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IT WILL NEVER BE!
but the God of Glory Always IS
Some things some people hope will always be. If it is the power and purity of Almighty God, the love and mercy, the grace and faithfulness, they are right. If it is this world, they are wrong; because this world is wrongly set, wrongly motivated, wrongly actuated and wrongly destined: not that the destiny is unfitting, but it is that fitting for a wrong'un, or renegade.
But can the world not be righted ? Not in terms of God's desires, decrees, and determinations. Why not ? God will not always strive with man: why not ? He says so. There is another reason: man could not stand it, being a limited being. "I will not contend for ever, for the spirit would fail before Me" - Isaiah 57:16.
What He does do is perceived in the preceding verse:
"I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
Where the contrite are consummated, where they come no more, for no more are to be found on this earth; when the full number of those whom He foreknew is accomplished (Revelation 6:9-11), when there is nothing left in the light, but what is NOT going to humble itself, NOT going to be contrite, NOT willing to be revived on such a basis: there comes an end to this torrent trial. That then goes, while the mainstream of this world faces its face, recorded in heaven, made manifest in its time. With it, in the end goes this world itself, which bore them who refuse truth, ignore mercy and seek to make life what they desire (Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 24:35, 16:24-27, II Peter 3).
What else does not change ?
There is one other feature to be noted at this place, the end of volume 162 of our Bible-based, theological set, In Praise of Jesus Christ, specialising in Christian Biblical Apologetics. It is an Israel which is just one of the godless nations. THIS WILL NEVER BE.
How does one know this ? It is written. God is not playing around with history. He has set His sights on various spiritual values, requirements, blessings and judgments, on a world where freedom can exhibit its thoughts, hearts their aims, philosophies their ramblings and political ideas their force. It all is evidenced for ever, and comes up for demonstrable judgment.
One of the things He has determined, is that Israel should be a nation to show forth His praises, and as you see in the last Chapter of Joshua, they agreed; indeed, they followed Moses out of Egypt in the first place, for all their grumblings. That aim, to demonstrate the glory of God, which man NEEDS for his life, it is to be seen in essence in Isaiah 43:21, as in Deuteronomy 7: 6ff. After the universal flood in this world (cf. News 1), there was need to revive the contrite, to restore the afflicted, to enable the willing and to allow the earth more opportunity with the lavish freedoms granted to mankind, ontologically and spiritually. Being in the image of God, he was no mere automaton!*1
Moving through Abraham, as the Bible alone records in detail, God moved on to Moses, the Exodus, the Kingdom of Israel, its judgments, its restoration, the coming of the Messiah, His rejection by His people, the dissemination of the predicted Gospel concerning and through Him, by His word and Spirit (Luke 24, Acts 2, John 14:21ff., 14:26 cf. SMR pp. 763ff,), the eventual and for us, recent restoration of Israel to its land, the inferno of conflicts concerning it and its continuation despite this, in the midst of some marvellous victories so that it was not stamped out like vermin by a hypocritical world. That, for its own part, is itself in train to its own Gentile tragedy, in which many in Israel are not a little inter-mixed.
He has not however allowed His nation to be annulled (Matthew 24:34). This breed, the Jewish, will be there to the end, to His coming (cf. Revelation 7), when He takes not a 'bride' in portions, but all at once for His wedding feast (Revelation 19:8).
The other thing that will not be ? First was an annulment of the Jewish people, made tritely same. This will not be. Another then, that will not be ? It is this: an extermination of Israel, of the Jewish people who come to and stay in their land till their lift comes (Revelation 11): "COME UP HERE!" to one and to all, the Jewish remnant, all saved by grace, and the Gentile remnant, rescued no less in their place, as seen earlier in this volume.
However rebellious, Israel is to keep and has kept a highly specific Jewish feature and focus, one so vast that some like to call it racism. In fact, however, it is a residue of no mean character, of its relationship with Almighty God. It will be culminating and consummated in the large measure of return to Jesus Christ, divine Saviour that is to come; and this, it will make it more Jewish than ever, for it was to them that the Saviour was to come, did come and in their midst that He performed the work that makes salvation free (Isaiah 55, Romans 3).
This too the Bible foretold.
Consider now the word of God, to be found in Ezekiel 20:30-32, concerning the way in which throughout all, He has kept Israel diverse and so able to fulfil all the features of its divinely ordered role on this earth. This assurance came through Ezekiel who, reviewing their thoughts of rebellion from God so that they could be just like the other nations, had this reply from the Lord:
"Therefore say to the house of Israel,
‘Thus says the Lord God:
"Are you defiling yourselves in the manner of your fathers, and committing harlotry according to their abominations?
"For when you offer your gifts and make your sons pass through the fire,
you defile yourselves with all your idols, even to this day.
So shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel?
As I live," says the Lord God,
"I will not be inquired of by you.
What you have in your mind shall never be,
when you say,
‘We will be like the Gentiles,
like the families in other countries, serving wood
and stone.’ "
God proceeds in speaking through
Ezekiel to insist that His rule over them will not be abolished by this
insufferable legacy of misled and godless Gentilic nations: HE is as He is, and
they are as appointed, and their entire history is as He has traced it (Amos 3:7
given assurance of this).
History is the other thing that gives assurance of it. It follows the word of God with precision! A breach of history foreign to His word, contradicting it, falsifying it ? This will never be (cf. Matthew 5:17-20).
No! the declassification of Israel to just another nation will never be. The time will come (Isaiah 19) when it will be one among men specific nations with specific meaning, past and history; but it will always be what it has been, a tributary for truth at the mouth of God, and as we have seen, it is to be one in large measure brought back to the Lord from whom it turned. Indeed, it was in elements of Israel, it was in Jewish apostles and disciples that first came those who building on Christ, were used in the foundation of the Christian Church. It was Jewish people, in almost every case, called to write for the Lord His New Testament, as the Lord turned to the fulfilment era of His action towards man, the Age that would end in judgment, that dismissible by the Gospel, ONLY when it is freely applied.
The thought of Israel, just another nation, de-classified to decomposed residue, this will never be translated into action. It will not be suffered to become amorphous, but its crystalline concentration, whatever be its errors, will remain there in potential, soon to be actualised (Luke 21:24) in large measure. It is one of the immutables of the irreversible revelatory glory of the God of truth.
Thus, apart from Israel's predicted return, now fulfilled and its wars and its flowers and trees, all foretold*, it is still to be the site for a vast conversion outpouring, from the Spirit of God as in Zechariah 12:10: AND Christ will reign there.
This is not to vindicate a NATION (as a nation - cf. Ezekiel 36:22) which disowned Him, but His own glory and truth and righteousness, that the whole world will know and see and be caused to realise that it is for their sins that Israel went out, for His glory that they came back (Ezekiel 39:22-23,28), and that where He was crucified, THERE He will rule.
Where man made of Him, as far as they could, a corpse, there will be Majesty (Isaiah 53-55, Isaiah 11, Psalm 72), and where man chose ignorance, there will be knowledge, both for them and from Him (Isaiah 11, Habakkuk 2:14); for the earth WILL be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea, and HIS ways WILL be shown in Person, now that the scarification and crucifixion phases of His great plan of salvation, executed once and full all upon Himself (Isaiah 53) are fully past. On these things, see further: Job 19:25, Matthew 19:28, Revelation 20:4-8.
Then the platform called earth, this world, it goes; but His salvation and His righteousness stays (Revelation 20-22, Isaiah 51:6).
It is good to be able, not to be sure ... to bid adieu, far less good-bye to this earth when the time comes, as one, kept by the power of God (I Peter 1), is nestling in the salvation of the Almighty, Maker of the universe and cosmos alike, able to send them off, as one sends scraps of paper, or rejected art work to the bin.
It is good to be able to watch it go - having done all one can for well over half a century, or forever long one has been a Christian, in any case, and not to be taken with it in its plummeting: good not to be in spirit attached to this world (cf. James 4:4, I John 2:15ff., Matthew 16:23, Romans 12:1ff.). It is like bidding farewell, then, to a holiday address; though the end is not good for this address, and it cannot fare well! Yet is IS so for what is to be redeemed out of it, more every day!
The play on this earth, in that day noted in Revelation 20, being finished, the platform is taken down.
It is done in the way apt for such things - in this case, II Peter 3 indicates to us, with profound energic exhibition, heat and sound a vast display. This is not surprising since this universe contains so much energy, wrapped up in the matter man is trying to manhandle and manipulate in the atomic bomb nightmare that seeps into so much of the sleep of this world, one which man has translated for himself from the safer habitat of its environment, to the plundering duress of his own.
Some things go, and it is well. Much will not leave however, the environs of eternity. Again, all the highest and elevated things that were done, on the good side, by the British Empire and the USA, for example, in their most excellent periods, aspects and phases, not least an enormous missionary effort and application of many elements and items of the Gospel and the word of God at the national and to some extent international level: these are not forgotten. All good things of faith remain (cf. Hebrews 10). Hebrews 11 indicates with a victorious vigour, the value and viability that does not come to shame, of the conquests of evil and overcomings of trials, which have been wrought in the name of the Lord God, for millenia.
Pride, however, this will not remain. The track of truth leads past it, and does not touch it; the meadows of mercy do not overlap it, nor does the place of pardon find peace with it. Isaiah 2 tells us this very emphatically, decisively and one might almost say, derisively:
"Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust,
From the terror of the LORD,
And the glory of His majesty.
The lofty looks of man shall be humbled,
The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down
And the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
For the day of the LORD of hosts
Shall come upon everything proud and lofty,
Upon everything lifted up -
And it shall be brought low..
The loftiness of man shall be bowed down,
And the haughtiness of men shall be brought low:
The LORD alone will be exalted in that day,
But the idols He shall utterly abolish.
They shall go into the holes of the rocks,
And into the caves of the earth,
From the terror of the LORD,
And the glory of His majesty,
When He arises to shake the earth mightily...
Cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils
For of what account is he..."
What, in the end is not realised voluntarily, will be found involuntarily. Such is the case for all the nations; and Israel, it will also be found in its place, not deprived, amid its chastened neighbours (Isaiah 19), as the end approaches; which it now does. But there is more, much more to come in the end time dramas (cf. SMR pp. 502ff.).
With it however comes this impress: not in Israel, not in the Gentile nations will vainglory appear even at a discount - it is reduced to nothing, and with it are all the gods of the earth (Jeremiah 10:11, Zephaniah 3:12), starved, vain spectres.
Will false prophets and prophecy, contrary to the faith once for all delivered to the saints, in one divine thrust and building of truth (Jude), wrought in time (Hebrews 9-10), stamped by Christ (John 14:26), become stipendiary magistrates in the kingdom of heaven (II Peter 2) ?
Will this thing be ? No, it will not be. It is NOT to be found in that kingdom, for alas, those who resist the realities and do not abide by the divine revelation capped in Christ, performed in His travails, fulfilled in His triumphs, both in Person and in His words which continue to grab the earth like a toreador taking the bull, have another destiny. This is startlingly clear in II Corinthians 11, just as is fitting for deceitful workers as they are there called who manipulate the divine record, false apostles their leaders. Jude brings in their searing realities as clouds without rain, driven in tempest or moved by winds, nubilous and vagrant, roaring waves of shame, wandering stars.
Will then heaven abide by their words, and suffer their presumptuous antics, both verbal and ecclesiastical as false churches proliferate, and the true is the more driven to the ground ? Not at all. This will never be.
Will heaven merge with hell to sate the unspiritual appetites of the idolaters who invent from their own heads the gods they both worship and invite others to follow, deceits of the flesh ? will this be done to meet the spiritual gourmands, who never satisfied, invent new gods in parts or in whole, varying from truth as if they were possessed, and will this be the movement from the untainted and untinted glory of God, whose light is truth ? Will flesh forever strive (Isaiah 57:16) ? Will the wrath of God cease to abide on those who prefer darkness (John 3:36) and are minions of evil to be sublimated into godly spirits ?
Nothing could be further from the truth. This shall never be.
As these scriptures, show, it will never be found! Indeed, so far is this from the truth, that it is like an experiment to achieve perfect blackness, compared with the bright shining of the mid-day sun in full Summer (Mark 9, Revelation 20:14-15, 21:8).
These things also, they will never be. The light will not know them, nor will their darkness invest, infest or direct it. The light of God is the same; His name is immutable, His wonder eternal, and His ways do not change (Habakkuk 3:6, Malachi 3:6, Psalm 102:
While the nature of time in eternity is not simply to be imagined where eternal destruction is in view (cf. II Thessalonians 1:9), and is rampant, and where everlasting shame (Daniel 12) glowers: yet the destiny of the desolators is not to be conjured up by the imagination, but is dire (Hebrews 10:29, 12:27-29); and it covers those whose hearts were so barren and rocky, that never repenting in the place of opportunity, they resisted the word. Many, even though touched by it, never suffered its roots to be found in their hearts, being restless and vagrant to the end.
It is not to be as if mercy were made mandatory, not only for salvation, but for life at all, an inseparable part of the destiny of the enduringly morbid, whose declension is final, vital and fateful. Not such are the gates of life; and what is called abominable so abides (cf. Revelation 22:11).
Such a diseased heaven as haven for what burns in rebellion and contempt, a fallen glory, it shall never be; but in purity, it remains to be received as it is, by the path provided, even Jesus Christ, the Just One, dying the just for the unjust (II Peter 3:18), received in repentance, enthroned in the heart : or not at all.
Guilt is no delusion, error is no myth, even willing and wilful error; duty is not another name for the dilatory enfeebled with a fixation (cf. Romans 2); and the love of the goodness and glory of God is inseparably annexed to eternal life.
Nor is freedom a fiction*1, but with it, responsibility weighs and will not be redeemed to become a fiasco. There is no fiasco in faith, and nothing illusory in God. Sinners, if so be they are saved by grace through faith in Jesus the Christ, they are redeemed; but truth, it is not scrabbled.
Truth is that by which judgment will be wrought, and ONLY in received mercy and grace, can justice be paid, and wrath met with the glory of the Messiah, bearing it for those who become His, foreknown (Ephesians 1:4) and loved.
Another glory, another way, another God and another optional make-believe heaven, this shall never be. As to God, HE does not change, nor does His Gospel (Galatians 1, 3, 5, Habakkuk 3:6, Malachi 3:6).
Narrow is the way and few find it; but for those who find it, there are the meadows of mercy, the track of truth throughout it (John 10:9,27-28), and the assurance of salvation, of eternal life (cf. John 5:11, Romans 8:16, Revelation 7:15ff.).
It is not for us to make new gods, which is idolatry, but to become new persons, which is salvation (II Corinthians 5:17-21).
Love calls; truth lasts.
EXCURSION ON FREEDOM
On freedom, see for example, the following.
It Bubbles ... Ch. 9,
Little Things Ch. 5,
Let God be God Ch. 4;
Licence for Liberty;
Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 9, incl. End-note 1
(esp. programmatic psychology and its ilk),
The Marvels of Predestination ... 7, including *1;
Overflight in Christ 1,
Secular Myths and Sacred Truth Chs. 6 , 7,
Repent or Perish Ch. 7,
NEWS 52 (the spread of man's flights of fancy and society, and the reason for it),
Divine Agenda Ch. 6 (freedom in contrast to force),
Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 8 (individuality and personality, their ground, source and meaning), CASCADE 10 (the fixity of lust and the liberty of truth),
Beauty of Holiness Ch. 4 (liberty, Tiananmen, worship and its direction in time, its terms and code of truth), Ch. 5 (Statism, Absolutism Political and Religious Universalism, Humanism - the threadbare coat, the departure of glory and its return, where it belongs cf. News 82).
In essence, it is not because of climate or culture that man does or does not believe in his own spirit, his choice capacity (which he constantly uses, especially when declaring that someone else is wrong, has misused his thought, has a bad spirit, has wilfully been dishonest, has erred in philosophy and so forth, or that he does or does not have a choice capacity), or his God (whatever substitutes he may ELECT to make or follow). He chooses to believe in his own choice capacity even when he does not bother with it, or to disbelieve in it, even when he uses it about the most ultimate of matters. He is a specialist in denying his powers to do things, in the very arena where he needs those powers to make even meaningful statements. In this sense, it could be said that hypocrisy or holiness or two dominant foci in the things available to man.
He is not only free to choose, but free to will to choose. He can cast his own will about like a spluttering engine, or a soaring jet, and to some extent, decide on which is preferable. He can indulge in satanic discourses about his obviously limited powers, as if they were not so, and in seraphic self-pleasing blandishments about his pitiability, even while addressing his robust character with self-induced admiration. Physical pathology is not the only type!
He can become depressed or believe it wrong, he can become deterministic and believe others who disagree are freely wrong, being misled, or incapable of being changed, but WRONG, morally and culpably WRONG: not that something whirred the wrong way, but the spirit made a wrong choice, perhaps for invisible reasons of an invisible kind - such as being kind or cruel - and this ought not to have been (in a deterministic world where everything has to be and there is thus neither responsibility nor meaning in being wrong).
You could perhaps talk of a mis-perception (your physical eyes were bad), but not of a mistake, for the thing HAD to happen, and if it HAD NOT done so, that would have been an IMPOSSIBILITY! and the thought that this is so, a mistaken impossibility. It gets tough when you are wrong, and persist in it.
Morals are not only ludicrous in determinism (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Christ Incomparable ... Ch. 2) , but meaningless; and to be right or wrong is ludicrous except in physical perception, because of equipment. You COULD NOT make an error, since it is required; you could only do what you do, and that is that. A WRONG theory could not exist: it would be a normal working of that mind. If most other minds worked differently, that would be a statistical matter; but have nothing to do with right or wrong. A political theory could not be wrong. It is merely the working of that set of perceptions, receptions, desires. There is no truth to begin, no error to end. On any such model, it is even true that there is no truth; and so the moral quagmire and the metaphysical ruin appear in concert. Yet people following this model, often believe contrary to logic, what they insist upon, with some feeble efforts at logic.
Why ? Since determinism cannot be true, therefore it is for a personal-response reason. They are not determined. They so desire: it may be for any of a number of reasons all invisible, and of the domain and cosmos that is invisible. It may be for guilt, hiding of guilt, pride, empty-headed obstinacy and so forth. These are personal perquisites, and matters of choice with spiritual liberty which is personal and individual, for which the person is responsible.
There is of course a limit - indeed there are two limits - to human liberty (apart from being rendered unconscious, and not in possession of the normal and normative faculties). One is this: man does not decide on the nature of his brain, world or spirit, and hence is limited by this. Since however truth is a pre-condition of being able to present it, and the revealed God of the Bible is a necessity of reason (cf. SMR esp. Ch. 1 and TMR, Deity and Design, Designation and Destiny ... and Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ ... Reason, Revelation and the Redeemer), the need for real liberty is real access to truth. On any basis, without truth, you are only stabbing in the dark, and hence limited in any significant or systematic liberty. But then, on any such basis, it COULD not be true that you were doing this, or not doing it, since that would be TRUTH, which is alien to your chosen position.
If you decline the truth concerning yourself, and your meaning and origin, for obstinacy, fear, apprehension and so on, any of these or others of that invisible realm relating to human personality and persons, then you now lack freedom specifically because you misused it. You cannot now get where its pre-condition is, because you freely preferred not to do so: you are in a prison of your own making. This is a personal and not a racial matter.
The other limit is this. Your will may be caught in the cultural, personal, individual tangles that have been fed into you by yourself, or others with your (inward) permission. If you do not leave this, you are responsible for that, and it is a personal matter. Many have gloried in refusing the cultural or even initial individual proclivities and constraints, seeking truth beyond these, and wisdom past this. There is no actual binding, but being bound is an actual option.
Nevertheless, there is the danger that the spirit of man is tarnished racially, having failed as a race and is now APT to decline for truth for ANY reason that may come to appeal. This is actually true, as the Bible, on this site, demonstrated to be the word of God, itself declares. Obviously, you MUST be able to have friendly access to the God in whom alone is it possible for absolute truth to be, if you are to even have it as an ultimate option, Without that, you show much responsible conduct, but there is this considerable limit. You do not KNOW what is what, however many irresponsible actions you make towards such a result in your own bosom.
Thus while there are vast areas of freedom and responsibility in the invisible domain of choice for man, and in that of thought, and these are even tasted as decisions are made of the relative values of laziness and attainment and so on, and these are in principle differentially assessable, and thus for these, one is answerable: yet the finale for truth becomes the ultimate for liberty. If you do not KNOW what you are doing (though you have rather a good idea of it, for all that), then it is hard to have the liberty and luxury of an ardent and wholly personal choice. It is not excluded in measure; but to the ultimate degree, it is tarnished.
You are responsible at all sorts of subordinate levels, but not in this. However, should you decide, as above, to ignore this truth when it is available, for this you are ultimately responsible and assessable. Even if your will - being damaged by the sinfulness with which you were born (Psalm 51), a not difficult to discern fact for those who know children and bring them up - puts in a claim for consideration in the ultimate level, if for example you have never heard of the Gospel of peace with and access to God, yet you are still responsible for what you have done with what of it you have had!
Beyond this, however, there is the final responsibility of action towards truth as discerned, in principle or in reality. If because of sin you reject it, you may claim that you did not understand and so on; but even if you do this, it is useless to leave out of the equation the God without whom there could be neither truth nor liberty (for the self would always be a given ultimate, of no particular meaning from the first, conscience a useless baggage and understanding, such as believing determinism, on this model, a mere nonsense for import or export). In fact, God is very zealous about freedom, and insists that He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance and the knowledge of the truth (cf. To Know God ... Ch. 1).
Liberty, pre-condition of love, does not cease to be however; and refusal of this knowledge and the love back of it is ASSESSABLE BY GOD, in the ultimate level, past all the baggage of human errors, of whatever kind, condition or degree or time.
He CAN and often does deliver people, and granting them a new birth into His kingdom of truth, liberty and sight, enables their preference to justly exhibit itself past the problematics of pathology. He WOULD have all, but He will NOT take all, because He INSISTS that the ULTIMATE and assessable (foreknown) rejection of Him whose desire is for all, MUST be honoured, even if its outcome be dishonour, contemptibility and shame (cf. Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42ff., Daniel 12).
Liberty is often extended to infinity ludicrously by the autonomous in thought; and it is often declined ludicrously, but the self-defining, self-contradictionists. It is neither of these things. It is limited in kind, by our being created; it is elevatable to ultimate meaning, by our being under the oversight of the God who would like to deliver all from the obfuscations of limited or denied light, to the light and the truth; and its results are both partially visible and operable now, and finally known from before time by the One who invented man in the first place. You see this last in Ephesians 1:4 for example.
Thus SINCE the Almighty WOULD HAVE all to be saved, but not by force, therefore anyone who would like to come to Him is not under ultimate power to prevent this.
It is not the ultimate impossibility, but the ultimate opportunity.
HE would like it. If therefore there be ANYTHING in you, or concerning you, it will be taken in tow and realised. If there COULD be any such thing, it will be known and realised.
Liberty in the end is total in kind, limited by the scope of our natures, but unlimited in quality and meaning by the power of God. To Him, who knows all, all are answerable. To fail to take His option of truth by redemption is merely wilful avoidance of truth: it settles the issue (John 3:19). To feel unable to find Him is simple: ASK Him to locate you in His map, and seek His intervention with repentance. You are not in a headwind, for God is greater than you are. His wishes are known. You CANNOT be frustrated in this, that with all your heart you want Him. Then act as you would in any other domain. Be practical, be realistic, take the path provided. If you are double-minded, reject such vacillation; if you don't want to, accept this as a form of rejection in itself.
What then ? Repent, cast yourself into the continuum of spiritual reality provided, follow the word of God, accept Christ's redemption, free as it is (Romans 3:23ff., Isaiah 55), gloriously free, and wait upon God continually. Thank Him for what He has done and adopt His gift. Knowing Him is the end of vacuity, autonomy, antilogy and antimony. It needs to be operational, not theoretical, as if one went to Venus, in the imagination. Venus is not a good place to be, but God is. Leave imagination to Venus, but do not abide in it, towards God!
It is obvious that to be free you must know God personally (since you ARE a person and that is your ultimate invisible action post); and to fail to do so is in the end, when it is before you, dishonest. If you want this more you want God, that option is ... there.
See SMR pp. 786ff., and 790ff..