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CHAPTER FOUR

LIES, LONGING AND THE LORD

Constitution and Dangers of National Destitution

 

News 455

The Australian p. 1, February 10, 2012

 

THE HEBREW TERMS

After all, what would you expect, when in Hebrew, the tongue of most of the Old Testament, the norm, you find words which stand for vanity, emptiness, and idol and lie, with various emphases, combining these concepts in one overall verbal tent for denunciation. These things bear application, since a parallel situation, with parallel terms, and parallel consequences threatening, faces us today. What then of these terms, and of the things combined before God, in His divine perspective. It is better to learn than burn with bushfires from cultural, political or religious hands.

You find this sort of exposure of truth and of what is coming, for example, in Jeremiah 16:19-20 cf. Jeremiah 23), that glorious parallel to Isaiah 42:6 and 49:6 which predicts the coming and conversion of Gentiles, as no less a part of the Messianic mission, then to come, than that for the Jews. What in Jeremiah is to be the cry of Gentiles in the day of their conversion ? for there has been an enormous spread of the Gospel and of conversion amid the Gentiles, amid nations, individuals, with applications both in the former British Empire of grandeur, and the USA in its nascency, as well as in Europe and in the uttermost isles of the sea.

This was to be and has been the Gentile cry, just as predicted in Jeremiah. It starts aptly in Israel, the former gathering point for prophecy, before the rejection of Jesus Christ, at the spiritual level.

"O LORD, my strength and my fortress,

My refuge in the day of affliction,

The Gentiles shall come to You

From the ends of the earth and say,

'Surely our fathers have inherited lies,

Worthlessness and unprofitable things.'

Will a man make gods for himself,

Which are not gods ?"

In Isaiah 24:14-16, you see the glorying in the Lord of these formerly without God in the world, without a covenant and so without peace (Ephesians 2:12):

"They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing:

For the majesty of the LORD

They shall cry aloud from the sea.

Therefore glorify the LORD in the dawning light,

The name of the LORD God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea.

From the ends of the earth we have heard songs,

'Glory to the righteous.'

 

"But I said, 'I am ruined, ruined!

Woe to me!

The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously,

Indeed, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.' "

 

It proceeds,

"Fear and the pit and the snare

Are upon you,

O inhabitant of the earth ..."

and it proceeds to list the listing of the earth in its coming great convulsions in succeeding verses.

In other words, the very One whose glory the Gentiles were to proclaim, and DID proclaim in mighty crusades, vast choirs, enormous outpourings of the Spirit of God, revivals, applications, missions and the like, in sanctified lives of millions, this was a fulfilment of much that Israel, at the spiritual level, had lost precisely as in the parable of Romans 11. It was spiritually for a time cut out of its very tree, while Gentiles were in Christ, grafted in.

But at that, even there is treachery, even amid the Gentiles. Even there as in II Peter 2, there is rottenness, as there was in Israel, presumptuous arrogance and default to the Lord, even where there had been energetic and strong peals of praise and cries of His glory. As in Israel, so many in the Gentile world, just now glorifying Him, before long turn aside as did Israel, multiplying the treachery which that nation showed at the official level in the day of Christ, even in this Gentile aftermath for the Gospel. Both fail and have fallen.

What then, but judgment that will rack the whole earth! and it is beginning to do so, even so obviously that even the blind give occasional twitchings, as from the light of fact and fulfilment. Such is shown in Isaiah 24, as in Revelation, as in Matthew 24. Did not Israel ingloriously betray Christ, and in the very heart of officialdom did it not sell Him for 30 pieces of silver as Zechariah 11 predicted ? Was it not subjected to divine irony in that passage, as the Lord calls it a fine price for His sale! Is the Gentile world now better ? Who is NOT betraying Him among the vast nations and larger churches ? the day is drawing near when endless compromise, in the matter of separation*1 in particular, will lead on to that slow but turgid movement to verbal fantasies and gross betrayals that slides away with much that now seems strong, where disobedience normally leads; for "God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him!" - Acts 5:32.

The consequences of this much prolonged failure in ancient Israel, even relative to the once far less intensively covered Gentiles, this being the lead step, are then itemised in Jeremiah 16:20-21. These things have of course have followed in fact, just as has Israel's predicted restoration to the land, so often prophesied in the coming near to the advent of Christ as ruler (Psalm 2, 72, Isaiah 11), has also occurred. Though Israel was dispersed for covenant breaking (Zechariah 11), yet it was to be and has been restored to its land (It Calls ... Ch. 10).  Indeed, it is yet to be, in large swaths, restored to the Lord (as in Romans 11:25ff., Zechariah 12), in terms of that very breach, soon to be repented of (Zechariah 12:10-13:1, Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8).

These then are some of the background items to the passage in Jeremiah 16 about vanities and lies and idols, to which we look. It is the same linguistic feature about this theme, which appears in Amos 2:4. Here we find that they are to be punished ...

"Because they have despised the law of the LORD,

And have not kept His commandments.

Their lies lead them astray,

Lies which their fathers followed..."

The Hebrew term here is transliterated kazab.

The same term is used in Isaiah 28:15, where Israel is seen as making a covenant with death, as being in agreement with hell, as well as making kazab, lies their refuge.  Now there are certain features in divine approach and writ, which are specific to God, and where their attribution to others is in itself a blasphemy, horror, deviation and folly. REFUGE is one of these. You see the concept in the New Testament in Hebrews 6:19, where people flee to Christ for refuge. It is in Jeremiah 16:19, where God is Jeremiah's refuge in day of trouble. This is at the ultimate level, where there is an unshakeable foundation and high tower.

Just as God is the refuge of Jeremiah in the day of trouble, so the Gentiles are to come to God speaking of the correlative which their fathers have passed down. Is it in fact a refuge ? not at all, the spot is filled with lies, vanity and unprofitable things. That was the prelude to the truth of God, before His covenant came for Israel, and was passed on in culmination in Christ. Without Him, where reliance on refuge is the issue, the Gentiles have inherited the unreliable, the non-refuge, vanity, emptiness. That their testimony foretold as in Jeremiah 16:19. The light come as the darkness goes.

Jeremiah is given to pursue the point neatly, in these ultimacies and wonders of truth, amid falsity:

"Will a man make gods for himself, which are not gods ?"

It is these which the Gentiles here predictively admit to having followed, things fashioned out of emptiness, vain things, unreal items, fascinating features of dysfunction. They have made gods for themselves out of that which is not only not God, but an empty dream. This is their illusionist spiritual inheritance, things which even before the presence of, and concerning God Himself, are lies. They may be embodied as gods, essentialised as trivialities fashioned in deceit, or deception, imposed or imparted; but their status is emptiness. Thus the concept of false god is embodying in this case, that of a false god in the special sense of a vain, because unreal thing, before the truth a 'lie', and for man, a vacuous creation.  The concepts impinge on each other, and here coalesce: false gods, lies and emptiness.

With the same term, kazab, Isaiah 28:15, then, we find these 'lies' act as a refuge, in direct contest with God, just as were those empty gods of Egypt in the Exodus, for which the Lord took such pains, to mock their total disability to DO anything when He acted. This is a continuing scriptural concept, which appears in various sites as the spiritual realities are rehearsed and the opposite, the way of error as Psalm 119 calls it, as distinct from the way of truth, is set in contrast. In it is no truth, no reliability, no faithfulness exists or can even attest itself, BECAUSE it is empty of reality, devastating to trustworthiness, a fake, a fraud. The thoughts, the approaches, the objects: it is all emptiness, vacuity, nebulous wandering. As Moses is moved to put it in Deuteronomy 32:17, these are gods newly come up: they are inventions, innovations of the intellect of man, fashioned in confusion, productive of delusion, leaving wreckage. It is like a broken ship on the shore: both the god and those who trust in it.

Indeed, in Deuteronomy, it is all characterised as "that which is not God."  It is the non-God entity, using the name ludicrously. In the same breath, we learn that "they have moved Me to jealousy by their false idols." In the imagery of love and alliance, it is like jealousy: something properly in one place and loved with fidelity and protected with care, has trundled off into trumpery, false alliance, and breaching truth, founders in complexity.

It is all one in concept: the mental, the material, the attitude, the result: emptiness, vanity, devastation, false reliance, false conceptualisations, false gods and thus idols

 

A parallel term is used in Jeremiah 16:19, namely  sheqer.

The former, kazab,  specialises emptiness, unreality, that which is not, merely signified.

The latter, sheqer,  also essentially lie, stresses falsehood, deception.  This also is found in Isaiah 28:15. There under this, they have hidden themselves. In emptiness, they take refuge; and they are in hiding under falsehood. The place is empty, vacuous, the plausibility for its part, is a matter of falsehood. It is an empty thing given a false name. a double exercise in nullity, nullification, and because God cannot be nullified, deceit. 

Another term transliterated hebel, means breath, and hence vanity, what signifies but little; and in II Kings 17:15, we learn of this that those who make these 'breaths', here a derisory term for idols, are like them*1A, they take on the features of their ostensible gods, mere fictions, vanities, exponents of emptiness, plundered by folly, husks instead of souls their turned. It is found in Deuteronomy 32:21 in the divine denunciation, as in Jeremiah 16:19, there together with sheqer. Together we gain the impact of a certain breathy unreality, that deviating, is deceitful.

This is the lie, the emptiness, the deceptive pretence, the disorientating delusion, the whirl-pool that draws to itself and then down, feckless except in destruction.

These words convey in different emphases the same underlying thought, just as the various contexts shape understanding in these diverse but intimately related ways.

 

THE DIVINE TERMS

What are these lies which their fathers followed ? Indeed from the day of Aaron when he used gold from the people to fashion a calf for worship and reversion to ideas from Egypt, these in the form of idols, had already been mocked by the Lord in the Exodus (Exodus, The Plagues of Ancient Egypt and the Plight of Modern Earth). They were still mocked in their unreality, corruption of thought, wiliness of will, descent to the infernal, by Jesus Christ as in John 8:42-44 for example. What is the source of this idolatry in antipathy moving far from the Creator-Redeemer ?

Jesus declared this:

"You are of your father, the devil." Indeed, f God were your Father,
you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God;
nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.

"Why do you not understand My speech ? Because you are not able to listen to My word."

It was then that he told them, in this state, that the devil was their father, and moreover,

"the desires of your father, you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning,
and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.
When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resource,
for he is a liar and the father of it."

Here He was, after more than half a millenium of prediction of the era of His coming and the date of His going*1B, with all the attestation that could conceivably be sought, as the prophets taught and now centuries later, the eyes could see, and the very depth of humanness could feel  as here flowed as water from a full and fast-moving river, sympathy with power, compassion with control, healing of individuals and masses of people, with teaching so incontrovertible as a massif within His other works of power, that  only death could satisfy.

Satisfy what ? First it was aimed to  satiate that lustful spirit of the evil one, which cannot stand truth, always on vapid dreams and vengeful power,  vindictive efforts against the creation of God and against God personally (Matthew 4, Revelation 12), lusting for power, inhabiting those who obey him with inveterate malice and multiplying murder, whether of bodies or reputations. That was satisfied in a lull as darkness descended on the scene, literally, and what a portent of what would come to befall that same land!

For a moment, this lust was satisfied in the devil and his accomplices, though they were outwitted and overpowered in the resurrection. Indeed, if they had inwardly realised that this was coming, they would never, though indirectly and unintentionally, have effectually performed the sacrifice of the Lamb for the plan of salvation of the ever wise Almighty! (I Corinthians 2:8). Also the earthly breeding grounds of that spirit of evil were satisfied, when they saw the monarch murdered, the power source crushed, the benevolence set upon  by the  abused law; and it seemed good to them, to have the land purged of truth. After all, it is so hard to control, and control freaks cannot stand it.

How often has this same spirit of evil and self-exultation, of a race, a false religion, a scimitar, a sword, an onrush, a murder machine, brought satisfaction on the way to doom, to those who exult, but not in the Lord, and seek to control men, their lips, their thoughts, with these  empty lies, from the heart of the Lie. Australia itself is now threatened with such a control of religion, of course in a 'good' cause, though the Constitution forbids the establishment of a religion, in fact expressly that of the State or nation, whether by direct assault, or as here threatening, usurping it by twisted words and contentious assault. This danger is spelled out in The Australian, page 1, February 10, 2012*1C. So has the same spirit tested and toasted nations before, unthankful, soaring in vacuous space, unsettled in haste, tearing truth with other considerations, which to lust have appeal; but the desolation of truth is a false mastery, and whenever it occurs, it has one ultimate source.

This then is the divine attitude to what is not the truth, to the testimony which suppresses it in any Age, to what is not operational spiritually, for the good of man, but moves to or towards what is illusory, innovative,  where reality, as in physics and chemistry, can be merely tittivated with terms, as if it were up for grabs, subversible by new evasions of spurious intellection, new violence against truth, violence simmering and then surging like the spewing of the volcano from subterranean depths. Yet reality is to be met, not imagined! It endures despite oppression. Its champion is its source, the Saviour-Creator-Redeemer. It is as it has always been and will be. Its demonstration is clear*2.

What is, is; what is not, is not. Is that not it? it is. So the old saying goes, and it is here very near to the pith of the subject.

Thus as many churches, in particular (cf. News 121, 122) and movements, many a nation, many an ideology, mutate into emptiness, innovative exploration into nothingness, invalid and anti-verified mysticism*2, or in reaction to materialism when more open about it, but leaving this, since it is absurd*3, proceeding back to unbased figments of ideals, and these, cracking under strain, moving on to illusionist ramblings and rumblings about this and that which is made to appear quite obvious for reasons never even apparent on such a non-basis: this world withers.

Nations embark without either keel or ballast. They surge, they terrify, they scoff, scorn, kill tens, today, then hundreds, thousands, millions, surging in confused shame, which is the nature of things very readily, whether in science or theology, in philosophy or in history, when you are pre-occupied with what is not there. It becomes like a whirl-wind at length, great forces unleashed with nowhere in particular to go, since they are working where man is disengaged from his place and function, and lusts for control, being himself uncontrolled.

Men's hearts failing them for fear as in Luke 21 and its predictions from the mouth of Jesus Christ, this condition is just the norm for this sort of spiritual misalliance, as through increased knowledge, foretold as a major epochal event before judgment by Daniel (12:1-3), man improves the power to toss the ship of State more obliviously into ever more stressful straits.

How great have been so many of the national and personal, institutional and missionary works for the Lord Jesus Christ, and what transformations they have wrought in this world! You have only to read a book such as the autobiography of Paul White, Alias Jungle Doctor, to see what in a very short space of time could be done as God worked, and man followed. Enormous travails were settled, while vast numbers were liberated from shame and horror, from disease and scarifying tensions, by a long prepared but short-impact work of one medical missionary in one overall cast of helpers in various nations. What of the masses of people who have so gone forth in Christ, whether territorially or nationally, in home, school or field!

How great now however,  is becoming the defective default, the moving to emptiness in theology, ideology, with United Nations so disunited that the very name is a mockery! while in Collins St Melbourne, a famous Church became a monument to the explicit disowning of Jesus Christ as very deity! Others sought to debase prophecy and assault the truth in the NAME of famous denominations. More and more dismember from the truth, as governments consort with atheism, and the treachery to the teaching of truth becomes, whether formal, informal or both, part of the very spirit of this age. It is one of murder and incomprehension, tension and erraticisms extraordinary, hatreds incalculable, power arising like a tornado, as man falls by his own hand.

One always remembers at Scotch College, Melbourne, in Chemistry, a student whose name the teacher would read out first (as he ascended in marks). So and so, he said, nought! That was the mark accorded. Such is the performance now in these adult fields of folly, where man ascends the mount of humanism with mysticism, full of words and empty of meaning (cf. SMR Ch. 3 in contrast with Ch. 5), indeed often lamenting his meaningless as he puts meaning where in his emptiness there is none. His mountain is but a cloud, and therefore nubilous!

Meanwhile man is increasingly insisting on manhandling the universe by its own powers, as if he had created these or knew the One who did, from whom increasingly he turns like a man from his own heart's need (Romans 1:17ff. - it is a repetitive process, now escalating), as if it were vomit. Making of himself a foundling, a building without foundation, man seeks to found what is already old before it is born, his own kingdom based on himself, either his psychological or sociological wants, his amoral desires, which can be suicidal before God, ignoring what both he is and what he is for, like an anomalously ancient stripling, drugged beyond thought, unwilling to find out, discovering only pride and bombast amid excited friends who enjoy the program.

 

END OF TERM

It has become nauseous to be real, insufferable to be spiritual, necessary to be deluded as in II Thessalonians 2:10, and it all sums itself up when the Great Emptiness, the man of sin, masquerades as important though impotent, before as there shown,  being devastated by the judgment of the God who though patient, terminates when the time comes, when truth has been exposed like rocks, though the ships persist in wreckage upon them.

In these ways, the time is coming, and the opportunity is going. It is always time to operate on the deadly, to act on the imperious thrusting itself to your ruin. Leaving it in place, is in the end, to leave life. It is truly wonderful and magnificently merciful that the time is still here when a man can call on the name of the Lord as in Acts 2, and find in the only name under heaven given among men by which they may be saved, that of Jesus Christ. Indeed, it is as in Acts 4:12, by that name that they MUST be saved, it declares. Why ?

Is it too hard to realise that man is lost, looks like it, acts like it, lies and covers up emptiness with loud words and angry deeds, elevates himself with good works at best, built on his own conceptions as controller, and consigns himself where he will,  as if no law existed, as if an airliner did not need to be concerned about the air, as if it were this which was mere emptiness*2. There is emptiness of thought, when reality is consigned intemperately to oblivion. There is emptiness of life when reality is evacuated, like Jews from Hitler's Europe, proceeding to Nazi destinies all but unthinkable, though to avoid them is to invite more of similar things by new machinations of empty hearts and burdened minds.

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Is it too hard to realise that God is not lost and has provided,
 

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instead of extermination of failing man, of fallen man,
fervently inventive and utterly discrepant man, a remedy;
 

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and that this is the very reason why man is still allowed to live.

Is it too much to conceive and to find that there is a remedy according to truth, that God thinks and understands and has acted and there is no other solution but His! Judgment will be according to truth (Romans 2:1ff.), and so is the remedy (Isaiah 53).

As in science, when it grows up*4, you find what is and what is not. What use is there in imaging and imagining what is not, as if you had forever to deceive yourself ? You take it as it is; and it is magnificent that the Creator, detesting lies, the lie and the emptiness of vacuity, with which rebellious man seeks to adorn himself, has allowed man to void truth in the Person of His incarnate Son, sent to save. In doing so, man has provided by crime the sacrifice for sin, enabled by love, in the brilliant wisdom of God. There alone has truth shown its face, the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus. This only is verified, validated and functional*2. Others are empty of proof, without attestation of verification, anti-verified, without the remedy, sponging on man, because he loves to have it so.

There is a way which seems right to man, but the end of that way is death. It is wise to consider evacuation from the mortuary, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who, in so doing, was precisely both on time and on target (The Christian Prescription Ch. 2), providing for man (Titus 2-3), fishing for men (Ezekiel 47, Matthew 4:19), and in form as a man, providing for man, as God. There is no admittance to His peace, without admission of sin and its foul results (Luke 13:1-3); there is no permission for His grace, without evacuation of one's own claims to merit, for with God, none can stand, or comes slightly near to it (Ephesians 2:1-12, 4:17-19). There is no rejection of the lost who have found it so, and seek God at any cost, where the lies of men and their unreliability do not enter (Matthew 11:27ff., John 6:37).

Refuge is delicious when you have been storm-tossed (Isaiah 54); reliability is marvellous the more when you have been betrayed almost as if it were normal; but God Himself, He who is our Maker, has the sense a mother has for an infant, a father for a lad, a home for a soldier returning. It is just and fitting, and a wonderful thing still to be there, now to come there as from outside; but He, He is not a thing, but a Father, the Father and the only one spiritually permitted that name (Matthew 23:8-10), the author of eternal life from His own eternity, exporting it to man via atoning death and resurrected power, till He comes (I Corinthians 11:26, 15:56ff., Hebrews 9:23-28).

 

NOTES

*1 See Separation.

 

*1A

This result for that text is pointed out in word studies in Harris, Archer and Waltke's Theological Word Book of the Old Testament. It is also found in Psalm 115, where we find of idols, that those who make them are like them.

 

*1B

See The Christian Prescription ... Ch. 2.

 

*1C

See Freedom, The Nation, The Internet, and the Next Generation Ch. 1 which outlines the sort of issue arising and then arising again, with this or that push, pretext or thrust of desire. The danger is always that a State, instituting its own thoughts about God or not God, both religious, society as more important than God or simply supreme in all things, for this or that reason, though irrational as baseless (*2 below), will become the religious mandate  ultimate. Its construction of priorities, say feeling before fact, annoyance above truth and the like, allowing persecution in the name of intrusion into other people's ideas or likes or dislikes, becomes a psychological fantasy, burying reality in saucy surliness, as if we were above reality and did not really need it.

Thus has many a nation, in its version of imperial power over its people, fantasised itself into a deserved oblivion.

See also Tedious Torturers ... Chs.   7 and   10, with related issues and implications.

In the news article in The Australian, noted, we find inter alia that NSW  Attorney-General, Greg Smith has issued a warning. Relative to an impending area of Commonwealth legislation, he has this to say:

 "The consolidated legislation may very considerably increase the regulatory burden
and cost of business (and) diminish core democratic freedoms of speech,
conscience, religion and association."

 Much more is presented.

 

*2

See

SMR, TMR, and

The gods of naturalism have no go!

Deity and Design ... esp. sections 2 and 8, together

with

LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST

WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES

AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS

 

See also:

RELIGION, RELIGIOSITY AND REALITY IN CHRIST

Largely this is to APPLY what may be demonstrated of God (as in Romans 1:17ff.), which has in this site been shown in some detail, to what ? It is to apply it to the religions which make proclamation concerning Him, as likewise to those who tell us about it without rising to make proclamations from Him. In each case, there is lapse and collapse, since there lacks the necessary means to make them live, stand and continue.

 

*3

See for example,

Repent or Perish Ch. 7 and

Christ Incomparable ... Ch. 2.

 

*4

See Scientific Method...