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THE GLORY OF THE GOSPEL
and the Null Option
Paul wishes to make known the
riches of the glory of the gospel,
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. The cross is the centre, the riches result.
The basis is blood, the
love, the necessity is justice,
the mode is mercy, but this done, there is enrichment in this,
that Christ is IN you (as a
branch in the vine), a deposit through the Spirit,
with its seal (Ephesians 1:5) attesting eternal life (Romans 8:16).
I) ITS PRODUCTS 1:1-14
In his salutation, Paul makes it clear that faithful brethren are saints. They are not manufactured on earth, but designated from heaven with each conversion (I John 3, 5, II Cor. 1:1, Ephesians 1:1). In addressing the Church, Paul speaks to the saints.
Their faith and mutual love are reported, flowing from their hope in the testimony and the Testifier, lodged in heaven (Colossians 1:5, 3:1-2, Acts 3:19ff., Hebrews 6:19-20). Seeing their fruit, Paul prays for them, for a rich revelation of the will of God to them, enabling a full conformity to His desire in all things, as in character they are strengthened with power divine, enabling "all patience and longsuffering with joy."
Qualified to partake of the inheritance of the saints, in light (Col. 1:12), being conveyed from the power of darkness to love in the light (Col. 1:13), a kingdom of the Son of God, these have redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:14). These are all MEASURED TERMS. They are most productive for the believers, citizens of His kingdom, foci of grace.
2) ITS PRODUCER 1:15-18
OWING to His being the image of the invisible God, crafted into flesh for the saving purpose, THEREFORE though born relatively late in history, He has the status of the first-born. As to birth, forever He has proceeded from the Father (Micah 5:1-3, Hebrews 7:16, John 1:1), at last into flesh that He might be the forerunner of many brethren, saved by His blood (Hebrews 2:14-17). Colossians 1:16 gives the reason for His startling status, namely His yet more startling function as the creator of all things. Of course, if He had been created, then HE COULD NOT BE the Creator of all things. He is the eternal God, the word.
Not only so, He is the creator of what is on earth, to be sure, but also of the entire paraphernalia and persons outside deity in heaven, no matter whether these personages and powers are visible or invisible, domains and dominions all derivative from HIS creative activity. Such is the Person of our Saviour; and indeed, GOD ONLY IS SAVIOUR (Isaiah 43:10-11), and the only name given in this connection under heaven, is that of Christ (Acts 4:11-12), who performed this, executive and king.
Nor is even this all. These things through the loving grace of the Father are created FOR Him (Col. 1:16). Indeed, the power to consist, as with man, body, mind and spirit in one unit, or in atoms and molecules as such, waves and particles in their structured poly-potential and fascinating interchange, atomic power liberally held within, brilliant DNA devices: all are His product.
As to the redeemed, if they are the body as in Romans 12, then Christ is the head, as echoed in Isaiah 55:4. The identity crisis of 1960s fame was the result of ignoring the 'head' as if an aircraft came complete with upkeep manual and programmatics, and one had no idea who made it or why. This is the precise opposite of the case, and wilful removal of the biblical necessities, showing the power of the Creator in action, and the personally inescapable realities of Jesus Christ, means simply a devastating vacuum, or identity crisis, even for the nations, divisive and dividing, with endless seeming false prophets and the like as forecast by Christ (Matthew 24:24 and Jeremiah 23:18-21). God has it all covered, just as He has not only the plan but the performance for the cover for sin.
Christ is the irreducible Producer: to ignore it is to dance to irrationalism, and to commit psychic suicide for the race.
3) ITS PANORAMA 1:19-23
Here we see that God would have ALL in heaven and in earth to be reconciled to Himself. Vain are the words of philosophical theologians, like Calvin, on this point, for such shroud in a forlorn mist of uncertainty, why God is choosing some, and why not others. IF this is left merely mysterious, then it is contrary to what He would have, wishes to have (Col. 1:20), but will not take by force, this, both the amplitude and the liberty, being in accord with His very nature. The reason why the Lord so appeals in Isaiah 1, for their change, is that they do not HAVE TO do so (cf. Isaiah 1:16-19).
The reason why He so often would have gathered the people of Jerusalem in His generation, like a hen her chickens (tender, natural, necessary - as in Matthew 23:37) is the same: He would like them all to come. No mystery is in Him in this matter, but the one which counts invasively is "the mystery of iniquity" which grapping sinful man, unrepentant and inventive, works away for denudation, deceit and then intimidation of the human race (II Thessalonians 2). Like a virus, it infiltrates, seizes control and then uses the very matrix of man to trick him!
Vast as is the scope of the love of God as He surveys mankind as an overall unit, as in John 3:16-17, for He did not come to condemn the world but to save it, yet truth does not compromise, but adorns love like a vast sapphire, glinting, gleaming and radiant. Thus there is a cut-off. The peace with God is not for around-the-world pundits of philosophy (Colossians 2:8) or religion transients; it is for truth, and hence repentance is needed before trust is complete. So we learn from Col. 1:22-23.
Behold therefore the goodness and the severity of God. Truth is always severe, for it can yield in NOTHING! But when truth is that God is love (I John 4:7-8), then you have the double traction: the love of truth and the truth of love.
4) ITS PROFUNDITY 1:24-29
The Three Mysteries in One
In Colossians, Paul does refer to a mystery which HAS BEEN hidden from ages and generations, and it is Christ in you, the hope of glory (1:27). Likewise Paul refers to such a mystery in terms of fellowship, Jew and Gentile, in Ephesians 3:3-7 and of crucial information, in Romans 16:25. First, note that in Romans, the prophetic scriptures also made known something of the Gospel and the preaching of Christ, but we understand that this was not to the fulness now made known in the matter of Christ in you, the hope of glory and its riches. Of course even that may be dimly exhibited before, but as in Ephesians 3, not AS it is now made known. As in Romans the prophetic scriptures have been one source of eminent knowledge concerning the Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ (marked (3) below..
The Startling Wonder of the Totality now Made Clear
In all three of these former 'mysteries' or deep and imbued knowledge from God's own word in the New Testament, written and living, there is a revelation which alone COULD and actually DID show the staggering step He took. As above, Romans, Colossians and Ephesians present these three. How great are "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8) who being sent, came, and having come finished the work willingly (Hebrews 9:12).
As of God the trinity, He made the worlds, came into them as one amid them, did not limit Himself to harassing sin, but took its guilt upon Himself in offer (I John 2:1-2, I Timothy 2:6); and for all who so received Him in actuality (Isaiah 53:1-5). Indeed, to those healed by "His stripes" (metonymy), He granted the peace of reconciliation with Himself. For those who did not receive the offer, whether in the New or the Old Testament, there has never been either redemption or relief (cf. Deuteronomy 29:14-20), but the uninterrupted curse on the wilfully averse to the offer (John 3:36).
God is already averse to sin and neither double-dealing nor double-mindedness achieve aught but ruin to the relationship with God: all that might have been is as a zero breeding debt.
Options are Utterly Unmysterious
There is of solutions, but one, of truth, but one, for sin's snarl, guilt and guile, as of the redemptive offer, but One; just as there is, of Saviour but one, He providing eternal relief of mind or spirit, as one source. The earth is littered with the failure of every other imagined option.
1) Nature (Romans 1:17ff.) shrieks for its Maker and is lost without it.
2) Sin demands an answer, and man is lost without it.
3) God provided the answer, and it did not deny anything, but covered all the facts.
Man tries to prop up nature and himself by idols that never stand. God holds up both nature and man, and His own word, by power, and these stand (cf. Jeremiah 23, Matthew 5:17-2-0, Hebrews 1:1-3, 11:1-3, cf. The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, The gods of naturalism have no go!).
God met the whole bolus of belligerence from man, with diligence and dynamic. Before however we pursue this point, let us examine the first point listed above, further.
It is not only the ludicrous considerations of physical nature, with its vain endeavour to make matter, born of nothing or of begging the question, in either way irrationally inserted, beget mind, act as its source: the one analysable, the other the analyst. Nor is it just that both may be construed as having come from 'nature' which has to make itself before it is there to do it, since mere assumption in logic, being causeless in concept, is irrational (cf. SMR Chs. 3 and 5). Such miserable monuments of sliding from causation into callowness have adequately been considered as in the above listed works.
There is HUMAN nature also in its working to consider. This also is treated in SMR Ch. 3, but let us look at some topical elements here. In Australia, an Anti-Discrimination Bill is big news, and its meanders into might have been heavily assaulted by numerous writers, some eminently placed, as noted. With a sleight-of-hand movement from the Preamble to the Constitution which speaks of reliance on God Almighty, in this Bill, which has raised such a clamour with thousands of responses reported, we find ourselves immersed in neo-morals, which one politician described as a fine indication of how people are to behave. It becomes an Ideal Bill, a Moral Mouth, a Thrill of Bites, with heavy consignments to those who fail on such stringent points as managing to insult or offend someone, where guilt is to be assumed, after the matter is received, and innocence in the face of this, a thing to be proven.
Churches are granted certain exemptions as has been explained, but our present point is that this is a problem with human nature, taken for granted as a set of conditionable qualities, ready for the Religion of the State to announce, as it ravishes religion with its concepts, laws and penalties. It has already been urged that for such a make-over, a referendum would have to be held, so that instead of being BARRED from establishment of any religion, the Commonwealth can bathe in it*1, and rule religion.
That is a first condition. Indeed, in any re-writing of the Constitution, which is also in due course in view, it would have to be honestly put that not only is this so, but the insistence that any one race has certain provisions before the law not given to others, being discriminatory, divisive and patronising, as well as unjust and ultimately a religious matter of the concept of what the human race really IS, would have to be considered in its national and historic context. Removal of God, or insertion of race with special preference in matters of justice, would alike need informed debate, referendum and vote if the matter is pushed.
This should be retrospective for any errors already made in this respect in prior legislation. The Bible does indeed say, Blessed are the merciful; but it does not say, Blessed are the unjust.
These aspects merely emphasise the degree of control in a religious field, which is being usurped in a proposed Commonwealth Bill, coming up for action NOW. The point is this: WHY is there such uproar and outrage from eminent figures in law and elsewhere ? WHY is there such horror and amazement at the effrontery or transmutation involved, or such call to challenge at all levels, such an abasement of Australian citizens ? Why does it MATTER ? To be sure it would matter if you were fined a few thousand, given a guilt finding with the opposition funded when you might not be, by the Government. It might even be a tad troublesome to have, no, not a priest, but some official who would force a meeting between you (assumed guilty so far) and your verbal assailant (that is, the one claiming to have been hurt or offended or insulted and so forth), and to have to endure instruction on morals as a wrong-doer for some meetings.
However the criticism, though touching in this area, is nothing less than a matter of JUSTICE, of workability, of intrusion, of the dagger into the heart of freedom, not only with needless moral nannying, but with gross under-qualification for such tasks. Who is the one to determine such issues of morals and motives and what was and what was not said, and reasons for offence, and whether it is legitimate, and if so by what moral law, or not, and whether on the whole you are an acceptable type of human being or ... Or what ? Why whether perhaps you need re-education, as they have in China. Perhaps, as in the new China, there would be a new Australia, where practical expression of remorse might be required, in practical needs to show the chastening effects of the Humanistic Religion, unholy and hapless, inhuman and totalitarian, a social dictator based on the baseless.
As man tries to institute his inane, empty and vacuous visions, where reason departs, presumption rules and arrogance has its nexus, there is never peace. The USSR in some respects became a magnified thuggery, millions killed, the work of centuries deleted with a bullet, conformists given luxury, the least given power, the Reductionist Royalty sovereign in their godless forts. The "god of forces" of which the Bible speaks, certainly had a heyday, as with Hitler and Mao alike, racist or irrational, on the same basis, moving where NO TRUTH could be found, in a system which systematically lacks it. Instead, though wilfully lost, it is ostensibly spoken and applied like an atomic bomb. With Hitler, it was a racial vision, based on assessment: one mind over history, no rational ground, with EXALTATION the rationale.
Whatever 'nature' man tries to irrationalise into dictatorship, whatever 'dream' of what are manifestly false prophets, is taken seriously, leads on to the nation ruined, mankind deeply distressed, the least using power as if a peacock were to imagine it were a lion. It is all one. It does not have a logical basis, an ethical foundation, a rational reality; and it does not work. It may catapult a people (like Germany under Hitler), into the misery of ruin after greatness. It may ooze the blood of the young into the ground on both sides, as in trench warfare. But it does not work. There is revenge, there is horror, there is cynicism (cf. SMR Ch. 3), and there is moral squalor and rat-race rationales come into such force (based on nothing but desire to survive for some unknown reason), so that LYING can become a METHOD in politics and misuse of language, as in Australian Parliament recently, a seductive stab in the air, which however is ready to land on a victim.
How ludicrous that a law not to murder might be made, when the lawgivers, with their solemn faces and legal force, murder freely! Where is that ? you ask. It is only an analogy. Suppose it ? such hypocrisy ? so you might aver. Suppose now a Parliament, not passing such a murder law, but an insult law, and then displaying insulting freely in its own midst, without effectual rebuke, reprimand or much visible restraint: is the case any better ? It is almost as if the law in itself recognised that ACTUAL PEOPLE may SEEM to insult and intimidate to those who do not like what they say, that is outside the Commonwealth Parliament, itself rated to be immune. Accordingly, these non-Commonwealth-parliamentarians, the ordinary people, are then given a legal weapon, useful in some cases, to defend their errors, perhaps in others avenge their pride, for example. I would be very much multi-purpose capacity to CHARGE and pay the lawyer for purposes good, indifferent, self-vaunting, taunting, playful or cynical outright.
To what then do we come ? Truth is fallen in contempt. Assessors are to assess in terms of feeling of this or that, those seized for assessment are to taken, contrite for what did or did not happen, as guilty. Judgment grows on the brow of the interrogator, conductor, quiz-master, or whatever title he may have. It becomes all too reminiscent of Isaiah 59:9-15, describing a time leading on towards the return of the Lord (Isaiah 59:21). Such a state of affairs neither does nor could work, and it declares itself in confusion and corruption.
We have been considering the list below, and this has been a recent, relevant look in recent history and in Australia in particular at 'nature'. This, whether material, or immaterial, visible or invisible (like a vision of purpose), whether personal or particulate, shrieks for its Maker. Much more may be found in The gods of naturalism have no go! in Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch. 3, The Wisdom and Wit of the Word of God ... Ch. 2, as in SMR Ch. 4. and in its extension.
1) Nature (Romans 1:17ff.) shrieks for its Maker and is lost without it.
2) Sin demands an answer, and man is lost without it.
3) God provided the answer, and it did not deny anything, but covered all the facts.
TAKE NOW POINT 2) above.
2) Sin, we note, similarly demands an answer. Whether it be arrogance and the reactions, dishonesty and its appalled response, untruth and its vain endeavours to deceive, rejected with horror, slaughter of facts, ignoring of evidence, mercilessness: the human spirit, not to say mind, is not at rest in this sort of quest. Sin demands an answer, and it is not to be found in 'nature', composing itself before it was there to do it, but in God, there always, lest nothing should always be all. If nothing were ever all, then it would of necessity by definition, be all for ever, meaning we are not here: which is simply not so. To be deceived, you HAVE to be there, and to be undeceived, you have to find the SOURCE of your nature, logically and if possible, in terms of instructions, wisdom, knowledge and identification of our right ways and correct procedures, of truth and of necessity, and why these things are so, and what in general are not.
The answer is not found in working around self-contradictory relativities, absolutely denying any absolute (but this your own). We come to 3).
3) Such a piece of work as man is not seeking for rational grounds for irrational reasons, though these love to seize him in his exalted moods, cynical clamours and incessant, often self-contradictory, philosophical chatter (cf. SMR Chs. 3 and 10). Moreover, through the grace of God, he is not always diverted; and in seeking, rationally he finds ONE ONLY source, with ONE ONLY BOOK, ONE ONLY validated and verified. In this, focussing on God incarnate and self-attesting, in Jesus Christ, you find in reason, the answer of revelation (as shown in SMR and noted in The Bright Light ... Chapter. 7, and It Bubbles ...Ch. 9, 1A). In the Bible as in the historic record of Christ, indeed both as predicted and as performed, you find the answer to sin. But consider not only its effectuality, but its quality! This brings us to point 3, as listed above. What is it like ?
Not only did God meet all the facts, but in His pardoning performance, He met them in a peak of beauty, love, mercy, pardon and sacrifice, leaving none to inherit hell, but those who escape the net of His desire, His stated desire, His loving desire, clean of lust. Colossians makes this very clear. Nevertheless, He is ready to leave free of Himself, whoever prefers captivity, captivated by the solecism of naturalism, the blindness of unbelief, in whatever mode. Devoted to the salvation of the few who so receive Him, He achieves it at prodigious cost (Galatians 3,6:14). That is in full accord with the very nature of love. The offer is impassioned; the result of its rejection stirs love to the uttermost, as does the wonder of its acceptance. The issue is stark.
Suffering in the flesh, in order to make near the love of God for those to whom he proclaims truth (Colossians 1:24), Paul seeks to preach, warning every man, teaching in all wisdom, seeking the completion of man in his redeemed image, saved by that member of the Trinity sent to save, and to breach death. Returned to heaven (Acts 3:19-21), He waits (II Peter 3:9, Revelation 6:10-11) while all is tested, and all His own are found and gathered (Revelation 6:9-11), till He returns to rule in truth and power (Isaiah 59:21, Isaiah 11, Psalm 72, Jude, Matthew 24:21-51, Philippians 3:20-21), majesty and compassion.
Truly Colossians 1 is filled with the theme of the glory of the Gospel, wrought through the glory of God working through the gore of God incarnate (Colossians 1:22, Acts 20:28), lingering upon it from the fair lips of the Lord (cf. Psalm 45, I Corinthians 2:9-13),and the grandeur of the irreversible resurrection which man, given a thousand years of notice as in Psalm 22, 16, could do nothing to derail. God always gets things done: the word and then the deed. There are no exceptions.
Today, February 22, 20-13, The Australian reveals that the Senate Committee set to review the response to the proposed Bill has declared that the religious exemptions are not approved, that they should not be there relative to employes for Churches, thus the more obviously elevating their to the relativity of all religions and the absolute religious domineering of the State, saying what it will, believing what it wants, be the Constitution what it will, or may be! Thus ...ça marche!
and the Consequences
News of this World
These are not options, except to the mind.
You CAN resist the Lord (Acts 7:51), reject His counsel and if you are following the ways of the nations, in the way that many follow football in this land, that is with zeal and appetite, though sometimes revolted, then this too has its cost. Those moving from the appeal of the Lord, deciding against coming to His life and leading, no longer face what involves discerning self-discipline and self-control, taking up your cross daily and following Christ (Luke 14:27ff.). For them, no more is it a question of being born again, so that they should walk through the plain in unmoved honesty and integrity, of mind and spirit, by His side supported by His Spirit, instructed by His word, the Bible. There is a type of cost to follow Him, as for an athlete; there is another in NOT doing so, whether for individual or nation. The one leads to life and the other to divorce from deity, life and the loveliness of truth (cf. SMR).
The British word for those outside the Lord, in the days of that nation's power, was "heathen." There is for them no Saviour, either because of ignorance (most rapidly decreasing now!), or of will. For them, there is no counsel of the Lord, whether this be through lack of information or of desire. In this case, there is a word from the Lord, along with many words of advice. It is this.
"The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect."
That is found in Psalm 33:10.
As with Israel in Egypt in the days of the Pharaohs, you can follow the Lord and being delivered, continue with Him (many of them failed to realise in faith the wonder of their journey), to the destiny appointed in His love, mercy, grace and salvation; or not. If ever it were apparent how the Lord does bring the counsel of the nations to nought, it is in the vast losses suffered by the British Empire WHEN and AS it turned more and more from the Lord to mere mockery of religion in its national Church. If a nationally directed Church has too much of man for the Sole Director, Jesus Christ to act freely, and becomes most vulnerable when the people dip from doctrine to an increasing extent, then of course, as the political power reflects this, the nation changes and the power of God is far less direct.
With an increasing intent to deal very differently, the people move till in this case now, PM Cameron, though Conservative, actively campaigns for same sex marriage. It is presented as a non-discriminatory option, an achievement, but in fact discriminates against the Maker and His appointed mode of having new generations, against His word, the Bible, and ignores the consequences which He announces. This now becomes confrontation of a type far more perilous than that with another mighty nation!
This, it is as the Bible indicates so very clearly, in one with God HimselfI Man moves in a mode of confrontation with the Almighty and His word, in a mood increasing that of confrontationalism. Consider I Timothy 1:10 - and note the context of parallel kinds of sin to that gaining ascendency not least in Britain!, Romans 1:28ff., Leviticus 18:22-24 and in this note no less, the penalty for the theocracy of Israel in those times!. Jeremiah 5:30-31 is relevant, for then the prophets prophesied falsely, and the priests bore rule by their own authority, and ... the people loved to have it so! But, the question is challengingly put: "WHAT WILL YOU DO IN THE END OF IT!"
In fact, in Jeremiah 17:9-10, God declares the human heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. The correlative question ? WHO CAN KNOW IT! It tricky deviousness, to which it is abundantly prone when unsupervised spiritually by the Lord, and which by sin becomes close to being an inherent quality, which confronts the assured administrator. It is beyond the power of man to plumb, so that endless theories pester the student about this or that opening of the abscess that likes to lodge there. I THE LORD KNOW THE HEART! comes in answer. It is indeed a prodigious attainment, which God declares, but it is scarcely surprising. After all, we are not infinite; He is and He made us (Psalm 100)..
When therefore man or part of mankind, say a governmental part, wishes to play God, it is a work too hard, and leaves a wasteland of the distorted, the contorted, the abused, the bullying, the bullied, the enterprising zealots and the cynical manipulators, many at last as if tossed on a muck-heap, to which they are very unwilling to go, often not least because of the possibilities of revenge by those so assailed by gods that will die (Ezekiel 28:9). The people may even select conveyor-belt leadership, to convey them where at first, they want to go. Automation then often tends to set in, fostered by devotees declaring how natural it all now seems! Anything seems natural if you choose to make it so. It is easier yet if you subscribe to a system of thought which, having made all things relative, declares this to be absolute truth.
The desire for God, when aborted, naturally leads to foolish choices and humans without wisdom acting as if deprived of fundamental wisdom, in a neo-fundamentalism, based on air or nothing, given airs. Cut-down versions of man are invented, but not created and the results do not fit, either in philosophy or in practice (cf. On Standby, and The Shadow of a Mighty Rock 732B *21, with pp. 303ff.).
decline in morality is in parallel with the decline of doctrine, of love of
truth, in insistence on the Majesty behind all majesty, and power-assisted
departure from the Book beyond all wisdom, which as such is presented at
Coronation to the monarch.
When demonstrable truth, tried and tested, is so laid low, and mischievous miseducation fires its guns into youth's ready minds (cf. SMR, TMR), then results come, as if people were being injected with a spiritual AIDS disease.
The mighty do not stand up by mere memory; they decline with their forsaken emptiness where once the people preferred Rock. The decline becomes like smog: shockingly present but harder to pick up particle by particle. Alas England falls, as have many, and what was notable for religion, becomes noteworthy for instability in that very field.
God has done just the same to the USA for the same basic type of reason, though its ways have been expressed with the individuality of that nation. As the Christian grace and sense of glory has receded and the export of that nation has become rather that of democracy, it fares but ill as devils seek more power of direction. The nations do not achieve blessedness by simply having individuality. Freedom fares as liberty does. As with persons, it depends what they do.
Thus in Psalm 33:11, we have the blessed side, though to defaulters, derelict of faith, drifters and dragooners for devils and their ways, it appears as confrontation.
"The counsel fo the LORD stands forever.
The plans of His heart to all generation.
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance."
Start torturing, in an inhuman fashion, the bodies and minds of your enemies and you find that there is not only information, but deformation of what God has made, also to consider. If your god is ruthlessness, then he is of no standing, for without approval does the Lord state this:
"For the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty," Psalm 74:20.
The Lord does not approve of mere 'national interest' or any other interest which takes no interest in His will and ways. Thus in Lamentations 3:34-36, we read this:
"To crush under one's feet
All the prisoners of the earth,
To turn aside the justice due a man
Before the face of the Most High,
Or subvert a man in his cause -
The Lord does not approve."
To be sure, this tells most for those who do right in the Lord; but there are limits for prisoners, and while defence of a land from the compulsions of sin through invasion is just, the usage of the opponents in the interim has its rules of righteousness too.
Thus 'national interest' is only partially valid, for when it becomes an immeasurable pit into which every foul thing is thrown, what IS such a nation! and of what interest IS its interest, and whom does this interest ?: perhaps even the devil. He has his own will and ways, and is a deceiver, a wily trickster and truckster of false goods, whether with man or nation. He is found trying to justify the unjustifiable with daring darts of pure malice, intractable revenge, immeasurable self-importance and a false and vain glory. Christ rejected this (Matthew 4), with decisive contempt. When a man or nation flaunts and vaunts its own ways, but does not exalt in the Lord, its time is facing erosion like sandstone at the sea.
The plans of the LORD are to all generations, we have read, and His counsel stands forever, whereas HE BRINGS the counsel of the nations to zero. Such is this part of the message of Psalm 33.
What of other nations ? There come to mind several at once. There is the grandeur of the USSR in its slaughter of tens of millions, of China under Mao with its parallel performance, of the libertarian frenzy in France in the whine of 1789 and the following spasms of slaughter, which broke morals as well as severed necks, and gobbled up some of its initial supporters.
There is the Great Western Revolt, seen much in increasing conformity to reductionism, that intensive effort to throw off reality by misinterpreting it in superficial terms, while making man an involved muddle from nowhere going anywhere for no good reason, while they use reason to reason for irrationalism. Such things are increasingly to be noticed in the USA and some democracies of no less fame, having battered Europe with more and more tempestuousness and conceit over these last 200 years; but such illusions do not stand. Founded on air, empty thought (cf. The gods of naturalism have no go!), they have nowhere to go but down, and hit with devastating crashes, often turned in wars, amid unwisdom.
Such results as with houses of national assemblies, may come in many different ways, but the cause is common, as is the nature of the result.
Again, as in Psalm 33, there is a particular nation which the Lord has chosen for an inheritance, and that is Israel (33:12). Notice however in Isaiah 65:13-15, that it has its troubles with the Lord, and has suffered as foretold so often (as in Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 30-32), and that it is only when it returns to the Lord, the crucified Messiah, as foretold in Zechariah 12, some 500 years before Christ WAS crucified in the first place, that their place is not only returned to them.
This too has long been foretold (as in Luke 21:24, Micah 7, Ezekiel 34-39), but their place is vulnerable just as their days have included much suffering. It returns to them as they are returned to it which they rejected so long ago as a nation. That ? It is the COUNSEL OF THE LORD.
Meanwhile, as in Psalm 22:29-31 and I Peter 2:9, the Lord has a GENERATION, one foretold there, which as ONE FAMILY, not many successive patriarchs, spread over time, constitutes HIS descendants, HIS special people, those who will tell what He has done in the crucifixion and the resurrection (as in Psalm 22 and 16). As it is written,
"A posterity shall serve Him.
It shall be accounted to the Lord as the generation.
They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born,
That He has done this."
This Peter calls "a holy nation, His own special people," and it has a supra-chronological base, for it moves through all time, telling this world that God has done this thing, worked in the Messiah this salvation as in Psalm 22. This is the Christian family who have come one by one (Isaiah 44:5 with Zechariah 12:10ff.). It has ONE HEAD, not as with Adam, a head for each generation named, with successors following. The succession is ALL from ONE who has DONE what had to be done. That is HIS generation, unique in kind and content, above all races (cf. Galatians 3:22-23).
Was this not as prophesied by Isaiah in 53:10. Here we find this:
"When you make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed,
He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied."
Isaiah 53:8 asks concerning the Saviour, the One suffering in substitution for those sinners who will come to Him for life, whole offering Himself to all,
"Who will declare His generation ?
for He was cut off from the land of the living."
As Professor E. J. Young points out, it is the soul which IS the offering, that is, the 'life', and it is not what offers! Thus Isaiah 53:10 is not talking about a soul making an offering, but as in the AV, the offering of the life or soul of the Messiah. When this is done, He shall see the result of His labours and be satisfied.
The other and justified translation is this: When YOU make His soul an offering for sin ... "He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied." THEN one can declare His generation, as was done in Genesis in the early Chapters, concerning the generations of Noah or Adam. THEN instead of being without any generation, that is, any listed successors for the family as with them, He will have a massive family as in I Peter 2 and Psalm 22. This is then composed of all those over time who make His soul an offering for sin, these being bought through the blood of Christ (as in Colossians 1:14).
But one may say, Does not Professor Young put a capital in You, as if this here refers to the Father who offers the Son, and not to others who make use of His offering, as He planned for them (Matthew 20:28), and is this not correct to complete the translation of the text ? Not actually: great as is Young in Old Testament foundation and finesse, it is not names but evidence which counts in any particular case; and which of us is at all perfect! In Isaiah for much space before and after Isaiah 53:10, the term 'you' as addressed to someone or somebody means one thing only. This is the person or the nation which is appealing to God, or to whom He appeals, or others whom He addresses. Here 'you' is a distinctive: it is to the recipient of the address, warning, blessing or gift that it refers consistently.
Indeed, it is so from Isaiah 51:17 through to the end of Isaiah 62. YOU is the referent for Israel or the individual, the supplicant or the receiver of blessing, and in any case, not for God. When therefore you the sinner, here in 53:10, by faith make His divine life an offering for sin, THEN (NOT when He suffers as an offering, yet to be resurrected) He has one more child.
That child ? It is you, part of the joy that was set before Him, of the holy nation which was to be. You then and therefore become part of HIS generation. He is not left with any generation to His name, but rather with a whole division, indeed nation of such persons, drawn from every nation, to become a SPIRITUAL NATION. It is a super-chronological one, in the sense that no given time limits its declaration, nor any one century its components, ever new saved persons till the door closes and the era is over at length, all things done in application as in accomplishment, in gathering the harvest as in spreading the seed, finding the shoots and caring for them on the way.
Such is the intertwining concept.
To change things in the midst of such an extended theme at ONE point (Isaiah 53:10), where the language is moreover then unique as a precise exemplar, and to avoid the consistent use of 'you' both before and after this for so long in the text, is simply untenable. its dramatic use as an appellation, a call signal to those listening or addressed, those receiving counsel or description or words from the Lord is by such means, interrupted without ground. It is intrusive, disruptive and dispersive so to act in translation.
Nor is this all. Moreover it is precisely - as in Isaiah 66:2-3, where God is looking for the man who fears Him and trembles at His word, for blessing. In terms of the already pronounced sacrificial offering of the Messiah Himself as the sacrifice for a whole generation of followers (Isaiah 50-55) - the position that God offers contempt for continuing animal sacrifice. The NEW POINT is that of CHRIST as the sacrifice and the new purpose is the TAKING of HIM thus (Isaiah 54-55), with eternal results and intensive spiritual blessing.
It is when this new and individual action is taken relative to this suddenly massively exposed Messiah as in Isaiah 53:1-9, that the result in this New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31) is to be found. Here it is formalised.
This is to be done one by one (as so often of yore outside the Passover day, in Israel with the animal routine), and when YOU are the one, then there is His new child. Now His generations grow! Such is the meaning of Isaiah 53:10.
Indeed, even in the Passover, though the offer of pardon was universal over those assembled, in that case the political nation, yet if WITHIN that grouping any ONE should not have his heart in it (Deuteronomy 29:18-19), then that one was excluded, so that the implicit principle is the same: individual in application. There is no ex opere operato (from the work done), sacramentalism) about it. "This," said Jesus dramatically and incisively, "is the work of God that you should BELIEVE on Him whom He has sent," John 8:29.
It is this counsel which stands, that of the Lord, for the nation or, in the end as in the beginning, in foreknowledge as in final knowledge, for the individual. God never fails, and His love is abused by no technical failure or improvisation! It is pure. No form can replace faith, and God past all form knows who are His own (II Timothy 2:19, Romans 8:30ff.), sought as are all, from the perils of condemnation (John 3:19,36) in the outthrust of divine love (John 3:16-19, Colossians 1:19ff.), with the peace past all understanding in closeness to the King of the Kingdom of Heaven!
It is not that Christianity is a governmental contender (John 18:36-37), though some have tried to 'adapt' it to such a role. The devil offered and was refused, in presenting the WHOLE world to Christ from the first of His Messianic Mission (Matthew 4), if only He would worship that proud spirit! Christ pursued this rejection in integrity to the last (John 6:15-21, Matthew 26:52-56). Many have distorted the Bible and moved away from Christ in this field, even while with force and armies, using His name (for example, SMR pp. 911ff., 1032ff.)
This becomes another religion because of force, very readily! and none may take the place of Christ on earth (Matthew 23:8-10), however popular (or not) such rule may be!
Christianity is for the hearts of those who rule, for the nation in its own underlying choice for righteousness, a basis in principles, in morals, in inner cleanliness, in regeneration to make of people those who will be led by the Lord, until His return (Acts 3:19-21,Matthew 24). Here is its place and the State which tries to take it is merely deluded by, with or for power that is not its own.
In Christ, it is for those who are actually willing by faith to be newly founded, and to receive a gift of love (Romans 5:5) which is not influenced by mere personal pique or piggishness. If some pretend, in large institutions or small hearts, so be it. It does not alter what it is. When Christ HIMSELF returns as in Matthew 24, THEN there will be rule. hen it will be, as in Psalm 2 for its vigour with corrupters, and as in Psalm 72 for the kindness in mode. Then the devil will mercifully be in recess, as in Revelation 20:1-4. After all tests are over, then the goodness of God overflows and His will and ways proceed without further contest (II Peter 3, Revelation 21-22); but this is not now (cf. Acts 3:19-21). Now the world has to await His return after crucifixion and resurrection, while He in heaven acts spiritually (Hebrews 7:25), and the follies of dis-faith are found in abundance as an enduring testimony! and the saints are gathered till their number and scope is complete, over time.
Meanwhile we progress, history advances, while man in spirit falls. As things tighten up, like a screw more and more turned to its last extremity, when its thread begins to break, so the things become more apparent, the subterfuges more difficult to maintain, the sale of the soul more obvious for man or nation. The subtle slipperiness of a former time (as in the 20th century for example, when subversion was done by delicate diplomacy with disappearing faith, removed in many churches, step by step as their foundations slipped in the mud of machinating muddle), now becomes much more audacious. Now we find the more arrogant and blatant assault on the doctrine of churches and the underlying attitudes of many of mankind toward God.
Thus, what is CALLED a Church can now have
people laughing while the Bible is read, or
pastors abusing biblical rules about the nature of sexuality, openly, and
nations formerly with Christian content,
There are two basic sorts of people before God, and amid the nations. One is that which has a base in Christian things, as understood for its rulings (the Preamble to the Australian Constitution goes some way towards this in its reference to the nation's reliance on Almighty God), and the other is that which does not. God is one and has His own mind. He has sent knowledge of this by many prophets, and incorporated it in the incarnation of Jesus the Christ, the eternal word of God who has appeared already in our midst, and been slain as prophetically proclaimed centuries in advance, the whole matter being presented in great detail. Whether man or nation, woman or child, follows Him or not, the case is quite simple.
As I John 2:22 declares: "Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ ?" The Epistle continues: "He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son."
Christ came not only to bring peace where His donation of it on HIS terms is received (Isaiah 52:7), as in His kindness (Titus 2-3), He made room for reconciliation in this way with mankind but division! He declared (Luke 12:51-53). This may come even within a family, for truth which He is, is like that. You are for it or against it, and nothing in blood can alter that. To be an actual and individual Christian, moreover, you are not only founded on truth, but on the immutable and living truth, Jesus Christ as your own personal Saviour and Lord (I Corinthians 3:10-11, Acts 4:11-12), having made of His life an offering for your sin, as He has so long presented it.
The GLORY OF THE GOSPEL and of HIM concerning whom it presents its News, has been shown now and is complete now these millenia (Hebrews 9:12ff., Galatians 1, 3, 5). THIS is the news of the work of God for man; it is its application which is needed, both to reach many and in many, to follow the way, not despising teaching, as if the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20 were to be cut in two, but presenting the word of God with all diligence, both to know it and to do it.
Today, February 22, 20-13, The Australian reveals that the Senate Committee set to review the response to the proposed Bill has declared that the religious exemptions are not approved, that they should not be there relative to employes for Churches, thus the more obviously elevating their Bill to the kingly concept of the relativity of all religions and the absolute religious domineering of the State, saying what it will, believing what it wants, be the Constitution what it will, or may be!