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The Intractable Track and
the Pathway to Glory
New Life, August 31, 2000, p. 7
INTRACTABLE TERRAIN ON TRACK
FOR THE LORD'S COMING BACK
Jewish Action and Biblical Territory: Contrasts
There are a couple of things about this at the outset. First, HOW could intractable terrain be related to a track! Second, is that all this is about ?
The first is simple. It is BECAUSE the MIDDLE EAST terrain, or unmetaphorically, unprosperous progress, is so filled with its troubles and bogs as a path to be followed by those in it, or relating to it, that it is ON TRACK. That is the way it is supposed to be. Let us clarify further that 'supposed': one uses such things sometimes concerning what the law, or the order, or the discipline of a place or institution or work-place requires. It is SUPPOSED in the sense that this is the way it is going to be, while current authority rules. Well, that is the way the Middle East intractable problems are to be, while the Lord rules; and that is just another way of saying, there is no let up. God rules. This is the situation He has described in His word, as in Zechariah 12, and this is the way it is going to be.
But you may ask, Have we not just recently been dealing with just this point ? True, the actual news is FOREVER echoing the thuds of disappointment as people TRY to make it work, and the word of God is forever being verified as they fail. This is not defeatism; it is discipline. This is smoking when at a sensible school. It is forbidden. The thud of the cane echoes on the offenders. Better than cancer later... It does not cease as the young smokers parade their fatal wares, and shameless example. Nor in this case, to revert to the Middle East, does the provocation. They REFUSE the Messiah, and so does the Lord deliver them up to their IRRESOLVABLE delusions.
smoke of rebellion flirts with the clouds, infiltrates into the clods, lies
on the bogs. The parade of punishment continues. No one can resolve it; you
do not 'resolve' such things. They are subjected to what is coming to them.
Now ? It comes.
NO RESOLUTION WHEN THE SOLUTION IS PLAIN WRONG
Yes, there is no resolution. There are the big three, the Romanists with the history of persecuting the Jews; the Islam movement with its almost boundless territories in and about Israel, inadequate it seems for aiding the Moslem Palestinians for very special and hidden reasons; and there are the exponents of Judaism. One, if you will, is saying that 2+2= 5, another that it equals 41/2 (nearer, you see, but that does not help very much when it is wrong, and equations are SNAFU, situation as usual, all fouled up, for this part of the world!); and the third is insisting that the product is really is minus 1. That is amazingly wrong, the Muslim case, where God does not even have that incarnate Son on which all history revolves. But they are all wrong. They cannot agree. It is not least because they are all wrong that this is the case.
Before we proceed, however, there was another preliminary matter. IS THIS ALL for this news item (and you COULD ask, WHERE - on earth - is the news ? this too is to be answered NOW).
NO, it is not all. And it would destroy the intrigue if you were shown NOW WHY it is not all; but the other question is quite fascinating and relates intimately to the first. Now the news ?
it IS news that the Middle East does not resolve its problems in the immense
intensity of the all American efforts, and Egyptian peace with
Israel, the efforts of Arafat (subject to some vagaries of speech
at times, but then, they say, he has a voting populace to satisfy - this
they say, and much more, but let them), the demise of unyielding Syria's
leader and so on.
NO ADVANTAGE WHEN THE CHOICE IS REJECTION OF TRUTH
Let's see that verse in John 1:11-12: "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him."
It is the world itself which is at fault; and that fault is like the breach of the mainspring in a watch. The rest is really not much to the point. Trouble is certain; function aright becomes function awry, if indeed you manage any.
Then the Gentiles ? Paul admonishes and advises on this point: just because the Jews became a castaway nation (for a time only - Romans 11:25), DO NOT imagine that you will fair any better, you Gentile nations and peoples, if you exalt yourselves into thinking you are so DIFFERENT and have a 'natural', a way that is yours because you are what you are, and can play the fool, any more than the Jewish NATION did! That is his message in Romans 11, to the point.
On the Jewish side, for their part: You will recall the desire at the time of the crucifixion, was for the release of a murderer called Barabbus, rather than of the innocent - and formally declared innocent - Christ. He was innocent - that was the Governor's view and he stuck to it, but not to justice as the judicial murder proceeded. You do see, don't you, that in releasing a murderer, the Jewish NATION released on itself murder and got it in full measure, finishing up with Hitler!
not however forget the principle of justice. The Gentile world has released
an almost endless procession of murderers like Stalin or Mao (whose leadership
Fraser seemed to admire, judging from his diplomatic speech on the death
of the same!); and they have asked for it. The Russians asked for it, and
the Chinese likewise (and how many delightfully courageous Chinese youngsters
have been persecuted, abased, imprisoned with un-delightful indelicacies,
in the interests of routine worship of the shrine of the State, formally
imposed as were the majesties of Roman Catholicism in the Inquisition! Let
us face it, all the talk does not remove the way of Communism. It is a similar
principle of false 'papacy' run riot, human pretension in lordly clothes
not permitted by Christ - Matthew 23:8-10. Whether the thing to be followed
on demand is called a 'christ' or merely treated as one, the principle
is not different.
But to choose one murderer
Payment for this hideous oversight, this enrichment of Russia in its imprisonment under that fatal system ? It lasted about 45 years.
The result was called the COLD WAR! Costly business ... This was its procedural basis. Buy a bully and have one! No small error over no small period led to no minor result.
Errors DO count, and not only at schools and colleges and universities. Negativity is unnecessary relative to truth; but if you insist, the 'marks' roll in, and on, and on ... and if there is no repentance... on yet again.
God is merciful, but not foolish. "Let them not again return to their folly," His word says.
Thus have the Gentiles done
their part to mirror the Jews in much, and their Gentile 'world' accordingly
begins more and more to resemble that of the Jews, in their national disciplines
of yore. As to that, read II Chronicles 36, Lamentaitons and then the papers
about World War II, and the Nazi ideas with cyanide gas and crude experiments
on the Jews, when they did not seek death direct... Then perhaps you could
simply read Leviticus 26:18ff..
INTENSIFYING PRELIMINARIES TO THE PREDICTED TIMES AT HAND
Citing from a letter from Victor Redko,
now expelled, we find in New Life these words, about their work since
The twin facts then, the Israeli resistance to this action, and the message of the extent to which inroads are being made (just as they were made earlier, when Bible knowledge games were as popular as baseball in the US, we once read - that is Old Testament ones, but that is FULL of Christ's coming, including the date SMR pp. 886ff.), are eloquent. Thus we are seeing that both written and walking missionaries alike are at work, as is the effect of war, and as in Zechariah 12. Indeed, in that prophecy of the repentance to come of Israel, for killing their Messiah, there is a background of enormous military conflict. This too threatens like a bleeding ulcer, the body, the health of the nation!
with these various forces, there is coming to fruition the entire scenario
for a decided RESULT, noted in Zechariah 12:10, when, with amazing detail,
there is a massive repentance at the killing of THEIR OWN Messiah! So the
brew bubbles, and the rich, penetrating aroma fills the house of the world,
which watches, which wonders, and watches anew the Middle East.
A RETURN TO THE ISLANDS
and then the Movements that Liberate
1. The Islands and their inhabitants
What is going to happen ?
Before we answer this question, let us look at some of the possible impediments, and remove them. God has said many things about this in the Bible. Our present task is to gain orientation, so that we do not listlessly lose them.
Often enough we have presented this, from SMR pp. 502ff., to The Biblical Workman Ch. 1, End-note 3 and many more. But today, put differently, we are going to look beyond the more obvious immediate features, on ... and to consider again the phenomenon of islands, as first considered in Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 2.
There we saw a number of areas where unity is needlessly breached, and where due and proper understanding is achievable. We looked at examples: such things as predestination and freewill, exclusive psalm singing, bishops and the like, in a series of matters needing some moderation, since there has been needless division without ground or authority, tending to extremes instead of Biblical moderation: what is that ? It is a moderation BY the Bible of views which tend to skip off without its authority, either because some church gets too many big ideas, or some philosophy, or some slack habit, or some other causative invention. It is possible to achieve this by removing extreme inferences that lack actual warrant, but by simultaneously regarding principles which ARE there, and ensuring that these are kept.
These things we considered, and took SIX cases requiring such improved unity. But now there is a seventh.
So you see, there IS another topic, but one coming like a child from a womb, inherent in our news. It is the greater topic of what must be seen coming. It is the matter of prophetic standpoint. This is what relates to us now, in our present topic.
In this field, there are some stumbling blocks, some of which we have noted at some length before. There is for example the confusion of fighting corners (amillenialism, premillenialism, postmillenialism and all that) with facts. These positions, to which as a sad addendum, must be added dispensationalism, though this is sometimes modified somewhat, have secured their grounds and have their staff and officers very often. They tend often enough to interfere with simple Biblical exegesis, like Calvin's (non-systematic) error on love (as seen in Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 2, End-note 1 cf. Predestination and Freewill Section 2).
Now then, we have occasion to consider in this island setting, a new and SEVENTH area of scriptural moderation: prophetic standpoint.
With a view to seeing straight and getting clear what is clear, outside the squalor of needless competitiveness, let us consider something of these matters, before seeing a little further ahead in the Middle East, and indeed in the history impending, of the world. The three largely involved religiously and mentioned for this area, Judaism, Muslim belief and Roman Catholicism, as so often demonstrated on this site, are wrong (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 13,30, and Errors in Other Religions). But apart from that, we need to be unsaddling the stubborn mule of partisan conflict and looking at what is written with cleared eyes. Let us now look at the Biblical presentation.
Incidentally, as preliminary reading for this, try SMR Appendix A (amillenialism), Scoop of the Universe 45, esp. Part II (post-millenialism), and Biblical Blessings Chs. 2 and 3 , The Biblical Wokrman 1 (dispensationalism). If your appetite is still unsated, see Amillenialism, premillenialism... in the Index. Indeed, in the first of these references, when a typical error of amillenialism is seen in the light of the word of God (the tendency to REMOVE the prophetic scriptures on Israel, post Christ, without warrant, and contrary to warrant), we see that the martial combat often engaged in, on the millenial topic, is unfortunately by tradition or philosophy, extended to the simple facts of the predicted Jewish return to Israel.
Thus the nomenclature of things far less vital at this moment, tends to be confused or even confusing to some. The question of the millenium's meaning is quite different from the fact of the prediction of Israel's return. As indicated, camp politics or philosophy or both, have tended to confuse things. It is time to un-confuse them. The word of God is working, and so must comprehension follow it. It is time.
fact that premillenialism has tended to overflow into the wastelands
of dispensationalism, and that the latter tended to be a term
used both of facts and of fictions, does not help the unwary.
A view that the Lord acted in different ways in different times tends to become a divorce of unitary MEANING from the diversification of procedure. Let us look at that for a moment.
2. Developments and Dispensations: the Same God with the Same Heart Deals with a New Situation
Thus it is of course true that in the beginning, Adam without sin, was in a test of one kind; and ever afterwards, man has been in a different environment, that of sin, where the question at stake, the burning, central and vital question, has not been obedience as such, but faith in the Lord and reception of His salvation. That certainly was no small DEVELOPMENT!
Obedience is now not in the same format as before. ONCE it was a test, the test; now it is the fruit of a final challenge: to receive the Saviour. Then no saviour was needed, no sin was in Adam. Since then, the case is very different (as in Romans 5:1-12).
From salvation, obedience now follows, as night from day, as good fruit from good trees; and though there are many struggles, it is a simple fact that the regenerated being looks like it in fruit. It It is not now THE test, but it assuredly is a RESULT of the test. Now it is a matter of being 'planted by My heavenly Father' as Jesus declared, regenerated, not in existential glories of emotional ratpure WITHOUT reality, but by faith. THAT is what is the same: FAITH in Him who is invisible, but whose multitudinous works are MOST visible, as we have repeatedly seen; faith WHICH is invisible, like love and courage and character, in its own dimensions, but like all things of spiritual power, operational in the more immediate grounds of action and purpose. Faith remains thus the same, in a world which like a novel, has been crafted with a material format. That has always been the same.
Obedience is now a result of the criterion, faith with repentance in Christ according to His word, so that as a matter of fact, a life with characterisable obedience follows. It is NOT our characterisation which makes it what it is, since we are fallible, and presumption is not pleasing to God (Psalm 19:13, Matthew 7:1). Nevertheless, without presumption, we see not the squalor or defeat as the criterion of the Christian life, but apart from occasional falls (even Peter, even Paul, even David), but the glint of victory on the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, as it is wielded in combat with evil, and as it is wielded in our hearts, to produce contrition and stimulate inspiration. Let us however for one moment, pursue this confusion sometimes found on the topic of obedience, and its assessment!
Evils such as trying to 'judge' (despite the 'judge not' in Matthew 7:1) those whose left hands may be doing what neither their right hands nor their neighbours SEE, and living a life far beyond what other sinners realise, are a mere excrescence, having nothing to do with Biblical Christianity. It involves a 'voluntary subjection' to the buffetings of those who intrude (as in II Corinthians 11). It is neither equipped with the liberty in Christ (II Cor. 3:17ff.), nor the singularity of the Lordship of Christ.
Fruits are certainly indicative, so long as you do not, in looking at or for them, violate the 'judge not' and move into the realms of spiritual assessment, instead of the just area and arena of obvious realities - such as the sin of David with Bathsheba.
The fruit passage in Matthew relates to false prophets at its commencement, the sure and steadfast way in which they can be recognised, and the outline of the inference to good trees, as the opposite extreme and good fruit is by contrast. It is not setting up some poor, intrusive and lordly church connection to perform operations at which angels might tremble. When things that are indeed obvious and scripturally clear are violated, then is time for discipline. But faith is sui generis, it is from God, it operates BECAUSE it is there, not because it is given licence by some sort of nonsense as though it were for men to assess! I believed, therefore I spoke remains the case: what is there ACTS. It cannot help it. You might as well 'ask' radioactivity to remain dormant while you assess whether it is there. It will act; even though, to revert to our topic from this figure, men stand in judgment and aver otherwise!
Worlds apart from the point made by Christ, of seeing the clear testimony of false prophets as negative (Matthew 7:15), since it lacks the doctrine and the willingness to follow it, a proper judgment based on the Biblical doctrine is any concept of making subjective assessments that transcend the clear indications of objective reality which are as written. Let no man play God, nor any Church. HE ALONE knows the heart. Let us leave it so. Arrogant 'authority' must not be allowed to distort vision. But let us return to our field. Obedience then is in common with the case of Adam, but it is not the test as such any longer. It is fruit not root. Faith however in both cases, Eden and now, is fundamental and operative and has results, clear and sure, steadfast and open to God.
Of course, it always follows in essence and principle from FAITH (as James is quick to remind the reader). Keeping all assessment of one another, on the part of Christians, within the prior BOUNDS of 'judge not' in Matthew 7 (which is in the same chapter as the good fruit reference), means that one must deal with all these questions conjointly. You do not judge who is what on subjective and partial concepts; but only in ways too stark to be confused, and as presented for the purpose by the Bible. Thus obedience has changed its nature from absolute determinant to the character of one's walk.
This much you could call, if you will, a difference of dispensation; but one would prefer a development from purity to sin, and the co-ordinate provision in the realm, now, of salvation. Nevertheless, the cleavage is important, though there is no change in God, only in man. The Lord addresses the change in state of man, just as a scientist addresses the change in state of alcohol from liquid to vapour. It IS different, but it is not something which makes a change of heart in the scientist. It is a new field for the application of what is in mind always. At least, if the scientist were divine, that would be the case, for always known then, would be the situation and all possible situations.
The position, then, in the Fall of man, of obedience changes from primary expression of faith, to secondary. At that, however, we see, there is FAITH always back of it. In PRINCIPLE that is the same, although now there is a new dimension for its operation, as man a sinner, comes to the provision by covenant of salvation.
Nevertheless, this is a development to be expected, as when one goes to hospital instead of being normally healthy. So it was a major movement from Adam to his offspring, but apart from His nature as love being further now invoked in man's predicament (but not for all that changed in itself), God is not moved. His hand is stretched out to man in his new unloveliness, that is all. In the end, it was to become a crucified hand; but that was a development always required, ultimately paid for, and then provided in the consummation of salvation as that hand handsomely held the elixir of eternity for man, to his lips, in the resurrection which broke death.
Though, then, many presume, and expect people to await church decision that their fruit is suitable for endorsement, and that they may now consider themselves believers, as it appears (so that their faith would not exist till they were told, so that the fruit COULD not come - for nothing pleases God without faith): nevertheless, apart from these distortions, the point is that good trees do IN FACT bear good fruit. Trees not planted by the Lord ARE to be uprooted (Matthew 15:13). Clear violations that are chronic and fester can occur; these must not be ignored. Regeneration is not perfection, but it is a change of state, and its results will assuredly follow and become conspicuous to the angels, and in a healthy church, to men. Many who are first will be last, and the last first, however, so that the presumption of haughty disdain, so worthy of the Pharisees, and knowledgeable schisms and divisions of proud flesh, is to be excluded in all this.
Regeneration by the word and Spirit of God DOES lead to the principle, "He who is born of God does not make a practice of sin". The matter is however not a simple case as in Eden, for anyone who imagines he is without sin is a self-deceived, and the advocate for the sinner is pressed on the Christian by John in I John 2:1ff..
Biblically, then, there is NOW, since the beginning the change. Man fell and has been in a pathological condition ever since: NOT one without remedy. But the remedy has been without fail essential, and never fails, though many toy with their medicine and never swallow it, as in Hebrews 6 and 10.
Thus there is now a necessity of repentance to life (Acts 11:18), and a requisition for faith that seizes the substance of hope, in Christ, a requirement for reception of the same Christ by faith: and He, being alive, administers the believer's life. There are frauds, meaningful ones, confused ones: but there are the believers also. That was then, the simple change from sin-free Adam (as at the first) to sinful man.
after this development in and for faith, which remains the same, there is
a continuity of case. Thus, in the Old Testament, they were looking toward
the Messiah, to pay or overcome; in the New, they are looking back on the
payment. It is all one. These things have been covered in Biblical Blessings
Ch. 4, Barbs, Arrows and Balms Ch.
13 and 17,
and elsewhere. The unity of treatment since man fell into sin is basic, principial
and arresting. The divine word has grown in specification, but not changed
in portent and scene. This is what is shown in the above references.
God never changes and His ways do not change (Habakkuk 3:6).
Our point at this moment is this: dispensationalism is not normally taken to mean this obvious reality of the fall of Adam, and the unity of the approach from the Lord, to man, since then and the unity of faith in the Lord at all times since man ever began. Instead, it disperses the unity of the everlasting gospel, and can pitch the line forwards to the 'millenium' or back elsewhere, or import certain features into the present, or export them without warrant, and contrary to warrant. It tends to select slots and to make things fit in, rather like the proud flesh of those too large for their clothes. It is unsound, unlovely and misled. Thus if Christ is telling us certain things that are to be done, it is only by explicitly ADDING to the word of God, that this is imagined to be FOR some other period. If it were, would He not have told us so (as in John 14:1-3, by parallel!). To move the relevance of something directed to listeners to some other phase, period and place is certainly possible, provided the initiative for DOING SO is that of the SPEAKER. Otherwise, it is scarcely distinguishable from mind wandering ... on the part of the hearers, who through their traditions, as Christ declared (Mark 7:7) can make void the word of God.
There must be strong and necessary grounds, which however spiritual, are present so that it becomes an OBJECTIVE study of the word of God, and not a subjective situation in which a a flirtation with a site replaces its instruction. What He really meant is what He actually said, and what is necessarily implied. Beyond that, there is no doctrine. One may have intimations or feelings, but this is not the stuff of doctrine. What GOD says must NOT be added to by such inventions, invasions and obtrusions from the carnal mind. Even if in something such a subjectivity happened to be correct , it is unteachable, for it is the mind of man adding itself to the mind of God, who, if He had wished to intimate more, would have said it. His word is not twisted, intricately devious or the like (Proverbs 8:8).
Restraint therefore is as necessary as boldness in declaring the word of God. But this is always so with authority: there is the certainty provided, to be executed with zeal (if it is not in violation of the word of God), and there is the ZEALOUS INTERPRETATION OF THE EMPLOYE who rushes in with misdirection and officiousness. It is, says the wisdom of God, all clear to him who understands. A GOOD understanding have those who keep His commandments, rather than invent them, or add their slants to His word, like channels to allow the weir waters to exit!
It is necessary to give proof for all propositions from the Bible, and by contrast, this dispensational approach gives nothing but a combination of profusion and confusion. As Romans 4 indicates, the very faith of Abraham is the one which is now operative, before all works. The arena of terms, the dynamics and the inter-relationship with God are all quite the same. It is always and only the works of God which benefit the sinner's change of state from lost to redeemed (Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1-10). God never allows man to come as a sinner and make his own door to life, even even contribute. It is the work of GOD that one should believe; the WHOLE gamut, by faith through grace being saved, is NOT of yourselves, BUT the work of God. On this see further SMR pp. 524-532.
It is not of course our purpose now to go over all these things so often treated before. It is however necessary to remove any confusion at the outset as we see the need of clarity, having already done our base work in this field. We are going to see the need to return from some MORE islands, as in Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 2, to the mainland; or from one more island, with many areas of occupation. We shall not be ungrateful for some of the contributions, but if we are to grow, it is essential we move forward, from the dull thud of cannons, or the swift fire of rockets across straits to the islands to the peace of truth as it is indited in the word of God.
time for many to return to the mainland from such distortions, contortions,
proud flesh of philosophy, and be rigorous in keeping precisely to what the
Bible warrants, with no addition of mere preference. When that happens, the
future is abundantly clear in the abundance of declarations the Lord has
made. There is neither need nor liberty to add, or to subtract, to opine
or to intone.
3. Modes of Movement
on the Return
from the Millenial Island, in Much Misnamed
A vote of thanks, despite the difficulties, in some things, needlessly pursued.
Thus we could thank the amillenial island, or the amillenial inlet of the millenial island if you prefer, for its reminder that while the millenium is (indeed as we shall present shortly) largely unknown in size, a topic which they take too far, there is indeed NO OTHER GOSPEL, nor has there ever been, it being everlasting, true from the first, unchanged to the last, merely amplified in its applications and verified in its predictions, paid for in its redemption and vindicated in the resurrection of the body of the only Saviour.
It shows likewise correctly that there is, as there has long been, just one church, which the church in the wilderness or other (as in Acts 7:38), one called out body, with one gospel in pictorial form, and in principle and prophecy, or in substantial fulfilment, but one, with one Lord. It is true that the theocratic State of Israel was one, whereas the peoples now from whom the assemblage and congregation of the elect is drawn, is international; that the latter are not subject to the political laws therefore of the theocratic state, since they do not in fact live in one. Nevertheless, despite this administrative difference, the gospel is unchanged, as shown so often on this site, and in particular in Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17.and stressed in Romans 4 and Hebrews 8-10.
Accordingly it is indeed true that the church is mentioned in the Old Testament, though not with the fulness of course, which is to be found in the state of the art articles of the New Covenant, as presented in the New Testament.
Concerning this, see for the relevant New Testament scriptures, SMR pp. 1108-1101, and for the Old Testament, SMR pp. 94, 459, 756-763, 792-793, 801, 825-829, 941, for example; and with special reference to Isaiah inter alia, The Biblical Workman Ch. 1, pp. 17ff., esp. End-note 3, in which general location you also see the unitary Old Testament representation of the New Testament Gospel and the inter-penetration of Old and New Testament figures in that unity, even to the point of the operational buildings in view! In Isaiah 66 (cf. SMR Appendix A) we see it in a priesthood notation which shocks while it incorporates, moving from external to eternal form, in Christ (paralleled and advanced in Isaiah 65:13-15, Isaiah 41-42 as the one chapter changes to the other, and the desolation of nullity for all men and any man of the children of men, in 41:27ff. becomes the consolation of the presence of the Messiah, in 42:1ff., the child of God - Isaiah 9:6, 48:16, Micah 5:1-3, Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 45) in whom, alone of all men, man must trust (Psalm 2, Jeremiah 17:5ff.).
Such inter-penetration and consummate ease of interaction of Old and New Testament symbols as seen in these sites dealing with the prophecies of Isaiah, result from the essentially identical nature of the faith and fellowship covenant in both Testaments. In the same relationship, see The Biblical Workman Appendix I, Excursion. Here indeed you see traced in some detail, just that development to which we are now referring, from Gospel to the end-time enterprises which follow. This makes it clear that our present purpose is not so much to trace these, already traced more than once in the above references. Rather now we aim to see some further irenic perspective, to prevent mist obscuring the wind-screen.
For more on Isaiah's presentation of the Gospel, with special reference to the end-time events following, see Scoop of the Universe47, esp. End-note, and more directly on the gospel enshrined in Isaiah, SMR pp. 755ff., 763ff, 55ff., The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 10, pp. 175-179.
These then have been biblically warranted emphases in much that is (rather unfortunately, because the name can mislead) amillenialism. For these UNITARY considerations relative to the people of the Lord in both Testaments, and this insistence on the church in its preliminary format in the Old Testament, we are glad for amillenialism, even if this excellent contribution is associated so unnecessarily with an evacuation notice given to the millenium itself!
Amillenialism moreover sometimes, if not often, associated with a desire for things to progress, and progress, rather as one might expect in the British Empire situation (The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 7, final End-note 1, Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 73, 77), and US revival action of the nineteenth century.
The contrast with any such expectation and visible reality, on the one hand, and Biblical prediction, on the other, has been shown in such places as Scoop of the Universe 45, Part II , Part II, SMR Chs. 8, 9. Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 73, Joyful Jottings 14.
Indeed, as to the British Empire so clearly - despite its most numerous faults, a force in its day to give arrest to many evils, and this on a profound scale, it had perils that were inbuilt, in the field of religion. The formalised conformity sometimes without conception, and often without conversion, was one of its downfalls. All was by no means well in the state of England. In fact, the more certainly non-Christian the nation, the more certainly ludicrous any church in its hands! In this, the Presbyterian desire, passion, to have the LORD ONLY as its head was most wise and entirely scriptural. NO ONE is master but Christ in the church (Matthew 23:8-10).
This applies to Rome as to London. While Rome's interventions were colossal, the Anglican misfortune to be under the State also has led to a failure, and if to vastly less imposition, nevertheless to its own contribution to the maladies and murders of the times. Moreover, the Church of England had a vast array of martyrs and scholars of great eminence, and its 39 Articles are quite sound. It was not its doctrine(in the days when it was kept) which has been the question, at that level (though now it seems, it can move massively and that with little restraint cf. Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 7): it was its subjugation to the State, a fallen institution, despite its moments of excellence. The State is not in itself Christian, and no Christian body can ever afford to be 'under' such a thing.
The spirit of Babylon is now vested cordially in Rome's increasingly recognised pontifical face, as England sinks in spiritual apathy increasingly, as far as the C. of E. is concerned, and popular involvement lapses just as ungodly moments or phases of terrorism, have for centuries past, departed. (Cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 2, pp. 21ff., SMR Ch. 5, p. 446, Ch. 10, pp. 1088Gff., *20, 973A, *23.) Its leadership in Reformation realities from the traditional suppressions of Rome is lost. It is now being increasingly submerged as a mere satellite to the evils of Babylon's final luminary, the religion of Rome. Yet that itself is soon to be submerged in that far more secular and accepted religion of international humanistic self-exaltation which, though present in Rome's grasp for power, is here taken to its final consummation (as seen in the Biblical Blessings reference above and SMR pp. 750Bff.). Such 'progresses' have not been the way. Christ is the way.
aside these harmful excrescences, it is time for a return from the heavily
insulated island of error, with these treasures justly on board, to the mainland
of what both the Bible and the news are saying so repeatedly, in so many
spheres, the former for so long, the latter with such immensely increasing
intensity, as we have occasion on this site, frequently to notice.
Now this IS an outpost.
Some of the premillenial contingent is already on the mainland. Some however kept bad company with thoroughly misled dispensationalists, and have been variously, to different degrees, infected. The whole invisible arena of churches that disappear into thin air, despite the fact that orders for the church's operation have no limit, nor do the gates of hell prevail against it (Matthew 16, 18), is not very helpful. One well remembers the 'invisibility' of such support when in New Zealand, fighting for the faith at the very primary level of the bodily resurrection how many of this persuasion, apparently grateful for Biblical teaching when all was well, and the ecclesiastical junta did its squalid work of oppression. One was left to fight alone: but not alone, for the Lord is never absent, and His presence is what counts.
It is true, of course, that many churches will, did and must disappear in the ruins of their itching ears (II Timothy 4:1ff., II Thessalonians 2), with veering courses from the word of God taking them into the vortices of destruction, as predicted. It is true that the social establishment or even political power, with which some churches have been connected is going, fast. It is quite to the point to note that the sort of 'we are IT and the rest are not', national situation, as perhaps reflected from Victorian England in some ways, is completely ludicrous now. No nation gives even a glimmer of hope for its Christian identity. The pressure is ON! MANY are falling. The Graham organisation's virtual alliance with Rome is merely an index to the EXTENT and SUBTLETY of it.
However, the whole disregard of New Testament provisions in detail, for organisation, and of its significance for the organised church has tended to lead, in an extreme reaction, to the very things not desired. Thus the lack of visible authority and actual co-operation in a reliable and grave way in the midst of things, so that the church STANDS and does not duck when various pressures assail christendom, being too 'invisible' to ACT, is to be overcome with patience and love, but neither with the radicalism of unbelief nor the folly of mere inaction.
Alas the 'invisible' church emphasis, though true in the ultimate, yet as a basis for current inaction is merely one more false implication and addition to scripture, in violation of its provisions. We must stand (Ephesians 6) with weaponry and in joint integrity, fearless and biblical, without the luxury of additions and subtractions to taste (II Corinthians 4:1ff., Galatians 3, 5, Romans 12, as shown by the apostle, exemplified by Christ and charged in I Timothy 4:6ff., Titus 1:9, Hebrews 13:17, Philippians 1:20-21, Acts 4:23ff., 5:29).
The church of Christ makes itself MOST visible, as Christ did, and Peter, and all from Cranmer, Ridely and Latimer, to Calvin and Know and the thousands of vocal martyrs who fear nothing and speak together. Alas, the exclusion of the other part of the 'invisible church', its visible manifestation (as in Matthew 18:15ff.) tends to lead to mere maverick authority, or capacity for caprice in inadequately formulated creeds, conditions and significance. That leads to weakness, as well as failure to co-operate with the team the Lord has on the field. This is no excuse for combination with what defies the teaching of the Bible, but a feature of the place of Christ in the body which is His, who acts today, and does not cease.
THIS part of the premillenial contingent needs, being tainted by excess, to come back, but bringing the correct premillenial component, AS SUCH, with them. There is a millenium as we have seen (SMR pp. 502ff., Repent or Perish Ch. 6, pp. 128ff., and see Index) and shall see further shortly. It is not yet.
some premillenial emphasis has given wrongly short shrift to the two MASSIVE
contributions from amillenialism: the ONE GOSPEL and the ONE BODY emphasis,
noted above. This is quite fundamental, and shows the danger of taking up
POSITIONS, instead of sensitive and continual reference to the word of God.
It is best to realise however that this Bay has had its contribution also. There is a sense in which the MAIN and MIGHTY work of the Cross of Christ having been done, the enemy of souls being discountenanced, the power of God in precise perfection having been shown, the knowledge of God having been seen in the face of Christ Jesus (Hebrews 2, II Corinthians 4, II Timothy 3:16, II Corinthians 5, John 1, Hebrews 9-10, John 14), the rest is something that might perhaps almost be compared to a mop up. Isaiah 7, and the incarnation of 9, are past; so that in all the outworkings of wonder and fulfilment, it remains true that the principal need is past already. The residue, while dramatic, does not alter the substance in the slightest detail. The atonement, in power and wonder, is FINISHED.
We must not however be carried away by the spiritual realities, to imagine that God does not mean, actually, just what He says about the conflicts, moral, spiritual, political, military to come (as in Isaiah 66 notoriously). Isaiah 9 for example, has not only the incarnation of the prince of Peace who also has the name of the God Almighty (as in Isaiah 44:6, Revelation 2:8, John 8:58). It has verse 7, where His government is geared for ENTIRE TERRESTRIAL IMPLEMENTATION! (cf. Psalm 66:3-4, 86:9, Psalm 2).
The saints in heaven, in Revelation 6, to await in their concern, the completion of the ravages on the saints on earth, would not concur in the concept that nothing more remained! What remains is, in Revelation, filled with increasingly devastating disorder of astronomy, maritime and terrestrial evil, moral rebellions and aspiring gluttony for spiritual power, just as we have seen, and II Timothy 3, Matthew 24 and II Thessalonians 2 detail to the end. The "beginning of sorrows", to use Christ's words, horrendous as the Lord Himself showed this to be, is not the end. The increments of the great tribulation are express, and delivered orally by Christ, as they will be by history, at His will and word accordingly. And so, of course, is the case. The case, for that matter, was verbally packed by the Lord and is now being chronologically unpacked for the newscasters to note. They must not be the only ones who note it!
From the postmillenial emphasis, therefore, one must turn, for it is
Carried with them, however, is this just if not indeed glorious emphasis, amid the error, but no part of it, on the SINGULAR effectual, basic and overall victory of the Lord on the Cross and in the resurrection already so signally effected.
The premillenial population, however, where not ensnared as quite frequently occurred, can now and should now proliferate their mainland testimony on the fact that while the actual duration of the millenium is basically unknown (for reasons to be noted soon), yet it IS utterly consonant with the criteria, the conditions, the THINGS TO HAPPEN IN IT, which the word of God has detailed, some of which were noted above. Evacuation of the clear teaching of the word of God on account of certain philosophic principles, simple extrapolations of one doctrine, without ground, beyond the territory accorded it in the word of God, this is something to be eschewed, avoided like rats and cok-roaches, the implements of disease in a ruin.
Here is no ruin, but the very testimony of God, the truth. The millenium will happen, and the vindication of the glory of the Lord on the earth which crucified Him, is scheduled. Its power and majesty are very clear in many places, such as Psalm 72, 86, 2 and Isaiah 11, 65, Zechariah 14. A certain desire for the chic look of just finish is more like the swooning defeat of a tired boxer than the delighted awe of a watchful servant. Here has been a major excellence in some of premillenialism: it has REFUSED to do such excision to the word of God.
Here however we must avoid a further dispensational trap, or blindness to the unity of the faith, one faith, and of the Gospel, whether to and through Abraham, or in its fuller actualisation (as in Romans 4). The events in Zechariah 14, concerning animal sacrifice, MUST be interpreted as IN the one Gospel, inalienable, immutable, indisputable (as in Galatians 1), so that even if Paul or an angel preached another, their would be CURSES upon the whole.
This is a BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE. We must therefore allow the LAW of God to LAY ITSELF DOWN here. What GOD EXCLUDES, no man can include, except in rebellion, if not voluntary, then actual for all that. If God speaks, be still! THAT is the principle. If God speaks, LISTEN: that is another. This is indispensable in all understanding of the will and mind of the Lord; just as it is for children, however naughty, when heeding the desires of their parents.
Hence in Zechariah 14, we understand this feature as one of the many uses of the events, signals, episodes of the one covenant or time, to represent by imagery of an interesting and stimulating kind (because it forces you to SEE the unity underlying the image and the reality and hence to understand better what is in view), the meaning of the other. The bud is put for the flower; the preparation for the consummation. We do the same sort of thing when we say, for example, as adults: 'He knocked my marbles out with his tore', or 'He is walking on stilts'. The usage of earlier things, here of childhood, for later ones can evoke emotion, and bring to light an underlying similarity. When you KNOW the principles of the actual thing, there is no slightest danger of confusion. When the failure to realise it brings you into catastrophic, Galatians 1 style collision with the word of God, then at that, it is time to quit!
has its place as in all speech, when it is CLEAR that this is what it is.
It cannot be INCLUDED when there is no ground for the supposition that it
is occurring. It MUST NOT,
however, be included, as if literal, when a STATED PRINCIPLE would by this be violated. We are, in short, supposed to use our eyes, ears and common sense, and to actually read and apply all that is written. That is WHY it is written, that it should be read, heard, applied, done, understood (cf. II Timothy 3:16)..
having been said, the premillenial insistence on development of evil to a
climax to be thrust into destruction with contempt by the sudden, glorious
and invincible presence of the Lord, returning to the site of His crucifixion
experiences, indeed to the Mount of Olives, is just.
He left there, He is to come back there, and the angel indicated He would return in the way He left (Acts 1, Matthew 28, Zechariah 14). In short, where we have ground in principle, we can understand allegory; where we have not, we need to remember that allegory is at the discretion of the clear minded author (Proverbs 8:8), who does not leave things up for grabs, but says what He wishes and indicates the just criteria of comprehension.
not intrude into especially clear situations on a given plane, because we
feel like it.
This is neither modest nor scholarly. It is unwise and forbidden. The word must speak for itself. When God is the speaker, this becomes not only desirable, but utterly essential. What GOD excludes (as in Galatians 1), let no man include. Indeed, Isaiah 53 with 66:1-4, had already made it clear that the former things were to pass away, not be re-installed, as did Jeremiah 3:16 with 31:31, Isaiah 65:13-15 in context.
these caveats, then the premillenial camp on the mainland can have its doors
opened further, and the returning islanders, including many premillenialists,
infected from without, can join.
We have already seen something of the concept of EXPRESS and EXPLICIT teaching being the STRUCTURE into which all real or imagined figures of speech or allegory are to fit, a binding in any literature, and above all, in what is statedly not twisted or contorted (Proverbs 30:6).
There must be
There must, in short be
There MUST on the other hand, be CONTEXTUAL FIDELTITY in EACH text, as well as between ALL texts, and this at whatever cost to pre-conception. What has often been seen is this: some texts give one idea, and this then for some reason rules in the mind of the reader, so that complementary material is not allowed to 'interfere', and with this behaviour comes the result of division, divisiveness and clamour. There must be, as in the human brain, an inter-activity between components, and a stream not of electricity, but of understanding, between all the parts with extreme sensitivity and delicacy, doing violence to NOTHING, and giving assent to all that is clearly affirmed.
the word of God is to be taken seriously, strenuously, with imagination that
is at HIS instance, not our own; but without a stolidity which does not find
where His liberty applies without verbal restriction, the nuances that fit
with other scriptures and are reinforced and even, indeed at times, are interpreted
by them. We are to respond to what it is, take it as it comes, adapt to its
every intimation and intonation, and be sure that the ground is not imagination
at any time, on our part, but response to what is demonstrably written and
THE SIMPLICITY OF THE THING
Profound, but like some other things, relatively easy to comprehend in its magnitudes, when you take the presentation as it is given. That is what Proverbs 8 teaches. It is when, like an unbalanced service action in tennis, you try to FORCE this or that ON the wordof God, or FROM the word of God, that you get division and dissension, decline and confusion. But this ? it is not necessary. Take the word as it comes and it is quite clear, even if, in some things, it is a challenge to the great and a delight to the most intense activity. It is the unstable who wrest things, as Paul puts it, to their own destruction. Let us then be stable, and delight in the word of God, and STOP where our thoughts run on, and PROCEED when we shrink back from WHAT IS THERE. It is self-interpreting, and the Lord Himself is the basis of understanding. HIS direction is to the word itself, but it is His presence which enables.
When it is all over, and the pugilistic campaigns as if for the election of some US President die down, and the word rules, we come back to the excellent LIMITATIONS on error which some of these island stresses, insular though they have been at at times, have placed on other and different errors. There has been a tendency to mutual restraint, the one from the other. We come back from this mutual interaction to what is written. That is what remains. That is what is there. That is the testimony of the Lord.
As we have seen in detail, and some of the references noted above show in detail, this brings in a vindication of Christ when He returns personally where He left off, not in works of salvation, but in works of majesty and rule (as in Isaiah 11). The 1000 year period of Revelation occurs, and as Isaiah 26:10 makes as clear as Revelation 20, it is obvious that the sheer effrontery of refusal of rule (as in -We shall not have this man to rule over us, in the parable of Christ) is independent of good conditions. Give them what you will, there are those many who WILL not submit, WILL not love, MUST stage a rebellion even from the Lord, that majesty of grace, that criterion of beauty, that base of all goodness, and tenderness.
Give to many, a world filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea, and you will still get satanic rebellion. There are always those wanting the power without impediment, and willing to go where it is, or seems to be, to get it.
The millenium, before this final outbreak so explicit in Revelation 20, certainly requires the application of all Biblical principles as noted under 'principles' above. There are however certain guarantees to work's outcome, to peace, to rule, to majesty, to discipline, to ALL knees bowing (Isaiah 45, Zechariah 14), and there are certain residues of evil (as in Isaiah 65:20), co-incident with this wholly unworldly quietus. It takes time for all this submission and eventuation, for all this peace and quelling, all this power and glory to manifest itself.
How long then is the millenium to proceed ? Who knows ? Revelation is a book filled with symbols; though symbols signify, they do not occlude! Peter in the very context of the return of the Lord, has already in this future context, made a day as 1000 years. It is enough, and it would seem most fitting to speak with authority: YOU CANNOT KNOW HOW LONG. It could be quite short. It must be a DAY enabling and allowing the outcomes so frequently noted ( as in Isaiah 65, Micah 4, Isaiah 2, Zechariah 14).
What does it matter ? THIS is not an explanation of anything, but a depiction of a necessity which the Lord has laid on things, that HE will be vindicated IN the Messiah ON this earth (as in Psalm 86:9, Zechariah 14). It is easy to DIVIDE when you do not know. Far better in some things, not given, to admit it. It is no shame not to know what is not told. What of it ? It is God who knows all things. Let us be sufficed with what He has said. That is what is our need. It is enough to find that! But let us return to this odious rebellion to terminate the millenium, which also acts as a signal, if you will, to the dismissal of the earth (as in Revelation 20:7-11).
It is so majestically clear and clearly majestic, what follows: "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great , standing before God, and books were opened" (from Rev. 20:11-12).
IN THE FACE of that, millenium though there statedly be, there will STILL be revolt. This is the painful, grievous and empirical fact which is to be exhibited, at the end of the millenium: yes, even then.
Thus by the church will be made manifest even this to the principalities and powers, that there is NO other alternative. ALL that could be done, is done. NOTHING is left undone that could be done. The cross was stated;u so that ALL things in heaven or earth (Colossians 1:19ff.) should be reconciled.
If God chooses to have Christ speak even to the spirits in prison (on which see Scoop of the Universe 43, pp. 165ff.), and to have a millenial authority in the earth which has had surfeit of liberty, to vindicate and indicate the residue of things to all, for ever, so be it.
It is wonderful in conception, clear in diction and it is to this, like rest after examination, which is coming. By the millenium, the saints have finished their time, and their works do follow them, as it says; the earth will receive its Indian Summer, before it vanishes (as in Isaiah 51:6, II Peter 3) with much noise. And then ? the very premises of pollution replaced with a New Heavens and a New Earth, indeed with a celestial reality to replace this spoilt planet (Revelation 21:1).
With God, it is not too hard. He did it the first time. His stage will be removed. The palace is next. It is for His princess, or His bride, His accepted, His beloved. Where love is, there is He, not lust, not mere affection or affectation: love that has no bars or barriers to bringing to what receives it, the immensity of its profession. It must be high as God, not low from man; and man must be restored to God, to find it in its purity and reality, free from pathology, without limit or spot or speck (I John 4:7 with I John 5:12).
Thus (Ephesians 1:10) Christ
will be all in all (Revelation 21:22-23, 5:12-13), as now He is to His own,
but in an environment, not merely of terms, but of architectural beauty and
spiritual profundity (Revelation 21-22) which is the correlate of love, its
exhibit and its place. Meanwhile, the residents will all prefer the Lord
to His place, as any bride prefers her husband to her house (Deuteronomy 6:5,
Matthew 22:37). His Messianic Mission, proceeding FROM the Father to His
task in mankind, His sending all consummated, He with the Father and the
Spirit (Revelation 22:1) will be One God, in three persons, glorious, victorious,
triumphant, humble in majesty, ineffable in power, with His people whose
talents He has made, filled with His joy in the everlasting realities to
which in Christ, they have come.
NOT 'IT' - but
HE is Returning, and it is Not Distant
Events, like conspirators, with red faces, are happening in public, but the public do not seem to notice! These are the necessary events, this is the pathway to glory, or here is seen the glide to shame.
Which is it for you ?
Be ready therefore. The tension builds, but the word is clear. There are many inlets, but the mainland is without uncertainty. Its hills and contours are all mapped. The forces, as in World War II, can be seen mapped, with pincer movements as various obstructions go, and very instructions are followed.
as the Middle East develops like an ulcer. The pain has reason; but there
is no reason to share the pain.
The Middle East rises like Terminal Yeast,Christian, look up, for your final redemption, even of the body (Romans 8:23), even the resurrection, is drawing near. Live as those who look for the end; live as one who has realised the beginning, and having begun in Christ, will be kept till that day (II Timothy 1:9,12).
the thing rises to receive the One whom the Deceiver has long maligned,
Whose people he, the prince of this world,
has long abused,
frequently murdering close followers of Christ
with feisty flashes of ever new folly:
aligned against the people of the Prince of peace,
versus His book, His glory, His word.
As for that worldling, the prince of this world (John 14:30),
his vainglory lacks splendour,
there is no beauty in his majesty,
and his heart is deceit. How long does it take to realise this!
He has nowhere to go,
beyond this world:
Except there, where he is put to ruin,
and there is his end (Revelation 12:7-12, 19:14ff.).
When the last curtain is down,
Was it worth it,
To lend gullible credence to his vile
and erratic propaganda,
When the truth has stared you in the face -
Like Mount Everest at close quarters!
That TRUTH is coming, He is coming back,
And all things are now made ready.
His people know; they do not slumber.
Are you prepared ?
It is a friendly question:
You NEED to be prepared by having cover from Him, the cover of pardon,
The cover in peace, the cover of blood, the overtures of sacrifice
Accepted on your behalf, from Him, before judgment
(II Corinthians 5:17-21, Galatians 3:1-13).
Are you asleep (Matthew 25) ? - for it is a common malady when
Vigilance is required!
Do you doze in some facade of a church without the word,
Or one abusing it, confusing the people with platitudes,
Empty, and all jazzed up with music without reality:
One contrived, 'arrived' but never there!
Are you in some temple of today,
but in fact extemporary,
a phase of luke-warm spittle, ready for ejection (Revelation 3:16):
that is another 3:16!
There are many more of them: ALL the word must be heeded.
It would not have been given if it were not needed.
The Middle East was the site of the stabbing of Christ -
many are they who have been stabbed
and crucified there since!
It is time to make peace with the Prince of peace - there is no other,
nor any other peace,
nor will there be, nor can there be (Ephesians 1:10):
For this is the peace of God, which passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7, John 14:27).
It is bought in Christ's blood (Ephesians 1:7),
empowered in the resurrection (1:19),
seen in word, in the Bible,
found in love, in His heart,
when God sent His only begotten Son
into the world
to provide it with necessities
at cost immeasurable,
for man, as many as received His Son,
only begotten, light of light, focus from eternity,
the living word of God.
The scar of the Middle East remains until He comes.
That is not your responsibility.
The scars of sin remain in your heart,
till they are transferred to Him,
crucified, the just for the unjust (I Peter 3:18),
bearing sin in shame,
being without sin,
available for you, and all,
knowing His own,
receiving all who come.
THIS ? It is not a time to be sending missionaries home, Jew or Gentile, provided they give the pure word of the unchanging God, whose everlasting Gospel has shrouded the earth like a friendly cloud, guarding against the arid harshness of undimmed heat. It is a time, for Jew or Gentile alike, for there is no difference, to receive that Christ who, Jew though His format has been, is MAN for MANKIND, God as man, the Lord of glory, predicted, performing, coming, consummating His own mission and enabling each one who receives Him, to be consummated as a new creation, and triumphant in Christ evermore.
It is time to have time for
eternity, so that eternity may have time for you.
In fact, in the actual scenario, so magnificently parallel to the events culminating and accumulating as detailed in Matthew 24, there are many scenes. We see the British Empire (Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 73, Joyful Jottings 14) discarding its power, much of its religious dignity and indeed, religious basis (as also seen in The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 7, final End-note 1), while the puny forces of international co-operation in blasé unbelief, unbend like a bow sending forth the arrow of the end, and push into the integration without reverence, the aspiration without end and the consummation that IS the end.
See Mystery of Iniquity, in The Other News. See also SMR pp. 750Bff. (Demonic Head).