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The Australian September 21, 2009
On p. 9 of The Australian we find a piece of mundane spiritual news.
A religious Parliament no less!
A Presbyterian Minister from the USA has arrived for a conference. Indeed, the Executive Director of the Parliament of the World's Religions, ready for the next meeting of the said body, is in Melbourne. This global "inter-faith" event was first held, we read, in Chicago in 1893, and now is convened on a five yearly basis. Lasting 6 days, it is expected to draw some 8000 people.
Scope is provided for those ranging from Dalai Lama to Native American tribal leaders. It includes those who "embrace any form of spirituality" - and with New Age, this is a spectrum almost as vast as the universe, in ideational scope, variety of concepts, new and old, miasma and martiality, models of force and favour, of grace and adventure. "Our work," he declares, "is to reduce the shadow side of religion, and the violence that accompanies it, and ... maximise the positive of religion to human relations."
The one point is good: violence in the name of any world religion is currently both unnecessary, dire and ready to damn this world, as well as damage it. That is, the powers of the religious-political pen and the nuclear sword are becoming correlatives, as Iran so eloquently exhibits. In fact, in terms of the force issue, it could scarcely be more obvious there. President Ahmadinejad is now abundantly using a well-known dogma of much of Islam, one of wide if not universal recognition in this field, and vastly esteemed by various branches of it, that of the Mahdi, evidently a special spiritual leader who is to rid the world of injustice, error and tyranny, and may come in company with Jesus (some differ), taking some 9 to 19 years to clear the mess. Arabs of course will gain whatever land is deemed their due in the process.
People in this way are fulfilling Christ's prediction of false christs. This has much in common with the Buddhist belief in Maitreya, sometimes rendered 'lovingkindness', or friendliness, a parallel figure, whereas the Mahdi idea relates to this being as "the guided one."
In the Maitreya case, the coming one is taken to be a bhodisvetta, of a special order or kind, who is supposed to gain complete enlightenment and teach pure dharma (or law, or justice, what is fitting). Various aspirants for such posts seem to appear, or are claimed to be close to appearing.
The Mahdi concept in Islam comes with Muhammad, into a religion which itself did not exist before that; while the Maitreya one appears in Buddhism with its 600 B.C. beginning, in various references in that religion. Just as the Mahdi is a rather obvious take-off of Christ's Second Coming, often foretold in the Old Testament centuries before this, in Psalms 2, 72, 110, Isaiah 11, Jeremiah 23, for example, now confirmed by that Christ who has already demonstrated His power without attrition, so the prime focus and empirical source for any such concept is found first in the Old Testament. It was One, who was to be, as He came to be, Christ the Redeemer, who suffered as Jesus the Lord who would come again to rule. He was first tested before men, and then accorded this place (as in Philippians 2).
Thus, His is no mere 'enlightenment' specialty, for HIS coming is as the One who, having exhibited the power of God, paid for the redemption from the real results of sin, on the Cross of conviction, thereby quelling most just divine wrath, by vicarious sacrifice.
The presence of Jesus in some of the conceptions in the Islamic literature, merely emphasises this huge disjunction between Him and all fabrications, fancies and imaginations. Firstly, He always was the eternal word of God (John 1, 8:58) and was predicted in successive detail and scope, thematically. In detail that was testable, and still is. He came not to be enlightened but as the Light of the World, demonstrating the power of God empirically, and HENCE gained many of His followers, passing each severe test. Being deity is easy to exhibit or fail to exhibit! Indeed, He showed a vast spirit of love in bearing the anguish and mockery which sin deserves, and He for man took.
However, to revert: In Psalm 2, 1000 B.C., centuries before either of the above religions began, as in Psalm 72, you have, as in Psalm 72, precisely this Being, to ruler over the nations, who as a man has all the power and place of God, being the One in whom one MUST TRUST, whereas in mere 'man' one must NOT so trust (Jeremiah 17).
This fact is made even clearer in Isaiah 11. There as a descendant of King David, as foretold, in the flesh side.
He rules with
power and majesty, dominion and peace, Gentiles also seeking Him and His
as in Psalm 22
(where His power is preceded by His anguish in bearing sin).
Isaiah 32 (where
again He is seen as ruling King, even the shadow of a mighty Rock),
Isaiah 40 (where
His coming is with tenderness as well as majesty),
while in 49-55, His salvation is seen in detail
The depth and reality, testability and beauty of it is composite, continual and verified.
Moreover, right from Genesis 3:15 there has been the divine promise that THROUGH MAN God could deliver from the superior spiritual power of the devil, of satan, whose overthrow would be accomplished with pain and bruising to the deliverer, and total judgment of satan's person.
In the case of Ahmadinejad, there is as shown in the testimony of Israel My Glory, September 2009, a commitment to this Mahdism so complete, that he conceives himself in direct contact with God, and is moving towards the coming to the point that the route for the appearance of the leader concerned, as he passes through the streets, has been determined, and that with access to this privilege information on the part of the President. Victory and accomplishment are all to come, and the Iranian politician is evidently working towards a perceived climax in world history of this type.
However, though Jesus may be neatly tucked into the proceedings somewhere, as is customary from Muhammad on, in the effort to displace His claim to be "the way, the life and the truth", yet it is His words which will judge all (Acts 17:31) with a finality which comes from His being the Eternal Word of God (John 1:1, 5:19ff., Isaiah 49:16, Philippians 2), chosen to perform manís judgment, as a fitting result of His unique incarnation and exclusive salvation (Acts 4:11ff.).
What makes His coming office, as Judge of mankind (Acts 17:31, John 4:22), still more fitting is the fact that this salvation was wrought through His willingness on the Cross of purchase, to take as representative of all who come in faith to Him as He is, all that was coming negatively to them (Matthew 20:28, Galatians 3). Such things were seen before as in Daniel 7:25ff., Psalm 2, 72, 110, Isaiah 11, 22, 32, 40-55, Joel 3, Zechariah 14, Jeremiah 23, Micah 5-7, as likewise was his emplacement as the babe of Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-3), even He "whose goings are from everlasting". It is He alone who balms the heart, pardons the soul, is coming as He is sent, demonstrated His deity, and He alone who will judge. Rejoice for there is none other knowing all, loving all, seeking all, subject to no deception, knowing His own from before time, calling all to come!
Light does not waver or wander, nor does truth vary or vacillate. As He came, lowered in His Messianic role, starting on this earth as the babe, so He becomes, in historical succession, the Lord of all creation, in His return era, the knowledge of the glory of the Lord filling the earth as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11, Habakkuk 2:14). So did He, for whom equality with God was His natural state in eternity, lower Himself to the place of man in his sin, while yet God since He does not change (Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6, Psalm 102); and overcoming death, He has returned to His place, providing time for the Gospel to grip the earth (Matthew 24:12), as Isaiah indicated would occur, before returning to what He died for, to take His own (Matthew 24:36ff., I Thessalonians 4).
Coming with them, as this world without them, already fiery hot, ignites (Revelation 19:19), He overthrows the wicked phalanxes and spirit back of them, to show to this unrighteous world, the ways of righteousness before, blighted, required and shown righteousness and mercy, once again, by God in Person, it is removed (Revelation 19-20), burnt up with a loud noise and consuming heat.
There is the Ruler for this earth; He has already shown in healing, suffering, grace, humility, obedience and triumph over death, in word and in work, who He is; and it is He who will, alone, fill the government gap which is so obvious now to millions in America, as it has been for long to many others in many lands, where millions have died in wars, in want and in folly. Indeed, God has undertaken to OVERTURN whatever will not receive the truth, until HE COMES, this same Jesus, even He whose due it is! (Ezekiel 21:27, Acts 17:29-31, Philippians 2).
This new idea of Maitreya for Buddhism (relatively new), and Mahdi for Islam has taken elements of the Bible from Genesis 3:15 on. However, it is the unified development shown in that Book, the Bible, with all the fulfilments from Bethlehem to Calvary, in the proclamation of precisely THIS Gospel in its international presentation as stated and foretold in Isaiah, including the resurrection as portrayed in Psalm 16, Isaiah 26:19-20, and indicated or implied in Psalm 2, 22, 110: THIS is the practical performance. It is so both in precise prophetic prediction (including that of the date of Christ's death as shown in Christ, the Citadel ... Ch. 2), and in the news of the centuries, much of the superabundant prediction already fulfilled over the millenia.
This has included the return of Israel to its land (Ezekiel 36-39 cf. It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls Ch. 10,SMR Appendix A), before its eventual SPIRITUAL awakening to realise what they did to this same Christ (as seen in Zechariah 12:10 - 13:1), and the restoration of Jerusalem to its national hands (as seen in Luke 21:24). This would and did precede the triumphant wars against those seeking to crush it (as in Zechariah 12 and in history from 1948 -1973 cf. SMR Ch. 9). With this coherent, controlled, distinct, detailed and decisive attestation, the scientific fulfilment being indicated for scientific method, there is a unitary room for what works, attests itself, fulfils itself, meets implications and does not fail any of the MANY tests available. It is a single room occupied by the Bible alone in the field of all religion.
It is easy to say such things as the above prophetic data; it is much harder to fulfil ANY of them, since these things, were they the result of a human-mathematical process, of limited but profound knowledge, would have ramifying failures from any ONE error. Not only would this ruin its historical accuracy for that event, but it would disrupt multiply and in extensive mutation, the whole system concerning nations, individuals and events, which is so multiply foretold, both in type and in particular. Only God COULD do it, a fact in general terms, which He points out in Isaiah 41, 43, 48, with no small trenchancy. Not believing in Him, according to His tested word and incarnated Son, born where, dying when, performing what He had said, and thus instituting the very Gospel which HAD been predicted, to be rejected by Israel the nation but received by many in other nations: this is a dereliction of spiritual duty which is correlative to John 3:36! That, it is the inescapable reality of the truth: IT cannot be kept down, and mercy rejected where alone it MAY be found (Isaiah 55), truth will bring down what puffs itself up.
Human violence, in these present years, on the other hand, unthinkable evils wrought to MAKE the way of Mahdi more pleasant, or profitable, seems to be very much on the Iranian agenda, which has included that 'lovingkindness' and 'guidance' to destroy Israel. Obviously the vindicated God of the Bible, in rational-revelatory terms, and the claimed God of Islam meet. It is not only in the predicted invasion of Israel BY Iran (then Persia as in Ezekiel 38ff.), and other nations, including what seems to indicate a nation in the general region of what is now Russia as a partner, that the test and temper of things is to come; but it is in its result of that confrontation. God is on record, as indeed in Micah 7 concerning all the nations, that what He is going to do will be done, as stated. One of His stated purposes in so acting is that the nations should know HE is the God who is there, who has dealt with Israel for its sins and brought it back for His mercy.
This is seen in Ezekiel 39:21-30. Both Israel's going and its coming back will be seen as divine action. Thus the TEST TO COME is predicted and its result and the manner of it. In Micah as in Deuteronomy 32, in Ezekiel 36-39, as in Zechariah, as in Psalm 2, 110; and there you see elements of the movement from Saviour in absentia in heaven, following the Gospel-producing redemption at Calvary, to the later step of the Righteous Ruler, the Redeemer in Person, on earth, whose rest is glorious (Isaiah 11:10), even for the Gentiles who find Him.
Violence to vice and sin, in eventual JUDGMENT BY GOD, this is one thing:
and there are those who complain that He should do far more in intervention
over the millenia since Christ, and there are those who think He should do far LESS
(like al Qaeda, although his remarks are addressed to one of His instruments, the USA as it often was in former, pre-Obama times).
Pre-emptive preludes to this, in violence in murder of man by man, that is another.
If you are threatened with invasion, then of course a war to prevent vileness, rape, loot, subjugation, arrogance and pride may become necessary; but wars for self-glorification, power for the regime, overturning those you resent, these are merely voracious: and such are those of al-Qaeda, and Iran in its presidential statement. It seems the President deems himself to have gained a god for his alliance, and is acting with no small panache as a consequence. THE Saviour however, though JUDGMENT at last must come, since the truth without mercy, the latter lost by unbelief, cannot be hidden, is in Himself far other. The Lord is meek and lowly in heart. He is ... different.
All fail, all the radical revolutionary self-assurances of unvalidated religions, associated with both cruelty and violence. It matters not whether it be those
of the papacy (contrary in entirety to John
of the Muslims,
the warrior body of which almost gained Europe and DID
by force gain Mecca; or
of the Communists:
the result of ideologically pregnant misrule is the same.
As to the last-named, their atheist posing is mere pretence, for they deem there to be undeniable laws governing history, which require a law-giver logically, though their laws do not happen to work ... historically, as seen in SMR pp. 925ff., or logically (cf. News 37, 98 -99); and they must use 'capitalism' as in China's pragmatic and antinomical case, or fail, as in that of the USSR, or France, with its Waterloo.
Even the USA is now in danger of being so heavily indebted to China, to a radical, ostensibly atheism regime of pragmatic morals, if any (and Marxism is filled with hatred of the same), that its own far higher brand of liberty to worship God is a liberty jeopardised. Say what you will, the trend is for the borrower to be subject to the lender. Imagine making war with frozen funds, or asking permission to develop what is dangerous to the lender! In the subtleties of diplomacy, the temporary may be possible; in the realities of power, abasing independence is a prelude to the peril of having none.
If the USA is, as Obama declares, NOT a Christian nation (and what its people are has a lot to do with that, whatever the government says, but alas, many once great Churches are in dogmatic decline if not slumber at the present time, with sects arising like the stormy seas cf. News 121, 122): then this new-found openness and negativity has results. It is then that its position becomes obscure, even in spirit. Its debt, however, and to whom that debt is repayable, this is not at all obscure. Borrowers do indeed tend to be servants to lenders!
Small wonder then that some 2 million were associated, by report, with a vast protest meeting against the innovations of Obama, in Washington. Pictures of their vast extent and of their slogans, as they regret what is deemed the loss of their country, and of freedom, are available. Enormous criticism is becoming more and more vehement as the nation's independence, on any realistic note, is in peril and its performance is clouded by obscure motivation. It is just towards such a situation as that, which a mixed and multicultural nation such as Australia seems to be ardently seeking to become, is likely to come.
When the trust and faith which characterised the foundation of Australia by ostensibly Christian Britain, move out to sea, and churches increasingly become a mask for religiosity, not reality, as the Bible in its integrity is shipped out from many of them, then the sea finds it so much easier to sweep in, if not literally, then metaphorically, which can be even worse!
Such then is something of the background for the arrival in Melbourne of the Executive-Secretary of the Parliament of the World's Religions. He finds Australia, not unexpectedly, a good site for experiment in this field, as it does not appear to him to be as large and staid as some. What however is to be the outcome of such an income of such a conglomerate, so kaleidoscopic, so motivated ? If Australia is becoming more experimental, then its affairs may well become more temperamental, almost inexplicable in dictatorial follies; and the presence of such a religious Parliament becomes a token, almost an essence, of the current symptoms of spiritual decline.
Decline, alas, it is often prelude to the fall, if there be no ... revival.
Such mergings and convergings or at least mutual involvements with the finesse for safety at heart, these must help the arrival of the explicit antichrist, since mergers of any sort, or even ideational scrap-book sharing, can only violate the biblical requirement not to cast pearls before swine, not to deal with those who cause divisions contrary to the doctrine apostolically received and not to mix light and darkness (Romans 16:17, II Corinthians 6:14, Ephesians 4:17-19, Matthew 7:6). The 'swine' of course refer to what is forbidden, perhaps with a forbidden food base, and the pearls are the truth of God presented by Christ, the way, the life AND the truth!
These prohibitions of course are centring on a positive: it is the ONE Christ of ONE historical basis, of ONE redemptive action, with ONE Gospel result (cf. Ephesians 4:4). If it is forbidden even within the Christian framework to be engaged in collateral consultations with those who leave these things, then what may be said of such things, when it concerns those who do not even lay any clear claim to Christianity at all ? To be loving and friendly and helpful, gracious and to seek the good of all, that is one thing, and a very admirable one; but to have an ideational, dogmatic, doctrinal, philosophical kind of dialogue or multi-logue or demo-logue on such topics with a view to commonality or communality, this meets another exclusion notice.
"DO NOT BE UNEQUALLY YOKED with unbelievers" !
Such is the warrant out from the apostle Paul, who as in I Corinthians 14:37, fortifies the significance of this injunction of II Corinthians 6:14.
That is not all. He proceeds to make clear the PRINCIPLES of such an exclusion.
To make his point more invasive to sluggish spirits, perhaps, or certainly more acute to any, he declares a series of parallels in question format.
"WHAT fellowship does
light have with darkness ?"
"What accord does Christ have with Belial ?"
"And what agreement has the temple of God with idols ?"
He cites thematically from texts such as Isaiah 52:11, Jeremiah 31:33-34, Leviticus 26:12, Zephaniah 3:15, making it clear that IN coming away from all such pollutions (cf. Ephesians 4:17-19), and divorces from the true and living, the attested and invested God, who has His vast plan of salvation, they are to be received as sons and daughters.
It is not in having many mothers or fathers, or being in some kind of communality, some bridge between light and darkness that truth and health and life and vitality and clarity in the service of God, are found to lie. It is in His pure, unadulterated, inviolable, unique, precisely governed WORD, in His own words (cf. John 12:48-50), that stability and wisdom is found, in which life may flourish in its spiritual channels and waterways, seas and oceans of reality.
Defilement in diversification, computation, consultation, aggregation, synthesis, syncretism, approximation and intimation of ideas becomes like setting Christ in a temple of idols.
It is, in short, not on.
However it goes on; and it has gone on for a long time, increasing in vehemence, insistence and persistence on the part of those who, like President Obama, are calling what defiles, defames and remakes a Christ, that is, Islam's Koran, a holy book, positing Islam as a good religion.
Such is perhaps the very best way to invoke divine contempt: for what person, as you see so scathingly, and yet lovingly in Hosea, is keen to have his 'wife' an adulteress, carried away with seditious charms on the part of the immoral; and the figure is carried into spiritual things continually in the Bible, as for example in Ezekiel 14, 23!
As then this religious Parliament, a name suggestive of passing legislation and equal components discussing with equal ground equally accessible things, meets and works, there is one new motif in the ecumenical passion. As to that, it has already passed beyond (and hence below) Christ into the oblivion of the forbidden, and the mixture of the immiscible. Such convergings, urgings, confabulations, expeditions without inhibition to the forbidden, alien and inimical to the living God, they were so common as to be often condemned by God. Ezekiel 8-10 shows the Lord in His glorious presence departing, step by step from the merger-mentality men of the Temple, and from the structure itself: "the Lord does not see us. He has forsaken the land!" cries one of them.
They were forever consulting with foreign powers of religious revolt from the Lord, as if this were acceptable to the God of all power, who alone is to be feared (cf. Isaiah 31:1-3), and finding a love-life (spiritually speaking) in things foreign in basic mode, concept and basis, to the God of truth. They would not stop. They seem to have made a specialty of having idols in the heart accordingly, to be even willing so to act, to seek, to speak (cf. Ezekiel 14:7, with Ch. 23, Jeremiah 23). If, said Jeremiah, instead of such divagations, they had acted differently, how different would be the result. Let us hear him, at 23:20-30 (bold added).
"The anger of the Lord will not turn back
Until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart.
In the latter days you will understand it perfectly.
"I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran.
I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
"But if they had stood in My counsel,
And had caused My people to hear My words,
Then they would have turned them from their evil way
And from the evil of their doings."
THERE is the prescription, not in conjoint
counsel with what is captured and confined through alienation from the living
from His word, work and Redeemer!
The Lord proceeds:
" 'Am I a God near at hand,' says the Lord,
And not a God afar off?
" 'Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?' says the Lord;
'Do I not fill heaven and earth?' says the Lord.
" 'I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying,
"I have dreamed, I have dreamed!"
" 'How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies?
Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart,
who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams
which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My name for Baal.
'The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream;
And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully.
What is the chaff to the wheat?' says the Lord.
'Is not My word like a fire?' says the Lord,
'And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
" 'Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,' says the Lord,
'who steal My words every one from his neighbor.' "
Eventually, it was just such a laxity which was one of the chief factors leading to Israel's expulsion from its land (Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28-32), first for 70 years as predicted (Jeremiah 25), and then for a long period (as in Hosea 1, 3): something only in the last 60 or so years, rescinded, so that at last, they are back! Such things become cumulative, like the detonation of a smaller explosive or implosive device, to set off an atomic one, over a little ... time.
We have, or have had, not only the Temple of Understanding and things like the World Peace Summit of Religious Leaders, the United Religions movement, the World Council of Churches (famed for its neo-Marxist interest in Liberation Theology), Gorbachev's Earth Charter to guide people towards an understanding, but now in full flower, this religious Parliament! Religion is to be up for grabs ? Certainly, it is down to earth, this phase!
In particular, the Executive Secretary noted has made a distinction worthy of note. It is not about people compromising their faith, reluctantly, but something beyond this, he is reported to have declared. It is not that which is the objective. It concerns, rather, AGREEMENT. That is the stated aim. In this, instead of a compromsing reluctance, a shame-faced non-glee, as people become semi-detached from their religious field, belief or situation, there is to be something more hearty, it seems. They find things on which they AGREE.
Thus, perhaps, if Islam rejects the atonement by Christ and Christ Jesus bases salvation on it, you could find that Islam likes to have its own self-made religious entity, not founded on history, and to call it Jesus, so that the NAME is in common, even if the state, status and identification are not! But if you want to say, we all want peace, that is like a government saying, we all want money. It is not much of an agreement. If the heart is for war, if the lust for glory for a created religious entity becomes inseparable from a race, people, group or body, then verbal manipulation and ostensible, superficial agreements merely mask the realities. Religion however is not about unrealities, except where so vapid it is safer to avoid it.
What then ? Elements in each religion, apparently, will be revised, refined, or related; and the result, it is hoped, is that there will be less sense of the need for violence and more sense of the senselessness of fighting about it: and so the world may endure a little longer ?
This is to be found with such as Fatah, Hamas, al Qaeda, Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah, and their many allies and parallels ? with all meekly NOT desiring any more the destruction, the non-existence of one, just one (Israel - is it not expedient to have this nation, just as in the case of the murder of Christ, it was not expedient that He live... In this way, there goes ... only one! you know, to follow the thought of Caiaphas as seen in John 11!
Actually, whether in sport or war, in glory and glorification, there is in man an empirically inveterate desire to BE THERE, BE FIRST, BE THE MOST GLORIOUS, HAVE THE GLORY, OVERCOME WHATEVER SEEMS TO NEED TO BE, and so forth, which ultimately appears to derive from the FACT of God and of His due, true worship.
It frequently appears when this is translated into
frustration (because idols have no power),
fury (because the field attracts
many, though spuriously sacred), or
spleen (because the takings are denied them,
As surely as man is made for and by God, then without Him, the substitutes fade, and the practitioners of folly find frenzy, intemperance, intolerance with force an ally, multiply seek to ram down people's oesophagi, not this time such a thing as a tennis ball, but a gloating glory for their gods, personal or not, spiritual or not, implied or direct.
This rampaging is inveterate so long as foolhardiness in the field of religion makes a mockery of what God has done, verified, attested, confirmed, leaving no competition but only Christ Jesus as has been shown categorically from SMR on, in this site. Since this is not desired, peace is quite simply unattainable, and violence is predictable. This may well include a take-over of just the sort of thing which such a religioius Parliament as this might ... vote in ? Such a confabulation may be just what the world may, at last gasp, grasp rather than be deleted by its dynamic dissidences from deity. But all in vain! What makes light of the depth of God by allowing dissident fantasies to feature as partners: this is not appreciated as Paul makes so clear, as the prophets in times past also made abundantly clear, and as the scathing address of deity to light and darkness fellowship, in II Corinthians 6, illustrates.
The scenario of things to come is set out in scripture (cf. SMR pp. 502ff.), and it reaches its various vile violences, with the vicious supra-Hitleresque, unpicturesque enforcement of its rule, a domineering dominance, based in synthetic, pseudo-spiritual commandments (as in Revelation 13). There you have a special SECOND beast under the dragon, that is satan, to administer what Communism forgot, the 'god' part! So it goes before it is gone, before this is burnt out. That event is seen in II Thessalonians 1 and Revelation 19, just as various preludes appear in Micah 7, Joel 3, Deuteronomy 32, Zechariah 14, Isaiah 59, Psalm 110.
In the end, you finish with the beginning, for God IS alpha and omega. The Creator, who watched the fall of man (as in Romans 5:1-12), worked the redemption (as in Galatians 3), and gave it with an ebullient and gracious freedom (Isaiah 55, Ephesians 2), has done all; and where THIS practical, actual, demonstrated, personally performed mercy is NOT received, then of course ONLY judgment remains, whether for nation, individual or this world, the demise of which is traced, when all is done, in Isaiah 51:6, II Peter 3, and noted by Christ in Matthew 24:35.
Therefore, as seen in Ch. 4 above, the form for lively fellowship, it is not in world groupings groping for religion by Parliament, any more than societies having fellowship with those who depart from the scriptural definitions of Jesus Christ, but still use the name.
These are the no-nos, from the Old Testament condemnation of this inclusive program, a sort of Tower of Babel in modern dress, as so notoriously expressed in Deuteronomy 32 (their rock is not as our Rock), so devastating put in Isaiah 51 ("Look to the Rock from which you were hewn..."), onward. It continues the same, as something categorically despised, as in Hosea 1-3, where the result is that Israel in the time of its exclusion, would be "no longer My people". To be sure, Hosea 3 shows them back with the Redeemer, Messiah, pictured in the true-live-parable of Hosea himself, who had to buy back his wife, sinful as she was, from the first! Yet the violation of virtue implicit in wandering from the God who IN FACT created mankind, and the program He has for us, this has no remedy except God's own.
It is not to be found, this lively fellowship with one another and with Him who made and saved us who believe, and would save all (Colossians 1:19ff.), by mixing up a God Cocktail, in superficial, alternately based phrasings. Intoxication of any kind is no way to delectate the desideratum: in this case, the God of creation, salvation, redemption, resurrection, pardon and peace, power and love, mercy and truth, who does not change, and changes things for those who would seek to change Him! (cf. II Corinthians 11), or have Him something else for any reason, subordinated to any scheme or schema.
God, He is simply not like that; He is Himself, I AM WHO I AM! WHEN you take Him as He is, then you prepare for your most exquisite service for God, for serving God without Him is void, and implicitly arrogant, and serving yourself or some human invention is explicitly invidious. Serving God, however, in the presence of God, as sons and daughters, for the sake of God and walking in the way of the God who lives, with the inseparable affinity and purity of His name, it is this which is most lively! It is so for one and for all.
Great in the process, is one little thing! It is one not to avoided amidst all the glory and the wonder: "Fear God and Keep His Commandments." This Solomon had to say in Ecclesiastes, and the case has not changed.
This fear is that clean and holy fear which brings relish, like one's regard for huge, delightfully beautiful breakers in the ocean, incorporating an awareness of grandeur, of greatness. With God, this moves to the infinite place! Here there is no need of trouble of uncertainty and bargaining (such as Paul mocks in Galatians 1:1:10); nor any permission for such bargain hunting, for it is with all the HEART that one is to love God.
Instead of such mendacity towards worship and mendicity for what is fraudulent, there is a lively fellowship with total assurance through His grace of one's place forever by His pardon (Ephesians 1:4,11, 2:1-12, John 5:24, 10:9,27-28), as one moves on a foundation of rock, leaving the sand for all its malleability, behind. Receivers of this salvation do not take it as something nice, but as a work wrought by the loveliest Person this world has ever known, eternal in the heavens, ever vernal to those who known Him.
To use the figure, we do not seek to blend, amend, phraseologically superintend a sort of comparison code, this god with that, this idea with that, this source with that. There simply IS no comparison to the foundation, the reality and the truth. As well have floating rooms in space, detached from houses, joining up in the sky, instead of being on their own base and in their own architectural mode, as have doctrinal conglomerates, detached ambassadors of appearance, dashing about under diverse skies.
Faith in God, the faith through which salvation comes, it is not the faint echoes that it receives, but the robust, definable, designable, precise and particular, majestic and personally directed word of God, from the heart and to it.
Faith of this kind, it rejoices with trembling, while being assured with certainty (Romans 8:16, Psalm 2), and loves to do so; for as to Him, He is worthy of worship, beautiful through His Spirit, and untransmutable. Moreover, the love of the God of redemption, it is not transferable, for it comes from a spirit stirred by what the Lamb who was slain has done who, as in Revelation 5:9ff.), shall receive "power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing" (Revelation 5:12).
To mingle the spiritual things, those from His enemies and His friends (cf. Romans 1:17ff.), it is like hoping for a good piece of surgery BY using thread soaked in various diseases, as a PROCEDURE!