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BULLETIN FIFTY SEVEN
Supplement to Bulletin Fifty Three and lead to Bulletin Fifty Eight
ASTRONOMY FROM GOD AND MAN
THIS WORLD IS NO IMMORTAL
This mortal human frame must put on immortality
(I Cor. 15:54),
but matter must forget about it:
this world passes and the shakeable is shaken away. As ato matter, not less but more than shaking is in view (Hebrews 12:25-29).
For an immediate context for this topic, see the Journal of Creation, pp. 104ff., Volume 30(3), 2016 and some subsequent issues.
CONTEXT AND CONFIGURATION
What is the CONTEXT of Christ's utterance about His word and the universe,
in the 3 Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke ?
In what mode and topic is He concerned when
He emphatically, dramatically and dominantly announces:
"Heaven and earth will pass away,
but My words shall not pass away!"
At this time, He is speaking of the drastic and deleterious events, the evil and malevolent forces to be at work in the world, when His time draws near for His return for His kingdom. They mount to the point in His prediction, that UNLESS He did make this personal return when its time comes, flesh could not continue in the ruined, marred muddle, mess and writhing evil currents, then at work in the world (Matthew 24:22). As "false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders," Indeed, there will be great tribulation, just as was announced in Daniel 12, the worst till then, a point Jesus Christ also makes (Mark 13:19). When He DOES come, it will not, He asserts, be like cases of someone somewhere doing some prodigy or other, but it will in its time, have the instantaneous, immediately operative effect typified by lightning, and in space and place, go throughout the world.
In this way, "the sign of the Son of Man will appear and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn." Yet He will send His angels to "gather His elect". Giving a parable for timing, He then confirms the high estate and overwhelming power behind all this, at such an absolute level, where only God can operate, indicating this by His words: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away!"
Thus not only is He ABLE to speak of things at this level, to predict these ultimates, including His angels gathering together His elect, but this is not all. EVEN heaven and earth will pass away, He assures, but for that, vast as it is, there is a correlative. Not only is this to happen AS HE SAYS and because He says it, but His OWN WORDS in contrast to this staggering end to so much once so glorious, are invulnerable. These are operative. They will NOT pass away. They will come to pass, just as will the Old Testament scriptures, they will be fulfilled (cf. Matthew 5:17-20). Nothing will not be fulfilled, when it comes to the word of God.
His words, spoken at the command of His Father (John 12:48-50) are of the eternal, indispensable, undisposable type, and if any should doubt or wonder about the pure scale and scope of all that IN CONTEXT, He has been saying, then here is the ground of the assurance. Here is the One (as later seen in Colossians 1:15), who having made the heavens and earth, quite in the course of dutiful responsibilities as He knows them, when the time comes, removes them. BOTH of these actions, to create and destroy, are correlative powers, and matching works, as when one makes an axe, and determines at what time one finds it in order to dispense with the old instrument.
In parallel, HE deals at the level which has no embarrassment or invasion if it passes away, is gone, is disposed, is dispensed with, as distinct from remaining bound in place and in operation and in function. It may ALL go, as He directly declares, but like the resurrection of the body, when GOD is on the scene, that CAN all go, and what matters remains, namely His words and thus His guarantees and His life and His eternal life and the resurrected bodies of His saints, because not only is statedly a new heavens and earth to come as in II Peter, replacing the dissolved one, but the things of God have never required that created thing, matter, for their existence and it is not to continue in its current role, nor will that to come decline, but remain magnificent as befits the precincts of God.
That is the clear contrast: the things created in trial, and the things which are beyond so simple and temporary a level. The things of the flesh and of the spirit in I Corinthians 15 have indicated the cleavage most dramatically. An immortal body is to be disposed, that is given, not dispensed with, one that cannot pass away, eternal. It is in this utterly diverse domain of the new heavens, that the word of God resides, untouchable, in new premises. Nothing remains for of that, we find four times, that it is to pass way. As II Peter 3:11 puts it, "all these things being passed away," being burnt up, as by fire, indeed being "reserved for fire," in conjunction with the godless, like a letter in an envelope, it is time to be godly, awaiting, inwardly transformed already, an outward transformation uninhibited, to be exhibited, a thing intense and remarkable, contrasted as new relative to what passes away with its fire reservation duly fulfilled.
Now it is not a question of how long or inventing ages, when that day comes; for it simply declares the dissolution, dispersal, destruction, removal of the constitutive forces, of the concentration of all that is composed and concentrated, of what is mutually cohesive. This includes being, for to have that, you have the ultimate in this type of cohesion. Is it necessary to point out the obvious fact that when "the earth and the works that are in it are burned up," does not mean 'when the works that are in the earth are burned up - but the earth will be reserved, preserved, maintained.' That is not only an entirely different proposition in its extent and force, but a contradictory one. It is a creative proposition of man, which should not be placed in the place of the word of God.
They do not fit either in composition, content or atmosphere. The thoughts of each are different as learn in Isaiah 55:8-11. We are examining the word of God, the written not the smitten part. As with Peter, someone may mean well, but as with Peter, in his Matthew 16 episode, or 26 in the sword one, it is the word of God which is directive, not the enthusiasm or concepts of the apostle.
It is the same KIND of thing in the incarnation. Christ is very near and brotherly in many ways, and close is their communion; but this does not mean that slack presumption or assumption can be allowed to rule as Peter twice found out directly (Matthew 16:22-23, 26:33-35).
If, to resume, God sees fit to assemble a container unit and its contents, or to dissolve them in fervent heat so that they pass away, unlike His word, which is in absolute contrast, then who is any man to contradict ? Perhaps one's culture dictates, but culture is an unsound voice, the constraints and constructions of man in his own mood, mode and desire being notorious in the Bible for presumption when it comes to the word, wisdom, ways and directions of God (cf. Matthew 23, Colossians 2:8).
No, you have always a choice. Keep*K to what is written and draw wisdom from it, or TELL it on some basis or other of ephemeral type by contrast, and sheer insertion and intrusion. Unfortunately, this particular assault on biblical truth which we examine with sadness, takes the latter in this matter.
That then is the first point. Just as there is creation as one whole; so in time and where unredeemed, there is desecration, devastation, removal. Just as there is shame and abuse of what He has made, both the envelope and the letter inside it, both the mankind and the world about it, given to it and for which it bears responsibility, so these are to go, save those to be rescued. Rescued from what ? from their own spiritual folly, restiveness and rebellion through His sacrifice and resurrection, providing a necessary cure for guilt and place of respite (Romans 10:9,3:23ff., John 5:24, Ephesians 1:11) when "all these things" are burnt up.
First it is cursed (Romans 8:17ff.), then burnt up and dissolved. Neither the contradiction of what the Bible actually says nor of what Christ recorded in it is three times shown to say, nor the alteration of scriptures on some basis of imagination of what might have been is other than departure from the words which will not pass away. They will not pass away through tiredness, triviality or tepidity of faith, but being the word of God will remain because they are His: as in Isaiah 59:21, so in Matthew 24:35. One should never collaborate with what forms part of the passing away administration for the words of Christ, whose word is guaranteed, whose teaching is incorrigible, un-redraftable by desire, surmise or imaginative reconstruction, where the human mind like a grey-hound released, rushes into recreation of what is written, as if it were putty.
There is thus a tight, constrained, collection of aspects, elements. Creation, sin, judgment, almost like a body of discourse which surrounds not only the events past and to come, but develops always from due causes. Thus this may be seen in the context of Christ's speech about heaven and earth passing away. The issuance and disposal of whole phases of being. Indeed, it like a configuration continually applied, when you examine cases.
Thus there is:
the creation, the abuse and the exclusion from Eden, yet with hope announced (Gen. 3:15);
the continuation with sacrifice instituted, the wallowing in all kinds of mixture of man,
exceptionally evil and mixing with last relics of the good, and the flood -
the aid in reconstitution, with the ark a symbol of salvation;
the residue spreading until the call of Abraham,
leading to the covenant of Israel through Jacob (Genesis 28:3-4,13ff.).
As to this covenant's duration, specifically oriented
both to the land for Israel,
and the Lord's blessing for all peoples,
for the former, it is expressed in terms of
an everlasting covenant, and as
an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:8).
To be specific, the means for this vast period
are Jacob's descendants
"in their generations", to have this site (temporary disciplines apart - Leviticus 26).
Here this specifies what has no stated time barrier,
namely these generations
so long as such media last for the land, God Himself then
their ultimate defence (Micah 7, Deuteronomy 32:36ff.).
The Messiah its King to come (Genesis 12, 15, 17),
is above all, and for all,
indeed is the blessing to all nations, seen from the first,
affirmed to the last.
the forecast of slavery in Egypt for them, deliverance and timing
the call of Moses and the crusade from Egypt in escape
to the land of the Amorites,
only by then ready for their own specially select judgment
the delayed sally in the desert, the many rebellious dissidence
from the Lord,
the penalty of 40 years of desert living, and the deliverance
in the taking of the place assigned to them,
through Joshua, to whom, as to Moses in the Exodus and later,
came many miraculous deliverances (as in Joshua 10);
the disruptive corruptions, the days of disorder and penalty in the Judges,
and the call of David, a conspicuous pageant and type of the Messiah,
with the consolidation of the kingdom;
the series of Kings and their regimes, in different patterns
of the heroic, the slack, the disruptive, the ruinous, and
especially the contrasting rulers who honoured the Lord,
till despite the fidelity of the remarkable reformer, King Josiah,
mounting sins and wallowings, dynamics from the past
led to their expulsion from the land for 70 years,
only to return rigorously through a new Empire and a new Ruler,
Cyrus, of archeological fame through the Cyrus cylinder,
a restorative king for Israel, with a long list of attributes
and character and actions, noted in the prophecies of Isaiah,
and so through Ezra and Nehemiah, the series goes on,
till after a devious corruption through a syncretistic foreign rule,
as predicted by Daniel, Israel both leads on
to a virtual empire (the Maccabees),
the time this restorative phase amazing.
Even when Christ came, there was the premiss of promise,
the healing power, the irrefragable wisdom,
the vast appeal of wonderful realism, unquenchable hope
and confirmatory care and concern at every phase
through the Messiah, only to receive sharp
and definitive degradation,
at the hands of the authorities:
this for the body of the Lord and not His character or office.
Equally sharp and predicted came resurrection of a body
bashed, drained of blood, left to agonise into ruin,
but this like His own healings and resurrections,
merely a more evident symbol of His personal power,
in overcoming this,
and the nature of the resurrection (on display)
available to those who receive HIS FIRST AND FINAL
sacrifice for sin, a provision of deity
for which there was to be NO other option.
Nor was there any option for Israel but to be dispersed
(Matthew 24:1ff., Micah 5:3ff.)
after around 1000 years of detailed chronicles of its times and history
in the Old Testament, with staggering evidences
in archeology and manuscripts;
and then brought back (Luke 21:24, Jeremiah 31-33).
THEN, they would be (as by now they have been)
sustained in divinely aided wars,
where interfering marauders would seem
to subject it once again to themselves
(Zechariah 12:3ff., Isaiah 51:21-23, Jeremiah 33:24, Micah 4:12),
to harass and seek its dissolution;
but there too comes the opportunity at last,
the Lord's confirmation of their lost post as in Romans 11
in its long and detailed allegory;
when the nation is awakened from its long estrangement
to the glorious Gospel
of the pierced Messiah (Zechariah 12:10-13:1).
Indeed, in a final thrust, the odious tribulation
as frankly devilish forces
seek to run the entire world, as if its gods,
and are smitten as the Lord
takes His people, showing the world His own rule (as in Isaiah 11),
there comes a starkly ominous but inevitable finis line.
The Lord dismisses the entire visible reality,
so that UNLESS He returned, the place would no longer be able
to sustain life (Matthew 24:22ff.).
Meanwhile His intervention has long awaited,
and now is near (Luke 21:24), with Jerusalem's restoration to the Jews a chosen signal,
definitive of the closeness of that divine and dynamic event.
Heaven and earth, indeed, are to become excess baggage,
spoiled. It is stated, imposed, for this reason and that, as in 10 biblical sites that might be selected.
In these there figure Isaiah 24:18-22 (the earth, violently broken,
"will not rise again,"
Isaiah 51:6, Hebrew 12:25-29, Revelation 20:11-21:1 (2),
II Peter 3 (extensive coverage in detail and overall result),
Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33, Acts 3:21
we see this type of event
in its glorious repletion, for are told something many need to realise.
There is in the case of Jesus Christ, Lord of glory,
not only a glorification
(Philippians 2:4ff.), but a personal retention in heaven
UNTIL a certain event. That is what Acts 3 has to tell us.
What then is this event ?
It is the "restoration of all things."
Now how would you restore what is still there, or mean by declaring there was no space left for heaven and earth (Rev. 20-21) and that God would create a NEW heavens and earth, thus effectually noting the removal of the one and the CREATION of its replacement, if you did not mean what you said ?
This principle amid the create, spoil, judge,
restore selectively sequence
which we have been tracing, is on the largest scale.
That is all.
Here it is quinessentialised, on a level with the Eden case
(no more entry),
the flood (only cited ones rescued from utter devastation), the exile
and the dispersion of Israel in its own place. 70 years OUT
of the land did not mean,
"feel uncomfortable"! Data on exclusion and death do not mean data on inclusion and irrelevance. God has not lost control of His mouth, that He actually NEEDS people to cut out His words and substitute flirtatious fancies, coyly covering what is no concern of theirs,
WHEN the topic is WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES.
There is a very dangerous category which needs to held up lest any stray from the word of God by inventive dismissal in the name of interpretation, even multiple dismissal. It is found in Jeremiah 9:6, and is as follows: "through deceit they refuse to know Me." This must be watched for more than cancer.
The tenth example above has a special systematic character (just as Isaiah hn1 stresses ageing, 24 stresses breaching, the Gospels three, disappearance before the very majesty of the Lord, whose word outlasts anything and everything that may be SHAKEN (the issue with Hebrews 12). There are four categories in this creation of all or some or something; its abuse; and its dissolution, in whatever mode. Then comes restoration, renewal, relief, rebuilding, replacement or whatever else may be in mind, to the extent and manner in mind. The Lord works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11).
Thus there was the institution of Israel, the exile and predicted return after 70 years, the killing of the Messiah, the dispersion until the Lord should indicate through the movement of His Spirit the opening of spiritual eyes (Micah 5:1-3, cf. Isaiah 32:12-30), with a large measure of national conversion (Romans 11, Zechariah 12:10-13:1). First was to come (and has come) the menacing surrounding of the restored nation (as in 1948), by mighty enemies after the national reconstitution and declaration by Ben Gurion, in May of that year.
This has not only happened now, already a thing of the past, but the wars on Israel the newly returned, the nascent, have been waged, with a distinctive air and flair: the assaults have been most riotously waged, multitudinously, notoriously and vehemently in spirit. Biblically in prediction, this national return neither was to be a frequent occurrence, Israel at last nationally returning, nor has it been; but this in itself was a signal from God that the time of Christ's return is near (Luke 21:24). It is like the bell for the last lap in an 880 yard race. This national return, Jerusalem a criterion, is as in Romans 11 likewise for the nation, an epochal happening, a part of a traceable series, a thing of which Paul desires us NOT to be ignorant, a unique and substantial item in a disaster-to-triumph trail where ONLY GOD, the Father of Jesus Christ, will get the glory (Isaiah 2:17), and man will know the difference between what IS His will, and what is not (cf. Micah 7:14ff.). In this case, ignorance is not bliss but miss.
When it comes to the bases: there are love and creation, judgment and resistance even to this where possible, change of conditions (such as a world and life which might have been eternal), grim replacement of labour and suffering instead, selection of some through salvation to escape the judgmental ache and confronting termination, in everlasting destruction.
At the latter end: there is regeneration whether it be
of a nation, instead of its its temporary becoming its eternal removal,
of a soul,
of a world or universe: making it, marring it,
destroying or distancing it or making it unattainable,
but in the end replacing it by steps sovereign and and determined in the mind of God.
What a series of creation or institution, corruption, condemnation,
mercy, provision for pardon, restitution or let us put it more generally,
phases of loss, degeneration, deprivation, ruined opportunities (cf. Isaiah 48:15ff.),
and scope of deliverance, salvation, reconstitution, new creation, redemption, realisation!
We are not in a static world, and our history does not lack its stark measure of freedom of will, as in Jeremiah 9, where "through deceit they refuse to know Me." Long did this world have its opportunities, and they appear nearing their end. Its entire cosmos and order, survival by grace, and dismissal of total disaster so far, constitutes a state long enough to be characterisable by a Hebrew word*1 for time duration ( עוֹלָם), signifying broader or shorter episodes in a status quo of some length, depending on the case and the principles held in mind. In either case, there is scope for the imposition of loss, deprivation, degeneration as penalty, and so former conditions pass, the Second Law of Thermodynamics simply signifying one of these features at the physical level, while Professor J.C. Sanford*2 has illustrated near to the heart, the point that our DNA is NOT an exception, but suffers its own deterioration at a goodly rate, NOT exempted, and certainly no straining at the leash to go upward.
If there is any such a gratuitous upward principle, concerning this graded losing of the bloom of creation, it is singularly silent, absent from recordable events, suggested only by contradiction of what is found empirically. Indeed the curse (cf. Romans 8:18-20) is what is more and more visibly operative. So in Romans 8, we read as in Genesis, that the creation was subjected, not willingly, to curse. in any pressing for advance, curse is singularly defective!
An opposite principle, power, series of capacities, inherent structural ability, an organising genius, and so forth, really some mind of a god, tolerated, needs to be found for logical necessity, or nothing. There is another operative, the devil, but his manoeuvres do not include the creation. He needs someone else to do the work, who is willing and worthy, and this is called God, logically necessary as shown (cf. SMR). Nature itself is the thing made; not the maker. That is why evidence of its doing the making in gratuitous DNA initiation is not found.
An internal principle, power, system, evocation really needs to be found rather than its entire and sustained absence, as is the case. It would be better before this world merely makes this deceit one of its major features before a trial leaving Nuremburg like child's play in its scope and finality! A principle never seen in operation, an outstanding student never seen to inscribe words, these are things neither for science nor reason. Yet how they are loved by mythologisers, as predicted, in vogue (II Timothy 4).
Actually it is not a principle any more than is buying a new car. It comes as did this heavens and earth in the first place by an adequate cause, and will, and power, and deployment of conceptual, law installing power with surpassing skill. There is no value in cover-up words, glosses. Viewed in context, removing the old one, heaven and earth in this case, by the One who knew how to make it, is not specially amazing. Hebrews 12 is emphatic: the shakeable goes, the unshakeable stays.
The context is a masterpiece of definition.
There is a shaking not only of earth, but of heaven (1);
there is a shaking of what is by nature shakeable (2),
and this is in principle, of things made (3).
This is exclusive of those not only made but made His also - 12:25,28, who are redeemed, regenerated and adopted, received into His kingdom.
As however to those shakeable things, the issuance and the shaking is this:
they are "removed" (4).
It goes on to note that our God is a consuming fire, relating to II Peter 3, where both the earth and the works in it, are burnt up, dissolved, container and content alike.
Trying to imagine that this is not what the Bible says as in our declaration of 10 statements cited above, however, is, without being a source of awe, rather one of concern for those who may become afflicted by such misconceptions, which may even be made in the name of actual Bible teaching. But then again, as in II Peter 2:1ff., this development is what in this Age, we are warned to become used to, though not to accept; and a peril about which the apostle alerts us.
It is commonplace to use accoutrements, associations, of what one has in mind, for the thing itself. Thus "he has the cheekiest niblick in England" does not refer to the qualities of a golf club, but to the one who wields it. It even has a name. metonymy. Milton thus could say that when he considers how his 'light' is spent, he means his time in which light matters, his vision time.
Thus, to take a case, the mountains of Israel are almost personified as you see so very clearly in Ezekiel 6-7, and made the symbol, emblem and recipient of what is meant for the WHOLE, Israel itself. God chooses here, as so many have chosen elsewhere, to use imagery, in terms of the place WHERE the objects, here the idols common in Israel at that time, were frequently to be found, for those who so placed them, as if one were to say to a brothel owner, Your shady nooks and lanes will be rebuked!
Thus is the case in figurative language. Thus is the case in many episodes in the Bible. Why someone should object, or try to make some kind of an argument, entirely factitious about the world or matter or some such referent not being morally susceptible to what is to come to it, and so in result change the meaning, is close to amazing, Yet Professor Hartnett in the Journal of Creation article concerned, appears to have done nothing less than this!
Further, the mountains of Israel, in the illustrative case noted, as in parallel ones, DID suffer the fate proclaimed for them. It was not a mere figure, but a forceful use not only of metathesis, but synecdoche, another common literary feature, where a part is used for a whole. The mountains did indeed fall into other hands that had no covenantal assignment, in their literal reality, as well as bearing the burden of reference for Israel.
Further yet, the LAND of Israel was in itself a major participant of the case, in that it was ONE OF TWO features in the promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:4-6, 17:6-8, 22:15-19). The promised land was used as a site for spiritual operations as Israel was sent after several centuries, to rebuke the idolaters (Genesis 15:16) and replace them with Israel as a focus for the divine challenge to mankind, just as in the way assigned, through this same people there was to come the blessing to all nations.
In the case of heavens and earth, the scope is broader, the judgment no less. This material world has been the intimate site of unspeakable horror. It is the stark surround, the emblem and means, the laboratory with its load.
In fact, the world is now the immediate object in question, and its inhabitants and site, the people and their lair. It is now statedly the heavens and the earth which are stipulated in the divine judgment, the moral body stark in its immorality, and the site and arena of this action, now no more limited but announced as heaven and earth. There is no stay on the shaking and removal of this disfigurement for space, and space for disfigurement. The premises of the torture and gross horror are to go, along with the torturers, an embroilment of horror. That is the scope assigned and the setting of the assignment the Lord has made explicit.
It is unfortunate to give God lessons, and better to be taught from His word. In all such matters, it is necessary to distinguish between (the perhaps and presumably good) intention of what is said, and the result. It is here purely the latter which is in view, and must be presented for the sake of clarity which being present in the word of God, is not for ANY reason to be evacuated.
*1 See for example regarding Dr Sanford's work (4th. Edition): Genetic Entropy,
including results of sustained researches, since his retirement from full professional life at Cornell University.
*2 Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies by William Wilson, gives the meaning of this word as "duration of time which is concealed or hidden." In other words, an unknown length of time.
By inspection, it is found It can mean for a life-time, as with a slave, and covers the time in view for longevity in a given system. The system in view of course may change for example for judicial reasons, and with it, the kind of time in view. Opportunities may be lost. The word, on usage inspection, tends in many instances to mean to the end of the conceived period, to be interpreted for whatever criteria are in mind. It neither forces the concept of eternity nor excludes it, but it may serve to emphasise sanctions of duration.
An inter-personal promise is more than a premiss, and when unconditional, in due time occurs in all good faith. Moreover, as Professor E.J. Young pointed out, a negative helps to define a positive. Where relevant, it narrows the field.