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CONFUSION, THE KING:
THE CAUSES AND THE CONSEQUENCES
CONFUSION AND TYPES
CONFUSION AND PROFUSION
There is a confusion which is more than the sheer splendour of abundance, as when a mighty floral array presented freely in some garden astounds thought by its sheer multitude, delightful differentiae and sheer genius of construction.
That is orderly confusion, not mental abeyance; it is stimulus overwhelmed, not understanding decrepit.
There is another type. Here one kind of concept or consideration is put frankly for another, as though they were the same, when they are as distinct as whales and sardines - both admittedly fish, but water-goers of an entirely different character.
Thus you have images and figures in the Bible (and for that matter, out of it), and in their zest and vigour you may become confused, never pondering the base and portent of the passage at the outset.
There can be some little challenge, but one well met. Thus you can have a prepared and systematic image, or set of images, as such, with its fulfilment, meaning, point and outcome set in a development, culmination or episode that interprets and fulfils the whole.
That is the case with the law of Moses in its symbolic, sacrificial multitudes of coverages of many sins, whether of omission, or commission, wilfulness or ignorance.
As in Deuteronomy 18, a prophet is predicted who will supervene the work of Moses, and having authority, His stature is such that His word will be determinative. Coming after Moses, thus to Him relates the authorised culmination, commanding in the extreme, but of course not discountenancing the word of the one who predicted Him, but giving a finale on the topic.
Similarly, Isaiah 66:3 speaks, after 52-53, where the explicitly multi-functional and all-effective sacrifice for believing sinners is presented, and it is of One for many, once to cover much, replacing the now offensive of sacrifice of animals. These are treated in terms dismissive. Their introductory job is finished, with this One to come, as in Isaiah, Micah 5, Jeremiah 23, Ezekiel 37, Habakkuk 3, Psalm 2, 40, 45, 69, 72, 110 and so on.
With His coming, animal sacrifices become horrid then*1. Sin itself is horrid; so was sacrifice; it reflected it and dealt symbolically with its sentence. This gone, with the foretold coming of this Messiah, there is only one more horror in sacrifice, one Person, one body, one place as always in view in the Temple as its symbolic precedent. So as Christ told them in Nazareth of the so broadly foretold Messiah, using Isaiah 61, this is it: He is the One. That magnificent spectacle of healing and heart restoration, concern and grace of Isaiah 61, it is He Himself, the thing fulfilled in your ears, as He told the staggered congregation. The application of that 'sermon' was exceedingly short, consisting only in translation, of 9 words! The results so far have covered some 1,983 years.
That fulfilled what was in the Temple rites was an explicit preliminary, prelude, and the things imaged so in temple procedures were now sated in reality: for now the many sacrifices yielded for ever to the one and this was intrinsically apposite, adequate and final.
Thus we move, in carefully explicit terms, from the symbol to what it precisely exhibited, definitionally and decisively, and that is that, as to meaning. Then there is application, but our present topic is the transference of meaning from temple to reality, past all symbol.
PROPOSITIONS WITH OR WITHOUT IMAGERY
That is one sort of symbolism, where we all know or ought to know or can readily find out from the text and context, the nature of the imagery-reality transference. There is a set-up of symbols, and then a layout of results, point, essential meaning in reality.
That is a fulfilment closely interpreted; and as Christ pointed out in Matthew 5:17-20, EVERYTHING to the LEAST speck, will be fulfilled. That is one reason why it was so significant when He announced in NAZARETH, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." It was similar in the case of John the Baptist, both in his own ascription of meaning to Christ as in John 1:29, where he noted of Jesus this, that He is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
It applies to these his own words, as to those of Christ addressed to the messengers whom John much later sent, when in horrific plight, asking for confirmation from the Lord. Christ simply listed what was being done in His mission, commission and labours, which being both a decisive wonder in its own domain of power, healing and thrust beyond all normal human restraint, fulfilled what was given as an identikit before, through the predictive words of the prophets.
What was that of which they spoke ? It was the great things the Messiah would do when He came. So Christ answered the messengers from John (Matthew 11:1-6). He added this: "Blessed is whosoever not offended in Me," Matthew 11:6. Here was fulfilment predicted, proportional, precise, liberal in amplitude, massive in power, glorious in kind, elemental in significance. In its conclave of elements, old and new: rational possibility of confusion did not exist.
A simple statement, fitting like an engagement ring into the box of prophecy, declared the point. In a constructive analogy, this could be compared to an atomic bomb, as in the first case. It declared itself, though in that case, it was a destructive declaration. Nevertheless, in the setting, it was not a topic of doubt any more!
In the former case of sacrifice, there was a confining conclave of elements making it clear; in the case of the Person of the Messiah, it was the same in kind, but singular in outcome: indeed, it is God Himself who is the eternal singularity; and with Him, there is no lapse as to His origin, and the cause of it, as in all naturalism on this question begging crusade in which it indulges: He is quite simply eternal in nature, and that equally simply is how anything that is not eternal can and does exist.
PERSONAL PROPOSITIONS WITH PRECISION
Now consider another type of image. Here you have something that is in itself, personal; this is the very nature of expressed in the object or the image or thing depicted itself. It is not a thing seen as symbolic from the outset, clothed in coming fulfilment as such; but it is a matter of reference to a concrete, personal, importantly and formally involved BEING AT THE OUTSET. Such is the focus, the feature and the butt of the attention; and it is rather a different sort of image, being a reality made in the image of God. That is, it is SO real that it reflects His love of justice, mercy and goodness but is so enabled that it may reject these very things, so becoming a sort of spiritual abortion; which makes havoc in the world. Consider then the person in view, mankind in any individual. We have had plenty of practice, for this is what we are.
Consider then, when you say, "I am going to take you around the world!" to someone, being adult, then growing older does not remove the normative impact. You said it, you did not lie, you did not deceive; it was not gabble, and there was no sign of humour in the case in mind. Very well, then, DO IT, or acknowledge
b) immaturity or
When, to extend the conclave of aspects, you further say that you are going to make people wake up and think, when you do this great thing, make this joint trip, then we understand normatively that you have a mission past the casual, but set store by your words, intention and the relationship of what you are saying now, and plan to do then.
If you were to indicate that in the protection of your intention, you will engage in the most vigorous assault on what in the end insists on stopping you from doing this, we then realise that the thing is deep within you, and depending on the strength of your utterance about confrontation and overwhelming power being used to prevent those who would abort your kindly intention, we would understand it to be in itself, a crucial thing to you. The parties, the one promised, and the one promising, the principle, the one premised, and the outcome, the realisation to come to those who are going to try to stop you carrying out just what you have said to the party concerned: all are then seen to be of the highest commitment. Surely the things you declared you would do, these will be done on three conditions.
1) the party promising has enough power and wisdom
and knowledge and control and comparative strength
to overcome anything attempting to stop him.
Otherwise his intention for all his desire and promise, might be humiliatingly aborted.
This is the case if he not only indicated what he would do, but spoke with assurance,
that he would in fact succeed in doing it.
2) the promiser is reliable, measures his words, puts wisdom and truth in them,
knows what he is saying, is not immature or psychically disorderly,
but a balanced person of wit and purpose. The word is as sure as he is.
If he is all that, then it is sure, if point 1) also applies.
3) the promiser is not omitting anything in his compass -
such as acts of God, as insurance calls them.
If the party excludes even that category,
then it has to be either God who speaks,
or what resembles a blasphemously intemperate, unsophisticated buffoon
or person of wandering mind or foolish ways, either generally or in this case,
Take now the matter of God and Israel.
Was the one promised, Abraham as in Genesis 12, 15, 17 and his people to whom this was also stated, impersonal or a piece of thought; or was he and were they personal so that direct, individual understanding and mutuality of relationship existed ? Certainly the latter was so.
Did it mention a number of things, this promissory notation ? Yes, there were two major ones. First, the man concerned, the informed party as distinct from the informant, was to become through racial continuity down the line of descendants, a focus of a personal kind for blessing for all the earth. In Genesis 15 we find this involves his descendants going on, and the thing is confirmed by a form of sacrifice signifying complete commitment, even to the uttermost ( Genesis 15:1-17). Indeed, history was called for centuries to come, in an explicit and detailed manner, showing the time involved in an early phase would continue for long and through much, as to be expected in something declared to be eternal.
The second major feature, one in another element, was that a closely specified land would be a container unit for the descendants. It appears the one to which God undertook to lead Abraham, including the land where Abraham is to sojourn. This is specified in some detail further in Deuteronomy 1:6-8.
To be sure, there were penalties inside the covenant, should Israel engage in persistent, unrepentant follies down the way of the times to come as in Leviticus 26; but the end is still sure. The word is out, the conclusion stands and discipline does not delete any clause, though it may cause intermission in exile, as in fact it did. Such was the transmission of information and covenant to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.
For all that, their foretold sins, the land would be theirs, and they would return to it, as scientifically in terms of verification, has in fact happened; and for the record, it has happened in precisely the way foretold as in Zechariah 12-14, with a blighting force of internationals afflicting Israel in that final setting leading to the return of the Lord. In detail there, we find predicted that people who so burden themselves with Israel, meddling, will be hurt as they hurt (Zech. 12:4), leading also to a time when Jerusalem would be divided between Israel and enemies (as happened around the division at the Mandelbaum gate), and one in which enchantingly assured wars would occur against quite overwhelming odds, where Israel would prevail, as has also happened, as the word of the faithful God always does. So it was to be; so it has been, and so is the word of God concerning this covenanted nation, and His unyielding determination not to dishonour His name by aborting what had so failed (Ezekiel 36:21-38, 37:1-10, 24).
The land is part of a covenant between God and Abraham, leading to a statedly eternal possession as far as this earth is concerned. The parties are nominated, the land is denominated, the blessing is marked out and the national source for its arrival demarcated.
Further, accordingly, God statedly plans, as in our list above, to TEACH the contestants against His promise the folly and ignorance of their actions so that they realise its nature! They who have so humiliated Israel will be humiliated; and they who have so scotched the word of God, will be scorched themselves (as in Isaiah 51:22-23). This is seen in such prophetic promises as those in Ezekiel 39:21-29. A lesson for the nations is in view in such confrontations to the point as found predicted in Micah 7, Isaiah 59,66, Joel 3, Psalm 2, 110. It is a hard, a necessary and an abruptly sudden lesson.
As to the spiritual state of Israel itself, this too comes into the domain of the covenant, as seen in Leviticus 26 and Ezekiel 36-37. Israel also would LEARN when God confronts those of a different mind towards either no god or a different God, and carries out His own unique word with His own unique faithfulness and power. Israel will learn of the cataclysmic character of its sin and the extraordinary grace of their God, repentance ready for faith and faith bringing the spiritual blessing promised to all nation, to their very own as well! for its sin was a cause of the hiatus in history when it led to its temporary but considerable exile (Ezekiel 39:27-28).
ALL will have much to learn, but the outcome is as in the covenant at every point.
One point is this. Israel as predicted (Isaiah 49:7, 52-53), would abhor and murder the Messiah, who being Lord, was cut into in what became a sacrifice by the One who made the covenant, so that Israel at last inherited the penalty for that, as ultimately the blessing FROM it (Micah 5:1-3, Zechariah 12). Thus not only land but life was in view, on behalf of many descendants of him to whom the two major promises were first made.
Were they not in the generic side of things, a nation ? Hence there would have to be a sure and certain fulfilment of the principle of pardon and mercy based on sacrifice for them as for any other seeking to walk with the Lord, whether in a distinct category at the national level, or not. At the spiritual level it is one only for all, for there is one Gospel of grace (Galatians 1), one Lord, whose word is to all the earth (Isaiah 45:21-25). In this, Israel would give a substantial proportion of its people at the last, and indeed they themselves would come, as in Zechariah 12:10- 13:1, while God would ensure it as in Romans 11:25ff..
Indeed, for some half a millenium before Israel murdered its Master, the Prince of Peace (with profound results not amounting to God denying His word, but bringing from an appalling act, appalling results, pending repentance, for this nation yet to come), God foretold an amazing episode to come, prior to the finale of confrontation.
Israel, in an abundance of its people, would REPENT of slaying their Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:1-7), and would in spirit see with the inner eyes of faith the One whom they had pierced (Zech. 12:10), and in a vast collocation of repentance and grief would seek pardon on the basis of that self-same sacrifice which they had unintentionally made, not then knowing what they were doing! (cf. Luke 23:34). This would come, and so would their restoration from international dispersion as in Ezekiel 36-37, leading on to the rule over all this earth, of the Messiah (Ezekiel 37:24-28, Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, Genesis 12:1ff.).
Thus the blessing to all the earth on the one hand, and the stated territorial site for the aggregation of prophecy at the first, composed and culminating has come. Israel had the scope for exemplification or better, illustration of the kingdom, rich in the prophecies which God gave, visited with His incarnate, only begotten Son. The expanded blessing comes, is coming and will come to all the earth: the site of His action and the sight of His butchered form graphically presented to Israel.
So the hinges of the door of fate will yield entry for many as they turn, both the hinges and those who turn to the Lord in their lives. Few in comparison, many in aggregation, with a large surge near the end from Israel, thus come the people from all the nations. When the Lord rules as in Psalm 2, 72, Isaiah 11, then great will be the multiplication of blessing, till the last scene of sin is obliterated and the beginnings come to their end, and the ends to their expression (II Peter 3:13-17).
The situation having come like Act V in a Shakespearean drama, to its close, in the main sphere of action, the culmination makes hope fact, while folly passes, with no Last Post for its departure.
SCENES IN THE LAST ACT
Having seen much, let us look more closely at some of the features of this personal faithfulness of God both to His word and to its recipients.
Now is the basis of pardon complete, wrought once and for all as in Hebrews 9:12-28; but the application of it to individuals and nations is in process, certainly very near its predicted end in the predicted manner (scientific method calls for careful watching of each element of fulfilment and comparison with the presentations made by contestants!).
When the strength of Israel fails, that of God is to prevail, as precisely foretold in Deuteronomy 32:35-43.
Creation, salvation, covenant fulfilment, overcoming of the evil forces, judgment,
ALL are of the Lord, and NONE is the party who will intrude in these elemental features.
SOME will APPLY the word of the Gospel, but the power to impact in judicial finality is that of God alone, among nations, in the tribunal of truth, when the books are open! Such is the depiction whether in Daniel or Revelation. How poor man is ever lingering to take some part in creation (using nothing itself as a sort of imaginary shoe-horn in one of the worst delusions of all time), some part in salvation (as in helping God out by making an imaginary crucial difference by his own works - Romans 3:23ff., Titus 3:1ff. to the contrary; or in subduing the world in political power, as some postmillenialists seem in profound error, to imagine. This is despite the Lord's OWN action as in sites such as Psalm 2, as He blasts into exposure and personally scatters the hostile and animated endeavours of His enemies to subdue and keep the earth in their own name.
It is statedly the Lord who there is seen as always, to do this, and He ALONE will be exalted in that day (Isaiah 2:17), when judgment brings awe to the mightiest, and the unredeemed will scamper for cover (Isaiah 2:19, Micah 7 cf. Isaiah 66).
Jerusalem will be a memorial, not to the dead Messiah, but for His living vindication; the site of redemption and the place where power replaces punishment. God was nver vague but did things where and how He pleased; alone exalted in the end, the REASON for it is His alone from the first, whether in creation, salvation or deliverance.
The saints may carry on; it is God only who MAKES them saints and having both pardoned sin and placed power in a conflict of conflagration, makes their place sure and the kingdom secure. They may adorn it; but His is the adornment.
Isaiah 59, 65, 66, Micah 7, Revelation 19, Matthew 24 all give voice to the description of appalling continuation of evils, not grandiose territorial triumph for the Christian Church, as if it were imperial. Its sufferings and the hoaxes it endures, its continuing afflictions in patient endurance as the world empires list continues its evil ministration is as repeatedly narrated in different forms, in the Bible, including Daniel 7, especially 7:9-12.
The stay on take-over by force, or with it on the part of man, remains. As with Peter, so with other Christians. A nation may fight, but the Church uses only other weapons than those wresting the earth from the surging imperiousnesses of the foretold kingdoms.
What then is the fight for the Church ? This fight is with spiritual weapons amid a world getting worse and worse; for in it is no case of recuperation. Some are saved out of it; but love it not, for what is a friend of this world is an enemy of God (James 4:4). Christ did not even pray for it (John 17:9). It is for the pit. Don't therefore dabble in dark places. In things physical, rescue missions for those in it replace rampancies.
In spiritual warfare however, the case is very different (as in Ephesians 6). Schemes, unspiritual schema, irrational concepts colliding with Christ are indeed to be cast down as Paul shows in exemplary manner (II Corinthians 10:5), a reason for the faith is to be duly given (I Peter 3:15), and the approach of Christ Himself in Israel, to those diverting the stream of truth is not only famous, but a matter of plenary power on continual parade. In the end, they did not dare ask Him any more questions (Matthew 22:46).
What however of the physical world, its rule, its imperium - for there is no cessation of the ruling empires noted in Daniel, but a succession, a continuation, until their desolation comes at the threshold of judgment. There is stop but ONE ONLY, that of the august and eternal God, by His own determinative power. The confrontation is given as climax and it is furious, overwhelming, carried out specifically by Christ as Warrior for truth, faithful and judge of mankind (Revelation 19 cf. Ezekiel 38, Isaiah 66).
It is in the very framework of final confrontation with an imperial worldliness of massive power and deadly promulgations and propagations that the scene moves, and this dynamic continues while "the judgment was set and the books were opened." This being so, John continues, "I beheld till the beat was slain, and its body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." So into the framework of final judgment does the bestial dynamic continue, the imperial set of empires specified by Daniel moving till the Lord would overcome them at the last, as in Daniel 2 and 7.Moreover, the words of the evil one continue "until the beast was slain". Its body was given to the flames.
Not only is romancing with things not spoken of in the Bible, such as a millenium amid the four empires and their end, a matter of adding to the word of God which is most stringently forbidden (Proverbs 30:6). The case is worse: this becomes contrary to what IS given, and so surges into the field of simple contradiction, whatever may be the intention. Further, to fail to take the personal promises of God in their context statedly eternal for the earth as long as it continues, is not only to impugn His faithfulness in precise personal assurance, but to subdue part of His instructive word so that its prophetic light does not as Peter indicates (I Peter 1:19), bless those who see it, hear it and are helped by it. This is no small menace! From it, may the Lord deliver many.
As Christ declared, evil would grow worse and worse, and iniquity abound to the point man, amidst such preliminary judgments and follies, would not even be able to continue on this earth unless HE DID COME in Person! And so this too occurs, extending as in the covenant with Abraham, the blessing to all the earth, already presented in the propagation freely of the Gospel.
So vast has been the fulfilment of the covenant with Abraham concerning the blessing to all nations.
Just as marked, though not as vital except by implication, is the emphasis, the part of the covenant in Genesis 17:7-8. Spiritual sight and national site for the foundational proceedings are alike detailed and part of the most solemnly announced plan (as in Genesis 15,17). There is found an indication that the promise and the premise between the Promiser and the one to whom promise is made, involves a premiss of generations without cease in the appointed place. As the earth continues, so does this provision. This is the nature of a contract, which it is better to call a covenant, because this is FREELY given, and not in return for something provided as payment, and secondly because the concept of contract tends to involved thought of mutual obligation, whereas this is a free act of God. Received in faith indeed by Abraham (Hebrews 11:17-19), yet it is operative by divine counsel, decision and provision. The things in view were as sure as life, death and divinely sanctioned sacrifice.
Such is the position. When the divinely assured time of confrontation concerning the implementation of this promise to Abraham, should come, then the assured result would come, God having none as His superior in power or His equal, whether in reliability or in sustained wisdom (Isaiah 14:27), as Almighty (Exodus 15:1-11). There in fact would be such a confrontation, a context and a conclusion carrying out the undertaking. Thus on the one hand, there is a consummation of the spiritual blessing; and on the other, there is a culmination of the mockery of Israel, its place, point, purpose, history, restoration and significance.
God has His hand on events, to fulfil His word, implement imagery or direct statement according to text and context, as with any rational and reliable speaker; but He is utterly rational, reliable, powerful and pure. He does not hedge His bets, or deceive His chosen; but what He assures, in the way it is assured, in the historic meaning and indubitable frame of reference, this He does. He is not fitful just because, like the mankind He created, He can use imagery if He wants to do so. The imagery makes graphic what is given, like face make-up for a woman; but it does not create the face; nor for that matter, does it fade away, when MAN is the image in question, a moral being with understanding of reliability and faithfulness and power and provisions on which in sheer grace as given, to rely.
Figures and images are one thing; a direct, particularised, repeated, grandly encompassing personal promise is another. WHEN He died in Jerusalem, as predicted; the world was shown that the Cross is not a flower slightly bruised, but a site and event in a specified nation and place, with specified emotions in attendance in the perpetrators; and the message flows from it, not in some philosophic ramble, or poetic fantasy, but in precise fulfilment of the portent and stated intent in the prophets. The imagery is not undisciplined into cursive rambling, but realised in obvious contextual content. FAITHFUL is His NAME! (Revelation 19:11), and as such He comes.
UNDERSTANDING IS KING AND NOT COURTIER
Its Source Splendid and Eternal, not Must, Mist or Miasma
cf. Proverbs 8:12-14
It may require understanding of course: what does not! But this is based not on a roving, far less raving imagination, but the controlled use of imagery to make vivid, more absolute in appearance, more graphic what in the first place in any good communicator, is clear. You do not sew traceries onto a dress in order to make it dissolve, showing only the sewing. It is an ornament to what underlies. It can also stir the imagination to the meaning, but not replace it; and such are the parables. To be sure, let him who has ears hear; but the situation was also most clear. In a story form, a principle is illustrated. No one is in any danger of confusing story with history in such a set case. Communication from God is not a riddle as He insists (Proverbs 8:8), but given so that clarity is its nature.
How often do Churches go to illicit and unwarranted extremes of so-called interpretation, almost if the biblical reality is untouchable! Thus many are deceived. This topic is a field in the volume, The Bay of Retractable Islands.
Thus again, there is nothing to make Israel, thus shown up in its own errors as are the other nations in the Bible (cf. Isaiah 19, 65:13-15, Nehemiah 9) to become King instead of the Lord, or even to become superior in spite of its insatiable sin leading to the fateful crucifixion; for it is explicit that in standing, it will be one of many. Yet it is still the land of Jerusalem, site of the Lord's interment, resurrection, magnificent works, the most sacrificial this world has ever seen.
It stays the place of promise; the situation emblematic and practical both: and it is famous for what it represents in the prelude-performance category, as for what was done in it by, for and to Jesus Christ. Here was the blood of the covenant shed, and here has God sent the prophets, and here has His covenant been made and for this He has attested both discipline and deliverance, both in full measure (cf. Isaiah 40).
Confusion, that king of compromise, loves to surge like frightened sheep or wild horses, here or there, and in its excited state, it can dump almost by the fitfulness of its feelings, almost anything. But facts are not susceptible to alteration by feeling, except those facts which relate to the feeling as such! Hatred does not replace what is there with what you think. Indeed, with Christ the Lord, what is there is famous throughout the last two millenia, and indeed before, for changing what hates, often into what loves.
AND GROWTH PATTERNS FOR THE COVENANTS
In Zechariah 14, we find references, following the reaching of the New Covenant category in Zechariah 12, to the Feast of Tabernacles. Since that is part of the former Covenant, the New decisively differentiated as a more mature provision, and indeed as the culminating and comprehensive fulfilment of the Old, like new wines maturing to their vintage condition, therefore it is to be interpreted in terms of the due generic as prescribed.
Where is it so prescribed ? It is to be found in earlier prophets such as Jeremiah in the famed passage of Jeremiah 31:31ff., in Isaiah 66:3, where the abhorrence attaching to continuation in what is displaced by maturity, as when a youth becomes a man, is exhibited. It occurs as a brief reference in Ezekiel 16:60-63, where God predicts that He will remember the covenant made, and now go so far as to make an everlasting covenant. Indeed, it is not because of the performance of Israel in terms of the old covenant that He will make this magnificent substitution, but since He is gracious, He will so act (Ezekiel 16:59-60). Nevertheless, it will involve a certain internationalisation in an open relationship with Gentile peoples who return to rest in the Lord, precisely as in Isaiah 19.
It is of course, this maturing into the New Covenant, also found in Zechariah 12, where there is a vast national realisation as the Age comes near its end, that they have acted in defiance and death-dealing horror towards their very own God, Rock of Ages, even against the Lord of glory, and with rising horror, against the God who there speaks with them and there reveals alike that it is HE. In that very biblical site, it is shown that it was the very Lord Himself, whom they pierced, so constituting a sacrifice for sin as in Isaiah 50,52-53, with glorious consequences in freedom direct in His counsel and covenant, as in Isaiah 54-55.
Accordingly, as in Jeremiah 3:16, even that so sacred, so holy, so articulated an item as the ark of the covenant, even set in the holy place as it was, will not more even "come to mind". As in Primary School as a past, and tertiary as a present, one does not repudiate what is learnt, but sees it in its setting. 10 times 10 does not cease to equal one hundred, but the numerical system is discerned in broader parameters.
That is not all: it is not enough to pronounce this amazing development that this ark, so central with the golden wings of the agents of mercy above it and the blood to be sprinkled on it in the day of atonement in the Temple, will in worship no more come to mind. The text races on to tell us further, this: "nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it," and as if even that were inadequate to indicate the developmental disparity between the old ways of symbol and ark, sprinkled blood at the place of atonement above it, to the uttermost central in symbolism, the text continues thus: "nor shall it be made anymore."
It would be difficult to be more intensively advised in all these passages of the New Covenant, which as in Jeremiah 31 in some detail, at the inward level, speaks of the law of God being inscribed on their hearts. We indeed find in Zechariah 12 that there is to be a spiritual movement pre-disposing and acting as kindling to the fire, so inclining them to a wonder-working directness and intimacy with their God, that needs not regard the systematic symbolism of what was temporary because of the presence of what has become permanent and total. Indeed, as in Zechariah 12:10-13:1, this covenant is in His blood, His whom they slew, and it is conducted direct by Him whose blood they sprinkled from the cross, to make a basis for what Isaiah 52 is given to call an act universal in applicability. Consider it here.
"Just as many were astonished at You,
and His visage was marred
more than any man,
and His form more than the sons of men;
"So shall He sprinkle many nations.
Kings shall shut their mouths at Him;
for what had not been told them they shall see,
and what they had not heard they shall consider."
Thus not conditioned by the Israel-covenant, which was broken (Zechariah 11), God will nevertheless honour His name (as in Ezekiel 36:20-27), in its unqualified and unconditional promises, including premises for operation as in that temple outside the wall of the city of Jerusalem, where the blood was 'permitted' by His murderers in the human form He had taken, to be sprinkled from the site of the cross. Indeed, it appears it would even be sprinkled in terms of gravity, ON IT!
So will they return to the appointed land so that both the nations (Ezekiel 39:23) and Israel (Ezekiel 39:26-29) will know that the Lord called and culled Israel, and restored it in kindness and power, in compassion and historical control. These things therefore are as deep as His name. He is not saying, "Ah, here you failed the contract and all is null," for that would be lacking in depth and in underlying conditions of faithfulness in kind. Rather does He take the covenant to its mature fulfilment in terms of the very blood they shed and apply its underlying provisions past symbolic temple apparatus and preliminary perspective, not only to Israel, but to other nations as well (as in Isaiah 42:6, 49:6). This is quite explicit.
With such a sacrificial provision from the Almighty Himself, vain would it be to limit it amid the human race He produced with its inimitable combination of vulnerability and significance, liberty and hardening that turns that very liberty to slavery to sin. Instead freely would He offer in those very terms (as you move from Isaiah 53 to 55), the waters to quench the human thirst of sinners for solace, and of wanderers for wisdom, of the unpardoned for peace in forgiveness.
These things being so, the predicted developmental maturing of the ground of the covenant, into its direct format is always where the one succeeds in time or sequence, or is closely associated in context, condition or concept, with the latter, to be taken in the mature form.
In one way, thus, the reference to the Feast of Tabernacles in Zechariah 14 in the time when the very hearts of the Jerusalemites have been brought into the New Covenant, this bringing in the restoration to the condition which is over all nations, has its own contextual locale. It is to be taken as figurative.
What is it like ? It is almost like using the language of childhood in the presence of maturity, with the added flavour of the old context giving a flavour, an exquisite tenderness and depth of meaning, to the reference. It might even, in a parallel format, be compared to referring to a stricken adult as going home to be restored, when the old family home is long gone. The reference is understood since the family home is no more, to refer to what it was IN KIND.
This is a prioritised and chronologically adjusted mode of interpretation, amidst the emphatic contexts noted, and the new perspectives given. It can in that same sense be liked to the reference to bucklers and shields, in warfare to come (Ezekiel 38:4), as not an anachronism but a comparative mode of evoking the old to present the new. It is all systematically built together, leaving no more room to manoeuvre with the text, than does a seat-belt in a car, where it is built into the structure, and not to be seen apart. Indeed, in this armament case, it is not unusual to do the same, referring to 'your coming with all your cavalry,' or imagery of that kind, since it confers either depth or even an element of mockery, according to the case and tone.
Symbolism has many usages, as broad as the human spirit in its travels, rovings and perception. However when sapping wisdom with woodenness, this is used to mean what the broader or principial context, or assigned modes of understanding forbid, then the limit is reached. Some things are excluded.
Such a limit is not reached when Israel, historically presented in a context, and historically given consummation in terms of mercy and grace, in the fulfilment of the very 'contract' which they had broken in killing the Contractor, is given what was unconditionally offered, in overall containment for that people. What is explicit in the name of God and confirmed IN TERMS OF THE INVIOLABILITY OF HIS VERY OWN NAME, stands and is emphatically shown to stand and for that REASON (as in Ezekiel 36 and 39). They are to be not only to be forgiven, but given what was unqualifiedly accorded to them from the first. They did not receive the Messiah and as provided, lost their land; but will in large numbers at last receive their Messiah, and this amid the very land which with singularly beautiful insistence, God provides anew in context after context, emphatically, dramatically, in phases of restoration, defence and deliverance.
The bipartite terms to not, like matter and anti-matter, cancel out; they aggregate as in every word of God, faithful as stated, sure as delivered, in perspective as provided, in plan and performance for many reasons, in many ways, to be fulfilled at His leisure, according to His word. There are neither short-circuits, as though the wires crossed, nor are they broken walls, for indeed it is when the wall is being built, as now in Israel, to be topical as well as typical, that the restoration as noted in Why Not Believe ? Chs. 2 and 3 , is occurring. God even gives us incidents in the terms of His covenantal assurance!
Moreover, the return of Israel to its long lost land, the battles of all but inconceivable triumph in victories almost ludicrous even to imagine, as provided in Zechariah 12 before their repentance at the crucifixion of their Messiah - the Lord, the weighty and costly concern of interfering nations concerning Jerusalem, the division of Jerusalem into two sections, and the phasing of their return to possession of this city, in terms of the end of the Age by Jesus Christ, (in contrast to the impending ruin an desolation of that city foretold Matthew 24:1ff.): all these are but part of the almost endless litany in history, of the word of the Lord, as if it were being intoned, as at a memorial of deaths, in some solemn assembly. But this, it is signal of life, both national and to come.
What then ? As to Israel, its shame is its own; and God makes it very clear in Ezekiel for example, that HIS NAME is HIS own! and He will honour it, refusing ever to have in any depth or sense, what blights His might, cancels His personal consignment, compromises His faithfulness to a person or to a people, or depraves His word, which is exalted above all His name (Psalm 138:2).
On this topic, see also The Bright Light and the Uncomprehending Darkness Ch. 5. This places the concepts in a broad biblical context, enabling fidelity to one constraint, as to all, while denying deletion of what is categorically affirmed, and nowhere denied in principle, but rather applied in terms as here, of the very name of God Himself.