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REASON, REVELATION, REDEMPTION,
May 22, 2014
Nebuchadnezzar had a phase more horrid than mental disease, in this, that his degradation of function was not just a matter of impairment, but at the human consciousness level, total loss! His elevation was so immense and intense, and his glorying in it despite a godly warning from Daniel in interpretation of a dream, was so unlessened, that his grandeur grated, he was downgraded, and grazed as a beast!
Equally astounding was his restoration, indeed more so, for the whole thing according to the prophet Daniel in interpreting the dream in the name of the Lord, was to have a set time for its occurrence.
This is of course a kind of TYPE of Christ, in one aspect. Thus Christ was - not because of any sin of His own, for there was no sin in Him, but because of vicarious bearing of the sin of others who would come to believe in Him, before the end came - downgraded. He was degraded. He was transformed downward AS FAR AS BODY AND DEATH WERE CONCERNED. Even His features were so drastically distorted, bruised, torn, that in Isaiah 52, He is said to be no more really recognisable as human ("His visage was more marred than any man, and His form more than the sons of man," 52:14).
Christ too had a set time given, for the duration of His humiliation, 3 days (cf. SMR Ch. 6, and see for example Matthew 17:22-23). It was not hidden but repeatedly allied to statements about what was to come: three days. Then His body would be raised.
In His case, not only was the deformation, degradation and mauling a vicarious bearing of the reward of sin, on behalf of those who would receive Him as Saviour and Lord, so being reconciled to God, but its 'cure' was a bodily resurrection such as He declared He would do as in John 2:19-20. It is admittedly far harder (already in the domain of the amazing, but with God nothing is impossible) to raise the dead than heal, and far harder again to raise yourself when the body is dead, than to have it raised by a person so endowed to act, as Christ was before His bodily dismissal. Yet it is infinitely hard to become a member of the trinity, and it is not something you born with, since the Word of God which became flesh (John 1:14) is not born, but eternal (I Peter 2:20-21, I John 1:1-4, John 1:1-14, Micah 5:1-3, Isaiah 48:15ff.).
Here is the underlining power to make, which God has always had, and uses at His own discretion, the ABSOLUTE Creator who made relative time and both created logic in space and place for it in the mind of man, this being exported from His own Being into created format, whether as binding law or in man as partner in pursuing truth. Thus can man investigate and find the magnificent mathematical laws amidst prodigious engineering, that were put there, and appreciate their sophistication.
He can and did make a fitting vehicle for His entry into the space-time world (Luke 1:35, Matthew 1:21-23), which He had created: as Psalm 40 predicts, replacing sacrifice as place of pardon and approach to God, with His own, saying, "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire," and substituting, "Behold I come," or again, "The word became flesh and dwelt among us," as in John 1:14. "and we beheld His glory as the only begotten of the Father."
In this, there is except for the vast scope of the creation of the entire universe, a parallel to human creation, man being in God's image; for man tends to create at his own discretion, though only with derivative powers.. Creation is like that. It is necessary to open the eyes on things shown whether they be eternal or temporal, and to LEARN about the ways of God and of man, as enabled by the rational, the revelatory and the realisation both in mind and in empirical reality. This includes the divine power to predict, without limit (cf. Isaiah 41, 43, 48, 46). That is an empirical matter, just as in the existence of air, to enable breath. That is, if you will, a kind of divine air, to enable faith in man the more readily to exist, to breathe and his soul to be prepared, as events move. God is not stopped when He chooses to move (Isaiah 14:27), and does not breach His word (Matthew 5:17-20).
Thus in the reversals of sin and salvation, challenge and then change can come even to an evil and a bloated King (though one who went through the pre-processing of hell into the production of light for his mind, to an extent never before experienced, on his recovery - Daniel 4:34-37); and this, his testimony of truth, it was no lip-service, but heart talk from an instructed MIND!
Let us then examine this phenomenal case - things spiritual came into the phenomenal realm, and what was in this realm, came into an understanding of the divine level, by reason, revelation and recovery at the hand of God.
We now review before we proceed, and consider another application.
In Daniel 4:18-37 we read the account of the startling degradation of the lofty and self-acclaiming King Nebuchadnezzar. It proceeded not to depression of emotions, but to derogation to the posture and grass-eating ways of cattle. Were not his knees now like feet ? his nails growing like talons ? It is stated in 4:23 that he would graze with the beasts of the field, nails like claws (4:33).
If only more would take heed. Much that is depression (there are also physical ailments tending to this), is founded in failure to find the hook on the ski-lift, to draw one up the hill, or in not even seeing it, or not wanting to go up anyway. More may come from hooking to the wrong lift, which merely increases one's altitude of mind, but not of heart, causing inflation and self-confidence to abound irrationally, founded on nothing but oneself, itself founded on nothing.
All such misalliances can become a basis for depression. Lonely in the snowy wastes, or accompanied by the winds that howl, friends without worth, by false prophets, wolves that wait, man can become desperately inadequate, or besotted with himself, and in either phase, elation or depression, have no foundation, or right alignment.
adventure of Nebuchadnezzar also had several special features.
1) THE WORD
1) He had a dream, interpreted by Daniel with prophetic precision, showing what was going to happen to him. He was deeply impressed, but did not follow the prophet's directions, and in due course, suddenly, like the setting of the sun, his mind was gone, and reason departed. The dream, as interpreted by Daniel, amounted to a divine revelation, the word of God.
When God restored his reason, as predicted after a stated period, he lifted up his eyes and blessed God, acknowledging His power in history and over man, so that one is merely abusing truth if one denies it. Indeed, earlier in His reign, he even made a rule that those who did evil concerning the God of Daniel were to suffer severely from the royal hand. He had had two major warnings before he fell.
At last, it was not any God to whom he made this obeisance, but to the one specific to Daniel, the God of Israel. Some seem to bristle at the word "Israel", possibly because of the distortions present in so many churches, so-called, and in the media. In fact, it does not enshrine ISRAEL as so wonderful, for God disciplined it for being rebellious, but as stated, the GOD OF ISRAEL! the God Almighty, omniscient, predictive, expressive, saying what will be and doing it, who created the earth and the universe.
2) THE WARNING
2) He was warned by a living witness, Daniel, who made clear his coming plight. The true, living and only God will judge man, as He judged Nebuchadnezzar, stripping appearances and leaving the base realities, if repentance to reality, to God Himself, does not occur, DESPITE WARNING, such as multiplied thousands have given to so many for so long and with such vigour, during the 2000 years since Jesus paid the price of sin, to make the way both clear and free, back to His Father who sent Him from eternity, into time, to do it, then at last, an end arises, an falls.
Colossians 1:28 advises us of the work of the apostle Paul, WARNING every man; Noah received a warning; Christ gave one at once - REPENT (Mark 1:15). In Acts 20:31, Paul tells the Ephesians elders that he "did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears." Herod Agrippa, having killed James by the sword, was warned when Peter by divine means escaped a guard of 16 soldiers, to some of which he was bound; but unheeding, died of intestinal infestation in the most ignominious decline from what was deemed divine oratory, to baneful and humiliating death (as in Acts 12).
So far we have seen in our survey, reason, revelation, application and destiny, we have considered the word of God and the warning of God, in the divine thrust manward. Now we come to the reason, God-given to man.
3) THE WORK OF REASON
In Daniel 4:34, we find that the King's reason returned to him (NKJV). In Keil, we see the use of 'human consciousness' and 'understanding'. His reason returned: his capacity to construct, collate, consider, evacuate from experience the orderly meaning and to survey in the world its ways and its meaning. Human reason has rationality of view, co-ordination of aspects viewed, review of and adaptation to the flow of circumstances, so that instead of more, or less, involvement through mere instinct or reaction, there is response in terms of the apprehensive and perspective generating power given by God in man's construction in His image.
Now, further, Nebuchadnezzar proceeds to extol the God who made heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. That is the perspective to which he is now restored, in being given back his reason. Thus, over the rational understanding of man, stands the composition of this facility. It is like a typist. It is great to have the facility to impose on paper the codes that communicate comprehension; but it is far greater yet to have the vision, perspective, understanding which enables you to know that what you are writing is RIGHT words, that is truth, and what you are imposing by paper, is right action, that is justice.
With reason, revelation came no less; and indeed, when the latter is gaunt, smashed, denied, then the former readily becomes as good as useless in the ramblings of escapist man, and it even becomes such a plaything for a wicked will, that man can deceive himself torturously or inanely, as the case may be, as if reason as an equipment within him and as a discovery in the laws of nature were a natural descendent of chaotic nothing, if indeed nothing could even be that, since chaos needs something to work with, to make it such a scene of disorder!
Misplaced meaning for man, in the King, elevated in his case by ludicrous self-centredness as if he had indeed invented himself, can become the source of displaced joy, even depression, not to mention the open end, like a crash landing when the fuel is gone; for man is made to be fed with faith that catches truth as a good fieldsman catches the fast-moving ball, and holds on to it; and if he is indolent or assertive on his own poor product's basis, he is like an aerodrome without planes, an opening without the relevant input, so that his output is as varied as his imagination, whatever he may load into the place. This may include visionary troops, to occupy it, lest its true use be found.
A fourth application comes in an awareness of a series of ways in which a person can go through the wandering phases of folly, in order to become bankrupt, nay worse, deformed and degraded at the last.
Meanwhile, in the light of the word of God and Nebuchadnezzar, let the authority of God clear out in Christ, all occupying troops illicitly lodging in your aerodrome!
4) WAYS TO WANDER
Alert to Proverbs
"Deliver those who are drawn towards death,
and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, 'Surely we did not know this,',
does not He who weighs the hearts consider it ?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it ?"
A) The Hallucinations of Death
Consider now someone lifted up with the fairy-tale folly of evolution, that nature myth which gives no examples, provides reason for no model, is always hoping, never finding, funded by psychic desire and fallen with every tick of the clock of logic and empirical display. Here is a place to exalt the flesh, and parade the wonders of the mind of man, as illusory as that of Nebuchadnezzar.
Many are brought up on myths as Paul predicted for the race in II Timothy 4. Hence their natural reason tends to be eroded by culture, by the desire to be accepted, to progress professionally and to avoid difficulties.
Any one in this predicament may elect to follow the flow, whether into the latest version of a naturalistic model, or some other mythical cult. Thus, it may all be said to have come from nothing or whatever - THAT is a statement of ostensible scientific defence of nonsense. Whatever is whatever ? nothing is simple bombast, for it has nothing as basis, future or development, and so cuts out the attribution of creating the odd universe. "Whatever" has to produce the result, for that is the point at issue.
To produce it, since there is only the result and the cause, it has to act causally*1. To do this, it has to be able to formulate and fashion the codes and command-control to make them work, no mere 'whatever' in kind (that is, with who knows what ?) being able to act in comic confrontation with the DYNAMIC necessary FOR the result. There is no more unscientific statement than this which makes one thing: namely, that something unknown may have acted, who knows ? Some contribution!
If causation is ignored, science is ignorant. It has no way to work. So returning to reason and understanding, we see that the cause was cumulatively adequate for all the aspects of the result, namely matter, mind and spirit, and a logic to export into the universe, as into the mind of man, to enable cohesion. Prodigies of performance may thus be found in the mind of man and far more, in the marvels he investigates, each cradled together by their mutual Creator who gives existence in one methodology to both.
God is not dismissible by an irrational mind, since that is already voided by its own insatiable needs, of coherence. If you choose to be irrational, you have no logical answer to anything.
B) The New Blitzkrieg ?
Push and Propaganda
Let us however come to another illustration of the elevation of man beyond reality, as expressed this time in hatred, contempt or persecution.
deletion, if you want in some way or other, at least to distance
the God of creation and revelation, would be a move. Why not ? It seems to appeal to some, and long to have done so*1A. Why not try to contradict the Bible and make history by doing so successfully ? It would be a world first after more than 3 millenia. There is often a lust in man which like a whirl-wind cradles its power till it develops explosively, as if bent on being stoppable by NOTHING! But the lust is left with nothing but ashes.
If you could only remove that nation, Israel, occupy its place, as Arab and Moslem interests have sought to do despite their CUMULATIVELY IMMENSE wealth and land, then God's word concerning its return and later maintenance, as so often found, as over and over in Hosea and Ezekiel and Isaiah as in Luke 21:24, would be contravened. The end of the times of the Gentiles would REMOVE Israel, instead of seeing the removal of its suppressive assailants or their failure, as Christ predicted (Luke 21:24)! So what now ? Some act by assault, of land, some by assault of spirit, of word! It varies, The trend is one.
But Israel in this returned state, it remains.
What then are we finding in Australia ? it is something so very explicit, that may extend concern to an additional trend helping to subvert it.
In a land once
civilised, we find, even in a University,
Now what do we learn
that it is so pondering ?
This would seem an excellent
impossible thing to consider,
Why now this scorching, distinguishing scorn concerning this particular little, persecuted, harrowed, harassed, residue of the Jews in Israel ?
Is it because Israel has threatened to drive Arab or Islamic nations into the sea, as these have threatened Israel ? One cannot recall such genocidal language on the part of Israel, concerning her neighbours. One can however often recall this type of rhetoric directed against Israel by its neighbours, nearer and further, often in a virtual ecstasy of hate and acrid abomination. .
Is it then because modern Israel EXCEPT IN DEFENCE, has not invaded other nations, to delete their culture ? or because despite success, she has handed back (relatively) vast territories in the interests of peace ? Perhaps other Middle East Nations have handed back to Israel, freely, more land than this ? But where is there one square centimetre so handed back!
Or is it because Israel has cut off maritime access by blockading a major enemy port ? or was this rather what was done to Israel, at Eilat in the Gulf of Aqaba, shortly before one of the wars upon it, in 1967, waged by multiple parties, as accomplished not seldom, with seeming heartlessness, for the devastation of a recently restored nation!
Is it however because Israel has an outstanding humanitarian record in helping nations in distress and providing hospital care for wounded enemies ?
Is that why a boycott is being so actively considered by such academics ? in violation of academic interchange and advance ? Is that it ? Such a thing does not appear to be susceptible to substantiation!
Or is it yet again, because Israel is CONTINUALLY threatened with extermination as some kind of religious duty by various groups including Iran, and asked to negotiate with some who refuse even to recognise her existence ? Imagine now, you meet someone who wishes to do business with you, and you extend a hand, which he brushes off as though it were covered with excrement, and when you speak, advises you he would like your extinction. But yet he still proceeds to ask for things FROM you, as though you did not exist: a passionate contradiction! Perhaps you would consider it a tad irrational ?
Should then Israel give up land to those who, last time this generous action occurred, then exploited it to make rocket attacks on Israel from that very land donated, in order to murder, subdue, over-rule, weaken and provide it with a continual invasion by atrocities ? Is it necessary that Israel should become insane in order to be permitted to exist ? Should she then proceed on such a basis ? Should she become yet more indefensible, thereby, than now appears ? Should she then begin to cut her own throat, in order to temper the temper of that so nice man who did not want to shake her hand, and liked in discussion, to regard her as non-existent, except when asking for (more) things!
To be sure, in the last 70 years or so, in one of the genocidal style assaults by many nations on the nation which itself included the residues from Gentile extermination camps, to the tune of some 6 millions - not 6 million living immigrants to Israel but 6 million non-immigrants already sent to torture, atrocity and death - there was a movement out from the land by many siding with the invaders, with ideas such as restoration when the victorious armies had deleted Israel, and duly returned. In fact they did not truly return, and for many this created a problem... When you try to take what belongs to others, problems are always likely.
It was a problem shared, on the other side, by many Jews, making haste to remove themselves from Arab or Islamic lands, lest the crushing and deadly desires so often cited, should be used at once against them. Thus as some Arabs, Islamic groups rushed out of Israel, leaving at speed, some Jews rushed in, moving in similar rush. Moreover, many Arabs fleeing from Israel, did so with the hope of return in triumph, to rule over a tyrannously directed set of Jews. Yet Jews leaving Arab and Islamic lands, had neither such an intention, nor desire, but leaving, had no ambition to return.
What then ? so many Jews fleeing from Arab lands now aroused, these too found that they had to leave, shall we say, promptly, leaving much of what they had, and flee to Israel. Thus, when multinational invasion occurred, in 1948, to prevent the nation from existing, armies seeking to exterminate not only the bodies, but the religion of those who lived there, there were results on both sides, for those who sided this way and that; and where constraints were felt, it was double-sided. The hideous fact remains: Jews were not trying to invade, exterminate and coerce Arab lands; but the reverse was true.
Accordingly, so far from Jews invading Arab or Moslem lands, in 1948 (or typically); instead, that small part of the British imperial, and League of Nations international provision of Palestine as homeland for the JEWS, which had not already been treasonably assigned decisively, it was this which was being invaded by a cluster of jointly moving nations!
They wanted yet more, having already refused a hugely generous UN offer in 1947. Their target also happened to be part of the famous Jewish place in history, unique in kind, extensive in scope, remarkable in event, impressed in literature in detail, continually confirmed in writings and archeology; and beyond that, it was divinely accorded to Israel, as recorded in the book which withstands all assault, the Bible, and this at an early epoch (Genesis 12, 15, 17:7-8, 22).
Their target also happened to be part of the famous Jewish place in history, unique in kind, extensive in scope, remarkable in event, impressed in literature in detail, continually confirmed in writings and archeology; and beyond that, it was divinely accorded according to Israel as recorded in the book which withstands all assault, the Bible, and this at an early epoch (Genesis 12, 15, 17:7-8, 22).
The casus belli was not usurpation of land assigned elsewhere internationally, by the Jews, but seeking to retain some portion of it in the face of the nations which REFUSED the UN settlement of 1947, one enormously favourable to the Arabs. The aim was to divest the newly announced land of Israel, of even that tiny fragment of the promised Palestine which later came to it, before it could enjoy it. It was the removal even of the possibility of Israel forming, even having a name, with Jewish flavour, and having a site, and this even after most of it, decades before, was already given to Islamic Jordan, its accession leaving open to Israel only a rump.
Moreover, as time passed, much of the land was actually bought, before Israel's magnificent utilisation of it with floral wonders and forested triumphs, and was at purchase in a wretched state, uplifted by physical labour, and in due course transformed.
Did others obtain their own lands in the Middle East in the same way ? even some of the assailants on little Israel in her shunted, runted position ?
Again, when immigrants come from a background of non-recognition of the existence of Israel, or hatred of what it stands for, and there are such things in nations as take-overs, as in the Crimea, by this or that power with this or that assistance from moles, hidden enemies and those awaiting the moment of overthrow from within: then there are precautions to be held in mind, about immigrants.
There has, indeed, to be a supreme care in the matter of immigrants, including the possibilities of subversives always active, because of the much trumpeted nature of certain religions that cannot or will not tolerate Israel and what it stands for. Again, when immigrants can vote, by their former allegiance, to exterminate Israel as a nation for a persecuted people called Jews, to seek to make Israel for some other purpose, such as the extolling of a highly contrary religion with almost innumerable examples of rule by force, then are the hounded Jewish people to be threatened by demographic additives till they actually become a land for someone else ?
When they developed the land as none other ever did for millenia, and moreover did so in industrial, technological, agricultural, academic, research and international relationships, are they then to hand it over to intruders of alien intention, to make this robbery by statistics ? Should their extraordinary and eminently successful efforts in such matters, became a new capital for SOPHISTICATED robbers who did not invent it! Amazingly, they have already made gift of such developed land to their vociferous enemies! Of course not, but still comes the seething rhetoric, amid hounding persecutors, some even adding from abroad their quotient; but what of those local enemies ?
Again, if the so dedicated body of Australian academics noted, is considering making academic discrimination apply to Israel, is it moved by that nation's recent record of surviving amid a sea of slaughtering enemies, and taking steps far less than many, to frustrate the exterminators, does it occur that there are many nations in the area which, without having to endure the same multi-national and continual contemptuous threats, have records which are abysmal where Israel relatively has so shone ? Further, what enemy nation, relative to Israel, has allowed so many Israelis, such people being of different kindred, to become citizens, and to enjoy the prosperity so hard won ?
Since when has genocide become respectable, and the means to do it, economic aids or propaganda aids, become so attractive ? and to whom ? and why ? Many people are suffering, with special attention given to Christians (cf. John 16:23); and when this world is not imparting more of it to many, whether in China, or Vietnam, or Taiwan, in attack or in resistance, in Ukraine or Russia, or India, or Egypt, or in Nigeria, then it may seek to do something constructive to reduce what they so often cause.
But one way to do so, is not to choose an exceedingly inclusive case of suffering, involving perhaps the greatest PROPORTION of a population of a people over time, and then, after removing most of what was at first promised to them, providing at last none of it; and it is not to seek to reduce the pitiable remnant further, both of land and of rule, demeaning it with unconscionable and torrential invective. Yet this is still done while arrogance strides about, unable to shake hands: for how do you shake with what is deemed not to be there ?
Such things, then, are ways to wander, taken as examples. It appears as exaltation against all reason, but yet rejoiced in, as with Nebuchadnezzar, building his own world.
C) Return to Base
Exalt Christ is the realistic alternative, based on fact and act, and summarised in the New Testament pact of peace, this not with floods of blood. Then, based in reality, living by faith, redeemed not as a mere land, but as soul of life, a place of potential for ever, with a place then demarcated as your lot without end (cf. Daniel 12), a site reserved in heaven for you (I Peter 1:3-7), a life lived for the Redeemer Himself in the interim (Philippians 1:21,29, 3:9), enabled in divine power to suffer and to succeed in the testimony of the Lord's call (Ephesians 1:19), which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1-2), fearless before culture and its lords, living where life originated and where it will be judged, pardoned and in place, then what ? Then you are kept by the power of God, and love Him whose power it is.
5) WAYS OF WONDER
When Wander becomes Wonder
There are many ways to wander, such as seeking to slaughter a returned Israel. That State itself, the ancient nation, this also, had found ways to wander in its own day, including seeking aid from then relatively powerful Egypt, when its whole covenantal relationship to God was contrary to such antique ecumenism, or inclusivism, God alone their national resource. This is rebuked in Isaiah 30, roundly. Indeed, in that very same Chapter, there is a notice given, parallel to Isaiah 65:13-15, that makes it most clear that there is to be no restitution of a dominant Israel (as also in Isaiah 19); for though the wars in which it is to be victorious are most clear in Zechariah 12, as are the compassion and faithfulness of God towards it to the end, in Jeremiah 30-33, and Ezekiel 36-39, as in Micah 7 and Deuteronomy 30,32, together with pardon: there is no ultimate glory but for God.
Whatever grace suffuses the very air about His own, it is a lustre from Him, given in an encompassing divine dynamic, like the hug of one delighted to find his beloved, not an appointment with greatness per se!
This is so no less than for any other converted person or group. God's alone is that glory (cf. Isaiah 2:10-11). It is indeed a transfigured (but still actual) Israel, that comes when phase two of the Ezekiel prediction occurs (as in Zech. 12:1-ff.). It is transfigured by repentance toward the Christ whom the nation long ago crucified, and it is the wonder of His presence then soon to come, which transforms, and brings the blessing of the Almighty so wondrously to be seen.
Thus Israel in general, and Jerusalem in particular, has an importance far transcending any one nation, though it is certainly true that it impinges in a highly specific fashion on one, Israel. It is chiefly important, not only for the massive fulfilment of meticulous prophecies about the restoration of the land, the people, the mountains, the pastures, the safety, the integrity, one mode of God's illustrating His own divine wisdom and power if by any means any may seek Him and find Him. Rather is it for the amazing divine work accomplished through it, with it, and in the end, despite it.
It began with Abraham
historically. As to the nation, once
commissioned, after great patience from the Lord, waiting centuries before
wrapping up the appallingly wicked Canaanite civilisation in mind (Genesis
15:13-18), Israel carried out in part its uniquely authorised path of judgment
in the Lord's name (Joshua) on that people. Yet its later failures to execute
the commissions of obedience and faith, relying on the One who is utterly
reliable in all things always, placarded in its turning to numerous idolatries
and cultural blindnesses which came like spiritual macular degeneration, led to
the culmination of rebellion in the crucifixion of it own Messiah. Sent first to
it, rejected, He came also for the whole world (I John 2:1-2, Isaiah 42:6, 49:6).
The Wonder worked with Warranty,
Though this was predicted, and part of the Lord's deeply devised plan (as in I Corinthians 2:6-9), yet it DID occur, just as D-day and the Normanby invasion occurred. It is impossible to forget it if even one last historical wit remains. If that courage and commission for Europe's liberty is so vitally important and signifies so much of such activity by so many with such endurance, how much more does the due landing (birth) of Christ on the shores of an occupied world (so by the devil's works and the sins of generations)! Not only on display was His majestic courage, amid IMPOVERISHMENT of form and conditions of enduring service (Philippians 2), from deity to human dereliction, but the aim, to secure redemption from the occupying power, within and without, freely and fully.
This then requires far greater attestation and manifestation fitting. Indeed, not merely did He do this, but He came via a change of the very DIMENSIONS of His form and the grandeur of His own realm, even from infinitude to infancy to become a true member of our own race and as such deliver us. This too with all the rest, requires a meaningful memory and a fitting commemoration. With the living God, it is a living commemoration.
First, there came the Lord's Supper, one such instrument. It is one of stated remembrance, not vivification (He was resurrected but once, and died but once); and here Christ directly attests what the objects symbolise. However, more was to come; and indeed this memorial is "UNTIL HE COMES" (I Corinthians 11). There is much more: it is Himself, not in parody but in power as He said (Matthew 24:15-30). In the end, the memorial of where He suffered, it is the personal certification of the place of His grace, healing, power, proclamation of liberty, securing of rest, payment for sin, overpowering of all man's foes in order to cover the case for ever personally: all these things, but above all, the personal site of His active pastoral presence, with a significant singularity extending over all!.
It is then not return to the beaches of Normanby, as recently has occurred in a D-day commemoration service, but to the central place of His power, testimony, false judgment and overpowering battle back, even from death to restored life in His body: and where is this living testimony of the living Christ to have centre ? It is in Jerusalem as Zechariah 12 at 12:6 stresses in repetition, even as it were, for the deaf to hear. This is the plan.
Nor is it a yearly commemoration that is in view, any more than there was a merely poetic incarnation; but there is an occupancy of Jerusalem as a MEMORIAL, a VICTORIOUS placement, centre of rule in the millenium, following the subduing of the relentless piracy of His works by alien minds and hostile enemies not only of Himself, but of the very nature of the human race. He took human form to pay for its overpowering debt and enable its fulfilment in the beauty of its construction, where instead of hate hallowing rebellion and forcing it on this world, love can exhibit itself even in this world, before the eventual demise of this present universe, totally as in II Peter 3, Isaiah 51:6.
Israel and Jerusalem thus have a place scarcely glorious for themselves, who killed their King, but glorious for Him who rose, and who from there instituted from a remnant of Jews. initially, those including the apostles. These, not following the calamitous governing authorities, tended to operate as His Church, a living body which also has attested, despite its predicted mimics and insurgencies of evils to destroy it in our own day, the work of His divine commission.
Though of course not the centre but its mirror in history, Israel then is vital as a land and a city, crucially important as a living memorial and place of remembrance of reality, with emphasis on the coming of the Christ and His performance for the New Covenant's free cover by HIS blood (Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 1-2), and confirmation by His bodily resurrection (Romans 1:4, I Cor. 15), which are the dominant features.
These give to the city its grand position
as in Micah 4. Indeed it comes to Israel, very largely at the spiritual level
once it is restored to its land; and it is in Romans 11, that we see both their
coming back home to the Christ once lost, and then to the Christ once reviled
(Ezekiel 36-37,Micah 7, Isaiah 2, 42, 49). As to that land, it IS now to be taken
afresh, but not by the arms of man! (Hebrews 7:27-28, 8:13, Ezekiel 38-39,
Isaiah 66*2). It is the work of the Spirit of God which is predicted in Zechariah
12 as in Isaiah 32, as in Romans 11, and this is one whom no arms can inhibit,
embarrass or crush!
Christ is in All Things Faithful, Yesterday, Today,
Whether in Life or Land or Millenium or Might
What then is its current criterion, or that about to come ? Quite apart from its continuation amidst powers preoccupied with what they can do with it, its change is by the blessed work of the Holy Spirit focussing Christ and Him crucified, leading to their repentance, in Jerusalem in particular, with acute grief, and washing at the fountain of His cleansing as in Titus 3:4-7, Zechariah 12:10-13:1. Brought home AS Israel, and to JERUSALEM while still unconverted, as the above text shows, they become not another body, but a converted host, largely given up now to the Lord once despised. There the Lord makes focus of His rule, not mystically as in some secret room or mass (cf. Matthew 24:26-27- for we are warned), but openly for all, Himself manifested and on display. It is not some strange presence in matter, but the Sovereign Saviour Himself, clear, sure, unchanging.
What is the foundation of ALL Christians then becomes so for it, and as He sweeps to the conclusion of this Age, the times of the Gentiles fulfilled with the recovery of Jerusalem by Israel (Luke 21:24), so He institutes all that He has said, the God of wonder, who does not turn solemn contract into poetry, or assurances of power into philosophy, or His word into a cultural exhibit, like Lenin's very dead body. He is the living God, breaching death, brandishing life, offering it freely through all that in PARTICULAR He did as foretold, WHERE foretold, WHEN foretold (The Christian Prescription Ch. 2), and for the REASONS foretold. it is not possible to have greater clarity for man, for His salvation, greater freedom for His life that his Creator gives, having laboured to fix the foulness and fulfil the potential with grace, purpose and pardon.
After all, it is not every day, or in any other place, that God did these things for humanity (Hebrews 9:23-28), and if we tend to honour someone in terms of a grave site, how much more does God honour the resurrection site, following the holocaust on the Holy One (since He is of infinite importance, it is like gathering up an entire nation, and still He is far greater than this, or any nation or world or worlds)! But as noted first, there is no question of restoration of Israel in any religious sense as the leading national testimony of Christ. For all that, it WILL be taking its due place in this Christian work when the time comes (as in Romans 11:25ff., Isaiah 59:21, Micah 5, esp. 5:7ff., Isaiah 66*2); and that with no small relish and lustre! (as in Zephaniah 3:12-20 in close parallel). As there, the nation received, lost is returned, humbled, fruitful, full of peace and prosperous restoration and spiritual life.
But this is a prelude.
It is, in the end, He who did it all in the beginning (Genesis 1-3, Colossians 1), who likewise continues to the end, when even this earth languishes and a new heavens and a new earth adorn creation, miscreancy being no more (II Peter 3, Matthew 24:37, Isaiah 51:6). It is He who is ALONE exalted and this, it is most reasonable, most just, and true, and merciful (Isaiah 2:12-17), for there is none who shows mercy like this, who:
and passes over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage ...
He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy."
Indeed, it is He whether for one or for many (Galatians 3:27-29), who grants eternal life, and as for King David (Psalm 20-23), as for Daniel (12:13), as for Stephen, so for as many as receive Him> It is He who became God incarnate (John 1:12-14), breaker of death (II Timothy 1:9-10), giver of immortality, grantor of individual resurrection (Isaiah 26:19, I Cor. 15), who so rules. Indeed, as Micah indicates of the Messiah featured in Micah 5:4 (cf. Isaiah 49:6, 40:10), it is for one as for all in this world, who come in faith to Him as He is.
With direct reference to Israel in tracing its ways, it is written:
"He will again have compassion on us,
and will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins from the depths of the sea."
In so doing (7:20), He forgets nothing, His very name being faithful (Revelation 19), and there is one in mankind of whom it is really true, praise God! Liberality with reality is His passion, and liberation from sin, so that to our duo of reason and revelation, we add to make a trilogy, reason, revelation and redemption. In fact, with His overthrow of the imminent, eminent and immanent threat of death by His own sacrificial atonement and empowered resurrection, we have not only restoration (Colossians 3:10), whether it be national (as with Israel, Genesis 17:7-9), or personal (John 14:1-10, 10:9,27-28), but that with a grand graciousness. With all this, and majesty is added to humility (Philippians 2 the exemplar), it becomes illimitably attractive, not only for a ruler, but for THE RULER. Who is like this ? No, none, none whatsoever (Micah 7:18), but the Lord of glory (cf. I Cor. 2:8).
The Messiah came not by poetry, but by birth; acted not by philosophy, but by healing and raising the dead, revealing and answering critics gloriously with the triumphant orderly panache if reality; He concluded not in death but in a vast overthrow of its power, summoned in just terms by bearing our iniquities, even those of as many as receive the pardon, and in so doing He gave power to overcome them! He continued by the power of His Spirit (Acts 5:32, II Corinthians 3, John 14, 16), who does not speak of or seek His own glory, but that of the Messiah who sends Him from the Father (John 15:26). He did not speak in vain of things to come, but in a verifiable manner (cf. SMR Chs. 8-10), and He does not readily expect people to deny and even defy what He has said, but if they do, then that is another way. It is the way to wander.
None of us except Himself is perfect (Philippians 2, I John 1:7), and imagining so is mere delusion and impracticality; and especially no nation which is not Christian is perfect, or anything like it; and those nations who have in good measure embraced Christ and now wander, are only fulfilling one more example of that sad tack!
As shown in recent times, as in earlier chapters, our situation in Australia, is one of those in danger of being, relative to beginnings, simply recidivist. Israel is not touted as an example; but neither is it exposed fallaciously. It is rather exemplary in much by contrast; and though failing in many features, scripturally by having forsaken its Rock (Deuteronomy 32:15, Micah 5,7), and so living in an eminently vulnerable category, yet as God declares, He does not forget His covenant with Abraham (Micah 7:20). He does not forget anything, but mercifully, the sins of those who remember Him and serve and worship Him, who through the Messiah born, sent and raised, KNOW Him.
Wandering, as far as God is concerned, is not to be desired. It is costly and unreasonable, both. But ALL that He has done, its symbols, its intense labours, its extreme sacrifice, its love, its historical reality, its brilliance, its plan of salvation accomplishes NOTHING (resembling the nothing which the confused suggest as the basis of all - nearer to truth at the end than the beginning, but still far from all!) for some.
Who are these ? they are those designated in Daniel 12, those for whom eternal life is not the gift, but its exclusion is the work of their own hands, hearts and wills. Don't blame the doctor if you refuse blankly (or more subtly in mode), to take the antibiotic, the spiritual antibiotic, which quells the follies, accounts for the fevers, restores the heart and brings peace to the spirit. Christ incarnate, crucified, His body bashed and beaten, resurrected and unable to be found, displayed or manipulated by His stricken enemies.
Instead, having disrupted death in resurrection (II Timothy 1:9-12), He continued His teaching of His own for 40 days of presence, who will return to complete the entire spiritual scenario in majesty that is not without compassion (Psalm 72), it is He who brings eternal life to man, or in exclusion, attests its loss, as judge (John 3:19,36, 5:22-23).
Life is no comedy or mere tragedy; it is the place of trial, of truth available, of grace prodigious, and where the heart's longings, be what they may, have their opportunities to find cover behind the blind that obscures the light, or else to find in Christ the light itself that obtrudes brilliantly, dismissing the fleeing darkness (John 1:4-13, 8:12).
See Causes, SMR Ch. 5, Predestination and Freewill Section 4.
Department of Bible ... Vol.2, Ch. 6 (foundational),
Vol. 2, Ch. 1, Appendix,
Vol. 4, 10,
Vol. 3, 10
Department of Bible ... Vol. 5, Ch. 4, Ch. 5, and Vol. 1, Ch. 10,
Vol. 6, Ch. 12,
Why Not Believe the Lord's Christ! Ch. 5,
SMR Appendix A,
Galloping Events Ch. 8, *2,
Bay of Retractable Islands ... Chs. 19, 18
( in this case, the almost equally deplorable dispensationalistic extreme is exposed, as in Biblical Blessings Ch. 3, for example),
Red Alert Ch. 10,
Things Idly Lost, Divinely Found ... Ch. 2,
Pilgrims and Strangers ... Ch. 3,
The Christian Prescription
The Christian Prescription Ch. 5,
Red Alert Ch. 10, second part,
Highway of Holiness Ch. 6, SMR Appendix A,
Department of Bible ... Vol. 5, Ch. 4, Ch. 5,
and Vol. 1, Ch. 10, Vol. 2, Ch. 1 Appendix, especially *1;
Vol. 3, Ch. 10; Vol. 6, Ch. 12.
See Ch. 12 above on this phase.