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HISTORY THAT RECITES REVELATION
BY FOLLOWING IT
so that we can forget ?
or lest we forget!
AAP June 4, 2009
Religion Out of Wedlock
In his Cairo speech, Obama had much to say.
Obama (AAP) is recorded as saying this:
"America's strong bonds with Israel are well-known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.
"Around the world the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries. And anti-Semitism was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed, more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless. It is ignorant, and it is hateful.
"Threatening Israel with destruction or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews is deeply wrong and only serves to evoke in the minds of the israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve."
The dancing scenario of the speech therapy which Obama attempted, however, involves the stripping of yet more from the 'homeland' of Israel, the removal of yet more from the biblical pastures of the West Bank. That, it is no Islamic reserve, but was in fact obtained by an ADDED thrust of Islamic aspiration, beyond the Eastern Sector of three quarters of Palestine already nicely digested, now named Jordan. Indeed, it is this which was made unavailable to the belligerence of Palestinians, after some trial with giving them open citizenship! Such is deprivation inherent in the Road Map. But what of that ? it has been so vastly betrayed for so long as to become in the wild impetus of subsequent events, virtually an ancient history being restored to the contemporary world.
It has been violated to the uttermost, in word and in deed. The passionate concept that Israel is to be exterminated, not recognised as a nation, has continued its rampancy and extended its flames in repeated declamation and exercises in odium, backed by fire power; and such forces rule Gaza, seek West Bank and storm from Iran.
The man-devised Road Map, it has failed in practice as in principle. Its conditions have been flouted to the point it is almost sport, to see how much the spirit of the thing can be breached, while it is yet talked about as if it were still standing. It is like saying this: Let us land on the moon and make harvests there to send back to earth. It is but idea. You have a little problem in agriculture there, with atmosphere, with safety and with transport.
The mode and mood, the actions and the invasions by heartless explosions and ruinous rockets, this has failed entirely.
It has demonstrated the folly of trying to bring more guns nearer to the Israeli's truncated homeland, as ought to have been apparent from the first. Israel has tried to protect itself by this mockery of the Road Map. It has given up Gaza and Sinai as well. What is freely given up in return in the way of land ? How many wars must Israel win before it is allowed to have a buffer against belligerence, and a barrier against invasion by the turmoiled many!
Man may try this and that; but until the word and will of God in the Bible is fulfilled, let us be very sure, there neither will be nor can be peace. A small qualification ? Yes, in I Thessalonians 5, it is apparent that possibly some sort of temporary peace in the Middle East may occur, that something of this kind will occur in the world, so presumably it may have impact there. But says this same word: "For when they say, 'Peace and safety!', then sudden destruction comes upon them, a labour pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape." How that works ? it is seen rather dramatically in I Thessalonians 1!
You can't play with God and arrange His affairs for Him, even if you are the President of the USA, or the leaders of the EU, the USA, the UN and Russia, or even if you try to do it JOINTLY in such company! as in the Peace Plan of the Madrid Quartet. The nations do indeed exalt themselves as foretold (Psalm 2), and it is not at all limited to the day on which Christ was despatched with rejection notice, by complex of Rome (Pilate, the Governor) and Israel. This is not pessimism but realism. God is our constructor and it is HIS peace plan, as seen in Isaiah 9:1-7 and 49-55, that is the divinely ordered one.
Competition with the Almighty is frankly inane; and when He is shown so glorious in compassion, so involved in invitation, so realistic in enterprise, so loving in sacrifice in Christ Jesus, it becomes both vainglorious and debased as well.
Obviously the Road Map, and the approach to this areana of Obama is to defy this, to deny its heart, to establish a synthetic basis in which certain selected ethical matters are primary, and to declare that the one GOD is being worshipped in all these ways, by these three religions notable in the area, and that the HOLY BOOK of Islam is very presentable before this God. In so constructing, he is avidly pursuing a path which is that of destruction as in I Thessalonians 1, Revelation 19, one so vast in innovative rebellion, that mocking at this magisterial humanity, which sets itself up in its own terms, God calls for the birds to eat the flesh of the slain.
Will they never learn ? Must it to to the wire, man versus God ? Alas and alas, for man!
Small wonder in his day, when Jerusalem faced a different outcome, Jeremiah wept for the slain to come, before it happened, and then lamented for them when it happened as he had foretold with such love, protestation, exhortation and invitation, and told in vain for so long to a people whose ear had been closed to this, their mercy (Jeremiah 9; Lamentations of Jeremiah).
But what of now, the contemporary case ? The homeland is to have its protection decreased, the usurpation extended, the indefensibility assured. Some friend is this! With friends like these, who needs enemies. But with those, Israel is abundantly equipped. The Friend who is faithful, it is the Lord whom they have as a nation, rejected. It is from Him that they have defected. Having shorn themselves of His continual care, as of old, they are vulnerable to the horrors of hell, imported as if this were possible, by devilries of the nations.
HE, their heavenly Friend, from whom they turned, and to whom they will return (Hosea pursues this at length as does Paul, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Micah) is so faithful He has even, according to His written word, so in historical fact, now brought Israel back to its land. This, it is explicitly and prophetically despite their turning from the acme of their religion, the Messiah, in a manner from which so much ever since has tended to follow on their own heads, starting with the AD 70 vastly horrendous destruction of their city by the Romans, with reported multiple crucifixions of Jewish people around it.
It is to this verified and validated God*1, their own God from whom they moved as He foretold, and never more monumentally than at the Cross of Calvary as predicted in no small measure of detail (Isaiah 49:7, 49-55, Psalm 22, 2), it is to Him that they will in large measure return. THEN the nations will learn something! as Ezekiel is careful to point out from the Lord (Ezekiel 39:21-29).
Obama is as wrong as anyone could be in this syncretic concept, this all-worship-God dream. It is NOT to some salvation by works religion, such as Islam and Judaism share (cf. Romans 10:1ff.), either through distortion of what God gave in the Old Testament and the New, through rejection of parts of it or through both. The "three great religions" of the Middle East are not there for synthesis or syncretism. God is not some boor who cannot quite manage intelligible speech, in this, that all kinds of total and absolute, utter contradictions of kind occur in the statements from the three 'faiths' concerning Him. The absoluteness of the insult by daring to proclaim all these as the acceptable worship of the one God, is profound!
God does not prolong human suffering by doing His best and making an intolerable mess of the utter discord which exists between these three statements, treated with respect and recommendation as if they were all His word and will. If one party puts in a whole book to replace the word of God, and another bypasses in impact, what demonstrates the Messiah, His death date, His mode of death, the reason for His death, the scenario attaching to His death, the fact of His resurrection, the power of His life and the peace which He gives first within and then as is to come for a time, among the nations: then this much, to be sure, is in common. Indeed it is common rebellion from the One God.
The departures are not the same, even if they have what is abhorrent to the Bible in both; and indeed, their particular motions and doctrines occur in ways so utterly divergent that to attempt even at that, Islam and Judaism, to wed them is like trying to mate a lion with a leopard. The lion has no spots, the leopard has no such head...
When you come to Christ, however, you come to the criterion of history, foretold for millenia, to the central station of pardon, essential for peace, to reconciliation with God by the blood of sacrificial atonement, wrought in Person.
Is He then esteemed as a lunatic, or to the Lord!*2 ! and certainly no lunatic could make of reality such an account as His, which history constantly bears out; for this is the very criterion and capstone of sanity, to know what is and to declare it as none else did or even could. The prophets of the Old Testament, which Muhammad endorses, these foretold Him in detail, the centre and cynosure, and so these very sources of authority to which Muhammad implicitly appeals*3, to make his religion look as if grounded, it is these which condemn His ways. The very Gospel of grace through sacrifice wrought by God in Christ, this is foretold in detail in these same prophets (cf. SMR Ch. 9).
In acting in this way, let us be very clear, Obama is betraying Christ. It is not necessary to have your religion immersed in praise of the "Holy Book" of a false prophet in order to be President. This is not to characterise the man, God is Judge; it is however to characterise the words of his speech. Naturally, we all hope he will recover from this vast, pernicious substitute for truth.
Thus he might be said to be attempting what the Bible predicts, but let us keep to his words: he is at least acting in precise accord with this, whether it be confusion or delusion, the Lord knows; for our attention is not with the man, but with what he is saying, for this, like all doctrine concerning God, must be faced by the faithful to the Lion of Judah, the Lord of glory, to Him who died and rose again, by and in whom alone is their rationality and reality, truth and not fiction, hope and not dream. As in the word of Jeremiah 23, it is the hammer of His word that breaks rock, and dreams are mere shallow superficialities of those not sent, who yet proclaim.
How they envisage what is not given, in a parade of useless dreams, the prophet laments (Jeremiah 23:23ff.). It is such dreams which have led to bloodshed enormous and all but unthinkable as first Muhammad and armies in his name, and then popes, have distorted the realities of Christ, and waged interminable seeming wars, each as the time made it seem suitable.
What does the Bible say in the midst of those ancient dealings, but this, as it surveys the scene just as it does in Ezekiel 20 ? Let us look at Ezekiel where 'harlotry' basically refers to spiritual inclusivism, and the sexual metaphors are used for spiritual delinquency:
" 'This is your lot,
The portion of your measures from Me,' says the Lord,
'Because you have forgotten Me
And trusted in falsehood.
Therefore I will uncover your skirts over your face,
That your shame may appear.
I have seen your adulteries, and your neighings, the lewdness of your harlotry,
and your abominations on the hills in the fields.
Woe to you, O Jerusalem! Will you not be made clean ? When shall it once be ?' "
What Obama presents is precisely this, in modern frame, despite 2000 years in which to learn. It is past a slow learner syndrome, for it is rebellion now as it was then. Then the centre of attention was Jerusalem, its temple in symbolic form attesting the one God in His truth and wisdom. It was to this city, to Israel as a nation that God at last was giving short shrift. And why ? It was because of its spiritual synthesis and so involvement in idolatry, worshipping what is NOT GOD (as Moses had foretold, as seen in Deuteronomy 32:15-19). If they added God to the mixture, this made it worse, like a threesome in a house of sexual licence, to pursue the biblical metaphor.
In fact, the oft-repeated charge that Israel was from its neighbours gaining not new gods, increments, but polluting vanities, nothings, this is flaming yet as it did from the first. Playing with fire is never wise. Our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).
Nothings, vanities: this is part of the biblical descriptions of man-made, or man-adjusted gods! You see the same in Deuteronomy 32. These prophets, Jeremiah and Moses, they spoke not only of their own time, but of times to come (Jeremiah 16, Deuteronomy 29-32 for example).
Israel was warned, did not listen, continued its 'harlotries' of additions and increments in the spiritual realm, of gods, and it has been turned even at Calvary - as a nation - to a disaster pitiable in intensity, remorseless in coming. It has suffered. Now it is not just Israel, the deliverance of which is drawing near as in Micah 7, and spiritually as in Romans 11, by the method of the Cross of Christ as in Zechariah 12-13: the field is far broader. Now it is this world itself which is facing the ultimatum.
Having witnessed the Cairo speech which is tantamount to the construction of an idol, one can only lament for a world to be removed physically in the end, for as Peter puts it, "this world also, and the works that are in it, shall be burned up" as the vast energies being released, its end is realised (II Peter 3:10ff.).
You cannot patch up the plaster that is being put over the mouth of the living God, from whose name a new synthesis is being manufactured, though it merely fulfils His warnings and witness of what is to come; and even if you could so plaster the mouth of God and so usurp with authority to mix what He has not spoken, a mere conglomeration of acceptability, it would not alter that word which has gone out of it, for it will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:8-12).
All however is not lost, even if nation after nation is calling on the living God not so much for salvation, as for judgment, and though the sadness of it all is deep and profound. After all, those who call on the name of the God who has the advantage not only of being there, but of demonstrably being Himself and not another*1, will be saved. This has not altered. He has written, He has come, He has done, He has charged, He has challenged this world and the case is always the same (Galatians 1): you take it, Him, or leave Him. Mix Him up and you merely manhandle again, as far as may be, as was done more physically before ...
It is not some adjusted God, whether by the Islamic sect, or any other, called Christian or anything else, that is to the point in the salvation for man, and the peace of heart and finally of heaven which supervenes. It is the Lord of glory whose redemption is the reason why the earth is not gone already. It is still lab session, it is still time, He is still saving souls, and seeks with mercy and paid-up grace, from the Cross, those who escaping this world's judged domain. He is longsuffering as II Peter 3:9 declares, not willing that any should perish.
How does this work ? It is in this way. As time proceeds, the CURRENTLY AVAILABLE REDEMPTION enables history to have meaning, God's delay to have point and the horror of this world to be attributable to man only, and not to God at all. He has the remedy and has paid for it. He offers it without price.
It is man's refusal of redemption, the REMEDY for sin and ruin which is there to be taken, and that freely (Isaiah 55, Romans 3, Galatians 1, 3) which is the reason for delay in judgment, final and absolute (Revelation 6:10-11, II Peter 3:9). He would like all to come (I Timothy 2, Colossians 1:19ff.), but no dictator, He takes only His own. Whatever way the life of man miscarries, whether in the construction new illusory gods without career history to validate or verify their doings, or in frank denial of God as in Communism, it is all one in this: it is a case of WRONG WAY, GO BACK. If you don't, what then can there be expected ? The road is there, God's Road Map.
This current drawing is a monstrous subterfuge, wrought by Satan in direct confrontation with the word of God. Is there hope in this ?
Alas, there is none. It is the wrong way, illusory, and in vain. So many wars are like that. On the side of Israel, of course, error concerning Christ, at the national level continues*4. One writer on the Web even had the all but incredible confusion of imagining that the comparative industry and wealth of Israel, its going-concern status shows that Christians who say it is off limits in religion are WRONG. They do not get what the Bible says at all. Such was his wisdom...
Alas again, this is mercy and proceeds precisely what the Bible says, of the renegade nation as a nation. In Zechariah 12 you see it as in Ezekiel 36ff., as in Romans 10-11. It is this concentration on works as if these were the way, the criterion, it is this which is precisely what God is using to CONFRONT Israel through the apostle Paul. Their works, accomplishments, attainments, misplaced as ground for salvation, appeal to this court, that was the fault from the first.
Hear Paul in Romans:
"But they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one who believes."
The standards for salvation, the testimony for pardon, it is in HIM only, for He only has been able to meet these, and sinless, to cover what has failed, as have all.
Having prophetically revealed the salvation in Christ, in Isaiah 52-53, Isaiah similarly chastises those so misled and astray from the way, in Isaiah 55. The nation was to be returned as a grace, within the faithfulness of God (Ezekiel 36:22).
They were to be cleansed as in the same Chapter and Zechariah; and they are not yet cleansed.
In the meantime, they were to have amazing afforestation and flower productivity; and they have it. Yet for all that, they were to delay in the very midst of a terrible, tempestuous earthly environment on their return, wars and wars being thrust upon them, which they would win: through the grace of the faithful God. So it has happened, and residual efforts to hide in pride are a mere portent of the need for more that will open the eyes, for them as a nation, as for any and all others in their own specialised sin and wanderings.
The return was not salvation, but of grace. In returning, they still were not saved (Zechariah 12 shows that the salvation comes in the midst of wars after return). It was alas a part of their recalcitrance that having returned, being restored, they still did not believe. It was all foretold.
Even the failure to repent in view of such foretold mercies preceding their eventual return to God, the second phase of the plan exposed in Ezekiel 37, this was foretold: that was the gap before agape as seen in the parable as in Zechariah. That same prophet showed the world tension accompanying it. Such has been the prophetic presentation long available to man to read, for long past two millenia. It is the verified word of the One whose oversight controls history (Ephesians 1:11), not inventing evil, but like a policeman at times, directing it where its lusts must go, before such things pas away at the last.
What then ? Mistakes whether by Israel or Islam, this or that sect, in refusing the whole counsel of God (Acts 20), these do not cancel out. They add up. When you try to syncretise these religions, it is rather like taking two of the failures among the examination papers in a mathematics test, and putting their faults together, making a new masterpiece of ignorance and folly. Let us be clear. It is not that others do not fail, it is not that any man but Christ has ever been sinless; it is not that this or that is being focussed and others wrongly left alone: it is that the TOPIC is the conjoining of religions, and this is the focus for that reason.
The program of Obama, it has initiative, enterprise, delusion and confusion in one inglorious, anti-biblical anti-Christian mixture. Its attraction for some lies in this, that it provides a way other than the way this world does not desire: that of the biblical Christ, the Road Map of God. That map, seen on the very face of Christ, was so marred, as Isaiah 52 tells us in prediction, that it was scarcely human any longer. A Professor, at Westminster seminary in Philadelphia, once likened this scripture to the case which he saw when a man in a car near him was gunned by many bullets!
This is not the way to treat God! It is a matter for profound lament that the USA - and it is not alone, remember, in much of this for it has mighty alliances with others as it seeks to handle Israel - is now so acting that only a massive national repentance and outcry may allay the result. God, let one repeat, is not to be played with. He is not a play-mate, or a tunnel to be engineered in the Alps of man's thought. He is to be worshipped, and He alone, ACCORDING TO HIS DEMONSTRATED WORD.
An inane buffoon who cannot, will not or does not tell man what to do as millions lie in torture ? Be real. Our mercy is not our invention. He is a clear-speaking God whose word, both written and incarnate as Jesus Christ, has been smitten, and is smitten yet, and not least, in such culturally appealing and revealing speeches as the one presented so recently in Cairo.
Such things had to happen. The gathering storm of antichristian activity was foretold with its outcome in the false prophet, the beast and the control of this earth by the RELIGIOUS INVENTION of the second dragon, the one interested in that phase, as seen in Revelation 13. Communism could never be the ultimate vice, as the religious one is the finale! It is now well under way. Christians, though lamenting for the sorrows of this new rebellion, may rejoice in this, that the day of Christ's return is, by such blatancy, evidently coming nearer. It is like travelling on a long suburban line by train. As you see the last stations on the map, at length being reached, you rejoice. It may be a little painful to wait any longer, but at least, you are now NEARLY THERE!
Praise the Lord! and let us not cease to pray for those misled, in case any of them may yet be delivered.
If it is grievous to have to warn and witness in this way, yet it is the grace of God which is available, and none redeemed is there, who has not sinned, gained remorse, repented and found the salvation by grace alone, in the peace of pardon. It is however, useless to assume it done; it must be taken, received, believed and of course, as with all faith, then acted on. The latter is the result; but there is nothing without the cause: and that, it is Jesus Christ, the ONLY name given among men, under heaven, by which they MUST be saved (Acts 4:11-12).
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS
Bible or Blight, Christ or Confusion:
The Comprehensive Resolution of Man's Intractable Problems
is Found Only in the Bible, the Word of God;
DEITY AND DESIGN, DESIGNATION AND DESTINY
REASON, REVELATION and the REDEEMER
The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy,
The gods of naturalism have no go!
SMR Ch. 6, Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 13, Swift Witness 6, Repent or Perish Ch. 7, It Bubbles ... Ch. 9.
See SMR pp. 1080ff..
The state of Israel is at least as fascinating and evocative as the State of Israel. It is good to prevent misconception by being very blunt about all the aspects. Zephaniah does this for us! Below is an excerpt from His Time Is Near Ch. 4. In passing, it exhibits the entire folly of the pseudo-spiritual program of Obama, a combination of presidential clout and verbal enunciation of what has long been in the hearts of many, and will be in those of many more, before the axe alas, falls as on all that makes vain gods, founded on nothing but hope and ministering with all the panache that this world, blind as it is, likes to affect.
It is because the idea has been of long standing, that its condemnation from afar is not hard to find!
THE FURIOUS ROAR IN THE WOODS OF THIS WORLD
Zephaniah is no more a whitewash prophet of poignancy than is any other; and stark as had been Israel's rebuke (cf. Zephaniah 1:4ff.), and infamous the conduct of other nations some already famed for their duly predicted falls as we have seen, yet genuine change is the correlative of peace, just as pardon is its condition.
This has always been so, as you see in Isaiah 61, where pardon pours like concrete from some vast truck, the container constantly turning, so that it never sets until the foundation is laid; and that foundation is laid securely as in Isaiah 28:16, in the Messiah, in whom one must trust. From Him comes an ordered life in secure peace (as in Isaiah 32:16-17) received by faith (Isaiah 53:1, 27:5, 11:10), whether by Jew or Gentile (cf. Isaiah 49:6, 42:6): for by HIS stripes are the 'we' who are believers in Isaiah 53, healed, for on HIM is laid the iniquity of all believers, for whom the transfer of guilt is thereby made.
The healing of heart helps holiness of life, for where the Lord is, there is purging, purification and realism, and as a result, liberty (II Corinthians 3:17, Romans 6).
It is just as always, by faith (cf. Leviticus 16:14-26, 17:11, 1:4, Isaiah 53:6, Zechariah 3:9, Psalm 32, 51, Deuteronomy 29:17ff., Psalm 71:16, Isaiah 54:7-10, 55:3), with eternal security where such faith actually has been present (Psalm 17:15, 16, 21:4, 145:2) so that mercy reigns (Psalm 103:1ff., Micah 7:19ff.), just as in Romans 3 and Genesis 15:6). Thus life eternal sits like a beacon on a lighthouse, resting in the heart of the believer (Job 19:23-27, Psalm 21:4, Romans 6:23, 10:9), resting on the resurrection of the Messiah (Psalm 16, 22 cf. Joyful Jottings 22-25).
Wrought by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 32:17ff.), and
established on the Messianic atonement
(Isaiah 2, 7, 11, 12, 22, 32, 35, 40, 42, 49-55, 61, 62, 65-66),
with retrospective efficacy wrought in faith (Psalm 116:10 where the cup of salvation is believingly appropriated by ANY believer (cf. Isaiah 57:15, 56:6, Jeremiah 3:16, 16:19ff.):
it is nevertheless limited to faith in the specific Saviour,
the actual deity in the flesh who comes for all men (Isaiah 55:4, 49:6, 42:6).
Therefore, it is as immiscible by ANY in any land, as it was for Jews in the Holy Land, being founded in fact, contained in truth and as indefeasible in substance as secure from syncretism in purity.
He was smitten (Isaiah 53); it is written. Truth and action are indivisible (Psalm85, Romans 6, Matthew 5:17ff.).
If therefore Israel or any part of it is to be delivered, faith is the way,
the Messiah is the base and
mercy is the procurement, just as sacrifice is God's own price for purity
(cf. Isaiah 52-53),
paid by Himself (Matthew 20:28, Galatians 3:10-13), receipted on the Cross,
transferred to His people, one by one (cf. Zechariah 12:10ff., Psalm 32, John 3).
If any race ever had the necessity of sacrifice for an atonement, for a reconciliation,
for a payment for sin, whether in trespass offering, sin offering, peace offering,
offerings where sin is intentional, where it is unintentional,
where it is to cover impurity which is not wrought by desire but without intent,
it was Israel.
If any race ever had the matrix and meaning of the sacrifice deliberately displayed
with the intense power of a whole battery of searchlights concentrating on some aeroplane
skimming light, bright and white through the skies, focussed and concentrated in that ONE,
it was Israel.
If any race ever had the identity of that ONE featured and exposed,
made manifest and taught
(Isaiah 42, 49, 50-56, Zechariah 2:8, 3:9, Psalm 45, Isaiah 43:10-11 with Isaiah 53:6),
it was Israel (cf. Deuteronomy 4:43-36).
If ever a people, however, had the whole construction without any constriction,
exposed and delivered like a Christmas present tied with bows,
fantastic wrapping design and accompanying music from a choir,
it was ALL the people of THIS WORLD!
If the NATION of Israel failed (as predicted - Isaiah 49:7) to take its Messiah, so be it;
He was not in any case limited to them. They will in due course in large numbers
make a massive return to the Lord (as in Zechariah 12:10ff., Ezekiel 36-37)
which is both spiritual and messianic, and indistinguishable from the case
of the other nations except in this, that the national home is part of the unvarying and unconditional promise to Abraham (Galloping Events Ch. 4, cf. Micah 7:19ff., SMR Appendix A, Genesis 15, 17).
This, while it rested chiefly on the Messiah, nevertheless had its own components.
Unfortunately many seem to feel that since the Messiah is undoubtedly the marvel and wonder of it all, that therefore the wrapping does not matter, and the card with the present may be ignored. Not so, for the method was not in the abstract, as in some philosophy of man, but as real as the Creator who ALONE is the Saviour, who ALONE is God (Isaiah 45:18ff., 45:12, Proverbs 8, Colossians 1:15ff., Micah 5:1ff.), who ALONE can save (Isaiah 45:22ff., Philippians 2:1-12), so that it is to GOD ALONE that every knee will bow, and that, it is to CHRIST JESUS the Messiah who as we have seen in an earlier chapter, came on the date specified, and the world has taken a little two millenia or so to find it really does not love Him! (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4, Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 2).
So be it. It suffers, just as the Jew has suffered in his day, that is: the nation of Jews who with Pilate were responsible, not ALL Jews: for many believed, though they constituted a small minority.
The world, yes, it is having its trouble day, its time of turbulence as Israel did for so long, for it will need heed what He has said, who made it and all (cf. Amos 4); and just as Israel's plight came to a height and a depth of depravity and horror at the hands of that awful dictator of World War II, so the world itself is coming to climax of putridity, following a senseless show of intolerance of truth, despiteful use of Christians, dereliction from the greatness which earlier national trends to faith created for many.
Such was the case of the British Empire and some of the history of the United States which is now, this day, reported as encouraging Taiwan NOT to seek independence from the maw of the horrendous offal of the earth, Communism, as exemplified in mainland China cf. News 37). How much further is there to go - downwards!
The world shudders now like some giant aircraft which has engine trouble. High, aloft in safety in appearance, yet it is ready to fall like some stone, left bewildered that it is not founded on the earth. It should be and could have been there founded; but is not so founded, through lack of faith, and has only fall to come. So is the world faced, except it find, person by person, the foundation which is in Christ, whose has broken the fall for faith.
Nevertheless, as for the flamboyant flight from faith, it does not deliver. This Stone, the Christ, the ONLY ROCK (Psalm 62:1-3, II Samuel 22:31-33), if HE falls on a person, it is an incorrigible ruin that results (Matthew 21:44); but if a person rather be built on Him, he will not hurry, scurry, flurry, but will not be ashamed (Isaiah 28:16, 11:10, Matthew 11:28-30).
One of the wonders of the forest fires of judgment is this, that the Lord has been so patient (II Peter 3:9), while every kind of ersatz, each form of artificial, meretricious, inauspicious, errant, contrary and contrary folly is wrought (cf. News 87, 121 - 122, with News 85, 88, 89). The world is only now coming - after so long a time since God revealed His hand only to have it crucified (Psalm 22, Matthew 26, Galatians 3), and that by plan for pardon, not to condemn (John 3:17), yes arriving at the end of its tether (as H.G. Wells book Mind at the End of its Tether, already portended some time ago! and fittingly from such an author as that one ...).
Its water is in trouble both for purity and distribution, its waters create trouble for Pacific Islands and Manhattan (cf. The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 6!), droughts are being accentuated, and floods with earthquakes (cf. SMR Ch. 8) as predicted; wars erupt like acne on some poor youth's face (Matthew 24:6-7), while Israel back in place (Luke 21:24) itself is surrounded by evil desires and ambitions from its neighbours, allying themselves disreputably with the United Nations in persecuting that tiny land. This is quite often in explicit manner, as far as those surrounding nations are concerned, with the object of repudiating the God of the Bible and exalting a false prophet with nil ground for faith in him (More Marvels Ch. 4, SMR pp.1080ff., Highway to Hell esp. *1, Matthew 24:24), but rather explicit ground for rejection.
It is all as predicted, but the point is the pollution of spirit, of mind and body, of resources and social and international relations, the war on God increasingly obvious (to become SO obvious that it is explicit in the prediction of Revelation 19:19).
Nevertheless, ISRAEL ITSELF WAS NOT AT ALL WHITEWASHED BY ZEPHANIAH.
Despite the profundity and wonder of the eventual restoration to be fulfilled yet further (as in Ezekiel 37 cf. SMR Appendix A, Joy Comes in the Morning Chs. 4 and 7), Israel in Zephaniah 3 is further confronted.
Indeed, in Ch. 3, the prophet resumes the exposé and exposition of its sins:
"Her princes in her midst are roaring lions,
Her judges are evening wolves
That leave not a bone till morning.
Her prophets are insolent, treacherous people;
Her priests have polluted the sanctuary:
They have done violence to the law..."
What a condemnation is this! How like is this case to that of the Liberal professors who disadorned the suffering earth last century, whose tribe is now post-modernist, leering and peering now, as jeering and sneering then: fraught with uncertainties, without faith, confusing the word of God with the word of man, and soon to be confusing God and man, till their case is that of renegacy entirely, which increasing is to be seen whether at the moral level (as in the Uniting Church cf. Joy Comes in the Morning Ch. 9), or the doctrinal (as in the Anglican, op. cit. Ch. 2).
In such ways, many ecclesiastical moorings are being actively transferred from the Rock to the roaring waves, which only move. Nor does each of these denominations fail in cardinal ways, whether through the World Council of Churches or in other roads, to draw near to Romanism, so making a nice synthesis of styles, the ancient and the modern false prophets jogging in increasing mutual conformity, like the prophets of Baal in the days of Elijah (cf. A Question of Gifts VII, News 121).
Let us however turn from the "prophets" who are "insolent, treacherous people", as our present Age so closely parallels that of Israel in its degradations such as Zephaniah here traces, to the LORD!
HE REMAINS faithful, though man be faithless (cf. II Timothy 2:13), so that we astonishingly, yes astoundingly read in Zephaniah 3:5, these words:
"The LORD is righteous in her midst,
He will do no unrighteousness.
Every morning He brings His justice to light,:
He never fails;
But the unjust knows no shame."
Moving to expose His judgments outside Israel in the past (3:6), He reveals His thought of hope:
"I said, 'Surely you will fear Me,
You will receive instruction' -
So that her dwelling would not be cut off,
Despite everything for which I punished her:
But they rose early and corrupted all their deeds."
God has no favourites who despite tragic folly, remain high in His esteem. Even Israel, at the last, brought back (as it was), as shown in Ezekiel 36:22, is told most explicitly, NOT FOR YOUR SAKE AM I DOING THIS! and He advises them to be utterly ashamed. He does WHAT HE SAYS. With God truth and justice, mercy and peace, word and deed are in such alignment that it is an awesome sight, to evoke a sense of magnificence at His splendour, praise at His power, that it is so pure!
God's people, linked to Him by faith, grounded in His atonement, based on Him as Rock, built up in His body, loving His reliability, BEING HIS, are TURNED TO HIM in heart; for their hearts ARE His! If they slip, He upholds (Psalm 37:24, Proverbs 24:16); but they do not travel on a different road from one, namely the Highway of Holiness (cf. Isaiah 35). He who is the Lord's does NOT MAKE A PRACTICE of sin (I John 3:9).
Thus does God expose Israel, despite His desires for her, showing here in her drab dress, as it is spiritually at the national level to this day; for only the FIRST of the TWO stages is yet complete, as outlined in Ezekiel 37 in the two prophetic words. One of these recalled the dry bones to Israel, a geographic enterprise already performed, the other to LIFE! (with meaning as in 37:14). These were set in sequence, namely the physical restoration to their land and the spiritual to their Lord. The next then is come the spiritual.
Then, no more would they return to idols, in the season of repentance which culminates this return, and their Messiah would come as its consummation (37:24), securing those who are His, as always in the everlasting covenant (Jeremiah 31:31). The new SPIRIT is yet to come (as likewise in Isaiah 32:17 and Zechariah 12:10ff.), yet the return of the Messiah is certainly near (Answers to Questions Ch. 5): but in one thing as in all, God acts. It is well to realise that this will be so, as all else has been so.
Unwise is he who ignores the word of the Lord, for it NEVER FAILS to happen. Scientifically such an approach is simply void; but it is not void there only, but in heart and in spirit as well. What is the good of that, and what possible benefit is to be derived from disbelieving the warranted, ignoring the attested, and following myths! (cf. Earth Spasm ..., Secular Myths ...).
This is coming, and is nearing us like a hydrofoil skimming the surface of the sea, cresting the waves, untroubled by delay or difficulty, rushing with stateliness, acting with power, coming near without swerving, soon to dock.
What then is the Lord's purpose ? He tells us. It is so comforting and altogether delightful of God to TELL US. Not for Him the raised eyebrows of resistance to all interrogation, the pseudo-depth of the undivulging: not at all! HE SAYS, and tells us all our need. He did this for Israel as He promised (Amos 3:7), and now to the world has He told it and so categorically through the Messiah, as the prophets beforehand ... like Joel, Micah, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Isaiah and ... Zephaniah. Listen then to this prophet at 3:8:
" 'Therefore wait for Me,' says the Lord,
'Until the day I rise up for plunder;
My determination is to gather the nations
To My assembly of kingdoms,
To pour on them My indignation,
All my fierce anger;
All the earth shall be devoured
With the fire of My jealousy.' "
To gather the nations ? Yes, you see it in Revelation 19:19 in the ultimate major crash of cymbals and symbols, as they lust for their own lordship; you see it in Ezekiel 38-39, as the local version transpires, the assemblage of specially interested parties lusting for the blood of Israel; and you see it in Daniel 7, where the small sovereign, who yet aspires to be as God (II Thessalonians 2:4ff.), makes his ultimate thrust to control the earth in the name of man. That thrust to be treated ... as God, it is as high as the abyss and as low as the bottomless pit!
"Pompous words" (Daniel 7 cf. II Peter 2-3) are the prediction for this errant and erratic mouth, this vain person, this thrust of devilish dynamic, this devil's messiah, this man of sin, as Paul depicts him.
When the nations are gathered, then, what next ? This, having determined in this way to gather them, God does proceeds "to pour on them My indignation" - scarcely the depiction of the preaching of the Gospel!
As in Micah 7:15ff., where the nations are to crawl in to their holes like worms,
as in Isaiah 66:15-16 where He comes "to render His anger and fury" - again, not quite the peace
from the acceptance of the Gospel, nor yet the environs of its proclamation of peace, for Christ
did not come to judge but to save (John 3:17);
as in Habakkuk 3 where "You marched through the land in indignation, You trampled the nations in
anger" while at the same time going forth "for the salvation of Your people, For salvation with Your Anointed," the Messiah, the Lord as in Revelation 19:
so here in Zephaniah, we see that He pours on the nations "all My fierce anger" -
and haven't they asked for it, like a tiresome child screaming for ice-cream
for solid hours at an Agricultural Show!
But here, it is not mere indulgence of pathetic desire which is in point,
but the awful atrocities to mind, body and spirit
which have been the increasing flurry and furore of the nations,
whether in China, Russia, Africa ...
Things unspeakable have been done in this latest dementia of the nations, as if the World War II
and the Cold War were not enough, and the passion to dismember Israel were inadequate!
God will, at His time, pour on them "His anger and fury".
In Psalm 50, God asks man, the wicked, the secular, if he thought that God was altogether like him! Is that why, the pith of the interrogation proceeded, he recklessly, heedlessly did evil ? Take care, He warns, lest I tear you in pieces.
There is an end to a cancer is there not ? Does not the doctor warn, if the case yet has hope, what must be done!
Is God to be mocked for ever ? Have not the millenia sufficed! You can presume into morbid maladies of spirit, but not into the distress of truth. In the end, reality rules; and it is merely the mercy of God that man has been left alive on this earth for so long; and indeed, as Christ put it so clearly, the things were to get - as now they have become - so horrendous in morals and spirit, in body and clime, that IF HE DID NOT INTERVENE, NO FLESH COULD LIVE ON THIS EARTH! (Matthew 24:24).