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CHAPTER  8

WHAT REMAINS II - AS EARTHINESS DISSIPATES,

HEAVEN'S WORD AND WORK DRAWS NEAR

 

 News 353, June 14, 2005

 

This is a very large chapter, but it is in three distinct parts,
which may be read separately,
almost as if three chapters.
However they are one,
and it is left as such so that comparison may
the more readily be made within the one unit,
and one can at will
move hither and thither within it,
like examining a body, not merely its parts!

 

 

I THE POWER OF THE WORD

   UNHAZING HAZOR, REJOICING IN JERICHO
and PONDERING THE SUBLIME

 

Before we move to our overview, to complete it from the last chapter, there is something which may prove edifying to some, and it is found very much in and on this earth!

Hazor has been a site of some interest. For some time, there was unwarranted and unestablished, but still popular thought that there was no evidence of its destruction at the biblical time, around 1400 B.C., for this event. However, firstly, there are biblically two adverse events for Hazor, in the Bible, not merely one; and both are strongly supported by the archeological evidence. As this mounts, in the normal way, as ignorance and presumption recede, so confirmation comes by evidence. It is well to consider this aspect in attesting this case, to which we now look in some more detail.

It is recorded in the Bible that Israelites destroyed it, and much later overthrew its King, this time in the days of Deborah, as noted in Judges 4:2. Firstly, it was BURNT by Joshua (Joshua 11:11), and much later, its king, Jabin of Canaan who REIGNED THERE, was defeated, and was 'destroyed'.

We might therefore expect a repeat of the burning of Joshua with such an overwhelming defeat of very active and powerful enemies, and doubtless it is the power base of the king not least that is 'destroyed'.

Interesting is the inference, that in order for Deborah to participate in the glorious overthrow of this enemy (her rapturous song is to be found in Judges 5), who reigned in Hazor, this city must have been rebuilt following Joshua's burning of it. That therefore is the Biblical  testimony!

In view of the incomplete subjugation of Canaan by the Israelites (Judges 1:27ff.), and much worse, their too early fulfilment of the prophecy both of Moses and of Joshua in failing to keep to the Lord in purity and truth, but rather allowing a measure of assimilation of the ways of the Canaanites, archeologically shown at Rash Shamra, to have a startling hold on immoralities (Joshua 23:12-16, Deuteronomy 31:14ff.), such rebuilding is only too likely.

Thus, not only does the Bible imply a rebuilding of Hazor, but a double calamity at the hands of Israel. Indeed, we need to emphasise that it is in this same book, the Bible, that there comes clear indication of BOTH events. Moreover, in terms of its customary internal harmony, the double action is in principle likely as well as a fact. It all coheres. Truth does that.

What then ? In view of this, it is not at all surprising that there is evidence of an overthrow and burning by fire of Hazor in the days of Jabin, the King whom Deborah and Barah overthrew. It would be amazing if the victory which turned into a portentous and much celebrated triumph, with such a background of earlier burning, were at all left intact!

Is there evidence of two burnings, or of a second devastation ? As the Bible is in harmony with itself, so is the evidence with itself and with the Bible.

Dr Bryant Wood is a prominent archeologist who has the advantage of personal work both in Jericho and in Hazor, and he has figured in Time Magazine in one spectacular aspect in this domain, at which we later arrive.

That world expert on such pottery decisively places the evidence from the material which was found, at the biblical dating around 1400 B.C. He dismisses the challenge from what was NOT found in the exotic import domain, in pottery, on the ground that the city was not in that class of culture, so that it is not what was NOT found but what WAS found which is decisive.

What was found ? A vast array of material was meticulously gathered and extensively collected by Professor Garstung of Oxford in his famed researches on site, all elaborately attested (cf. his work, The Story of Jericho, 1948), concerning which, just as conclusively as the British scholar (Redating the Exodus and the Conquest, 1978), John G. Bimson, and Bryant Wood himself, the biblical date of approximately 1400 is reviewed and found compelling. Archer in his "Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties" pp. 156ff., and 191ff., gives a masterly coverage of this entire matter of the biblical Exodus date (cf. I Kings 6:1, SMR pp. 1185-1186A).

Thus from SMR pp. 1185ff., adapted for our purpose, we have this further reference, including the fact that Bryant Wood used  radio-carbon 14 dating of soot found in the Jericho site, where there was abundant evidence of conflagration, as one testimony of the 1400 B.C. (approx.) date of Jericho's multiply attested destruction.

"This development as reported by this archeologist and technical ancient pottery author,  in The Biblical Archeology Review (March/April 1990) as noted in the US Time Magazine, p. 59, March 5, 1990, gives this confirmation both of the fire and the c. 1400 B.C. dating that fits deftly into Biblical statement (I Kings 6:1), which would set it there.

In the 1930's, Professor John Garstung, famed and extraordinarily diligent Oxford Professor, over years of excavation revealed some 150,000 shards that both fitted into the common typing of the period, and held only one case of Mycenaean, a type that is noted as reaching Canaan soon after 1400. Garstung cited the data of his researches with complete and sustained confidence in his c. 1400 B.C. dating. Indeed, as has long been known, at Jericho in the associated cemetery, Egyptian scarabs were found, but none later than the the time of Amenhotep III (c. 1412-1376 B.C.), in whose reign, Biblically, Jericho fell.

Earlier moreover, Kenyon found bushels of grain, likewise akin to the Biblical account, in that no long siege is indicated before the massive destruction so extensively revealed, and vigorously researched and documented by the Garstung team. In fact, the Biblical record is that the campaign was - in the specific investment of Jericho, a matter of days! In silent witness of ravaging disaster, the two parallel walls were exposed, almost entirely fallen and in ruin, and strongly marked with conflagration. Garstung's writings (The Story of Jericho) and indeed, the Encyclopedia of Professor Gleason Archer (pp. 191-198 op.cit.) provide fascinating data and detail.

In particular, Dr Bryant Wood called attention to Jericho scarabs of Pharoahs Hatshepsut (possible foster-mother of Moses - and what a brilliant one!), Thutmose III and Amenhotep II. With these are well-matched the sequence: Moses' 'Princess' who adopted him; her reign, and that of Thutmose III ('the Napoleon of Egypt'), appearing as the heartlessly domineering Pharoah of the Jewish oppression, whose vizier's tomb at Thebes showed in picture Semitic slaves with bricks, a-building. His long reign (c. 1501-1447 B.C.) extended distinctively, so providing ample room for Moses' 40 years in the wilderness after fleeing the country. There would follow Thutmose's death - Exodus 4:19 prima facie would indicate a new Pharoah had come; Moses' subsequent return to Egypt; and the royal successor, Amenhotep II with his apparently crippled power, then reducing foreign aggression and all but arresting Palestinian action, in stark contrast to his father (Archer op.cit. pp. 195-198)! He would then rate as the wounded grisly, of the Exodus.

This is superbly consistent with a Red sea chariot-force catastrophe at the Jewish Exodus, such as the Bible describes, while linking closely with the 'dream stela' of this king's son, Thutmose IV. The latter artifact, implying this son was not eldest in the family, is in turn elegantly consistent with a plague death for the eldest son (or 'first-born', as would biblically be required - Exodus 11:5 - of the house of Amenhotep, as the Pharaoh of the Exodus).

Significantly, as a scarab shows, this Amenhotep II, despiser of mercy if indeed the Pharoah whom Moses challenged, was born in the very delta area by which the Jews were slaving. Here his royal father evidently resorted, erected famed red granite obelisks before the temple of Ra at delta-base city Heliopolis, announcing himself ''Lord of Heliopolis'', a seemingly hectically active delta military area, requiring military constructions and allied building for his almost endless Palestinian-Syrian invasions. At Goshen nearby, was Israel.

Thus for Thutmose III, cheap (Jewish) labour would be both convenient and a containment of a hosted people, now become numerous and captive. This in turn could strongly affect the demeanour, or labour-lust of his later famous - or infamous - son Amenhotep II, just as it was reflected in the art-work of his vizier's tomb (q.v. Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p. 215). If, on the other hand, Thutmose III himself were the Pharoah whom Moses challenged - and so had not for his own part, personally been among those engaged in seeking Moses' life, as in Exodus 4:19, what then ? Then, his death as noted by Dr Clifford Wilson - New Life, Melbourne, 7/7/94 - "just after" the time of the Jewish Passover appears as a deadly Exodus item of no mean interest! ... enhancing the impact of this arresting structure of events.

Drs. Garstung-Wood have become a spiritual sleuth team in their field of archaeology; and there they have exhibited one more Biblical triumph.

The evidence encloses the situation, like a glove.

Indeed, Jackson , in Christian Courier (Did Jericho’s Walls Come Down ? Jan. 1, 2001) points out that Bryant Wood (loc. cit.) stressed the fact that certain such pottery was found at Meggido, was in line with the trade route significance of that bartering city, whereas Jericho, a relatively few acres, we read, was simply not exposed to such imports. In fact, Kathleen Kenyon - who came to the site long after Garstung had with careful method, removed enormous quantities of decisive material, having met with some 150,000 items - is cited as dubbing it something of a backwater town. In this line,  D. Massimiliano Lorenzini in Frontline Ministries, notes her characterising the people of Jericho as 'simple villagers', with 'no suggestion of luxury' (cf. Taking Every Thought Captive, Evidence for the Early Date of the Exodus).

Argument from ABSENCE is often tenuous, even when the reasons for absence are all but unlimited or unspecified; but here, they are cogent. What sparseness in luxury items accorded with, was just that! The case fits like the shoe of Cinderella.

What things PRESENT DID show was a domestic pottery of the 1400 or so dating, and a soot of the same date, by carbon test.

Concerning other, including relatively recent findings in the archeological domain,
material may be found at

The Watchman Bible Study Group .

Here is record given of  interesting correspondence from Bryant Wood to cite and some of this is summarised here. Thus Wood is noted to have declared that it is of small importance what the Italian archeologists did not find in a dig of one month. The evidence from earlier work is already to hand. Three major expeditions, he noted, had occurred over a period of 90 years with an abundance of evidence in good correlation with the biblical account. Citing digs of a total of 9 years, he is reported as declaring that all found abundant evidence that Jericho was destroyed by fire, in a layer relating to the biblical date of 1400 B.C.

At the site shown above, there is even a photograph of Bryant Wood, who visited the Italian dig, seen next to a wall which was uncovered by the Italian work. Together with this, is  his statement that he found it intensely exciting to have this primary and still observable work, a new section of the fallen wall of Jericho, not previously known to exist. In particular, it is cited as being the stone outer revetment wall at the base of the tell, structure with part of the mudbrick wall built on top of it, the situation still visible after all this time! There, said Wood, the mudbrick collapse had just been excavated.

This brings the graphics of the situation up to date, to add to the extensive written reports from Oxford's Garstung and others, in the past. 

It seems that Bryant Wood was the first to realise the significance of this newly exposed work, just as he took the initiative in obtaining carbon dating as noted above. He points out, moreover, detailed correlations between what the Bible here states or implies of the situation at Jericho, and the actual evidence from that city. Thus he shows the correlation in detail from the Bible and the  excavation (in "Did the Israelities Coqnuer Jericho ? A New look at the Archaeological Evidence," Biblical Archeology Review 16:2 - March/April, 1990). 

First it is indicated and evidentially found from excavation,  or inferred, that the city was strongly fortified (Joshua 2:5,7,15; 6:15,20), that the attack occurred just after the harvest time in the Spring (as in Joshua 2:;6, 3:`15, 5:10), that the inhabitants had no chance to flee with food (Joshua 6:1), that the siege was short (Joshua 6:20), that the walls were levelled, perhaps by earthquake (Joshua 6:20) and that the city was not plundered (Joshua 6:17-18). Finally, it was stated long ago in the Bible, just as it is found now, that the city was burned.

Thus with precision and extensive coherence, is the biblical declaration verified to the last degree!

All of this merely confirms, but with much more correlative labour and attestation, what Garstung declared after his monumental researches:

Garstang says:

bullet "As to the main fact, then, there remains no doubt: the walls fell outwards so completely
that the attackers would be able to clamber up and over their ruins into the city. Why so unusual? Because the walls of cities do not fall outwards, they fall inwards. And yet in Joshua 6:20 we read,
'The wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.' The walls were made to fall outward."

John Gartsang, The Foundation of Bible History, Joshua, Judges

This is important, indeed so important that Garstung is stated to have made of the above,  a signed statement, together with two other members of the excavation which occupied so many years of intensive labour.

Evidence, like the word of God in the Bible, has to be taken AS IT IS, not as it is imagined to be. Events in practice often make fools of the theorisers, for in many ways truth can be stranger than fiction, and many events have causes which the most learned never imagined. Here, it is the correlation between biblical statement and factual observation much later by the chief investigator in terms of time and initial uncovering, which is the point, and a fascinating one it is.  Bryant Wood in particular, giving his pottery expertise and initiatives, has brought an excellent confirmation, and indeed moral to this tale.

This brief excursion into the Jericho matter is here in the setting of Hazor, also in the time of Joshua's advance as detailed in the book of Joshua.

As to this latter city, then, Jason Jackson cites The New Encyclopedia of Archeological Excavations in the Holy Lands (EAHL), a prodigiously expensive set, to show that Hazor is mentioned in Egyptian Execration texts, dated much earlier (2, 594), showing the long period of its diversified existence. Its earlier and famed excavator, Yadin (1950s) attributes the 13th century  destruction to Israelites. After all, Egyptian and Canaaite 'deities', idols, had purposeful breaking exhibited. This does not suggest either Egyptian or local forces, but fits with Israel, as opposed to such worship. This point is made by Ben-Tor, in his more recent excavations at this site, than those of Yadin. Some detail appears from his pen in the Biblical Archaeology Review, May-June 1999, p. 38.

As to the time of the destruction, it is not so much a question of the 'destruction' but the 'destructions'. Thus Yadin is cited concerning Hazor,  in the EAHL, at 2.603, as follows:

"The lower city flourished throughout the Late Bronze Age, i.e., 15th to 13th centuries B.C., being alternatively destroyed and rebuilt." 

The later destruction has already been noted above; but  Yadin also referred to an earlier devastation, as noted in Biblical Archeology which he assigned (that at Stratum III) to the days of Amenhotep II or Thutmose, Egyptian Pharaohs who appear to have been at the time leading into, and of the biblical Exodus (see above, in citation from SMR pp. 1185ff.). Jackson (loc.cit.) notes that Yadin did in fact find evidence of Hazor being burned in the 15th century, but presupposing a later date, did not attribute this to Joshua.

 

Bryant Wood, who has been working at the Hazor site, attributes  destruction of the palace, to the 13th century attack by Deborah and Barak, to which reference has been made above. At the URL given above, there is invitation to see this site, and the following note is provided (Associates for Biblical Research is the title of this interesting web page).

A note from Dr. Bryant Wood:
Excavations at Hazor, directed by Amnon Ben-Tor, one of Israel's leading archaeologists, have been going on since 1990. Called "the head of all those kingdoms" in the book of Joshua (11:10), Hazor is the largest biblical site in Israel, occupying some 200 acres. It was burned by Joshua (Josh 11:11), conquered by Deborah and Barak (Judges 4:24) and fortified by Solomon (1 Kings 9:15). Under Dr. Ben-Tor's capable leadership, important discoveries have been made, including a 13th century B.C. Canaanite palace and a number of cuneiform tablets. The palace was destroyed by a massive fire and the evidence of deliberately broken cult images suggests it was the work of the Israelite tribes, no doubt under the leadership of Deborah and Barak. As work continues, Ben-Tor is hopeful the city's archive of clay tablets will soon be found.

Of interest, while one is on this theme, is the fact that the Ebla tablets, so well treated by Dr Clifford Wilson in his work,  "The Impact of Ebla", also contain mention of Sodom and Gomorrah, Megiddo, Jerusalem, Lachish, Gaza, together with personal names and common names of that time, corresponding with biblical usage and bringing to extra-biblical life, the things taken there for granted. Writing about the known does not require imagination, but rather the use of the habitual. So does authenticity speak.
 
Since the biblical writings were not far from that era (for example, Abraham's day was perhaps 3 centuries forward from Ebla's date) and recorded faithfully (cf. SMR pp. 1003 -1004, 378), this is merely one more verification; just as Ramsay showed to be the case with the circumstantial areas of Luke's Gospel in the New Testament. The standard for the word of God is truth, and truth endures; but the standard reaction of infidelity is a grasping liturgy of forgotten causes, as valueless and often ludicrous indictments fall like space shrapnel, to the shame-faced earth in the midst of some Siberian wasteland of irrelevance, if not irrationality and an ultimate lostness. In SMR pp. 68-71, cited below, some reference is given in detail to some of these abortive escapades, and a list of  follows.
 
 

Here also, not only does the Bible abound in remedy and verification in volumes; fulfil the logical need, hence being clearly the truth. It fulfils this need par excellence. Thus, archeology also, the force of evidence being in view, continually abounds nowadays as science makes it so effective, in confirmation of the Bible. Perhaps the most remarkable find in recent years is that at EBLA where the very early Old Testament names, places and customs are staggeringly verified in a civilisation going back to around 1000 years before Moses, as Dr Clifford Wilson of Monash University indicates in his work, The Impact of Ebla... (1977, p. 24).

Tablets around 2300 B.C. appear in the midst of a thriving, erudite-seeming civilisation. This in addition to the case of Hammurabi of Babylon, somewhat later, shows the quite ridiculous error of unbelief committed by such scholarly romanticists as Welhausen, whose irrational tyranny worked so long in theological circles, more related to temporary popularity than to abiding logic... or faith!

The contention was that in the writings of Moses, there was far too much development of literature, thought, complexity and sacrificial system for the times of Moses; and they therefore assaulted these books, challenging their authenticity, despite the Jewish clear title to their own history, and the continued and consistent claims. After all, with the death sentence for false prophecy and a theocratic government, there is no room to manoeuvre! It was rather like saying that Hadrian's Wall really couldn't be genuine in Britain; only much more vituperative and dogmatic, against far more reason.

Now we see, from archeology, not only was there such development as this by Moses' time, linguistically and legally, and in terms of literature, but such developments were in place nearly 1000 years before Moses' day. So far from culture being alien to the Bible statements, it supported them, when the facts were known.

In fact, this is just one more verification in the everlasting seeming stream, of the factuality and reality of the Old Testament: theories, made in ignorance to attack the Bible, retreat like the Russian junta of August 1991, before the evidence (as the junta retreated before the people). Indeed, we even see an intimate correlation socially, in names and designations, with the culture assumed Biblically (in Genesis) for Abraham, and we see it as an historically traceable background. The Biblical picture, in other words, in the background to Abraham, is in fact a marvel of accuracy, as one might expect from an author living at that time, as confirmed by modern archeology and in particular, by the diggings of Ebla. Once more, the evidence does not trickle in, as it were, reluctantly, but has rather all the stout indifference to challenge, of the truth.

We now even have, at Serabit el-Khadim, near Moses' Mt Sinai, evidence indicative of ordinary labourers being well able to read and write in religious and commercial matters, and this in their own language, a variety of Canaanite close to Hebrew! The site in view was an Egyptian mine for opals and the find is indeed one more gem of comedy, against the ponderous follies of pouting, doubting and aggressive unbelief. (See Professor Gleason Archer's Encyclopedia, p. 52.)

One of the most intensely humorous elements of the Bible's constant triumph over attack, useful here because the rebuttals are constant verifications, comes in the form of the Hittite nation. Once regarded by armchair critics as an error in the scripture, through a former failure to 'dig up' evidence of such a race, the Hittite nation has now been rediscovered in secular history, through archeology. Kitchen in his excellent work, Ancient Orient and the Old Testament, even notes this morsel on p. 25:

The valid and close parallels to the social customs of the Patriarchs come from documents of the nineteenth to fifteenth centuries BC (agreeing with early-second millenium origin for this material in Genesis), and not from Assyro-Babylonian data of the tenth to sixth centuries BC... Likewise for Genesis 23, the closest parallel comes from the Hittite law which passed into oblivion with the fall of the Hittite empire about 1200 BC.

The delightful point here is that the nation once held to show the Bible wrong - when archeology gets to work as now - becomes the nation which shows the closest of parallels in custom to a section of Genesis! This is what fact does relative to the Bible, when fiction ceases for a while, from the clever-seeming but ultimately ignorant contrivances of man's imagination. Kitchen's interesting point is that knowledge of the surrounding cultures, relative to these early Biblical records, shows the authenticity of these records in historical terms; and that although much stress was laid on just this historical point, in hostile attitudes to the Bible in former times: it is ignorance which has made all the clamour, an ignorance in exact contradiction of the facts.

Knowledge confirms continually the correctness; while premature attacks merely show the state of the minds so engaged... and the impregnable character of the word of God. It is rather like tennis: the more attacks you successfully overcome, the more obvious it is that you are a champion.

To revert to the recent pinnacle of confirmation, Ebla, Wilson in his Impact of Ebla, p. 37, notes an interesting aspect. Professor Pettinato, a major participant in the work, acknowledged that there was a creation tablet in the Ebla find. Dr Wilson observes concerning Pettinato:

He stated that the record appeared to be remarkably like that found in the first verses of Genesis - "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."

This is how Wilson ponders the data: he states, p. 92, that the theory rejecting Moses as author of Genesis 1:1 (inter alia) is now facing the simple fact that 'a somewhat similar account must be dated to approximately 2,000 years earlier than that time. The "oral tradition" apparently was written after all.' (That is, the date is about 2000 years before the imagined time, wrongheadedly proposed for part of the books of Moses!)

This is a marvellous fall for a theory hostile to the Bible, which in lordly style set that part of Moses as written nearly 1000 years after his time. Now the objection finds, in archeological exhibit, something similar nearly 2000 years before they thought; and long before Moses. That in turn fits with Wiseman's evidentially based reasonings that early Genesis shows clear evidence that it relates to or utilises written records extending back to the earlier phases of history (New Discoveries in Babylonia about Genesis - is the title of his work). There is, a topic we are about to consider, a stringent sort of humour about this rebuff of the 'mighty', in their assault on the word of the Almighty!

What one must note is that these antagonistic theories, based on wishes and imaginations, rather than scientifically constructed from facts, do not last very long, but what they attack, the word of God, has no failures to find! Perhaps it is that which so stirs some of those who cannot stand a sovereign ultimately beyond them, whose word is unfalsifiable! But in truth, the presence of perfection is a stimulus to attainment, and a thrill to wonder.

Incidentally, the longevity of this Bible, under assault for so long, is just one more of its attestations to itself, that it is the word of God. It simply constitutes one more verification, heightened in significance by the fact that the assaults are so continual, so acrid often, and so much lauded and praised in the world, till, quite consistently, they fail. That further verifies the word of God, for this reason: the vigour, and sometimes the venom, indeed, of these attacks fully accords with its analysis of the heart of fallen man, towards God (cf. Ephesians 4:18-19).

This remorseless persistence of assault, in the face of irresistible truth attests in general, a chronic removal from the divinely provided way: to repent. This is reminiscent of Amos (4:6 ff.), where this failing is almost humorously exposed, though the humour is not so much presented as implicit: a grim and almost ghoulish persistence that repeatedly ignores even the provisions for correction, like some cartoon figure that will not learn! Yet the pathos of this pathology is terrible, a remorseless rejection of truth.

Does it not however serve God by showing the remorseless truth of His word; so does the wrath of man serve Him (Psalm 76:10 - "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee"). Predictions, like archeology, make a fascinating study of fulfilment; and a large presentation is available on the topic of prophecy in this work (Chapters 8-9 infra, passim, esp. 712 ff., 755 ff., 965 ff.).

The fulfilment which is crucial to Christians is that of the personal promises which they find to operate in their lives continually - just as one might expect from an association with one's Creator in a world set on fire, like this one. These make available the force of verification internally, as fulfilled prophecies to the present and archeology for the past, do externally. You would expect just that. It verifies.

 

How pitiful, if almost picturesque, is the latent human desire to avoid the authority of the word of God, and how ironic the way in which the best made efforts, unconscious or not, lead only to refutation, as facts comes to speak so loudly, that further endeavours must at once be made to find something else at which to prevaricate or equivocate, till truth deletes the folly.  

This overall provides a powerful testimony to the condition of man as described and indeed defined in the Bible (e.g. Romans 5:1-12, 1:17ff., Ephesians 4:17-19), which here gives to the word of God a secondary verification, for truth like the endless rows of hills receding into the distance, confirms itself.

A useful list with hyperlinks,  is to be found at Christian Courier. These articles are wide-ranging, evidential and testimonial, as the vast thrust of refutation of illicit claims gathers over the centuries. Cumulatively, it is a testimony of its own kind! Evidence cries, and unbelief weeps, where its hart is not too hard to suffer itself to notice.

Another set of archeological and allied lists of educative confirmations, refutations and verifications, much of it drawn from archeologist, Dr Bryant Wood,  is to be added to the above, and to be found in Defending Your Faith, Archeology .

Together they offer to make a litany of lost causes, once so bold, now subdued by that great empirical friend of the Christian faith, the facts. Facts ... and more facts: these have the closest possible relationship with the Bible, which unlike much of modern science - especially at its philosophical spillage - endures,  and lasts the better as it does so. It does not stop with a decade, like modern science to be shamefacedly replaced, as with much of our own so brilliant findings; for by contrast, this, the word of God to man, it continues over millenia, irrefutable, unrrescinding, which is the way the truth has with it.

When God speaks, it is to help man out; but it keeps him out when he becomes obstreperous, preposterous as a poseur, wanting to invent himself now that he is here, the highest design to come in his mental writhings,  from the absence of design, bred by the artifices of laws that are not there, have no breeding ground and yet 'arise', propounded by nothing, worked up perhaps by teleology, which is to do the job before there is anything there to do it, a mere nom de plume, or in this case nom de spume, for God, always there so that anything might ever be there, that is not Himself.

There are many phases of what remains, and it is time to consider these.

Meanwhile, whether we look to the past, in verification of the word of God, or to the unfolding events where the word of God explodes into our own times, the days and the epochs which it predicts, are always fulfilled*1, whether Tyre, Nineveh, Babylon, Jerusalem, Israel, the Gentile world, the Messiah, His date of execution, His Gospel or His ongoing work, or to the tied assembly of concurrent events, now all but complete, to augur His return, there is but one answer of fact.

The word of God, the Bible of antiquity speaks with the voice of tomorrow and yesteryear alike: it stands and has power, and all opposition is a temporising anguish of demonstration by suffering.

 

II   THE POWER OF THE CURSE

Negative Criteria of What Remains

Suffering ? The world seems all but as full of it as it is of sin;
 

bullet

of those gross and abominable regimes of the soul or of the body politic alike,
which inflict inflammation of the ego;

bullet

of the brutal power of mere force;

bullet

of the repressive reflex;

bullet

of the absolutist acrimonies of what is alike loveless and irrational;

bullet

of unguided instincts and gross desires;

bullet

of the survival thrust in place of the due regard for the endurance of the best,
of man's will instead of the Creator's Design.

It asks for suffering, as silver iodide in the clouds asks for rain, as fire asks for heat, as sparks in a gasoline tank ask for explosion, as pride asks for due recompense of its travesties and due answer to its abutments into actuality, and the dark shadows it casts on the brilliance of truth.


 

This world is devastated by*2

its conundrums of conscienceless irrationality,

its false religions, philosophies and morals,

its fraudulence and its grasping will,

 

so that it has scarcely time to cry before it meets the next wave of self-induced epidemics,

 

political or medical,

philosophical or religious,

economic or social, 

psychologjcally depressive at ruin,
or euphoric in indifference to fact,

whether by psychic pathology, or more directly by drugs:  

 

as the dynamics of God respond, oh so mercifully*3, but oh so surely!

So selfish is the pig trough of gain and self-centred desire becoming, that even philosophy has to bend to the ultimate follies of irrationalism in this genre, as in the myth of the selfish genes. How much further do they feel the need to go, to offload their own moral madness, as if to machine their sins into existence, and irresponsibly shrug their shoulders, when millions overcome, irrespective of alleged genetic directives to behaviour, whether in homosexual imaginations about genetic compulsion, or in other selfish exhibits contrary to divine design. It is man's SPIRIT which is relevant, and what he does with whatever he is given, marred or perfect, is ultimately there to be found (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, SMR pp. 348ff., Little Things ... Ch. 5).

'Selfish' in the last analysis, is self-ish, and what ignores God CANNOT fail to be so. There may be moral moments and movements in such people, but lacking any POSSIBLE rational ground for morals, their occasions are their own, while their lives show now this and now that inclination, good or evil, always founded in vacuity on themselves, which lacking foundation, are in the end confounded.

Selfish genes then is merely a misnomer for selfish kinds of people, who so opt. Nature has much of goodness and much of selfishness. It often strives to survive, but this becomes an ironic rebuke to man; while it often seeks in sacrificial splendour, as in the soldier ants which defend at personal loss of predictable character, the home which closes fast its doors while they fight, to would-be invaders and soldier protectors alike.

It has the wonder of parental love and nurture, and the horror of exploitation alike. It provides a mirror for man*3A, as Paul declares it, a subjection to vanity, to emptiness, to futility (Romans 8:20), a curse for uncontrite man, a parody which is sometimes less of a caricature than a pantomime of human madness. God has stretched out the curse, as in the plagues of Egypt, specific task forces of rebuke (cf. Exodus 3-12), as He has continued nonetheless the sending of rain on the just and the unjust.

The play continues, with all its sound effects anhd struts.

Man is under test, under fire and often under ire, as he proceeds to play the part of pomp, pride and preciousness, as if he had made himself in an odd moment, before he was, or nothing had done so, or lawlessness had invented law to do so.

The follly is so vast, that the rebuke is correlative in the end; and thus mercy alone can penetrate into the repressive ruin of man's often conscienceless compulsions, oppressions and national murder campaigns, with or without the addendum of religious folly, as in the Inquisition in earlier times, and al Qaeda and a dozen look-alikes now.

Man is prone to take the divine rebuke of curse and parody as permission; but it is an exhibit of his own evils, made into environmental parade, the environment chosen for his own soul made a strut for the scene into which he is placed (cf. Sparkling Life ... Ch. 4). Sometimes man's reaction is explosive, and so are the results ... in time! (cf. Ch. 1 above).

Curse is not an example but a rebuke; it is not an enticement to folly, but its exposure.

It shows itself in multiplied forms, as you see from Genesis 3 to Romans 8.

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It is DEATH instead of life, in this world;
it is a disjointing, an unravelling, a disruption, a disordering,
a corruption as you see in Romans 8:18-22.
It is decay to death, withholding of good to imposing of tribulation,
disorganisation as a dynamic and decease as a legacy.
 

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The axis of multiplying evils, like some blighting cyclotron,
sends forth its darkly dazzling symptoms and uses its literally shocking impacts,
to impart some scent of justice,
secure some sense of realism, and of course, it is
the very prelude of the final sentence.
 

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It is not without attenuation; revival and restoration is at hand, redemption is provided:
it has been shown from the first, continues to the last, when judgment sits;
for God is not short on MEANS
who has all power to think, produce schemas, plan before creation
and then perform within it.

Some mistake divine mercy for weakness, or pardon for changeability; but it is not so. Mercy and righteousness alike are to be found inalienable from the Lord (Psalm 89:14).

We should hear it declared as we find it done:

"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;

Mercy and truth go before Your face.

Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!

They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance.

 

"In Your name they rejoice all day long,

And in Your righteousness they are exalted.

For You are the glory of their strength,

And in Your favor our horn is exalted.

For our shield belongs to the Lord,

                                And our king to the Holy One of Israel."

This very Psalm proceeds at once to depict the "son of David" who is also the Son of God
(as in Psalm 110, Mark 12:32). The latter makes a parallel point...

"Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple,

       'How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David?'

        For David himself said by the Holy Spirit:

‘The Lord said to my Lord,

"Sit at My right hand,

Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." ’

'Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?'
 

    And the common people heard Him gladly."

 

Equal with the Father (Philippians 2), the eternal Word of the living God was equal to the task of redemption (John 1:1-14, 5:19ff., 8:58), and the realisation of this fact becomes critical to being a Christian (Matthew 16:16-17), just as the recognition of the bodily resurrection is its divinely donated parallel (John 20:27-29), and is in parallel critical to becoming a Christian: for to ignore that GOD has done it, in His own Person (Hosea 13:14), is like imagining that the dustman cooks the dinner. It is the very essence of NON-faith, as if God did not SO love (John 3:16), but baulked at it, and did not HIMSELF bear far more than any of us could do.  

To visit this on the Lord when His anguish in Gethsemane attests
the actualities of agony to come, spiritual in kind and vast in divine dimension, immeasurable to man, is an injury as profound as the abyss.

The Redeemer is never far off, but one sees in the prophets, comes ever nearer till He descended to earth, that He might lead many to heaven (II Peter 3:18, 1:18). When all is done, then mercy is fulfilled, as love is, when His elect are all found, being foreknown in a love which not only discerns its people, and by grace without mixture exhibits them in the end, trophies of mercy abstracted from the horrors of withering, cut off by calamitous disregard of the pity of the Lord.

In the interim, however, there is calling, there is hope. These two sides continue, impact of disaster, subjection to decay, death and corruption, disorders and distempers, reminders and arrests, in some ways like a mother pleading or a father caning; but they are not divorced. As the results come, so do the means, the whole creation groaning in its distempers. While its prodigies of wonder attest its estate prior to its subjection, its subjugation to death, so no less does its wildness in the midst of its kindnesses and co-operations. Such is the scene galled and galling to many, reflecting in judgment, the state of man and of his planet.

Now in this time and era, the beneficial has become maleficent in much (Romans 5:1-12), and death has its supports and means, just as divine glory and mercy has its thrust and witness (I Corinthians 15:21-23,42-52). Even the Cross was the very epitome of violence, with all its surrounding circumstances; for the passion which gave victory and free pardon with justice, involved the impact on Christ of this very thing.

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While the end is not yet, violence has its exemplars, mortality its pageantry, and horror its parade;
and as things natural are so bent,
equipped with the signals of mortality,
the devices of desolation and
the structures of subjection (cf. *3A),

man is the more so,
his evils becoming decisively devilish,
as mere thrust and passion yields
to satanicity and heartlessness,
with pride and dominion arise like acrid mists.

Man has become a very marvel of maleficence in
his grinding dictatorships,
his heartless wars,
his viscous viciousness,
his rampant disregard, grabbing, gaining,
intemperate, seductive, impassioned, propagandising,
finding ever new means of hate,
till al Qaeda itself, and its ilk,
beheading as if in a trance of torrid tasks,
not realised in their nature, but relished or regarded with pleasure,
becomes an ultimate in decadence,
while emptily talking glory.

Often the Lord withholds wrath in mercy, but He does not do it unwisely, but with the propulsion of love,
in the very air of truth.

Psalm 106:35-47 gives but one illustration out of history, of this very thing, as Israel, being called to be a people to manifest God's majesty, praise and wonder, that many might be found, instead defiled their inheritance and misused their privileges:

" ...they mingled with the Gentiles

And learned their works;

They served their idols,

Which became a snare to them.

They even sacrificed their sons

And their daughters to demons,

And shed innocent blood,

The blood of their sons and daughters,

Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;

And the land was polluted with blood.

 

"Thus they were defiled by their own works,

And played the harlot by their own deeds.

Therefore the wrath of the Lord was kindled against His people,

So that He abhorred His own inheritance.

And He gave them into the hand of the Gentiles,

And those who hated them ruled over them.

Their enemies also oppressed them,

And they were brought into subjection under their hand.
 

"Many times He delivered them;

But they rebelled in their counsel,

And were brought low for their iniquity.


"Nevertheless He regarded their affliction,

When He heard their cry;

And for their sake He remembered His covenant,

And relented according to the multitude of His mercies.

He also made them to be pitied

By all those who carried them away captive.


"Save us, O Lord our God,

And gather us from among the Gentiles,

To give thanks to Your holy name,

To triumph in Your praise.


"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel

From everlasting to everlasting!

And let all the people say, 'Amen!'

                    Praise the Lord!"

You see in the New Testament something of this same double emphasis, the mercy which is impassioned and the judgment which at length comes when this beautiful trumpet of power and peace in the atmosphere of pardon that is great, gratuitous and noble, this Gospel of grace is persistently ignored.

Titus 2:11-3:8,  gives the feeling of it in principial terms:

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

"looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed
and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you."

"Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.

"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to His mercy He saved us,
through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

"that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs
according to the hope of eternal life.

"This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly,
that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.
These things are good and profitable to men."


While good trees are not invented or created by good fruit, as some foolishly would seem to maintain, yet good trees undoubtedly in actual practice, bear good fruit; and the desire to do so is not selfish, as if to enhance real estate prospects in heaven, but loving, because the love of God constrains us, who so loved us, to love with that grace that is His; for in being begotten again, in having a new heart "created" as Psalm 51 reflects, there is indeed a new thing. It is the old thing before it fell, and better, with permanent access to God, since now it is conjoined to the body of Christ and everlastingly under that Head, which was so buffeted and bruised that it remained at the time of the Cross, scarcely human in appearance (Isaiah 52:13ff.).

Even within the faith, you see the same torrents of mercy enlivening the weary soul, as in II Corinthians in the case of the apostle Paul:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

"For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation,
which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer.

"Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
And our hope for you is steadfast,
because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings,
so also you will partake of the consolation.

"For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia:
that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.

"Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves,
that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,
who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us;
in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us,
that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf
for the gift granted to us through many."

It is this God whom Paul calls by experience as well as faith (and the two are inseparable twins), "the God of all comfort"

Thus we see all things in the divinely revealed perspective;
yet where curse is not covered by redemption,
and pardon is not received in peace by grace's grant,
then death, corruption, corrosion, decay and degeneration
rule like Lord Muck,
and much muck is his.

Thus we return to our theme, and to Romans 8, which depicts it, just as Romans 5 places it firmly in its historical setting, and I Corinthians 15 expounds the principles of its impact, and the manner of its so glorious removal in impactive whorls of brilliantly clear words.

The divine 'subjection to vanity' of nature, is by nature empty, for that is what 'vanity' means, emptiness, useless frippery and folly. No fulness will ever be made that way, where injustice laughs at God, untruth parades its powers and self-elevation flaps the wings of imagination with airs of pretension,  in the vacuum of truth which man wilfully constructs (cf. TMR Ch. 5). Yet even the creation’s “groaning and labouring “ in decay, bondage, is prior to a deliverance, both dynamic and profound, like creation but its very consummation,  to come (Romans 8:21-22).

Nietzsche, Darwin, Hegel in this respect, yes and Marx, these are all*4 glorifying the curse, or its results instead of returning to origin, and finding peace in Him, for us, human kind, where kindness is part of the kind, and by contrast, self-elevation of the race by misused will in mere distortions of kind, in unworkable follies. This, it is a kind of suicide, a slide, an augury, baleful cry of the outcast, inventing unmanageable theories, instead of returning to the immutable God, whose peace passes all understanding, once it is found. And this ? by conforming not to curse but to cure. In the end, He cannot be withstood, and misunderstood or not, He is not altered by vagrancies, in theory or in practice, in lust of the mind or of the flesh.

As to the Lord, He did not make us to resist His irresistible power, and so He demeaned and if need be, ultimately damned; for rather did He make us ABLE to resist truth, provided freely that it might be prized, to offer resistance to His love and His mercy, that we might live and love.

Thus love without liberty is mere misuse of terminology, programmatic prevarication. Indeed, if it were not for that, God would have been implicated in the sins of man, being their author; but as it is, man is the author, not at all of himself, indeed he cannot even BEGIN to copy his own spirit. Rather is he the author of his own sin, with capable assistance from the devil of confusion who, however, cannot compel, merely impel.

Indeed, this is but one of the reasons why God in the Bible gives the ONLY answer to the dilemmas otherwise met in evil, for ONLY if man is NOT programmatic, as his unruly contempts so continually reflect, his airy arbitrariness and gross wilfulnesses, consciously resolved upon, in hell for leather heathenism of heart: only then is it he who is implicated, whose conscience may indeed be resisted; yet as in Lady Macbeth's eloquent depiction, only in part ...

ONLY if man is able to resist the love of God and the truth of liberty, but not forced to resist by what HE IS (by construction) or becomes (by deeded inheritance, and psychological fixtures), can it be that God Himself is outside the bounds of sin, so not requiring it by what HE has done. This however is precisely the biblical case, for as shown in Predestination and Freewill, and repeatedly through the Predestination Quintet

(cf. The Glow of Predestinative Power Ch.
  9 Great Execrations Ch.  9,
Lord of Life Ch.    6),

God does the work of choosing, but cites man's will as the ground of exclusion. That is objective fact (Ephesians 2, John 3:19). Thus does the Lord sovereignly MANAGE the work of liberty (Romans 9:16, John 1:12), with a precision of performance which bypasses the CONDITION of man's will without annulling its liberty. God knows what He is doing, always did, always does, always will, and His word never changes because of this. ALL time is mere creation. HE KNOWS! (cf. Hebrews 4:13), and HE works!

In the sight of God, therefore, man can resist according to the specifications of his spirit, even though he CANNOT direct or dictate to God. It is He who knows beyond all limits and beyond the sin which differentiates relationship to God, in such a way that there might be more or less of this or that quality or capacity to seek God; for where sin is transcended in divine knowledge, so too are such diversifications, themselves sinful in their various degrees of obfuscation in man. God KNOWS, and acts with knowledge as we are told.

It is love that man can resist, not in autonomy, but before the face of the all-knowing God, who FOREKNEW whom He predestined, as Paul declaims (cf. Romans 8:30ff.). Sin it is which is the condition which blights man with incompetence; but God in His knowledge is not limited by this or any other creation, whether direct, His own product, or indirect; nor can He be contained, disjoined or diverted by the misuse of liberty occurring in some creation whom He has enabled to use it. He uses its results and enables its actuality, without loss of the ground of its institution, or frustration of the love which enabled it.

Love, it is like that, the love of God its criterion (Colossians 1:19), that ALL might be reconciled, yet not so as to use deletion of liberty, even though in sin it is too oppressed to use itself (Ephesians 2:1-10, John 10:26, I Corinthians 2:14). 

He does not banish liberty to gain an illusion of love, but rather does He banish autonomy to contain the illusion of divinity in man, while enabling the fruits of liberty, and the crop, whether weed or wheat, to be reaped in its own time.

What then is man enabled to do in this domain ?

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     Man can in this respect, limit and mode, then, resist,
but is there misdirected,
like somebody glorying for example,  in deafness,
or for that matter,
to take an opposite extreme,
in wealth in its obvious impotence in the world of death, destiny and event (cf. Ch. 7 above).

Moreover, even that resistance (cf. Acts 7:51ff.), is not ultimate, for God does not violate what He has made, nor does love find itself frustrated when only force will do, only the programmatic will perform; for then love is no more love, and force is no more force!

It is the capacity for liberty, not its misuse, which is a creation divine, and a creation of wonder! It is the pre-condition of love, the groundwork for humanity. Its abuse loosens its reality, making slaveries of misconception the ironic result as man manufactures his own chains.

What then of this so multiform misuse of this liberty in man ? It is not annulled, and in much, it has been most softly enabled to find longsuffering; yet God is not mocked, and will by no means acquit the wicked (Nahum), and while He has gone to ultimate lengths to PAY for the sins of repentance, providing freely for the redeemed, He has no offering for the annulment of sins retained (cf. John 8:24), saying to such as sin against His light to the ultimate degree, You will die in your sins! Such sins as these are then retained, not covered; for those who are healed are identical with those in whose place He bears sin (Isaiah 53, the 'we' and the 'us' being precisely this); and indeed in Romans 8:32, those for whom He has actually been delivered up, are recipients of eternal blessing, even 'all things'.

Free in redemption towards all,  God by no means pays for the relentless pursuit of sin and the derogation of redemption. You take it or leave it; but you cannot have it both ways. If however you do take it, by an interposition of divine grace amidst the obscurities of sin (I Corinthians 2:14), the liberty, not autonomy as if one were God which is impure illusion, is indeed obtained, for the knowledge of God is like light in darkness, perspective in blindness and words in the roaring wild. It enables vision, meaning and in the presence of brilliance unfathomable; and there is understanding so that in the end, one knows as one is known (I Corinthians 13).

Liberty in the end, is not liberty to be an ass when you are a man, by imagining there are no limits in your amazingly sophisticated but derivative existence, or worse, by conceiving yourself an arbiter of truth in the absence by mere rebellion of the light of life, found in the Creator in whom alone is absolute truth. Certainly, it is liberty to reach  and achieve such obscurity and defalcation as this; but this is liberty to be bound. It is not boundless, but useless.

Liberty to love the source of love with the love which He has, this however is the consummation of  all possible liberty, and when it is a matter of becoming children by adoption of this same Creator, through redemption covering all costs to such elevation and purification and pardon, there is a liberty to receive that high domain of understanding, meaning and beauty to which many for millenia have sought, but which God alone could provide.

In Christ, He even provided it on time (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), with all the panache of prophecy, so that it would be impossible for anyone using liberty and logic alike, to ignore it (Romans 1:17). It is the great heart of  liberty that the great heart of God has made a way to find man even when his very own distemper makes the finding of God BY man impossible.

The Lord,  having foreknown His own, while seeking all, finds where love may find (Colossians 1:19, I Timothy 2, Ezekiel 33:11, Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42ff.).  

Thus the purity of God is never swerving, though His kindness moves mountains; and the goodness of God is never compounded, for His has borne ALL sin for ALL persons who come to Him (I John 1, 5, Romans 5, II Corinthians 5, Hebrews 9-10). Notwithstanding this most loving and living mercy, where sin is madly made a masterpiece of importunity, and a maze that like a haze is preferred, even before God, to wander yet from light, then THIS IS THE CONDEMNATION (John 3:19). That is where it lies. 

It  becomes necessary, then, to consider the divine CURSE on the earth, in its various phases.

Indeed, it is sought as if popular in this populous place; for this world has embraced its ways,

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not only in individuals, not alone in nations,

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but in philosophies of febrile futilities
   translated into deeds of incontinent cruelty and hotheaded fury,

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in religions of cultural invention of devious obscurity, founded on air,  and

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in political coercions of monumental muddle,

This world of desire has sought out this curse, granted at the outset, in reply to the human adventure of seeking to be as if God (as in Genesis 3), as if this were the very desideratum. It has removed repentance, it has sought to mix the drinks of religion, and to make idols at one with the Creator. It has not done it alone in Islam, where Christ is relegated and the Old Testament is honoured in word, but rejected in message (cf. More Marvels Ch. 4 with SMR pp. 1080ff.); nor in the various sects (loc. cit); but in secular humanism with its subjectivisms and authoritative ignorance*5.

Now it moves as with passion, predicted passion, this virtual entreaty for more of the curse, it is as if  extended in its applications by man's inventive follies,  till his ravished image is not so much blue in the face, as black in disgrace.

The  chastisement of vanity, then, in the curse seen in Genesis 3, Romans 5 and Romans 8, as indeed in I Corinthians 15, it is seen in many manifestations. 

The DIVINE chastisement of HUMAN vanity, does nothing to validate it, but rather exposes, as dust is shown by the light.

This curse itself however is felt, and verified just as it is called for, in stark reminder of the plight of the race, which seeks in general to ignore or despise it, to remove it by its own rampaging, like a rebellious adolescent.

Meanwhile, God has provided at infinite personal cost, the remedy,
but our race is not ready for it.

The divine hand continues the curse, exhibiting or using it

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A)   in 'Nature' - that natural realm
which is for man the stage and setting for the play of life.
It is found, this curse,
in 'nature' which exhibits indeed its impact,
while retaining much of its original splendour,
amidst brilliances so amazing that their very depiction
in the biological engineering that is now
being progressively uncovered,
teaches the imagination what it might not have found ability
so much as to conceive.

The technologies of God
are a fitting reminder of His articulate
wisdom beyond all genius,
and His practical power to deal with man now, as in making him
at the first.

What then is to be seen ?

Found in this, our physical realm, are marvels of precision, exquisites of excellence
beyond unaided thought, things to be copied by the art and artifices of man,
but clumsily very often,
with 'mysteries' beyond,
which are nothing less than the work of the master craftsman,
showing by His deeds

   what is mind in its magnificence, that of the Eternal God,

initiative in its imagination and

control in its liberties, blending and expanding, kind by kind.
 

Yet at the same time, here is to be found

calamity as plagues descend,

meteorological dynamics arrest the ways of man,
   as geological writhings toss man about or asteroids impact.

Crops frequently are ruined by disease
and the pathology of man's spirit is writ large in the distempers
which meet his pride, or humble his inane aspirations
to take over the wonders of the Creator's craft, including his very own self,
and 'run it from here'.

Here in 'Nature', in fact merely the product of God
and nothing to be worshipped or capitalised,
except in scorn at its misuse,
is the scope for 'catastrophes' of irony as man impudently pretends
that the most superb and sophisticated of all visible designs, even himself,
came without the power of design,
the intelligence for its manifestation or
the conceptual brilliance for its performance.

Is then man unappreciative of the prodigies of planning
and enterprise in the creation ?
So be it, let them be reduced, so that man can taste with his historical tongue,
the fruits of his philosophical mouthings,
inane irrationalities and
seductive irreverences.

It is like agent orange: man's little lair becomes progressively defoliated,
as his mammoth effrontery before his own Maker
allows a robust imagination to become asthenic and  asinine alike.

Is then man to make 'chance' the source of law,
even when 'chance' is itself  conceived
as its very evacuation and law is needed to so much as
contemplate the ways of it,
in an  array of self-contradiction which would be elegant
if it were not irresponsible;
would be a paragon of clownishness, if it were not being taken, by some, 
 all but seriously.

Thus the stripping of the divine providential provisions
is biblically slated to come,
in this, in that realm or division of the creation, which is 'Nature' unmasked;
and it is coming now to be as foretold:

    in social, in pseudo-ecclesiastical,
    in military, political, educational and cultural madnesses

which are making of even so vast a realm as this ordered earth,
a dump for radiation, for all but unthinkable promiscuities of immorality,
as for its byproducts in multiplied degradations.

 

Such is the case with the Aids pandemic,
as for ethically amoral spasms of violence
and a splashing even of the blood of infants and children, |
on the stones of cities, as if the appetite for folly were insatiable,
and man had become the abyss of inhumanity and the devil of derangement.

God, in times past,  often told Israel of its follies and their results,
pleading and reasoning

(as you  see with eloquence in Jeremiah in the first chapters,
culminating in drama in Ch. 9);

and He has told the Gentiles no less, as we have found from His Bible,
His word to man, above.

     That the cumulative effect is so great that now,
in even a secular and humanistic atmosphere,
some begin to speak of man removing the livability of this earth,
while others seem bent on seeking another one, another 'earth'
from the inertia for this purpose, of space, is not surprising.
It is rather like admiring your neighbour's garden,
or remembering the state of your own,
and walking the streets to see if any are for sale without cost.

So long as God Himself is not in view, many even now, are still quite capable
of seeing the direction of things as Christ foretold them two millenia ago (Matthew 24:21ff.).

"For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.

"For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.

"Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

"And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

So does supernature, the inventor of 'Nature', 
come to what is natural with what is supernatural,
first as Creator, then as Redeemer, then as Gatherer;
for it is not man alone who is a gardener.

The time comes for harvest, whether of wheat or weeds,
as Christ made so very clear
that the school children could readily see (Matthew 24:13-30).

So does man in his abuse of his glorious liberty, defile his inheritance,
garnering an other inheritance than that of blessing,
ramping up on the accelerator of devastation,
as if to maximise the curse,

     rather than seek in divine mercy, a deliverance from it
one which is surely to come.

 

It will come indeed, where the remedy is received,

but not till the last page of predicted history is fulfilled, to the jot and to the tittle,

and God is satisfied that the crop is ripe.

So does man cry in anguish, or sleep in mental forgetfulness,
with twitches and twinges

of conscience as thoughts pass, and worries bang on the door of oblivion;

so does he defile what God has made.

This he does, both in his own mind and body, and then in his nations and his laws,
with his perversities
and even that divinely built platform, this earth,
which he so lightly esteems, as he grabs it
and vainly looks in space for more,
like some lusting hound, grabbing now this and now that chop
from the butcher's shop.


 

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B) in defined history.

Here on earth likewise in the confines of the curse,
are examples numerous enough,
of directly declared divine chastisements,
as in the days of Pharaoh in Egypt, that prototype
of national oppression and tyrannical misuse of labour,
of misdirected religion
and delusive grandeur.

In the biblical Exodus (Exodus 4-12),
there is not only the use of such an element of the curse,
as may occur,
but of a series of derogatory dynamics,
directed at the lunacy of man in false idolatry and
naturalistic religions, stripping from Egypt step by step,
its religious icons, idols and reliances,
making plagues of their sacred things and rebukes of their religious foci.

Worship the Nile,
then find its plagues.
Worship ? or cattle, or frog ?
Find their croaking, like Lady Macbeth 'damned spot'.

Not merely was this so, but the plagues were specified, before applied,
and removed in mercy at each insincere response from Pharaoh,
repetitively asked to release the nation of Israel from his oppressive slavery,
so that they might continue their history without such cultural clutter,
and enslaving conditions:
 
just as we have in South Australia repeatedly asked the Government
to release the children from the servitude to religious surrealism
in the form of organic evolution
as ALONE permitted in science,
and religion ONLY permitted
as if in the realm of the insubstantial and unverifiable,
in their Curriculum
maintained and applied
by some fiat of folly.




C) in marvels of miseducation, widely visible in the world,

but as an example, depicted in our very own State.
It has elements of parallel with the Pharaoh case,
the children being not those of 'Israel' of old,
but the young of our own people.

Thus, the Government here after spending many months without report,
at last bypassed the issue,
answered NOTHING of the major issues, repeated what it plans to do,
repenting not at all of its bias, still refusing to debate,
still denying interview with the Premier*5A,
as it merely makes of education its fiefdom, and of idle philosophy its arbiter,
without ground, but only with power.

God is marvellously patient, but just as war followed the wonders of the 1920s,
newly liberated after that most horrible of wars in 1914-1918,
and depression came after it,
so does the Lord know how to deal with the recalcitrant,
the gobblers up of righteousness, who spit out what they cannot defend,
and refuse to amend what they cannot sustain.

Such things are not confined to Islamic bodies, or African dictatorships,
nor are such impositions and impostures
only to be looked for outside the 'West' and its distant arms.

The world in various ways continues to ask for divine curse,
biblically symbolised
in the mill-stone around the neck
in the case of causing little ones to stumble
*6,
and what better way to do this than
to educate to one's own tailor-made ideologies*7,
in some elements now much akin to the educative practice of Hitler and Stalin,
at the naturalistic level:
in defiance of biblical truth and evidential reality alike,
and, to take the case of our own afflicted State,
in South Australia,
doing this while closing the mouth to actual debate,
or even response to the issues themselves as presented.

Reason and revelation alike displaced, such actions make dreamers
where reality beckons, and such exclusions make freedom blush.

To be sure, there is room for maintenance of one’s being,
since it is a precious privilege to have it,
but this should never be confused
with the pre-emptive use of one’s own being
to overcome other beings, in some sort of pseudo-divine mandate
to be obliterative of good, so long as one is oneself to continue,
rat or relic,
or in whatever debased if not depraved likeness.

But while nobility is despised, it is less seen;
and while such evil and subjective substitutes for the actualities of
the love of the Creator are idly pushed, a whole generation is punished,
for its seamy substitute for thought, its dreamy delinquency
in merely subjectivistic self-assertion,
survival of the most cunning, self-interested or pushing,
as if the universe were centred for each, in himself,
or truth were to be found in vehemence as step-father to reality.

Vanity of vanities, the lands grow clouded by groundless dreams.

How long do Western democracies have to seek divine censure,
for acts impressive only in obstinacy,
destructive of truth, delusive*8 and defiant,
even derogating the majesty of the word of God,
by constructing a religious basis outside
the realm of realisable history and observable fact.

Such is the unhappy parody of religion enforced in this State,
as a basis for thought,
in fact an  excuse for its seductive obfuscation,
a parody of truth,
with a straw-man defilement of logic.

Grounded on nothing, what does it hope to achieve!

Fiats however do not alter facts,
and education is not the nursemaid of monopolistic practices
which refuse to cover the field, and to provide data from the whole of science,
or religion, or even adhere carefully to scientific method, in a closed shop.

The evil empire of Reagan's rebuke and the axis of evil of Bush's notation, alas,
these do not occupy the field alone; for the whole world is whirring with contempt
that grows like the tsunami, and then roars like the tornado,
as it defies reason and reality alike,
in contempt of the word of God and the truth He has so clearly placed
in creation (cf. The gods of naturalism have no go!),
angrily muzzling it and not even exposing
the facts of its overwhelming performance criteria,
as if terrified of its power.

While this in South Australia may be one of the worst cases
in Western democracies, many are they who move in this profane direction,
as they prepare a generation, whatever their intent, in fact for degeneration.
Many are the tertiary organisations, as has been exemplified earlier*9,
who follow
the same exclusivistic road.

Their garlands of tension and fear, striving and decline in morals and grace
are merely the first scudding clouds.
Put into motion are forces akin to
the foolish philosophies of unreason,
which know how to exploit their opportunities,
with their own importunities.
Graceless, power-hungry, unrestrained,
they reason why to abandon reason,
expert in self-contradiction, naïve in a tumult of words.

It is easy to sow; what is reaped has a way of its own,
and in this case, its outcomes are already pronounced (cf. Luke 21),
like negative garlands, of anti-congratulation, ironies of disorder,
task-forces of distemper, social writhings and vehemences, thrusts of lust.

Yet man again and again, seems surprised when his carefully built civilisations
show inhuman force, relentless persecutions
and horrible deformities of humanity,
as if he had never asked for it, or sanctioned it by his revilings,
relentless imaginations
and godless deeds.

Meanwhile, as man taunts man  and looks away from the living God,
pestering his peers
with false prophets and bombs of protoplasm,
as if an ultimate in spiritual uncleanness,
God's curse continues on this globe.
Even to the living matrix of 'nature', his creation, subjected to vanity
as Paul declares in Romans 8:20ff.,
man yet adds hideously more corruption of his own.  

Thus are man's exploitation of man shown up by desecrations
in the natural realm, exploitations amid the lower creation,
bestial, insect and avine parodies
of man's corruption and exhibits of his oppressions.

It is rather like the practice in one nation,
of having criminals re-visit
and play over in real life, the crimes they committed,
to shame them and show them up,
surrounding them with their own misdeeds, as expressions of contempt.

For man however,  freely to copy his corrections, and to imitate
the curse, it is like making shrines to want, or pillars to plagues;
yet man is asking on bended knee,
for the uttermost.


Alas, such entreaty is to be answered, for as Christ declared it,
a time was coming, and that before His return,
beyond the devices of past history, and not to be repeated
in the future (Matthew 24:21). This, it is a day
of vast tribulations, for we are to look for
inordinate catastrophe and disorder,|
the very acme of our own asking and reply to our
irrational ingratitude, and vaunting racial aspirations,
autonomous and alien.

It is a mercy that His calling home of His people
shortens this period (Matthew 24:22,29ff.),
a testimony of the grandeur of His grace,
which like light flashes into every available space.

We have been considering above,


The DIVINE chastisement of HUMAN vanity,
by exhibiting or using it in various ways,

and we come now to seeing it



 

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D) in man's inner and outer wars, ravaging as man rampages,
first his psyche and then his international structures
,

weak and woeful,
psychic maladies like drains, festering in the social air,
with the political swamps
and the remorseless vehemences of instability and exploitation.
Psychically maladjusted souls in countless millions, whether in bomb brigades
or on psychiatrists' couches, find no relief, or continue 'out in society',
places no more to be found for them,
walking tabloids of medical drugs,
and pharmaceutical prescriptions,
medical memos:
in countless cases,
adrift.



 

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E)  in radical environmental consequences, irreversible my man,
not merely polluting the earth,
the minds of men, the spirits of children, but the very space above us
with millions of relics
of the ravaging intensities of man's wars and thoughts of war,
his insatiable greed to grab more
from God without permission, while defiling what he has.

 

 

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F)        in pageants of hate, pock-marking the globe and
marring man with the dynamics of degeneration,
whether appearing as racial revels in odium, religious bombast without evidence, tedious false prophecies, starting a few millenia too late,
or superficial and seductive scientisms,
leading to the ultimate racism, human racism
seeking to disjoin God from His creation
and to deliver man to himself,
a gaunt husk, abandoning his source.

Without direction, they know not where to go.
Even this week, an article appeared in The Advertiser (June 14 - Genetic Screening),
summarising some of the recent moves towards genetic made-to-order humans,
where the genes are selected, or the babes rejected,
so that the desired spectrum might be gained and garnered from the available creation.

What, it asked, would be the desired specimen ?
Would there be a preferred selection of genes,
with a desired outcome in physical,
or if possible, mental endowment ?
Would man try to make of mankind
what he wanted ?

Man does not know, when disjoined from God,
what is 'right' and there IS then no visible right,
but only the will of the tyrant, the majority
or the clammy cultural fever of the moment.

Man without God is without direction, a design adrift,
a means without end, seeking to find ends,
without concern for his genesis, his generation,
basking in degeneration as if it were
the very acme of attainment, a rudderless ship,
not knowing anything but directions, no map, no place,
no meaning and no wisdom.

Such is man bereft,
a child in the pulpit, decreeing what he does not,
and minus the Master of his life, cannot
understand.

The result can only be tyranny as biblically predicted (Revelation 13, 17),
in the end, for where
there is no way, how can the way be selected ?
and when there is only ignorance of the realities,
who could agree ?
and if agreement be reached, how could it be continued ?
and if it is not continued,
who will give form and order, but the tyrant, the new super-Hitler, super-Stalin,
for whom
this world is the acting place for his prodigies of imagination,
his pestilences of misled passion and
his fevers of self-admiration,
a very model of mankind, dressed up as leader
(cf. SMR pp. 683ff., 750Bff., and The Moon Soon).

This, biblically predicted, is to come.

We have had abundant efforts in the past,
and in the recent past many have been they who have
sought to impose with civilised uncivilities, shameless techniques,
mashing manipulation,
their dreadful dynamics.

Some have come near to grabbing this earth.
Every time, man is far too wise to be deluded;
and every time he is deluded.
Next time, or some time soon
(Answers to Questions Ch. 5),
the last phase of this deadly effort to do without God
and in the end, to make an apotheosis of mere man,
will come.

We have been warned, and this phase of the curse, expanded amply by man himself, is drawing near.

To be sure, it is true that the ‘subjection to vanity’,
an unwilling earth receiving the divine result for its folly, is not
in itself identical with "curse", and that the latter was on the earth;
but it was also on man (cf. Galatians 3),
who having sought to be "as one of Us",
was denied in his own realm and for himself, access to ultimate meaning,
eternal life, his blessed place.

Excluded and sent out to a world
where the divine coverage was no more complete, as it had been,
nor the divine fellowship to be found except by sacrifice,
he was challenged to recognise his state:
the point
of Cain and Abel.

This is shown by Paul in Romans 8 to be a matter of subjection to emptiness,
to something like turmoil and anguish,
and this has been the trouble with man in his history.

That God has proceeded FROM THE FIRST (Genesis 3:15),
to designate the remedy, and to the last has performed
what He so early published, is another attestation
of His constant knowledge and total control.

That man has to the last, as a race, shown intolerance for remedy
as in the first, intolerance of the life under the Lord and in His divine counsel,
is the ground for the growing impact of the results of his sin.

There is a certain cyclotron element in the affair,
as evil men grow worse and worse, and iniquity abounds,
as Christ foretold for the end of the Age before His own return (Matthew 24).

What would you expect ?
If you strip the gears in wheelies,
why whine if you have increasing evidence of disorder!

It is this however which man, intoxicated with the use of the God-given gifts,
is finding to his consternation, as also predicted (Luke 21:26).
Man cannot move meaningfully without God,
and like it or not, the results of such presumptuous automation are all about him.

They grow, they loom, he squeals at the worse and worse follies,
while continuing to exploit and aggravate their cause.
In this sense, man is making history; but as his story, it is not a good one.
It reeks with the results of his arrogance,
while the Gospel continually selects
those who will return to the Lord, and find pardon (Isaiah 55, Acts 17:27).

 

 

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G)  in scriptural predictions, foretelling the current climate.

As we have just seen, this is
an extra element in the disease and the impact of the curse,
that its prognosis is predicted,
and its calamities detailed (cf. SMR Ch. 8, Answers to Questions loc. cit.).

These forecasts attesting the divine directives in the matter,
are found not only in the Gospel (Matthew 24, Luke 21 for example),
but in Revelation (6-9 for example), just as they appear in Isaiah (24),
and in Haggai 2:6ff.,
and notoriously in Daniel 2, 7, 9 and 12.

Increasingly, as noted in Answers to Questions,
they now appear in history,
as if it were preening itself for a final display, so accurate,
so apt and so widespread is the testimony.

Thus do we see the phased in results of this 'vanity',
this emptiness of godless man, whether he
creates godlets of his own, or disowns all.

Thus comes the curse definitively derogatively and in much,
ironically, as man the master,
finds his mastery a catastrophe of pride and an explosion of woe,
as if it were an abysmal slide, given in its spiritual setting.

If for this, he has no eyes now,
as in the days of Christ when all questions met solutions, all diseases cure,
all truth its exponent and every test its answer,
when Messianic prophecy had its perfection
and the love of God its spotlight*10:
then does the conduct of history proceed to its destined end,
already articulated, as the Great Physician, who preferred His own death to our own,
is ridiculed,
as if the more lustily to invite
the ultimacies which must therefore face this race.

There are of course escapees (Hebrews 2:1-3, 6:18ff., Isaiah 66:19),
and that route, though narrow, is very sure

(Acts 2:37ff., 4:11ff., Colossians 1:19ff., John 3:16,
II Corinthians 5:17ff., Galatians 3, Matthew 7:15ff.).

 

The time indeed comes when the dynamic of dissolution and the tempo of corruption spent, that better thing which has been held in store comes, with all the nascent power of the creation before the fall (Romans 8:18-23):


"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

"For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits
for the revealing of the sons of God.

"For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly,
but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
because the creation itself also will be delivered
from the bondage of corruption
into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

"For we know that the whole creation groans
and labors with birth pangs together until now.
Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
eagerly waiting for the adoption,
the redemption of our body."
 

Meanwhile this world whirls with wickedness, travails and groans in horrors from the inventory of disbelief, and finds the results of its misdeeds, both original and contemporary, fermenting like some stinking wine.

All of this does nothing to validate human vanity. It does so no more than does the medical exhibit in the case where prognosis fulfilled, and fought to the last while the smoking or drug continues, the last stages of paranoia, lung cancer or disorientation mentally set in, racking and exhibiting the ruin of order, the defilement of beauty and the overthrow of wonder.

There is no glory in this kind of exposure, except of course, for God. The divine curse follows the rejection of the cure, just as it came at first with the seeking for divine glory on the part of man. These things are gifts, not for grabbing; and our exalted potential is merely the greater scope for the signature of ruin when as a race, mankind is unkind to his condition, and in dramatic ecstasies of folly, disjoins himself from his source, mocks his condition and having murdered the Saviour, continues his self-vaunting and passionate pretences, never receiving the peace offered, from the Prince of life, as if death were its desired destiny, and torment its substitute for truth.

So do we find in history, as pre-sketched and analysed in scripture, the Bible, in such sites as Romans 1:17ff., Ephesians 4:17ff., 2:1ff., Proverbs 1, Revelation 9, in old time in II Chronicles 36, in our time in II Timothy 3 and I Timothy 4, as in Revelation 13ff., with II Thessalonians 2.

It is as if we already have the X-rays of the future, and dig holes, rather than open our racial ears to the truth. The divine curse has come, and its phases are feverishly being explored with endless provocation by man, and the divine remedy has come, and being progressively dismissed, leaves man heir to triumph, but courting doom.

What however of the power that has exploded into action, is available as is Spring at its height when the weather warms and the wonders of vitality work, but is eternal in dimension, whereas this is mere phasing that features and focusses wonder. What of this, foreign to the fetters of sin, the dynamics of doom and the lacerations of unloveliness ?

 

 

III   THE POWER OF THE CROSS

and the

EXPLOSION of REDEEMED LIFE
into the sunshine of Eternal Day

Positive Criteria of What Remains

verified victoriously and pervasively by*11

- peace, power and pardon within.

- preciousness of the personal knowledge of the Prince.

- His comradeship on the highway of holiness, on the way of life, His exploits and care.

- the scope of His truth, irreversible, explicatory of all things,
   irresistible except by pathological will on its paths to oblivion from light,
   better than any monies, achievements or approval by man,
   a thing of beauty and a splendour that remains inviolate, inviolable.

the majesty of His creation, even in its scourged and cursed condition, much wonder,
   many marvels and grand majesty remaining.

- the beauty of His atmospheric, spatial, mountainous,
   oceanic, landscape, skyscape,
   floral, arboreal and composite constructions,
   vast in power, scope and artistry.

-   the enormity of His curse, on those who proceed yet to needless destruction,
    and on what has in multiple realms,
   suffered because of the sin of the acme of creation, man.

-  the beauty of His holiness, which is not merely irradiant with splendour, but
   arresting with wonder,
   transforming with power
   and grand in the stirring of the heart  to love,
   and to a penetrating peace which lives like a river and courses in its might.

-   the exquisite and caring, concerned lovingkindness of His heart, which
    avoids no discipline, obviates no rebuke, delves in error and corrects,
    yet has a comfort and a compassion which elevates,
    drawing like the crests of innumerable mountains,
    cast in contrast to the arresting magnificence of pure blue
    heights above.

-   the power of His word, which overcomes all in its way, but patiently,
     without rush or oversight, in a wisdom deep and munificent, as well as manifest.

-   the clarity of His diagnosis of the defilements of man,
      and the precision of its match to his ways.

 
 
- the munificence
    of His provision of the grace of the everlasting Gospel,
    beautiful as immutable,
    and the mastery of His prognosis concerning man and this universe,
    which He has made like a poem, to be enjoyed, used well, and superseded,
    not with advance, but with exclusion of sin
    while freedom remains,
    where pardon is found, in the kingdom of heaven.

-   the sheer splendour and incorrigible determination
    of His treatment of millenia,
    during which liberty and love come into eternal harmony,
    allowing a new creation coming to culmination on His return,
    in a coming day
    when freedom is voided of discipline for sin,
    since then it is gone,
    and love is sincere, without mixed motives.

-   His faithfulness to His promises, fulfilled whether in hail or tempest, calm or quietus.

-   the enduring practical necessity of repentance, avoiding hypocrisy and requiring realism.

-   the power of eternal redemption, partner of adoption, with the sheer pleasantness
    of having as Father through salvation from sin, your very own Creator,
    where worship is correlative to true wonder, and tenderness does not void truth.

-   the joy of having as Friend, the very God of all power, of purity untouchable,
    knowing by experience what one is, not distantly directive, but closely companionable.

the continued irrelevance of the wonts and wants of seething flesh to this eternity,
    with its river of life and its inclusion not by merit of man, but by that of the Lord of glory,
    who inhabited this earth as man,
    to bring to heaven the spirits of the just, now made perfect.

-     the scope of His plans, not only past but future,
    in composite harmony like a grand orchestral
    program with rondos and expansions,
    variations but always ONE THEME,
    still providing marvels to come. In these, fittingly figure

 
-   the coming clash after the millenium of testimony,
    when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God
    as the waters cover the sea,
    removing mere lip service, and giving a final scouring,
    while there comes at last, the end of this earth and creation
    with vast tumult and noise
    as energies of construction are finally dismissed,

    and a new heavens and earth
    replace the former ones, cast away as an old coat,
    while bodies now made endure, not this time for test, but for triumph,
    like corporeal laurels after a victorious Olympics,
    so that one may dwell where truth is, love is foundational and mercy
    smiles with its accomplishments, all wrought by the same God.

   It is the God of creation.

   who did not disdain the delinquencies of man,
   nor dismiss the drabness of his faults,
   but becoming man,

   brought deliverance, neither by threat nor by mere thrust,

   but in penalty payment with mockery, bringing pardon
   where it is received, His own power ensuring
   that not one of His is lost,
   for His truth rules the earth,  and lying done,
   its splendours will reveal the baseness of the other option.

   This, drafted in the devil and devised in his hatreds, is one
   which many share,
   which inhabits darkness, but not enveloping,
   since none need dwell there,
   for it is free, this light:
   a favour not to pre-emption by violence,
   but presenting a face, the very face of God,
   available to love which embraces truth,
   and so having received the diagnosis
   comes into the domain of blessed prognosis,

    where glory dwells.

 

Then, these divine conquests complete,
from patience to provision,
from atonement in sacrifice at Calvary to application of His merits,
to each single one of His people redeemed,
all this, not by mere dynamic
but by love, mercy, grace and deliberate plan of lovingkindness,
where power is servant, and not master,

there remain:

the blessings of incalculable tenderness,

resplendent righteousness,

illimitable love,

inimitable life,

embracive consciousness,

all correlative

to seeing the face of God (Revelation 22, I Cor. 13).

 

    All this continues, and

the LORD HIMSELF remains,

victorious over death,

a triumphant sacrifice of overflowing power,

the like of which this world has never seen in any other realm,

for there is none like Him in heaven or on earth

who came to earth to bring us to heaven.

     

     In bringing us to His own eternal homeland,
     He breached our barriers with His own Person,
     granting us free conduct thither, out of His own glorious love,

    undimmed by difficulty,

    undeviating through pain,

    undeterred by anguish,

    filled with mercy,

    shining with hope,

    glorious in constancy,

    conferring liberty in merciful meekness

   bringing many children to glory.

 

It is so fascinating put in Hebrews 2:

... we see Jesus,
who was made a little lower than the angels,
for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor,
that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

"For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things,
in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation
complete through sufferings.

"For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one,
for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying:

     'I will declare Your name to My brethren;

     In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.'

And again:

'I will put My trust in Him.'

And again:

'Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.'

"Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood,
He Himself likewise shared in the same,
that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

"For indeed He does not give aid to angels,
but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.

"Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren,
that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God,
to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted,

He is able to aid those who are tempted."

Voluntarily reduced from the outward impact of deity, the form of it,
He did not subside into our state, but without sin, adorned it,
that we who had lost in our derivative estate,
the purity of its commencement,
might in His exalted lowliness,
find Him once more,
whom this race lost at the first,
but may find at the last,

through faith in His Cross, that vast plan of salvation,

there in its manifest splendour,

as in the resurrection*12,

in its invincible expression.

 

 

 

NOTES

 

*1

See for example Chs.   4 and   6, above,

The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 4,

SMR Chs.   8 and   9,

Great Execrations ... Ch. 10Little Things Ch.   9 (including spirit of the Age), 10 ,

Divine Agenda Ch.  6,

With Heart ...  Ch.    9,  10  (Britain, Europe and decline phase included,

 Answers to Questions Ch. 5.

 

*2

See for example,  SMR pp.  648-706, SMR Ch. 3, Ch.   4 above, ERRORS and SECTS.

 

*3

The mercy of God is most easily seen, not only in one's personal life as a Christian, as countless of God's people attest, but in the scripturally specific case of Israel.

On the other hand, His severity when once His wrath is aroused after all but endless provocations and unprincipled putsches of individual arrogance, national pride or international folly, is also to be found.

Both, Paul attests in Romans 11:17-33, the perspective in truth.

Speaking of Israel in terms of an olive tree (cf. The Biblical Workman Ch. 3, *1a)

which grew into wildness,
and specifically as a branch therefore cut off
,
because of chronic,  callow and callous unbelief

(in fact accumulating over centuries, with undulations of recovery
but eventual frenzy of folly,  as you see in II Kings cf. II Chronicles 36),

and of the Gentile component as
GRAFTED INTO that very olive tree
by grace:

the word of God continues to address two matters.

The first is the restoration to come, at the end of this Age, for Israel (partly already done, at the physical level - see  It Bubbles ... Ch. 10); and the second is the wild folly of the Gentile world, duly predicted, which occasions a warning, just as the prophets of Israel gave to their own nation a warning. Paul, one recalls, is the APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES, to all non-Jews, so we no less have been warned as THE NATIONS other than Israel. God is just to all, and His mercy is not limited; but it is not divorced from the truth!

As to Israel,  THEY have had their history foretold and fulfilled; as to the Gentile world, this has nothing less! (cf.  Matthew 24, Luke 21). We recall that the parable of the olive tree is set in national and international terms, and its simplicity is powerfully moving, while what NEEDS to be moved is the human heart!

 

But let us hear Romans 11 on this point (colour and emphasis added).

"And if some of the branches were broken off,

and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them,

and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,

do not boast against the branches.

But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

You will say then, 'Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.'

 

"Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith.

"Do not be haughty, but fear.
For if God did not spare the natural branches,
He may not spare you either.

"Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God:
on those who fell, severity;
but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness.
Otherwise you also will be cut off.
And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in,
for God is able to graft them in again.
For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature,
and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree,
how much more will these, who are natural branches,
be grafted into their own olive tree?

"For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery,
lest you should be wise in your own opinion,
that blindness in part has happened to Israel
until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

"And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

'The Deliverer will come out of Zion,

And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;

For this is My covenant with them,

When I take away their sins.'

"Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.

"For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.

"For God has committed them all to disobedience,
that He might have mercy on all.

"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!"

While individuals, like the called nation Israel, are called and kept 'without repentance' (as in John 10:9,27-29, which means with no change of the divine mind on the topic), the same is not true of those who in fitful starts, taste but do not swallow the good word of God in the first place. Such may be accompanied by some spiritual manifestation, like the seed in the sowing of the seed parable, where there was rejoicing for a season when it hit the earth and began to grow; but it took no root because the 'ground' or heart had not been broken in repentance, but was hard. Such would merely USE God,  instead of becoming usable to God, through faith. The word of God touches, but does not take them. They wither.

The Gentile world is full of conceits, that is of idle imaginations, as if to use any natural or supernatural force, power or dynamic which may help it to be what it wants to be and do what it wants to do. Using God, if it can, anything else if it may, its deceivers abound as foretold in II Timothy 3 and II Peter 2, for our end of the Age era; and unwise is the person who heeds such froth.

However it is very simple: you SURRENDER to  God or you do not; you ACCEPT what HE has provided ONCE AND FOR ALL, in glorious verified fulness,  Jesus the Christ, the ONLY REDEEMER, or what ? what other course would you take ? It is this. In effect, you would by your rebellious beliefs, implicate God in the follies of this world, as if He had sat still and not acted to provide for a clean slate, a clean life, a clean heart and a sure way, had planned an impure program with no occasion for a restoration of the ledger, without a coverage of guilt, a cover for law,  and a meaning for the trial.

That, however,  is simply outrageous for from what source do you derive a goodness you would imply to be lacking in God, a subject of your own thoughts and a critique of your own Creator, except in the same old game of Eden, where men would be as ... God! Such heights are not reached by illusion.

Such conceits can only drown the mouth which gurgles them out (cf. SMR Ch. 1, *30, *31). To kick your Saviour in the face, whether when literally or figuratively drowning alike, is scarcely wise, or good for that matter. Moreover if you seek to disbelieve in Him, you merely forsake the possibility of truth by having none absolute available, thus blowing in the wind of your own creation, a spiritual breath that affirms while it denies that it can affirm, a writhing contortion of self-inflicted contradiction, awaiting just judgment despite the magnificence of your design, created by what design takes, the designation of its components and the construction of its parts and powers in inflexible functionality, all in one and as one.

To say that this is a drab dynamic and a folly of dreamland does not reduce the severity which it must face, with all pretence, before the awe-ful eye of the truth.

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The staggering fact, so sure in principle and abundant in spiritual patience is this:

      that despite all this,

light remains for the heart which is willing to receive it

where the blood of life having been shed,

in the Cross of the mediating Christ, come for this purpose as foretold in detail,

the pardon also remains, like the birth of a child,

hard to take at the moment, yet freely prepared for coming

from long past.

 

*3A

See News 74 and Beyond the Curse.
See also The Plagues of Ancient Egypt and the Plight of Modern Man.

 

*4

See:

Aviary of Idolatry, Highway to Hell, Spiritual Refreshings Ch.  9, incl. End-note 1 (esp. programmatic psychology and its ilk),

Marvels of Predestination and the Ways of Will Ch .  7,  including *1;

News 8044,

SMR 4;

Repent or Perish Ch.   7, Extension 1 ;

The True God has Go, Gives Growth and Glory Ch.  2.

 

*5 See Ch. 1 above, for example, with SMR Ch.  3.

 

*5A

For provision of some of the material provided to the S.A. Premier in the pursuit

of the removal

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of the affront and denigration to Christianity,
via a gratuitous definition of religion per se, to be found in an official educational document, and
 

bullet

of the irrational construction of an approach to the teaching of creation and evolution in schools, built
not least, and explicitly,  on such a gross and officious misunderstanding of the topic of 'religion' :

see this link.

In the material presented and referred to, it is shown:
 

that this official document and governmental approach is  a travesty of the claims,
duly authenticated and verified, of Biblical Christianity, whose religion, as religion
is here attacked;

that there is no justification is to be found for acting in such a manner,
which could with considerable point, be characterised as a secular pontification.

that the result is unconscionable for education, unsustainable as philosophy,
irrelevant as science. 

 

For a detailed critique of the DECS document (Department of Education and Child Services), sent to school Principals, containing this assault and confusion, without ground: an extraordinary,  presuppositional pontification: see TMR Ch. 8.

For an exposition of the apparent conflict between this setting up of an assumed, and unsustainable religious profile in this manner, and Australia's commitments to the UN, see Chapter 1, *1A above.
In view of Commonwealth financial partnership in State Education, the Australian Government is directly involved. 

The point is not made that the government ought to do the job of Christian ministers for them,
an idea which is a useless bypass if not a red herring in the reply to the Evangelical Presbyterian Alliance, which is seeking the deliverance of children and youth from this mistreatment.

The point however
is made that
 

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1) it should not so act without at least open and public debate and logic,
 

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2) it should not seek with neither reason nor argumentation to the point, 
to present a definition of religion which constitutes a direct and major assault on Christianity:
for not only is this an affront produced out of air, but it is readily shown to be logically fallacious.
 

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3) Nor should it set up a religion of its own, by means of multiple theological dogmas,
asserted in a Circular to Principals, for the reason noted above,
that the Commonwealth evidently uses considerable funds on State Schools,
and it is not permitted to favour a religion, as here.

In fact, the religious pronouncements in the Circular represent a compulsory cradle for all religions,
and an answer to basic questions of religion, giving the parameters of religion from an outside view,
not even defended, a position shown not only shown to be indefensible logically,
but apparently so legally.

With this, one must add:
 

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4) Nor should the State Government build curricular elements using religious confusion,
partial or total, as a basis for them, as occurs in the Circular in view:
the method is an appalling educational gaffe;
 

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5) nor should it omit significant areas of scientific research in a manner
which defiles scientific method, in the scope of science teaching,
by mere appeal to what is in fact divided authority;
 

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6) nor should it use mere denigration as a substitute for experimental and logical survey,
in setting up its invasion of the religious and educational fields.

 

It is also pointed out that it should face these issues, instead of:
 

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7) avoiding debate,
 

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 8) excluding interview with the Premier
who must bear the responsibility (their being no Minister for religion),
on so vast a defacement of Christianity; and
 

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9) failing to face and even reply to the legal issues,
which appear to make this illegal in this country, and certainly contrary to the Commonwealth Government commitments against discrimination to the UN (Chapter 1, *1A above). 

Instead, this Government has now twice given a reply from a Minister, simply omitting these basic issues, while talking of the pattern preferred, and various religious irrelevancies. There is a vast chasm between objective reasoning and this document, the government Circular; and this needs to be faced, inspected, and replaced with a reasoned approach, differentiable from a series of presuppositions so gratuitous as to bid fair to become destructive of any educational reputation for this State.

Hence

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10) the government should not fail to take steps for such replacement with a sense of grief, shame and urgency.

The fact that this appalling and ten times multiple failure, in educational procedure, has been in force for some 17 years makes it a more-than-Party issue; it is the whole of South Australia which is involved in this cultural swagger. If this grave error is not purged, the consequences of such slackness, logical slither and religious affront alike, are a matter of grief for the State, which does not need such abasement.

 

*6

See Matthew 18:6. In fact, the precise word is this, that it would be BETTER
to have a mill-stone hung around your neck than to offend those little ones who believe in Him - offend in the sense of 'cause to stumble', for which dictatorial educational oppression is one way most apt.

 

*7

As to the predicted character of these misdeeds, see II Timothy 3, II Peter 2, I Timothy 4 with Matthew 24, Luke 21, I Peter 3:1-5. Turning aside to myths is one of the
focussed features to demarcate the end of the Age, as are doctrines of devils and false teachers proceeding even from church backgrounds, like the false prophets of old.

As to the detail of the South Australian case, see TMR Ch. 8 with Ch. 1, *1A above.

*8

It has been a fascinating study to see the writhings and torments of evolutionary mysticism, whether in the Darwinian delusion, the body of this notoriously falsified error now being dead, the Gould substitute, unsustainable but at least being deadly on Darwinism, and the various other naturalistic or mystic efforts, all unverified and unvalidated, which have tormented themselves into illusory existence.

If ever there was an exercise in predictable futility, this has been it.

See 

Wake Up World! Ch. 4-6, SMR pp. 140 -151,

Earth Spasm ... Ch.     7;

ESC   1, Beauty for Ashes (BFA) Ch.  Ch.    3; SMST    7;

Spiritual Refreshings Chs. 13, 16;

and more broadly,

Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch.    3 (DDDD - shrieking for their idols, but in vain),    7  ,
The Bright LIght ... Ch.   5, (myths and 'nature', and religion),
 Earth Spasm ... Ch.   3

Of the Earth, Earthy Ch.    4 esp. *1 and *2; 

Secular Myths or Sacred Truth Ch.    8 3 (SMST - and post-naturalism);
 

SMR 172ff., 419ff.
(Myths and Smugglers)
;


Sparkling Life Ch.    8,
News 57, 59 (and principles

DDDD   4 (and Darwin dead);

News 84 (broad setting, as in Spiritual Refreshings ... Ch.   13,
Ancient Words, Modern Deeds
Ch.   9,
Worn-Out World and Coming King Ch.   3 );

DDDD  2  (drifting doesn't do it);
Stepping Out for Christ ... Ch.   9 (tesselation and its tassels, concerning the truth -
the Magpie's contribution)
,

SMST  6, Beauty for Ashes,   3, TMR   8 - and education
Overflight in Christ Ch.    8
; STEP  10 (the witness of the worm);
Cascade of Truth, Torrent of Mercy Ch.   3
DDDD  2 (and Paul's dictum about knowledge falsely so-called, and how apt it is!);


ESCC  1 (laughing stock);
SMST   8 (free among the dead, philosophic necrosis),
cf. News 94; News 59 (naturally 'nature' does not invent itself);


Wake Up World! ...  epi (time and eternity);
CK   3 (nature and supernature);
The Christian Pilgrimage Ch.  3 (love of God and naturalism)
Great Execrations ... Ch.  6  (the psychic route to futility, and the designed utility, not without responsibility to the Maker, naturally)

News 82 (combination on naturalism, creation, man, overall testimony, errors of theistic evolution -
detailed coverage of godless glory programs);
Deliverance from Disorientation Ch.   6,   Calibrating Myths Ch.   1, TMR  7  


NOGO The gods of naturalism have no go! (trilogy),
including
History, Review and Overview Chs.    4,      5

 

and on myths misplaced:

DDDD   7   3, BFA  3, SMST  7,

SMR 149ff., 172ff., 419ff., 422Eff., 315Aff., 380ff.
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Alone verified and validated,

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both in scientific method and in logic, both evidentially and in verification

(see esp. the first and last groups of refs. above),

bullet

is creationism, or more simply,
the fact that God created the heaven and the earth in the beginning,
all things being created by Him, yes all things,
as Colossians re-affirms in 1:15:  in 1:19, proceeding to emphasise
that He would have all things reconciled to Himself, in the breadth and brilliance of His love.
 

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How ? It is by the blood of the Cross, He affirms. It is destructive of delusion, that, but constructive of kinship to God, by redemption (Hebrews 2, 9).

*9

For examples of this trend, indeed this dynamic maelstrom, see Answers to Questions Ch. 5 as marked, at education.

 

*10  Such topics have often been dwelt on in this site, and are here merely listed for brevity.
The indexes will guide any who seek more on any topic.

 

*11

See Christ, the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 8,
Repent or Perish Ch. 2, The Magnificence of the Messiah.

 

 

*12 See:

Great Execrations, Great Expectations, Greater Grace Ch.    7;

Barbs, Arrows and Balms  Appendix 3
Biblical Blessings Ch. 15, Extended Endnote 2,
Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ Ch.  11,

With Heart ... Ch.   3    
The Magnificence of the Messiah, Endnote 1
Dastardly Dynamics, Delirious Daubs, Wandering Woes, Bleary Theories
and Immovable Faith
Ch.  11,

SMR Ch. 6 and  Index,


The Kingdom of Heaven Ch.  9, Section 14,

Joyful Jottings  25, ASP 15, 16,


Stepping Out for Christ Ch.  5,

Things Old and New Ch.  2, Excursion 2A;

Light of Dawn Ch.   3,


Ch.  2  above;

Dizzy Dashes, Heady Clashes and the Brilliant Harmony of Inevitable Truth Ch.   2;

Spiritual Refreshings Chs.  5, 6,
AWME   8 (on resurrection and Lazarus, yes and both with Jerusalem); contrasting Greek bodily terms - GBG 2 ;
and New Zealand DDHCBIT   6, FM  4