How vast is the
entreaty of the Lord to ancient Israel, the covenantal land (Genesis 12, 15,
17, 22) to which the Lord would and did personally come, gift of grace, to
secure salvation for sinners. Of no interest to those secure from sin by their
own imagined intrinsic purity (cf. Matthew 12:12-17), which they may assert
with no small pride, this mercy is yet the cornerstone of hope and the tunnel
of truth to bring prisoners in spirit to the freedom of their foundation from
the first (Romans 5).
You see an example
of this in Jeremiah Ch. 9. Of its 26 verses, 13 are directly or incontestably,
at least indirectly from the Lord, who repeatedly affirms, thus says the Lord, continuing
in such avenues, or directing events as only He can. That is, half the verses
in this Chapter of Jeremiah are showing His words being assured, asserted and
to be heeded. We are in no danger of charting unknown waters, for this large
repetition of the One speaking is amazing in any context. Of these 13
verses,10 are with grief offering explanation of their plight with a centre of
sorrow expressed in lamentation at their needless, chronically rebellious
breach of the way to the desired mercy, heart-breaking in its ruinous
resolution and heedless insistence.
8:20-22 and 9:1-6, ending "through deceit, they
refuse to know Me," there is a continuity of passion and compassion,
poignancy and appeal. In the heart of it, you have this:
"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we
are not saved." To be sure, the prophet's own reflection of the divine
lament may enter into it as an appealing expression of one who though a
sinner, thoroughly shares the divine sorrow; and it is not at all certain that
the prophet is not intended as a human pulpit for the divine sorrow,an
expressive organ at times. Indeed, so closely woven are the continuous
announcements that it is the Lord speaking, that less than this would be an
intrusion into the tenor of the text. Certainly Jeremiah is sorrowing, but it
is a sorrow inspired by the Lord, in the midst of His own vast lamentations
(as in 9:10-11).
This is the mercy
of the Lord, and in Jeremiah 9:23-24, the Lord explicitly makes appeal: Don't
glory in wealth or strength, He advises straying man, but in the Lord, and in
this, which SHOULD be applicable: that you KNOW and UNDERSTAND the Lord, for
He is the One "exercising lovingkindness, judgment,
and righteousness in the earth." With what zest does He exercise these
merciful features ? In this:
"for in these things I delight, says the Lord."
Tears day and
night, this is the spiritual tenor of the woe; and that is the heartfelt
nature of it in the bosom of the Redeemer is seen in parallel when Christ wept
over Jerusalem, with the same longing and poignancy, the same sorrow for the
wilful refusal of their deliverance for which, in spiritual opportunity as in
future deliverance, He was paying so much (I Peter 3:18, Luke 2:24, Zechariah
12-13). "If," He is seen declaring in Luke 19:42ff.,
YOU HAD KNOWN IN THIS YOUR DAY
THE THINGS WHICH BELONG TO YOUR PEACE;
BUT NOW THEY ARE HIDDEN FROM YOUR EYES."
These were Christ's
words as He wept over the city!
Again in Jeremiah
18:13-15, the Lord apostrophises Israel,
"Ask now among the Gentiles, who has heard such things ? The
virgin of Israel has done a very horrible thing. Will a man leave the snow
water of Lebanon which comes from the rock of the field ? Will the cold flowing
waters be forsaken for strange waters ? For My people have forgotten Me, they
have burned incense to worthless idols..."
Nor is even this
all, for in Jeremiah 2:13, the Lord sorrows over their follies:
"For My people have committed two
evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn
themselves cisterns - broken cisterns that can hold no water."
As God so lamented
over what was then a recalcitrant, self-polluting, heedless Israel (that is,
the nation in the main), so Christ magnified the love of God to this world,
which was SO great that He gave His only begotten Son for its redemption. He
did NOT come to judge it, that is express, but that it might be saved (John
3:15-19). The intent was not surreptitious fury but conspicuous and indeed
obtrusive compassion and gracious desire. The scope of it ? the world. The
source of it ? the divine heart. The evidence of it ? the only begotten of
God, incarnate from the domain of eternity, is to be smitten in place of the
misbegotten, those born in sin and loving it. The result of it ? the appeal:
come to Me all you who labour and are heavy laden. His yoke is easy, His
burden light. With this, the outcome if they come: free redemption and rest of
spirit. He will give rest to the soul; and eternal life to the believer (John
6:47, 5:24) who relies entirely on Him, and freely receives what He freely
offers (Isaiah 54-55, John 3:16, Romans 5:1-19).
Where then is the
thunder in this mercy and love and pity ? It is in the
"weeping and wailing" for the mountains, for
all that is going to be burnt up. It is loud; it comes in claps of concern,
mounting risings of grief to the skies.
PRECISION OF JUDGMENT
Through all of these surging expressions of
the divine love and lamentation, there is equally apparent a thrust of
thought, that there is no other option at all, for mercy and truth, at
long last, than this. After centuries of evils mounting and falling and then
remounting and going to critical extremes, even to surges and resurgencies of
burning children before idols, in the fire, judgment can be averted ONLY by
repentance and yielding of the spiritual swagger or sickness to the place of
heart-broken repentance (as parallel to Luke 13:1-3, from the lips of Jesus
Christ). It comes with procession to the place of faith in the ONLY utterly
reliable one, even the Lord. You see this in an extreme form in Jeremiah
is not going to give up Ephraim in the end, for "I
earnestly remember him still," and his repentance:
"Surely after my turning, I repented ... I was ashamed, yes even humiliated."
The Lord responds
further: "Is Ephraim My dear
restoration, however, the cause of the sorrow of God does not cease for those
loved, leaving and lost, for judgment is according to truth when mercy is
disdained, disliked or disavowed. Truth may be diverted from judgment through
mercy, but it cannot be bypassed. Either in love He bears sin for the sinner who
receives the pardon willingly, or the sinner bears it (John 8:24). There is no
other option; for God is not only merciful and good, but holy and
"of purer eyes than to behold iniquity," as in
Habakkuk. He may delay till the ripe time (He waited 400 years in the case of
the Canaanites, who did not use the day of grace, as in Genesis 15); but it is
never right to ignore evil. It must be purged, or heaven would be hell and God
"will you not be made clean ?", the Lord asks
poignantly in Jeremiah 13:27: "When once shall it be
?" When God speaks to man, and man is simply, assuredly, blatantly and
continually unwilling to listen or heed, then it is not the laws of physics, or
the structured ways of chemistry or the certain parades of mathematical
propositions which is being spurned, but the very basis of human life, its
instructor, its handbook, its Rock, its meaning and its morals, the place of
love and the designations of design so exalted, that man being made in the image
of God, has access to wonder.
So it is no small
thing when the Lord asks this (Jeremiah 8:4-5):
they fall and not rise ? Will one turn away and not return ?
Why has this people slidden back, Jerusalem in a perpetual backsliding ?
They hold fast to deceit, they refuse to return."
"truth is fallen in the street," (Isaiah 59:14),
the time comes when affliction is the name of the game, folly is the thing
exalted, a new generation is mismanaged, their spirits virtually slaughtered in
a parade of exalted sin. Judgment always latent, then becomes patent.
Stars may fall, but
the truth will stand. Bombast might blight youth from false prophets, but
justice will not depart. Playing with fire may be warming, but it burns; and in
the end is conflagration. Is it that they cannot learn ? Hardened hearts,
resistance movements in the soul may reach that point (Isaiah 57:16-17), but
where desire persists, where hope is seized, where mercy is grasped, there is
salvation: the Lord has held it out freely for long. It was so for Israel,
before Jerusalem fell once, yes twice, but the time of its restoration comes,
has already come physically for the land in an instalment of the two stage
revival marked out in Ezekiel 37*1. This proceeds to the Messianic rule on this
earth by the Lord (Ezekiel 37:17-27), as indeed over not only that nation, but
all nations (Zephaniah 2:11, Psalm 67:4, 72). All will learn that He means what
He says (Ezekiel 39:23-29). Realisation is no small partner to redemption,
specialising first in sin, salvation, sanctification, but not least in truth.
But for one as for
all, there is only one place to find revival of heart, reconstruction of life,
regeneration of Spirit (Galatians 1, Titus 3), and that is the Lord who has not
moved His Gospel, His grace, or His requirement: repent and believe the Gospel,
coming where incoming
spiritual migrants ARE received (John 10).
THE PATH OF PILGRIMS
What is the path of
the child of God, the one repentant and receiving the assigned mercy of the
grace of God according to the Gospel ? What is such a child called ? In Hebrews
we find that they
"were strangers and pilgrims on the earth," 11:13. These had seen the
promises though they were afar off from the finale, back then; and they had
embraced them. In their faith, they had come to
"declare plainly that they seek a homeland ... they desire a better, that is, a
heavenly country." What then
? "Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He
has prepared a city for them."
I Peter 2:11-12 makes
it clear the case, though now fulfilled in redemption, does not alter the
heavenly home or the way to it. Indeed, it strengthens the testimony (II
Corinthians 5:1-4, I Corinthians 15), in its sovereign majesty and vast
Sojourners in this
land (this present world), pilgrims for the heavenly city, do not imbibe its
culture, use its passions, frolic in its follies. Civil laws are to be kept (except of
course they violate divine requirements; for what has ground in God for its
obedience, does not include what violates His own requirements!). The State has
a place; God has a first place. Your purified paths should glorify God amidst
the rebellious, their misconceptions disciplined by godly living before their
eyes. Freedom has been given back to the people of God in their hearts, but this
should not be a cover-up program for vice (I Peter 4:13-17). Neither beauty nor
holiness is skin deep!
The vision of truth
may be overpowering (as in Matthew 17, the transfiguration), but it is also
endowering. The work of the Holy Spirit like a beautician in the field of the
human spirit is transformative continually. Blessed are those who wait upon the
Lord and find in His constant presence the power of His grace and the intimacy
of His mercy. Indeed, as with Paul, it is the pilgrim and sojourner on this earth,
the Christian who seeks a better, that is a heavenly country, who finds this: that
CHRIST is the SUFFICIENCY! (II Corinthians 3:4-6,10-18).
Now let us
see some of the changes actual or threatened in our own land, that we might
recognise and oppose what fails, and use all our influence to seek that
righteousness which exalts a nation (Proverbs 13:24).
if one immigrant
body, possibly the first, needs recognition, so in all equity and fairness
do all the others from Ireland, and Scotland and England, France, USA, Europe,
South America. Celebrating but one is a directly inequitable paralysis of vision
and ignoring of the multiple mixtures and contributions.
There should be no presumptive
let alone pre-emptive superiority assigned: ALL have come. It seems likely
but not certain that the aboriginal population was the first relatively
large-scale migration. The current is the first total government, the
Commonwealth, formally known or compellingly testified, for this entire land.
There are various distinctives, and due recognition of each in its place may be
desired, as may be ascertained by a just referendum. History has no favourites.
That comes from another source and on most equitable grounds (cf.
Ch. 2, Department of
Bible... with Vol. 4, Ch. 4 above); but we as a people, we
must be just.
Actually, there is considerable evidence that aborigines had
significant aspects of creation in their own religious orientation (cf. TMR, Ch.
8, *1), which of course
had various elements. They might well be recognised along with and in balance
with all others, in their diversity amidst parallels with others.
Kindness to any
group is a matter for discretion in its amplitude, in assisting them to focus,
feature, fulfil their labours and contributions to the whole. That can be as
need is; but not as inequity insists. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but
of love and grace, equity and care, concern and watchful aid, not to unman any
group, but to manage needs while they achieve what others may desire for them, a
capacity to act with strength and to make contributions with integrity.
Again, if ANY must
not be 'offended', then NONE should be. But since people are always being
offended rightly or wrongly, such a criterion, let alone a differential one,
must be scrapped. Obviously, selective tyranny even over free speech is simply
a capitulation to inequity for certain ideological reasons, from which truth is
partly if not largely exempted. THAT changes the whole nature of our society
into cases of special pleading, differential strata of power, intimidation and
irrelevance in place of genuine preservation of free speech for all, not tainted
by compulsive elevation of some over others. Governments have begun to err
greatly in these things; but if they insist on such transformations of national
character, let the people say, and take what is coming to them, whether it be
the one or the other. In the end, it is they who to rejoice in due
course, or to suffer..
To foster such
folly as increasingly being found, is like someone insisting on giving himself an injection of smallpox. It
is not wise. Modish tyranny over freedom of speech thus becomes, as now in
part, a substitute for undamaged pursuit of truth. The whole character of the
land, not born free but largely made so, then changes, and one of the major
reasons for so many wanted to so much to come to this land with such haste,
is its character! To deny your own character is mere folly, unless you find
something better and agree to it, in this case of course, by referendum, for who
but the people can speak for the people in such a case!
It should be
realised that multiculturalism and its tolerances are not a stray dog substitute
for character, to be taken up by any passer-by or group who become negatively
vocal about our present situation or past ways. It is a kindly spirit of
non-persecution and just interest in others, as PART of one's character, not a
substitute for it. Thus if constitutional reference to one race who appear
certainly to have come to this land, migrants, and not to the others who have
made it what it is for anyone to lay claim to it, then it is a violation of mere
justice and equity. Special provisions WITHIN THIS are always judicially
possible, but not in terms of differential justice, which is injustice. Whether
in the Pre-amble to our Constitution or not, such statements should have
balance, be true, and not inclined to be read in this or that
inequitable emphasis of
to more injustice.
Mercy and kindness
may of course make special provisions WITHIN THIS judicial equality, but not in
terms of differential justice, which is injustice. Whether in the Pre-amble to
our Constitution or not, such statements should have balance, be true, and not
inclined to be read in this or that inequitable emphasis or deployment, leading
to more injustice.
Similarly, in the Schools,
an incoherent naturalism has long in practice
ousted creation, as the mode, despite the compelling evidence to the contrary (cf.
Ch. 4 in Department of Bible, Vol. 4, in the context of
Ch. 2, with The gods of naturalism
have no go!); and it may be that some will want the reference to
reliance on Almighty God, found in the Preamble to to be ruled out, while some
other reference to man or beast or nature or some surrogate, is put in instead.
Again, if this is the desire of a suitable majority, let it be found out by
referendum. NOTHING is a given here; and what IS currently given in our
Constitution has been part of our national character. Change it ? then first
KNOW what you are doing, then be TOLD that it is the question, and then VOTE
specifically on this point, whether or not you want it.
In all these
things, Australia needs to be honest with itself, clear and not given to shady
deals inoffensively blurring issues or confusing clients (that is, in this
case, Australians). It needs to be carefully realised that IF a land has been
slowly moving in a given direction (in this case, a mid vast protest, on this
site alone, for the last 18 or so years), then so far from that being reason to
carry on with the radical changes involved, it is reason for caution. A fixed
obsessive compulsion or jaded tiredness is one way to betray the national
character. Speaking in a meaningful situation such as a referendum with clear
questions on each separate point separately, is one way to make any change
responsible. People who WANT TO CHANGE the Almighty God reference, indicating
relying on Him, could show that; and people seeing no reason to do so, could
show the other. It is no question of fairness.
THAT is the
national basis as outlined, and shown in many parallel ways. Changing it is an
option, not a matter of justice. In fact, in all equity, the change to the
naturalistic hypothesis in exclusivistic, totalitarian education (now largely in
force), should never have been brought in on the illusory basis that the case is
simply factual, either, since it is a change so vast and intolerant, as on both
counts to violate the manner of our initial commitment. It is not the change
which here is the main point; it is the MANNER and assumptions of it, robbing
realism by constant propaganda, like other corrupt nations and regimes in the
past, not excluding Hitler youth, which had elements similar in its
indoctrinative dynamic, with results to match.
Whether the topic
be racism or science, constitution or the turning from the laboratory to
desire, whether it be a matter of pompous and counter-productive preference for
nature myths, and confused philosophic monopolies, as in much current
pseudo-science, in the domain of origins and power, or that for any one race in
specifiable judicial aspects, it is not treaties or dictation, but truth itself
that matters here. To move towards founding such things on a
particular set of presuppositions in learning, or set of migrants who did not
any more than others, own or even govern as one the whole country, or show
evidence of occupying all of it, is simple inequity. Let each be what it is, and
none envelop; and if change is desired in our national character, let it be with
significant thought and thankfulness, and clear-cut choice by all the people.
It is ALL the data,
not a prescribed sub-set to the shame of many in science; it is ALL
the migrants, in the same way, whether this or that one be chosen. Equity and
reality are good friends.
But equity is no
great competitor amid the nations, against desire, against indifference to duty
and evasion of the vision of truth by those whose models HAVE NO TRUTH, while
they yet proclaim it, like a chook without head, still waling round and round.
Giving up God has
become more and more routine since World War II, and even Europe in trying to
frame its constitution, could find none with which to agree, as if baseless,
prodding time and talking of a 'common destiny'! Returning to His reality, one
notes for example, that since God alone MADE the lands, they are His to assign
as He will (Acts 17:23-27), men being passengers of transit.
Amid all this, the
path for pilgrims is to seek to maintain the truth, be gracious but not
irresponsibly conformist to the ways of this throbbing, aching world, and to
help others not to be forced in one's own land, where their conviction does not
rule, into oppressive conformity to what has neither rational basis nor
sustainable rationale, an area where biblical Christianity lacks nothing (cf.
The Shadow of a Mighty Rock
example). Where vision fails, the country is already apt for failure with it:
indeed, as Proverbs 29:18 declares, "Where there is no vision, the people
Peace will not be
obtained without the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7, Ezekiel 21:27), and if vitamins are needed
for function, how much more is He for victory where truth persists and
righteousness continues, where love is not ashamed and wonder is not daunted.
See such sites as
WHY NOT ... Ch. 10,
Department of Bible, Vol. 2,
Ch. 1, Ch.6, Vol. 1,
The sadness of trying to make 'Israel' = the
Christian Church in Zechariah 12, when it is already back in its land, there,
and is not yet unconverted, 12:10 being this belated and postponed item, is as
fanciful as having these events allied to Pentecost and co., when the means of
action that are impelling the territories in the meantime are martial,
military, contest with vast and withering results while Israel does wonders,
before its conversion.
The parallel idea of in effect, subverting Isaiah
66, where the action moves from distancing from animal sacrifice (not hard
to understand in view of the classic centrepiece of Isaiah 53-55), and bringing
near in flaming thrust, the power of God to overwhelm persecuting enemies amid
vast bloodshed and major violence, is no better. Similarly, in Isaiah 66, the
effort to turn a nation born at once into the Christian Church, when the entire
context is Israel and its sufferings, some at the hands of others who did not
believe, and the restoration of these when God strikes in long-delayed judgment
is almost tragic in its twistiness.
In fact, in Isaiah 66:7, how can ZION
distorted into being the Church, BE there before the new nation is born; and
how on earth or out of it, can she give birth, without having any
existence. It is apparent that there is an entity known as Zion, an established
and readily recognised one, which has much suffered, and that this is going to
give birth to a new nation, in a moment, a day. Obstetrics without a
mother is too far-fetched for clarity. The mother is the long existing and for
long de-nationalised Israel, which gives birth to a nation, from her
pre-existing maternal capacity to do so!
Much more is available on Israel, but here this is
more an aside, and will suffice. Mocked Christian Jews will not be mockable any
more; and Israel will as in Zechariah 12, become part of the Christian
Church as in Romans 11. Its restoration as a nation with Jerusalem is
clear in Luke 21:24, and it is thus that it comes back to its
place, its noted and well-known, its emphatically denoted place in
Zechariah 12:6, prior to the conversion of those concerning:
"Jerusalem shall be inhabited AGAIN, IN HER OWN
PLACE - JERUSALEM," (BLOCKS ADDED).
"Again" - yes, this is not a first, the Christian
Church, but a restoration as so often promised. This is not a unique event in
earth-history, in conception, but simply a nation, exiled, back in a
moment as a nation. So far from unexpected, it has been foretold repeatedly
(Deuteronomy 32, Micah 7, Ezekiel 38), and its tenor shown in a way both massive
and masterful from Hosea to Ezekiel where it is closely associated with the
return to rule of the Messiah (Ezekiel 37:24). True, even that is epochal; but
it is not isolated. It is in a heady company of preliminaries which it
Nor is this with Israel (abhorred by God at this
point, and entirely disenfranchised SPIRITUALLY, as in Isaiah 65:13-15),
the slayer of Christ, as some kind of pad! Israel did provide many things,
as in Romans 9:1-6, but a receptive host was not one of them, nor an extant and
functioning backdrop another. The promises continued, and are being fulfilled in
detail now. The position spiritually did not. At the spiritual level, it was
specifically obliterated, with vast distaste and obstructive drama in Isaiah 65,
until the time should come (Zechariah 12:10 and Luke 21:24).
Instead of such eminent contradiction, history
has co-operated, as always in prophecy, and Israel has fulfilled this
since 1948 (the nation, May), the city (1967, the territory) and 1948,
1967, 1973, the wars of great numerical inferiority and masterful victories,
as so prominent in Zechariah 12, before the national or all but national
conversion. Similarly the capital, Jerusalem was cut in two, in
1948, as predicted in Zechariah 14:1.
Turning the back on prophecy, confusing its
clarity is no help to this generation, and one blushes for those in churches
which so act. To be sure, it is important not to add to the Bible any more than
subtract from it; but let us all just take it as it comes, with the other
promises, which neither need enhancement nor truncation.
The simple fact is that all this is happening,
prophecy as Peter declared, a light in a dark place, as we wait for Christ
(as in II Peter 3:9 with II Peter 2:19. As the apostle there
indicates, it serves in this way, a light in darkness, UNTIL the day dawns.