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The LION, the SAINTS and the PAUSE
in Correlation, and with
Inspiration to the Heart of Man
WRONG WAY, GO BACK
like naughty children in a large section of his race, refuses the Father.
He would have Him dead, or deceased nicely, legally, psychologically, sociologically,
effectually anyway, so that he may be moral, yes, it is socially acceptable
normally, be spiritual, yes of course, be born again ten times over and
have all sorts of other nice phrases attached, and be happy, of course,
personally of course, and others if at all possible.
All this he would in countless instances, it seems, want to have: but in being born again, there would be no Father still; he would be a sort of orphan of fate. Fate meanwhile would be warded off, like a crocodile with a stick, or a shark, when one is in the waters, if at all possible, and by man's inherent greatness, pushed off rather well, and the world would whirl on like a giant wheel of fortune, and one would hope it would end fortunately, but at all events, it MUST do so for the individual concerned, for the nation concerned, or the segment, section or ruling coalition or whatever else seems a good bet.
It is of course a travesty of truth, a deviation of mind, a sequestration of God's gifts, a rebellion against His rule and a mischief of invalidity. Still, it is popular with appeal. Man meanwhile fabricates all kinds of fictions, such as the need to award insane seeming amounts for various comparatively minor or wholly understandable professional faults, so that doctors are almost forced out of practice, in a current crisis, because the insurance company handling the huge amounts paid out in law suits against them, find it hard to find the cash to do the payments. This is ultimately because man conceives himself in this rather popular sort of scenario, often lurking below the waters of the open sea of the mind, as a kind of god, whose every loss is tragic, every deprivation inconceivable, so that the payments for such losses have to be as FOR GODS, enormous.
Man is quite carried away with himself, in such a ranting if not raving philosophy. It all depends on him, and he depends on nothing, but yet, he does concede, the nothing in effect may be called 'god' or 'Nature' or really anything at all, so long as it does not interfere in man's august pursuits and nice little thefts of the ... universe.
Now the universe, take that: there is the problem. You cannot. Like a mule, it simply will not come. It rains differently when it will; it withholds rain; it causes extensive droughts; it gives you earthquakes to measure, and to many they seem immeasurable, varied microbes (some germs, we learn, can conveniently swap a few genetic features, the one to the other, hence creating diversions for the able medical researchers, lest they ever feel ahead, and the threat of having NO antibiotic for this or that, looms like a nearby tornado in the USA.
Asteroids often come so near to the earth that any right-minded person, equipped with a working knowledge of the great money-waster, the poker machine or the fashionable casino, will be concerned. What if one should hit - the sea and ruin the fish; the rivers in some place or places and pollute the water; the earth and ruin its stability. This of course is precisely what IS predicted to HAVE TO OCCUR in Revelation 8:10ff., with sundry allied and equally impactive devices noted in 8:7-9.
All this naturally course IS inconvenient to the society of gods (Psalm 82 ridicules their vain pretensions, as does Psalm), who find the notion of the actual God embarrassing, although not verbally, for they still retain, some even in certain things still anomalously called 'churches', various forms of 'worship'. Only indirectly is this prone to become worship, of themselves, their race, or beings, as they re-write the Bible in this or that point, or attribute gender to God according to taste, divest Christ of this or that, or add the other, till it is nothing but a vain idol which they worship, themselves its author. And that, as the priests of Baal discovered long ago (I Kings 18:20ff.), really is utterly futile when it comes to action!
the same has been discovered by the increasingly agile and agitated Moslem
movement, taking up its ancient and admittedly Koran-sanctioned violence,
or even extending it to taste.
Where has the Moslem jihad movement, with its allies, found this ? Oh since 1948, really, over about 54 years of defeat, dismal loss, incredible fumbling, unbelievable triumphs in reverse, made to look small by what IS small.
Small ? Israel of course. And what is by far worse for that idolatry, is this: that it is all precisely as was predicted as we have repeatedly seen in the past few months (see preceding publications such as in It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls... Ch. 1 and SMR pp. 755-794).
So the varied monoliths of society, creations of man fail, and the word of God does not fail.
Chance is the name for the mischief of mind, when it comes to the disposition of things, which divorced from God, seeks relief in His affairs of the hand, His creation, in the erratic invalidities of Naturalism and their ilk, modern formats for idolatry, and just as effective in ruining the minds and spirits of children as the searing arms of the brazen pretended gods of old, were to their bodies.
These follies we regarded in some depth, in such sites as That Magnificent Rock, Chs. 1 and 8, A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-9, Wake Up World, Your Creator is Coming... Chs. 4-6, Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium (SR) Ch. 13, Stepping Out for Christ Chs. 2, and 7-10, and Sparkling Life in Jesus Christ Ch. 8 with an overview somewhat beyond, in SR Ch. 16.
of the perspex substitute for reality have also been exposed in Tender
Times for Timely Truths Ch. 10 and Ancient
Words, Modern Deeds Chs 9 and
RIGHT WAY, COME ON!
In fact, God Himself arranges things, giving man that almost incredible bounty, a free spirit. Now this is not autonomous: that is, it is not a god, which has the levers in its hands, and can create the universe, or modify it essentially at the bright spark of a passing thought. It is nevertheless a quite amazing creation, and the author is almost glad that he is not an angel in heaven, at this moment, being taught about man. It might be so hard to believe,if one were an angel: that God would give to some being whom He created, the power to ruin or bless his own life, to think thoughts quite spontaneously, and accredit evil as his source, while disposing his mind with good gear and good background for the evil and the chosen destructive purpose (cf. Proverbs 1:8-33), provided even with power to cut off from God, though not of course from His reality: only from the connection at the personal level!
It is not the gardener is not removed when a branch is cut!
Doubtless however with the right instruction, if an angel, one could come to see that a veritable prodigy of love would permit such things; for you see, if you are given such freedom as THAT, then you could love what is right, and not merely hum away like a senseless top, and love God; and you might have communion and fellowship with Him, far greater than the fellowship with the ocean, the high mountains, the brilliant clouds or the seizures of beauty which come from things so small, so precise, so carefully contrived, yet full of soul. You could delectate His wisdom, inherent in your very construction, hate what destroys its peace and harmony with Him, and find the way He has set, alight with joy, almost ecstatic with wonder, and follow Him.
Yes, as a putative angel in heaven, one could come to see that man could be: yet how amazing that God would go so far in love, in care and ...
But wait a minute! What of the SIN POSSIBILITY: what if man DID cut the knot, and set out on a pseudo-autonomous delusion of the spirit, grasp for power or perform any other idiocy of spirit ?
Where would he be then ? Surely there would need to be some ... provision ? Yes, but as an angel in heaven, one could learn of the Gospel, the good news ? Good news ? Why yes, that God so loved the world that He gave... But He gave in the first place ? Very true, but He also gave in its own place, the way back when you wander. What does it cost ? Cost infinity. Who pays ? God pays. How does He pay ? In the nature of the cure. What is its nature ? He goes AS A MAN to perform as man should, and to declare at the same time His OWN nature to man, in power and grace, love and kindness, bearing with his follies, healing his diseases, dispensing with death to demonstrate that the divine dynamic has this as a mere dismissible feature: it is the evil which hurts, and He covers this Himself (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17 with That Magnificent Rock Chs. 2 and 3).
Studying Galatians 1, 3 and 5, as an angel one would find this so, and then learn a yet more amazing thing, if this be possible.
God would take death, the ultimate penalty, obviously, for misspent life, Himself. One would study this perhaps first in Hosea 13:14:
In complete remorseless determination, in other words, God Himself acted, paying the cost of the grave, by His own grave with all its preliminaries, in the human format, one taken for this and allied purposes: and hence did He destroy its natural necessity, by supervening spiritual power, associated with pardon. Nor is this all, one would find in one's celestial class-room that this was a gory affair, equipped with mockery and denudation, just as sin produces this in man, so that it was neither less nor other than the human format which God took.
an angel, one would might regard this in one's celestial study in heaven,
by looking at Isaiah 52:13-53 in association with I Peter 2, for example,
and Acts 8.
has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
"Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors."
This WE do not have to imagine; we SEE it!
it is time now to turn to Revelation Chs. 5, 6 and 8, to find a fascinating
depiction of the way things actually DO go, as history advances on its
course. and what is behind the scenes, in dramatic elements which help
the mind to grasp the spiritual topography of our earthly situation, to
discern the scenario, both for His people and for those who refuse God's
mercy, enduring instead the due sentence.
STRIKING PARALLELS IN REVELATION 5, 6 AND 8
We shall, in this vein, be looking at Revelation 5, with the
SEALED SCROLL (the Lion), at Revelation 6 with the SHELTERED SAINTS (Rev. 6:9-11), and Revelation 8 with the HEAVENLY HALF-HOUR (Rev. 8:1-6).
The Question ...
WHO ... ? This was the question noted in Revelation 5. There to be seen was a scroll. In it, there were seven seals. These hid for the time the outworking of events. They COULD not go until liberated by divine sanction. None could be found to take this historical scroll, a scroll of history to come, from the hand of God Almighty, seen seated on the throne of majesty. WHO IS WORTHY ? this was the question articulated, to OPEN it ? Where is he ? Who is he ? Heaven rang with the query.
John, the visionary spectator, wept. No one could be found. How then would this evil world wend its way to its fitting conclusion, would heaven come to the fore for the saints, history finish its sordid and sometimes splendid paths, in favour of splendour only, with humility and truth, peace and righteousness ?
No one. John wept because no one was "WORTHY" to open the scroll; but his sorrow was short-lived. Behold, now appeared theLION OF JUDAH (Genesis 49:9-10). It was, way back then, predicted that the World's True Ruler would come through this tribe, given a designation of lion. Judah would continue until He came, whose sceptre this earth both needs and is to have, the ultimate law-giver, whose word is truth (John 17:17, 12:48-50). His rule would be one of peace (cf. Isaiah 11:1, started at Shiloh in Joshua's day, where the ark prefigured the eventual coming of the Ruler Himself, first as sacrifice).
So we see in Revelation 5 the appearance of the LION OF JUDAH. He is also in Revelation 5 characterised as in Isaiah 11:1's prediction, as the ROOT OF DAVID. On the mother's side he comes via Judah, on the Father's side, by direct incarnation (Psalm 45, Micah 5:1-3, Isaiah 9 cf. With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength Ch. 4). We find that this Lion has "prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals."
This means that work, labour, perhaps even travail has been involved. To prevail, you must overcome; to overcome, you must face a challenge of some kind. This of course is the case, since the Lion has to die (as C.S. Lewis in one of his children's stories so affectingly and effectively conveys it in one aspect) before it roars its rule; and its humility attests that no roar will be raw, but only royal. Thus John now sees the Person Himself, and His appearance is - standing as befits the royal - "a Lamb as though it had been slain". A LION comes as a LAMB; and this LAMB is seen in the visage, the mark, the appearance of having been SLAIN. Now this suggests a fight, at least against it. Slain, it stands, reminding us of Revelation 1:18-19:
His deity we see further again, when it is found (Rev. 5:9-10), that He is the Redeemer, the Saviour, the payor of the debt for man, whereas ONLY GOD is this (Isaiah 43:10-11). Indeed, not only has He redeemed, but He has "made us kings and priests to our God", appointing to man his role, as God does. In His name, we reign, but with such a Ruler, what a reign that would be, with all pomp, all pretence and pretension, deviousness and deceit, oppression and fear of flesh removed (cf. the actual reign as shown in Psalm 72!). Just thus it is.
In Rev. 5:12, we see yet more of His focussed features, of His worthiness to "receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing." In 5:13, we even find that He with the Father is to receive GLORY for ever and ever - as befits one who IS God, and as God was with God at the first (John 1:1): there is ONLY ONE GOD. As to Him, He will NOT GIVE HIS GLORY to another (Isaiah 42:8).
The Portent ...
This, then, is the situation. What is its portent ? What does it imply ?
Where do we go from there ? WHY was there this delay ? WHY was it so hard to find one worthy of opening the seals ? WHY was the scroll so displayed, and why was this scene enacted. In this sense, to what is it to direct our minds, and what is its lesson in the action side of things ?
Here is one of the great wonders of God. It is not that He willingly afflicts the children of men (as Lamentations 3:33 tells us in so many words). Not at all. He is grieved at man's hardness of heart (where more obviously than in Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42ff., Jonah 4:9ff.). HOW could that God who IS love possibly unseal such seals as these which come ? Sweep the eye through Revelation 6-8, and ask yourself the same question again!
The answer is clear from all the rest of scripture, and here dramatised. It is ONLY because the LAMB, in the love of God, has come and done all necessary, perfecting a free gift for man (Romans 6:23, Isaiah 55:1-4, Romans 5), that the unleashing of judgment is POSSIBLE! God WOULD NOT judge man without making not merely a pardon available, but a free one; not merely acting for release, but for redemption; paying not only something, but ALL! Thus it was indeed finished, and God did in this way in His own Person purchase an eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12-28). It is over.
This being scripturally certain, the unleashing of judgments on a world which for two millenia has toyed with the Gospel, trifled with it, and in some, indeed received it, is not out of the question. The Lamb appears, the answer and the antidote to sin, the pardon and the Prince of Peace, and it is in His very name, but as it were behind His back (as Calvin almost makes it seem in one place cf. Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 2, End-Note 1). It is this SAME JESUS CHRIST who unseals the seals. Now consider. In Matthew 21:44 it is Christ, who in love sacrificing Himself, also in love exposed the reality of the scourge He Himself had to bear, in showing the result if His offer is rejected. As to Him, so to the one who despises Him, and fails to face the realities of sin and death and damnation!
“Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:‘The stone which the builders rejected“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet."
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvellous in our eyes’?
How then would He act ? Who in the whole celestial realm could do act better, or as an equal ? God the SENT (Isaiah 48:16), God as man, evidencing the Mighty God in His own Person (John 14:9ff., Isaiah 9:6-7), would now Himself unleash the vials of judgment, starting with the seals. His love HAD ALREADY FACED the worst in person; and none redeemed has anything to fear, for death itself, in this current and contemporary scene is a mere transit visa, in Christ, pending the resurrection of the body (I Cor. 15, Luke 24).
ONLY those who having had the light refused it (John 15:21-23, 3:17-19), would be condemned. His people would perhaps give their lives, as He had given His own, not in their case to redeem but in simply derivative love, to help open the eyes of the lost to their very just, due predicament while there was time (cf. Colossians 1:24), while they overcame by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11).
Glad so to serve (cf. Acts 5:41), His servants are happy anyway. Sodden in sin, the rebels are not to spoil the beauty forever. For two millenia (cf. II Peter 3:9 in this context of thought), He has waited while every valley, brook and inlet is made open to the Gospel. As HE SAID (Matthew 24:14), and as He for so long gave notice, just as He procured salvation, now He brings on judgment.
Upon reflection, imagining oneself in that class-room in heaven, as an angel, it might be the hardest of all to imagine how God could have WAITED SO LONG, before unleashing judgment at last. But then! when you have lived on earth, it is not so hard to see. The enormities of deceit, as in Palestine now, the atrocities of spirit, the devious delinquencies in the seminaries in times almost without number, the oppression of the elect, the misinstruction of the young, the woes of the depravities of drugs, the insidious corruption of many formerly upright churches, mental and physical, but especially spiritual (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 5, Things Old and New, Barbs, Arrows and Balms Appendix 1, News 51) ... these things proliferate, they pollute, they are corrupt.
Thus the time comes, as in any other examination, for this world IS a trial, when the time is up. Time moves not for a joke; not to provoke; but to complete the scenario, the sovereign and elect scenario of God Almighty, wrought in love, taught in patience, enacted with precision, each step in its sequential place, nothing omitted, each lesson exposed, each travesty decimated, each guile made manifest. Thus all proceeds till the final judgment itemises and particularises, making a consummation of the entire affair. (Cf. News 87, The Divine Symphony, and see Ephesians 3:8-12).
PAUSE, the DELAY, while all heaven awaited the answer to the question WHO
WILL OPEN THE SEALS, is thus finished with the arrival of the LAMB, who
having borne all, done all, finished all in His own person, now unleashes
what is to come. This signifies and exposes, like a vein of gold in some
vast hill, the beauty of holiness; for what love is there in HIM who was
chosen to open judgment, who first suffered it Himself!
II The Sheltered Saints
In Revelation 6, at the opening of the SIXTH SEAL, we see a depiction of the sheltered saints, in verses 9-11. Death has come in its profusions (Rev. 6:4, 8), as its necessary indictments cover a globe on fire within, deceased while it lives, continuing with an animus as often, alas, as animation, with vice to match vigour in many climes and phases and states. What is now to come, following these grim exposures of the deathly life being lived by millions on this earth ? What is revealed to us is a tableau. There are the saints, the martyrs, killed for the testimony of the word of God, and its personal attestation in their own lives.
It is "under the altar" they are seen, this designating their COVER by the blood (which typically, was placed on the altar, as on the Day of Atonement - Leviticus 16-17). By this cover, they have protection, but their hearts are stirred, for with minds very much aware of the continuing anguish and agonies of those who serve in such a world (Luke 9:31), they are asking this highly pertinent question, in which is a latent plea: HOW LONG ?
How long before God AVENGES their blood ON THE EARTH ? Is this earth to suffer injustice ? Is righteousness successfully to be smitten ? Will for ever the long shadows of darkening sin stride like those of trees as the sun sets, fearless and soft across the earth, unrebuked ? Is justice clean gone from the earth ? Will the love of God suffer forever such miscreancy, or allow such a dimming, as if justice were in diminuendo, and truth could fall and not arise ? Isaiah 59:14-21 shows the same sequence, with its intensive finale! Psalm 50 ends on a resonating note!
Will shouting be allowed to din its ways on the air, and crying and laments to populate the earth while folly, as if impersonating champagne, fizzes with inane self-congratulation ? Hardly.
HOW LONG, then, before the earth is MADE aware of what it is, what it does and what is the sentence ? It is not vindictive. It is the case that VENGEANCE IS MINE! says the Lord, and His it is, not to ignore but to perform: bringing judgment either on the Lamb sent in love, or on the world without Him, ignoring Him in the premises of pride (cf. Luke 19:42ff.), and that profundity of darkness which would even replace God, like a theological prosthesis!
The answer is fascinating. As to the sheltered saints in heaven, THEY are taken care of, their clothes, white from the cleansing power of the pardoning Christ, being set on these spirits of just people make perfect (cf. Hebrews 12:23), and so put in focus. They are told to rest a little while as the full complement of those designated for martyrdom is made up, in the wars and exposés of history, in the features and glories of the work of God on earth, redeeming and releasing, delivering and converting, rescuing and attesting, in kindness, in purity, in dangers, in perils, in longsuffering, till history is made up (cf. II Corinthians 4:7ff., I Cor. 4:6ff.).
How vast is the love and the patience of God, who could TAKE IT on the Cross, and TAKE IT while His servants are maligned, misrepresented, slandered, waylaid, imprisoned, and His word saturates the earth! as Peter affirms in II Peter 3:9; and how vast must be the zeal with which His servants use every opportunity and seize each door to bring home the necessary Balm, the Beauty for Ashes which Christ freely gives, ever standing with His Father (Ephesians 1:1-11, John 3:16, Psalm 40 cf. Joyful Jottings22).
Thus this SECOND FOCUS ON TIME and DELAY, and on WAITING and PATIENCE, yes and much more, proceeds; and shortly we shall inspect a third! But what more, in the meantime, is here ? It is the assurance that all is ordered, all is wisely calculated, expertly overseen, that nothing is chance, all is organised, and that the whole realm of earth is a magnificent combination of liberties brilliantly contrived (at the creation of man), horrendously misused, so that they turn into subtle or even gross slaveries. With these, man is immersed and drowning in his own pollutions (Ephesians 4:17-19). Meanwhile, some are receiving a salvation magnificently procured, and its application, zealously imparted, while its follies are exposed, its artful aspirations smashed and its ungodliness differentiated in many deeds, from godliness; and some despise it.
is tested, and many are they who fall; but God is able to make His own
servants stand, and stand they do of a necessity which is wholly divine
(John 10:27-28, 10).
III THE HEAVENLY HALF-HOUR
A little later, at Revelation 8, there comes a delay so explicit, a time so resonating with the very earth itself, that it causes one to catch the breath, to sense the expectation, to share the tension, to posit the gravity and await the outcome with a sort of grace-invested horror. We KNOW that none who receives Him is to be lost from that wonder of things, the love of God. Yet for all that, to find exposed the pathway to the grave for those woefully wandering wilfully without grace, it is a tragedy like that seen when a tornado works its teeming way into a vale, in which is a village ... still, for a little while, left.
What do we then find in this delay ? It is "SILENCE IN HEAVEN" for a portentous half-hour! Action however is proceeding. Trumpets are despatched to angels. The 7th seal has unlocked a new phase (8:1), a further series of which trumpets are the stop-watch if you will. While this PAUSE PROCEEDS, "the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand."
What an epitaph for many is seen shortly after this, as the star falls from heaven (8:10), perhaps an asteroid in our modern tongue, and fouls a third of the waters. What a memorial in advance, to the fouling of so many spiritual waters so wilfully by so many for so long! As these magnified proportions of the terrestrial dissolution proceed, like a patient in terminal ward, we wonder WHAT was the thrust of the prayers of the saints which with the incense, had ascended to obtain action from the hand of the Almighty. What were their thoughts, perhaps ?
The request of the Sheltered Saints, in glory, has already given one key to what these prayers might have been. What else might these prayers have contained ? One thing is obvious from Revelation 22:20-21. COME QUICKLY! is the urgent plea of many saints. Why ?
Firstly, it is because HE who comes is loved! Secondly, it is because far, far better is He than the world which sin presumes to shove about, as far as He permits it, showing its claws and its nails, mocked by His curse and exposed in numerous pictures (cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 7, News 74). Thirdly, it is because of this: What brother wants to see his brother suffer! Hence the shorter the time and the term, the sooner is deliverance for these. Fourthly, the desire is for the Kingdom of God, with all His power equipped with the grace this world has so signally failed to deliver in government, in operation on this very earth (cf. Sparkling Life in Jesus Christ Ch. 10). Fifthly, it is because the anguish of this globe in its impeccable pride and lusty lowerings is like a furnace, and it will be wonderful when it is turned off! Again, who wants to see yet more generations of children, defiled by barren teachings, illusory bewitchings, in which masquerading as science, philosophy and false religion blind if it were possible, the very elect.
Thus as all heaven waits for the half hour, and as the prayers of many come before God, the history to come is unfurled like a flag, and the end approaches like the dock, to which some great ocean liner is coming after so long a voyage.
effect of this expectation of His coming, it is to purify. How often one
could hear one of the former students saying, Here comes Mr X (the Principal)...n't!
This was a childish prank intended to make the other students suddenly
be industrious and 'good', for the mere kick of it, so that when the principal
did not eventuate, it was because the added 'n't' which might be delayed,
had to be taken into account. N't = not, and spoken sibilantly could
be partially suppressed!
Nevertheless, for those who love truth, and seek purity, the knowledge that NOTHING is to be left out, every last slander being slain as was the reputation by it of the afflicted (though the promise about weapons failing is still true, since no slander can alter the divinely ordained work of the man of God from being fulfilled - cf. Isaiah 54:17), that the LORD HIMSELF, without being dupable or prone to deception, rules and will judge, is inexpressibly delicious. It is not mere vindication; it is the purity itself (I John 3:1-3). It is well for the Christian that his/her sins are covered, and buried in the depths of the sea; but nothing will remain with its tacky paws and evil stench.
It is rather like school holidays. The work is fine; the knowledge gained excellent, the challenges on the way absorbing, but the rest - the finale, the examination to terminate the term, and the term of holidays, these are like pure air on a hot day, when the wind blows quietly from the hills.
We see thus the effect of this HALF-HOUR PAUSE. It speaks of the longing, of the judgments, of the preparations for judgment, of the processes and procedures, and reminds us that the purposes of God proceed unimpeded, and even the greatest apparent loss, will be redeemed in the end. As Ch. 5 has reminded us, the greatest, infinitely the greatest loss, was that of the life of Christ; and this, not merely was it programmed, predicted and performed precisely on time, but it was the means of the vastest of triumphs, the resurrection intact of that very body which hate sought to consume, and which all the pride of earth could not produce.
body was taken by enemies (though salved and housed by friends). The body
of Christ, it was then taken after the precise 3 days which He had repeatedly
predicted, by Himself, the God of life, breaching the breach of death,
and sealing eternal life for man for ever, for as many as received Him
and these His works (Romans 1:4, 10:9). It was His and the only testimony
of it, was that which He predicted: He met them in Galilee, and at His
pleasure for 40 days instructed them until the time to go came, as He had
likewise predicted, so that the Spirit might be sent
(John 14:15-12, 16:7-24).
"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you." SO it is UNTIL HE COMES (I Corinthians 11:26, Acts 1:7-11).
did He order all things, say what was needed, do what He said, do what
the word of God written had said He would do, arise and depart on the day
of His announcement, and proceed to heaven till the world should be evangelised,
however reluctant for many, the reception.
Thus these three passages in Revelation 5, 6, and 8, jointly show us the severity of the sentence on sin, both as borne by the Christ, and to be borne by those whose desire is alien to God, to truth and to righteousness, and who will not receive Him. It shows likewise the organised character of the procedures involved, rather like those of a mathematician, a surgeon or a choreographer. It shows the depth of the compassion, with the depth of the passion for righteousness, like two vast oceans meeting, as at the Northernmost tip of New Zealand, where their colours slightly vary from place to place, and their interface is seen in the turbulences afar off. Nevertheless they DO meet, and the judgment of Christ fulfils love with mercy, while that on the world fulfils righteousness, where mercy is excluded.
The love which to the very end cries, "Let him who is athirst come. WHoever desires, let him drink of the water of life freely!" echoes in the air, whatever else it may contain (Rev. 22:17). Force is fiasco in spiritual things, and what is in the image of God is given its place, not merely assigned or consigned, but in the face of such an outpouring of mercy as would make the angel deem this, a superb spectacle, held high among things one desires to look into (I Peter 1:12), and this with good reason! "It pleased the Father than in Christ should dwell all fulness, and having made peace through the blood of the cross, to reconcile all things... in earth or in heaven" ... (Colossians 1:19ff., cf. II Corinthians 5:17-21).
the intense practicalities of His predictions and the meticulous fulfilments
of His word are the continuing attestation that the Principal is indeed
coming: forget the 'n't'!