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A Matter of Method
Now one would not want the reader to imagine that just because the term 'mosaic' is deployed (yes, it is rather a battle sort of chapter, but not a simply military one, for life has many more battles than that type, and ones that count the more), that this is about Moses. Insulting ? Incredibly simplistic ? Not at all. Religious and something with a 'mos' in it, this can readily arouse the unruly, and those in particular, who like to deplore the Old Testament, presumably in terms of the tea-cake and tea sort of situation. But is this what is found , for example, in the book of Revelation, or in Matthew 7:15ff. in the Sermon of the Mount, in the NEW Testament ... ?
Wait! It is not really is it ?
That is just what the wagtail was saying to the eagle.
It isn't really is it ?
It isn't really insulting to suggest that I might have a mos on Moses! said the eagle, expostulating.
Of course it isn't! said the wagtail, whose name by the way is Willy,
You see, in things religious it is literally (well almost) incredible that you have almost only to think it, to find someone who believes it. (To be frank, a lot of pseudo-science is no better, but merely a form of religious masquerade by the misled in white.)
THAT, said the eagle with a somewhat austere drawing of himself up, in his case achieved by raising just a little, about 6 inches, his wings and curling their edges up that little bit which looks so composed, geometrical and dignified: THAT, he said need not include me!
But I thought it did, said Willy, reflecting on a recent conversation, to which it seems we were not party.
After all, when we met the other day - and by the way, wasn't it wonderful the way I became so accustomed to looking up where you were going to fly to meet me, before, that I saw you another day; and you became so used to looking for me, that your great eye (I know you have two, but that is just a figure ... oh! I know, that too will be insulting!).
He aborted the sentence in almost silent geometrical pattern of willy-type wags that amused the great bird enormously, and put him in a better humour.
All right! said the eagle. (And now we shall no longer use italics for their speech, since the pressure between them was no longer so high!). He pondered and continued.
I suppose you are right, people can believe in magic glasses that read something that is not available to be read on gold plates that are not available to be found, and predict returns of Christ contrary to Bible's refusal to indicate the day or the hour, or even the season, as in Acts 1, and then other people follow them; and people can talk about buried treasure and go in a ship to find it, by revelation, and it is not to be found, and people continue to follow them and to believe them; and people can expect Christ in 1934 and He does not oblige, and people can continue to listen to the amended versions, and follow them, and consign their souls to hell by FAILING to receive and believe in the substitutionary atonement by which their sin is consigned where their lives are redeemed NOT to go ... WHAT will people NOT do!
I freely apologise for any to be sure, unintended embarrassment I may have caused you, for my part, responded the magnanimous wren, who found the admission rather a wrench since being pert and pertinacious can be near to each other at times, but she was trying very hard to be more spiritual, so that it did not feel TOO bad. It is just that it is quite amazing how wise can be the people who fail and fall in little things, by habit, or social convention, or because this is the way they were educated and so forth, said she, flitting about fastidiously as she spoke.
My dear Willy, said the eagle, who was beginning to have difficulties in his own endeavours to be chivalrous as well as polite, in this, that Willy is normally a male name, but anyway, Willy is such a wag, he thought, that I suppose it does not matter.
Willy seemed to read his thoughts, for this was the first time the eagle had called her Willy.
You COULD make it Wilhemena, she said, always having had a soft spot for that name, because like his geometrical flitting antics, it seemed so improbable.
I know, said the eagle, let's make it Wilhie ?
Willy blushed, and the strange thing was it was a blue blush, and it just came into the eyes: strange things allegorical birds, but you simply cannot anatomise them.
All right! she said.
Wilhie dear ... this seemed TOO intimate and could cause offence, so was discontinued by the eagle whose name, by the way, was Magi (because of his majestic wings, and because he was trying so hard to be poor in spirit that 'majesti' seemed both a spelling error and too self-important). However, he tried again.
Wilhie my friend .. but he then did a little excursion, just over the hill, a mere flip, and came gliding back in a purely sensational little effort that Wilhie (we may as well follow Magi in this) admired greatly. It also allowed Magi to collect his wits and recompose his aborted sentence structure.
Wilhie, he continued (for he HAD started), it is quite true that I was beginning to act as if the Old Testament was justice and the New Testament mercy, when Psalm 100 which I really must learn because it is both short and immensely memorable, has this lovely balm in it:
LORD is good,
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations."
MERCY, said Wilhie, is
everywhere in the Old Testament, say Micah 7:19ff., for an illustrious example,
and Exodus 34:6ff. for another. The very meaning of the heart behind sacrifice,
and it was - is - the way of life for David interminably, part of the 'goodness
and mercy' to follow him all the days of his life, is found here; and of
course, we read in Psalms, "I trust in His mercy of God for ever and ever" - 52:8.
It had been in his morning devotion and he recalled it. Again, he says,
David would not, in other words, totter because the truth, the Lord is his rock (Psalm 62), and there simply IS no other ROCK, as it says, so that the Romanist version is based on what is not there (Psalm 18:31), on a Peter whom history never knew, posing as a rock: which is more than embarrassing. Christ is the rock, Peter in the Greek, merely a stone, and the contrast between a great mass of living rock and a stone is just a matter of two things: vocabulary and victory. To found yourself on what is not there ...
Yes, replied Magi, it is true, and that is not structurally sound, is it ?
No, it is like some of those IT companies which had the bottom fall out of them on the market, because there was so little that is there; but with that religion, the basis as they put it, does not have the privilege of existence. Imagine in a storm climbing up onto a rock, and then finding it was only in your imagination that it could be found!
I should rather not, replied Magi. Manufacturing a Mary who is not Mary, but sinless and a queen in heaven, one would have thought, would have been discouraged quite enough in the parallel errors in Israel, in the days of Jeremiah - you know, the appalling errors seen in Jeremiah 44:17ff., where they kept up their delusion about a queen of heaven who Biblically is simply not there, and argued the toss with Jeremiah so that even the loss of Jerusalem was not enough to make them sober, till they destroyed themselves, as is predicted, isn't it, of Rome.
Of course! said Wilhie, who had read SMR pp. 1032-188H quite closely, and many other things.
It IS baseless, declared Magi, feeling distinctly magisterial, to think of mercy for the New and law for the Old Testament. Why! Romans 4 is full of the complete parallel between the righteousness accorded Abraham by FAITH, long before he ever offered up Isaac, and that accorded believers now. IN fact it even says this of Abraham:
In this way, proceeded Magi, we find it directly written: "Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offences and was raised because of our justification."
And, added Wilhie, it even continues at once: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God."
It is all one, said Magi. One God, one mercy, one righteousness, one sacrifice with many preliminary expositions in Moses and before, one hope, one ransom, one atonement with many preliminary pictures on the path, one tabernacle which is Christ embracing His people as in I Peter 2:9ff., one Lord as in Isaiah 48:16, one future for faith, one for disbelief ...
And ONE reality which be it in the whipping of Paul, or the uprising against Moses, in the battles of the past, or in Armageddon to come, in the many wars noted in advance so neatly in Matthew 24, in complete contrast to a peaceable and painless preparation by a mighty church for the coming of Christ, in such a perfect ferment of evil, which is to increase as Christ said, and false prophets and false christs that you would think of just what we have, if you read it, and applied it to contemporary affairs. It is a portrait, and it is in red not from ochre, but from blood... It is to be read before seen as red; for then it can be understood with better vision and grasp of meaning.
Wilhie had not known that Magi could go to such depths, since he seemed rather a creature of heights, but not for the first time, he reflected, that if you are high, then you can go low without hitting the ground, if only your eyrie is right up in the clouds, and then you are a creature of the depths, but since rather made his head feel pressed, and that upset the geometry of his movements, and this was bad for business, for a fellow had to eat, he desisted - in the thought, not the movement, and waited a while.
It is often good for a conversation to lapse. They looked at each other, at the distance, at the view, and contemplated. They call it meditation nowadays, and put in a transcendental for good verbiage, but there is nothing transcendental about meditating without Christ. It is like reading without print, and incidentally, it lowers from the imagined height, which is good for Magi, but in the transcendental case, there are no wings, which is strange, because you need them when you go to the depths. In any case, he reflected, it is Christ who is found, as it is written in Ephesians 4,
"Therefore He says, When He ascended on high,
THUS, it is HE who did the journeyings, we need HIM, not the abyss of philosophy or psychology. He has been there, done that, and it is not merely voyaging which HE did, but conquest of the sin and ambition and folly and detached retina type of viewing which ignorance gets when the eye is bad! Indeed, does it not say ...
I KNOW what you are thinking, said Magi. I noticed your gaze and followed your drift! It says this:
And where does Paul find this Old Testament declaration which he is quoting ? In Moses, in Deuteronomy 30, where it is a matter of loving the Lord (Deut. 30:16) and of walking in His ways, and having faith in Him, not allowing the wickedness of sin to distract (as in Deut. 29:19ff.).
After all, the problem for Israel when it refused to go into the land promised as a GIFT, at Kadesh Barnea, one of the pivots of Israel's whole history, was simple. They DID NOT TRUST the Lord. HENCE they did not go. What was intended to educate them on faith as a surgical instrument with the Lord, His word, with the Lord Himself the doctor, was not their deliverance if not mixed with faith. It was the Lord who delivered, who spoke, and wished them to learn so that they would know WHOM they trusted; for without trust, there was nothing. It was a telephone without wires. It is just as Christ put it in John 5:39-40: rightly they read it, but they did not COME to Him of whom it spoke. No directions, nowhere to go. Directions ? then if you still do NOT go, nowhere to come!
When they believed like Moses, like Joshua, like Daniel who trusted in God in his own extremity, then they found the grace given to be sufficient and the necessities to be met by the power of the One to whom they would look. The Old Testament is NOT AT ALL DISCOUNTED: it is just that some of it is fulfilled, has budded and bloomed. It is we, not God, who has to grow up, and it is HIS WORD (as in II Timothy ).
In fact, the word to Abraham unconditionally, and the severity of the law, conditionally, blend to a beautiful sapphire of fire. DO NOT be slack, but realise sin and cling to the Saviour. DO NOT trust in your own works, for cursed in anyone who does not do ALL, so trust in His mercy, like David, for ever and see by faith the Lord ALWAYS before you as He promised, and able to do exceedingly above everything you either ask or think (Ephesians 3). There was NEVER a time when the access to God lay with works; works were for exhibition of sin, sin was for real, and reality found mercy ONLY in the provisions of mercy, in sacrifice, and that not in routine, but in reality of heart (as in Isaiah 1).
On the other hand, said Wilhie, while the law was like a tutor which we outgrow, since Christ has fulfilled its ceremonial, sacrificial immensities and intensities, what does a tutor DO ? Teach folly ? The law taught principles which do not depart, since everything has to STAY or be FULFILLED (Matthew 5:17ff.). You do not go to school in order to be ignorant, but knowledgeable. Hence the rest of the day of rest is not annulled, for it rested in the realities of creation as in Exodus 20, and they are not able to be cancelled, and it is God who made them so rest as we read there.
It is the modalities of the Sabbath and its ceremonial acts which are now passť; its reality of one day of rest in a spiritual proclamation is not annulled or altered in the least. It cannot be, for God has given the ground not in the future, but in the past. The SPIRITUAL rest was offered even in Psalm 95's account of the Exodus, and that involved the law before they failed; and yet they did not take it, but wandered in the desert. Spiritual rest (as in Psalm 116:7) is always there, and part of the beauty of the association covenantally with the Lord. Resting as reciprocity for creation and its model, that is not annulled any more than life, then created like that, is annulled.
Yes, said Magi, the word of God is one, when you study it, and that is because God is one and does not change. He does not speak in order to have his words blithely discountenanced by people who affect to worship Him.
He does not, Wilhie pursued the point, make Israel turn by magic into the Church, either, except when He is using figurative speech and makes this clear. Imagine if a headmaster were addressing a pupil, and without explanation of the discontinuity, began teaching his son and rebuking him for works he had never done since he was not yet born, and imagined that the father - still a child - could understand such purely fictitious peregrinations of thought.
It would be ... odd! admitted Magi, whose inward smirk had quite turned up the tips of his wings.
Look! said Wilhie, at
Of course not! said Magi, beginning to feel insulted, but realising that after all, this was merely Wilhie's way of expounding the thing. Besides, there is about little things, when they proceed with purity in their task, not adorning or adoring themselves, something very easy to love, and Magi was finding his brotherly love for Wilhie to be augmenting. She was such a precise little thing, so deft. Magi went on another little flight over the hills - which Wilhie found quite absorbing, reflecting on the nature of creatures, creation and love, and finding the thoughts affecting.
Look, exploded Wilhie! (for even little things can explode, take personnel bombs, those delightful little heritages which war in its foresight can donate to the next generation - such an essentially GOOD world, don't you think! and getting SO much better ... oh no, what was it before if THIS is better!).
Yes, replied Magi, his eyes fixed on the distant stars, since this was a dawn exposure and you could still see them.
I am going to list it, the
tapestry fabric, the mosaic indeed, of
No! said Magi, it is so demanding.
You can see the detailed expositions of these things one by one in those books we know, such as SMR Chs. 8 and 9, Appendix A, It Bubbles, It Howls, It Calls, Divine Agenda, Galloping Events, but the basic facts are these.
∑ 2. It was to be restored in circumstances showing both to themselves and to the nation, how UN-meritorious they were, and how GRACIOUS and MERCIFUL the Lord was (yes, in the Old Testament, in places such as Ezekiel 36-39 as exposited in the places we have read).
The result, including the Jews' amazing, divinely engineered return to their
∑ 4. It would mean that their would be too little space for them, it would be crowded (Isaiah 49:20). The restoration would be that of a growing multitude. They could scarcely FIT in the place they gained... which is of course is what happened in that remarkle century, the 21st..
∑ 5. This restoration and what preceded it, too, would be a learning experience for Israel (Ezekiel 37:13), since she had suffered such enormous losses prior to the return, or its comsummation, that the very idea of crowding, rather than of acute desolation and death, seemed so contrary as to be amazing: "Who has begotten me these ?" she is pictured in Isaiah as exclaiming,
"Since I have lost my children and am
A captive and wandering to and fro ?
And who has brought these up ?
There I was, left alone:
But these, where were they ?" (Isaiah 49:21).
"for an everlasting sign which shall not
be cut off" - even
if the Palestinians tried at one stage o set fire to
"the one who is feeble among them is that day shall be like David, and the house of David like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. It shall be that in that day, I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem" - Zechariah 12:8-9.
This is to be FOLLOWED by the national phase of repentance against their former national deed of piercing the One who was the LORD in the flesh (Zechariah 12:10), and this, prior to the impending event: the return of that Lord personally in power to rule (as in Psalm 2, 72, and Zechariah 14).
This has been the case, the last leg of the journey merely for us signifying the placement of the rest. It is before the return of the Lord, impending, and after the crucifixion of Christ.
"Alas! For that day is great,
So that there is none like it,
And it is the time of Jacob's trouble."
11. On return to its land, after its long ignominy and
of course has come from Germany in reparations, from the USA in one hopes,
generosity and fellow feeling from the nation with so many Jews, especially in
New York, but it has, whatever the reason, come as predicted; and it has come
from many Jewish and un-Jewish sources. Even the Trade Union movement has shown
some fellow feeling for the kibbutz-conscious labour of the little guy, Israel.
have they come, and their liberation from other lands has in fact been
prodigious, and successive, even from Africa as predicted, from Iraq, from many
nations as predicted, and attested in the books we have read, and noted above.
Russia has released many not long before zealously kept back, and these
Asiatics form a segment in the contemporary, restored land of Israel.
Basically, the context is this: a remnant of the uniquely categorisable people, we have looked at above, is to come to its appointed land. Its credentials (or if you wish, perhaps more accurately, anti-credentials, 'criminal record' in spiritual terms, such thingsbeing explicit in Zephaniah 3), are traced, and lo, here it is back from all the lands (and as in 3:10, "from beyond the rivers of Ethiopia" as literally happened in operation Solomon not many years ago). The PURPOSE of the language is that they "all may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one accord." This being immediately followed by reference to their coming from such places as Ethiopia, leaves the pure language reference like a jewel in its setting.
Jews come from other nations and need common speech: they are to have it, so that not as a polyglot assemblage, but one people, not as a vocally disrupted people, but as is normal for a nation, in the many varied cases, with ONE language which is at least speakable by all. THIS too will be a normalcy to be restored. It is a grace to be accorded.
In fact, it has been in large measure accorded, as SMR ( p. 798) shows, in the prodigious works of Hebrew dictionary labour, wrought by Eliezer Ben Yehuda.
Thus Army recruits (and they have to be ready to fight there, and prepare the young) have this integrating force, precisely as predicted, and learn Hebrew, so nicely systematised and modernised and applied to modern things, for them by this great lexicographer, not always understood as he did the great task, but still persistent.
Nothing fails of the Lord's word; it never does with the Lord. What He says, happens.
∑ 14. Jerusalem, for all that, was to be cut in two, divided, at one phase. This happened, with all the pillage and rape predicted in Zechariah 14, after the return, in the very precincts contextually, of the Lord's return in mighty power to RULE in Jerusalem, and impose justice in the earth. It was 1948 when it occurred.
The advent of Jewish control in
to win ? It would assuredly seem so by any statistical enterprise. But in 1948,
they won, and took the land and the half of Jerusalem as predicted. Thus the
astonishment in Isaiah 66:8-9 fits the facts like the bloom of a peach, resting
glowingly on its skin.
∑ 16. It was astonishing: it was also SUDDEN, as the text noted shows predicted. It predicts BOTH of these things.
It was also a total taking of
∑ This too is predicted, this continued unbelief for a time, in the restored land. Obviously, in Zechariah 12, which has the Jewish people back in Israel in large and definitive numbers, a nation once more, one attacked, just before the actual end of the Age in the return of Christ as King over the earth as in Zech. 14: there has to be a BEFORE as well as an AFTER situation. SINCE the people are found to be repenting of having pierced the LORD, in His fleshly format, and to do this in a national sort of a way, and in profound and sustained grief of heart, and prodigious sorrow, leading on to the fountain of blood being open in Jerusalem (Zech. 13:1), the place of mercy no more in the temple but in the sacrifice of the LORD which THEY instituted as a people, we have to ask, What happened before that ?
before that, they had NOT so repented, and the fountain of blood which is to be
opened as a spiritual event for them, in
people as a whole are STILL in unbelief, to that point. Their blindness as Paul
describes it in Romans 11:25 is still operative. The Gentile period is not
quite at its end, although it is already passť (as in Luke 21:24), if one
counts Jerusalem as under Jewish control, which it appears to be.
It is only then that they are given, BY a specific outpouring of the Spirit of God, precisely as in Zech. 12:10, what it is all about. In particular, they will know that God is not mocked, that He brought them down, brought them back, and is restoring them to Himself, their King to rule in their midst as in Zephaniah 3, now that they are at last willing to recognise Him, who as a sacrifice for sin, became virtually unrecognisable (Isaiah 52:12ff.).
FACT is this: that they still DO NOT nationally come nearer to believing than
making it still very hard even for Christian missionaries to present the Gospel
in their midst, an enormous tension being felt repeatedly in Israel, between a
desire to be a secular, open nation, and not to offend the 'orthodox', who, of
course, Biblically are anything but orthodox, since Christ is the appointed,
dated Messiah, in whom to believe is the quintessence of orthodoxy from the law
on (Deuteronomy 18). They yet do not believe in Him.
There has to be tension and trouble BEFORE the Lord intervenes categorically to deliver them as in Zechariah 14 and Micah 7:15ff., as in Deuteronomy 32 and as in Isaiah 66. There is. Israel has no peace, though it possesses part of the right piece of earth. What peace could you be reasonably expected to have when you are being made a very heavy stone to your aggressive, invasively inclined neighbours. You cannot act like that without a certain result! You are free in measure in your spirit, but not from its results, when mercy is neglected.
You have no call to act like that, being a burdensome stone and rising up at the threat of becoming prey to the aggressors, without a certain situation. Surrounded, menaced, assailed, Israel is just as it was predicted in Zechariah 12 it would be : delivered and drastically assailed, BOTH. Victory and trouble mount like a whirl-wind.
20. All this: It is like a mosaic. The little bits all fit into a pattern, and the pattern has a message as a whole, while the parts, though small, comprise not only bits, but pattern elements so contrived in precision, with the exact conformity to the tone of the whole and its portent, that it is just like a tapestry, an intricate one. Mosaics from Moses ? well from all the prophets and from history, in a blessed synergy of sympathy. The plan does not extort from the elements, nor do these disrupt the plan. Everything, foreknown, is forecast with that certainty which is so sovereign, that delicacy which is so like the Lord, who knows all and drafts according to knowledge cf. Amos 3:7:
"Surely the Lord will do nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
A lion has roared!
Who will not fear ?
The Lord GOD has spoken!
Who can but prophesy ?"
Hmmm! I agree with you, musingly exclaimed Magi.
There was, he found, something intrinsically fascinating about the very littleness of form and movement of Wilhie, yet this was getting so like a lecture that he felt slightly uneasy about his dignity. A bird which soars as if sovereign, being so addressed by a twitterer (he recalled the important distinction from a similar word, rather shortened). Still, he reflected, it was true, and if Wilhie could say it, say on.
They then performed such an oddity of dance, if it could be called that, that it was almost whimsy in action. First the great eagle lifted itself, slowly, lumberingly, off the ground, to glide rather quietly near the surface. Wilhie glittered in the sun in the oddest iridescent sort of blue way, as she flitted in and out of the eagle's wing span, like a flower of delicacy on a wreath.
They were happy. Why not ? Magi had not forgotten his invitation to the feast of Revelation 19:17-18, and Wilhie thought that majesty was so very nice, when it was gentle. In a way, the dance reminded one of the Lord, as the sun began to rise, like the sun of righteousness arising with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2), for the very delicacy of Wilhie suggested to the imagination the gentle grace and compassion of the Lord, while the gentle but grand flight of the eagle near the ground reminded one that Christ had come to earth, that earthlings might fly to heaven, not on physical wings, but in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, who made the way open, the Spirit of God filling their hearts, and knowing the redeemed, applying His salvation, working with the Lord, one God for ever, unchanged.
Many things change, thought
Magi, but restraint is SO important. Many things change, thought Wilhie, but
precision is so vital. Together they danced in the sun, and Wilhie could not
help exclaiming in delight,
"The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
The lion shall eat straw like the ox,
And dust shall be the serpent's food,
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain," says the LORD. (Isaiah 65:25).
Curses can pass, she thought, when the cure has come.