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THE ROCKETS, THE ROCK AND THE RELIEF
See Pilgrims and Strangers, but not to God Ch. 2
ROCKETS ... SEARCHING FOR FOUNDATIONS ALOFT
The Centre for Seti Research - search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, is specialising in Signal Processing Technology, having received various grants, private or public, as it seeks to read what it never finds, just as the Mars efforts find the fluidities of matter but not the dynamics of life. Indeed, Harvard University and Berkeley, California have projects to seek in the skies, for what is not there disclosed, just as a corpse does not intimate how it was built. God has spoken, both in His word, the Bible, and in our bodies; and is not on speaking terms with those who will not listen, as Proverbs 1 so dramatically indicates!
NASA is so determined, even in a budget chomping era, to find something, that for its new project, for the 2.2 billion dollar Mars Rover, "Curiosity", there is no small intent to discover life. That is a special feature of its whole design! While the earth is filled with language of life, one not only all systematised in the DNA, with codes to govern and maintain code usage in the most man-excelling mode imaginable, and protein-folding electronic motors in earth-style living objects work beyond the power of man to make, in vast speed and with miniaturised facility, man will not read the lesson, but stares wildly at space, to make its sober silence speak.
It is God who has spoken. The capacity to create intelligence and the power to make a universe subject to reason, and that reason can reasonably investigate, alike, precedes its results. The thought of the Creator that governs the linguistic DNA code, achieves the coalescing concepts that govern its commands and the specifications which make them work in a unitary style in the magnificence of life.
This, it is not simply shown out there, but within every one of us. It has given to the mind of man a logical power which can interpret the logical arrangements in life and matter, both created, result of the eternal God who is the basis of all. Nothing is, on the other hand, the basis of nothing, while what is conditioned, ordered and controlled has its source in what does these things, the living God.
Always sufficient, He has acted, and ceased the creation: which is why this is never found, or to be seen: INFORMATION BEING MADE WITHOUT INTELLIGENCE. Professor Werner Gitt's work, Without Excuse*1, is emphatic on this, in terms of scientific method. The work of God in creation of the universe has finished, as He declared (Genesis 1-2). Therefore, in the confines of this epoch, it is only when visible intelligence is to be found at work, that new information breaches the situation. The basic divine work ended long ago, when information for the contents poured forth in torrents: then stopped. Now, miraculous healings remind of His work in creation; but these relate to restoration.
When intelligence, mind, purpose worked, their definable products came; when these stopped this action in this place, in this field, they came no more. Now it is a NEW CREATION as in II Corinthians 5:17ff., which the Creator makes through the Gospel. This is currently, pending the bodily resurrection (I Corinthians 15), in the field of the invisible, which as this is where purpose and peace or war, love or loathing is to be found, is the needed site.
Need is not for rockets into space but the Rock of our foundation, not nebulous but necessary, and it is His intelligence, so far from being artificial or floating in space, which has made it. Float in desperate defiance of reason if you must, but it is still the Rock of Ages, the only source for man and the only hope, who remains. Idly, milling man has lost his Rock, foundation, fountain and meaning alike. The results however, though precisely predicted (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5), and drawing nearer to the day of their individual publication, are not lost.
THE ROCK OF REALITY
On this, we look at ... Psalm 62:2,6, Psalm 18:31-32, II Samuel 22:31 - 32, Isaiah 28:16, 2:22,17, 44:8 with 26:4, I Corinthians 3:11. There is no other Rock, says God, and He knows not any! Just as in Him is found the Rock of Ages (Isaiah 26:3-4), everlasting strength, so in the very next verse do we find, that He brings down the lofty city. Aerial aspirations of those whose very bodies were made from earth, lofting and wafting their spirits into arrogance, mighty self-ascendency, unwise confusions of Creator and mere creature, are in the end, crushed by the stone that falls on them, even to powder.
In Psalm 62, we find that the LORD ONLY is the Rock, and that David thus will not be greatly moved. There is a limit, there is the Lord of all power and wisdom; and in Him, he rests secure. In verse 6, there is progression. He only, once more, we learn is his Rock and his salvation, indeed his defence, and thus he will not be MOVED (at all). On this foundation, there IS no movement, it does not change, is not a mobile service unit, but the unalterable reality of the God of all wisdom and knowledge, power, the Creator, everlasting in felicity and glory, gracious in giving, never duped, outwitted by one, sovereign over all, providing need, personally filled with goodness.
Turning to Psalm 18, we learn of David's love for the LORD, his rock and fortress and deliverer, indeed his strength and the One in whom he trusts, his shield, his stronghold. There is none like Him, as God affirms in Isaiah 44, He knows not any! comes His delicious irony! In verse 2, one prefers "high tower" as in the AV, to "stronghold" as quite correctly also, in the NKJV. The reason is this. The verb from which this noun appears as a denominative, means to be inaccessibly high. It has a soaring connotation. It is used in Psalm 139, where the knowledge of the God of creation who made the successive parts of the schema for the infant and its development from the start, is referred to with this term.
Thus not only, in Psalm 18, are we learning of the bedrock basis to all, to be used by faith, but of the soaring splendour to inaccessible heights (though the Lord can move one by His own wish to come near) that is He. In the depths, to the heights, it is He who operates, in whom by simple faith, receiving the gift of redemption and the knowledge of God through the incarnate Son, one may blessedly and eternally abide. Since there is no other rock (II Samuel 22:32-33, Psalm 18:31, I Corinthians 3:11 as in Acts 4:11-12, Galatians 1:6-10), this is the more magnificent, like an orchid beyond orchids, but this, it is not only what is wonderful, but what has created the entire wonders of creation, including that liberty which allows folly, but invites faith, which judges all, but provides redemption.
Found in Isaiah 7, concerning the corrupted and cunning King Ahaz, of Judah, is another reference to this concept of height and depth, rock and reality, grandeur and power in the Lord. It accords with the theme and so here arrests us for a moment. Judah was anxious, for not only king of hostility was found in confrontation, ready for battle, but there were two of them. His lax ways and multiple resting points for personality, idolatrous and other, were no match for the issue. Into this thrust that uncovered his inadequacy and found out his sin, came the prophet Isaiah. ASK, he said, ask: ask high soaring up or low thrusting down, but ask. What do you want ? It was as staggering as it is now when people are offered Christ with all His wonder, and yet murmur or thrust aside the offer, and continue unfounded, abounding in confusion or aborted thought. Did King Ahaz take the offered marvel, direct assurance of the entirety of his need from this established prophet of the Lord ? Not at all.
Instead, he used an art form of conversation. I WILL NOT TEMPT THE LORD, he declared in response to this offer. Now if someone offered you a cheque for several hundred thousand dollars, and there was good ground to believe his authenticity and probity, would you refuse it on the ground that it would be TEMPTING the donor to accept this ? In what way ? Would it perhaps make him feel proud to have helped you so much ? But God has ALL THINGS, and nothing is going to make Him feel proud of giving to someone, when ALL life is His gift!
It was a purely devious, spiritually negative response of non-faith, what because of its evil dynamic one may justly call dis-faith. He did not want to deal in that quarter. After all, was he not complexly concerned with things of many religious kinds, and did he want to be involved in a purity and a reality which left no room for god-making, god-enjoyment or various wines of the personality ? At all events, in this monstrous fashion, he declined, so leaving Judah without the depth and dimensions of deliverance on offer.
Instead, the prophet went on to make an unconditional announcement. God would do a startling thing. Here were the heights going up and the depths going down, as in the former offer, now to be fulfilled in its time, whether the King appreciated this or not. Is it not enough, Isaiah rebuked Ahaz, to weary man, but must you weary my God also! THEREFORE the Lord would provide a sign, a wondrous, a compelling, an astounding thing, evocative of awe, commensurate with His Being. A young girl, a virgin*2, would be found child-bearing, with child, and her Son would bear the name, God with us. His status is further shown in Isaiah 9:5, where as Prince of peace with an endless Kingdom (as in Psalm 45, God Himself), He would also have parallel names jointly listed, including this, the Mighty God (as used of God in the next Chapter also), the Counsellor, indeed all that man needs, and Ahaz foolishly disregarded, on the normal profoundly groundless grounds: that is, on light as from a mirage.
There is the foundation found, eternal life exhibited, God manifest. Here the Rock is seen in the delicacy of the Redeemer, the investment of Deity in man, by which He abolished death and brought life and immortality to light (II Timothy 1). The Rock, then, is not only massive and towering, soaring and foundational, for past the symbol, we find He is personal and gracious, and tender-hearted, and merciful, and not at all exalted in pride, but humble and having salvation as Zechariah 9 foretold. What a Rock is this, which knows life, and how to deliver in a manner astounding, even those who have misused it.
This, from many biblical sources, is a luxury of information concerning the basis, the power and the refuge, the fortress and the Leader in life: the Rock, the only such. He is constant, consistent and basic to any relationship to reality. To these, add I Peter 2:8-9, where the result of ignoring the rock of your foundation is shown as lethal for wisdom, as Christ Himself shows in Matthew 21:44, where anyone who falls on this Rock will be broken, while one on whom this Rock falls, will be ground to powder. So much for confrontation with the builder of the fragile wonder of your life!
What else ? Cease from man, declares Isaiah 2:22, whose breath is in his nostrils, for of what appeal is he! a challenge echoed in Isaiah 40:12-18. It is not to some man hiding representatively in the rocks that Isaiah refers, as if from 2:17-10, in commanding us to cease from man, for of what account is such a weak and broken creature as that would be, himself lost in judgment. How would anyone even be tempted to believe in such a fragment of humiliated humanity! Nor does the text say other than this: CEASE FROM MAN, FOR OF WHAT ACCOUNT IS HE. "Such a man," as in the NKJV translation is a foreign import, and misses the import of the passage.
It is the contextual thrust of the text, paralleled by the statement that the Lord ALONE will be exalted in that day (Isaiah 2:11), and with that part of the theme which shows that the lofty looks of man will be brought down.
It is from the RACE of mankind, itself under judgment, that we are to cease, even from those whose breath (for one as for all) is indeed a matter of narrow intake.
Such is the multiplied aspect the message in Isaiah, as for example in Isaiah 40, where, as in Isaiah 2, amidst this judgment on the unholy unloveliness of human pride and utter corruption, there is yet room for the manifestation of mercy where the heart leaps for it, the soul weeps for it, where the spirit seeks for it, or the mind is ready for it, to live by it (Isaiah 2:2-4,40:25-31).
Trust God, not man, for His purity is infinite, and He knows all things; whereas man is subject to such wickedness and deceit as readily to become a parody of virtue, a sink of morals and a wonder of hypocrisy when vital interests are affected; and though some float their own morals, even those sink into self-centredness, as if an atom imagined itself a master of laws, or a gazelle conceived itself a criterion for speed.
In The Us and Them War, by William Garner, you see an illustration. Two nations, yes three, USA with Britain and the then looming USSR, have intermeshed but alienated intelligence services. In this case, instead of the Le Carré mode of sophisticated remnants with subdued patriotism and unhealed hearts wandering about, you have frankly self-centred thrusters, seeking to have dominance or prominence for their nations and selves, rather than ruin. There is a difference however. The internal psyche, as with Le Carré, is in high focus, but it is exposed as itself conscious not only of the price of servitude to nation without moral criterion above it, but also of its own psyche as such, in its divergences, convergences with this or that, and emergences. There is a play on what one is, or might be, or is not, or should be, without the facing of the 'should' as such, this being too intrusive for taste, but yet with it in the background, and willing to assert itself this way or that, if the mood, the mode, the spirit so takes the journey.
In one episode, THIS is derived as simple selfishness, and ultimately, so it is, for it is the self which makes itself, whether with thought or nuances, subtleties or will, the criterion of any moral, or preference for moral, without reference to objectivity. What IS is surrendered for what one finds, or by what one is moved, or though how many tricks and traps one sees, and then follows somehow, somewhere for something.
There is in all this no Rock, no foundation, no thrust to 'must' through the nature of reality, for man playing god is as futile as a pianist playing hooky. It is not relevant. When there is divine work to be done, God alone can and does do it. If He chooses to work THROUGH someone or something, that is still His choice and His implement, guided by Him for His purpose. Without Him, as Psalm 1 reminds us, people become as chaff blown, and this applies whether in their meaning as in their movement in doctrine and understanding. On the Rock, you have the ground and the grounding not to be blown about by every wind of doctrine, whether from dabbling or deceit (Ephesians 4:14-15). In this sense, as Paul points out, people become as children, untaught and unwrought, wandering about lightly.
The sheer restlessness you see in such novels as those noted above, and in this often sordid world as we see it at present, illustrates the fact that man cannot rest in mere negativity (cf. SMR Ch. 3), and tends to pursue something more than a goad, even if he has to manufacture it in sheer frustration because of acidulous cynicism or scepticism. The self, or the condemnation that implies self-elevation as the ultimate critic and implicit model, the dissatisfaction that leads some to suicide, the inventiveness others to weird and unstable philosophies, all these things become evidences of inadequacy and listings to the rocks, not of stability, but of impact ... with reality.
There is indeed no rest for the wicked, and what can compete with ignoring your Rock, reality, realisation provided, source of meaning, Creator, Saviour and Judge! As the nations do this, with the option of merely disregarding its objectivity, impact or requirements, then they too become more and more meaningless in their own sights, except for glory, safety and exaltation, often twisting and tormenting truth by lies and deceits of exceptional opacity.
Some, resenting this, make it a spur to yet more of the same, and there arises often enough, a race for unreality, and a drama for the best deception, often of themselves.
In these circumstances, all the more obvious, is the need for relief, restoration and in a word, repentance. These means we must see who is the Rock, what He is like, what He offers, as foundation, Father of spirits and God of glory.
THE SHADOW OF THE ROCK, THE STREAMS, THE REFUGE
PART II November 4, 2012
THE SHADOW OF THE ROCK, THE STREAMS, THE REFUGE
VISION AND VICTORY ... It is when we come to Isaiah 32, that we see the imagery of the Rock become the splendour of the King, for man is made for God as the clouds for the earth. Just as we are to CEASE FROM MANKIND as basis for living, so are we to rely exclusively on the ROCK which tide and tempest cannot change or channel, the Creator of our competence, form and minds, spirits and power to choose. Sin loves to speak snappily, or to snap necks or agreements, and millions are killed by its inane ministries; but THIS KING will rule in "righteousness", an exquisitely lovely thing. Indeed He, incarnate as man (Isaiah 9:6ff.), Prince of Peace with all the other names in the six-fold set of Isaiah 9:6-7, will rule His kingdom, the one which will have no end, just as man has had no other beginning. That is the word from Daniel 7:13-14. It is best to see this.
"I saw in the night visions, and behold,
one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven,
and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him.
"And there was given Him dominion, and glory,
and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away,
and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
As in Psalm 45 and John 8:58, the power of God is vested in the Son of God, who though in the form of God, and equal to Him, became man for service in sacrifice and power, to attest Him on earth and provide paid-for salvation for man (Matthew 20:28).
That is glory; but what of service. It is seen in beautiful simplicity in Psalm 72, concerning the millenium, just as it was seen in magnificent purity when Christ came to earth and displayed the glory of God in humility and holiness, wit and wisdom, work and healing, before man.
FEATURES IN FOCUS ... What are the features foretold in Isaiah 32, concerning the King of glory ? They are these, each like a cave in the Rock.
He will HIDE from the wind, keep from overwhelming conditions, manifest mercy in the earth. If there is the unbearable, He gives the place to hide; if there is tempest, He gives the site for security, and the cover better than clothing (as in Isaiah 61:10); and indeed in the tempest of judgment, His is the pardon which promotes peace, and allows the Rock of reality to be rested in, more than sufficient (Isaiah 26:1-2, Matthew 11:27ff.). Not only is the inward thirst satisfied (as in Isaiah 32:2), but rivers of water cavort even in a dry place, such as this spiritually arid earth grows increasingly. They spring up as in John 4:14.
There has been a few days ago, a hurricane, a tempest such as perhaps the USA has never had. Two meteoralogical systems seem to meet as if for a rendez-vous, and the acquaintance was literally like dynamite. New Jersey and New York were its hors d'oeuvres, and West Virginia and even Canada were at its gaze. Gas was issuing from burst pipes, fires raged to consume some 50 houses, the subway in Manhattan was drowned, scores were killed, millions lacked power. It is always a danger to attribute superficially and blindly a result with the deity, to an imagined cause. However the case is not so when there has been immense, sustained provocation in public terms, growing and more and more boldly searing the spiritual realms of this great nation. Sexual perversion has sought to have itself named in marriage, the President spoke of an evolution, code word for development, apparently in his thinking towards the greater degree of sexual licence involved.
Islam has been honoured by the same President, by word of his own mouth, named a Christian, and the Koran, which sacrifices Christ in the Islamic concept, 6 centuries after the event, to one who is not believ ed in as the Saviour, deemed not the sacrifice for sin, not the redeemer, not the Son of God; and indeed, whether or not He is deemed even killed, is a matter of double statement in the Koran. THIS Islamic creation is put for Jesus the Christ, and yet the President has called the book of the Koran holy ? Is sacrilege holy ? Is treating God as mere man, albeit prophet, good ? Is creation of God by man sanctified ? The Koran's creation of a new Christ is hardly ground for its congratulation, respect or regard.
It is not that the USA is alone in its waywardness; it is that it has been in much so close to the Lord for so long, in so many (though different strains have long been present also), and it has had so many great churches, that to have the falling away there also, where new christs ALSO are being made by many quasi-churches, to fit the tide of culture, satisfy popular demand and secure followings, is reminiscent of the failure in ancient Israel. HOW it fell, in its day at the coming of Christ, and how it paid as predicted long before it happened (Micah 5:1-3, Zechariah 11 with Psalm 22)! Israel is not alone in such failures, and when Gentiles so turn in spirit and word, then is it a wonder if suffering ensues!
in fact, as distinct from latter-day fictions made up about Him, the case does not change. The Son of God came, died, rose and is to return, as predicted, and in much already performed, wihtout the slightest scope for rational contradiction (cf. SMR). While millions in that much blessed nation, the USA, may still be faithful, it is alas as in ancient Israel, a nation which now has fallen into an all too 'normal' disposition towards the living God, and if He has not warned them, what has He done! Is it not wise to be warned when you wander ? Is it not kind, when death is the other option ? Is it insufferable to point out to someone who has fallen one inch from a cliff-top in the darkness, that it is well to ... back off!
It is not that the USA is alone in much of this. Europe has long gone a parallel road; and she is suffering in her own way. Australia has in much also imitated this decline, with earthy substitutes for divine creation, based on nothing, showing in nothing, enforced on children, like rat poison on lunches ()cf TMR Ch. 8). Can it hear the warning from that distance? If you hear a bomb some distance away, is it not wise to consider ...
So this day of the Lord continues towards its predicted end, this Gospel Age in which we live (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, News 121, 122). The preparation for universal judgment, for Christ's return as King, this then nears its end.
AFTERWARDS, AND NOW... When His salvation era is completed, He rules this globe openly and manifestly (as in Psalm 72), and judges decisively as in Psalm 2 and 110. What then ? Heaven is not heavy, but filled with light and immune to curse!
But what of now ? Why, not only is He a REFUGE, and a COVER, so that just as one is hidden in Him, so one is not cold in the tempests, but kept warm in His spiritual life (John 14:19-21). Not only is there thirst quenching, as needed by those seeking but not finding, when now at last they find Him; and indeed, not only will He be as RIVERS OF WATER in a dry place, a fount, more, a running stream of living waters as in Psalm 23. There is also an atmosphere, looming might and magnificence; for He acts to His own people, who believe, trusting in Him through and with His word, the Bible, as the SHADOW of a MIGHTY ROCK in a weary land (Isaiah 32:2, Isaiah 59:21).
Recall the sudden obscuration of the blasting sun, when you escape its searing rays in some massive, soaring rock, casting a refreshing deep shade, while you rest in the hollow of its refuge, its shadow of untroubled grandeur. Consider the staunch cool in a massive rock! This speaks not only of deliverance, but of the Rock which provides it, being great and adequate, immovable and emplaced without motion or commotion. What casts the shadow, in symbol, casts truth and mercy, in reality, the Rock of Ages, underneath, underlying, but always the truth.
So did Christ come without commotion, though a King sought to have Him killed, in vain; and so did He go, without armies at war (Matthew 26:53), though darkness overcame light as He went; for He simply rose from the dead, on time, in 3 days, just as that very death was on its predicted date, as foretold by Daniel 9 (cf. The Christian Prescription Ch. 2). Moreover, as to His salvation, its manner, its meaning, its reason, its point, its purpose, its Gospel, its gift and its inheritors, all are as foretold. The wonder, the counsel, the sacrificial death, the bodily resurrection, the whole scenario from heaven to earth, from sinlessness to sin-bearing, from love to settling accounts in grace, rather than in judgment: all are as foretold (Isaiah 32, 40, 42, 49-55, Psalm 16, 22, 40, 69, 72, Micah Chs. 5:1-3, 7, Jeremiah 23, Ezekiel 34, Hosea 13, Zechariah 9, 11-13 and so on).
It is very restful in the rock, and it is He who imparts power (Matthew 11:27ff., Ephesians 3:16), as the Rock of salvation. He does not change. His word does not depart from its divulgements, is not derailed from its task, does not falter but sweeps with the truth, like a tempest in the face of folly, like a zephyr in the heart of belief; and His Spirit enlivens the very dead (Ephesians 2). All this is not for no reason, but through the love of God, who is passionate about mercy (Micah 7:19ff;, John 3), and delights to deliver.
It is in terms of revelation concerning the matter. In one way, it is like an eye surgi-centre, where you are told your eye disease, and then the remedy, the manner and time and situation concerning it, the results and the warnings about conditions. In this, the condition is repentance concerning the life past, reception concerning the life to come, and faith in the One who gives it, recognising the Redeemer Himself as not a paid physician, but the only Rock, the incarnate Son of God, Lord of life, Prince of peace. He ? He is to be enjoyed for ever, for sent from the Trinity as the Word, His are all things, and through Him one finds and knows the Father, through the Ministry of His Spirit (Matthew 11:25-27, John 15:26-27, 16:7-16).
See Not only is God Great, but Glorious Ch. 5.
See SMR pp. 766, 770ff., 916.
What the terms of the announcement required, not a whore but a wonder, what the result implied, not a product of sin but the Saviour from it, what Matthew 1:23 faithfully transmits, this is the One concerned, and thus is it an astounding thing, neither a mere biological oddity nor a vagrancy, far less. The references above show the grounds more extensively.