AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH August 30, 2009
A CONTINUATION OF THE THRUST
AND BASE OF THE
OF AUSTRALIA ON BIBLICAL LINES …
THE TYPE, THE
PICTURE AND THE REALITY
Daniel personally experienced the beginning of the overthrow of Jerusalem by Babylon, foretold by Jeremiah, and described in Lamentations. This was linked to the sad and lamentable decease of active and brilliant reformer Josiah, precipitant to the downfall. Later, foretold by Daniel was the vicarious discard of Jesus Christ. In these, is a sequence of great practical value and instruction.
THE TYPE – Positive, to be Admired: Josiah
First we consider Josiah, one of the most delightful of the kings noted in the Old Testament, zealous, practical, pious, perceptive, discrete, willing to be informed, reformed (II Kings 22:8-20), then reforming. King from a younger age, at his end, he died fighting long-time foe, Egypt, against what he viewed, and not without great reason, as an enemy of his country, though it was not intent, at least at that time, on invading Judah.
In all this, he is revealed as what is often called, a type of Christ: that is, he had some features which with others, reminds one of some of the beauty of what Christ did. It does not of course mean that he is a sort of Christ, but in the sense of reminding one of him in certain aspects or features or actions, in that he gives a touch of His hand, an impact of what is holy, just and true, in a format and setting that readily evokes some thought of Christ.
Thus, like Christ, he was young in his entire contribution, not very young, but far from old. Again, he was charged to correct, executed great cleansing, in parallel with Christ's work seen in John 2:13ff., Matthew 23, Luke 11:52ff., and this he did with enormous care and attention to the scriptures (II Kings 23:4-25, reminding one of Christ's utterance in Matthew 5:17ff., and action noted in Matthew 26:52-56. Josiah purged perversion and false priests, himself to die in humble form, fighting the enemy, not as a king, but as an ordinary soldier (II Chronicles 35:20-22).
Christ even humbled Himself to manhood from eternal glory, as seen in Philippians 2.
Again, Josiah’s death reminds one of Paul's insistence, when repeatedly warned even through the Spirit not to go to Jerusalem; for he was nevertheless constrained and went believing that this was his duty (cf. Acts 20:22, 21:11ff.). This he asked one who thus sought to dissuade him from proceeding to Jerusalem:
"What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart,
for I am willing not only to be bound,
but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus"
The protestations of danger and coming imprisonment, therefore, while quite true, did not dissuade him from paying the price for the prize to be gained by enduring such things. Nor did Pharaoh Necho’s word, that of an enemy, dissuade Josiah, warned but unwilling to let any evil force come near, jutting from its own land, like spiritual land mines sprinkled around his domain.
Similarly, it seems Paul was being urged as to the danger, peril and cost of following Christ into this particular set of fires, which would after quite some time lead to his death: but just as that death did not come before he had wrought highly influential missionary work, warning, test, so it was not in any sense a mistake. Yet it DID mean that the apostle proceeded in full realisation of the cost of his constraint (Acts 20:16), just as Josiah’s fidelity found death its cost. God promised not to let him see the fall and subjection of his land, and so his zeal saved him from that.
Again, Josiah was loved and appreciated by those who loved the Lord, Jeremiah in Lamentations, written after Jerusalem fell, speaking of him as "the breath of our nostrils", like a refreshing breeze amid the foul and horrendous corruptions of Manasseh, the depraved, preceding King (though he did at last repent) of Judah. As to Christ, His tone, triumphs, miracles, power led to the question, What more will the Messiah do when He comes! concerning Himself, so that, like Josiah, though not dressed in regalia, His royalty showed as He did the works. With Him, these were the ones fitting for the Messiah, capable of being done by no one else. The words cited were these:
"When the Christ comes, will He do
After Josiah and Jesus, both, Jerusalem was destroyed some decades later, and with each, death cleared the way for it. Indeed, the rejection first of reformation and then of the Redeemer Himself, was the open door to the enemy. Thus Josiah in his rule, is a type of Christ, one with considerable affinities in life and place in history, to reform, to challenge, to correct, to inspire, to bring devotion, the one for a nation too set to follow, and too ready to decline at once on his departure, and the other not only for that nation, but for the world, where though some nations even become involved to a considerable depth, yet now declines far from Him, a broader parallel to the destruction of Jerusalem.
What is this parallel to the destruction of Jerusalem, in the case of this entire world ? It has two parts One is the NATION of Israel, in a part of its developing history, at that time set in a downward dynamic. The other ? It received rebuke in the destruction of temple and spoiling of its capital, with devastation of inhabitants. Famed for long has been this horrendous assault, insult and degradation
In the case of this world, what has it in common with that ? This: it is liable, and this progressively so, because of its treatment of Christ Himself, as well as of His commandments. These go together as the mouth with the arm. This is despite His love, for in this it forsakes its own mercy - for there is no other Saviour or Gospel (Galatians 1). Thus it is now set in a downward dynamic of striking similarity to that of Judah from the time leading to and beyond Josiah's day, following the outrageous miscreancy of King Manasseh, and others, such as Ahaz. For this world now, as for Israel then, there is an arising fury of folly, leading to a come-uppance that dashes down; the one is long past, and the other is soon to arrive.
When this world becomes so savvy, so sophisticatedly aware, so learnedly informed, so monstrously misinstructed that it ignores creation, the judicial flood devastation of the past and sound doctrine alike (II Peter 2, 3:3-5, II Timothy 3-4), and proceeds to get to itself an antichrist, so disarming, so subtly evasive, so convulsively aggressive when his time comes, that it will scorn all fear of provocation of the Lord, then it at last finds its confrontation. It will then be met by the whole array of divine power, and pretence will be exposed much as was Japan at Hiroshima, by a power beyond. Its 'temple' with its antichrist (II Thessalonians) will be destroyed, nor is that merely any structure: it is the entire structure of thought which will suffer the sentence of reality, its fantasising laziness of heart and dissolution of mind, its inward corruption too strong for any remedy.
When it is so fixed that it WILL not, and perhaps at the last, even CANNOT change (as in II Thessalonians 2:10), then it meets judgment, strict, simple, sure, neat, necessary, the ultimate anti-pollutant (cf. Psalm 2).
In this case, however, unlike that of Jerusalem, earlier, and that of the Twin Towers later, it is no longer a question of destruction by some mere humanly contrived power, using the strength written into creation: for at that coming time, the confrontation is from the Creator Himself, from whom there is no turning away in conflict, nor resolution by barter, compromise or treaty (cf. Isaiah 14:27, II Thessalonians 1:5-10).
Moreover, it is He acting in person (Rev. 19), as the word of God, beyond any hope or surmise or 'interpretation'. Not only does righteousness exalt a nation, while sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34), but indifference damns, since Christ took sin’s rebuke into His own hands, where it is plainly marked upon them, so that for some, this final rebuke could be dismissed, and they could be free in faith, to know and enjoy His loveliness and wonder for ever. Rejection leaves no more sacrifice.
Thus the parallels lead to the sense of Josiah, as one whose actions stir the heart to fidelity, faith to action and wisdom to wake: He is seen as a type of Christ (as were Joseph, and Daniel); but Jerusalem as a picture of what comes ultimately, when spiritual madness becomes the recipient of instruction.
THE PICTURE – Negative, to be Avoided, Jerusalem
The above cover shows Josiah, a type of Christ, with the reformation, inspiration, culmination in death, rapid decline thereafter for the nation, the dedication, despite the meticulous attention to details and lack of arrogance in the tasks set and appointed. Neither deity, nor saviour, nor lord, Josiah however was in ordinary human nature, so toned and tuned to the Lord, that elements of his life reflect some of Christ’s life, who as God came in man's form to man.
It was sin that killed both, in the one case, the aggression of man, in the other, the vicarious bearing of the whole gamut of sin for those to be redeemed by Him. Now we come to a new focus. It is this: the picture of sin. How eloquently and elegantly it is displayed, all the more because of the horror and vast ghastliness of it, in the fall and destruction of Jerusalem. How often were they warned over centuries, how sudden was the destruction when it came, in days!
Jeremiah, in Lamentations brings this aspect home to the heart by his
"How lonely sits the city ... she weeps bitterly in the night
Here is the first form of the outcry of the desolate.
"Her adversaries have become the master".
"All her splendour is departed from her."
"Is it nothing to you, all you
who pass by ?
THE REALITY, Unlimited, to be Sought: Jesus Christ
Sin city, Jerusalem at those times could almost be named, and like Christ’s face, as described in Isaiah 52:13ff., that self-same city became almost unrecognisable. There is the picture of sin, strained, refined in its accuracy, for He who knew no sin, bore it, and hence it is here without intrusion or admixture, seen in the crushing of His face, form, features, the abuse of His limbs, arms, hands, the desolation of His outline, against the skies that showed no mercy, later to that city likewise.
What then ? This, Jesus the Christ arrives incarnate from heaven, reforms amid chronic evil, suffers in a lowly format, such as Josiah adopted in his final battle against his enemies, and felt to the full even in advance the grief to climax on the Cross. Heavy in anticipation (Luke 22:39ff.). Then in utterance, as forecast in Psalm 22, a millenium earlier (Matthew 27:46), is heard the cry so like that of Jeremiah. Here in Christ extremities, it is noble with an infinite, intimate vastness, for the concord with eternity is for a moment broken, as sin whips the innocent, and guilt is born by the pure: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!"
The infliction of such torment renders the soul so troubled, it cries out as under the force of many mountains! Sin separates from God (Isaiah 59:1ff.), and bearing it does it no less. There in Him, is One with the title deeds to life absorbing without sin, the sentence for sin, to release life to those divesting their lives of a specious sovereignty, while yielding to Him in surrender, receiving His as Creator and Redeemer (John 1:1-3, 5:19-30).
This time, it is not a city or a nation which receives its due reward, though alas for the nation which rejected Him, long would it be before that time when they return in heart (as in Zech. 12, Ezek. 37), and great the travail within it! Now it is the whole world, rejecting the counsel of Christ and the offer imprinted on His hands, as if to make a more crucial signature of His love, even than before: as in Isaiah 49:16 -
"Behold, I have graven you upon the palms of my hands;
your walls are continually before me."
Thus Daniel 12 has a stark but more contrasting focus. This comes after the almost interminable seeming horrors of deceit, violence and aggression shown in things large and small, paraded in Daniel 11. That leads to the climax of world history, amidst the negativity, the darkness, the writhing ruin of this world as it approaches the day of resurrection, when those with everlasting joy upon their heads, rejoice as those with the sun shining boldly on them, the weeds removed from their field of life! (Matthew 13:41-43). Matthew 24 and Luke 17, 21 show the extent of the winds searing the world, the changes that like clanging bells, haunt its offices, disrupt its armies, make it totter (cf. Isaiah 2:10-21, Isaiah 24:17-23).
"The earth is violently broken,"
"the earth is split open,
the earth is shaken exceedingly.
earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard,
and shall totter like a hut.
transgression shall be heavy upon it,
and it will fall, and not rise again."
Jesus the Christ, in Luke 17, draws the parallel with the past judgments, as in Sodom and Gomorrah and in the flood of Noah's time, a thing modern man is so reluctant to receive, asking thereby for judgment by fire, not water! though the flood evidence thunders (cf. News 1). This time the case is consummate (Matthew 24:21-22, NASB):
"for at that time there will be great tribulation,
such as has not been since the beginning of the world until now,
nor ever will be.
And if those days had not been shortened, no one would be saved;
but for the sake of the elect they will be shortened."
The violations of the structure which, as for Jerusalem in the day of Lamentations, left it doomed, now are mirrored in those of the whole earth (cf. Revelation 6:4,8, 8:8,11). Yet people, as in Luke 17, will continue building and marrying, as if blind to the need to be more realistic than simply to continue; but as with Sodom, as with those when the flood came, habit and culture, custom and labours continue as if by sedulous ants, over whom a reservoir of water is about to break.
Now therefore, it is not a Jewish remnant to return from the site of Babylon, place of exile, to rebuild the temple in the 6th century B.C., which is the focus, but another remnant when the Lord brings them back "a second time" (Isaiah 11:11f.) on the way to His return, many of these to find Him. Indeed, it is now a universal remnant of all peoples, returning to the Lord and how they will be hunted! Yet on the Rock, Jesus Christ, they will be founded - Revelation 12:13-17 & 13, I Cor:3:11. At a point amid these woes, the time shortened for God's elect, and the site secured for them in heaven, to this they are they removed, ‘the marriage of the lamb’ (Revelation 19:6-7).
From this, the Lord comes with them, His armies in attendance, to blot out the belligerence of untamed anger, uncontrite hearts and saucy endeavour to defeat the Lord Himself in battle: as if in their ignorance and blindness they could rule anything, even their own hearts!
Small wonder then that Daniel, in his coverage of the times to the Messiah, in Daniel 9, after the rejection of the Messiah as forecast by him as by Isaiah (49:7, 52-53), speaks like this: "And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation which is determined, is poured out on the desolation." The one making desolation seems lifted up as on a very wing of the Temple, flying high, ruining, almost like the case of the Temptation of Christ to cast Himself down from such a height! But here the man mounts so high that when amid desolations which he causes, he so rises, then desolation is poured out on the whole scene, thus desolating not only the ruin he makes, but him who ruins: the desolation of the desolator is thus accomplished in the contemptible rumbling and crumbling (cf. II Thessalonians 1).
Dark indeed without relief is this scene, not now merely for Judah in discipline, but for the whole world for neglect.
The dénouement is not a babe of humility and holiness, such as awaited Israel after it rebuilt the temple symbolising His work - Isaiah 7, 9, but a bad and infuriated man in centre stage, an evil shepherd, with no more Christ to kill, no more sacrifice to mar, occupied with killing, containing, controlling, harassing, abasing Christians, Jew or Gentile, as in the depiction of Rev. 12:13ff. and the principle of John 16:2. So he sates sin.
As to Israel, its people voted for a murderer, not for the Christ (Matthew 27:15-26), and they gained their desire; but it was not only one murderer, not Barabbus alone: it was his kind greatly multiplied that they obtained, voiding the covenant of mercy. The Gentile world, too full of itself to value Christ, now receives the result of its own scorn of redemption; for if there is one thing that burns, it is the spiritual wood that is dry, and refuses to be built into the living body which God has provided (cf. Eph. 2, 4, Luke 23:31).
Yet in this world, there is travail in the building of another and blessed Temple, which Christ may inhabit (cf. I Peter 2:4ff.), and for which He will bring glory, this greater than Solomon, in a structure never to be taken down, a temple of living stones, from Jew and Gentile alike (Ephesians 2), a spiritual dwelling dedicated to praise and adore, delight in and know God, in a kingdom never to be destroyed (cf. Daniel 7:9ff.).
Let us praise Him now, intact and entempled, precious stones bought with a colossal price, filled with a light not our own, but grant of One dazzling in His beauty, suffusing us from the grace of deity (II Corinthians 3:17-18). In Him, we rejoice (Colossians 1:27), awaiting the consummation that removes the evil, and leaves the Lamb, the Lord, the salvation, the righteousness irremovable (Isaiah 51:6, Romans 5:17, 3:23-27), granting the salvation not to fade away, reserved in heaven (I Peter 1), outcome of the operation of faith, the gift of eternal life, the goodness of God.