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GIVING WAGES TO GOD
GLORY IN RUINS
BUT NOT THAT OF GOD
Zechariah Part 3
THE PASSING OF PRIDE
There is, in the affairs of men, a certain indirection. The bullies come, and great is their loot; but they go, and their guile and godlessness become part of history.
They may be empires, but they go, like those of Assyria, with its long lost Nineveh (a sort of Moscow that for centuries, could not be found!), yes and that of the USSR, for that matter, that of Babylon; the hegemony of Tyre, it is no more, while as to Rome's empire, although commuted in part into the Roman Catholic possessions in Italy and hold over millions of hearts, and many bodies, in thousands murdered, their former riches loot kept in many cases even from the children, it also lost its lustre and its capital.
Yes, it yielded even its surrogate capital, Constantinople when this eventually fell in 1453 A.D., to a foe, of all people, consisting of Islamic followers of the false prophet Muhammad, as if to rebuke Rome’s false pomp, gross prioritisation of one man, against Christ (Matthew 23:8-10) and their violence: yes, even to mock it!
Again, another derivative in some measure, the Holy Roman Empire, once so arrogant and savage in its ministrations for Rome in Europe, is now no more.
The intemperate is tempered, the murderous is afflicted, the mighty fall and pride finds its place in the dust. Religious, martial, military, political imperialisms of man over man, they fall like litter, and add to the litter as they do so.
There are efforts to make the Babylon of wonders to have a perpetual triumph, but its godless religiosity merely haunts its abolished memory, as Isaiah 13, 21 and Jeremiah 50-51 foretold, with such withering aptitude. It was this, as we saw in the last chapter, which was the message of Zechariah 's vision of 4:4-11. The metaphorical house for this synthetic program and arrogance of the merely meretricious proceeds to be built, so that in its time also, it may fall, leaving shudders for the earth, as when its progenitor, Babylon of old, fell so suddenly.
Let us however return to the past more explicitly.
Passion mounts to make the Nazi racial triumphalism a paramount philosophy, Germany the leader of the world, and its leader suicides in a Berlin bunker. Going back further, Spain will dominate the earth and export its Romanism; but the galleons of its famed armada are mere targets for tempests and its ruin became the end of an epoch in history.
What then of France ? The French Revolution had all the answers, fraternity, liberty, equality, but death is so unequal, and so many inherited it from what Dickens calls that sharp tongued lady, the guillotine. Even some of its former leaders had that lady fall all over them, and the fraternity heralded, in the massive beheading became less than obvious, indeed a piece of oblivion, obscured from the earth, a word lacking a referent. Its resurgence to carry the doubtful and oppressive light of the Sun King, Louis XIV, who had preceded it in a glamorous epoch, into new heavens, merely littered the earth with bodies, its leader an inhabitant of a small island, where it now appears, the French may have murdered him, their own former leader, with arsenic-laced wine. Such fraternity is notable!
Waterloo has become a byword and is invested in idiom. It waved good-bye to one more imperial adventurism, solution to earth's woes in contrived glory that was only sham, leading to both shame and shambles.
Materialism became a new Internationale, sung not only by the French of its day, but by Communist workers and many academics, who sought to sling a generation in the West into the sad sacks of moribund philosophy, like so many corpses, still wriggling. Shameless indoctrination became almost routine, as a lust for political expression and imperial disposition for the sake of such a creed shook the earth, but it failed, actually short of cash, and of more German scientists, now the World War II was so long over and no more could European equipment, human and other, be brought to the Soviet Union.
Folly had its end, and Russia needed financial aid, a limping empire, soon deserted by some of its parts, like a sad body dispensing with arms. Bodies often like arms, so there was much ado about Chechnya, so convenient for oil access, and there still is.
Its hopeless logical solecisms*1 were but as an Autumn leaf, interesting for colour before it dropped, and the fact that the validity of a theory about matter depends on the validity of the mind that thinks it and concocts the concept, seemed as irrelevant as cash, before they lacked it.
And where IS the validity of a mind which envisages that there is no absolute, no truth, only the pulsing of system, which has no author, no reason, and asserts this by reason, though such reason divorced from truth, cannot obtain what is not there! It asserted it anyway, and the world became in part, a sop to seduction's wiles, swallowed up by morally irresponsible pride, imagining that by the disappearance of morals, of truth, a true and righteous existence could be obtained from over-heated imagination and discolouring corpses, whether in Russia or in China, by the tens of millions by some counts, the price of progress in reverse.
It seems so silly, and China, haunted by Tiananmen, and reportedly still treasuring the lack of liberty for former liberally inclined leader, Zho Ziyang "toppled as China's Communist Party chief for opposing the army crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests", as The Australian, October 18, 2004 put it, has decided to abandon it. While the aged reformer is kept under house arrest, after so long a time, perhaps as an expression of equality, fraternity and - what was the other word, oh yes, liberty, China indulges in shameless capitalism.
Now 'capitalism' is a code word of political kind, very often, for it may be used with shameless and undiscriminating liberty - that word, again - of free enterprise systems in which all the agents of production are freed from basic control (but not from rules, as in games, to direct the matters agreeably to progress). Nevertheless, when you see what happened in China, it seems more apt than it is when applied to the West.
There it appears as an unholy alliance of certain market freedoms with Communist bullying and power play by those who achieve it, in the interests of production, enticement of Western capital to aid Chinese power and industry for any show-down, and the preservation of the inequalities of political power and religious persecution. Here the push of private enterprise and the craft of political involvement mount to the skies, as if not a city of sin but a nation of sin were in the making.
The drive is materialistic, and liberty is under house arrest, but this might be conceived as al most a small price compared with that paid by many youthful reformers. It is however not reform but money, power and material thrust that the godless government desires, and this it seeks with such an array of billions poured in from abroad by unseeing if not sightless creators of the New China, that a hybrid monster appears.
Yes, and it must have Taiwan, to keep its maw in motion, rather than allowing that remnant of a China which was brutalised by men with hearts (ideologically speaking) of matter, not life, to continue in democratic mellowness and human meaningfulness, meaning murders in millions and apprehending and apprehensions of cruelty past all ordinary belief. The humiliations of fraternity joined with the crests of inequality to be surmounted by the ghost of liberty, smiling gauntly, like death in a dream.
No, Taiwan must become a slave with the rest, and be allowed no salve of human kind, but rather relish the prospect of being directed by laws which never find support from fact (cf. SMR pp. 925ff.), and theories which breach all reason (cf. Aviary of Idolatry, Highway to Hell, News 69, 97, 98, Tender Times.. Ch. 8). Is it possible that one can descry a certain reluctance from the isle, for integration with the sublimities of the mainland ?
So China, that man mill as in measure it became, where millions were ruthlessly milled into death, rather than being allowed to witness the fall of the nation's god, matter, that programmatic pulse of structure with which men of mind live and concerning which they propose purposes from invisible visions, this nation has gone on its course. Unable to survive with its foolish philosophy, it uses the wealth and power of others to build, and the ideology of others to produce, its Communism in dust like that of Russia, its chameleon capacities maximised, while unelected prodders rule, and mystic myths are propounded, rather than followed.
THE COST OF PRIDE
Indeed, it seems good to cite here
from News 37.
While this dates from some years ago, the principles still apply.
There is only one opportunity to avoid this endless clenching of the eyes, lest they should see, closing of the ears, lest they should hear: aborting of thought, lest you should think and see and comprehend and be converted, being convicted of subterfuge, sin, and folly incredible and eddies of vagrancy innumerable (cf. Matthew 13:13-15). It is the unique Jesus Christ, free of any contamination, superb in majesty, majestic in lowliness, holy in grace, effectual in working, predicted, pure and the enshrining of God Himself, definitively in human form.
The other 'answer' to Christ is antichrist, a substitute machined by social engineers, augmented by electronic engineers, groomed by political engineers, until the whole of the world should lie in all but prostrate submission to the Lie Leaders, Mind Suppressors, Convenience Committees, in manifest and open war with God (cf. Micah 3:5, Revelation 16:14-15, 19:19).
Avoiding that mythological mysticism and miasma of fraud (cf. SMR pp. 750B-D, 857-873, 909ff., 923ff., 611ff., Questions and Answers 7, 4), there is but one.
THAT! It is Jesus Christ the Righteous! Lord of creation and Author of Salvation.
"OVERTURN, OVERTURN!" Squalid substitutes for divine rule, aspiring in vanity, will not last; for God is not with them.
Does not Ezekiel, in 21:26-27, speak in the name of the Lord, just such a thing for God's work in exposing the dismal dealings of men, self-hypnotised as if God were an option, for a realm at peace ? It is HE who will overturn!
- "THUS SAYS THE LORD god: Remove the diadem, and take off the crown; this shall not be the same; exalt him who is low, and abase him who is high.
- "I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more, until he comes whose right it is; and I will give it to Him."
- There IS hope: "Looking to that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us form all iniquity, and purify to Himself a people of His own, zealous for good works..." - Titus 2:13-14, cf. Acts 1:7-11.
- That is the only way, to accept the KINDNESS of God.
- God made human kind
- and made the way of kindness for human kind;
- but no kind of alternative or substitute can be made for God,
- for the simple reason that you cannot alter history
- and have us made by someone else,
- even if someone else were there,
- which is historically and logically impossible (SMR Chs.1-4,10)
- as well as contrary to the evidence of Him who is there (SMR Chs.5-9).
All this ersatz stuff, this psychological manipulation, now exceedingly difficult, already, to differentiate from insanity in its irrational writhings and twistings, this man-makes-man illusion, delusion and fraud, HAS TO HAVE force in the end, and charm as an agency on the way.
The only way to expect to make folly "work" is by force. And that is not kind! It never was and it never will be! It has been seen times innumerable, and its name is make-believe. Truth is an invariable ingredient of anything worth while, and freedom is possible when truth rules.
And as to truth, of course, truth will out: not only because there is otherwise interminable friction, not only because mankind is made for it and squirms in its absence, however bold the exterior: but also because God who is the truth, has never abdicated! His foreknowledge has put Him in charge of the last from the first and He is as He always was and will be, unchangingly what He would be, knowing all things and implementing His desire in concert with the prophets and history in perfect accord. (Cf. SMR pp. 26-35, 545ff., 580ff., 44-45, 88-89, 269, 313-315; consult Malachi 3:6, Psalm 102:25-28, I Peter 1:23-25, Isaiah 40:6-8, Jeremiah 33:19-26, Matthew 24:35.)
CLOUD NINE cannot be maintained, but its illusion can be ENFORCED. Biblically, the latter is the way man will take - MAN! let us be rather more fair linguistically! "It is the way the world will take!" Man? Dear old mankind, so sadly lassoed by the cowboys of the devil, the task-masters of illusion, it divides and will till the end comes (Matthew 10:35-36, John 18:36-38). The sheer force of administered people-control will surely come as it came in Russia, and in China;
and is marking time to come for all the world. It is in one sense clearly right that it come as a judgment on this world.
As the U.S., both in war and in the treachery of many in peace,
gave illusory strength to rotted Russia,
fallen into its rough-cut Communist woes,
helping create a myth in the midst of their madness,
before some realism crept in, as when Reagan called
things by their names, and before long this folly fell;
so now it is aiding the withering bureaucracy of China.
There comes a pouring in of funds and help in the name of "our interests",
with query on query of dangerous exports,
that leads on China to more of these dehumanised inhumanities,
with the appearance of action,
the dynamic of development significantly imported,
thrust in from where freedom has more place.
In this way does the U.S. help these banal, drab,
soul-assailing substitutes for functionality,
feeding on what the regime does not create,
a colossus astride their human heart, directing it to its mouth,
maintaining itself in the name of stability (Time p. 45, July 6, 1998)*3,
at gun-point, instead of meeting reality with reality, and
matching the dissidents with truth, not torture,
too well-attested by Harry Wu and his researches,
reported by him to the U.S. Senate,
himself subjected to imprisonment and duress.
Is this not economic profiteering at the expense
of those the system does not answer,
and is it soulless arrest of souls, compounded by their abuse for gain ?
while others flee or are restored, or rot
because their mouths are not where control would have them be.
When the continuance of life becomes its chief purpose,
Its value is self-defined at zero*4,
its character, contributions and resources
prostituted for mere continuance of ... whatever,
and indeed, as Christ said,
"Whoever will save his life will lose it: and whoever shall lose his life
For My sake, the same shall find it ,"(Matthew 16:25).
Here in these sad assaults, however, the control-mechanism
is formally geared to Intrusion of loss
as a national pastime, not individually determined.
As in the Roman Empire of old, non-Emperor worship (here substitute, rejection of pseudo-imperial Communist cult),
spells State alienation, that may mean alienation of liberty,
And again, as Christ said, "What shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" - Matthew 16:26. And if the State would make the soul-sale vicariously, what is the place, then, of that State!
Thus, what must be said when the US gives most-favoured-nation treatment to China, while the latter ? What does it do ?
It imprisons and deals for gain,
exploiting the virtual slave-labour of people inconvenient to them,
with manifest injury to truth and equity,
disdaining their heroism and concern,
substituting alleged national economic well-being-with-Communists-in-power
for that freedom which fears nothing BECAUSE it is true.
When the US does THIS! ...
certainly there is to be expected, payment.
There was payment in the American Civil War after the exploitation of slaves, and Britain paid hard coin in two World Wars, losing all the needless and often cruel rigours of the Industrial Revolution may have 'gained': God is not mocked.
A little here, a little there for profit, and security and happiness in the US (or a lot here and there, in China) whilst some are tortured, despite their courage, endlessly and tiresomely humiliated in mind and body, if by any means the spirit of the nation might be broken on behalf of alien illusions, not fit for any man: the US cannot do this to encourage tyranny in China, and hope not to be infected with that to which, thereby, it morally yields.
The time will surely come when the world withers, its ideology a caprice, its deceit and force then internationally potent as they have been in the Russian and Chinese empires*5, to name only two. THIS! it is no insult to the Russian people, or to the Chinese. It is to their immense credit that heroes have arisen in the very face of intense psychological tyranny which, in the case of Russia, had even the international psychiatric body hostile, because of brutal drug use and suppression.
Here was a case of oppression which Russian hero Solzhenitsyn characterised as numerically worse than the Czars managed. But the system of the world started in our contemporary world, to expand in these two Empires; and it moves and will move till its last gluttony for souls is finished, and it is famished ... when HE COMES TO WHOM IT IS DUE, THE CROWN, WHOSE RIGHT IT IS, the Lord JESUS CHRIST (Ezekiel 21:26-27, Revelation 5:6-9, cf. SMR pp. 623ff.).
That too, it will happen. With the word of God, without any exception to the slightest degree, it ALWAYS HAPPENS (cf. SMR Ch. 9).
THE SALE OF GOD
Buying Darkness and Selling Light
The world is developing its folly of sales of man to the Molochs of his self-appointed, but always frustrated destiny. It has spouted the figures from Marx to Nazism, from dead gods to living shambles in shameless fashion (cf. News 121, 122, *1 below, SMR 846ff.), but the price is always man's own soul. It may seem that it is only a few millions tortured corpses, life now gone, the preliminaries a past dream, that must be paid; but it is life of man which is payment. It may seem that God can be despatched, but the liberty He alone can create is not without cost in its demise, and without illusion in its misuse.
You pay in the end; for life is not torn by its tormentors, without tearing their own triumphalist textures, into threadbare tatters. House arrest does not arrest the erosion of the souls of the tormentors who, playing God, find that He still works.
While these empires of unreason and palaces of pretended philosophy come and go, changing and untrustworthy, falling to their allotted place, whether they be the savaged follies of organic evolution (cf. TMR Ch. 1, Wake Up World! ... Chs. 4 - 5, Spiritual Refreshings Chs. 6, 13, 16, The gods of naturalism have no go!), of communism, of Nazism, of Romanism, of religious synthesis as in Babylon and the current World Unification of Religions mode (cf. News 122), combining contraries as if in some day-dream, the reality proceeds. It seems for many to pass unnoticed*2.
The empires fall for a REASON, be they ideological, political, cultural or academic. Their worms do not rot, as they do, because there is matter to consume. What continues, always the same, is creation, design, morality, truth, deity, declaration in the Bible, foretelling, fulfilling, remedy in one, Gospel of One, the structure of things and their judgment, the mercy of God and its abuse, the receipt of His covenant and His blessing.
The last, it is the narrow way, but it has been trod by some of the greatest earth ever knew, whether in science, politics or scholarship, and the words of such are far from trivial, constituting much of the undergirding of understanding of the earth (men such as Francis Bacon, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Newton, Boyle, Faraday, Humphrey Davy, John Dalton, Lister, Charles Babbage, Samuel Morse and Lord Kelvin, Whiston, Herschel, Dalton, Joule, Dana, Gosse, Maxwell, Louis Agassiz, Fleming, Von Braun).
People can betray the Christ, seek to remould Him, seek to attack the Bible only to be thrown back as Learners Only, their pretension exposed, their new theories gone in one century or less, while the Biblical position is unchanged; and this is so, whether in things loved by science or morality, history or culture, archeology or unfolding realities and events, both merely fulfilling at all times precisely what it has said. The invisible has its very visible counterpart, run according to the word of God, and this, it never changes, not to the jot or to the tittle.
It was so when Christ was on earth, showing in the form of vulnerability the reality of invulnerability, even visiting death in order to overthrow its power, demonstrably, as He had done before this predicted death, by raising the dead*3. It was so when they sought, in this case, literally to SELL HIM. Certainly, it was only one man who actually performed the task - you always tend to have a Chairman, here Chief Injustice, Judas. Yet did not those who co-operated in the work, seek to destroy what they had purchased, the Christ ?
As then, so it is now, but then it was the more obvious, and yet, for all that, is was not the less predicted (cf. II Peter 2, II Timothy 3, I TImothy 4). Yes, GOD was to be sold. It was a fair price, or as Zechariah puts it, a PRINCELY SUM, a lordly price. The cost of a block of land! Sell the Earth's Maker for a plot of land! That is the economics of it. It assuredly seems rather singular. Sell the Light of the World for the Prince of Darkness, that is the spirit of it. It is certainly single minded, in so far as darkness can present anything.
It is, the world is finding, becoming quite exceptionally dark, dynamics allied with dithering, folly with power, ruin of the environment together with violation of the soul of man.
COMING TO THE ACTUAL PRICE IN ZECHARIAH
We, then, have the dubious advantage of having seen many sales, both metaphorical and historical, both political and philosophical, both revolutionary and ravaging. Let us now however attend to Zechariah 11 and see in its prophetic context, the sale not of the century, but of the ages!
Let us recall first, the thrust of Zechariah 10.
Having presented the ultimate outcome for the Jewish remnant, when all is past, and their blessedness is fulfilled, in Ch. 10, now in Ch. 11, the prophet plunges us into a fire reaching to the famed cedars of Lebanon, and assailing the Jordan's pride. Frontier lands for Israel are denoted, and the concept of pride being demolished, height abased, devastation being fundamental comes with the threatening note tempered only by the acute sense of a desolation which affects the heart.
In the midst of this concentration on the final result, in the negative aspect, there is reference to the people themselves in 11:4ff.. God is appalled at the slaughter of the flock, the harsh and intemperate treatment of the people by arrogant power concentrates, indeed false shepherds in the nation, false shepherd, princes and priests, the three a collusion in contempt of compassion (cf. Jeremiah 5:30-31). Looking forward from where the nation is in his own day, thus Zechariah comes to the Messianic peak, as so often before (as in Chs. 2-4). We come to the crux, that there is an affront to the Lord so vast and gross, that the people are to be left to their devices and for that matter, to their demolition (Zech. 11:6,9).
First, however, in verse 4, despite the inglorious regime of the false shepherds, and indeed because of it and in the midst of it, the speaker, "I" is instructed to feed the flock. Thus the speaker, who is the Lord (as in Isaiah 48:16, Psalm 45), feeds the flock of the slaughter, that is, by prolepsis, those who are destined to the slaughter. Why however are they to occupy with such certainty so pitiful a place as this ? It is because they will foolishly reject their real Prince, and be subjected to a foul rule instead. Then, not merely will they be a people abused, but a nation abusing the Good Shepherd, the very Redeemer Himself, taking advantage of His incarnation to show their hearts by their red hands.
As "the flock of the slaughter", their name, therefore, they require an explanation. It is not slow in being forthcoming, for in the very next verses, it speaks both of shepherd and flock in the land, and assigns them all to an evil time, one in which HE will not deliver them. We then see the procedure which justifies such action. We learn of the three shepherds dismissed in one month (11:6).
Three shepherds, presumably the priestly, princely and prophetic pollutants, leaders in infamy of departure from the living God, from His justice, His care, His concern and His compassion (as in the charge made in Ezekiel 34, in such depth and scope): these three are to be defiled into nonentity in one short period (Zech. 11:8). False and betrayors of God and flock alike, they are dismissed from authenticity, exposed as infamous. The Lord will cut them off! Was this body of 'three shepherds' noted by Zechariah, a reference in the prophetic perfect, in the sense of seeing the thing to come as already done, which is normative in much predictive prophecy ? The verses following confirm that it is so.
Does it therefore apply to the demolition of the name of Pilate, prince, with the Sanhedrin, the Jewish regime's appointment, of Caiaphas and of Judas, or his supporters in infamy ? These three shepherds, phases of national power or opportunity, abusers of privilege and scope, all would appear in Zechariah 11 as objects of a devastation of no mean compass. All thus become as their names have become, a mere demolition, destroyed, annihilated, like a house exploded and fallen. Again, as the folly came to fruition, it is as if the new fruit showed its intrinsic rottenness on arrival. Some fruit is like that: it is gone before ever it is good!
It seems clear that some such attribution is in place. The nation rejected their true prophet, priest and king in Christ, a fact made the more clear by the symbolic actions on Joshua and Zerubbabel in Zech. 3-4, portraying Christ as types of His function. There the former is BOTH priest and king in symbolism, and this is explicitly so, in Zech. 6:13; while the latter is seen in terms of a prophetic declaration about the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
Symbol of prince, type of the Messiah, for him the mountain obstruction becomes as a plain, or highway! (cf. Zech. 4:7). Though the immediate present is in this way shown in the reaches of glory, yet the future is far from being so. Indeed, hen the time comes, these own three orders of shepherding will be a mere name, a horror to consider.
A byword, a taunting song, such names as these will become but a ruin, a devastation, an extermination, a 6-0, 6- 0, 6-0 final result in some sporting event, watched by many! The three prongs of national leadership, the political, priestly and prophetic (Judas a false prophet) are all annihilated, dismissed as to divine relevance, except for judgment. No more does this threefold shepherding apply; it is as barren as any schismatic partition, sect or dream. The nation is now adrift.
Thus there comes a crisis. He who was busy feeding the doomed flock of the slaughter, now "said, I will not feed you. Let what is dying die ..." (Zech. 11:9). We see why this is so in verse 12, where an infamous transaction is to take place, and is predicted. The Divine Shepherd is to be SOLD! Like Joseph He is to be sent to the slave market, to labour in the rigors of death for the unrighteousness of those serving their own human interests, and defaulting on their responsibilities and commitment alike.
This prediction is exactly fulfilled in emotion, in intent and in words inscribed for ever on the heart of man, in Christ's declaration as He was being taken to the Cross, one addressed to the "daughters of Jerusalem", the common designation for the existing generation in the history of the nation. It was this (Luke 23:26-31):
"And a great multitude of the people followed Him,
and women who also mourned and lamented Him.
"But Jesus, turning to them, said,
'Daughters of Jerusalem,
do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.
For indeed the days are coming in which they will say,
‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore,
and breasts which never nursed!’
"Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!’
For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?"
Here is the fulfilment and the ground of the predicted divine action, written in Zechariah 11:9. Here is the SOLD SHEPHERD warning them of what is to come when the false shepherds get their head.
The ground of it is simply that Christ is being FORCIBLY REMOVED from this earth, and is being paraded before the people as He goes, not to the throne at this time, as is and ever since that time has been the need for the world, but to His execution. That this sale is predicted in type, in nature, in emotional and spiritual significance, indeed in its application as atoning gift for those who receive Him as Lord and Saviour, in reality says nothing concerning the results of REJECTION! What you have sold is not now there for you...
What therefore does say something on this is the fact that on His being so removed, and this with such a concentrate of fury and folly, His people are left, in the sense that His nation is now available for the slaughter to come, as it surely did one generation later, around AD 70, when Rome did its slaughterous work on the city and the State.
It is worth noting, in the meantime, for those even today, so ecclesiastically minded as to make the church their very vault of majesty, that the false shepherds, authoritative exponents of their delusions, these were churchly figures such Caiaphas and Pilate, Herod and their ilk: and they were LOATHED by the Lord (Zech. 11:8), and they loathed Him! It is not mere difference or divergence. IF you set up ANYTHING in competition with Christ, social, ecclesiastical, military, political, philosophical (cf. Colossians 2:8). The Lord is Himself the one in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwells in bodily form (Col. 2:9).
This is the result when such secondary or subordinate matters move your motivations and pollute the purity that might have been for you, when the secondary becomes the primary, when the body aspires to become the head! IF, says Isaiah, they do not receive the testimonies it is because there is NO LIGHT IN THEM (Isaiah 8:20). To these, look! he declaims. It is not that there is a measure of light. That is the contradiction of the statement.
This ensemble of falsity, this threesome, God loathes, as you see for example in Mark 7:7ff.. It is not mere diversity; it is adversity, it is outrage, it is contemptible, it is arrogant, it is arrogation of His mouth to their own minds, or the justification or acceptance of others who do this; and in the end, it is contemptuous of Him!
As to these frauds, they did not see it differently; they LOATHED HIM, and HE loathed them. That is what we find in Zech. 11:8. They were - as they are - spoilers of the flock, intervening wolves with or without sheep's clothing, as the case may be. Accordingly, having dismissed these treacherous irrelevancies in one month, He determines not to feed the flock. All phases of shepherding being betrayed, and He removed, they are left as prey. As we shall shortly see in more detail, since they SELL Him, gone is His grace, His gracious presence. He will not feed them, since they have murdered their Shepherd.
Taking now His Shepherd's staffs in the elegant and eloquent symbolism given to the prophet, the Lord breaks them. It is HE as in Ezekiel 34, who IS the Shepherd, and when on earth, it is HE whom they slay ... a strange flock! So He breaks the Staff called Beauty - the beauty of holiness, since where now is the holiness! and the Staff called Bonds, or Binding, which signifies the cohesion of the body, and the confraternity in His body, which now is not His body, but something ready for overrule and ruin (Zech. 11:10). The Shepherd's staff, therefore: He did not crack it; He broke it in two.
It is of course the Lord Himself, that Good Shepherd as in Ezekiel 34, who does, and who alone COULD do such a thing as break the relationship between God and man in this case, by covenantal judgment (Zech. 11:10). The action now asks for judgment to become invasive!
It is however not ALL of the flock who are involved in this distressing folly. There are some - "the poor of the flock" who are observing all this (Zech. 11:11), and they "knew it was the word of the Lord." Those poor in spirit, not elevated into arrogance and imposture, these knew whose word was this! The humble who receive His word with gladness, they knew.
That is, they recognised what was 'going on', realised it was the predicted Saviour of Isaiah 50-55, and as in the Emmaus road conversation (Luke 24:13ff.), exposed to the reality through the Lord's own teaching, they became fully aware of the sin sacrifice which had occurred before their eyes. After all, even John the Baptist had expressly announced it from the earliest days of the Messianic Ministry of Jesus Christ (John 1:29).
God is not mocked, and His people are not removed, for His Church even the gates of hell itself cannot counsel or control out of existence, though China and Russia, for two, have done a mammoth job on seeking such a result. In the end, however, with all the other mammoths, they lie stricken in death, stricken from the record, monsters of intervention, those who act to destroy the church of the living God, by this or that means, word, deed, delinquent in faithfulness, potent in persecution, they are shepherds to be loathed as having neither heart nor head for the truth.
So was it with the false shepherds of that day, then as now; and so is it with the "poor of the flock" then as now. These poor, they do not act as those who "slaughter them and feel no guilt" (Zech. 11:5). The butt, they do not butt!
Even the centurion realised the truth (Matthew 27:54). Certainly, said he, this was the Son of God.
In this, he but echoed Peter, who despite a momentary lapse, was awake and active for the truth, and with John attested it with eloquent heedlessness of the consequences, to the false shepherds of his day (Acts 4-5), declaring again and again, that for their part, they should obey God rather than man. Work it out for yourselves! they intimated. Would there were more of this mould! and perhaps, hidden from the news, there are even now far more than appear, for the unspeakable shepherds of many nations may, as in the Sudan, be trying to the uttermost even now, thousands of saints in their courage and vigour.
We then come in Zech. 11:12 to one of the most intriguing ironies of all time. We see now the action of the sale of God, of the Lord Himself. It is dramatised.
"Then I said to them,
'If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.'
"So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
"And the Lord said to me, 'Throw it to the potter'—that princely price they set on me.
So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter.
"Then I cut in two my other staff, Bonds,
that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel."
You notice first the divine humility: IF it is agreeable to you!
Imagine even an employer saying this ? One might, but the LORD of creation! If it is agreeable to you, give me MY WAGES! There is a Shepherd who has healed multitudes of the sick, raised the dead, fed the listening, performed the works which none can imitate, and spoken the words which remain directive of history and immutable in truth; and He asks for His wages! After all, the immediate work is finished ?
It is as if He questions them:
Would you like then, since you do not wish My services, to end the matter with a payment ?
So what is the tenor of the reply, as here shown. It is this.
The pay ? Please excuse us for not announcing it sooner, though we have been considering it (cf. John 11:49ff.). It is of course DEATH! (There is the irony.)
Certainly, they implicitly reply, but of course.
Let us see now, for this truth, this fulfilment of the prophecies for our nation and for the world, for kindness and power, for truth and wonder, for works only God could perform, your due is sure.
What then shall it be ? It is this. It is a slow and suffocating death involving disfigurement of your face and a loss of the look of your features which will dehumanise you to all appearance. How would that do ? (cf. Isaiah 50:4-6, 53:1-11, Psalm 22).
Let it be so! is the implicit divine reply. After all, as Christ made so clear, HE HAD TO DIE thus, since the prophecy which is the word of the God of all planning and promise, had to be fulfilled (Matthew 26:52ff.). Indeed, the prophet had to 'perish' in Jerusalem!
This we see in Luke 13:32ff.. Christ has a message for shepherd Herod.
"Go ye, and tell that fox,
'Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow,
and the third day I shall be perfected.
Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following:
for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.'
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to you; how often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I tell you,
You shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say,
'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.' "
These things then having been made clear, what is the Lord to do with the actual material payment made for His betrayal ? There is, after all, not only the actual payment to HIM, unkind in kind, but the one to His betrayer. That is the price of God, just as the death is the wages. What price God ? So God instructs them to throw the 30 pieces of silver which was Judas' fulfilment of the prediction, to the potter.
THROW His wages ? Certainly. In this monetary sense, He is paid by one of His former followers stretching out his traitorous hand. The prophet, involved in the vision, then takes this princely sum for God, and throws it "to the house of the LORD for the potter."
The house of the Lord ? This signifies that the betrayal involved the religious authorities of the nation, as it did, this too being as always, precisely fulfilled. For the potter ? In fact, it was for the potter's field, which the guilty priesthood decided to buy with the price paid for Christ's betrayal, by Judas. As it is the potter's field (Matthew 27:9-10), so the potter is the agent in view, whether metaphorically or literally. This of course has many overtones.
First, it was Jeremiah, as seen in 18:2, 19:2 following, who though first watching the potter reshaping an imperfect pottery, being fashioned, also dashed in symbol, a hard potter’s flask, to signify ruin. It was he who announced that "I will break this people and this city as one breaks a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again, and they shall bury them in Tophet" (19:11).
The symbolism in the prediction, as in the interwoven fulfilment, is intense. First, the plot of land actually bought by the New Testament priests was for burial of poor people. It was symbol of the NEED for burial and hence of judgment. Secondly, it was with Jeremiah, the notable exponent of judgment earlier, that the concept of a potter and judgment was aroused.
Casting it to the potter, in such a famous context, would virtually mean this, Give the wages of infamy to the one, the 'potter' who is a maker of what when fully formed and broken, is irremediable in kind! Finished pottery breaks into shards! Give it, thirdly, as a symbol of the uttermost judgment therefore. The judgment of breaking the Staff, Bonds, the integrality of people and God, of believer with believer, comes immediately after the sale of God, as does the announcement of the replacement, the foolish Shepherd.
What on earth or in the regions beyond did they think they were doing, giving 'wages' to the Shepherd! Will man pay God ? Yet the breach of the covenant, the dissolution of its ties, the irony of the 'princely sum' for the 'pay' and the casting of the amount to the potter, that famous symbolism national ruin drawn from Jeremiah's ministry, these things together with the arrival of the foolish Shepherd to come as all this was completed, make it clear that the payment is mere riot, that the request for wages is an elaborate expression of the divine contempt for their treatment of the Messiah.
Indeed, as Zechariah 12:10 to come shows in retrospect, it is a piercing of their Shepherd, their Lord, which is His wages, one of which they will come to repent. The 30 pieces are the price, but of what they are actually the price is dismissal of the divine, allowing a replacment suitable to such action (as in Psalm 109).
It is therefore as if the Lord were asking of the disbelieving transgressors, the mutineers against divine mercy, 'Perhaps you would like to engage in the payment of wages for all that the Messiah has just done for you?' in order to highlight the enormity of their ingratitude, when the 'payment' , a pay-back, comes into force, and they pierce their king.
Thus was the price paid, first to sell God, and then to symbolise the national penalty! The forerunner in Jeremiah 19:10-11, involved this: “I will break this people”! So were they scurrying from nation to nation, till their promised return (Deuteronomy 32:36ff.).
Then, to revert to the order of events, as in Zech. 11:14, the Lord broke His second Shepherd's staff, thus disbanding Israel's sectional residues into mere homogeneity, for the disbanding was for a nation to be strewn to the winds, like leaves in Autumn, decaying as they went, going as they decayed. Tragic in the extreme, it is yet the price of selling God. It was also the price for the breach of the covenant, as had been announced so explicitly and in a variety of stages, in Leviticus 26!
Had not the blessings and the cursings been made geographic even in the declarations at Mt Gerizim and Mt Ebal, of blessings and cursings, according as the covenant was, or was not, annulled in evil practice (Deuteronomy 27-28).
Let us meanwhile examine a little more closely the irony in the 'princely price' for which the Lord was sold. In fact, it was not given to Him or His friends, but to His betrayer, as foretold in Psalm 41, 69, 109; and thus we must ask in what sense is it a payment for His services ? In this sense, it is so: it is a retributive payment. The price paid is to the enemy of Christ, so that it is a part of His sacking from the Shepherd's post, the Messianic Shepherd at that. It is the price for murder. In other words, it is the price paid to secure the actual account set to His name by the High Priest, whose disbelief beggared reason and justice alike (Mark 14:62-64). This is what it cost for injustice to set false and punitive payment to the name of Jesus Christ.
The payment is ironically deemed 'princely', so signifying scorn at its hollow folly.
It is disruptive, so removing the covenant to the uttermost point.
It is dispersive, so removing covering kindness from the people.
On the other hand, it is vicious in its grinding results to the victim, gratuitously dumped and despatched, as if by a moral mafia, an ecclesiastical terrorist group.
The account for which that price was paid, as Isaiah makes so clear in 52-53, and indeed in 50, that it might be charged, and the charge applied, this was one for infinite liability. It meant liability for scorn, contempt, harassment, violation of dignity, impudence and offence, letting of blood in a slow manner simultaneous with a slow suffocation, augmented by taunting. It was this for which the price was paid, and this was thus the epitome of the price and its outcome.
Thus, the price in this way being paid to Christ's enemy, for His enemies, and not to Himself or His people, it is the price for torture and tainting, not only of the victim, but ultimately through a vigorous combination of irony and justice, also of the victorious, whose desecratory triumph indeed ended in the destruction of a now defenceless Jerusalem, and yielded, by report, a consignment of Jews crucified by the Romans who salted the very site of the city, some years later.
This 30 pieces of silver: it was a very important price, and it paid for much. It is the price for the removal of the Prince of Peace, the disassemblage of the covenantal blessing and protection, the incursion of divine wrath, the annulment of the fountains of mercy in their free flow and the scarification of the nation to come, for an epoch, as in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 32. So do we find in this coverage from Zechariah!
The price of betrayal of the Lord, the option of the treacherous, is open to those who love Him not, whose faith is fiasco. In betraying mercy, such action betrays all, leaves nothing and is worthless. Love, however, is stronger than death! (John 10:9,27-28), and His sheep follow HIM! nor can any snatch them. The GOOD Shepherd keeps His sheep.
We mention irony, which is intense in the request for 'wages', which is an indirect but pungent exposure of the TYPE of thanks for His astounding service to man and to Israel, but it is also one found elsewhere in the prophecies God gave to the nation, and through them to the world (cf. Romans 9:1ff.). Thus in Isaiah 24, a chapter dealing with a series of events leading through disasters to the exposure of the entire world to judgment, there is a parallel focus, mixing poignancy with horror, truth of coming folly, with penetration into the heart of man. Let us note the scope of the chapter (24:19ff.):
"The earth is violently broken,
The earth is split open,
The earth is shaken exceedingly.
"The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard,
And shall totter like a hut;
Its transgression shall be heavy upon it,
And it will fall, and not rise again.
"It shall come to pass in that day
That the Lord will punish on high the host of exalted ones,
And on the earth the kings of the earth.
They will be gathered together,
As prisoners are gathered in the pit,
And will be shut up in the prison;
many days they will be punished.
"Then the moon will be disgraced
And the sun ashamed;
For the Lord of hosts will reign
On Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
And before His elders, gloriously."
Now we observe the poignancy and the irony (24:14ff.):
"They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing;
For the majesty of the Lord
They shall cry aloud from the sea.
"Therefore glorify the Lord in the dawning light,
The name of the Lord God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea.
ends of the earth we have heard songs:
"Glory to the righteous!"
But I said,
'I am ruined, ruined!
Woe to me!
The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously,
Indeed, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.'
"Fear and the pit and the snare
Are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth.
As exposed in Isaiah 7, 9, 22, 50-55, and complemented in 4,11,32,40,42,49,61 for example, God is going, says the 8th century BC prophet, to come to earth in such a way that He, the ONLY Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11), will save in human form by bearing the actual sin which constitutes the thing to be saved from, both in their searing sorrows and their guilty failure before justice, both in their betrayal of what makes man man, and of the destiny suited to him (cf. With Heart ... Chs. 4-7). The same is exhibited in the Psalms (cf. Joyful Jottings 22-25). Here we see what is shown also in the Psalms, the treachery which was to be used - and from our time standpoint, was used - in the betrayal of Christ by an intimate, to the evil world, as noted above.
Thus in Psalm 109, there is no limit to the onset of eternal judgment, for the work of betrayal, which must apply where the very means of mercy are trodden on (cf. Hebrews 10:29). "In return for My love, they are My accusers ..." (109:4, cf. Psalm 41, 69). ONE stands out (109:6-7):
"Set a wicked man over him, and let an accuser stand at his right hand.
When he is judged, let him be found guilty, and let his prayer become sin."
Returning to Isaiah 24, with this theme in mind, we see again the treachery.
" 'The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously,
Indeed, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.' "
This is in two sets of quotation marks, since it is within the account, the word of ONE PERSON, who speaks in this way: "But I said, 'I am ruined, ruined! Woe to me! The treacherous dealers ..."
This comes, as may be seen, in the very midst of praise to God 'from the ends of the earth', in other words in what, as to scope of coverage at least, is of a universal character. It is a grand and terrestrially potent and pervasive nature. "Glory to the righteous!" is its chant. The righteous ONE in scripture, in whom alone such praise may be vested, is the Lord (Psalm 71:16), and it is in terms of PAYMENT His exquisite perquisite to cover unrighteousness in such a grand design that His generosity and greatness becomes the ground of salvation, as in Isaiah 53:1-6. Indeed, "by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many" is there also found.
What knowledge however ? one may ask. This: "for He shall bear their iniquities."
This is the righteousness of God, on the one hand, and what which brings the declaration, "I am undone." In crucifixion as in Psalm 22, the victim is indeed 'undone' as the full force of vicariously borne sin comes upon Him, and He cries, as predicted, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!" It had to be so, for sin separates (Isaiah 59:1-2), and if truly borne, truly shrieks its falsetto note into the aching situation.
Treachery is the manner of it, as in Isaiah 49:7, where the very nation to which He comes in abundance of generosity (as in Isaiah 35, 42, 40) becomes His enemy, and so betrays the covenantal trust, to which they had long ostensibly and formally been committed, yes since the days of Moses and Joshua, as a nation (cf. Joshua 24:18-24, Deuteronomy 1-7, 27ff.).
Thus in the prediction of Isaiah 24 noted above, the combination of praise emanating from swelling and grateful hearts, to the only One whose righteousness can be the ultimate focus and glorious reality in itself, the only One to whom glory is due (Isaiah 2), and who ALONE will receive such attribution, with treachery on the one hand, and calamitous oppression on the other: this fits only ONE. That, it is the Messiah.
Our present point is to amplify the testimony in Zechariah with that parallel testimony which it is one of the special jewel-like features of the Bible to provide, like beauty upon beauty in some Botanical Gardens, where the form, the architecture, the floral abundance, the stately trees, the lakes and the hills all combine to produce a series of impacts, each infolded in the other, all one in outcome.
This then provides a setting from Isaiah for the concentration in Zechariah on irony, on a spiritual dimness which is like the sultry vapours associated with metal works, searing the landscape and invading the lungs. "The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously, indeed the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously!" That is the chant! It sounds across the Ages, and its purgation is not Inquisition, it is not contempt for the Jew, it is not harassment, it is not in pogroms, all themselves punishable; but it is as is all sin, to be found in only one way. That, it is by a combination of repentance that is not hollow mockery in itself, but one which as John the Baptist put it of this aspect, brings forth fruit worthy of repentance. That is, it is a repentance not to be repented of, one of the heart.
Nor is this all, or nearly all. The other thing which purges this as any other sin to be repented of, it is the acceptance of the very redemption which the murder secured. God's agents in this case were those who were treacherous, including priests ostensibly in His own service in His own Temple; and thus His mockery is the more intense, for in seeking to breach His rule, they ensured it; in seeking to remove the One "having salvation" (Zechariah 9:9), they enacted what became its centre-pierce, death on the Cross vicariously bearing sin, and as Isaiah pointed out in His prediction, the love prevailed, for even then, He cried out for the forgiveness of the transgressors!
As Hebrews points out, and the sacrificial system in its pictorial role in the covenant of Moses, makes so clear, there is no remission without blood, and as Christ encapsulated it, EXCEPT YOU REPENT YOU WILL LIKEWISE PERISH! These two, repentance and remission through redemption, and that the one purchased for believers on the Cross, they are indispensible, ineluctable, fountains for mercy, and there is no other outlet to save the soul of man (Acts 4:11-12, Galatians 1:6-9). Be it nation, be it individual, by it in Old Testament Mosaic times, be it in New Testament era, the case never varies (cf. TMR Ch. 3).
A princely price did they pay, and to whom did they pay it ? to a betrayer, a familiar friend; and what did it pay for ? for goodness and mercy; and what did it portend ? murder and horror, not chiefly to the body, though that was defacement and defilement to the uttermost, but to all sensibility of spirit and all grace and gratitude of heart, an abortion of heart and a tattoo in spirit.
Whoever reads this, I entreat you, if you do not yet know the only Saviour, the follow this recipe and repenting truly, accept this redemption.
ANOTHER ASPECT OF THE PRICE
It is time now to consider further the ramifications of this action, as foretold by Zechariah.
Another aspect of the price of betrayal, the wages for good, paid in evil, was this: that the Good Shepherd (cf. Ezekiel 34, John 10), God Himself their Lord, having been shown the exit hatch and flung if you will, to space over the space of some hours, a sort of processive fling in which the rushing sob of passing air would crush the victim, slowly extruded, had a replacement.
"Take for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd!" was the word given to Zechariah in the now participatory vision which he received, a word addressed with the purpose of symbolically replacing the good with the evil Shepherd, one vociferously sought, and for the nation, now supplied! (Zech. 11:15). The word 'next' in front of this (Zech. 11:15) signifies the methodical approach, like a recipe; for indeed long shown was this whole plan of salvation whereby murder and vice became the instruments, almost the priestly implements of sacrifice so that the victim became the victor, and in His resurrection, His victory was shared with those who, by Him, would likewise overcome death (cf. News 87, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17, Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8). The good Shepherd now severed and sequestered, the contraptions of the bad one are provided!
In this life, which man neither makes nor could make, in this world which nothing can make but what has the power to institute its limitations and its designations, there is always a result. It has many phases. There is the physical result, the moral result, the spiritual result, the mental result, the psychic result, the social result, the scholarly result, to name but few. If you violate reality, unless mercy intervene, reality tends to violate you. It is not different when you refer to spiritual government, especially and the more so, when it includes ultimate authority.
Thus when the Good Shepherd is gone in the lust of lustreless pre-occupation with dark designs, such as survival, which is merely idolatry since it makes continuity more important than the nature and quality and purpose of life itself, there is nothing inviolate to protect, or left for man. Where light is excluded, the bright light of the glory of God, in compassion, service and serenity, then the darkness is included, and it rushes in, as it did indeed for Judah! and later, now, it is rushing in for an equally recalcitrant world: each in its day, and in its own way (cf. SMR Ch. 8). What then do we find in Zechariah 11 at this point.
New implements were needed (Zech. 11:15), those of cruelty, not this time for the Shepherd, who had returned to His home with His Father (John 17, 6), but for the execution of viciousness towards the flock. Christ had intervened, and delivered His people; but the nation, refusing to be delivered, inherited an evil shepherd. Of what kind were his characteristics, this bacterial infection of a leader, this viral virulence of an interloper ?
"He will eat the flesh of the fat,"
"will not care for those who are cut off,"
"nor will He seek the young" (Zech. 11:16).
If then this 'Shepherd' is Rome, which destroyed Jerusalem, then it was indeed the partly strong and partly fragile empire of Daniel 2, the fourth as in Daniel 7, and its partial demise is notorious, in its first moving its capital, when Rome fell, to Constantinople. Then it translocated to the Holy Roman Empire, with an intervening religious stint, which however also continued, partly strong, partly fragile also. Its main power and vision were smitten and its life continued for a time, and does continue, until the Good Shepherd returning, strikes the power finally, which Rome held, Europe now continues and the city of Rome in measure enshrines (cf. SMR pp. 946ff., 729).
More ultimately in view is the prince of this world (John 14:30), who coming, would have nothing in Christ. "Woe to the worthless shepherd!" the word of God thunders, as light moving on dark clouds, is supplemented by the roar of power in storm. Such a worthless shepherd in ultimate kind, an uncomprehending ruin, darkness personified, ravagement realised, disease dressed up as deity, the prince of puniness, callow in power, gross in aspiration.
It was this midget monstrosity, this spiritual shallows, this artificer of delusion, self-afflicted, affliction of mankind, whom Christ depicted in John 14:30; and Revelation describes his end (cf. Rev. 19:20). Pawn of Satan and acme of blighted intelligence, his robes are but tatters and his subjects ashes.
Man has for so long imitated the word of the Lord in John 1, concerning the light of Jesus Christ which came and the uncomprehending darkness in the heart of sinful man, that the devices of darkness have become increasingly endemic in the race. They are loved, selected, proclaimed, published and preached through a thousand TV stations and countless thousands of books. Their end like their virtue, is nothing to write home about; for they have no home, homeless wanderers, companions of the beast. Such is the biblical depiction, and such is the reality accordingly (cf. Revelation 13, 17, 18-20, II Thessalonians 2, Daniel 2, 7, 9, 12, Isaiah 2, Matthew 13, 21, 24-25, and of course, Zechariah 11).
But in the meantime, in the days foretold by Zechariah, the immediate impact of the treacherous act on the Messiah is felt by Israel.
How tenderly has this world cared for the Jew! and how explicitly was this 'care' asked for! for if any people ever had the major wonders offered, it was Israel; but again, if any peoples ever had them offered anew, it has been the Gentiles in this Church Age, and they in the main, have done as did Israel of old, in acting as if to nullify what is both of infinite worth and power, wisdom and majesty, love and kindness. You cannot nullify infinity however; and the prince of this world is coming, past all his forms and machinations on the way, to his evil culmination (II Thessalonians 1-2), in which, his destruction wrought by light, he will eventually perish.
Accordingly, the text of Zechariah now moves in Ch. 12, to the onset of the end. To this we look in Ch. 4.
*1 See Repent or Perish Ch. 7. See also Aviary of Idolatry, Highway to Hell, News 69, 97, 98, Tender Times.. Ch. 8.
The more the ubiquitous, iniquitous sallies are made into aery, faery (to be old-fashioned) realms of imagination without reason's aid, the more there is not only the failure which is so endemic (cf. Secular Myths..., Wake Up World! ), but the outlining of the forgotten, which is there, however discarded, and proceeds to operate, however oblivious the dream-worlds of man may make him, for the time, of its action.
While those fanciful worlds alternate, vacillate and propagate their kind (cf. SMR Chs. 3, 10), in the way that unfettered imagination may act, the actualities, left by the departures of so many festering and fetid empires of thought and rod, remain the more obvious.
How then can one be oblivious of the obvious ? By pre-occupation, by motivation, by alienation and by peremptory manipulation, to mention but a core of grounds (cf. Romans 1:17ff.).
When the tempestuous fails, however, then the source of tempest, namely will mis-applied, remains. When the exotic efforts to make the blind machinations of matter have the vision of design and destiny, meaning and validity for thought come to their resting place (RIP - rest in prickles, in this case), then the stability of design, the requirements of validity of thought - absolute truth and access to it so that it may divulge itself without intervention or the distortions of limitation, and the control of history become the more obvious.
The outline of reality appears the more readily when the dreams collapse, and the air cleared, the vision can now rest not on the gossamer glitz of pretension, but the actual solidity of what endures.
It is in this way that the uproarious comedy of philosophy, including the erratic philosophy of science which in much has departed from scientific method in our day, the "knowledge falsely so-called" about which Paul warned in I Timothy 6:20, actually comes to serve the concentration on truth. (Cf. The gods of naturalism have no go! Chs. 3, 5, Appendix 2, TMR 1, 8 with 7; 6, 3 , Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Chs. 2, 7, with Victory 8, esp. *4, Secular Myths Ch. 7.) A thousand runners lie stricken as the athlete who alone gains the crown strides in with measured mode and effortless momentum.
Watching him, you realise the lack of capacity in the others, and can the more readily reflect in what, and why they were so lacking.
History is an object lesson for the truth, not only in following continually the word of God deposited millenia ago, in the most minute detail, in the most massive perspective, but in showing the fate of what opposes. As the febrile departs, the faith is the more easily operative in the vacuum so created, not polluted with gaseous vapours and strange winds. Cats will often glare or stare at each other as a fight prelude, or a boundaries dispute settlement technique; but nothing will out-stare God, for whom the glitz of the pit is mere covering, like plastic hiding an urn of ashes, allegedly containing a living child.
Ridiculous from the outset, it is lively only in seduction from the truth. It is the imagination of the mortuary.
WHY WILL YOU DIE! is the challenge of Ezekiel 33:11.
The appeal is cast in love, formed in power and presented in truth.
*3 See the following.
SMR Ch. 6,
Great Execrations ... Ch. 7;
Barbs, Arrows and Balms
Biblical Blessings Ch. 15, Extended Endnote 2, Acme, Alpha and Omega ... Ch. 11,
With Heart ...Ch. 3, The Magnificence of the Messiah, Endnote 1,
Dastardly Dynamics ... Ch. 11,
The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 9, Section 14, JJ 25,
A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 15, 16, Stepping Out for Christ Ch. 5,
Things Old and New Ch. 2, Excursion 2A;
LIGHT... Ch. 3; Spiritual Refreshings Chs. 5, 6,
Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 8 (on resurrection and Lazarus, yes and both with Jerusalem).