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THE TRIUMPHS OF GOD
THE VICTORY OF TRUTH
It is reported that Hamas will not co-operate with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Prime Minister. It seems that bin Laden will not co-operate with the Saudi rulers, who disavow terrorism. What then is the difference between these two terrorist organisations, each committed to undiscriminating murder, whatever the age, in terms of domestic oppression for political programs ?
The difference is in essence, small; but in outline, it is this that from all appearance, bin Laden, though a Saudi, and perhaps drawing funds from some Saudis, is not known to be in that country. Hence it would not necessarily be a straightforward act to discipline him, with judgment. He would need to be apprehended first, from abroad. In the case of Hamas, however, this group IS known to be in the country concerned, to the extent that they do/do not respond to invitations for discussions from time to time, and indicate their viewpoint to the ruling authority. In this case, it has been, as seen in Ch. 4, that they WILL NOT relent in their style of action, which meets the definition of terrorism.
What is that definition ? Any action which is intended, not in the normal confines of war between nations on strategic grounds, but in terms of special assaults on citizens, to plunder their resources outside the normal fray of fighting. Was the bombing of Coventry by the Germans, of Dresden by the Allies, then terrorism ? One cannot determine such things without more information, but in broad outline it would appear that these actions were intended to deal with heartlands of the enemy, in each case, to disrupt industry, communication and power. If the line between this and terrorism is certainly a fine one, at least it is the action of one country at declared war with another, and has power as a preoccupation.
In the case of terrorists, there is no such necessary concern with power structure: it is not a case of disrupting electricity or communication. It is simple people-smattering, murder as such. It appears often that the more battering, scattering, spattering, clattering, to add to the smattering, the more vileness to compound, the more the purpose is forwarded, as if to declare the quality of its source by the character of its actions.
Further, the countries concerned are not normally AT WAR, since the terrorists are usually groups within a country. For example, Afghanistan was taken over by a dictatorial group of religious terrorists, RELATED to al Qaeda, but by no means coincident with them. If therefore it HOUSED al Qaeda (in part), then it was responsible if it did not deal with them; but it was not in the direct control of that group.
There IS no Palestinian State. Hence there is no country at war with Israel in this regard. There is a regional authority within Israel, given certain rights and privileges, sometimes attenuated when murder is unchecked at the national level. Hence this is a terrorist group within Israel. What would the USA do with a terrorist group within its borders ? It would crush them irrevocably as soon as possible.
Now the Palestinian authority is seeking peace with Israel, but is making one fatal mistake. It is EXPLICITLY as we saw in Ch. 4 above, NOT disciplining, NOT using territorial power to dismantle the terrorist group in its midst. This means that the authority itself is in consent with terrorism in its midst, if not in philosophy, then in pragmatic fact. This - should it continue - would make of the authority, a terrorist body within Israel, having the effrontery to declare its identity. In the meantime, Hamas is a terrorist group within the territory, at war with Israel, if you can be at war, as a group inside a non-country (in terms of the Palestinian authority).
More strictly, in terms of nations, there is a terrorist group within Israel which is not yielding to the protestations of the sub-authority, tolerated by Israel, for that section of its land. Naturally, this would not normally be called war, but insurrection, and the methods of handling insurrection would appear likely in any other country that is not in the pangs of entire disorder, requiring law to be restored.
This lawless disorder is the name of the game in the Middle East, where this and that nation is plotting against the other, amidst various claims of innocence, exhibitions of guile and intentions of devastation to a neighbour, not always Israel, though this has the greatest continuity: since the Islamic lust has been unleashed by Iraq against Iran and vice versa, over a period of nearly a decade, in the past!
There is back of this lawless disorder a greater one. These things are against the law of man; but there is a vast hinterland of lawlessness against the laws of God, in which alas, Israel shares with most of its neighbours. First there is the rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose word alone has scientific credibility in that it is INTENTIONALLY made testable (Isaiah 41,43, 48), and responds as nothing else EVER HAS to this test, over millenia. This is a lawlessness of the states of Israel as Iran, Iraq, Syria and others in the outer circle, sometimes total, sometimes large, often involving persecution, but certainly restriction, of law-abiding citizens whose only fault is to worship God and to seek to proclaim freely His ways to those who can consider for themselves.
Thus there is an enormous complexity in the Middle East; but it is far from being mere confusion. The Islamic host, serving as of yore, their false god, are against Israel, and in this are like the Phoenicians of former times. The god they have made is taken partly from the Old Testament, from the New, with enormous distortion, and partly from Jewish legends, partly from Muhammad. It is a complex, though it now has but one name. This is the modern racial correlate to the ancient times. Israel itself, as in some of its worst times before Christ, is also serving 'God' minus authority, minus legitimacy, minus the Messiah who is the key, kernel and criterion of truth.
There is this difference, that although many Jews (like some Arabs) do not follow the national line, the book which is there is the Old Covenant, which while its portent is not realised, when seen in its fulfilment, perfectly correct. Not all Jewish religionists believe even its outward form, though some assent zealously if blindly to it (Isaiah 42, esp. 42:18ff. describes this phenomenon in very scathing, if ultimately tender terms). Israel of course is far more moderate in its attitude to Christ politically, than is the average Moslem State: but nationally, it still rejects Him.
Then there are the Romanists in the Middle East, for whom the forbidden primacy of a man is a crucial feature (contrary to Matthew 23:8-10) who have gone so far in a still accepted dictum from Vatican II (binding the former findings of the church) as to make the papacy the necessary condition of salvation, thus exacerbating the preposterous contradiction of Christ, by taking over from Him (cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H). These, rather like some of the Jewish traditionalists who do not receive Christ, likewise making a new christ but not so explicitly, in this walk in parallel with the power of a man, in elevation forbidden by Him, so that all are at war with the actual God whose law is thereby broken (cf. Micah 3:1-5). Is it not like the love of a father for his son, who becomes inebriated while driving, that one sees peoples being religious (driving) and executing actions in this domain (turning corners, overtaking), while perfectly unaware of the illusions wrought in them by their intoxication. The rules were always clear (Proverbs 8:8).
These movements to displace God, not always of course witting, but nevertheless
readily identified, are not likely to procure peace. They don't: that is
manifest in the area which writhes in mutual contest.
What else is to be expected when those who use the name of God misuse His word, ignore His requirements and dismiss His Son, the Messiah. Since He is the Prince of Peace, not A prince of peace, warlike action is predictable. When, perhaps for a little time, some appearance of 'peace' strikes the region (I Thessalonians 5), then it will be like a tide out before the tsunami coming in with raging torrent. The predicted actions of God in the region before the Age ends are not small (Micah 7:15ff., Deuteronomy 32, Haggai 3, Ezekiel 37ff.).
They are at one point in Micah, expressly for dimensions, compared with what God did in the Exodus, which rocked a nation and delivered His people.
Thus with groups of no mean carnal power who 1) reject the Messiah while holding the book (in some measure), who 2) reject the Messiah and His redemption in principle as well as in practice, while not holding the book, and who 3) reject the command of the Messiah, while holding the book along with some of their own, you have the recipe for wrath; and this is being inherited, like a bad, even cursed fortune!
THE PEACE OF GOD
It is important to realise this, that there is NO PEACE for the wicked (Isaiah 57:19-21), and alas, as all are sinners, and the ultimate sin is the rejection of the mercy of God in His Messiah, Jesus Christ (John 3:36, Hebrews 10), since there is simply no other way to obtain it, the troubled sea is what one is to expect in this arena. Moreover, Christians, who both realise the truth of the Reformation and the exclusive sanctity of doctrine in the Bible, are by no means populous in this region! Indeed, many are the grounds for their removal, and even in Israel, they do not proliferate, nor are they particularly welcome, in terms of liberty to preach and teach, though extremes seem so far to have been avoided.
The MESSAGE of peace, which has the PRINCE OF PEACE with it, is thus suffocating in the Middle East.
That, you may say, is not very complicated. No, it is not; but there is more.
In addition, ISRAEL happens (as we saw in Ch. 4 above) to be selected by God to occupy a certain region, which would basically include the West Bank. This is being hotly contested, and though this region IS CURRENTLY PART OF ISRAEL, just as California is not now under Spanish control but forms a ACTUAL PART of the USA, so that the abundantly predicted return of Israel (SMR Ch. 9, Appendix A) has indeed occurred, yet the derangements which ultimately the devil lusts to achieve, of the declared plan of God, are visible in their ruthless dynamisms. Again, although Jerusalem is now PART OF ISRAEL, so that its restoration has likewise occurred as predicted, yet the international Quartet, and the USA in particular are set on making this situation cease. They are urgent. California may not be about to return to Spanish occupation in whole or in part, but the desire is that Jerusalem (part of it, the pre-1967 non-Jewish part), and the West Bank, for example, should GO, GO, GO from the Jew!
Here we have an interesting complication.
God is still chastening Israel for its rejection of His Son
(their Messiah as that of all others, in fact, whether taken
or not, for there is no other, and the Messiah is NECESSARY for salvation,
BEING the salvation of God - Isaiah 42, 49, 53, 43:10-11, indeed PERFORMING
and yet is intent on their restoration to their land after so
long a time in exile by HIS direction
The full realisation of this, as we see in Ezekiel, comes when the Jews UNCOMPLICATE the situation by coming in large bodies, within the nation, to CHRIST their own Messiah (Zechariah 12:10ff.). They are to conceive, realise and recognise that it was by the authority of their own nation that the Messiah, the Prince of PEACE was murdered, and that in Him only can there be any peace. This will simplify the situation, since then the combination of CHASTENING (if not chastisement) of Israel with DELIVERANCE so that they have won the predicted amazing wars against vastly numerically superior forces (Zechariah 12:6ff.), will no longer, like the combination lock to a safe, be necessary.
The safe will by then be open, and many will be those in Israel who delight in the salvation which He then, and at long last, brings to them.
Within all this, there is yet more complication; but for anyone who can understand the traffic complexities in the USA highways, when they come into some of the cities, with layered roads vertically above each other, this should not really be very hard.
Thus Satan, that ultimate adversary, whose wits help to bring many to ruin, who is biblically seen as well as in history itself, deceiving many with the false prophets like Muhammad, and the pope, and with the false hopes, like that of Israel (the official nation) for peace without its Prince, and yes, much of the world with his worldly fanfare and brittle tinsel that glitters without substance, is seeking to be sated against God. In what way: in this, in his design to despoil God's ancient people, as indeed His actual children, past all these particularities, these individual errors of this or that group.
In his diabolical and all too manifest intrusions and care, passions to kill mount like the blackening clouds of rubber tyres burning (as one once saw in something like horror to the south of Philadelphia, from memory), and the sheer acridity of his passion and hate tends to make man hateful, hating and being hated, until the consequences of delusion, and the profusion of contusions of the heart and soul, tend to make men mad, apart from the primary cause of unbelief. It is like an accident for a youthful driver, wild with drink. He has been racing with others like him, and when the accident occurs, his burns, and shock, and confusion, and annoyance and resentment, all these combine with his original libido to make a teeming mass, a sort of psychological downpour ... of fire.
From this come further eruptions and collisions.
THE VICTORY OF GOD
In all this GOD HAS THE VICTORY.
What! you may exclaim. God has a victory in hatred, delusion, confusion, wildness, ecstasies of odium, the anguish imparted to children by murderers in profusion, daring to imagine He approves!
Certainly, yes. He has COME, and He has DONE ALL that is needed. He has PREACHED for millenia, He has warned, called, provided great Christian scientists and statesmen, even an empire bearing the name of Christ (however imperfectly), He has forecast and He has fulfilled His word to the uttermost in all this, so that it is as if the traffic control issued bulletins 1000 years in advance, telling what would happen at this later time.
That! you say, it may be (as it assuredly is) a triumph of intellect, of knowledge, yes and of foreknowledge but how is it a victory! Is knowledge king ? Is it enough to know!
No, it is not nearly enough to know. God however does not nearly stop at this! HE experienced far worse than any, even at the uttermost of tragedy, have found today. My God, He cried, My God! cried God-the- Sent to God-the-Sender (Isaiah 48:16, Psalm 22), Why have You forsaken Me!
It was as predicted; but it was not mere knowledge. It was the KIND of knowledge which includes experience, torture of the psyche, torrents of tragedy. Here was the eternal innocency of God, IN love and FOR mercy, suffering the due fruits of man's sin that He might in justice clear him (Romans 3:23ff., II Cor. 5:17ff.), thus providing a disparity and a horror in the heart of eternity, in the amount of infinity, in the midst of charity and cordiality, itself by man despised even as this celebrated atrocity was being done before his eyes!
THIS being in the heart of the message, the suffering part, and this being now REJECTED by all who make their own gods or dispense with God directly, there is the added horror. What is this ? It is one of appalling waste, as if a kind Uncle seeing his nephew still suffer famine despite the uncashed cheque sent: the sense of the folly of it, the sheer impassioned emptiness in many cases, the continuing murderous folly of spirit with many, who slaying one another and blaming one another, hate one another.
The suffering of Christ had to come, but the glory of the Messiah was to come (Luke 24:25). In some ways, it is come already, not only in His resurrection (one victory over all the muted powers of man-the-murderer-for-convenience), and not alone in the sending of His Holy Spirit to inspire, fire and mould, to send and to help His people. GOD HAS TRIUMPHED also in executing the METHOD of SALVATION, so that ANYONE can freely have it and many enter His kingdom, millions over the millenia, to find its peace and truth, its beauty of holiness, its power to bring to mankind, true manliness, true womanliness, true meaning and a wise spirit. The power of the Gospel to BRING salvation in the working of His Spirit (John 14), this too is a victory, and one seen myriads of time. It works, as the sun works, unceasingly; but while that is natural, this is supernatural; while that aids energy, this brings the image of God back to man who has lost it, in defacement, defilement and abuse.
When this occurs, then a giant circuit is broken.
Then the sins of the fathers are no longer visited on the children to the third and fourth generation, since that applies to "those who hate Me" (Exodus 20), and not to those forgiven. THAT cyclotronic effect of sin and clash with God is NOT NECESSARY. There is an OUT OPTION! Therefore God has the victory in this, that He can GIVE pardon, peace and love to any and all who come to Christ with repentance for the folly of not having done so sooner and the sins committed; and when this is done, He is able to save to the uttermost part, those who so come (Hebrews 7:25). There is never any limit with the power of God to fulfil His promises (as in John 10:9,27-28, a comprehensive provision).
® God has the victory in this also, that
® HE SAID that Jerusalem would be utterly destroyed (Matthew 24)
® and it was; and
® He SAID that in the end of the Age, it would be restored to Jewish control (Luke 21:21-28),
® and it was.
® He DECLARED that Israel would have these amazingly successful wars against vastly superior numbers, after its return,
® and it did;
® that this would be amidst enduring conflict with many interfering,
® and it was all so;
® that the world would fall into ever worse tremors of horror, unnaturalness and woe, as the end approached,
® and it has done so (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5 and SMR Ch. 8).
® He FORETOLD the horror in the Middle East to come,
® and it is there, the endless ravaging, raging wars to come throughout the earth, and they have arrived in all their snarling, gnarled intensity, and
® that this would be amidst rumours of more,
® and it is so, while equally declaring
® that much that was formerly in the Christian faith would decline, and it has done so:
® He told foretold it all in THIS CONTEXT, this total overall pattern, never before present all at once on this earth; and it is so. He even indicated that this comprehensive presentation in history would MEAN that we would KNOW; and since it is unique, we do.
Yet, you may say, is there victory in such love and mercy, being made available in such detail as predicted, for people who, again as predicted, in many cases are doing precisely what horrible deeds were predicted ?
By all means: for firstly, it shows the sinfulness of sin, its obduracy, its pertinacity, its blindness and its fruits! Eternity is long, and the lesson needs to be certain; and it is. This too is divine victory.
Secondly, it highlights the extravagance of divine grace, which will stoop so low to raise so high, just as He personally stooped when in the form of man, to the very acme of horror, in being counted a criminal while suffering spiritually excruciating pains in the very holy pinnacle and origin of all righteousness, as sent from His eternal Father.
Moreover, the victory is in this not least, that there is in all this, both in the liberation in the Lord and the bondage of this earth, now fully dramatised, the MARVELLOUS and SIMPLE sort of evidence which many need in order to find God (cf. John 14:12). If you do not believe Me for Myself, He indicated, believe Me for My works! (John 14:11). Hence there is an amplification, an enlargement of the scope for the impact of His word, of His Gospel, of His grace. He is giving MORE and MORE to MAN. The worse it gets, the more readily obvious it becomes that it is HE who is to be sought WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND (as Isaiah 55:6 has for so long put it), and that the subtle, suave, sly substitutes for righteousness, which in its purity can be found only IN GOD and OF God, as a gift of grace (Romans 5:15), are just that.
As a teacher, God is providing a bonanza; as love, He is giving an incitement; as wisdom, He is giving to science the only detailed, changeless certainty it has held or been able to find, for thousands of years: His word! This is the ULTIMATE scientific fact.
His VICTORIES were similar with Pharaoh, whom He confronted, advising Moses in advance of that monarch's intractability; and against whose vast empire He triumphed as Miriam so eloquently put it (in Exodus 15), bringing out a despised and oppressed people by His own invisible power, by VERY visible application. As in the material realm, where the order and organisation is not due to some miracle of contradiction, but to the miracle of composition at His lawful hand, so is it causatively in all things. Just as the universe has no means to create the ordered realm, but merely to continue as it is, so man has no means to create a clean heart, but only the means to FIND the way to it. Even here, it is God who provides both the gift and the structure and power to enable its deliverance, to ensure its applicability and to enable its realisation (cf. Marvels of Predestination ...).
This provision is far superior to the lot of Nature, which is capitalised only for abstraction here, since it is merely a thing created. For with man, he is not required merely to continue with a sort of equivalent of the second law of thermodynamics weighing him down for more mutations downward, more disease-prone ravagements amidst his multiplying sins. Quite to the contrary, manís case in the victorious providence of God, is delicious, even in the midst of disease. If man prefers to deface grace and to defile opportunity, to pillory truth (Romans 1:17ff.) and to scoff at remedy, inventing his own catastrophic substitutes, which aggravate and do not remedy: so be it. It is a foul folly; but one alone is responsible, he/she who so acts in the very face of mercy.
CREATION NOT INNOVATION
attested not molested
Instead man is invited to find all things new and actually to BECOME A NEW CREATION (John 3, II Corinthians 5:17ff., I John 2-3). The invitation has not staled; the love has not palled; the way has not been broken up. It continues into the depths of the night which precedes that blessed light which is His return. This too is victory of God, a triumph that does not pass, a peace so profound that it passes all understanding, which never finds tarnish, and the truth which always stands, as it has always stood.
In this way, you go right back to the beginning, for what STARTS is NEW, is not old, has its own genesis to look back on!
If - as is the case - the universe was engendered as in Genesis, then in the last times approaching the end of Revelation, you can be engendered by your own private genesis, through the Gospel in the power of God through the Spirit of God in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord: now as before. This is a victory so immense, so intense, so profound, so altogether lovely that it is a TRIUMPH for God.
With the Exodus, His people, many unbelieving yet, came out of captivity and oppression, and had the opportunity to enter the Promised Land. They feared and did not do so, until after that generation was past; and then they entered with Joshua.
In this, there was a triumph of forecast and power, and the state of Israel resulted. However, with the one who reads this, or the Gospel anywhere, there is the power to come out of the captivity of sin and ALREADY to be in the spiritual and far superior parallel to the Promised Land in the Rest (Hebrews 4) of GOD, having ceased from one's own works (Hebrews 4:10, Romans 3:23ff., Titus 3:5), and inherited the meritorious consequences of Christ's having DONE the required work of atonement, having PAID the required amount of redemption, and having SETTLED the necessary griefs of punishment in what He Himself bore, and now has borne, all finished these two millenia (Hebrews 9-10).
While therefore God Himself is EXPOSING in the torrents of sin and its clamour, the true nature of it and of its sponsor, Satan (from Genesis 3, for man!), He is also exposing in vast detail the truth of His word and with that, the nature of its breach, its objective consequences attested in the laboratory of history. Even this made the more magnificent in that it is presented predictively in the overview, in detail as well as direction of flow, with relevant highlights crucially clear both in wonder and in woe. Beyond the simple preliminary fact that He forecast it at all, there is this precision, despatch, panache and perspective as well!
That, it is simplicity itself. Do you however have the power, on hearing the Gospel, to be liberated ? If you want it, take it: that is power. If you do not, do not: that is power. One power is the gift of God, assuredly; but since He is on record repeatedly that He would have all to be saved (Colossians 1:19ff., I Timothy 2), one thing is both simple and certain: it is not HE who prevents your coming, for it is HE who in fact INVITES you, and has gone to the uttermost to find you.
As in Joshua, invading the Promised Land, long marked for destruction in the providence of God (Genesis 15:13ff.), prevailed, so Jesus has uncovered the Promised Land of Rest in Him (cf. Matthew 11:28ff.), and made it available, having paid the cost of establishment, and victoriously instituted it, His own kingdom. Arab or Jew alike, and all who have erred concerning Christ, are equally welcome, since the entry is more thoroughly decontaminating than any germ-bath can be!
The very radioactivity of sin, in that it tends to continue its unwanted and wonted powers past its exposure time, is covered as we have seen earlier in this volume (cf. Romans 8, I John 3). Further there is provision than NO ONE can evict you, and that you yourself cannot do so (John 10:27-28, Romans 8, John 5:24, 4:14ff.).
The water which HE gives, when once a person drinks it, not only has the contrasting quality, compared with literal water, that you never thirst again, but has this ultra-chronological quality, this more than mere running sequence, that it wells up in you to eternal life; just as the one who once eats of His flesh and drinks of His blood also has eternal life, so that he will NOT DIE, and will be raised up in the last day (John 6:47, 50-51,54). Such is the language of the verbs in 6:47,50-51 as in 4:14ff.. They in the wilderness could eat and eat and die; but those in His life, once eat and live for ever. The contrast is unqualified, the issue rebounding, the grace abounding.
You may however feel perverse or querulous, and in the face of such bounty as this, say: That is no liberty which, once I enter, does not provide for me the option to escape its care. Not so: that is no liberty which does provide a way of escape from the truth, for then it is always on YOU YOURSELF that your blessedness devolves, and there is neither rest nor safety nor deliverance at all in that. Can sinners be entrusted with the fruits that Christ bought, even eternal life ? As well trust a child with a billion dollars in diamonds, when crossing a creek!
The GIFT of GOD is eternal life, and what is by nature eternal cannot become by nature less so, when it is a GIFT. IF this is given you, then as Christ says, you are raised up on the last day (John 6:50-51, 39), and live for ever; yes and do NOT DIE. The case is surrounded, compounded and complete.
When this is the kingdom, and this is the King, then seen in perspective are all squalls about the way in which God has ordered history, first taking out the evil control of the Canaanites, then giving Israel the opportunity to show forth His praise (Isaiah 43:21), then disciplining that nation in various ways until in Christ, came the desolation of their Hope, and in His resurrection the ONLY WAY for their continuance: until in His divine phasing the End should come.
As to that ? They were to come back to their land, still unbelieving (indeed in Zechariah 12 we see them long back and yet to repent to find the crucified Messiah cf. Ezekiel 36:23-27), and they have done just that, a triumph of God in its timing for the glorious results yet to come in the maturity of the thing; and then, having been delivered NOW IN their land, in our day, as earlier in being removed from Egypt and being brought into it with Joshua, they await in the peril of their crisis, the action of God once more. In the end, seeing the faithfulness of God, they come again in large numbers to God, the Lord, the Christ, the Messiah whom they despised, even though God, in yet another victory in history, did more.
What was this 'more' ? He predicted the date (More Marvels Ch. 4), thus removing once and for all the slightest possibility of claiming ignorance or confusion, or any parallel in the whole gamut of history. God is God and no other, and ONLY GOD acts like it for one very simple reason. ONLY GOD has the power and the knowledge to so show, for you cannot show what you do not have; and ONLY GOD has the love and patience to bother.