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THE SPIRIT OF MAN IS NO EXCRESCENCE
BUT HIS VERY ESSENCE!
THE PHASES OF ETERNAL LIFE
ETERNAL LIFE MOVES IN ITS SALIENT BEAUTIES
AS THE LORD FULFILS ALL
THE SPIRIT OF MAN
It is important, yes vital, to realise that the spirit of man is the operating agent, the pianist who reads the music (and does not always follow it), the breath which ruffles the waters, the mist which anoints the hills, receptacle for comprehension, the researcher extraordinaire, the foundation for flair, the conserver and observer of courage. In this component of man, there is neither mere contortion to obey rules, be those wise or those of fools, nor exemption from morbid irrationality in rationalisms. Here there is scope for good and evil, flamboyant and exotic iniquities and flaming fires of purity and love, for an understanding which blesses and an annihilated conscience, which leaving all, follows itself like a moth which finally gets inside a lantern, and rattles about in it, fried by the flame which so excites it.
As then we look at the end, we see the structural strength, the elective agency at work in man, both for good and for evil; we see his spirit alert and alive, to testify of truth and to conspire with evil. Hindered and harassed, insane with the insidious, cluttered with the invidious, it can work like a robot run amok, its systems in disarray: it can riot without reason, specialise in the specious. It may be in the circuit of reason, moved with the spirit of the reasonable, led by the attestation of truth, charmed not to be embalmed in the hideous, to be incorporated by adoption, as gracious as gratuitous, into the very counsels of God through the Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Such are the ways of the spirit of man. Direct from God, the discerning enquirer, the testing worker in the laboratory of history, this same spirit of man is seen amid the clusters of angels, or in the company of devils (as in Revelation 18 in its review of the Mystery Babylon, which enshrines more, but not less than Romanism - cf. SMR pp. 946ff., 729ff.. )
In our last Chapter, we saw the spirit of continuity, coming from that of God, and conveyed to man when he is translated, conveyed to the kingdom of heaven, scoured instead of soured, regenerated instead of degenerated, clarified instead of confused. What then do we find in Revelation ? It is this.
In Revelation 6, saints in heaven heed the catastrophes on earth with diligent and devoted concern, asking how long before this unholy persecution and suffering terminates. These have passed from the trials, temptations and victories through the grace of Christ on this earth, and now in heaven, await the consummation of history, the release of those who still suffer for Christ, the compilation finally of all who are His. WAIT! they are told. It is not yet. So do they in awe and empathy await the rule of Christ on the earth as in Revelation 20, and the solemnisation of salvation, not only in individual hearts as accomplished already, but in its majesty on this earth (as in Isaiah 2, 11, 65, Micah 4, 6-7, Romans 11, Psalm 72), when "with the breath of His lips , He will slay the wicked," and "He will decide with equity for the poor of the earth" and "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea," (Habakkuk 2:14), which is to say, totally in every wave, in every site, on all sides, pervasively. Anything further from this (cf. Isaiah 59, Matthew 24), at the present time, it would be almost impossible to imagine.
Thus on the one side, you see the saints covered by the blood of the Lamb, in heaven, enquiring with discriminating concern about things on earth, and on the other, you find the earth in the grip of increasing calamities, but statedly moving towards the consummation when the entire program will be finished, and every last predestined soul will be accounted for, found; for just as love found out who these were in foreknowledge as God sought that ALL might be reconciled to Himself (Colossians 1:19ff.), so in history all who might in the chaste glory of His love be found, are found, are added to those whom we see here in Revelation 6, enquiring in heaven about things on earth, about heavenly things, about earthly tempests before the calm.
Again, in Revelation 7, we see on earth, saints surrounded with grace, kept till sealed in the midst of further devastations still to come. This sealing is a temporary respite from the destructive dynamics about to be unleashed, and when these are covered, like the houses, blood sprinkled on the door in ancient Egypt at the time of the Exodus, then we see a tableau in heaven. For Israel, we find a contingent from each of the tribes, aggregated for them all, while an innumerable multitude of Gentiles are seen triumphant victors through grace, buoyantly proclaiming, "Salvation belongs to our God who sites on the throne and to the Lamb!"
What then is this ? They are engaged in singing in that continuity of consciousness, of companionship with the Lord, of knowledge of His grace, alive, alert and filled with the glory of God in heaven, in the very midst of the trials and devastations on earth, from which cosmos they have all come.
This then is the second PRE-RESURRECTION depiction in heaven before the end of the Age and its furies, prior to resurrection (as in Revelation 11 cf. Acme ... Ch. 5). The earlier one, in Revelation 6, showed knowledge, information, current concern with current events, contemplation of contemporary history on earth, with special reference to the impact on their brothers and sisters of the faith yet on earth, and the later one, Revelation 7, has shown their cries of praise, their understanding, the selective provisions for them, for suffer or not, their way is known to the Lord and has His provision according to His design and designation.
Continuity from the Lord's assiduity is seen on all sides, in oversight on earth and in intimations, communication and information to the saints in heaven, as the world there awaits the coming of the resurrection, the marriage of the Lamb to follow (Revelation 19:8), and the resurgence of the armies of heaven to earth, those very ones clad in white linen, with Him, ten thousands, as in Jude and 'all the saints,' as in Zechariah 14.
Eternal life is LIFE, and its phases, on earth, are many, as are the vicissitudes of the trees in a forest, as now this wind, and now that, now this quiet and now that torrent of air come upon it. It moves first as Christ is active by His Spirit, in conducting many, one by one, into the kingdom of heaven with regeneration, then in it, in sanctification, later in translation into redeemed bodies, yet to come at the general resurrection (I Thessalonians 4, Romans 8), at the marriage of the Lamb, in the insurgence into this earth as the Lord comes for His millenial vindication, showing with power the purity of holiness and the wonder of wisdom, in the time for the removal of the current heaven and earth.
This eternal life continues in the day of the new heavens and earth (I Peter 3), when no more place is found for the old ones (Revelation 20:11). and beyond, in the sight of the Lamb, seeing God face to face (Revelation 22:3-4, 22:3-4, I Corinthians 13:12-13): it moves as the babe moves physically, to the womb, to the open light of day, to infancy, to childhood, youth and adulthood, through all these wonders of the Creator. In this however, it is no more the physical which is the outward badge of growth, but the spiritual direct. Nor is it this without a face, a name, an individuality, a personality, but it proceeds in consummation of the first creation, the saints equipped with bodies fit for glory (II Corinthians 5). Indeed 'equipped' is precisely the emphasis of Paul here, for he would not have us naked, but clothed, overcoated, the sense is, with this eternal temple, site and place, body as prepared.
Thus not only is there this wonder of continuity of life, when the Lord having come and directly faced man, Himself in human form, conferred eternal life as a friendly gift, to each who comes repentant, on the cessation of hostilities with preference for holiness. Not only thus has God ordained and dealt, but there are also for eternal life, its climes and climates, phases and stages, all glorious, all wonderful, as scene passes on to scene, and the scenario fulfils itself at the hand of God.
In Revelation 14, we see the spiritually clear-cut, culled remnant from within the final furores of evil, as shown approaching climax in Revelation 13, and continued in the succeeding chapters, and moving on till Rome, in its fruition of iniquity, is destroyed (cf. SMR pp. 946ff.), and the antichrist exhibits his vainglorious dynamics (Revelation 19, II Thessalonians 2). What however of these saints now seen, scooped from the dissavours of a dying earth, itself under duress and furious judgment ? These, we find, have the Father's name written on their foreheads, and they are seen singing a new song before the throne of God. This, like the white stone conferment in Revelation 2:17, is one which can be learned only by them, one specially crafted for their own minds and contemplation (14:3) whose sudden release from the increasing torment of an earth sliding towards its end of folly, is here signalised.
What do we find in Revelation 14 ? It is one component, one group, rather in one sense, like the British "first of the few" in its great battle in 1940, shown in its deliverance, persons conscious in heaven, now rendered faultless in heaven. Yet this has been a spiritual, and not a national or a temporal victory, and their triumph is in Him who led them through their vicissitudes, and they follow trhe Lamb "wherever He goes," finding now in heaven, the wonder that He ever came to earth, whose name is above every name that can be named (Philippians 2), who being in the form of God, in the Trinity, took the form not only of a man, but of a servant. To belong to this one, it is not only to find God, but to be found by God, it is not only to have felicity, but to have faith fulfilled, creation consummated, salvation delectable in its place of repose, in heaven (cf. Revelation 14:13).
Here, then, are the spirits of just persons made complete, perfected (as in Hebrews 12:24), like a wave descending in the ocean, amidst a furious storm: these are one wave signalised; for great will be the testimony as the juggernaut of iniquity seeks to shred all under, near and before it. The marvels of the faith of Hebrews 11, the testimonies of the past, are here being preserved for parallels towards the end!
Once more, this being revealed, we come at once to the angel who flies forth into the earth, with the proclamation of the everlasting Gospel, aiding the consummation before Christ's return, namely that every tribe and nation should first hear the Gospel (Matthew 24:12). Continuity vies with consummation, but the resurrection is not yet, for the earth is yet to receive this flash of the faith, this proclamation of the Gospel.
Thus Revelation fills in wonderfully concerning the things to come, which are now upon us (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8), and speaks of the explosive dramas and invasive deliverances which the Lord works, while some are slain. This is expressed with a glorious irony which stirs the heart; for although not a hair of their heads is lost (Matthew 24:9, Luke 21:12,18), yet does death seek to smother their mouths, destroy their testimony as fervent follies stride through the earth in the pursuit of evil, and evil men grow worse and worse (Matthew 24:9-14). The delightful perspective behind these two paralleling statements is this: that it is your SPIRIT which matters. You are to fear Him in whose hands is destiny, not those who sole domain is the flesh! (Matthew 10:28). Only your external housing can be touched, and your reality is not only to be preserved, death or no death for your body, but your very body itself is to be resurrected, not merely without the losses from sword and stone marked upon it, but with the divinely wrought integrity and wholeness for which it was first formed.
It is rather like saying, Now Charles, do not worry about your costume, just keep your heels clean and your heart washed. Listen to this verse if you will:
"And fear not those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul:
but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
The 'hair of your head' in the scenario where "you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake," (Matthew 24:9, Luke 21), refers to the very least harm readily imaginable,
and this being placed where vast evils may be wrought on the saints,
then just as in Hebrews 11 in the past, so now in the coming, final furores of dynamic dissensions and mock deities making themselves great before their mountains become vanquished valleys, and their ludicrous pride, something worse than mere nullification:
slaughter is seen as ineffectual.
Sticks and stones may indeed break bones but testimony continues regardless, and eternal life is no more snuffed than is the atmosphere removed, when a violent wind passes through it! Lies may harangue the testifiers of truth, but these distortions and disturbances of the civic air merely appear in order to disappear, an evidence for judgment. Like the morning mist, they pass away when the sun rises, as He will, with righteousness in His wings (Malachi 4:2), "in the day when He makes up His jewels" (Malachi 3:17).
This testimony concerning the saints and their eternal safety and conservation despite all that the devil can throw at them, is the sure-footed insight which Christ displayed in exemplary fashion before Pilate, saying that he could have no power at all, unless it had been given him (John 19:11). It is part of a scene, camping in a scenario, in an opera of evil desperation and holy intimation, life and testimony in which the integrity and beauty of truth is not lost, and the slashing of flesh is scarcely worthy of regard at all, for it is a testimony of spirit which outfaces evil. Yes, though the physical faces themselves may be ripped off, the spiritual face does not change, and its features will not merely be restored, but completed in their composure, when He returns (Mark 14:62, Romans 8:19-23).
As with Stephen, if you must, then stone away! but the transition to glory is but hastened. It is not as if there were evil done BY those who suffer it, as in Islamic blow-ups, as one of their own number averred, these being things of hell. Rather, in Jesus Christ, it is His servants who suffer and speak, whose words testify, though the very earth swallow up their bodies.
SAD ERRORS MIXED WITH MOUNTAINOUS COURAGE
Errors have been made. Thus the Solemn League and Covenant by which Scottish Christians were involved in an effort to remove persecution by allying themselves with an English faction, which won and ruled for a time, had the situation of mixing Church and national protection, which transgresses the dictum of Christ, that His kingdom is NOT of this world! If it were of this world, He continued, then His servants would fight. They did not; there was no concerted defence, and this He ensured. The reason ? HIS kingdom is not of the kingdoms of this world. It is beyond them, over them, to supplant them, and this not by squabbles of the flesh, but by two prongs: first the patient testimony of the Gospel and the teaching/preaching of the word of God as in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), and this completed, by the power of God Himself as in the Exodus, past all contest, in judicial truth (Revelation 19), the test completed, the initial action concluded, the grounds complete, the manifestation now unqualified.
Indeed, if for any they had sought to provide defence, these His saints, they would have fought for HIM; but this HE FORBAD (Matthew 26) with the exclusion of Peter's sword. Live by the sword ? alas, then die by it. This Solemn League was approved by the Westminster Assembly, for example; and and yet this it ought not to have been. National matters can be handled by nations; church matters by churches. Church concern to preserve Church liberty is more than understandable; but alas for Scotland, to conveyance of this concern into political agreements where force is in view, is a simple error. It is one for which Scotland was to pay heavily.
There is no substitute for NOT using force on the part of the Church, for the testimony of the Gospel, for the preservation of the truth. It stands without physical pitches and switches, impregnable. Its defence is by other means (cf. Philippians 1:7 with II Corinthians 4:7-15).
Christ COULD have called 12 legions of angels to His side, if He had felt that after all, enough is enough, and that these wretched sinners will NOT be permitted to actually KILL Him (a view Peter once seemed in effect, to hold as in Matthew 16:22-23). He did not do so. He had a reason. HIS kingdom does not depend on force, and His testimkony is not accomplished in its effectuality by brandishing swords, blowing up bodies, smattering blood on the face of children and adding vileness and villainy to determination, as wickedness acts as if to drown the earth (cf. Revelation 12:15-16). Thus as those who seek to keep the commandments of Christ, because of His salvation, are scattered throughout the earth, the devil seeks to engulf and drown them in a flow of vehement waters; but these the earth is caused to swallow up, enraging that same devil. He rages; truth speaks. In service, He, the Christ, set His face like a flint (Isaiah 50:5-8, Luke 9:51, 12:50); but not like an atomic reactor! Like flint, unmoved by tempest and suffering, and facing the requirements of redemption, He was unmoved by rasping whether from priest or Pilate, the sparks of truth shining as He proceeded in majesty and meekness, to the exhibits of love and the necessities of ransom (cf. Matthew 20:28, John 3:15-19). After all, He would rather suffer it, Himself being infinitely competent, shrouded with flesh for accuracy and adequacy in bearing the judgment due to mankind, effectual for those who come to Him, than have ourselves do so, in our inadequacy and utter incompetency for such a case as that which is our own! (Romans 2-3, 10, Titus 2-3).
What then of those who have become Christians, saved by grace, through faith ? (Ephesians 2). When the rules of Christ ARE followed (as in NOT going to law with those who are other Christians), as Paul was given to require (I Corinthians 6:1-4), then there is an exhibit of the SPIRIT of peace in man. It is not that harm does not hurt; it is that the Gospel is sacred, and is not to be associated either with domineering of desire, nor with the use of force to protect its spiritual values. This is not its domain. If they did it to Christ, they may do it to us. If He did not resist this by force, neither do we, in terms of religion, of Christianity.
Nations may protect by armies; householders may protect by resistance, from the robber; but when it comes to the matter of the Gospel, there is no use of force. One may argue (Paul did so over and over, with great power as in Acts 13-16) and deploy enormous logical and godly force in presentation, persuasion or appeal; but this is a spiritual treatment in a spiritual setting, and not an invasion of physical force into the sanctum of truth.
Take the current threat of the Federal Government in Australia, to freedom of speech in realms which include this very one, to judge by what has been said so far, and enacted in the past. This is seen mounting, as the Prime Minister is reported to have ridiculed what is an deemed excessive extreme in matters of civil liberty. We are in danger of going overboard, he implies, in this matter of liberty of speech. Now there are, as the American ambassador pointed out, laws for dealing with criminals. Is it necessary to deploy interference with free speech in order to prevent whatever one deems not acceptable! Let wickedness which intrudes on others by force be exposed; let what slyly tricks those whom it entices be exposed; but let not what is presented be pre-judged by moral amateurs, philosophic pundits who pronounce as if God, and in some cases, almost if not entirely in His name, who may speak. LET ME SPEAK! cries the exasperated judge in Gilbert and Sullivan comedy. The chorus continues to intone about the need for him to do so. At last he does. The answer here is, however, just plain NO!
The PM then is reported to have spoken as if, in this matter of freedom of speech, moderation is required. It is, however, far from this which is being produced. Already there are laws in existence in this land, which have ludicrous provisions about what is NOT to be put on the internet, things not suitable, in terms of some philosophy or other. As to those views and criteria of what is permissible, they change like babies' nappies, these baseless and fraudulent formulations, full of sound and fury, accomplishing only some measure of meddlesome maestro control of the human race by arbitrary ideological adventurism, as unstable as water. We hear of what is suitable for 18 year olds, and this may be applied for all. It is as if it is inadequate to WARN people about the nature of the topics in view. They must not be ABLE to find them. One human being or body plays god! without having the capacity. Already, amid laws awaiting further application, there are ideas that people must not be ABLE to find ideologies, presentations, which have deep and searching contents, which may cause offence, destabilise this or that thought or feeling, IF WATCHED. THESE may be marital, religious ... among other topics, in type*1.
The idea that you do not HAVE to read what TELLS you what it is and to avoid it if it is not what you want, is somehow not deemed sufficient. You must have a moral maestro who with a new Moses' mouth, one void of the divine inspiration however, which tells you what is right and wrong, makes the psyche of man an infant, a place of reaction, without strength of spirit or powers of choice, a mere inertia needing protection even from what WARNS it to avoid if not desired!
This is to PLAY GOD, without warrant and contrary to warrant, and is an act of presumption equal to anything the antichrist may endeavour to perform. It involves SEEING things in terms of a dispirited relic of mankind, of fearing for something touching the heart of man which he may not desire, and EXCLUDING things by political feat, command, demand, so that the human race, as far as possible, ceases to have its liberty of spirit. Even the SPIRIT OF MAN thus increasingly comes under the control of spiritual adventurers, moral inventors, gods who rule the ways of a man, and EXCLUDE in this or that rapture of philosophy, what is not desired. By whom ? why by themselves. They posit what reasonable persons would approve! Reasonable*2 ?
This is merely an indirect way of becoming gods for man, without being elected for it; of being philosophers for mankind, without showing any talent for it. It is to worship at the altar of man, by man, for man, to turn the democracy which elects governments into the theocracy which elects man. If man is not going the way desired, then law will cut him down to size, until his foot fits the show of showmanship*3.
If Australia falls for this, it is writing its own death sentence, as far as it may, handing to the immeasurably incompetent in spiritual things (IN THIS, that in this case they would be making new morals, new prohibitions even on the word of God quite within their legal powers because it does this or that, that is undesired), the power to direct them.
CRUCIFYING THE SPIRIT OF MAN:
Now this would mean an abortion to the human spirit, in the case of many, so that what was about to be born, is suborned, subordinated, excluded by the exclusion of knowledge in an entire major medium. As to what is already born, for this, it is like a crucifixion, with snide remarks, desperate deficiencies of understanding, leering sneers from those whose ignorance is their god, and whose folly is their pride. Be it creation or regeneration, there is a change in mode afoot, and terms, concepts, commands are 're-interpreted' by collision, clarity yields to confusion, and a new set of social mores become the kingdom of God, by a tremolo wander which never comes back to the point. It is useless to pretend; this is the re-definition quadrant of the 21st century, excellent for the false prophet, fundamental to the antichrist, the way to power by stepping over the dead bodies of hypocrites, tripping if possible the staunch defenders, and making all things novel, rather than new, askew by delicate devices, confusing, confounding, compounding on all sides, until making black 'white' is relatively simple by comparison. Such is not limited to politics, but is seen in religious movements*4 from which come people who either as voters or contenders, then exercise political power.
The consequences of such an arrogant presumption would be stupendous, and one finds oneself hoping that those who might do such a thing, either artfully or in folly, now rushing ahead, later realising what they are doing, might yet be spared. To suffer such follies is one thing; to commit them is to invite unmitigated disaster. One pities the perpetrators, should they come, for their repayment threatens not to be in time, but in eternity (cf. Matthew 23, Mark 7:7ff.). Becoming intoxicated while driving invites increasing fines in this State; but being spiritually intoxicated while living can lead to such a spoliation of a person's spirit, that mere time cannot atone. Only Jesus Christ can do that, and the conscience in such social conundrums and political presumptions can become so burnt, as with a hot iron, that nothing appeals or is to be found for a healing (cf. I Timothy 4:1ff., II Timothy 4:1ff.). While with God all things are possible, the time comes when the striving ceases for some (Isaiah 57:15ff.). It is always unwise to play with God, His things, His word, and to intrude one's own 'wisdom' into the wit of His word. IT is NEVER seduced, but many among mankind ARE spiritually seduced, like Demas, like the circumcisionists of the day of Acts 14-15, like those who having begun in spiritual things, as in Galatians 3, now want to add works of their own as a basis for salvation, and are exhorted by Paul:
"O foolish Galatians ? Who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth,
before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified ?
"This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith ?
"Are you so foolish ? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh ?
"Have you suffered so many tings in vain - if indeed it was in vain.
Therefore He who supplies the Spirit ot you and works miracles among you,
does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith ? -
just as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness..."
In such crossways, many are founded merely to have tasted spiritual things (Hebrews 6:5), to have spat them out, to have imbibed some devious drug instead, and neither to be saved from sin's sway nor to savour reality, being subverted. It is, mark you, not that anyone saved can or may be lost (John 5:24, Ephesians 1:11, John 10:9,27-28, II Timothy 1:8ff.); but rather is it that many who seem to be saved, are merely those who rejoice for a time (Matthew ), with no root of depth in their hard soil, their hearts unbroken in repentance, the seed having fallen on shallow ground, on those ultimately unrepentant, unploughed soil, indeed resistant and not repentant at all.
It is sad when such abuse and confusion occurs, when high-sounding principles are linked where they have no linkage, and the air is the donor of nothing.
Indeed, if it is done, if sallow unspirituality parades as if true, spoiled sedition soils hearts which imagine themselves great, knowledgeable and sophisticated, how great is the millstone, how enormous the responsibility; for it would be like the scribes of old, in this envisaged case, who neither went into the kingdom themselves, nor 'suffered' those who would, to do so (Luke 11:52). Indeed, where political force is used to extend the sway of the delusion, who could endure even to consider the plight of those so lost as to misuse it, so that they founder even on being found, and make a practice of losing their way, amid high words and ignoble deeds! Christ's detestation of this wicked connivance with error is most manifest. Indeed in Luke 11, in its closing verses, you see His scathing condemnation of these scholarly exclusionists, these false teachers, these learned misadventurers, and their hostility to Him, as they sought to trap Him in His words.
Evil though any such move would be, illustrated in the freedom of speech issue (the stated intention of the government and its backdrop are far too general, undisciplined, too slippery in moving from just things to unjust, too careless, too uncontrolled, too unmodulated, too indiscriminate, too blind, in the present setting in this land, in what is being used as a current reference point*5): what then ?
Then, even if such corruption were to occur, and such violation of necessary freedom of speech, correlative with the knowledge of God and its dissemination through the Bible, the Word of God to man, were to be compromised, yet this would not warrant physical force or violence (John 18:36, Matthew 26:52-56). There are spiritual weapons which know nothing of this (cf. Ephesians 6). If, indeed, we were threatened categorically, as in the case of Scotland, where they were indeed spiritually threatened with subversion from England, yet we do not use physical force, or incite others to use it. IT IS IRRELEVANT, and in this setting, IRREVERENT. Leave that to Moslem immoderates, martyrs who, mixed up, kill instead of being killed; leave that to the Romanist Inquisition during the centuries of its power, and to whatever antichristian mode may arise as nations use or abuse even the very name of Christ in hideous sacrilege at times. For all that, Christians neither yield in spirit nor fight with physical force for such issues, whether as Churches, or indeed as individuals in those terms, for their liberties.
This test may come soon enough; and people may even be put in prison, or condemned indeed as were the two Daniels*5 in Victoria, given at best years of harassment legally, for insisting on telling what the Bible has to say. Let such things come even for defending it by reason, or presenting clear-cut argumentation for it in logical format. Let the culture clutch which has its own ways of calling irrationality reasonable in view of contemporary culture and so on, move insidiously and then invidiously to take over the peace of this land, on spurious grounds, and let it even become furious in its invented 'faith', let it persecute with pomp, as did Jerusalem in Christ's day: yet there is no violence in physical retort. Such is not the way of the Cross, the work of the Church as such, the provision to Christians in their testimony to truth.
Let is be so if it must be. As the Cross HAD to be, and God used the ignorant evils of those fermenting the violence (and evil laws may do precisely that, not only to one, but to very many!), so will persecution come to the lovers of truth (II Timothy 3:12, 4:2ff., John 16:2, 14:30). Let it if so be, if it must. It is a parting part of history in that case, as it ploughs on, as the Titanic ploughed on in its rush for self-realisation, for record, for its drama with the ice-berg of truth which it ignored. These new prodigies, these new Titanics, of titanium or other metal, of this or that mettle, let them come that they may go. They will be rebuked soon enough.
In the love of Christ, we who are His, whose SPIRITS are in His hands, who have been sealed BY HIS SPIRIT, we continue to present the Gospel, teach and preach the word of God, apply it, defend it (II Timothy 4:2ff., Philippians 1:5-8,27, I Thessalonians 2:10-16 ), and what follows, then follows. If it be possible, Christ declared, let this cup pass from Me; yet NOT MY WILL, but THINE, was His word to His Father.
How ironic it then becomes, that just as the Jews in Paul's day, many of them,
For this cause also we thank God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God
which you heard from us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works also in you who believe.
"For you, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus:
for you also have suffered similar things from your own countrymen, even as they have from the Jews:
who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us;
and they do not please God, but are contrary to all men:
Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved,
to fill up their sins always: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost."
Alas and alas, how the nation of Israel has suffered! and how those among them, who have adhered to its rejection of Jesus Christ! If now Gentile peoples, like our own, try the same thing, act in the same way, with or without surreptitiousness, with or without artfulness, forbidding what should be said, distorting what is said, contravening truth with force, direct or indirect, then alas, if they persist and do not repent, snatching many as schools now do*6 with their false and compelled concentration on mythology in science*6, and many more may yet do, with promised restriction of due freedom of speech, impeding the Gospel or the word of God or its grounds or defence, what then ? Then alas for them also. It is not that one does not feel for them; but one feels the more for the lambs.
AND BEING RAISED ABOVE BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH
All this, it is part of the patience of the saints, who while they cannot redeem as did Jesus Christ, can seek to follow Him in His spiritual example (Matthew 20:27-28). We must possess our souls in patience; but no less, speak and argue and urge and exhort without fear and with a divinely enabled relevance (II Corinthians 10:5, I Corinthians 11:1, I Peter 3:15, Acts 13-16). Like Jeremiah (Jer. 9), we may weep day and night for the slain, that is, for those foreseen as such, who invite disaster; but we continue, as did he, to testify of the truth. Like surgeons, we do not take up arms to insist on people finding health and peace; but we do not retract the analysis, the doctrine from the Lord, the urgency and the necessity.
As Peter put it, Acts 4:11-12:
"This is the stone which was set at nothing by you builders,
who has become the head of the corner.
Neither is there salvation in any other:
for there is none other name under heaven given among men,
by which we must be saved."
Much is in store in the wonders of eternal life. NOW it is both necessary and a privilege to show its source and the hope for man, by living it faithfully in word and deed, at whatever cost, with whatever loss of wealth or name or reputation, however wickedly or indeed vilely invented: neither bending to its prohibitions (in any collision of commands, God has right of way), nor being allured by its offers. This, it is a wonder and the light which animates it, fit for man; and flourishing within the converted heart and soul, it has no bounds to its revelation of truth, its touchstone in Christ, its criterion in the Bible.
Here is opportunity not only to believe, but if need be, to suffer; not only to be stable under fire, but without returning it in kind, to cast down the imaginations, inventive theories of naturalistic, humanistic, idolatrising man, and aid some to escape from the self-vaunting Titanic, before the icy waters of reality being them back too late, to their senses.
Yet for all the oppression, mischievous misrepresentations which always abound, yes and libellous distortions in which the sects seem so much to indulge, the State power-plays and the abuse of freedom, appetites for spiritual psychiatric status by post-socialist pseudo-politicians, who wish to tell all while knowing of the human spirit, next to nothing: despite all this: there is a place for the human spirit. It, this place, is no more made BY man than was his own spirit. Man cannot even begin to make a spirit, try as he will socially to distort, politically to force, psychologically to manipulate and diplomatically to manoeuvre. In all this, he simply flounders. The spirit of man, it is something given, and it is not to be founded, but rather simply found by man. Yet it is not a foundling, being founded by God. It is when it is removed from God, the God of its creation, and not recovered with remission of sins by His redemption, in Jesus Christ, that it runs amok, becomes a mockery, disjoined, distressed, whether in numbness of incertitude or glamour of delusion. Like certain chemicals, in this state, it is unstable, and tends to dissipate.
Therefore, when it returns to God, it will find rest from the frenetic desires, engendered by a real insecurity, the manic impulses founded from having the spirit tilted and not stabilised in its due and true setting (rather like a powerful engine which not being build rightly on the engine block, sways and is swayed by various turnings, within and without). Then is it freed from the maestro levitations by which man seeks to control man, the apathies in which man indulges when too long oppressed, the fraudulent short-cuts by which, desperado style, it wants to achieve without justice, righteousness or due method, what it will. To Him it may come; but only as He allows it. It is not that He lacks incentive and desire (Colossians 1:19ff.), but that the furies of folly reach even far enough to try to dupe God, and have the best of both worlds, while belonging only to one: for the admission format involves total surrender, and not partial, restoration with rebuilding, and not mere superstructural changes (Luke 14:27ff.). In fact, the point is put with some stringency. Unless you 'hate' competitive relationships, that is, put them securely second to that with Him, yes "and your own life also," what then ? Then you "cannot be My disciple," Luke 14:26.
Let God BE God. There is no other, nor is any invention of compromise possible (Isaiah 45, Ephesians 4:4). Moreover, He is infinite in power and glory, while the finite is incomparable, being all created (John 1:1`-3).
Without this, not only does no one become a Christian; it is not even POSSIBLE! (Luke 14:33). But what of the spirit of man, when it is found, at last ?
In God, it nestles like a cat in a lap, a cloud bank in the sky, a child in a good book, a hero in the certainty of his project, a breaker in the vastness of the ocean, a floral multitude in some vast flowering tree. It belongs. Here it has its source and origin, here its maintenance and its supplies. How beautiful this light and perfection, that undivorced from God, the spirit of man is able to avoid the diseases of the spirit, the harassments of the heart, the follies of the life, and gaining perspective of all things, from their Creator, and purity from cleansing, it can find more than relief: it can be regenerated until it does far better than any ship in dry dock. Not only is His burden light, and His yoke easy (the weight of His work for us and the ways for it provided), but it is not trivial, nor is it unappealing (Matthew 11:28ff.). His intense immensity of personality, His threefold depth of dealings, His singular brilliance of Being, these things so far from being overwhelming, are drawing, enticing, sources and centres of delight. Why is this so ?
It is not merely because the Father of spirits understands spirits, and that they are beyond mere general creation, being rather an epic at the head of it, but His Spirit enables discourse and concourse with Himself, enlightenment and power, grace to help in time of need, and a basis. As to that, it is like an epicentre for an earthquake, though it is an irenic epicentre, through which flows not disruption, but construction, not blame and shame, but deliverance and discipline (Hebrews 12).
Nor is this a vague dream-world for romanticising: rather is it life (cf. Colossians 1, John 10, Hebrews 4, 11-12); for here at last is the home for the spirit of man. Here is found the grooming, the cleansing, the comfort, the fortitude, the escape from environmental, cultural and historical determinism, mere forces that lack adequate control without God, for the human heart (cf. Repent or Perish Chs. 2, 7, Christ Incomparable ... Ch. 2.). In His freedom, it finds it own. On the other hand, despite this, it is by no means self-sufficient, autonomous as if a god in its own right. It is free in will and in desire, rescued to its desire, found in its preference as known to God before all time. It loves Him who has loved it. Not by playing God, or baying at God, as is the way of some, but in worship is its wisdom, and its grounds for worship are innumerable in scope as is love unfathomable in depth, the love of God. In the Lord, it finds its sufficiency at last; and in this, the more the challenge the more delightful the opportunity.
When the Almighty is available, then whatever the cost, there is no way for failure, though it might even seem that one's labour was in vain (cf. the Messiah rejecting such a concept, in the depiction of Isaiah 50); God is our sufficiency (II Corinthians 4:1ff.).
Freedom, The Nation, the Internet and the Next Generation specialises in this sphere. It includes a letter delivered to the South Australian Parliament on this situation, danger and development. See Ch. 1 in particular.
As noted in the letter to Parliamentarians in South Australia, this sort of reference is too vague to be safe, and too ill-formulated to give protection from tyranny, social tyranny indeed, which is merely one of the varieties of this plague.
An excerpt from it is here taken:
The officially authorised Office of Film and Literature Classification declares this in its Guidelines: "When making its classification decisions, the Board is required to reflect contemporary community standards…", and of course, as to the intended audience or viewers, if "minor" is a necessity to be met, that intrudes officiously. What is 'likely to be objectionable to a reasonable adult' is the phrasing reportedly used by Attorney General Darryl Williams in 1997, in a Murdoch University speech. Under these circumstances, this tends to become the criterion of liberty, as sure as the winds, as secure as the waves, as ill-defined as the clouds, nugatory, nebulous, nubilous extravaganzas of unholy humbug, waving phrases, not praises, and making the very waves the ruler.
Did reasonable men make Hitler ruler ? sustain him as he advanced ?
Did reasonable men seek to exterminate the Jews
to the extent of some 50% of the world population, and continue it for years ?
Did reasonable men twist the thumbs, crush the bones and extort 'confessions'
from countless impoverished and persecuted victims,
in religious persecution in Europe, and continue such things for centuries ?
Did reasonable men put millions of kulaks into Siberian torture
and deprivations unspeakable, over years of horror,
because they had the eminent crime, a matter judged to be so,
by those who doubtless deemed themselves, reasonable people - of having farms ? …
Did reasonable men make thousands of slaves, and make them work,
after kidnapping them, in conditions often both miserly and inhuman,
or deem them 'something else' than human ?
At their time, were they not of this persuasion ? Is superiority to become a criterion of judgment, then, for this nation ? We are too good, perhaps, to be so duped ? Delusion frequently precedes destruction, and elevation, depression.
Thus in the infamous apology from the PM, to the aboriginal people of this land, that is those who had one phase in its occupation before the British came, there was no qualification. There appeared an equation of those who had taken charge of aboriginal children for whatever reason, with wickedness, with error, with evil, with folly. It was allowed to appear that those many Christians who had sacrificed and sought good for a people, many of these being victims of woes or evils, themselves seeking help and desiring just such action, had in fact inflicted harm; that those who delivered some from evils almost unspeakable, had been perpetrators of insult. It appeared, this apology in its terms, a sermon in social philosophy, in which 'culture' is king, even when it seeks help. It must reign for ever and ever, and even if it desires assistance, yet is it fouled by receiving it!
This approach, this apology in its own terms, is not only folly, untrue, misrepresentation, discrimination against those who in the past sought to do good and to help those who sought it in ways they desired, that is those who WERE so helped; but it sets a target for blame, moves towards non-intervention in crimes that this country would tolerate in no other people, puts a plastic cover over morals and immorality, if not total then certainly partial. Seeking or allowing some kind of amoral inhibition, it permits by its ambivalence and incoherence, all but unspeakable horror to continue. This is nothing to do with the MOTIVE, for such political antics. Motives do not alter achievements, be these corrosive or helpful. Results accrue from these things. They then have to be borne.
They are not gods who inhabited this land, who have had their day in it, before our own, as one of we do not know how many before that. They are people. Wrong has been done to them as to others, including many who first came to this land from Europe. It is good to be sympathetic and compassionate, to seek good and to restore hope where it may be; but not at the expense both of truth and of practical pity, which does not confuse flinging funds at people with their good, as one of the aboriginal leaders himself has had as one of his themes.
Queasy morals are in danger of being instituted, and then made the criterion of speech. These pontifications and confusions are all part of a looseness and confusion which, taken with the new powers sought over freedom of speech, are a peril to this people. The movement may be unconscious, but one does well to be conscious of its mode, its movement and the dynamic of its flow. As in a car engine, it is best not to wait until it breaks down, but to have it serviced in good time, and aptly!
See for example SMR Ch. 8, News 121-122.
With these consult:
Cascade of Truth, Torrent of Mercy Ch. 10,
Dastardly Dynamics ... and Immovable Faith Ch. 10,
Lively Lessons in Spiritual Service Ch. 6 (lively lessons on unhallowed alliance with the unholy - religious parliament);
The Frantic Millenium and the Peace of Faith Ch. 2 (actual and commonly suggested ... antidotes, incl. survey of many supposed unities, from the particulate to the social);
Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ Ch. 9 -
glamour, stammer, hammer ... flitter and glitter, and the unity that counts;
Op. cit. Ch. 1, more reality in unity;
Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 3.
Freedom Document and the Law; News 156.
See *5 above.
TMR Ch. 8, and Presentation to the Government.
Re mythology in Science: see
Secular Myths and Sacred Truth;
Scientific Method, Satanic Method and the Model of Salvation.