AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH
Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith,
in agreement with the thrust of the PC of Australia Constitution 1901
September 25, 2011
THE LONG CHRONOSCOPE
It is the time version of a telescope,
presenting from the eye of God, the things that
have been, will be and will endure
This is a series
starting with Hosea 14,
already considered, moving today back to Hosea 1-3,
then continuing into Jeremiah 30-31,
giving glory to God and information to man
to make life meaningful, masterful, merciful in Jesus Christ
as it ought to be.
CALAMITIES AND CATASTROPHE
IN CURSE ...
CAUSE OF THE CONCENTRATION
AND PRELUDE TO INCALCULABLE BLESSING
I Devaluation: Truth Comes out
The case, as seen at the start of Hosea, is so blatant, the furnace so hot, the roasting so perpetual, then as now in our own lands, that God acts in a decisive manner. It requires some adjustment. It is rather like coming out of an early afternoon motion picture show in a city, where the dreams of delightful colour and quest leave you lulled amid a kind of indistinct loveliness, but alas, outside is the same traffic as before and reality requires attention.
So now, man is being lulled by the inane propaganda of such bodies as the UN. Here is a moral mouth without the basis of Moses, a law-giver without foundation, riddled with Islamic hatred of Israel by many of its milling and militant members, unwilling to act to defend the peace in 1967 when Nasser stormed toward Israel, ineffectual to the point, while millions die Africa, and that not once, yet trying to govern the world as if truth and wisdom, power and purity were within it. Small wonder Shirley Hazzard after working in this same UN, spoke of People in Glass Houses and Defeat of an Ideal, in covering its delusions.
It is this body which in 1947 tried to give to Israel little bits of a residual Palestine, left after most of it had gone to Jordan, and to make Jerusalem an international city. It is the Islamic, Arab group which REFUSED to take the large residue then appointed them, made war instead on little Israel in 1948. After a divinely predicted defeat (as in Zech. 12), on its return, this same body and Arab, Islamic masses in vast territories on almost all sides of Israel, has wrought endless strife by trying to make the country non-Jewish through forced immigration, or non-existent through repeated wars of annihilation. ONE victory and what then for Israel ? destruction as per invasive agenda of its enemies. MANY losses for the invading forces of many nations, and what then ? They simply try again, while the UN tries to seduce Israel into giving back more and more of its land till so little is left that it would prove indefensible EXCEPT for the pledged power of God, as we shall DV see in studying Jeremiah.
With man, all this inequity and harassment seems intolerable tyranny toward Israel; with God, its end is fitting and sure (cf. Micah 7, Isaiah 59). God is neither deaf nor blind and has indicated what He will do! When man is impatient, God is patient, and in His own time, He acts (Isaiah 64:4-5).
Anything, any pretence, any continuation of the motion picture atmosphere, and not reality will do. Man is already at war with God as even in Australia, where education has long been hijacked by quasi-science and is at constant risk of anti-God take-over entirely of this field in the name of "ancient hatreds" as a description, for example, of Christian love. The current government, rich in atheism, is moving fast to clip the wings of biblical truth, and keep liberty caged. Whether it will go to the end of the matter may be more a matter of what Parliamentarians blindly vote in yet more repressive folly, or else, beginning to awaken, of which baulk at it! For our country's sake, one hopes they will begin to awaken ... soon!
In Israel's day with Hosea, it was not unlike this, idols becoming almost compulsive, non-truth proclaimed as truth, in their terms, as if inanity were replacing minds, and the baseless alone would be heeded. THIS, moreover, is wrought in the very face of the God of action and power, whose word is never broken! Do people not WANT to learn ? Is Dunkirk and the Prayer Day from the War Office of that day, now a mere beginning of a disastrous decline ? It would appear so.
Let's return to ancient Israel. GO! said God to Hosea and marry a harlot. Now this may seem extreme, and the multiple diseases and scars of mind or body might seem an incredible burden. However, the God who became man and died in the vast and ghastly ghetto of the shadow of death, indeed on a Cross while taunted even as bearing sin for those who receive Him, action centre, for the operation to clear sin and invest with life eternal, does not stop at pain. Nor does He stay at suffering, agony even, in clearing the decks for action, even in the Son of His love, resurrecting His body in testimony of the unabashed power of truth. Love, His love, the original of all love in man made in His image, is like that. It acts. It loves truth and secures it (I Corinthians 13:6). It is not simply self-desolatory, but procures good.
The point was that Israel, as if married for centuries to God who evacuated them from Egypt by mighty power and sustained provisions, was now like an adulteress; indeed worse, she had become so loose in idols of varying appeals, that she was like a harlot. To show the perspective of the thing, this was the way. Hosea married a harlot! When God had taken Israel, she was nothing to rave about, but it started with mercy and continued in kindness, and you see this aspect in Ezekiel 16:44-47.
Ostensibly brought to the mercy of God, Israel then became worse in its dispirited desires and spiritual lusts than the originals from which she had come! Now however, by the prophetic day of Hosea, the case requires action, to jolt the mind, stir the imagination and bring action to the legs for the right way. In God's sight, it is AS IF He had married a poor specimen who had then committed adultery on top of that, and made an open practice of it, so that God used Hosea as an audio-visual to SHOW the sheer horror of it.
The children of the marriage were called Jezreel after a disaster, Lo-Ruhamah, to mean No Mercy, and the third, L0-Ammi, to mean Not My People.
The children were named for coming events and divine alienation from such hypocrisy and faithlessness, thanklessness and baseless romancing with life, as if it were some game! As with marriage, its spiritual violation meant that masses of the people did not even KNOW GOD, and were far from His comforting presence, covenantal security and blessed enhancement of life till it becomes a thing of illimitable beauty (as in Hosea 14, at which we looked last Sunday).
2 Abhorrence: Divine Activism
Bring Charges against her! we read in Hosea 2. Let her cease these philandering follies. The generation grows up, 'children of harlotry', for she said "I will go after many lovers," as in 2:5.
Ignoring realities of gracious divine care, the people could then face their increasing removal; just as in our generation we face implacable radiation pollution, power propulsion to use it anyway, decreasing ozone protection from skin cancer, and meteorological changes which now largely are coming to the point of how much, and why! People spend or do not, hoping to ameliorate, argue, contest, ridicule; but the disorders, the vast floods, tides, meltings whether in the Arctic or in the high lands of Asia, source for many a much used river, continue. They ponder, and scratch the communal head; but they do not repent, so that terrorism becomes most popular, and religious mania an impetus for idolatry, to inflame it further, even New York not escaping. Atheism and mere irrational idols merge, discarding the mutual gender design in mankind, brandishing remorseless hate for the Maker, His people and His ways, many killing as if tangoing (Rev. 6), as lies, deceit and fraud betoken a race running amok.
In the case of Israel in Hosea's prophecy, for all that, this being a special people with a special task, which often cost as it diverged from its commitment, God indicates (2:14ff.), that He will bring them back to Himself,
"And it will be in that day, says the Lord, that you will call Me 'My Husband, 'and no longer call Me 'My Master,' for I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals,"
that is the false 'lords'.
"They will be remembered by their name no more. In that day I will make a covenant with them." Indeed, "I will betroth you to me forever."
This is the New Covenant, to be written in the very heart as we plan to show in Jeremiah 31. Then He will have mercy on her who had no mercy, and say to those who were not His people, 'You are My people!' (Hosea 2:23).
3 Redemption and Restoration
This is applied to Israel on the grand scale, but to individuals and to all
RESULT OF DIVINE INTERVENTION
How is this to be done ? God again used Hosea to show the case in all its horrendous unnaturalness, ingratitude and vagrancy. Thus his own wife, this harlot who had borne him children, she even went off to make new adulteries, instead of mere fornications! (Hosea 3:1, 2:5). She stopped at nothing and was enthralled with almost ANYTHING! for indeed, it was just like now the Gentiles in so many cases, today.
Hosea bought his sinning harlot-wife back to himself. You might find this too horrendous to contemplate, but this brings home what is behind the mercy of God who brings conviction and repentance to sinners, and has even love for them! As in Romans 5, you can imagine someone being willing to die for some extraordinarily noble and fine person, but in fact Christ died for us while we were yet sinners! How could He bring Himself to do it! The love of God is like that and it is time to respond to it with love, and delight in Him, and by waiting upon Him, and drawing near to Him, and trusting in Him ONLY, for salvation, and resting in His grace. These are words. Needed are ACTIONS to match!
Hosea did it. He PAID for this defective strumpet, this recidivist relic! (3:3). He instructed her to stay with him many days, and to be faithful in love, as God would be to her. Then came the prophecy, that for many days Israel would have neither king nor prince, and would have to wait long and then they would seek the Lord and that descendent of David, on the human side, the Messiah as in Micah 5:1-3, Psalm 2, Isaiah 11.
Thus the promise was for a time to come, what Jeremiah calls the "latter days", WHEN Israel would come back to the Lord they had denied categorically in Jesus Christ. Such has been for millenia, the word of God in His chronoscope, teaching to the end from the beginning as befits the Author of all, covering events till now and beyond, including the return of Israel to its divinely appointed land, all fulfilled with cardinal and verifiable accuracy.
Actually, the crux of denial came when the Messiah came and they hated him (Isaiah 49:7) as predicted, and killed Him (Isaiah 53), so that it would be only when they returned to Him at last, that this new covenant would have a more national spread. It would however be from Israel that the first beginnings of the Church would come, persecuted even IN Israel as they would be for that! this believing remnant of the people (cf. Joel 2:32, Romans 9:24-29 with Isaiah 10:21-23, 9:3ff., Romans 11:4-7,22-29).
If then apostles and thousands of others from the remnant of believers in Israel came to Christ, how much greater as in Romans 11, will it then be. Then this 'election of grace' (Romans 11:5) is swollen in a vast awakening to Christ in Israel (Zech. 12:1-0-13:1, Romans 11:25ff.). Then at last the reality of redemption, with all the wonder of love as in Romans 5, that God secured our salvation by sending Christ for us WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, like that harlot, spiritual adulterers or spiritual fornicators, is fulfilled on this earth. As foretold in Hosea 13:14, so it came!
When Christ returns to rule this world (Isaiah 2, 11, 59), then will be seen what was the basis of the hatred of so many for Israel and for the Church: Israel BETOKENS that God is doing exactly what He said, and call it what name you will, this stabs the spiritually adulterous heart of those singing as they wing their way to spiritual foolishness and idolatry. Again, the CHURCH when it is found faithful to the Bible and the Lord who gave it, similarly is hated because Christ is hated, because ONLY when He is set at nothing, can rampaging man seize all for his unlovely self, and seek to rule the universe for his own part, and have all for it lustful desires.
As you see inscribed in the prophecy of Hosea, likewise explicit in Isaiah 29:13, useless is it to draw near to God with your lips, while in heart far away; to be 'married' in congregational affiliation and yet not know the Lord as King of one's life, living God of one's very being, not only sacrifice for sin, but spiritual governor and guide, counsellor and friend, through the Holy Spirit abiding within, who does not testify of Himself, but of Christ! (John 15:26-27).
There is a vacuity which is vague, and exists in a formal, nominal relationship to God, unable to stay the sway of contrary currents and spiritual forces; and there is a phenomenal relationship, that is one which has practical, empirical, continual reality, as does one's walk with a friend. The difference is that of a photograph and company, of a telegram, 'Will help!' and coming and doing it. Christ came and did what was required for eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12) on one act culminating in one place and site, in one situation, in one sacrifice, and came alive from the tomb in one body, which now glorified, is in heaven and will stay there till He comes at the regeneration of all things (Acts 3:19ff.); and in the meantime, we need to consider our obligations and responsibilities, duties and scope of labour (Matthew 28:18-20).
This is the work of one team, but each member is active, participant, part of the body of Christ; for there are no extras. There is one Spirit who moves and quells, aids and counsels (Romans 8:9,26), one word of God written, the Bible, one set of promises which do not fail, one mission, one commission, one joy in His presence (I Peter 1:3-8), one capability to overcome the seemingly impossible squadrons of evil which seek to capture the Christian, the devil like a roaring lion, to be resisted in Christ's name; and there is one result.
The ultimate divide is Christ or not Christ, for Jew or for Gentile; but God does not forget all His plans for the sake of someone's desire for 'simplicity', for our brains are themselves marvels of intricacy, and the outline as Paul traces it and John in Revelation, is scarcely stunning to the interested mind, but rather a joy to behold, like a sports car, or aeroplane lifting its lofty nose, all things now making sense in the poise and power of actual flight. Not made from nothing, it is not made for nothing.
Let no one hearing these words from the word of the living God, fail to apply to himself, to herself, young or old, the requirement of repentance (Luke 13:1-3), or fail to seek the grace of restoration through redemption, glorying in the cross of Jesus Christ, who died, the just for the unjust to bring us to God (II Peter 3:18), abiding in the presence of Christ and calling on His power to live aright. If you prefer to stay away, it is like preferring the night; but the day comes, when you awake, and it is not hindered by unbelief. It will surely come. The time to awaken is NOW.