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DELINQUENCY AND DUTY
Avoiding the -ism isthmus
From Mainland Christ:
The WAY is Narrow
No ROOM to Roam
Dispensationalism (a changing God, distilled and various,
strangely, over time *1);
Decisionism (unfallen will, God you elect,
blazes, No! incorrect...);
Neo-evangelicism (forms and phrases, duty lazes);
(doctrinal mazes with philosophic crazes);
Much multiplied in supply,
As far from Pentecost
As mountain peaks arranged in glory
From the plashing of the seas,
As far as infant stammering
From the miraculous
That marked the apostles' crusade
And wholly unafraid,
Defying and denying
They sharply brought the Gospel
To the fallen human race,
Now linguistically in pieces
its wanton sins;
WCC ecumenism *3
A scourge and division
To fracture the outward unity
Of the body of Christ,
Manufacturing false christs
In unholy communions
Schullerism (man so good,
Adventism (no assured place -
accorded from the first by grace:
so give heaven time, or heaven help you!
Romans 5:9, Ephesians 1:4
not alas here come on line) ...
whatever the intention
hope or pretension:
In this or that form or dimension,
One and all
Avoidance of duty
Or distance from grace
In departure from embracive mercy,
or wandering from the way of duty,
they roam and wander,
so much they squander:
And heedless taunts (Matthew 27:42-44)
Embraced His duty.
At all points (Luke ).
Face like flint
And yielding all in love and truth
He showed entwining
Met the sting without support
Of any carnal wit or sham,
Which sin He never wrought had bought -
Poured out grace
That grace alone
In love by truth
All His should cover.
Holy, free -
His was the shame:
He died for me.
Who came to Him -
For mercy ardent
Given place -
He poured on all who came
The wonders of His name.
He does it still,
So vast His will.
A new, celestial Christian race -
No more the bellowing of bull
But bleating of sheep
Under one Pastor -
Lives upon these rolling hills:
Hearts now in Him
Soon heaven to follow.
Wars are driven
Leaves by wind
And life is peace
And truth and joy
They see the wonder of His face
At last - His glory is the
On every face
The name of God on lively foreheads
Gleams and glistens.
The spiritual sun -
Glorious God -
Thy will be done!
*2 See A Question of Gifts; see Acts 2.
Australian Government for
Biblically, several principles should give pause here. ONE: Overturn, overturn! Look at Ezekiel 21:26-27:
"Remove the diadem, and take off the crown; this shall not be the same: exalt him who is low, and abase him who is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it to Him."
The errant rulers of
First, then, if this our Australian land wants to cast off the last vestiges of its "Christian" and "Protestant" past (although at times in name only, and scarcely in that), then here is the grand opportunity. This loss will not however by any means save it. The less the land relates, however indirectly, to the Bible, the worse it will be, the less liberty, security and peace.
Second, in the pagan meantime, discretion and prudence are needed. A good man, the Bible says, guides his affairs with discretion (Psalm 112:5). Obviously when the power of God is not given its place, the power of man is a threat while it engages in its petty theatrics and delusions.
Hence it would seem wiser:
1) to retain the title Governor-General because
a) this preserves in memory the fact that the past was comparatively "tame", that is, not flamboyant and rather stable. A stable building is better than a flighty one that falls... on people.
b) it tends to emphasis the UMPIRE or ARBITER concept more than that of RULER, which in banana republics, can be such tinny tinsel of utter disgrace, clothing what in fact becomes readily a rotten banana.
2. To PRESERVE the constitutional power of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, as they have considerable capacity to meet and treat of things, without their being the idolatrous dangers of a President - including that of self-idolatry. They are a BODY within a BODY - that is, the Parliament; and the plurality can help in such a situation as this.
3. To PRESERVE the constitutional scope of the Senate to block supply of funds, so that the BODY ELECTED TO REPRESENT STATES EQUALLY can do its appointed work, in stopping any massive group from having power go to its head. Better be a little slow than subverted. Better have more checks than less. When the whole land may be subverted, care is called for.
4. Ensure that this power is not eroded, or bypassable, lest some 'bright' young thing - or not so young thing - has ideas that bypass the guaranteed State brakes.
5. Consider having the Governor-General to be composed of several members, each representing a State. This should slow down the rate and spate of excitable self-importance which easily dazzles a Land bent on self-destruction, such as those that litter history. "In the multitude of counsellors," says the Bible, "there is safety" (Proverbs 14:28).
6. Make it emphatic that a chief, if not the chief function of the "governor-general" is to be an umpire, to blow the whistle at a foul, or to investigate a suspected foul, or illegality, or overreaching on the part of the government, or befouling oversight. In this way, the mere fact that a group of people control Parliament through their numbers will not be likely to be equated with "absolute power" with all the frittering follies thiscan evoke.
7. Thus the G.G. would tend to CALL AN ELECTION when the situation appeared irresolvable, perilously close to unconstitutional, or to be played imperiously and carelessly to the detriment of order and wisdom. In this way it would not so much DETERMINE issues as DETERMINE ELECTIONS when the issues appeared to be so near the heart of things, and so near to disruptive of due process, or so irresolvable that a FRESH INPUT of ELECTORAL RESPONSE would seem better than a mere autocratic exercise of power on the part of someone - G.G. or P.M..
8. In short, the UMPIRE can blow the whistle to stop the game, and get the players re-elected. THEN the new group would at least be elected with their response to the issue IN MIND on the part of the ELECTORATE. Indeed, it would be likely that the various solutions of contesting parties would be considered by the electorate in making its choice. It would then tend to get what it asked for, reviewing the state of play and the state of the case.
9. One slight refinement, though not a necessary one, is this: The G.G. could tend to call for elections rather than make sackings; and use the latter ONLY if the call for election was seriously resisted.
10. Paranoia would in these ways be reduced in its likelihood, self-idolatry moved on, a variety of STAGES would be in view in any deadlock, headlock or hemlock evils and all would realise that mere presence of power did not equate with unlimited capacity to talk and walk. As Proverbs 19:2 puts it: "He who hastes with his feet sins."
In other words, acute danger can be met in enduring structures carefully made in peace; but as for those structures, as for the matters requiring wisdom,responsibility and a general way of life: haste is less important than wisdom.
In the end, when Jesus Christ returns, we shall see incorruptibility, sinlessness and power in a glorious mix for which the human race naturally enough often pines; for neither in government nor any other aspect of life is God dispensable; and the indispensable result of removing the God who spoke and came, the word of God, the rule of the Saviour, is an absence of salvation. In a setting of sin, this is going to lead to sentence on all structures which arise in their own right and power; and justly so.
In the meantime, a path of care and discretion for the land is superior to one of flamboyance and flitting. Freedom of speech and thought is of extreme importance and fare more likely to be maintained when there are these various powers and stages, preventing the traditional floutings of excited autocracy so loved by petty rulers and proud potentates.
It also helps to be freely called back to facts, and hence to be able to hear such calls; for the authoritarian tramping on contrary voices without ground or reason, is just a short step from a deserved ruin which can be so total that in the past, some vast capitals are tame mounds, or were even hard to find ... amid the dust of ages, in the deserts!
(See Nahum 2:13-3:19, Ezekiel 26:3,14-21
- SMR pp. 712-714.)
Weather - Important Guest at the Party -
Feb. 28, 1998 Adelaide Advertiser, Feb.25, Time Magazine, 'March 2, 1998'...
with July 1998
Stop Press of cumulative confirmation.
NEWS 29 - Feb. 27, 1998
Weather - Important Guest at the party
WEATHER - Long ago, when the world was younger, there was an old saying: Whether the weather be cold, or whether the weather be hot, we'll weather the weather, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not!
However, there are some weathers which take a salient strength to weather - like the el niņo antics which have given Florida
· "the deadliest round of tornadoes... since the National Weather Service started keeping detailed records a half-century ago" - AP in Adelaide Advertiser, Feb. 25, p. 35. In Time Magazine, p. 45, March 2, 1998, we read this:
· "In early February one of the most powerful storms on record slammed into California, swamping the coast with 10-m waves, drenching the state with torrential rains and blasting it with near hurricane-force winds. Rail lines and major highways were cut by floodwaters up and down the coast, and hundreds of homes were destroyed. Within a week, two more storms had struck ..."
On p. 46,
That is merely for the moment. There has been documented in World Watch, Dec. 1994, even at that time, a rising tide of meteorological severities. However our current interest is water. The Greenhouse Effect contribution to increased energy available for storms, melting ice contributing to increased water supplies*1 in the oceans and increased heating as a base level datum, in terms of apparent long-term trends has already set the stage so that President Clinton, some weeks ago, spoke of the need for care in energy production, lest the time should come when parts of Florida's coastline should become submerged! Before that, some islanders in the Pacific Ocean area had asked the world conference on this topic of energy and Greenhouse matters to consider that IF there were not restraint, their WHOLE islands could be submerged, not a mere part of a coastline.
These small items are enough to make the point that the Bible, in its synthetic presentation of the patterns of the end-times, rising to a crescendo as a pointer not to Desert Storm but to World Emergency by divine decree, and one so apt and so active that UNLESS THOSE DAYS WERE SHORTENED NO FLESH COULD BE SPARED, has amongst the many with which we are so familiar, this point. There will be a situation in which one will perceive
· "the sea and the waves roaring". In these long term forecasts there is often found in the Bible an economy of style - like Daniel 12's
· "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase" as one of the end-time signals - and this is no exception to that. In other words, these brief appraisals are put in because they will be noteworthy, epochal flags.
As far as the sea and the waves roaring, two things have happened: The phenomenon is highly noticeable on the grand scale, and the grounds for its continuation and augmentation are also present. It is the majestic certainties with which WHATEVER God has to say on ANY point come round more certainly than night following day which is impressive.
The realities arrive like guests to a party; and the grounds for their arriving in even more splendour, and in this case, destruction, are arriving as if they too were among the guests.
The Adelaide Advertiser, July 25, 1998, provides a Reuters' report, from Washington. It indicates that "the new data from remote and stormy West Antarctica could be the first real evidence that some of these massive glaciers might be rapidly retreating." The data are reported to come from "radar images from satellite observations between 1992-1996" relating to Pine Island.
The shrinkage is "important because it could lead to a collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet", according to Eric Rignot, a radar scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Sea levels could be raised throughout the world, with "regions near sea level experiencing more flooding and faster erosion", notes Craig Lingle, glaciologist of the University of Alaska, who is also reported as saying that the Pine Island Glacier is "really a fast-moving ice stream, taking accumulated snow from the interior of the ice sheet and splitting it into the ocean in the form of ice." A figure of 6 metres of sea level elevation was considered, with thought for "problems" in coastal consequences!
The heating thereby attested is the engine, the water the
material, the heights, equipped with energy, the peril, the coasts the
location, as Bible prophecy dramatically is focussed. The coherent pattern of predicted
items forms like tartan.
Time for us to examine, this time, Time's
untimely treatment of former times. March 9, 1998... Is it a case, in this instance, of the History Manufacturing Co. ?
Time for us to examine, this time, Time's untimely treatment of former times. March 9, 1998...
Time Magazine has often transgressed with superficial, if not sophisticatedly callow treatments of things moral and religious. If it has any supernatural offshoots from the upbringing reported of founder Henry Luce, it might seem even more wary in showing them than might a 'Christian' convert in China today: assuming the conversion were merely superficial. Where faith is, legs follow... and mouths (James 2:18-20).
News ? Yes
This is not to deprecate the extraordinarily conscientious job the magazine often does in collecting the accounts of happenings world-wide. At reporting it is so far above its interpretation that it seems to hold fast to the statement attributed by it in its March 9, 1998 issue, to Luce. This ? that the world is a complicated sort of a place, but telling a story is (relatively) easy.
Not that Time Magazine cannot on occasion treat some of the deeper things with some aplomb; but alas, as the tide goes out, and a river to the sea, so Time is often so
that for my own part, I
often almost despair of obtaining even my news there. This is not because the
news is not there, but because so very much else appears there to hold court
Putting it one way ...
An excellent illustration of the problem has occurred in this week's issue. On the last inner page, 119, a writer does quite a good job, assuming his facts are sound, in saying: "Luce inherited a zeal to spread American values and Christianize the communist world. He was very up front about his approach." It may be that this partially misguided objective was Luce's. One who has not studied his personal history is in no position to contest it. 'Christianization' is not a Biblical concept. American values are very mixed, amorphous, difficult to locate as times and modes change; though there is some inherited trend, strengthened by not a few Christians still left, who value God and His word above the world altogether (James 4:4).
Yet it is still possible that this is what this individual and famous man believed and did.
But not the other!
On an earlier page, however, Time comes out with a disastrous piece of journalistic engineering using philosophic assumptions which certainly do violence to the facts. It appears more journalism by retrospective philosophic analysis, than by ascertainment of facts. It is almost as if history could be constructed by ... reflection!
Why should one bring this up? Because it is not easy to have a letter published in Time Magazine, and it would not seem likely that this one would reach its pages! It is no less an issue to be raised because such an appalling statement as that to which we now come, MUST for the interest of truth, Christ and restraint, be exposed.
"The contrast," says Time - p. 56, "between the ordered world of the missionary community and the harsh social and physical landscape outside it reinforced the assumptions driving the missionary project in China: the unquestioned belief in the moral superiority of Christianity and the cultural superiority of America; and the commitment to show the way not just to the love of Christ but also to a modern, scientific social order."
Now you may say, 'But ONE interpretation of this is again merely that this is how LUCE'S parents saw things.' However, the 'missionary community' does not sound like a household. It would be more than ponderous! After all, we have just heard reference to "like most missionary families", in terms of their living quarters. The scope cannot with any pretence at clarity, be less.
It would be not fitting for such fulsome generalising; but even if it were, what follows is wholly unambiguous, and it DOES follow on in the same vein: "The image of America that Luce had as a child was the idealized one his father and other missionaries created to justify their work." You will notice "created" and "justify their work"! Here we have the motivation and activation: this is the way things went, we learn.
History, how do you lament at this caricature! On this basis, Luce's father with other missionaries - no exemptions or exceptions are noted: had an image of AMERICA to hold as 'idealized', and it was THIS which in effect, they used to 'justify their work'. Now ostensibly, their work, as the writer appears to realise somewhat, was not at all this.
SPRINGS OF ACTION ?
It was something quite different. It was to preach the Biblical gospel, and to reclaim sinners through it to the Almighty and Living God, in the name of Jesus Christ. Yet perceptively? the Time writer is able to tell us that IN FACT, as the journalism runs, it was an IDEALIZED bit of the world, called America which was the object used in justifying what they were doing.
It is of course true that many culturally servile substitutes for missionaries may indeed glorify their countries, cultures, backgrounds and so forth; and that some who do NOT do this, yet seek most strenuously to raise the living standards of those to whom they go, sometimes to the detriment of the Gospel, which can be compromised; while others of course seek to raise their spiritual standards, amidst kind deeds, realising that eventually, as Christ taught in the sermon on the Mount, the rest will follow.
WINGS OF IMAGINATION ?
This, it would be made to appear, was the way it was. "His father and other missionaries", the "missionary community" would not appear to mean, "his father and some other people who were acting as missionaries"; and "missionary community" would not seem to relate to odd parties. No allowance for exception is made, and all is exposed as to the nature of this body of people, as if it were by some expert psychiatrist, some most acute historian who holds secretly in his vaults, millions of documents able to demonstrate his claim.
Psychiatry itself however is not apt for such accuracy in retrospective analysis; and motivation is not so easily assessed of a whole category of numerous people, often highly individual, and ostensibly of a very different inspiration, motivation and characterisability.
In view of some of the missionaries like David Brainherd, it is an incalculable insult to Christian missionaries so to intone; it is unnecessary and inadequately researched. Even if MANY were found in this mould, as they may well have been, what research has even covered all the lives involved, painstakingly pursuing every aspect, phase, approach, individual, diversification, emphasis; and to what research is one directed ? what that is adequately comprehensive to render characterisable without qualification, the lives which demonstrates the point being made.
When you make unqualified statements about American missionaries of an era, you need to know your missionaries - all of them. This is language available for the MANY lesser degrees of journalistic or other analysis of evidence, and the MANY deftly put characterisations which such knowledge as is available, would make both scholarly and restrained.
GARDENS, SLUMS AND
LOOKING TO HIM WHO IS INVISIBLE
Certainly a slum may from a distance give a banal appearance; but when one walks in it, one may find some gardens, flowers and even parks. There doubtless have been slums in the spiritual performances of some missionaries, and it is to be confessed that I have myself seen one American missionary lady who seemed near to the mould noted; though at that, I could not so dispense with the rest of her approach as to generalise in this way. It would involve an assessment of her inward motivation and conception to which I do not have access.
Slums there may be. However these are not the only spiritual cities which have been built. Nor are all cities characterisable by such elements; and some are amazingly free of them, in degree. Indeed, many Christians follow the word of God daringly, seeking a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10,16), a "better city" contrasted expressly with anything offered by this present world. They proceed as with Moses, as "seeing Him who is invisible", being what, on this earth ? "This: "strangers and pilgrims". Nor is this surprising, since it is expressly held up as an example, as a principle, as a process and procedure which is of the essence of faith, without which no man can please God (Hebrews 11:6).
THE ACME OF THE FANCIFUL
But let us return to what is before us. When a NEWS magazine engages in this sort of religious indoctrination, for that is what it is functionally, whatever the intention - and editors should be alert to dismiss such laxity of generalisation - it parallels only too well the almost inconceivable failure of Time magazine to have any exposed idea of the
As to that topic of creationism, yes, my own researches are available, especially in That Magnificent Rock, Chs.1, 2, 5, The Shadow of a Mighty Rock (trilogy) esp. Chs.2, 10 and A Spiritual Potpourri, Chs.1-9. I do not make the statement lightly, have surveyed the issues and present this conclusion.
Certainly in this case, it is also a matter of faith; but I can find no reason which can withstand it. Long have I held out opportunity in University and this country and that. No reply of sustained reason and scientific method, seems ever to come.
The case there is far different with this social generalisation about missionaries - to which one must, in Christ's own name, object - in the latest edition of Time magazine. Freedom of ideas must make better allowance for ALL the facts.
judgments of those who are morally "neutral" are most amusing. How
often those who have no values, know how wrong must be those who have certain
values, in terms of their own 'non-existent' values. Judging values yet without
values, they are the leading contortionists amongst many circus goers. See The
Shadow of a Mighty Rock, pp. 374-386.
"Israel tells US
to play fair on pullout" -
The Australian, p. 16, March 28-29, 1998
Whose is what in Israel ? News 32
"Israel tells US
to play fair on pullout" -
The Australian , p. 16, March 28-29, 1998
This newspaper article involves us in some of the writhing ambiguities, interpretations or assurances which come into play in the Middle East "agreements", accords and dispositions between so many interested parties.
As Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu declares, there are indeed "vital interests" for Israel, as the most narrow-necked piece of almost imaginary real estate, vastly reduced from Biblical prescriptions, is actively considered for yet further reduction. This is in the interests of parties such as those who attempted to eliminate Israel in 1948, when it was composed not least of those who had escaped some of the tendernesses of others who also felt the Jews had really too much - as in the case of Germany.
The extreme disproportion between Arab land holdings and the minuscule slice which gives itself the name Israel is a constant reminder of the basic blindness of the UN. It was blind when, in 1947, it attempted to have the city of Jerusalem internationalised, as if Europe were to require such a thing of England's London: and this led freely on to the miraculous, prophetic war of 1948 (Zechariah 12,14)! The inconceivable became history and history groaned beneath the load, as still heard in UN proposals for Israel.
As the peace process grinds grimily on, one thing is sure, as it is always sure, always has been sure and will be: and that ? it is this:-
GOD WILL KEEP HIS PROMISES.
Till Christ come, those Jews will not be put out of Israel, and Jerusalem will be a "burdensome stone" to all those nations which seek to occupy themselves with her: this is predicted in Zechariah 12, in terms as clear as those of recent history, which has for some years been vigorously, even dedicatedly verifying it in the news.
This the Lord will do, whatever schemes Iraq holds. That nation has suffered not a little after announcing that it was, after all, still in 1991 at war with Israel, since 1948: it has been almost dismantled.
He will do it whatever the US does, and that body has suffered in queer nerve results for many who were near the Iraqis. The US has not suffered as Iraq did, but its assured statesmanship when it tells the Jews how the matter really is, and what must really be done, without being in the least apparently aware of, or else deeply concerned about fundamental issues of geographic peril, relative land proportions and divine decrees, as if God were first to be negated, and then crucial history ignored - such as the Arab intents on the Jews in 1948, and the withdrawal pending the Jewish defeat - which, unfortunately for some who left then, did not happen.
What is just as sure is this: that Israel needs salvation, not through Rabin or Peres, however estimable some of their efforts may have been; but through the Jewish Lord Jesus Christ,
The help will NOT come through ceding Jerusalem - the city of the King's murder - to those who worship another god, the city where in former time a Gentile governor left the term 'king' on the notice above Jesus, saying, "What I have written, I have written!" ... Surely it is one of the briefest encomiums of all time!
Pilate's excuse for justice was small. But what GOD HAS WRITTEN concerning the King (Psalm 45,
Zechariah 14, Isaiah 49, Psalm 2, 72) will be fulfilled as indeed was the
prediction last time, when His death was the divinely directed scenario, which
in a way, has received more oscars than any. In the end, truth is not
necessarily stranger than fiction; but it is better. It has irresistible power,
and its name is called Saviour, Lord, Jesus the Christ.
This is drawn from NEWS 33
on the web page
for World Wide Web Witness
with modifications for our present purpose.
There follows an event reported in Israel which has the dual advantage here of both portraying the contemporary significance of our topic on the broader scale, indeed even in the fast-moving political arena, and drawing the mind to see how vital are the considerations in view as we consider just what the covenants are, just what rest is and just where the Christian needs to be, who is able to walk on his knees, a wise posture, as there is no distance to fall (Isaiah 66:2).
It shows no less where the people of all races need to be, even in the Middle East. It is not willing to lie down. Reality has come to focus here, and the situation is not for sale.
New Life, Melbourne, April 9, 1998
"Israeli Christians 'compromise' on bill" ...
What however IS this compromise ?
Only this: that the groups says,
Further, they precede this by the statement,
Again, relative to their aid to the poor and the immigrant in the land, they add -
By contrast, Jesus the Christ, speaking of these SAME Jewish traditions, declared (to Jews, His people by race), citing Isaiah:
" 'In vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men ... All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition" -
from Mark 7:7-9.
We have here a statement by the founder of Christianity and by various missionary officials, and their similarity is that existing between black and white.
He DENOUNCES the Jewish community's traditions as, if and where outside, beyond or contrary to the word of God, in the whole life pattern of divinely directed order.
They ANNOUNCE their desire NOT to alienate from this denounced thing. Of course the Old Covenant or Testament has not been revoked, any more than High School is revoked for a University student. But it is still wholly improper for the University student to attend High School for learning instead of University.
Similarly, Hebrews tells us the Old Covenant is "obsolete" (8:13) and "ready to vanish away"; but these groups appear to indicate that it is not, that it is still operative in its integrity, does not need exposure as a misplaced primary focus
Certainly it is not revoked, but it is surpassed, key areas fulfilled to the uttermost.
Nevertheless, the matter is allowed to appear as if what is involved were just a matter of observance of just Old Covenant Jewishness.
Yet how can the Old Covenant be ready to fade away, while being affirmed as operative ? How can it be in essence fulfilled, while embraced as per se current and contemporary ? Certainly what is unfulfilled will remain until it is; but the
How would you be happy for Jewish people to embrace it, then, as if the Messiah had not come (cf. The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, pp. 755ff., 455ff.,886ff., 810-836, 779ff.): so that it becomes for them an emblem of the ground of His rejection, like a revolver pointing at the wrong person! Good the Old Covenant undoubtedly is (Romans 7:13, 8:1-4), but it is intended to point for salvation to ONE to whom this eternal honour is due. (Cf. Ezekiel 21:26-27, Psalm 2, 45, 72, Zechariah 11:13, 12:10, 13:6.)
As He said,
"You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life: and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life!" - (John 5:39-40).
How can Jesus Christ be its embracing focus and completion of the Old Covenant in its vital essence, while for Judaism it yet has no embracing focus and completion ? How can you respect a religion which does not respect Jesus Christ ? in this: that His claims are rejected, His mission is bypassed and His challenge is set aside ? Do you thus honour and respect God ? Is it enlightened for a doctor so to love his patient that he even respects his disease, and will leave without seeking to alienate his patient from that disease ?
What if his disease is to eat and act as he did when young, when now he is not ? Is that respectable ? Alas it is discordant with the true position for the patient, whose life becomes a living (and alas dying) anachronism of deadly import to his well-being.
Certainly to this the actions of Jesus Christ, Lord, were diametrically opposed, He indeed declaring,
"Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered" - Luke 11:53. He was thereafter crucified, for the moment His adversaries engaging in this:
"they began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him" - Luke 11:53-54.
HE did not noticeably engage in a compromise to respect their traditions and community per se, to live harmoniously with that status quo. Quite the opposite! He exposed it as a victim ordained, protesting their error, exhorting them to repent and to come to Him, Jehovah in the flesh (John 8:58, 5:19-23). Then, dying, He rose again - but not for this, that His servants should engage in a peace program diametrically opposed to all He said and did in this area. (Cf. Ch.3, Deliver Us from Dispensationalism. supra pp.27ff..)
Respect them ? yes: seeking their good and showing respect to them as fellow human beings whose has been the enormous privilege of delivering up to us the sacred scriptures of righteousness which attested the coming of Jesus Christ with such fidelity, respect their conscientious transmission and studious scholarship in so much for so long ? Yes, and long for them to find the due consummation their own scriptures depict as well (Romans 10:1-9).
Love the Jews ? Of course, did He not die for them as for any, in His extensive offer (I John 2:2) which yet impinges healthfully only on those who receive Him (John 1:12, Romans 8:32), who, and who alone are those of whom it is also written, "By His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5, cf. John 8:24, 10:11,26). Those so healed are the "we" of whom it is also written, "On Him was laid the iniquity of us all".
Do not Christians who
follow the Bible love them also ? Does not my doctor look like loving me when he orders this
and that in the interests of health, and does he not rather hate me when he
indulges me in errors for my body, in his compromising
advices ? Love is neither listless nor harmonious by verbal phrases which contradict the true interest. There is nothing subtle about contradiction.
How then could the Jewish challenge be met better than this ? Doubtless it could be met in many things, but in this thing not least, to answer with the same boldness as was so becomingly seen in Peter and John when assailed by the Jewish authorities for their divergence and for their reaching out to Jews in Christ's name. Those authorities, to be sure, were "greatly disturbed" (Acts 4:1), that they "taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody..." Sounds like the possible results of some anti-missionary law if, instead of compromise, it were to be enacted... The authorities further asked the apostles not to so trespass on their traditions as to "speak at all" or "teach in the name of Jesus". But ..
"But Peter and John answered and told them, 'Whether it be right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.' " This we read in Acts 4:19. We do not however read it in the news coverage of the current compromise in Jerusalem. It is not only times which have changed.
The unchanging God has given the way. It is never right to use force in the name of Christ to impose views, trickiness or folly; it is always right to love even your enemies; but it is never right to compromise for Christ, so that His words and His example are bypassed, and those in need are satisfied by the meeting of the clamour of their mouths despite the (Christ-declared) need of their souls. THIS should always be kept unsurpassed as a goal, just as a life-saver will not be deterred in his mission to handle the main thing, and save the life of the drowning soul.
It is very good that some
Christians on the scene in Israel, have protested that the compromise would
limit their proper testimony. For the love of Christ and of the Jews, one can
but join them in this!
AFFIRMING the TRUTH
- Beauty and Blessing
It may be that some will want to explore some of the interstices of Jewish and Gentile inter-relations, the divine covenants to them and their force, in the light of the Biblical perspectives - and the magnificent obligato music of the Christian heart and conscience as provided by Jesus Christ and resounding throughout the Bible. For anyone like that, what follows is provided.
As Hebrews so clearly teaches, the splendour of sacrifice, the emblems of regality and the eminence of priesthood reside alike in Jesus, Saviour, Messiah, Lord and Christ. These aspects in the Old Covenant find their resting place and consummation in Him (cf. Isaiah 22:20-25; Isaiah 53, 9:1-7). It is He, Jehovah in the flesh, the express image cast in human form, format, of the Almighty with whom we here have to do.
1. This however is far from meaning that because the King (albeit crucified, with a veritable precision of method in the mockery) has come, that therefore God (who according to pre-stated plan, resurrected His Son - Psalm 2,22,16, Isaiah 26:19, Zechariah 12:10) has forsaken His rule of life.
not ceased to be moral because Israel has ceased
to be theocratic.
Rather (Matthew 5-7), all the more intensely are His morals binding because the King has come, bidding us all to be watchful for His return (Matthew 5:17-20, 24:45-51,21:43-46, John 5:19-23).
Indeed, at that time of His return visibly to this world (Acts 1:7-11), after so long an exposure to the glowing beauty of the holy and divine love by which the Father would embrace us in Christ, the race will, one by one, sinner by sinner, devious denier by delinquent wanderer, find that judgment which deals not merely with the sins of the flesh committed in this or that way. It will deal also with that superb effrontery and ultimate denial which rejects, even perhaps scornfully, the cover which He has provided, the mercy which He at such price, offers.
It is as if gas-masks so desired by the Israelis, and soon perhaps by others, were despised in the face of coming attack, by mere whim or caprice, laziness or indifference. Then not the germ but the rebellion is the essence. So here when the judgments of God come to those who are recalcitrant, who even in the face of mercy, do not regard the kindness of the Lord, whatever their race or climate, power or pretension: divine justice then comes with a parallel disregard to the clamour of pretension (John 3:17-20, II Thessalonians 1:5-10, Revelation 19, Jude 15).
God does not change, His principles He does not subvert (Malachi 3:6, Matthew 5:17-19), in whatever way He may fulfil them. The day of rest for example, loses its shadowy embellishments (Hebrews 8-10; 8:4-5,7-13, 9:8-10), but not its rock-solid base in the method of creation, which God Himself decreed to be binding for that reason (Exodus 20:9-11 - see Biblical Blessings, Ch.10, That Exuberant Day of Rest).
True, it moves along one, for New Testament purposes as is provided for (Deuteronomy 18:15ff.)in that Old Covenant,
to the first day of the week,
when Jehovah finished His mightiest "work",
consummation of all the rest,
in manifesting the basis of the new creation (Ephesians 4:24, II Corinthians 5:17),
in the resurrection of the King (Roman 1:1-4, and op.cit.).
This however merely ratifies the principle that God does not move at all in His immutable principles, but He DOES bring to fruition many things, and has worked from the Old Covenant to the New in the work of eternal redemption which is now justly and fittingly commemorated by Jehovah Himself in His actions on the resurrection (op.cit., Hebrews 9:12), on its own day.
One could as well deny God as deny that the day, always in step with His works, is to be kept BECAUSE thus He created us. When in glory, many things that are past do not come to mind, then it will be different as He directs. For this creation, however, it is the same pulse, with the consummated timing apt for His greatest work, the Sunday rising from the dead, which is now recorded in the lives of His saints and directed for their memorial rest, embracing both creation and new creation, principle and practice, delight and duty (Galatians 6:14)...
Thus there is a categorical difference in this most obvious formal element of life in Israel, as indeed elsewhere. It breathes like the sighing wind, and when violated, thunders like the ocean waves. Its placing is the slight or the submission to the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17). The day of rest has its say, and what it says is crucial.
2. Nor does Christ's fulfilment mean that God has forgotten to be honourable
to the unconditional agreement with Abraham, the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 15,17). Indeed Ezekiel 36-37 (see The Shadow of a Mighty Rock - SMR, Appendix A, and pp. 805-836, 760ff.) shows a 2-step restoration for Israel, its covenant being divinely declared to have been broken (Zechariah 11:4-12) by those who weighed out 30 pieces of silver for His worth.
"Not for your sake do I this," He declares (Ezekiel 36:21-22,32), as He restores the people, with great determination and method, to its promised land: it is for His own name's sake, a name which does not blight or sidestep issues or principles, but is one of the ultimate in faithfulness to which indeed it gives name. He IS faithful ("faithful and true" - Revelation 19:11), and magnifies His word above all His name (Psalm 138:2, Philippians 2:9-11).
The first step is the simple physical restoration to the land - simple? Yet a prodigious work of deliverance carried out to the letter as seen in SMR Ch.9. The dry bones of Ezekiel 37 (see SMR Appendix A, as above) are by one specific divine command assembled in the land, articulated but dead, just as they were dry bones scattered amongst the nations in the first tableau of devastation as shown by Ezekiel. Then by another command in the parable, they are given life, breath (Ezekiel 37:9), becoming before the divine view a living corpus, a lively people, a restored nation, a people for whom their King will be King indeed! This has yet to be but is given highly specific indications in Zechariah 12:10ff. as to its manner of commencement.
In this action, they find many things new, these who never again are to turn from the Lord and who come to a King their ruler (Ezekiel 37:23-24-26). God's spirit it is which is put upon them (37:14) at the outset of this action in step 2, and this brings in the unbroken reign of Christ. We await this (cf. Romans 11:25-32). Oh the wonder of the depths of the divine wisdom! as Paul declares,
Then will be fulfilled the wholeness of Isaiah 49:6ff., and 66:3,18-21, Psalm 72:8,17, 65:10-13, Jeremiah 3:16 all in one:
The eminence of the temple will reside in the Lord Himself, the Head of the Body (Isaiah 18-20, 4:6, 32:1-4), just as the trappings will be swallowed up in victory, the earlier ingredients interpreted in their King (Isaiah 22:20-25, 4:6, 32:1-4, 9:1-7).
And HE WILL RULE (Isaiah 2, 9:6-7, Micah 4:6-8 with 5:1-4, Psalms 72, 45, 2, 102:18-22, Zephaniah 3:14-18, Ezekiel 37:25-28). Over whom ?
Christians bought by His sacrifice (Isaiah 53:6ff., 49:6, 66:3,18-19, Zechariah
13:1ff. - cf. SMR Ch.9).
Christ's fulfilment DOES MEAN THAT GOD HAS NOT FORGOTTEN TO BE GRACIOUS and overflows with grace to all His people.
Indeed, the very name of the Jew will be transformed into this new union (Ezekiel 37:21-22), in which the union of Judah and Israel of old (Ezekiel 37:19) will be magnified into a far vaster, internationally glorious union of all the Messiah's people from whatever land, state or condition; for He is God of all (Isaiah 65:10-13, Deuteronomy 32:43, Psalm 117:1, Isaiah 49:6)... and with what exceeding force the Lord makes this point clear in Isaiah 65!
Thus, the Jews return according to glorious divine program, to their land, and then a large remnant to the Lord who performs wonders (Micah 7:14-16) on their behalf (cf. Zechariah 12:1-9. 14:1-3), the nations indeed learning to despise all their might in the presence of the Lord (Micah 7:16-17, cf. Ezekiel 36:36); and in their return He will be active in their deliverance and in their salvation (Zechariah 12:9-10, 14:1-5), in the midst of "all the saints" of whatever kind, kindred or description, without qualification or distinction, those with whom He came from heaven, those who had been there taken that they MIGHT come, all together, with Him.
Then, preliminaries in earth and in heaven past (Revelation 19:7), the Lord will indeed be vindicated on earth as before in heaven: He who was crucified in Jerusalem with such exquisite seeming irony and mockery, will wear a crown that has lustre, the lustre of truth, and majesty, the regality of wonder.
Not - to change the figure - as some pocket battleship, then, will the Jews be seen, on the seas of the nations.
Indeed, shown in His glorious fulness, without ark, Himself the very substance of the tabernacle (Jeremiah 3:16-4:2, Isaiah 4:6, 32:1-4, 60:1ff.), He is King of the New and international Covenant (Isaiah 49:6, 66:3, 65;1-13), both vested in Him, and sealed with His blood (Isaiah 53:4-13), the Saviour of His flock from all nations ((Isaiah 65:1-3), each individual, having strayed at will, now repentant to repentance not to be repented of.
In His Cross all will glory (Galatians 6:14, Isaiah 53), including that mass of Jews still to come to Him on the new basis (Zechariah 12:8-12, Romans 11:25-28, 10:1-6), which includes what was not distorted in the Old, that grand, divine, original, deliverance of God by His prophets to His people, fulfilled with the consummation faithful to all that was ever predicted.
These? They will come in repentance as real as that of anyone else from all the nations who have sinned, each in its own way. in its own way. (See Deliver us from Dispensationalism, in Biblical Blessings, esp. pp. 32ff. ,36ff.; and Part 17, The Everlasting Gospel, pp. 99-107 infra in the present volume.)
And this? It will be a transformed Jerusalem which will serve for the King (Zechariah 12:6; 14:1ff.), soon to be replaced by that heavenly Jerusalem itself (Galatians 4:26), the new heavens and the new earth, when those who will not learn righteousness, no not even in the presence of bliss (Isaiah 26:10, 66:22, 65:17, Habakkuk 3:6, II Peter 3:10-13, Isaiah 51:6, Revelation 21-22), are no more in the realm and the perfection of glory is unveiled forever.
is a transformed people who wait upon Him and for His return, as did the first
apostles and disciples sent, to whom as to us who also are sent for Him, come
blessings such as these:
1)From Luke 10:18-20."I saw Satan like lightning fall from heaven.
"Behold, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over al the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
"Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven" -
2)Luke 12:11 - "Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will tech you in that very hour what you ought to say.
3)Luke 21:12-15 - "But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake.
"But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.
"Therefore settle it in your hears not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;
for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist."
Prudence notes: Beware of men!
and courage sings in descant,
Fear them not! The counterpoint is both harmonious and delightful.
succeed in displaying before the watchful eyes,
the freely available offering of Christ once made,
the sacrifice for sin: loving one's enemies
and praying for those who despitefully use one -
That is no wisdom which
in order to be near the field. That rather is wisdom which IN the field commends Christ by every means, placarding Him aloft (Galatians 3:1-5) that He may draw men to Him - without whom they perish (John 6:40, 8:28, 12:32,34). The lifting up (John 12) is that of a CRUCIFIED CHRIST, and this is both the occasion for repentance that sin made it necessary, and that sin is so far from heaven that THIS was necessary.
(Cf. Matthew 7:15, 10:17, 24:26 -
· Racism has become,
· just because it is so odious and horrible a defilement,
· a useful means for downgrading the faith of Christ, as if it were in some way racist NOT to hold what some others may hold, because they are often not born in Australia, or England or wherever.
· But though this is ludicrous to the point of making Gulliver's Travels seem plain commonsense by contrast,
· it is very useful for exploitation of religious freedom.
True, Christ was no American, or Englishman, or Canadian or Australian;
true His skin presumably was not white; true that Christians in large numbers
are found in Africa, South America, Russia, China, India and in some numbers in
many other countries, professedly many millions in the U.S. and so on.
Nevertheless, it becomes potentially 'racist' to present Christ as THE TRUTH.
Wild though this delusion undoubtedly is, it is good enough for the devil. It is the need of missionaries, whether young or old, indeed children or adult, ordained or not, that is, for the whole Christian people of the Lord, to speak the truth fearlessly, clearly and continually, avoiding force of all kinds, as rain speaks water and sea speaks salt: because that is what THEY ARE. If people reject Christ, surely that is their privilege; but is one to hold one's tongue to all because it is not desired by some; and will nations exclude the proclamation of Christ because He is odious or undesired by some within them ?
Let them. He will still reign, though they be enslaved with the impure follies which men substitute for their Creator-Redeemer, and only Saviour (Isaiah 43:11, 52-53, 44:6, Job 19:25ff., Psalm 72:12-14, 49:7 cf. SMR pp. 886 ff., & Ch. 6; 1042ff.): as God only ONE, as REDEEMER GOD, and as GOD-REDEEMER, MAN. The love of God therefore constrains us (II Cor. 5:9-21) that there be neither interlude nor prelude: the time is NOW that the Gospel must be preached.
2000 years or so will
seem short enough when the time of judgment comes!