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Large Talk and Small Deeds
So here, at last after some drought, we have had something like 2 inches of rain. It came steadily, it did not rampage, it continued, knew nothing about stopping. Then after hours, it became more fitful, then drizzle, then drizzle decreasing is the call.
One would tend to expect then, in this season and land, that it might depart while the sun shines, and then more vehemently, after which it subsides, usually before too long, but sometimes not very much. Summer passes. The clean, clearing winds of Winter come, but not too dramatic usually, though there is great beauty in the highlands, where the mists blow, the uncovered scenes present themselves to the longing eye, the seas calling and the skies making delicious shapes and impressions of power and majesty.
can history move. At present, in the
all, are even 7 million Jews in
If a man or a nation serves itself (self-interest, they often unblushingly call it so that it is small wonder they war continually), then that is still something to be served. It is not logically proper, since a nation is not in itself warranted in wanting to rule, or be great, or be the criterion of its own existence, any more than a car is so, or any other construction of man. It just may want to do this, and so may others, so that the various wants become various fonts of poison.
It IS good for a nation or an individual to have freedom; but this should never be confused with the same having a passion for its own merely nationally construed fulfilment, or importance, let alone its own expansion at will, thrill or longing.
Meanwhile, the religiously aggressive Islamic self continues its rampaging, or part of the religion does so, and nations gather together as in 1991 in Teheran and on occasion since, to affirm their Islamic loyalties, detestation of Israel and desire for Palestinians, at present being allowed to be part of the tiny fragment of Palestine which the Jews occupy nationally, to wreak havoc on the nation which houses them. To this end, they may give aid, either in propaganda, money or both.
seems to include the subversion revolutionary call for Arabs who are Israeli
citizens to be bad ones, and to seek the overthrow of
this religious fiasco is fraught with battle and terrible in tornado; for it is
one in which one part of God’s creation is seeking the positive extinction or
suppression of another in the name of a ‘god’ who gives no indications of his existence
and against the God who gives EVERY indication of His (logically, historically,
prophetically, morally cf. More Marvels
Chapter 4 ), and who is, it is felt, to be martially supplanted. But by what ?
· It is to be, by this will, by the urgent calls of their false prophet Muhammad; and as to that, it is for NO reason and against ALL reason, except that which from the first involved the take-over of property and some conception of national or religious or tribal or composite greatness in the doing of it.
triumphant Israeli battles of 1948, 1969, 1973, and of course, 1991, are past;
the tornado season is not quite with us again; and perhaps, some might call the
ceaseless blowing up, in part or in whole, of Israeli bodies by the
machinations and machinery of Gaza religionists and factories, mere decreasing
drizzle, especially when it does not rain for a day or two. However, murder
carried on in this way, perhaps a mere 10 or so, today, 15 tomorrow, while it
does not militarily measure up to the tornadoes of extinction-time, when the
Islamic hordes (yes, MANY nations did it, and readily appear willing to try
again!) sought to kill Israel, cripple it or help it to get, if not into the
sea, somewhere, anywhere else, does not cease to be murder.
Yet it does not reverse the ‘catastrophe’ of the Jewish presence, as it is by many Moslems openly regarded. It is a furore of letting blood and of complaint when some defence and militance of deliverance appears on the Jewish side.
How any United Nations could even smirkingly PRETEND that this accords with justice, when Israel has been robbed of MOST of the promised Palestine of the World War I and beyond days, and Jordan has most of it, but does not elect to invite their wandering Islamic brethren to its territories, nor do others of the murderous members do so, those who incite insurrection in Israel at any cost to anyone as victim: it would be difficult to understand.
Would be ? Yes, it would be so, it were not that the god of this world as Christ called him, is delusive. Making black white, or more often white black, is his specialty. No one denies that he is gifted at it.
How the mangling of the bodies of children, who are left to live with the residue in agony, because of jihadic aggression, how this is religious, we can leave to the Islamic pundits who propose such things, to work out; and how the occupation of part of the tiny remnant of Palestine left to Israel, can be carried on, not with thankfulness by the Arabs in it, but with such murderous incursions into Israeli domestic life as to make them criminals in any country, and then used as a step for gaining UN approval, or endorsement, or forcible grants against Israel, can be offloaded likewise. To reward murder with land, and to increase inequity with gifts, if this is the work of justice, the term must be renamed.
Can then such violence, such inordinate earthiness, be regarded by the UN as a prelude to further deprivation for the Jews, to further reduction of the Palestinian remnant the Jews have, in their land ? Can you BUY things by blood in this way ? can a directly murderous assault force, an abuser of children, become the recipient of gifts, from the party whose children you assail ? This too we will leave to those international jurists who know such things. Yet justice could never support it. If this is not atrocity, and the pretence that using Palestinian children in the front line while Israel is assaulted is some sort of Jewish crime, then comedy is molesting tragedy, and getting out of place.
Is this, then, a drizzle, decreasing compared with the days of 1948, 1967, 1973 ?
JOINING THE JOURNEY WITH JOEL
However, it is apparent that the TYPHOON season is to return.
In Joel, as shown in Great Execrations … Ch. 10, there is seen a time of massive technological warfare coming as the end approaches. It appears clearly robotic, and current events are signally indicating just what Joel declared.
In this turbulent time, God Himself is to deliver His people. In the words found in the first two chapters of this same prophet, we find a fascinating development, from the times of the Joel himself, through the coming of the Messiah and on to Pentecost (so that Peter actually quoted this passage in Joel 2 AT Pentecost as the specifications of this spiritual birthday of the Christian Church). It is then, in Joel 3, that we find the TYPHOON of the end of the Age. It may be well to reproduce the relevant part of this, which is therefore provided below*1.
Thus we arrive in Joel 3 to the eventual judgments of God which, precisely as in Habakkuk 3, Isaiah 2, 66, Micah 7, Ezekiel 38-39, come to the deliverance of the besieged, despised, but in the end, largely evangelised Israel (cf. Zechariah 12:10-13:1, The Biblical Workman – TBW - Ch. 1, *3, Ch. 3, *1, SMR pp. 510ff., 520, at *3). That this is so has been considered in detail and this too, in now extended form, is provided below*2.
In no sense would the concept of a tornado be here excessive! Just consider Joel 3 for a moment.
JOEL 3 and Meteorological Dynamics
in Ezekiel 36-38 (cf. TBW loc. cit, SMR Appendix A),
there is the NEW return of
exclusively identifiable body which KNEW the Lord, FORSOOK Him and then
returned in order to be FLAYED alive if possible by surrounding peoples, and to
OVERCOME in triumphant wars, in the midst of exceedingly troublous times (as in
Zechariah 12-14): this people was to come back, has come back, and all
prescribed has happened. The arrival of the Jews in
What remains is the typhoon.
Joel 3 tells us of it.
going to GATHER the nations together and ENTER INTO JUDGMENT WITH THEM. Let
those who like this, have it! Prepare to meet your God! was no small ultimatum
to the Jew, in the days of Amos (Ch. 4);
but now it is the Gentiles’ turn.
the nations are disorderly. They want this and that, and the
As to the
nations, they think that they can ARRANGE
Very well, the stakes are high, the perspective is simple, the contest is open.
In Joel, you see the result. As they mass, the Lord acts. It could not be clearer (Joel 3:2):
v “I will enter into judgment with them on account of My people.”
What form is this to take ?
to the SCATTERING of
“PREPARE FOR WAR!” comes the cry in Joel 3:9.
As multitudes gather in the
of His people newly come to their land, and to their Lord (Zech. -13:1) ? We learn that “the
LORD will be a shelter for His people.” In this way, He protects. He
does more. He also will be “the strength of the children of
v whose religious recidivism the Lord has detested, as they moved from His once so intimate presence; and
v whose discipline has been long so that many nations seem to think they are merely a place to wipe their feet.
It is not
so. Their divine discipline has not been an invitation to earthiness of concept
and gross and outrageous arrogance against this much grieved people. Because of
such ignorant and in part malevolent misconception, the nations will find the
strength of God is against them in their artful concepts and profane dealings
you shall KNOW that I am the LORD your
This of course is a contrary concept to the comparative religionist’s aim, inspiration and goal, that religions will melt into some scum of unity and be wiped away from the pot, while what matters proceeds.
It is the opposite which is to occur.
God is always opposite, or contrary at least, to what this world considers. THEY, these are ex-God, but make this fatal mistake. It is one between the ontological and the actual; or if you prefer, between what IS the case and the way you ENVISAGE it. If you envisage your car NOT to be stuck in deep mud when it is, then there is this same confusion. It may ruin your tyres, your engine or your life, if for example you are on a hill, and your car capsizes on top of you.
Now “a fountain shall flow from the house of the Lord” – just as in Ezekiel 47 (see Biblical Blessings Ch. 5 cf. Zechariah -13:1) . This as shown, represents the Spirit of God bringing the realities of Christ to the heart of those who put their faith in Him; and since He IS living, therefore there IS the sort of result you would expect from life: it is vital, dynamic and powerful. Since however it is also the life of GOD, it is also purifying, disciplinary and developmental in the heart.
You wash in it, and He works in you (cf. Philippians -13, but see with this, -21!).
You get the same thing in Micah 7, where after some astonishingly tender and highly empathetic words concerning the sufferings of Jews who have wandered from their earlier place in the Lord, it declares that a military event comparable to the work of the Exodus, when the Jews left Egypt, is to occur (7:15). In this occurrence, the nations will have a place: that of worms, “they shall lick the dust like a serpent.” It does not really matter what anyone thinks, this is what the Lord says.
Is this arrogant of Him, to dare to SPEAK HIS MIND ? Hardly. The real arrogance is NOT TO LISTEN.
It is crucial to realise that just as in Zechariah 12:10-13:1, so in Micah, we find the IMPORTANT part is the knowledge of God which results, and at first, the inward presence of the Messiah, for the reflection at the end of that chapter is this:
· “Who is a God like You,
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
· He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our
· “You will cast all our sins
· Into the depths of the sea.
You will give truth to Jacob
And mercy to Abraham,
Which You have sworn to our fathers
From days of old.”
v NEVER DOES THIS LOVE OF GOD DIMINISH,
v NEVER IS IT ECLIPSED,
v NEVER DOES FORCE CONSTITUTE THE CRITERION, BEING MERELY AN INSTRUMENT WHEN EVILS MOUNT AS IF TO HARRY THE EARTH FOREVER, AND WHEN JUDGMENT, AFTER THE LONG FORAYS OF FREEDOM, SITS ACCORDING TO TRUTH (Romans 2).
It is time to listen to the parallel passage in Habakkuk 3. Its intimacy with this is like that of two close friends, distinct yet as one.
· 4 “His brightness was like the light;
He had rays flashing from His hand,
And there His power was hidden.
5 “Before Him went pestilence,
And fever followed at His feet.
6 “He stood and measured the earth;
He looked and startled the nations.
And the everlasting mountains were scattered,
The perpetual hills bowed.
· His ways are everlasting.
7-9 “I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction;
The curtains of the
O Lord, were You displeased with the rivers,
Was Your anger against the rivers,
Was Your wrath against the sea,
That You rode on Your horses,
Your chariots of salvation?
Your bow was made quite ready;
Oaths were sworn over Your arrows. Selah
You divided the earth with rivers.
10-11 “The mountains saw You and trembled;
The overflowing of the water passed by.
The deep uttered its voice,
And lifted its hands on high.
The sun and moon stood still in their habitation;
At the light of Your arrows they went,
At the shining of Your glittering spear.
· 12-13 “You marched through the land in indignation;
You trampled the nations in anger.
You went forth for the salvation of Your people,
For salvation with Your Messiah.”
A glance at Psalm 2 reveals just the same.
“Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”
“He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
“Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
“Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”
“I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”
“Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”
As Paul declares, Christ is the firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18): that is, not only was He resurrected, but death became as if a womb from which He arose as one born, and in this was wrought a marvel for all men: for this constituted His breach of death, so that instead of exhibiting our mortality, it was broken to reveal the immortality Christ has in store for all who come in faith and repentance to Him as He is, the living God.
This power is not fireworks to amuse the people. It is comparable with the creation and with salvation. It is a be-all and end-all matter, as life versus death, and worse, eternal death with contempt, always is.
It has its impact as so consistently announced in the Bible, in very visible and physical ways, from the deliverances of David, the miracles of Elijah and the power of the prophetic word on; yes and right to the healings of Christ, the raising from the dead, and His own resurrection; and not the least of these manifestations of divine power is ever so simple. It involves the desire to rule, mandate, manipulate, humble, treat ignominiously the Jew, as if the legacy of the pogroms and exploitation of Europe (as in Louis XIV the not so bright sun-king) and Russia, and the epitomisation of the process in Hitler, were some kind of pantomime which, since the children love it, must constantly be re-performed.
God is unimpressed with such outrageous instigations of earthiness against His people (cf. Isaiah 51:21-23 for example).
“Therefore please hear this, you afflicted,
And drunk but not with wine.
“Thus says your Lord,
The Lord and your God,
Who pleads the cause of His people:
‘See, I have taken out of your hand
The cup of trembling,
The dregs of the cup of My fury;
You shall no longer drink it.
But I will put it into the hand of those who afflict you,
Who have said to you,
“Lie down, that we may walk over you.”
‘And you have laid your body like the ground,
And as the street, for those who walk over.’ ”
Like those of Isaiah 66:15, 30:27ff., are these words.
There is an
end of the discipline, of the blindness of
deliverance, it has started already in the enormous afforestation, agricultural
science exploits, floral abundance and marketing as predicted (cf. Isaiah 35,
55:13, 41:19-20, 60:13, Ezekiel 34:29). As to the events in Ezekiel 34, see Great Execrations … Chs. 7 and 8, and
fascinating are these, for it is here that you see the LORD expressing His
simple determination. In view of the gross and outrageous failure of
under-shepherds interested in their careers, progress, impact, importance and
wealth, HE IS GOING TO COME AND TO IT HIMSELF,
all the work of a Shepherd (hence the identification by Christ of
Himself as the Good Shepherd, as seen in John 10). HE the LORD, will be Himself the
shepherd. A little latter in that same chapter, He announces that it is the
Messiah, descendant on the maternal line through
This is just as in John 8:58 and . Christ rand His Father are ONE. In Him, God is manifest in the flesh, and He is the express image of DEITY (Hebrews 1), so that even though GOD ALONE is the Creator, it is no less Christ (Colossians 1:15ff., Isaiah 43:10-11), and though GOD ALONE is the Saviour, this Christ is not only involved in salvation, but is IT! and this is His work alone (He involving the Father as vice versa – Acts -12, Isaiah 53). In other words, it is of course done with the Father, for the Father, in the Father; but the one who ACCOMPLISHES what is the EXPLICIT role of God alone, is Christ.
Hence, to return to our concern with Psalm 2, it is NECESSARY with glad heart to WELCOME Christ and to do towards Him what no man should ever do to another, PUT ONE’S TRUST in HIM! (Psalm , Jeremiah 17:5ff.). “Kiss the Son lest He be angry!” reminds one of Christ’s interview with the Peter who failed as in John 21. The love of God is sina quo non, indispensable, since GOD IS LOVE (I John 4:7ff.). Yet those nations who throng in contempt of court, in mockery of Christ, in moral liberation, in spiritual autonomy, who disdain the PRACTICAL ACTUALITY of God, and in particular do not see why Israel should be in some one place designated by God (though God has given to history, His own specific architectural specifications for this land): their fate we learn.
Broken in pieces like pottery, they disadorn the earth. This happens. You can use poetry to celebrate a victory, but should never confuse it with the victory itself! The nations are to be given to Christ “as an inheritance” and in the process, they disdain and dismiss their place, even contending with God about the nature of things. Hence theirs is desolation, and not least in the devastations to come, is this confrontation at the end! Yes, as Micah puts it, it is unexampled!
THE FINALE IS NOT FOR FUN
Thus do you
see the age-old lust, thrust and bust syndrome in man. Unwilling to be
subservient (as he deems it) to any, he ceases to be serviceable to any but
himself, and putting in himself, for
himself, by himself, his weird and irrational,
arbitrary and sky-diving ideas (as if he came from something that was
above, in some metaphysical sky, which is not really there, and that is why he
is so good and knows so much, and knows
truth and all that), he descends far
below the animals, just as a Boeing 747 descends below the surface of the earth,
more than say a bicycle, on impact
with the same!
It leads to various judgments which, being ignored, as in the case of the flood (cf. News 1, Joyful Jottings 8, just as predicted, in a passion for repression of truth, which would become riotous at the end), lead to more. There comes an end (cf. Christ’s words in Matthew 24:14 – “and then the end will come!”).
This then leads to the finale, where the Jewish situation is seen by many as a pawn in the game for man. Yet it has a far prior need for the application of redemption; for the Lord introduces this as in Zechariah 12, right in the heart of the strivings and wars. It is thus He who will have His way as always, though He suffers much for it, even to the outrageous episode of the Cross where, turning the tables on His would-be oppressors (as if He were just one more Jew to dash down), He used their guile to implement His own strategy, as in Psalm 2, it is made clear He would do.
What then ? They kill, but He arises; they mock, but He uses the murder as redemption payment, yes even for the murderers if they come with contrite hearts and faith in Him, to receive the results of His pangs and death!
The final item as in Revelation 19 is simply the Word of God exploding fantasies, philosophies and jihads, all of it, with a power which is just, since freedom has failed. It is in the despicable oblivion of God, that it does so; and in parallel, and on the other side, eternal life will GO ON IN HIM, where alone, as from Him as source, it CAN do so! (Revelation 21-22). Life for man in His image, without Him, is like an appendix without the bowel. The more it lives, the more it dies.
It is then,
not so surprising that we hear on the News, February 20, that it is not
few nations would allow an occupation of part of themselves with
semi-autonomous government, as with Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, to be
used as a murder machine, and its factories as sacrifice weapons, women and
children the sacrificial victims. It is better for man, when he consents to
becoming a sacrifice, whether in substitution for sin, which Christ did most
freely, or in defence of his country, or other lesser but still important
styles. Yet, to MAKE others the sacrifice of your own rebellious lusts is not
fitting. If then Israel DOES take over
of the concessions made in the Clinton era*3, and
offered to the Arabs, though the Palestinians refused them, was so
colossal, under the circumstances of the already heavily restricted residue
accorded to Israel from the former
Palestine, that it is difficult to see other aim than this one for this intifada, this maelstrom of murder, this
indiscriminate hatred, this reckless antipathy, this exploitative war machine
within a nation. What is that ? It is quite simply to take over
How fine! With Palestine largely given already to others (Islamic in the main), and many surrounding nations already Islamic, the so noble world would take more and give nothing perhaps, or merely virtually nothing, creating some inoperable territorial joke, as if it HAD by some inner compulsion to detest the ground under the feet of the Jew, dealing with that race, in some ultimate racism. The pure earthiness of this disinvenstment, this denial, this ground surge of desire is manifest, chronic and contrasts infinitely with the celestial perspective, intention and prediction for the case! The god of this world has his ways, and they are contrary to those of God, and the conflict is now near to its final expression.
rejection or affliction of
There is of course far more to it, but not less, than that. God IN SO DOING, and indeed in bringing Israel back in the first instance at all, to its land, so long hungered after by the Islamic host, so vehemently occupied, during the excursion of Israel from it in pre-announced divine discipline, is showing a FAITHFULNESS because of what HE PROMISED He would do (as in Ezekiel 36, repeatedly expressed). He is also placing in the very midst of these dealings (as in Zechariah 12), the turning of a large number of Jews IN ISRAEL to Himself, with real repentance, indeed abhorrence of their crucifixion of the Christ, their own Redeemer. If they had only learned to take Him in time! (cf. Christ’s lament for them, found in Luke 19:42ff.).
Thus just as His sacrifice by MURDER was the occasion for the REDEMPTION of those, even the murderers if they repented, who hated Him, or ignored, put Him from mind as they lived, so the endeavour of the nations to sacrifice ISRAEL becomes an occasion for the repentance in that land, and the turning of many in it to their Lord of Hosts of old, who came to earth as Christ, who simply announced, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).
Like a gulf into the earth, filled with molten earth and gleaming sulphurous wastes, is the earthiness of the nations, of unconverted hearts, lost to God, immune to truth, at variance with reality, intent on rebellion; and this often with the added heat, that it is suppressed, even the knowledge of that! So it bubbles subterraneously. Like the wonders of the stars, dashing out light for vast distances, in a sort of astronomical exuberance that in turn adorns our skies, is the mercy of the Lord, from everlasting to everlasting. His is not odium, but blessing; and if judgment must ensue, it is not because of lack of patience or love, but its rejection. Such is the Celestial One, in the midst of His graces.
How vast are His conceptions, how dazzling His diamonds of thought, how beautiful is His grace, how determined His planning, how perfect are His executions, as this world, having its little-dog’s day, but less happily for more haplessly, shows its heels, while many in it show their hearts, and abide in Him. Yet those who decline from Him, these leave the necessary truth of the Lord, not merely in logic, which always wins, but in practice, for their alienated efforts make pantomime of justice, a victim of truth, guillotine grace, often making a drama of hate, and a procession of lust. If it is brutal, it is foul; if it is proud, it is spiritually foul; if it trusts in itself, it is vain, since it does not even know the basis of what it is; and if it does, and yet rejects Him, then it is ignorant the more, being willfully so.
All of this: It does not because it cannot work; but God has worked what makes rest a gift, and as Isaiah pre-announced it by many centuries,
Ø “And in that day, there shall be a root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people, for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious!” (as in Hebrews !).
The quite delicious thing is this, that many of Israel will join in, and the nations shall indeed LEARN that they whom they persecuted, were His people, that they went into exile for their sins, are brought back by His faithfulness, and that He has His way (Ezekiel 39:35ff.),
And as in Ezekiel 39:29ff.:
v ‘When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer.
“ ‘I will not hide My face from them anymore: for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of
The Gentiles will learn as well (Ezekiel 39:22-23):
“So the house of
THAT return is terminal, final, and didactically decisive. No more will the misled imagine that God was weak in this, that Israel was deported, made object of sport and scorn (as He said would be the case – Ezekiel 36:15, cf. 24:9ff.) - though He has now in our generation fulfilled to multiplicity just what HE SAID He would do, and in the historical environment which He stated – cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Chs. 8 -9). Yet when the blind are so, how can you expect them to see ? It is only by the work and hand of God!
God intervenes in their most desperate ploys, however, and their deadly craft
fails, even when
Alas, alas for the nations, that they think to derail what never is deterred, the word of God. As it is written, so it comes to be; and the more they try, the more they fulfil it, for it is written that just this incensed effort will be made against Israel, whether by ostensible friend or foe, so long as it leads to just one thing, the assault on Jerusalem, the mockery (in word or deed), of the land of the Jews.
On the other hand, the final judgments are presaged, prescribed, indicated for their time with this as a trailer episode. The scope goes from the temporary to the final, from storm-clouds of devouring locusts, to energetic soldiery at the end, and indeed, to the actions of the Lord proceeding at that time, leading at length to that convulsion of the whole universe predicted in Isaiah 24, and its eventual removal dramatically, as seen in Isaiah 51:6 II Peter 3:9ff.. (See Joel 2:10-11, 3:2,11-17, cf. Habakkuk 3:3-16 and p. 164 supra.)
THIS is that day of the Lord. As Keil puts it in his Old Testament Commentary,
THE day of
the Lord is often indicated, but only once will it reach as it were, terminal
Meanwhile, there is a need. It is of faithfulness, loyalty, stability, earnestness, sincerity.
In Joel we read of the former and the latter rain being sent, and the Teacher of Righteousness who beyond all the words of Joel, will Himself produce that final warning, ultimate rescue system, total salvation which is so needed. As Keil translates this verse:
The temporary judgment is removed, the final court of appeal is preceded by the arrival of the Judge Himself, strangely however robed in teaching toga, to deliver His people before the end so strongly indicated in the preceding vastness of THE DAY OF THE LORD, in its finality.
There is of course a play on words. The term for the rain and for teacher are such that the translation can look at these as options. However, the rain for righteousness would be a strange procedure when the people had forfeited all but the ground for judgment. A rain in mercy, surely, would seem apt and even appropriate; but a rain in righteousness to come when the DESERTS were deserts, this will not do.
Hence the TEACHER FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, the call, the need, the base for reform and redemption, this is the way. As Keil says, most of the rabbis and early commentators have followed the Chaldee and Vulgate, and taken 'moreh' (the word in view) in the sense of "teacher". He notes that later people often did not, but proceeds "although moreh is unquestionably used in the last clause of this verse in the sense of early rain; in every other instance this is called yoreh (Deut.xi.14; Jer.v.24)." In fact, we may add, in this very verse, 'moreh', THE TEACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS APPEARS with the definite article, while the use for rain, later in this same verse, lacks it. As we shall see, this omission is what is found for the rain usage.
Thus, right here, both the early rain and the latter rain, one of them the SAME word, appear according to idiom, WITHOUT the article, as normal. The earlier use, appears by CONTRAST, with it. That is precisely the sort of warning for a pun, accompanied by the usage of no article for this rain...
Keil, then, notes that it thus seems most reasonable to take it that the word moreh in the last clause was selected there, precisely to echo the previous occurrence in this sentence of moreh meaning teacher. In other words, it would be a strange rarity to introduce this term without ground for the rain; but not at all strange if its use were conditioned on an intentional play on words, just as the article similarly would be strange. TEACHER first, and THEN RAIN. This is exactly what many teachers do both to alert their (sleepy?) students and to help them remember. To the student mind, this can act rather like a pneumatic drill, and quite often this may be what is needed!
In particular, Keil stresses that the definite article "the" is placed before the term translated as "teacher" whereas this is never found for the 'rain' meaning, and as he indicates, "no reason can be discovered why moreh should be defined by the article here if it signified early rain." It is however "decisively confirmed" by the phrase 'for righteousness' which follow the term rendered 'teacher '. This, he states, is "quite inapplicable to early rain," since it cannot mean either 'in just measure' or 'at the proper time', or 'in becoming manner' as 'righteousness', in the term here chosen, is never scripturally used in the physical sense. To 'the teacher' however it is eminently applicable.
But why would a pun be used at such a point ? Surely it would be to link the teacher and the rain, just as is done in Psalm 72, where of the Messiah, the son of David to come, it is said:
bring justice to the poor of the people:
He will save the children of the needy,
And will break in pieces the oppressor.
As long as the sun and moon endure,
Throughout all generations.
He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing,
Like showers that water the earth.
In His days
the righteous shall flourish,
And abundance of peace,
Until the moon is no more."
(Cf. Item 16, esp. pp. 92ff. above.)
The pun then would be perspicuous, granted it is indicated: it applies, is apt, follows an earlier usage concerning the Messiah in His righteousness in practical things.
Further, our verse in Joel is in a vein of exultancy (Joel -23):
"Fear not, O land:
Be glad and rejoice,
For the Lord has done marvellous things!...
Be glad then,
you children of
And rejoice in the Lord your God:
For He has given you the teacher of righteousness,
And He will cause the rain to come down for you,
The former rain and the latter rain ..."
It then proceeds, exactly as in Psalm 72 to specify the emblems of flourishing.
The so-called prophetic perfect is in use: the Lord "HAS DONE" marvellous things, while this is in fact to come, being seen in His mindful eye as present, and placed before the prophet thus graphically, vividly, as if here now.
The 'marvellous things' remind one of Isaiah 29:14 (cf. SMR p. 788), which Paul refers to the coming of the Gospel: it is a passage showing the work the Lord will do to open the blind eyes. It is quite parallel to the preceding passage in 28:14-16, which ends with the laying of
"a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation",
"whoever believes will not act hastily."
Indeed, in that context, Isaiah proceeds (29:17ff.) from the foundation stone, to the detailing of the specific functions in healing body and spirit, to be performed by the Messiah:
day the deaf shall hear the words of the book,
And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.
The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord,
And the poor among men shall rejoice
In the Holy One of
This then is the phase of marvellous work, and it corresponds like Psalm 72, precisely with our present passage in its similar exultancy. Just as Isaiah 28 brings in the Messiah in 28:16, the sure foundation, and declares an "awesome work" in 28:21, expanded to "a marvellous work and a wonder" so that the wise lose their knowledgeable pretensions in the face of it, in Isaiah 29:14, and hypocrisy is exposed (as in Matthew 23!), for those who draw near with their lips, their hearts yet obdurate: so here. The Messiah is first seen, in this case the teacher of righteousness, and this is MARVELLOUS just as His name is "wonderful" in Isaiah 9:6, and great things are done (as in Isaiah 29:18 cf. Ch. 35), seen in Joel 2:25-26, and the Spirit is poured out of from on high: Joel Jole 2:28 cf. Isaiah 29:19, 32:15. Thus there is perfect and indeed intimate parallelism of presentation of Isaiah and Joel, in word, phrase and substance.
Further, the intense emphasis on the wonder of things in the sequence is more than merely verbal (signal as this is): it shouts from both contexts (as in Joel 2:21,28ff.) and its vibrant echoes bore into the heart, as one reads the various throbbing and impactive attestations of the world-shattering, spirit exposing, evil rebuking freedom and power with which the Lord in astonishing fashion, is to act (as was the case in those predictive days, leading up, in due course, to the coming of the Messiah). Everything is a turning upside of established sin patterns, a subduing of specialised follies with a liberality of love and splendour of mercy, that moves from Isaiah's child who is to be called wonderful (Isaiah 9) to Joel's "wonders in the heavens and in the earth" and "marvellous things" that surround the events of such substantial ultimacy. Paul captures and expounds further, from the Lord, in I Corinthians 1.
This rendering in Joel, "teacher of righteousness", moreover prevents a four-fold reference to rain, which otherwise occurs in Joel . It likewise means that "the teacher of righteousness" with the idiom appropriate is used, followed by the generic reference to rain, and then the division of rains into former and latter.
It balances and all is thus explained, but not otherwise.
The pun, let us stress, is moreover explained; for it is a large part of the script that the bounty is mercy, the Messiah is the ground and the result is in blessing. The link is didactic, educational, inspiring, and ... needful. It is not some flick of feeling, but a well-grounded mercy which proceeds at enormous cost, that of the Messiah, as elsewhere so often shown; and here, as to emphasis, with wonderful input of real righteousness, the enduring and close relation of exuberant joy in the mercies of God.
Let us however return to Keil's own point to the effect that there was no way that this rain would be a rain of righteousness, if that rendering were given. It would not fit; indeed its non-fit would be quite as conspicuous as the fit when it is rendered teacher of righteousness. "THE RAIN FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS" ... that is what it would be.
However, the people were seeking compassion not righteousness, and to render the rain as for righteousness when drought would be the proper assessment, would invade mercy and cloud the whole doctrine of scripture. It is not in STABILITY and FAITHFULNESS despite sin that the rain comes; it is in mercy to cover sin that it is sent. Righteousness is NOT the point. It is contrary to it, and evacuates it, for rain. For the TEACHER however it is His intrinsic nature, and their absolute need. Thus negatively and positively, idiomatically and contextually, grammatically and intensively in the sentence itself, we find one thing.
We conclude on these many grounds, then, that it is a ... TEACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS AS THE STRONG TRADITION OF RABBIS HELD, and not doubtless without reason; and as the Chaldee and Vulgate present. A... ? No, "THE" TEACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. The results will be proportionate!
What then do we learn from this Messianic marvel: the arrival of this teacher?
That this is part of the apparatus of mercy, and a large part. We have moved from the preliminary judgment to the final one in Joel 2, and we move similarly to the first advent of the Messiah in 2:23 to the second one in Joel 3, making yet one more parallel (3:14ff.). And this Messiah, HOW spectacularly HE teaches, yet not sensationalistically at all: Isaiah 11:2-4, 32:1-3. Indeed, it will be the sort of speech with strength and savour, unique and splendid, which though filled with mercy, holds scent of judgment to come (Isaiah 11:4, cf. John 7:46ff., Matthew 23, Luke 19:41ff.) And it holds rest, a resting place indeed, on which souls may rest from the tempest (Isaiah , 4:1-6, 32:1-4), the rest which comes from imputed righteousness (Psalm 32:1-4), which comes from the purchase of all time (Isaiah 53:4-11).
We now proceed to what
follows in the text. Now it comes with the force of relish. The Messiah having
come, there is naturally a profoundly powerful consequence, and this theme, the
vital force of the New Covenant proceeds just as it does so often in the Old
Testament (cf. Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 11, Isaiah 54-55). The Messiah first, and
then the fruits that extend like showers that water the earth. What then do we
PREVIEW OF PENTECOST AND
PREPARATION FOR JUDGMENT
"Afterward" (Joel 2:28-32), there is what came to be quoted at Pentecost, that description of dream and vision, power and wonder, calling upon the name of the Lord and the rapid approach of the final crisis and juncture with judgment itself. There is here what we realise to be the whole reign of the church age in the New Testament format following the incarnation.
The meaning is clear. After all this, first the removal of temporary judgment and then the coming and work of the Lord as Christ, the Messiah, the crucified, mourned for in due time as shown in Zechariah 12:10, there is to be an epochal wonder leading on to the end of the entire Age. In this is to be, then, the outpouring of the Spirit of which Joel speaks in terms of such scale, in . They are epochal in three dimensions: 1) the power 2) the revelation and 3) the judgment looking down at the end, coming precipately as the Age comes to its closure, without further ado. It is post-Messianic, pre-judgment. Let us look further at this Age.
The Lord does indeed send His rain on the just and on the unjust, but on the unjust, it is IN MERCY. Thus the chapter 3 goes on to it tempestuous ending, reminiscent greatly of Habakkuk 3. War is dramatically indicated (-11) in an irony not without pity, as the foolish fastheads amongst men do their utmost to be their own salvation, so slaughtering inordinately in their falsity, and flashly bungling.
The Lord, we learn , will "utter His voice
More than locusts will come in the trepidatious onslaught (Joel 2:1ff.), but as to the drama of the former things, leading to the ecclesiastical hyperactivity in the slaughter of the Lord - in human form as Jesus Christ, as it were by mistake.... added as if idly to the sacrifices intended to show worship! - it will be reaped in an ultimate which is worthy of its preliminaries. There have been so many preliminaries; and there will be so many consequences. The case is drastic. The means are no less, but they are tempered with that patience which is not indulgence, but grace. Overall, there is the remnant and the finding of souls: there is a set of believers (Isaiah 53:1), and there are kept.
says the Lord in Joel 2:27. Thus is the gift of the Messiah (cf. Isaiah 28:16). He who trusts in Him shall NOT be ashamed.
and we come
to the Book of Acts.
THE CHRONOLOGICAL HAPPINESS
This now produces a lively and marvellously straightforward scenario.
1) The temporary judgment on Israel comes complete with dashing locusts, set in so heightened a form as to constitute an allegory (Joel 2:1-9); and
2) this early judgment rises in a crescendo of vision to the ultimate judgment also spoken of in Isaiah 24, where the earth and heavens are indeed shaken (Joel -11) cf. Hebrews , and Haggai 2:6), and
3) This is followed by a call to repentance, followed by the exposure of the Messiah as Teacher for Righteousness - His is the role on behalf of righteousness, in righteousness and for it, "I am the Truth", as He said, and "But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth ..." (Joel 2:12-23, John 8:40)
His role is emphasised in its mercy by the pun-mode impact in the Hebrew language here (Joel 2:23), of relating Him, as differently He is related in Psalm 72, to showers of mercy, of rain, heightening content, productivity and gentle.
4) This exposure of the face of grace in the Messiah is aptly followed by the exultant glorying in the splendid acts of the Lord, "For the Lord has done marvellous things" (Joel 2:26), in entire accord with the similar procedure in Isaiah, when he is revealing the similar acts of mercy an interposition, of the Messiah. He will rain His resplendent mercies (Psalm 72:6, Hosea 6:1-4),
So do they wait for Him (Proverbs ), and find Him, for now He has shown Himself in heightened form, once for all time. THEN COME THE SHOWERS TO START AND TO BRING THE SPIRITUAL CROPS TO FRUITION (Joel ), and then indeed, God will
This poignant and deep challenge to the heart shows, following the great call to repentance and the manifestation of the Messiah (v.23), the Lord's willingness set aside sin as far as the East is from the West, so that
to use the New Covenant terminology (Jeremiah 31:33-34, Hebrews 8)... For now the "new man" is "put on", even the one who "after God is created in righteousness and true holiness", and the "old man" is "put off", for they are "renewed in the spirit of your mind" (Ephesians -24).
5) Now those many Jews, such as the apostles - and indeed others "not of this fold" (John 10) - who are called by the Messiah, and who come, receive the summit blessing, as the vision moves through the open window of what then is actually present, to the consequences in the Messiah (cf. Colossians 1:27), whose people shall NEVER BE PUT TO SHAME (Joel 2:27).
I am the Lord your God, and there is no other,
My people shall never be put to shame" - Joel .
Thus Joel leads into the wonders of widespread revelation shown in Joel 2:28ff.. Now AFTER the Teacher of Righteousness, the Messiah of such blessing as shown in other scriptures in the figure of rain, now there is to come something also quite epochal. It is the aftermath of the Messianic mission.
Precisely as, in Isaiah 28:16, the Messiah as foundation is first revealed, with attendant blessings, in the ultimate sense, and then vast consequences accrue. So NOW the believing Jews and their brethren (cf. Isaiah 32:1-4, 33:17, 42, 49, 50-57, 60-61, 66) are involved in the most prodigious restoration to the heavenly Jerusalem, through the Gospel, and are a tide of salty water to the shores of the land, with many fish.
Now there will be the monumental revelation of the Lord.
Here, heaven's heart has already opened () and shown its love in the massacred Messiah, arisen and triumphant. Now we find the heart of believers is set to receive of that glory by understanding within, as "Christ in you, the hope of glory" makes His wonderful presence felt (Joel 2:28-32). The revelation and the foundation, with the inspiration which provided the stable Scriptures (Isaiah 59:21, 53-55, 34, II Timothy , I Cor. 2:9-13, Psalm 12,111), meet in beautiful harmony in the lives given to the Lord, Jew or Gentile in this period.
6) Thus the story sweeps on to the fuller consequences of the Messiah (Joel 2:28ff.). There is the outpouring of the Spirit, there are the prophetic extensions on His now solid base (Isaiah 28:16, 32:15-17), in that new situation, a freedom mounting surely, with the solidity and stability of the base ( cf. I Cor. -11). Now the call is to all, there is no limit:
This Gospel call proceeds on the coming of the Messiah, the teacher of righteousness who NOT ONLY offered Himself as a sacrifice, but presented Himself as THE teacher (Matthew 23:8-10), to which in His place, none could be added! It was thus that He declared in the Great Commission before His departure to His Father from whom He came,
(from Matthew 28:18-20, caps. added, to indicate the point in view). To Him, so incarnated, so come, so crucified, so raised, so ascended, and with such commands about His teaching which presents Him in the true light which came into the world, there is now this open door of ready access to all, for He has paid for the ease of the opening, and made Himself plain to all, that none need be hindered and all may be free.
7) That in turn surges on to the ultimate judgment already touched in the preliminary soaring from the pad of earlier trouble, a warning of the nature of the end to be for the whole earth. Here the meteorological and indeed astronomical happenings are exposed in more detail. So great will this convulsion be, that the (then) apt call comes to "Beat your plowshares into swords" comes! (Joel 3:10).
8) The multitudes in the valley of decision (Joel 3:14) are not, contrary to what Billy Graham has indicated, those involved in "making decisions for Christ" in such contrariety to the clear teaching of the Lord in John 15:16, but those being ravaged in devastating conflict (Joel 3:12,16) or "reaped" as in Matthew 13, when wheat and tares in the end were to be reaped. The "wheat' is already then gone (as in Matthew 24:30-31), and the residual reaping of weeds is woeful. Now in Joel 3, it is the thrust of fury which is in view, for the sickle is put in in terms of the this, that "the harvest is ripe" and so "the vats overflow" and why is this ? It is because "their wickedness is great"! Crushing yields the product of fury and the deliverance of those who by this means are freed from vicious over-rule and oppression. What is crushed is the crop, and it is this symbol of inveterate enemies of His people who at the time of His choosing, are thus crushed in their inane belligerence.
THIS is the war for which they must prepared, and as in Revelation, the grapes of wrath are indeed in view. As the Lord will "roar from Zion", so "the heavens and the earth will shake", and He will deliver His nation from the degradation wrought by those who have afflicted her, so that she shall dwell safely following this divine indignation and thrust of power to slay the oppressors. So, as in the parallel in Micah 7:15ff., "the nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might, they shall put their hand over their mouth, and they will "lick the dust" crawling about their holes. Devastated is their pride, delivered are the people brought by divine power to liberty by this slaughter of the age-long assaults of those hostile to their welfare and contrary to their very being.
As in another parallel passage, Isaiah 66, the Lord's indignation will be known to His enemies (66:14), and He will come to "rebuke with flames of fire", for He will "judge all flesh". he Gospel on the other hand, is vested in this, that He did NOT COME TO JUDGE THE WORLD, but to save; and this is the consequence of its dismissal, and many indeed will be slain.
Thus will the slain be many. Anger with fury is being rendered (66:15), and the devastations abound with the slain, the litter of the divine fury, whose long range of evils to Israel comes surging to its end. Thus slain, they no more oppress; crushed as a grape harvest, they no longer vaunt themselves, and as in Revelation 19:18ff., the imagery abounds in divine wrath and judgment:
"And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God."
Being reaped into the winepress of the wrath of God, being so slain, is scarcely an advantage, nor is this entire divine thrust of battle onto the oppressors, bathed in judgment, an example of blessing! The confusion is irreparable, the error unspeakable and the point lost by such antics.
the Lord anoints this situation with His voice roaring, then actions happen,
presumably as in Zechariah 14, and the investing of
9) It ought to be noted that the large bloc, the nation indeed as such, of the Jews who did NOT receive the Lord, of whom He stated that they would not see Him again until they should say,
Where then do we find nurture from this prophecy, for the
soul, knowledge for the mind in its reflections, stimulus to the spirit?
ARROWS THAT PIERCE TO AWARENESS
What then is the barb or balm in all this, or what the arrow?
It is this. MANY are the warnings we have all had; both personal and national, international and historic, as a race, as a people. Judgment indeed must first start at the house of God; for the churches are being corrupted in significant percentages of their totality, and many great edifices are failing and falling in this end of the Gentile Age, as they did in the end of the Jewish age, as the Old Testament waited for the New, and the due time awaited the Teacher of Righteousness who had to come (cf. Isaiah 11, Daniel 9).
Let us then rend our hearts and not our garments. It MUST be said that there is a strange seeming disinclination to do any rough stuff even with garments these days; and if harrowing hypocrisy is thereby reduced for the ostentation, the evidence of any realisation at all of the gravity of the world and its race of mankind is appalling recessive. Few will wake up.
They sleep, but not the sleep of the just, and many like the foolish virgins of Matthew 25, continue as if the form of godliness were the knowledge of God! Forms will not save; but the JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH. Thus -
Excerpt of Enlarged Section of Galloping Events Ch. 8, at
A Pentecostal mode ... not sanctioned here
More on Isaiah 66
are cases where humour can enter in, even in the sober dimensions of judgment.
It is not at all that the judgment possesses humour, for like the end of cancer, it lacks mirth in entirety. However the misuse of a text of international judgment in some light or obviously improper personal way, to seem to sanction things never authorised by God, has perhaps the same sort of humour that Christ used when He told His adversaries that they were like children who were piped to, and would not dance, for whom wails were made, in play, and they would not moan. In that case, it was that John the Baptist called for mourning, and many were averse; Christ called for rejoicing, in terms of His advent and the grace to be shown, but they would not be glad (Matthew 11:17). Nothing pleased them; they were simply averse!
This evokes the concept of perversity through humour, though the mirth adorned with gravity. It has therefore a most serious message to them.
There is another such instance of a contemporary character, where a grim humour relates to what in these terms, could only be an outlandish approach.
Here we find the course adopted by many Pentecostalists, of being "slain by the Spirit" or some such terminology. There is simply nothing in the Bible to sanction such a practice, as a performance, a routine, a procession in which a person comes, is taken in arms or hand, and then 'slain'. It appears to mean that something like repentance, or like whole hearted reception of the Lord, or renewal, or some combination, surrender, submission, to the power of the Lord, is thought to occur. But where is the authority for this as a practice ?
It is not a question of what the LORD may see fit to do to someone at some time; it is rather this: Is the Bible authorising a practice in which people queue for 'treatment' in this manner, at the hands of man ? It is not what the Lord may see fit to do; it is what man may see fit to do in His name, and on what authority they act.
One text which might be suggested lies here, in Isaiah 66:16, which ends: "and the slain of the Lord shall be many." However this verse commences far otherwise than any such practice could handle: "For by fire will the Lord plead, and by His sword, with all flesh." Now someone might dare to suggest that the fire represents something spiritual, and the sword the word of God. It is of course true that symbolism can be used, in the Bible or out of it; but it is also true that in any good writing, the portent of the symbolism is clear. It can vary according to the case, and at times, of course, and the bulk of times, the words are not being symbolic. That is a figure of speech, and even in the most ornate writing, the direct is the norm, the figure the less usual.
However, the point at hand is simple. What is the context here in Isaiah 66 ?
We learn the following in sequence:
· 1. That God wants humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at His word (66:2).
· 2. that animal sacrifice is going to be superseded (66:3, as in 52-53).
that the leaders of
that many who were oppressed and even cast out by their brethren, among the
Jewish people, will be vindicated (precisely, once more, as happened to Peter
and John, as treated vilely and violently by the priestly party, and yet most
blessed as leaders of the people of the Lord, as in Acts 3-5). On the thrones
· 5. that there is to be recompence, pay-back, judgment on such miscreancy, intolerable twisting of truth and rebellion by the people (66:6).
· 6. that there is in fact to be a recovery of Israel and of Jerusalem in particular, a restoration (66:6-9), associated with a brevity, an all but instantaneous advent, re-invention of the desolated nation (and all this is in the time frame indexed by Isaiah 52-55 and so on, post-Messianic, so that the reference to perversity and animal sacrifice has its fitting place). It is to be one of a very different character to that of the past, in its program, for there will be a consummation!
that this is to be occasion for great rejoicing (66:10), and incredible aid
will be received by
· 8. that there is to be a time of comfort (it has come in help and military victories as predicted in Zechariah 12, to precede the spiritual conversion of so many of those of the new State of Israel, as denoted in Zech. 12:10 and Ezekiel 36-37), eventually to be of great depth (66:11ff.).
hand of the LORD shall be known by His servants and His indignation
against His enemies" (66:14), so that anger and judgment ensue, NOT on
· 10. that in exhibiting this indignation and anger, the Lord will emply fire, chariots like a whirlwind, designations, if you want symbols, of military power, slaughter and fighting.
· 11. that this will render "HIS REBUKE" and the reason ('for') why this may be seen as rebuke (66:16) is that He will use fire and the sword to institute that rebuke.
· 12. that many people will be slain by these means, so attesting the indignation and rebuke, and the power and judgment of the Lord.
· 13. that this is in keeping with the foul sins of idolatry and abominable religious practices with which the people had provoked the Lord (66:17).
· 14. that the Lord is all too aware of their violations and vileness of heart, contrary to truth and to the divine covenant (66:18).
· 15. that it is in view of all this that He will send forth missionaries to those who have not seen His glory, and these will involve Gentiles in a New Covenant so that even they, not even part of Israel at all, can serve as ministers of righteousness, replacing the former priestly mode (66:18-21).
that this is one way in which the Lord will preserve the newly instituted and
anciently assured and apportioned nation of Israel, and it will lead on to hell
itself as a testimony (66:24), while the new heavens and the new earth are
likewise assured (rest of chapter).
Ø While then any
endeavour to use this military, retributive, judgmental chapter of:
Ø deliverance of the
as a base or basis for
some sort of spiritual ceremony in a church is ludicrous,
such an error makes it proper to examine the sequence in this chapter, which is a thing useful and edifying.
Particularly of interest is the reversion in 66:17, in a
brief reminder of the sins of
change to occur in the heart of many of Israel as in Ezekiel 37, Zech. 12:10,
in due course, and in the very midst of these armed contests and wars, is one
of the necessities therefore of the case. It is interwoven, as Zechariah shows,
with the very thunder of war, the implacable hatred of
In one sense the saga of Israel is not diverse in spirit from that of many others: it comes from misuse of gifts, pride, pomp, folly, deepening sins, false spiritual actions and gods, hypocrisy, hollowness of heart, adverse events, prodigious afflictions, realisation of emptiness and need, impotence in spiritual things entirely, exhibition by the Lord to the soul of its iniquity, as only He knows how, with depth, precision and penetration, conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment as in John 16, and then deliverance in repentance precisely as in Zech. 12:10, in essence. Such things the scriptures repeatedly relate.
In another sense, it is both more national, more military, more land oriented, more involved with cited and unique preliminaries, as in the promise and indeed oath to Abraham, cited by Micah and considered in detail from the text of the Bible, in Ch. 4 above.
It is simply a particular case, and in one sense, EACH case is particular, for each individual; but in this instance, it is a trumpet blast to the world, a testimony to the nations, an insertion into the world history program, an elevation of style so that what God started as a people to show forth His praise (Isaiah 43:21), is used to the end, not as some frustrated mistake, but as a glorious counsel and fulfilment of wisdom (which IS justified by her children, as Christ declared). Thus does the weakness become strength, the evil is turned to good, and the follies are redeemed, becoming instruments, in their overthrow, of righteous instruction (as expressly declared in Ezekiel 36:18-23 in great detail, and 37:8,28).
those places in Ezekiel, it is most manifest that it matters to the divine
counsel enormously, that there should be no confusion in the nations, occasioned
by the discipline of
Just as in Isaiah 66:14ff., you see express attestation of the FURY of the Lord, in which He comes, not to bless but to demolish, not for benediction in salvation but for retribution with zeal for His people, in judging all flesh, not in remitting the sins of some (66:16), so you see the same terminal-type episodes in Isaiah 30, where in the day that the Lord binds up the wound of His people (30:26), when “the light of the sun will be sevenfold”, and it is then that there will be a “bridle in the jaws of the people causing them to err”, scarcely a work of redemption in the Spirit (30:28). Indeed, this is the Chapter in Isaiah where it is written “for a time to come, for ever and ever”, that this is “a rebellious people”, one who say “to the seers, Do not see”, so that their judgments to come are in view and in mind. It is thus that the Messiah in Isaiah 32 is seen in His reign, as in Isaiah 9:7ff., and Isaiah 11.
ALWAYS in these multiplied contexts, it is the fury is to the enemies of the Lord who have afflicted His people, and the healing is to a people who first were His, then erred, then received discipline, and now are to be healed from their wounds differentially, while their still agile oppressors receive their judgment for all that they have done, are doing and plan to do.
is to be a “day
of the great slaughter”
(30:25), and of what kind ? It is the kind associated with “the name of the Lord” coming “from afar”, and “His lip are full of indignation, and His
tongue with devouring fire”, for it comes “burning with anger”. Endeavours to turn these many parallel passages in Isaiah
and Micah and Joel, where retributive deliverance of a sinning
Rather do they represent a categorical distortion which is to turn curse, to blessing; for if the FURY and the SLAYING is retributive on those who have acted against His people, how is it for the benefit of these who are not here exhibited as those to become His people, but His butt ? And if the nations receive this impact of fury, how is it not the nations, but the individual lives of those being blessed which are ravaged through divine vengeance ? To take a diverse subject in an opposite manner is the very nadir of exegesis, and with whatever intention, the glamour of brigandage against the word of the Lord. It is to be taken AS IT COMES, and not as it goes in some philosophy.
If His people have greatly erred, and so been disciplined, while those who have carried on the judgments to oppress them are the butt of the divine fury, how does this mean that those who turn in repentance to the Lord are the recipients of His salvation, or that the slaying is on the one hand the retributive curse and on the other the individualised blessing!
action with scattering hailstones on
is that of the oppressed and disobedient,
called nation, which strayed from the Lord whom it had known, now
brought home to the Lord after a huge period of oppression from the
opportunistic enemies who have stricken it: so that on the one hand there is
the group inheriting slaying and fury, and on the other, a quite different
group inheriting restoration and forgiveness. To confuse this is to make
use, however, of divine implements of rebuke to the nations in the fulfilment
of a grand plan of enormous depth of counsel (as in Romans ), is not a ground for the use of a
ceremony in a Pentecostal or other religious body, for blessed dealings without
such military means, without such a purpose, without such a result. If
perversity needed a very symbol, this would serve admirably.