all the full page advertisements of this, or allied movements.
The world clamours for the new, intoxicated with the idolatry of evolutionism, courageous for a brave new world, though alas it is still lamenting for its weakness and its vexatious contours, by sin transmitted from evil heritage to evil, like the spots of the leopard, which however it uses special psychological glasses to obscure from its vision. Thus, for the better exercise of voluntary blindness, a little this new regime will appear, evidently an exalted and pseudo-religious form of humanism, seeking for divine powers for itself, while not enamoured of acknowledging them in God Himself! (cf. News 5).
The shameless arrogance, empty-headed nubilous dizziness and illogical confusions of the endeavours will, as is normal in such cases where ambition is sufficient, merely aggravate the debased lot of the subservient, so essential for the totalitarian mind! Looking in hope for this or that, and trying to find, or to contribute it, man soon finds his intolerable masters! Forsaking God, he forsakes also himself, and finds the shame of his loss, in the decline of his soul, debasing of his personality, accretion of passions, increase of immoral pragmatism, and the Jesuitical ‘end justifies the means’.
It is its own disaster. Hitler, Muhammad, Stalin, papacy, yes or the grab, grasp and rule passion of Alexander the Great, indeed the evil possessiveness that lowers over mankind in the devil himself, unable to create man but seeking like a vexed territory, to take him over, continues its sultry flames, always like some vast bushfire, awaiting the conditions for its ruin, in prospect often mistaken for royalty, but in retrospect more likely equated with the devil. Like a constantly wrecked car, surrendering purpose to inane aspiration, and declining wisdom to stay on the road, that highway of holiness which enables the full nature of man to operate in its proper resource, man thus goes where even now he is pointing, to the sacking of his spirit, ignored, but no more happy in that state, than the stomach laden with alcohol, or surfeited with fat.
His loss becomes his sentence; and the sentence on truth on the life of the lie, the deliberate avoidance of God, is severe. Like life in prison, its parameters become the more apparent as the day passes.
That battle is won when Christ returns, unmasking the fraud of this unfraternal, uncreative, abuser of technology for a new serfdom of the masses (Revelation 19). The point of suffering this final crop, this acme of enormity, is never mere display of power; God lacks nothing there. It is not least the USING the situation to DISPLAY the NATURE of power abusers, moral abusers, spiritual abusers, and the whole formal fiasco of lust riding freedom to the dust. Eternity is not mere authority; the lessons, the lectures, the realities are being abundantly displayed in history. As each lesson is depicted, whether or not man cares to read, the rank spiritual squalour of the options taken is its own message.
As to the coming Ruler (II Thessalonians 2, Daniel 7), his allied rulers (Revelation 17), fraudulent religious pretences and pretensions (Revelation 13): Breach of trust is exposed as just that, as the system stiffens, seeking by authority and power to push man where he simply does not fit.
It blooms like a black day lily; but its power is cut short (Revelation 12, 19). When it is clearly evaluated! then its fraud fully exposed (Revelation 19).
The victory of God then resembles a garbage collection (cf. Matthew 13:36-43).
U) ATTACK BY CONFUSION .
We move from the power vacuum as Britain declined and its Empire was dismantled, to the present.
Now in addition to all the other ingredients, the sects and liberalism – efforts to have a new Christ with a changed bible and a new gospel, using the name of Christ however – and the whole burden of illusory philosophy, these things came with ever more subtlety. They even tried to use and re-define biblical phrases, and so sneak and steal people from the churches, in the interests of an orthodoxy very properly called ‘neo-’, but only by illusion, orthodoxy. They touted the Bible, but declined its commandments, clarity and control, as in neo-evangelicalism’s insurgencies. Permission for other proclivities, psychological protectorates, communal concentrates, these become increasingly the order of the day, the Bible set in an authority which extends less and less to what it SAYS (cf. News 116, 118, Answers to Questions Ch. 8 and *1C).
Talk is made of literalism when the meaning is decommissioning of the demonstrable text. The very term becomes a diversionary tedium, a mere taunt, as if a non-revised, culturally unsuppressed word of God were a mere outrage, while yet they rebel. Doctrinal debauchery confuses in its inebriation, the testimony of the biblical text as authoritative, with the interpretation, as if rejection were some species of meaning, and rebellion were a kind of reasoning. DO NOT becomes DO if it seems helpful; IT HAPPENED becomes, it failed to happen, but it meant well.
The ludicrous character of this seeming inheritance of the debased and dispatched insurgencies of irrational liberalism, its defilement of the quality of beauty and integrity in the biblical predictions and power, this becomes part of the modern day equivalent of Balaam. It will continue and progress; it has to do so for two reasons.
The infection is prized, instead of being treated by the divine antibiotic of contextual fidelity, word with word, theme with theme, context with context, concept with concept, thrust and purpose, outcome and definition in the word of God itself; of reason for the faith; of fighting valiantly for the faith, of living the faith, savouring the faith and following Him whose it is; and what prized infection departs! The second reason ? It is predicted. If they love to have it so (as did Israel – Jeremiah 5:31), the Lord knew of it before they did; and it is so.
He said, they do, His word is fulfilled even in this nonchalance and default, this hazy dizziness and this statistical business, continuance being set above purity, acceptability in this world, above commission from the King of eternity, whose crucifixion was not a phrase, or for that matter a piece of bread in untimely suicide, but a fact! That was to be done, it was done. This, it was also to happen, it does. The contemporary profusion of confusion, the infusion of delusion, of philosophy from the syringe of make-believe, the mockery of what is written in terms of gnostic knowledgeability that might just as well write the text anew, and save time: it is all there, marked, “TO COME!”
Come it has...
The form of godliness of II Timothy 3 has become as deformed as it was to be. Truth lies fallen in the vestry, while the sacraments do not cease.
That, it is His majesty! He always does it. Nothing stops His forecasts. Foreknowledge gives the enemy no advantage. As to him, he is powerless. As to God, He proceeds. For man, who could not weep; for his audacities know no end, his lust for life becomes his love of death, his self-expression becomes his new confession, the Confession of the 21st. Century. Written in imagination, it lingers in holy places, and defaces them, imprinting its own face by laser techniques, on the columns that support, like artists at work in spiritual graffiti.
They are (Revelation 13, 17*4), to make an image as in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, though more sophisticated, and seek to MAKE people worship it. They overcame him (the devil), said Revelation in prophesying of these days,
“by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
This war, too, God will win. The fealty of love attests itself, and the inspiration of it, Himself. On the other side, degradation is the fateful testimony of misalliance.
As Christ returns with great glory to receive His people, those by grace in alliance with Himself, the Redeemer, He comes in timely fashion, before this world gets its due! (Matthew 24:29ff., Acts 1:7ff.). If He did not, life would prove impossible (Matthew 24:21-22). Already, it is becoming increasingly implausible, and requiring for full spiritual operation, more and more provision from the Lord for His people, as when He guided Joseph to Egypt. His power knows no limit, His provisions are fascinating, His love wonderful and His rescues marvellous.
Meanwhile, the screws tighten on the robotic arms man is making for himself, so that being served, he may be directed by the deadly dynamic of a free spirit, bound to its own confines, menaced by its fraudulentt master, unrecognised in its midst very often, the Satan of stupour, so that this generation might mimic the earlier one in Israel, of which the prophet cried this, as cited and applied by Christ (John 12:14-15):
Ø “And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
o ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
o And seeing you will see and not perceive;
o For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
o Their ears are hard of hearing,
o And their eyes they have closed,
o Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
o Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
Ø So that I should heal them.’ “
This is the day of confusion; and that is the day. In the meantime, it is necessary to live as those who are soldiers of the Lord, not lounging about in Sodom, or being paid by Moab with Balaam, or living in dangerously foolish places, like Lot: but close to the Lord, much in prayer, bold in spirit, courageous in heart.
What then ? Tests are good: take gold, refine it and the beauty has no mean appeal. That ? It is not meant literally as the context shows! The PURPOSE here is PURITY, not wealth. It is not so hard to understand, really, when one is ready to listen… (cf. Proverbs 8:30, see The Biblical Workman Ch. 7, A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 9, Ch. 4, TMR Appendix and Answers to Questions Ch. 8).
It is so easy when one is weary, perhaps of well-doing ? to allow the eyes to be blurred and to find in the book before one, what is not written, but rather supplied by the unblessed transfiguration of ‘second sight’, the mind supplying what the text does not (cf. Galloping Events Ch. 7, The Biblical Workman Appendix III, Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 8). The word of God is its own control, and the mind must accept its discipline. The alternative is a far worse discipline; and in any case, what is so bad about the discipline of facts, whether written in the earth, or in the word of God, those two columns of consistency and twin pillars of such delightful conformity. Violence to the integrity of either is known as pollution, and the theological is far more advanced than the physical, though as John’s book of Revelation so singularly attests, the latter will leap on its appointed path, in its excited retrogression shortly (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
Value ? There is also the love of righteousness, not for its product or profitable monetary or social consequences, but for itself (cf. Proverbs 8:18); for GOD IS RIGHTEOUS (cf. Psalm 89:14, Deuteronomy 32;4). To keep a straight course in the mist is a challenge of no mere sporting kind. It causes the eyes to rest on Him, invisible, indomitable, irrepressible, the Lord of Creation and God of glory. Such focus is like that on a flower show, an orchid display; but it is spiritual, its perfume like life to the spirit.
When the examination is over, THIS examiner is worth waiting for, and even now, His presence is unsubdued by the meretricious, and unmesmerised by the little prodigies of man in his godless arrogance, using nature as resource for lawless leverage, the word of God as a launching pad for ever new but oh so old escapades in the heavens, and his heart as energy for endless take-over bids for human glory, which alas, take over merely his own soul.
V) ATTACK BY FALSE IDEALISM
Meanwhile The United Nations, in association with various other forms of international power (cf. SMR pp. 743, 750Bff.) produces for us a CONGLOMERATE of captious morals, wrought in heart, produced in mind, defined by desire. They are not kept, and in much (cf. Mystery of Iniquity) it might be well that they are not. Shirley Hazzard’s Death of an Ideal, and People in Glass Houses abundantly expose the nature of this idealism, its privilege, its littleness and its diffuseness. Nevertheless, this type of SOCIAL and INTERNATIONAL conglomerate increases the feeling of ordinariness about INTERNATIONAL CONTROL, and so paves the way for the junta of the antichrist to perform his deadly, nugatory task (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 18).
When, as is normal in all illusion, the velvet glove yields to the stainless steel fist (Revelation 13, 17), and the glorious liberties of our hour, as in occasional preliminary hours before, are lost in the grip of the gaunt deceiver, it will expose itself for its ruthless unrealism. Why will it so show itself ? it is because what is not the truth, but yet rules, always must do this. When dynamic, desire and delusion rule, reality supervenes. Facts appear like sparks from rasping metallic surfaces. They do of course then hurt; for the friction is terrible.
When the arrogancy of evil rule is international and terrestrial in dimension, its fraud will be even more conspicuous than was the deluded tantrum of Hitler, and its dismissal as part of the armoury of the antichrist, will be one more victory for God, first in the revelation of quality, then in power (Revelation 19, II Thessalonians 1).
W) ATTACK BY FUSION
This partly seen in the above, in S, U and V, but here is isolated in type.
v for EVERY CHURCH to be one (organizationally if not spiritually, so debasing its very nature and essence, as in the WCC cf. SMR pp. 743 and Index),
v the world of NATIONS to be one,
v the political OVERSIGHT to be one,
v for the ANTI-TERROR structure to be one,
v for ALL RELIGIONS to be one,
is found in the grip of world movements often traced before (see references in S above, for example).
HOW IMPORTANT, they say, to have all differences removed; and so confusing forgiveness with homogeneity, they merge or seek to merge the State watched churches (as in China) and the confused conglomerates of indifferentist chatterers in their various and ever-changing theologies which have only token resemblance to the Bible, though they DO mention it: and so they seek that oneness which has appeal. It is very epitome of bleary theories, confused and diffuse concepts, the rationale of the irrational, the reliance on the contradictory.
But WHY does it have appeal ? It is simply that we are MADE from one GOD, on ONE IMAGE as humans (ever more attested by scientific investigation) and are in one WORLD, so that though the oneness be in large measure, merely that of diversified rebellion against God and His own words, yet the underlying instinctive appeal is still there. Codifying the rebellions into some form of resemblance is a good work for the false prophet, a worthy scenario for his sweat, and doubtless he will adduce wit to the process, such as having a God who both has a son and does not, and who is one and who is not, and who lives and who does not, until the only thing left is the speaker, who in the end, is the antichrist.
As if making a discovery (the irony in II Thessalonians 2’s prediction is delightful and intense), he concludes that it really must be … himself! – “showing himself that he is God!”
Already debunked by its ludicrous misuse of force instead of logic, of pragmatism instead of purity, this satanic trinity, the false prophet, the devil himself and the antichrist are debunked in impotence, once fully exposed, thus having lost both in power and in purity.
God wins again, and this time there is little fight left, but much wisdom! (Revelation 19, II Thess. 1).
X) ATTACK BY SEEKING TO SINK
Most conspicuous in our own Age is this: the Arab and Islamic desire, as in the days of the Phoenicians, to remove Israel from the map, or at last so reduce its power and geographical integrity that its existence is by consensus, not independence, so that being manipulable, it presents no problem to the lust for power and Islamic domineering.
Deeming Israel’s very (re-) existence a calamity, the Arab world in general, is moving rather concertedly in an anti-Israel mode, acting with its various Islamic adjuncts and sacs, in Iraq (the leadership now seemingly more religious as all efforts need unity to stay intact!), in Iran (devotedly concerning itself with atomic power by some reports), in Egypt (always good for an attempt at Islamic putsch), in Lebanon (much inclined that way), in Syria (strongly of this persuasion), in Chechnya, in Georgia, in Azerbaijan, in Libya, in Morocco, in Algeria, yes in quite an assortment of countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Pan-Islamic meetings recur, the protestations of help for the Palestinians (wanting to bomb themselves into citizenship where though so placed by the million, they do not already have it in Israel), the clamour for the removal of the Jew, these things are now heightened as an art form of oratory by al Qaeda.
Specifically at this time, it is making its presence to be announced in Israel, where it is staking its claim to the evacuation of the Jew, entirely from the area, as was the desire of Hitler (from Europe). A similar pre-occupation seemed to enthrall the pogrom workers in Russia, just as it was to the taste, in no small part of the Romanist Inquisition in Europe (detailed so well by Hosmer in his History of the Jews). It is not a small issue, to make the Jewish share of Palestine (once WHOLLY to be given to it, in the internationally accepted Balfour Declaration), ZERO. That, it is the new arithmetic, one by report, meticulously advocated by al Qaeda. Here we have in concert dastardly dynamics, delirious daubs, wandering woes (like wandering in a nest of mines) all at once! It is the very taste of the times (except you know where the Lord’s fruit is)!
This, it is really invoking the wrath of the Almighty, and He HAS GIVEN nearly three and one half millennia of notice about His thoughts on the subject of ACCORDING LAND AS HE CHOOSES. After all, HE made it! The gods that have NOT made heaven and earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens, God intimates in Jeremiah 10:11; and just how such perishables will perish is for one instance, expressed vigorously in Ezekiel 38-39, following the close coverage of the return of Israel at the end times, in 36-37 (cf. SMR Appendix A).
The chance, once more, to use human power to thwart God will prove appealing; and Israel is so concrete. The thing will charm the churned (Isaiah 57:19-20); and as usual, it will fail, after much suffering for many.
Ignoring God, as is the custom of false religions per force, since as the Bible indicated even of sinning Israel, many had set up idols in their hearts (Ezekiel 14:3), and this the more when the idols are the official image accorded to God, the false religionist and the secularists may find much in common. Then, with whatever portentous and ludicrous words, in their desire to end the embarrassingly anti-oil presence of Israel in the Middle East, the times comes when their action sees a divine response, much as when Israel was established in the land in the last century, in the first phase of the two-stroke, predicted action (Ezekiel 37).
As in an examination, this is a matter of simple fact: God put to the test, does not hesitate to fulfil His word (cf. Isaiah 44: 23ff.).
God will win that battle, in no uncertain terms. It will not be tendential, as Ezekiel shows so clearly (cf. *1A below).
Y) THE FINAL ATTACK ON THE CHURCH
In Ambon, in Sudan, in China, you see it openly and with raw physical power, as well as sometimes, with subtlety. In Australia it has been if not subtle, at least hidden and kept away from scrutiny, partly with the co-operation of those not too concerned about being deceived, it might seem (cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 11). In Islamic countries, you often hear of the assault on churches, or the arrest of Christian pastors. Ludicrous substitutes for reason and freedom arise, so that if someone is alleged to have said something which is not very helpful to Muhammad, this may make death unregrettably necessary as popular fury seeks to support the prophet whom no logic can attest. At times, it does not appear so important whether the thing actually happened, as this, that it is thought to have happened. The very thought seems at times sufficient to arouse multi-dimensional furies. But is this wisdom ? is this reason ? is this truth!
The attack on the church is by social control, political oversight, death to missionaries, bureaucratic methods of reducing liberty, property, dignity, through taxes or fines, through deaths sudden and violent, or imprisonments and vile orgies of degradation against all that is human. That is what one would expect. What a thing is, is in the end, what it does! A tree is known by its fruits.
The Church of Jesus Christ, as noted above and seen in Rev. 12:11, overcomes by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of its testimony.
God wins that battle too. It is all, however, very costly; yet there is a beauty in the payment, as in all love, for the issues are not this or that body, but the faith in the living God, attested, verified, validated, consummated and clear, without which there is loss far worse than that of mere body (cf. Matthew 10:27-39:
§ “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
§ “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
§ “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”
Heaven is not made into hell in order the better to accommodate those whose hearts are not in accord with truth. On the other hand, earth is not the ultimate loss for those whose hearts are with the Lord of their creation, the God of their redemption. Deliverance from the rigours of unreality is no small task; the Gospel is free but its proclamation is not. It costs! It is a blessed cost and many pay.
In a world of sin, love is costly; in a world of rebellion, faithfulness is costly. In a world ruled by the prince of this world, living and looking to the true and living God who is invisible is always going to involve a cost. That is one reason why it is necessary to forsake ALL in order to follow Christ. It is not that the funds are needed; they may in fact be best left in your own control. It is that at any time the final test may come to you, as to your mouth, and its sponsor (cf. Luke 9:23-26), as to your property, as to your liberty, as to your career.
Think of Tyndale, carting his printing press about Europe, escaping the blood-thirst of the papacy, while translating the Bible, or preparing its format for print. There is an example. Tenacity of purpose, abundance of toil, purity of intention, labour in love, joy in service, peace amidst storm: these are expressions of that Christ who “gives us the victory” – I John 5:4, I Corinthians 15:57-58).
5. THEN … Z
What then for Christians ? and what is to be noted
for those who look and consider these things ?
THEY waited for the FIRST COMING of Christ.
WE wait for the Second Coming.
Meanwhile, walk in the Spirit, realising that God gives the Holy Spirit in special nearness
to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32). There is a beauty about the clothing, the covering in Christ (Isaiah 61:10, Revelation 7:14, 1:5, Matthew 22:1-14). Better yet is its tailor.
Now we know in part, then as we are known; now we see more dimly as in a glass, or mirror, THEN we see Him face to face (I Corinthians 13, Revelation 22:4).
You may care to read at this point, News 87.
*1C See SMR p. 862, where reference is made to a systematic presentation of the religious aspect of Communism, and its messianic posturing, as exhibited in the analytical work of Lester de Koster. This reference has other links on the same topic.
Beauty of Holiness Ch. 4 gives a survey of many of these things, with qualifications and indications relative to the development to the final format of corrupted rule, humanistic religiosity and prophetic fulfilment, noting also the excellent track record the world is providing for the fulfilment of prophecy which in this, as in the past in many other matters, will soon be anything but academic study!
See also Lord of Life Ch. 8.
Beauty of Holiness Ch. 4 and
Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 8,
Lead Us Not into Educational Temptation Section 4,
Acme, Alpha and Omega Ch. 2,
Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 3,
News, Facts and Forecasts 8,
Repent or Perish Ch. 5,
Dawn of Light Ch. 2,
Answers to Questions Ch. 8, as also in
Biblical Blessings Ch. 11,
there are traced some of the relatively recent movements into synthetic syncretisms, debased parodies if not burlesques of Christianity and departures from the faith, including insidious substitutes that are not only cracked cisterns, but neither logically nor in life, have any water to hold.
*1 A work by a journalist who stayed for some time in Russia during an Olympic Games focus made fascinating findings long before Communism in Russia fell. His interchange with Russians and observations showed a vast ennui, boredom, cynicism, disgust, aversion developing. He could see no way that Communism would not, and seemed to feel COULD NOT continue in that land for many more years.
He was right. It did not. His book ? The Games War (Christopher Booker). Its date ? around 1980!
The point is maximised when we recall the reported action of numbers in the Russian Parliament personally seeking the Bible! (cf. That Magnificent Rock, Ch. 8).
Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 7,
On the latter, see also Biblical Blessings Ch. 11.
*2 An interesting and extensive report on this work, for example, appears in the Washington Post report, noted for contribution by researcher Jin Ling in Beijing, Dec. 24, 2002.
There have been not a few accounts over years, of Chinese barrenness, of spiritual oppression and courageous work and Church growth outside the heavily silted official channels; and Harry Wu has been noted elsewhere on this site, in his exposure and exposé on oppression that can hide its dealings with a skill that is an art, or perhaps better, a black art. Such are the reports, and such is Wu’s testimony, given before the US Senate some years ago. As an inmate for several years, in one of the aggressive cover-ups that seek to disperse opposition, and continue commerce through the abuse of political or religious prisoners, Wu has made one contribution amongst many to this exposure.
On the other side, the exuberance of the Christian growth is making some, looking at millions of Christians with considerable audacity, often backed by entrepreneurs in the location noted in the report, incline to degrees of leniency, compared with the forcible oppression elsewhere. In some ways, it reminds one of the early days of the Roman Empire, clinging to its power, fearful of being downgraded, with flushes of evil excess, followed by times of comparative moderation. The fact that Jiang Zemin, when President, could say that religion might outlast both the State and the Party is illustrative of the penetration being made in this land. This is one of the intriguing exhibits in this named article, which has been available on line.
The URL of
this Report, at present is this:
Concerning the fall of Communism, the Gorbachev era (“Gorbie! Gorbie!” the oppressed East Europeans were chanting as the nineties left their wharves, and Russia left its dry dock to return to some kind of national life), for all its apparent weakness, instituted a liberating period. It was one with its revelations concerning Lenin, one acknowledging the need of vast international aid in kind and funds to avert appalling disorder and areas of poverty, as in Siberia; and it was soon to leave the much vaunted Marxist Communism a mere ripple in the receding waters.
In China, the procedure is different, but the result is not far distant from being the same.
Thus, although the love of power may protect the Party which so mistreats religion, and even assails Falun Gong for speaking of human spirit, or acting on a contrary basis to the irrationalities of materialism: which after all has no morals by which to object to anything, for description is not prescription, and the obligations of laws concerning religion or anything else, are mere personal preferences of the rulers, dictatorially insisting on their vacuities (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7).
However it is getting things done with foreign money no less than is Russia, except in this, that it is coming in willingly, in search of markets, while China is even allowing regions to have sizeable liberties in order to capitalise on the opportunities. Wealth accumulates in relatively few and powerful hands; commerce is useful. The place of profit, the rise of entrepreneurial leadership, indeed the RECOGNITION in Jiang’s final days, of this very thing, are not at all the work of Marx. The dynamic comes from the contrary of Communism, and very much of it, from the realms of free enterprise on Chinese soil, often merely slightly harassed by the bureaucracy; as in much they proceed from foreign invention, ingenuity and foreign funds.
This is not at all to deprecate the Chinese people (for whom one has a considerable penchant), but to expose the source of the developments within, the nominality of the pretence and the severity of its delusion.
Should the nation use the code word ‘nationalisation’ for a grab for foreign industries in its midst, this would be simple brigandage, exploitation, and operation by the systems of other nations, plus fraud. It could happen. It could say nothing about Communism, except it be pretence.
The realities are that there is a wand of free enterprise, in an authoritarian base which got there by talk, and now continues to get where it wants to go, by more and different talk and walk, simply omitting to change the name. However, when a cabbage is being replaced by even a mini-rose, creeping along the ground, the name ‘cabbage’ has only historical relevance.
That, the cabbage, is not what we now behold! but increasingly imported botanical splendour, ways and procedures, yes, and not always with wisdom, values.
Communism is dead; though it may, as with Gorbachev’s Earth Charter, seek to resurrect itself in different clothes, yes as per Jiang, with a religious consignment, as the world moves towards the new concoction of follies, making more attractive the velvet covering of the iron underneath.
When God is omitted, there is no place for the nurture of the soul; and the soil, as ever, is deemed a convenient place for the dispatch of those whose exercise of their spirits, is not met with favour by the exercise of the spirits of those in control of the nation (cf. SMR pp. 348ff., It Bubbles … Ch. 9, Little Things Ch. 5, Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Chs. 1 and 9).
So does the awful irony proceed; and the equally awful iron replace thought, truth and reason in a soil if not Red, yet still red.