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THE WHITE LIGHT OF GOD
AND THE MULTIPLE COLOURS OF THE SPIRITUAL SPECTRUM
News 383, The Advertiser, October 4, 2006
We have seen in the last chapter, for example, that there is a double entendre if you will: that is, a case where the urbane or delinquent mind of man is so set that for a time at least, without divine interposition of mercy, with confusion as a mother and willfulness as a father, the resulting child of thought is moronic, scarcely able to distinguish its left hand from its right. There may be the tossings and the strivings, the churnings and the turnings as in heavy surf (exuberant but dangerous stuff), that are a part of the systematic scene of a people ripe for judgment. The torrent confuses confusion itself, and men speak of this as if their experience were the nature of life, not pathology.
In this case, we considered the place of the cynic and the professional sceptic (cf. SMR Ch. 3, Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Chs. 9, 13).
As Psalm 1 makes clear, the path of wickedness can indeed by like the chaff that the wind blows; unless God acts, divorce and severance may make for a cannonade of burley forces acting on the unprotected soul. The Lord, on the other hand, KNOWS the path of the righteous: it is a matter of the skilfulness of His hands. Naturally, He is cognisant of all the paths, but this path, it is one within the purvey of His personal upkeep, like that of a skilled mechanic specially aware of the car which he sustains.
Contrary to immersion in such forces for the straying life, the work of God is precise, and thus the more readily enables the staggering but on reflection, to be expected precisions of His numerous highly detailed, sequenced and patterned prophecies, as also the careful provision of the intimate direction of His people. Indeed, He weaves it all together, so that there is often predictively revealed a tartan of truth, in which the co-ordinate nature, the contemporary co-existence of certain things makes for a perspective and a power and a movement which is much more than that of the single entities, were they imagined at work by themselves. The scenario for the days before the return of Jesus Christ as He predicted, with all else, is one such case (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Chs. 8-9).
What then of this duality, not in mind, but in supervisory manner of the Lord's operation: that of the intimate care on the one hand, of His people, and on the other, the choice of allowing forces to fulfil themselves, with more or less intervention on His part, as the case may seem to require or enable.
It must not for one moment be thought that the Lord is unaware of the double focus, as if some elements were in some kind of auto-pilot. He sees all, and when He leaves it for a time without specific intervention, that IS the intervention if you will: that is, the decision to allow the forces and situations which by themselves act without restraint, to do so, is not an omission but a commission. That is sometimes the best instruction for the unwary, the patently gullible, the immature through rash or brash delays or the rebellious through unconscious arrogance and the like: let them alone (cf. Isaiah 32:12-16, Hosea 5:14-15, the latter of which follows).
"For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.
"I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early."
Moreover, in His actions where the decisions involve certain very special intrusions (often called miracles, but they are far more than that term normally implies, since many are at the invisible level of guidance, strengthening, vision of truth and its application in mercy and love, specific or more generic): these are not just a single case. God's wisdom is infinite (Psalm 145), and we can find in the Bible some of the wonders He performs.
Thus in Jeremiah 51 (with some reference to Ch. 50), we find a collated group of intentions spelled out with complete irrevocability. Those of us who have been teachers at any time realise the more readily perhaps, although parents may do so quite effortlessly, that when there has been a certain array of opportunities to students, and when a situation develops where arrogance or impudence or casualness or accidie or indifference is unacceptable, then a certain degree of irrevocability may indeed arise about an action to be taken. Corrective action in spirit, word or deed may indeed become sure!
If with man, whose knowledge is limited, this is so, how much more readily is it with God!
Thus we find in these later chapters of Jeremiah a multi-disciplinary and multi-coded case where blessings, delayed, and crimpings applied, where devastations and intimations of justice move at last inexorably into the impenitent scene, whether within Israel or even as between nations, where amidst such travail, however, evil is cropped and grace is poured out in vast proportions. The totality is a picture, a tableau. It may take a time to present in words, but as a scene, for those familiar with the workings of God in the Bible, it might be taken in quite quickly, if not at a glance, then at least in that sort of framework.
It is as if one knows John and Joan and their ways, their errors and their good aspirations, their background and something of their current psyches, and then sees them in a particular group, situation and at a particular time. It might take 10 pages to detail it all, but to those aware of these things, ten seconds ... to understand what is happening!
With this caveat and this hope, let us then move to Jeremiah to instance the case.
Before we do so, it is necessary to clarify a point, perhaps, for some. The reference to the white light of God (Christ indicated that HE is the light of the world, and the one who follows Him will not walk in darkness, a thing eminently desirable, since there is plenty of it! - John 8-9) has a specific meaning. It is this.
God has and is all truth. Its meaning, expression and principles, its body and matrix, it is Himself. When however He acts in some composite manner, as just indicated, there may be many features and foci, all related, all in one universe of thought, but each separately construable and investigable, researchable as to its past, present and future, from the word of God.
These various actions of God are all from one mind, yet we can see them in the differently coloured lights of the individual persons or events concerned, one at a time. To understand them THEN, we need the white light of composite character, or better of original unity, to realise from and IN the Lord, the personal perspective and meaning. The coloured lights of particular parts of the spectrum individually to be seen - as when white light is set forth with complementary colours as in a rainbow - these may give detail; the white light says it all.
There is no variation in God at all (James 1, Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6, Psalm 103, 90); but His methods may be multiple, of extreme in versatility in His patient love (cf. Hosea 12:10), and the features available, such as mercy and judgment, they have their occasions. It is the same when one knows a person: to some, it may appear that now he is charming, now indignant, now strong, now tender, and that this is a kaleidoscopic personal parade. To those who know him, if he is of sound and spiritual character however, these things may be seen in their principles and provisions, in their due occasions and just applications, and behind them one may perceive much patience and grace, a depth of personal understanding, with due outcomes when these are impelled, at last.
the MULTI-COLOURED SPECTRUM leading to 51:
Jew and Gentile,
Then and Now
In Jeremiah, there have been denunciations, demonstrations, exhibitions, there have been pantomime and pageantry, dire warning and direct confrontation from the Lord. It has been withheld for a time, but imposed with assured acuity, while offers were made even after this, doubtless the Lord knowing the result, but also maintaining while the communication was current, the option of vast mercy, as in Nineveh.
For example, Jeremiah 17:19ff. makes new offers of mercy, after the denunciations of Jeremiah 15:1ff.. Entreaty is always near when words are still flowing; but alas, Jeremiah found that instead of heeding the impetus of dynamically flowing mercy from God, as fresh as surging Spring waters from distant mountains, spreading cool blessing on the verdant fields, the people eventually put him, the prophet, into a stinking hole in the ground, a well in a prison.
Unfortunately for those who did this, violence on the challenger, the prophet is no way to reduce the sentence; and sentencing the spokesman for God's sentence, does not annul it! You see keenly just how much this is so when you consider the words of Jesus Christ Himself, as recorded in Matthew 23:29-36:
and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
"Therefore you are
witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the
prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.
"Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?
indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes:
some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge
in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come
all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel
to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered
between the temple and the altar.
"Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation."
While this attests the Lord's mind towards those who try to torture the bodies and ruin the reputations of those who, in serving Him, are serving notice of His intentions in judgment and appealing to those in such extremities to receive His mercy in repentance: yet it is no mood.
Immediately after this passage in Matthew - and one was almost ready to notice how VERY like Matthew here is Jeremiah, before realising intimately that it is in fact how very like the word of God to Jeremiah is to the words of the Word of God to Jerusalem in His own day, a fact scarcely surprising since it is one God who speaks: there is a further feature. What is it ? It is nothing less than tenderness.
It is not only gentle and kind, but has a sage sweetness and poignant love which is overpowering. This in Matthew 23:37 Christ CONTINUES from His words just noted, to expose this fact:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones
those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together,
as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,
but you were not willing!"
So far from wallowing in rage, as might to some seem implied by overtones in that deplorable KJV translation 'furious' found in one of the Psalms for 'wrath' (106), God is deeply moved that after all those centuries, all those appeals, all those prophets, all those fountains of living, loving imageries, those offers, those exhortations, those preliminary judgments, those anticipatory mercies, they still fail: so that only judgment remains. His Spirit will not always strive with man, for he is flesh (Isaiah 57:15), is limited, and time can pass into crisis, and dénouement into ruin, if not interrupted by a profundity of mercy of which God alone is capable.
Thus at that critical time, the end of an epoch of prophets in a plethora and majesty of style and simplicity of confrontation or endearment, when Christ's own crucifixion showed just how far from 'furious' He was even in His wrath: Jesus announced the sin of Jerusalem in its enormity, and pronounced its certain ruin:
"See! Your house is left to you desolate;
for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say,
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ "
Even then the judgment was for a time slot - UNTIL you say BLESSED of the One who bore the sin! There was nothing more to be done but two operations:
1) the crucifixion of the Lord, so that His people could be redeemed by His blood (Acts 20:28). Those NOT redeemed would be left DESPITE the offer and opportunity revealed in His exposure, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God with a sufficiency enough for any (I John 2:2), and an efficiency applicable to "many" (Isaiah 53:11, Matthew 26:28), even an everlasting redemption (Hebrews 9:12).
For those who are His, His redeemed, His anchor is indeed "within the veil", His cover and comfort for ever (John 10:27-28).
2) The impending judgment however would now come.
The release of the very image of God, His direct definitive expression in the form and format of man, this in all His compassion and power had not averted judgment. Alas, His truth had been rigorously rejected by those in power and many with them. Now the work moved on to judgment (as in Luke 23:27ff.). This led to two final steps.
First, the action moved on its predicted path of the Messiah's substitutionary sacrifice for His people, for all who would come to Him. That was the first judgment, that of sin on Him so that in mercy He could justly forgive those who received Him in this saving capacity.
Then it would move to the judgment on those insisting on keeping in their hearts, heads and bowels, feelings and imaginations, the sin which must be judged. If it is not to be judged in him, then in ... them. Thus their house would be left to them, as Christ declared it, "desolate".
The judgment which Christ at this time declared with such poignancy after so much done for so long, for the city of Jerusalem, this was in fact something to come within a generation, when those then young could join (or not) the expedient throng who cried, "Crucify Him!". As to that, it was as in a roaring rejection of His healings, tenderness, help, kindness, pity, power and provisions; a dismissal of God the Father who sent Him; a spurning of life abundant such as God has (John 10:10).
But first Christ died, according to the predicted purpose of mercy, in the midst of provocation and in the fulness of pity.
In exposing sin as in a portrait on the Cross, what man does and did to Life when he had the opportunity, God showed that no mere judgmentalism was at work, no mood of inveighing instead of comforting! Alas, HE in Christ Himself would bear the judgment for those who would EVEN THEN come to Him! (John 6:37). FOR THEM, those taking Him at His word and receiving His work of pardon at its publication: mercy would work, WHATEVER the multitude desired.
The solaces of God were not something He kept to Himself, but exposing His own incarnate flesh, He yielded them even internally to His own Person (as predicted in Psalm 22:1, to the very words), if by any means He might save some: and who they were, He had always known (Ephesians 1:4).
The God of precision in pronouncement, of jot and tittle, is also the God of prodigies of mercy (Micah 6:6, 7:15ff.). As in a special birth in a hospital, so for each of His children, their new creation in pardon and peace, with personal communication opened with God by covenant and with assurance and certitude, is something prized. There is indeed more joy in heaven over the repentance of one lost human, one heart restored, than over the multitude already saved: this is that yearning which is noble, inveterate and yet realistic; for the texture of man having limits, since man is not God, there is an end where redemption is not received.
The end is shame inveterate, incalculable; for it is in the face of the light that darkness is chosen, and the case is not one of mere emptiness from failures (John 3:19, 15:21ff.). It is ONLY because He as the light HAS COME and SHOWN HIMSELF freely, so that direct action is plenary, that the judgment sits as you see here in John's record.
If you reject a photo of a bride, that is one thing; to slap her face on meeting her, that is another. When it is truth that you slap, the crimping, blinking, crumpling horror of spiritual insolvency, not through mere ineptitude, but billowing bluster or mesmerised hallowing of the wrong name (such as one's own or that of some false christ), then the result is a reproach which is so internalised that its external format in explicit judgment is more like a tag than a thrust; yet it comes...
God does not change. Just as there was extended grace, profound mercy, pity and pronouncement, invitation and entreaty: as with the prophet Jeremiah, so also was it in the coming personally of the criterion, Christ. In Him did the focus reach to eternity itself, directly. Impending and then after many modes, actual: such were the elements, such was the thrust, such was the end, to grace as in individual, or to ruin as a city in Christ's day, and such is it to the world in our own.
In order, then, we find first the composite work of mercy and challenge, confrontation and tenderness, extended opportunity reaching at last inveterate exposure and judgment, proceeding in the day of Jeremiah.
At that time, it was Israel which was facing ruin at the hand of Babylon. Soon however, the oppressor would be oppressed, and it would be Babylon itself, in turn and in due time receiving judgment for her atrocious relish, in her time. Next, in Christ's day, it was Jerusalem facing the same at the hand of Rome. To achieve this horror, it had first to exhaust all horror in its treatment, execrating Christ; then it had to suffer the rejection of health, the renegacy against holiness and the decease of all pity, justice and truth, which that action encompassed. This is simply one sequence within many that the Lord has documented in His word: this we can study and from this, learn.
Now in our day, before our eyes is the world, meeting its time and the end of its present Age at the hand of God direct, with such preludes as seen in Micah 7:15, Ezekiel 38-39, Deuteronomy 32, II Thessalonians 1-2, Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Revelation 17-20.
In this Israel figures, being now restored and a butt for Gentile folly, as if it would crucify what crucified Christ; but it is God who puts down and builds up: and the scenario is quite clear. Isreal, returning after vast loss of life, is to be maintained in tension, a place for ruin of nations, and a site for eventual divine action in a way parallel to that of the Exodus.
The Jew has suffered, is it not so ? The Gentile is not immune to judgment; and it is all on the same terms, divine mercy on divine mission, or judgment. The race is fit for it!
Before We Consider
the Jeremiah case for Parallel,
Listen a Little to some of the movements in
A) THE GENTILE CACAPHONY
Let us now become specific concerning the Gentile Age in this progression, before we look for instruction to the day of Jeremiah.
In Jeremiah 51, as indeed in the preceding chapter, there is a vast emphasis on Babylon. At that time, her judicial ruin is in view. In focus were two vast plateaux of perspective: first, what that nation would DO against Israel, and then what God would do to HER, though she was appointed for the work!
It is in some ways cognate to what the Gentiles would do (and did) to Israel, and still do. Then comes what the Lord will do to them. The parallel is precise and it is sharp.
It was sharp for Israel when she failed, and it will be sharp for those Gentile hordes and members of the spiritual holocaust to come, and now near. In each case, thousands of years have been spent in giving opportunities first to one, then to the other. In the end, they are for all; but the scenes have each their place as we approach the terminus (cf. SMR pp. 502-519).
The actions of the Gentile world toward Israel, while appointed since Israel still rejects its own Saviour as it did at the official level in the day of the crucifixion, are none the better for that. God does not force evil, but uses it when it is apt for rebuke, just as cancer can be an answer to smoking. If someone asks for cancer by smoking, so be it; if you reinforce the process, what are you, if better than devilish! If the cancer may correct through change of ways, the victim of this disease, then what will correct the one who evilly forwarded it, if not the Lord!
Let us now first consider this aspect, the current Gentile mood to denude Israel..
of course not only a matter of the histrionics in blood wrought
is not simply the additional insistence on not even allowing to
Israel the sliver of land
not just that Israel has in singularity repelled strong nations
acting in concert,
nor alone that the UN and the Quartet continually speak of taking
as a group,
The irony, the splendour for satire, the blind abandon of it all: it is really all but unthinkable.
Yet then, so too was the Inquisition, blind in irreverent majesty, and unfeeling thrust for the riddance of compassion in passion. So was Hitler, so were the pogroms, and so are the other iniquities, more remarkable than the first explosion of the atomic bomb. Yet their scope and spate are duly predicted just as it is actually now in force. It is foretold by the Lord, for the Gentile era, one to end with the restoration of Jerusalem to Israel (Luke 21:24), as now is the case (cf. SMR Chs. 8-9, Answers to Questions Ch. 5). As to the sufferings of Israel AND her restoration AND her stunningly successful wars when threatened with extermination (in fact, in 1948, 1967,1973), all of this was foretold as seen in SMR Ch. 9, with Deuteronomy 32, Leviticus 26 and Zechariah 12 amongst the ancient witnesses from the word of the living God, the Bible.
The outworking of so much persecution of the Jewish people, of their restoration to their own land in particular to Jerusalem as the Lord showed would come after its destruction (Matthew 24:1ff., Luke 21:24): this has come in one's own day. It has arrived on the scene with that irresistible certainty with which the word of the living God, the Bible, moulds history through this means and that, but always with God having the last word, just as man likes to utter the first. The last word however is also the first, for He has stated it millenia ago.
The lot is cast into the lap, says Proverbs, but the entire disposing of it is of the Lord. He knows what He is doing, a point to remember; and then does it.
Yet this multiple modern atrocity against Israel, which God has suffered as part of His divine plan in the unhappy history of Israel since it murdered the Messiah and so lost His covenantal blessing at the personal level, follows from that very point of rejection of the Redeemer, by the nation. This He also predicted in Isaiah 49:7, 50-55. In turn, it appears as merely ONE facet of the Gentile black diamond. Their inexorable attempts to evacuate Israel from its land, in whole or in part, by murder or war, are the very grind of contemporary history, spreading roars of ruin and tension throughout the world, inciting and inviting millions innumerable to wild acts of frustration, fury and inalienable hatred or incalculable presumption.
As foretold in II Timothy 3, for the last days, that is, the period moving to the end of the Church covenant period following Christ's initiation of it by the crucifixion as sacrifice to end sacrifices and resurrection to give index to divine and personal power, the Gentiles have a special downgrade of their own. Israel is by no means alone in this!
Speaking, then, of the interim between the ascension of Christ and His return: the apostle Paul shows that there is in this a very special Gentile part. In all of this, theirs is a very specific role, not forced, but functional from within and orchestrated by the Lord into His divine symphony of history.
Today, as the Age ends, not only is there growing moral failure (Matthew 24:12), but the irreligious substitutes for religion, false prophets and false christs, spew out their wildness; and if there is one thing the devil hates, it is Christ (cf. Revelation 12); and if there is one thing those of the fraud brigade detest, it is the Christian atmosphere, rule or eminence. It is that inveterate lust NOT to play second fiddle, on the part of those who fiddle about without the script, the score, the music supplied.
In the case of Israel, this nation itself becomes a very emblem of divine rule in history according to the Bible, the only verified religious manual in existence (cf. The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy, and Celestial Harmony for the Terrestrial Host). This approximates it to the centre of malignity, in a world where the devil in effect increasingly is toted and feted as if a hero: his power, ruthlessness, blood spilling, intemperance, intolerance, untruth in a confused mixture of passions unspeakable and scarcely on speaking terms with each other, the centre of raw appeal.
It is a phase of the original matrix of events for the return of the Messiah to which He Himself referred, as recorded, over these millenia, in Matthew 24, Luke 24:25-27 and which appears so clearly in such scriptural sites as Isaiah 53-61, 11, 32, as Micah 5 and Psalm 2, and Luke 21, II Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 6.
To what then does one refer ? It is to the time direly forecast to come when horrors of SPIRIT as well as body would become characteristic with something near to dominance, and indeed lead on to the antichrist's domineering role which, though short, shows the essence of what precedes. It is both the prelude to the Lord's own return to this earth, and part of the inveterate unholiness which is to surge at the end, as if to exclude it by frenzy: though in fact it is a preliminary to divine action (cf. SMR Ch. 8), and as it passes, impels its own terminus.
That frenzy includes this remorseless assault on Jerusalem as in Zechariah 12,14, Ezekiel 38-39, in which notwithstanding, Israel continues to be sustained: even though as yet it has not repented of what it did, as forecast in turn ... to the Messiah. The unleased and predicted passions are not however by any means limited to that, bloodshed becoming a widespread way of life, living if it can be called that, by passion directed to dying, as Revelation 6 so clearly predicts.
B) THE GENTILE VOICES AS A CHORUS,
FOR THE END OF THEIR ERA AND THE END-RUSH OF THE RACE
In fact, II Timothy 3 is horrific in its depiction, just as in terms of history, is the 21st century and was the end of the 20th. (cf. SMR pp. 839 - 841 ).
What does this Epistle of Paul the apostle have to tell us ? Among other things, this: Mankind would become lovers of their own selves, covetous, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents (you can 'divorce' them), unthankful, unholy. This is fulfilled to the Z (better here then 't', since in all respects, it is 'the end')!
The next words of the prediction for the last days are fascinating and edifying. The first of these, often translated "without natural affection", does mean 'without love of kinsmen', and signifies a hardening of the heart to the point that self-preoccupation could damn the flow of those natural inclinations to brotherhood and kindness which are the normal motion when the spiritual el niño is not in vogue! (speaking in Australian terms, where it signifies drought and such drought! as we have now).
Children telling social workers about parents (truly or falsely), divorcing them, parents abusing them, people preying on minors sexually, or injuring them physically, contriving events to ruin them as if they were protoplasmic pulp: these things are increasingly associated with other forms of violence to the young, markedly the educational indoctrination*1A, so as to form a social epidemic, marked in depravity, ruinous in style, morbid in spirit.
The next term in the Greek text of II Timothy 3 is intriguing. It signifies a lack of a treaty, and goes on to mean an unwillingness to make a treaty, and so to signify 'implacable' or 'relentless' as it has been translated. 'False accusers' or slanderers comes next. Libel is a professional part of the career of some, to find it, show it, know it, fabricate it or in any case to cash in on it; and of course to impel by this debased dynamic, enemies into the speechless atmosphere of ruin.
Thus we could render: loveless, relentless, scandal-mongers; or heartless, implacable, word-assailants, or even, incapacitated in genuine affection, truceless, truthless, though this is slightly more generalising. Moffatt has: callous, relentless, scurrilous.
The next two Greek words signify lack of self-control, or dissoluteness, without love of goodness. They are followed by 'betrayers' and 'headlong' or 'treacherous, reckless, conceited' as Goodspeed has it, 'headlong with passion, blinded with pride' being the rendering of Conybeare.
In the Greek of this passage, alliteration and assonance occur freely*1 , with a series of negations -'without' this or that, making it a virtual funeral oration on all virtue. It is precisely in word as it now is increasingly in mode and fact: the prophecy in spirit, in particulars, in atmosphere, in application fulfilled in the most morbid of fashions, as if some doctor had indicated in detail the last stages of bowel cancer.
Lugubrious as it might seem, from a predictive point of view it has numerous virtues. The reading of such a dismissive declaration on virtue, on goodness, indeed depicting the day when goodness will be actively hated - which it goes on to relate - one filled with negations of what is right, breaches of what is natural, necessary and fine, upright, upstanding and reliable, dismissals of what is human in the sense of showing the spirit and reasonableness, kindness and good will of which man can be made capable: this is not without effect.
As a man, subjected to some loathsome disease, foolishness contracted by wilful disregard of all restraint on a long-term basis might be made to realise, on seeing the diagnosis of the condition, just what he has done and so repent, so can this revelation given in advance, and fulfilled with precision, blessedly act even on those spiritually and morally concerned. Another man, seeing what might come to be if he moves onto this path, might hold back, and so not so fall into these calumnious caverns and negative abysses in the first place.
Moreover, many, seeing these things in the broad spectrum of indigo, violet black, and the dissipation of the nether end of it, in specialised concentration, and finding them fulfilled, might be helped to gain a potent and prevailing perspective, and so be moved to look to and trust in the Lord. Thus again, this revelation, this verified forecast, stays put while man moves; and so does the word of God work goodness. Its solidity, its immovability, its irrefragability, its indefeasibility works its own message, and this too may impel many to seek Him, health and not the unhallowed foretastes of just doom.
Instead of being amazed or even distressed beyond words, through these words many may become aware of the controlling indomitability of Jesus Christ, who even tells of the 'secret' weapons, in their aggregate deployment, of the enemy, the Satan, long before their day arrives, as if D-day had been foretold millenia in advance. This, however, it is spiritual D-day.
It is not a form of living but of dying for the human race. It was to be; it began to be; it aggregated and congregated until what had been the pathology of some became a cultural condition, a social slither (cf. SMR pp. 842-848, 857-873, 683-709). It is near the terminus, and only one of the vast array of conditions to denote the day near for Christ's return, just as the day OF Christ on earth had so many criteria that it would be impossible not to see it, if the eyes were open.
Just as Christ challenged them on
their blindness then, so does this word of prediction from Paul, in the tartan
of truth of which it is one predicted component, challenge
mankind now! (cf. SMR
Ch. 8, Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
A VISIT TO THE ANGLICAN CHOIR
It is time for the eyes to have not ophthalmic surgery, but the slight muscular movement that ... opens them! (cf. Matthew 13:14). If you are floating on the Niagara River and cannot help noticing the roar growing, the mist aggregating, the conditions of turbulence augmenting, the sway of the boat becoming impelling and perilous, then it is time to open the mind to what you have heard of the Falls, and disseminating the trance, awaken to the truth and ACT - speedily indeed. The act ? repentance and faith in the One who made you, calls you, paid a price sufficient for your pardon, and so to make peace, and accept the peace procured.
Before we return from our expedition on parallel, looking at the day of Jeremiah and our own in an endeavour to learn from the tragedies and travesties which disheartened and then for a time virtually disembowelled Israel in Jeremiah's day, let us notice just one new development in our own day, as recent as yesterday, in the field of false religion (such as Peter predicted in II Peter 2, for the last days, as did Christ in Matthew 24). It is from the very midst, says Peter, of the Lord's people that false teachers will arise. It is not from Mars, it is an enemy within the establishment which ravages. No one is to be received because of form; all must be in fact!
We find it reported that the Archbishop of Canterbury is backing a movement now being promoted here in Australia among Anglicans, one which is in effect to change the word of God systematically! (The Advertiser, p. 36, October 4, 2006).
Changing the word of God is as old as Eve and Eden, and implying that there is something wrong with Him or His desires, this likewise is found from the first intimations of Satan to Eve (Genesis 3:4-5).
Now we find that the 'male' imagery, the 'Lord' ascription, the 'Father' format in the Bible so often used by Christ and the Scripture, is at least impotent, at worst recklessly misleading*2A. It can lead to violence, dominance, domineering and various horrors and so should be deleted, carefully avoided, marvellously replaced with neutral things, neutered in short.
This is perhaps one of the choicest pieces of invalid reasoning ever met. So SOME men are violent, and SOME are domineering, and they have often but far from always, more physical strength. Very bad is such a collection. Now this, it is the very nature of man, or the dominant or prevalent nature of man, and these examples show that man is nasty. He is a no good ruler. He is prone to violence. Just let him have any say and he says wrong. Out with the fellow, and let not his name be named. Such is the apparent trend of thought, if it can be called that.
This is choice folly, like long-kept wine, bubbling with an ecstasy of irrationality.
Now many women can be spiteful, catty, scornful, manipulators of men, gold-diggers, securing vast disproportion in divorce cases by stylish and socialised means, schemers, harridans, divorcees, wild, exotic, unbecoming, travesties of reliability, dabblers in sexual exploits, heartless ?
Let us then deplore the term 'woman' and 'her' and wife' and show her up, this woman-thing for what she is.
Does one hear a little discord here, from the discard, and not only from the feminists ? One thinks it is discernible a little, just a little.
Generalisations of this type are the beginning of sorrows as one learns logic.
So then, it is just, the comparison between such a travesty of man as such, as this would be of woman. Not just however any foolish, drum-rolling prohibition, inhibition or unholy degradation based on such travesties.
In fact, many men are patient, gentle, gracious, thoughtful, kind, longsuffering, forbearing; and many women have kind lips, choice sweetness, graceful ways, wise self-restraint, delightful delicacy of tact.
Children too ? Many have wild sprees, relentless pursuit of pleasure, are corrupt and schemers, prodding their kin and destroying with their tongues without truth, what they can.
Yet, many children are delightfully restrained, kind in disposition, gentle, hard-working, self-sacrificing, addicted to goodness.
Shall we then make void the name 'child' and dismiss it with a lavish distaste from the vocabulary.
It is indeed a sign or our times that such irrational nonsense can even be contemplated, let alone advocated.
It is symptomatic of the extent to which the moral epidemic foretold in II Timothy 3, at the details of which we have just been looking, has become so near pandemic as almost to some to seem endemic, so leading to this slanderous allusion and to the enormity sought in violation of the very word of God on the one hand, as to this gross betrayal of our race on the other, and so even to the desire for excision, revision with revulsion, of the word of God. At least, this would seem one of the propellants for such action. If some have polio, then all wear casts ? If some are false builders, then all must have detention ? If students often err, then the very name must be revised ?
There is the noble, the just, the true, the spiritual, the godly, and it is the meaning, use and application of this which is in need, as well as the basis for its expansion, not the invasion of the ideal, the revision of the ultimate, the change of the very design of and for man, let alone the downgrading of the word of God, as if health were to become disease, and medical principles of health were to be deemed a core of pathology, and made a part of it.
That so large a Church as the Anglican, with its huge array of its world-wide being, should even begin to descend to such bewitchment is merely a further expression of the coming of false teaching from the very MIDST of the people of God, which Peter predicted, as did Paul in his address to the Ephesians elders (Acts 20).
Further, the beautiful complementarity in fact intended for those of different gender as shown in Ephesians 5, in the very heartland of love and expressive expressly of the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32), this is lost here.
Love's format is dismissed in this whole arena, and travestied; truth is denied and braying is heard instead of saying.
Indeed, in this same Anglican movement, the Lordship of Christ is under attack in its own due terms of the rule of justice and the onset of judgment which so far from 'violence' is what it is, as when a murderer or assassin faces the death penalty. It is not only the symbol, the word, it is the fact to which it refers which is necessarily in view with it. When someone dismisses the Lord's own authority and power and determination and ways in the field of judgment, then obviously that person or body is assuming the power that was the Lord's. Whoever rules over the word of God acts as God. It is better however for God to act as God, since He is unique, infinite and omniscient. Try to imitate Einstein if you must; but not God.
Thus in the end, this is precisely what the antichrist is to do: he is the substitute for Christ, the Lord and act instead of the LORD; and his foothills are even now being climbed. So was it with ancient Israel, forever seeking Baals (it was a contest in this field which led to the famous exploits of Elijah at Mt Carmel as in I Kings 17), or 'lords' which the terms means. And these ? they were associated with things unholy, ungodly, of false passion and depravity, and casuistical, as some even tried to have both God and these unspiritual substitutes, at once (I Kings 17:41).
ANCIENT CHORISTERS: TIME TO LISTEN IN
Let us then return to the trailer, to the precursor, to the image of our own time in the microcosm of Israel in the day of Jeremiah, facing for her own part, what the Gentile nations now face as a whole! Be not proud, says Paul to the Gentiles, for if God did not spare Israel because of its unbelief, take heed for yourself too! (Romans 11:19-22).
In this ancient period of such intense edification for us now, in our own confrontation as national entities, with the word of the living God, it was Babylon which was chosen to deal at a very long last, with Israel.
So enormous was the desolation inflicted in Israel by Babylon (the book of Lamentations is its photographic and spiritual record, almost like a Belsen in advance), and so abysmal was the judgment then to come on Babylon (and it persists to this hour*2), so varied were the phases and the spiritual intimations, that it is time to cover them and consider the realities of God dealing with man in rather minute detail. The scripture of Jeremiah gives us the opportunity to do so.
In fact, Babylon features so much - just as Rome, for which she is a prototype, does in Revelation 17-18 (cf. SMR pp. 946ff.), that when we investigate Jeremiah for details, we find it is as if the rulers of Babylon were playing tunes like a brass band, moving in their variety show, from the exuberance of proud rejoicing to fields of calamity, in the very dirges of ruin. So vast is this ruin that it is the Lord who takes up the score and expresses the end of it.
It would be instructive to distinguish features in this music, ultimately orchestrated by the Lord out of the works of the individual instruments, according to His will, as He conducts without encore, moving all things in their wills, ways and woes, to the end of the piece, where a new orchestra moves in. In this, as in all, He is Lord, indomitable, even though at the same time, Saviour available to all, appealing to all, amiable to His friends, and yet manipulable by none.
What then was the precise nature of the presentation to Israel through Jeremiah, at their time of crisis, and let us see how this is a word to us now! As now, so then, a catastrophe was brewing like a scale 5 tornado. As now, there were significant signals, although the precise moment was awaited with awe. It is time to gain the perspective presented then, and to understand its principles now. What are the features of that confrontation ? What were its ways, and how did it proceed ? We return therefore to Babylon, to Israel of old, to the words of the prophet in the midst of it all.
THE NATURE OF THE DIVINE PLAN
REVEALED IN JEREMIAH
1) It is Inescapable
"Though Babylon were to mount up to heaven," the Lord announces of its ruthless renegacy and proud bearing, ceaseless slaughter and self-important hegemony,
"and though they were to fortify the heights of her strength, yet from Me, plunderers would come to her, says the LORD."
The red colouring is added for pointedness to our purpose.
It is FROM HIM they would come, even if an all but impregnable arrangement were made with never such cleverness, even though the engineers worked day and night to render the place safe and sure.
Do what they might, in their pride and self-will, self-trust and self-indulgence, the Lord, whose power is infinite would act on His own initiative, contriving means at His will, to destroy Babylon as surely as He destroyed the tower of Babel (Genesis 11), where similar aims at the virtual deification of man, the seizing of the power for autonomy, seemed to possess man's bleeding soul, and infected heart.
Again, in 51:29 His divine purpose is stated categorically, for the thing is sure and past all recall:
"For every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon ..."
2) It is Religiously and Personally Oriented
Jeremiah 51:44ff. declares this:
"I will punish Bel in Babylon
And I will bring out of his mouth, what he has swallowed;
And the nations will not stream to him anymore.
Yes, the wall of Babylon shall fall."
Thus there is a direct confrontation with the very essence, idea and nature of this pagan deity, this projection of psychological desire, this spiritual adventurism; and its delusive dynamic will be rendered ludicrous, his possessions escaping his control, his greed of relish becoming vomit, his attractiveness reduced to the level of the same; and Babylon trusting in its own evils, called religious, will demonstrate their futility and fall.
Not merely is there a direct hit to come; there is a directed dynamic to render the source of this folly puny, impotent, disgusting. It is precisely as in the Exodus, where the gods of Egypt, follies of misdirected imagination and cultural autonomy, were blasted into obvious examples of curse, their delusions made not only void, but horrendous! (cf. Dig ... Ch. 3, *2A). Indeed, it is not difficult to show a very instructive parallel between the entire Exodus phase, and our own day (cf. The Plagues of Egypt and the Plight of the Earth).
3) It is Judicially Planned
Jeremiah 51:49 makes an ardent and accurate parallel:
"As Babylon has caused the slain of Israel to fall,
So at Babylon the slain of all the earth shall fall.
You who have escaped the sword,
Get away! Do not stand still!
Remember the LORD afar off,
And let Jerusalem come to your mind."
Proportion as in algebra, proportionality as in architecture, matches as in geometry: all will be in place. Did Babylon invest and destroy by invasion and desecration the wonders in Israel ? Then it will be in Babylon, that seething metropolis of multiplicity and that cosmopolitan synthesis of many peoples and their religions, that many will fail. Did it strike ONE nation ? Then in it the ways of many nations will be stricken. Was Israel one, then in this giant maw will be an abundance of emission.
From this all consuming, conscience-less contrivance, this nation, this people, this city will be a vast slaughter, a multiplication amongst its multiplicity. Indeed, the Lord calls nations which have seen what Babylon did to Jerusalem, even to the city of the Lord, that they should bring to the destroying land of Babylon what she has imposed on others, by her ruthlessness. Just as her avarice will be disgorged, so here sacrilege will be remembered.
Indeed, in Isaiah 44-45, and 13:17-22 we find the Lord actually commissioning the Medes to bring ruin to Babylon, commencing its proverbial state as a State of Ruin, Dust Metropolis, the Land of Loneliness! As the Medes would destroy Babylon, so would Cyrus deliver, and it would be Cyrus appointed long before his day in history, by name, in fact a prince of the Median-Persian Empire (as in Daniel 8:20 also). Whom would he deliver ? Why Israel, and he would let them go freely! This in fact eventuated after many decades, and an archeological shows his action: the Cyrus Cylinder.
For this result, the Lord acted, and for this the Lord undertook from the time before Cyrus was born: that he would be given marvellous conquering power and He noted specifically that it was for Israel's sake that he was called by his name (Isaiah 44:28-45:4).
In other words, it was a personal appointment of a person, a delivering mission provided for him, and an international sally would be enabled by him, resulting in Israel 's liberation. When the Lord plans, it is comprehensive in character, powerful in thrust and complete in adequacy. If as with Babylon, there is an appointee who adds his own wickedness, then this too will have its recognition in its time (Jeremiah 51:18-20,33-34). Indeed, there is a further recognition with precision: Did Babylon refuse to let Israel go in its time ? did it hang on to them - as the USSR did in our time, to millions of Jews before its fall ?: then Babylon will in its defeat find an enemy apt for the case. Not only would the Medes defeat it, but it would in its overthrow and desolation never be released from ruination. It would linger, yes it in its own day, as Israel had been forced to linger ... and it would linger in the dust.
Its extensive ruins have for millenia disadorned the earth and spread out to the sight as an era devastated; its exploits are finished, the puny efforts to rebuild have met wreckage or defilement, intentional or other, from Germans in 1912, from the USA more recently; the bricks crack, the endeavours to rebuild are in ruins like a desolated housing settlement*2, the thrust to make something stand once more to the skies, is brought to cracked rubble, a proto-ruin, as if power failed in the midst of snarling endeavour, and what became of the one seeking to restore the city, that Saddam Hussein ?
His land was internationally assailed, his exploits were rendered achievements of folly, sins against humanity to the fore, smashed lives in multitudes in sullen graves an encore, mass murders a feature, and his building became a combination of the palatial and the puny. Rushed and inadequate were the works of Babylon, doomed in its devastated inadequacy, as if the ancient ruins required a sister.
4) It Takes Account of the Lord's People
In Jeremiah 51:33-41, we find this:
"For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:
'The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor
When it is time to thresh her;
Yet a little while
And the time of her harvest will come.'
'Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon
Has devoured me, he has crushed me;
He has made me an empty vessel,
He has swallowed me up like a monster;
He has filled his stomach with my delicacies,
He has spit me out.
Let the violence done to me and my flesh be upon Babylon,'
The inhabitant of Zion will say;
'And my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea!'
Jerusalem will say.
"Therefore thus says the Lord:
'Behold, I will plead your case and take vengeance for you.
I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry.
Babylon shall become a heap,
A dwelling place for jackals,
An astonishment and a hissing,
Without an inhabitant.
'They shall roar together like lions,
They shall growl like lions’ whelps.
In their excitement I will prepare their feasts;
I will make them drunk,
That they may rejoice,
And sleep a perpetual sleep
And not awake,' says the Lord.
'I will bring them down
Like lambs to the slaughter,
Like rams with male goats.
'Oh, how Sheshach is taken!
Oh, how the praise of the whole earth is seized!
How Babylon has become desolate among the nations!' "
Here you see the intense empathy of the Lord for the heart of Israel, the overthrow of arrogance with the same sort of finality that Hitler met in his Berlin bunker, this Hitler slaughterer of over 6 million Jews! The Lord, as you read in the quotation above, even cites the thoughts of Israel and putting the power of God in parallel, He acts.
5) It Takes Account Also of the Assault on His Ways
From Jeremiah 51:11 we find the divine perspective on this matter;
"The Lord has revealed our righteousness.
Come and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God.
Make the arrows bright!
Gather the shields!
The Lord has raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes.
For His plan is against Babylon to destroy it,
Because it is the vengeance of the Lord,
The vengeance for His temple."
If as some estimated, the total monetary value of the Temple in Israel was measured in trillions, and because its value was as nothing in all of that, compared with its treasury of instruction through symbol and spiritual teaching, and since indeed even this was small compared with the particular symbolism of Christ who was then still to come, who would replace animal sacrifice with Himself (cf. Psalm 40), and become in person the High Priest for so long symbolised, as well as constitute the sacrifice to end sacrifices (cf. Hebrews 8-10, Isaiah 4:6, 32:1ff.), then great was the evil.
Thus, adding up the sacrilege and the savagery, the crude rubbling of serene wonder and the murderous contempt for the ways of the Lord, there was an account to be met.
It was not, at that ancient time, to be carried out with the all but execrable dishonour of the United Nations of our Day, which seems to leave when Israel is threatened, or wait, and act when it is victorious to a substantial point, to seek to remove the victories of this singular little nation by international intrigue: with a heart that seems incapable of conceiving what it is doing.
Not by such an organisation as that, did the Lord act. His work It was carried out by Himself, with His own appointee, methods and power!
So will it be in the time of the end as in Deuteronomy 32, when the Lord will arise and act when He sees that the strength of Israel is gone (Deut. 32:36ff.). Just so will it be, when He perceives the predicted multinational force from the North, raising its head like a cobra, to strike Israel (Ezekiel 38-39).
He will act when He perceives the time has come as in Micah 7:15, and act, He assures us there, as He did in the Exodus, with a sublime, divine power. Nations have learned in part what is His intention as they try out the promise to Abraham. They did learn, do learn, and will learn in the end most of all! (cf. Genesis 12:3 cf. Galloping Events Ch. 4). To be sure, the breach of the covenant by Israel in killing the predicted Prince of peace has led to her ruin; but it does not cancel the promise of the Lord, nor does it cancel its timing when the time of the end comes! If a nation wants to be reduced to size, picking on Israel is an excellent method. Bullying and anti-God belligerence are merely two of the grounds of divine contempt for this parade of power to desolate Israel.
If in the end any nation wants ruin, the ultimate exercises to subdue and take Israel are a highly recommended course. Naturally, exploding an atomic bomb in their own midst, at their own hand, this could do it too. Yet this is unlikely, while the action of the Lord is sure. You see something more of this in Isaiah 51:22-23, and there find more of the character of the power and indignation of the Lord, as expressed in Deuteronomy 32:30ff., and in Ezekiel 38:3-17 followed by the key verse 18, as in Isaiah 66:13-16.
You see it in the remnants of Nineveh (cf. Nahum), of Babylon, in the humiliation of Egypt (cf. Ezekiel 29:15); and indeed Egypt has been possessed and ruled by so many 'faiths' and kingdoms, more recently the British Empire, and humbled so often that it is an epic to contrast with its former hegemony, cultural development and imperial power which it exercised for no little time in antiquity. Here also, as the Lord said through His prophet (in this case, Ezekiel), half a millenium or so before Christ came, so it has been to two millenia after His coming. His word does not alter. History does so.
The Lord's mercy is profound, His patience remarkable; but His power is never short-circuited, and in the end, what He says, happens. Holiness is becoming to the people of the Lord! There is no other course, but recourse to Him!
It is Powered not Least by An Awareness of the Plight of His People
and ALL the Evil that has been Done to them!
Thus judgment here is coming even BECAUSE of His people. Jeremiah 51:24 insists:
" 'And I will repay Babylon,
And all the inhabitants of Chaldea
For all the evil they have done
In Zion in your sight,' says the LORD."
Not in the purlieus of the minds of men, is the life of history. Not in the scuttling impresarios of the operas of life, and their factious firms and factitious fictions is its heart found. Nor is it to be found in the contrivances of peoples with their arrogance, devastations, trust in their own flesh, ideas, imaginations, god-constructors, some personal, some impersonal, some culturally conditioned and some culturally conditioning, driven by the dynamics of depravity, and guided by works of blindness, as if building were independent of architecture, of the training of architects, of their insights and aesthetic standards, of the purpose of the building and of life, of the nature of goodwill and good intention, and happened because some force or power, of the psyche or of physics, social or military, economic or impassioned, judicial or cultural, could play man on a harp and harp on a medley of nothings, and so constitute life.
Man is a being of spirit, of imagination and dream, of hope and inspiration, of realms of thought and industry of mind, of values and priorities, of heart and at his best, of love and kinship, far before and beyond all contrivance and conquest. It is FOR such things that he makes conquest, be they warped or straight, heavenly or diabolical, celestial or terrestrial in conception. Invisible, they propel the visible*3A ; overarching mere circumstance, they envelop purpose; and when these are diseased, it is not so long before man has deceased. And of these, the source is that very invisible resource, basis and cause (Causes), unconditioned though all visible is liable to conditions, impeller of imagination and resource of reality, basis of understanding and reservoir of law.
In Him, man has his life.
Divorced from God, however, he is subject to various passions, concerning his social thrust, physical lust, dominance of spirit, desire for revenge, totalitarian delusions as if he were God, abandoned worship of means of life in segregation from its purpose, breathing anaesthetic to the mind, growing suppurative in the soul, strangulative in his spirit, so that enormities of injustice, oppression, abuse and delusion wage war on mankind, through various proponents of this or that madness, divorced from reality, severed from the Lord, massacring kindness, debauching goodwill, vitiating vision and conquering rationality (in their reckless, heedless logical debauchery - cf. News 152, 125, Swift Witness 6).
Of these things God is acutely aware; over these, He acts in judgment so that the fires of yesterday are the comedy of today, the wholesale tragedies of such relished passions the crushing cost of the flow when it is finished, now become counterpart to the inanity of spiritual counterfeit. Man is like a vast locomotive, in rebellion against his driver, taking and making by its influence every singularly foolish track one could well imagine, in a blur of speed and smoke, transgression and ingression; or a colt running wild.
With this, there are the back-room boys who seek to utilise these passions, deploy these unsavoury insanities, and so make money, make hay and develop a power base to the ends of machinations unspeakable. With the bull, you have the fox.
Beyond all these things, however, there is the image of God in man, the desire for goodness, for justice, for temperance, for LIFE, its virtue and vigour, its meaning and graces, its love and its brotherliness, its principles and its paragon, its peace and its beauty, its duties and its responsibilities, its Guide and its God. Some in cynical seclusion (cf. SMR Ch. 3) invent mad theories of irrationality which never work, could never be but the frauds of a season, like some bevy of artful prostitutes seeking to spy on men and utilise their seduction for power.
Closing one eye to reality and the other to nobility, they make wanton with their reductionistic delusions, some gathering troops in academies, some in armies.
Some follow them, in wild sprees as in the Roman Inquisition, the Hitleresque Nazism, the slaughter of man-killing Communism, enemy of flesh and of spirit alike, the wild ecstatic dedication to death of militant Islam, in its power surge, as little concerned at the destruction of civilisation as any other power surge of the havoc wrought in the system*3B.
God remains, goodness continues, vision retains vigour, truth is unimpressed with iniquity, and man however crushed seeks for goodness, seeks for justice, for grace, for brotherliness, for purity, for self-control, for spiritual comfort and truth in command; and nothing in the end crushes what God has placed there, part of His own image, more vital to many than life itself, an aspect of the very reality that man is, speaking of itself and that cannot be countermanded. It is outraged by being crushed, insistent on being recognised and all the delusions in the world occupy themselves in vain to circumvent its reality for convenience, for conquest or self-acclaim. Behind His creation, is God. Above its corruption is grace. Past its pollution is pardon: it is selective, because of who God is, but all who come to Him will not be cast out: He is One who seeks what is lost (Luke 19:10), as you see so dramatically and movingly indicated in Ezekiel 33:11, and 34, as in Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42ff., John 3.
The the word of God continues to rule in the midst of this stricken hospital of man, fraught with super-bugs and continually recovering from their latest onslaughts. God Himself is man's saviour whether or not he realises it; and there as from his source, is his comfort and upholding (cf. Jeremiah 23:16-20).
Man zooms in on his latest depravities of mind and soul, and seeks construction work -after the destruction - to make eternal the follies that can stand neither mentally, nor logically; and then their all but comic collapse follows.
They scream of their importance and in the end, steam in impotence, revealed for their casuistry, contemptible for their cruelty, dead in their delusion, a grave-yard of spent passion.
In war they seek to occupy, not only Israel, but Eastern Europe and to add this to Russia's domains as in the 20th century, or to take Europe as at the Battle of Tours, when militant Islam had another go at things. They would like to rule in idolatrous harmony with debased religion, and make a pope to regular the hearts and thoughts of men; or to put country above God, or mere imagination above actuality, and drugged with naturalistic, existential or alogical dreams of any other kind, rule the earth.
But this they do not succeed in doing.
Amidst the pathology and the passion, there is still truth which smiles on the sepulchres of fallen ideologies, and requires justice because of truth, and leads to peace because of understanding.
The God of creation has taken the trouble not only to institute man, but to direct how he is made and so should live; and in doing so, He has revealed the greatness of man, the desecration of which is one of the engines of history. This greatness lies not in convenient lies, so that Hitler or Mao*3B may kill a few tens of millions of souls for the pleasure of pomp and the pride of unprincipled dreams. It lies in living with God, utilising the skills, following the vision, meeting the truth as a friend and emanating goodwill not as a trend, but because of the truth.
The love of God has goodwill as a sister and kindness of heart as a centre, with peace as a propellant and industry as a dynamic. Man is not made to invent gods for the fruition of the plans of enormity and the lusts of grabbing the world, to make it some reductionist relic or other pandemonium of unprincipled lust, with others in subjection to some partial concept, and man, made by God, ruling and ruled by evil. This inveterate grab for the power of God, the command over men, the lies of lust and the power of conformity to vicious visions and depraved concepts began with Eden (Genesis 3:3-6), and will end with the antichrist. His boat is nearly in, as he comes to land with his lustful crew.
God has the number of all these things, and accordingly has shown not only the succession of empires, as in Daniel*3C, but revealed even the name hundreds of years in advance, of Cyrus, who would deliver Israel from its Babylonian captivity, the life and works of the Messiah, the date of His death*3C, the Gospel of return to God in reconciliation which that death would enable, the response of Israel and of the Gentiles, the course of the Age, the nature of its end and the way of life and light, truth and justice, wisdom and understanding, and the precise reason why the oddities of imagination being no substitute for God, judgment strikes the earth in increasing waves as man mars his image more and more systematically (SMR pp. 755ff. and throughout Ch. 9).
In Jeremiah, you see something of the course of His control:
the judgments and their reasons,
the deliverances to come,
and since Israel was the people chosen to show forth His praise (Isaiah 43:21),
the future of that land (Amos 3:7),
its source for the coming of the Messiah, its eventual return, as also in Ezekiel and
the coming rule of God Himself through that Messiah (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 10),
before earth finished with its corrupted and corrupting works,
it is dismissed, its history complete,
like that of a student who has now left school, and leaves there only his ... record!
While therefore the dynamics of the hatred of God are accorded their recognition as pathological exhibits, in Jeremiah as in other prophets, they are also given their come-uppance, their times and seasons, as they exhibit to all eternity
that there is no other way but that
of the Lord, no other God, no other Creator,
that man cannot create himself by ludicrous dreams, irrational, invalid, limping
on crutches, stricken failures invested with pomp before continually dumped
that through his wanderings, his heart is merely made
the site of infection
Into this God pours, as at the outset, His love, His exuberant vigour, His amazing vitality, His incorruptible concern, His majesty and His rebuke.
With that He presents, proclaims His Gospel of grace (Isaiah 52:7ff.), His avenue for action, His way to return to the main-line, His bridge back, His work of reconciliation, His wisdom and His mercy, so that not the lords of creation, the maestros of pride, but the Lord of life might be found; and then life in Him find its purpose, peace and power.
In Jeremiah 25, you see likewise the time set for discipline of the chosen people, 70 years in Babylon and then return, and that by Cyrus, Isaiah adds for detail, though he said it first (Isaiah 44-45). At large, in the prophets en bloc, you see the coming of the Messiah, first to suffer and then to rule, the choice of God to act for man, that His own eternal Word should become man and having died for sin and secured salvation for those who receive it, evict unrighteousness and rule on this earth. Thus at last does He make the lesson and the life even more starkly clear to those who having bought blood with confusion and fallen spiritual pride, are yet eligible by grace for redemption.
His words take hold, and His love is not stanched, as if His blood were to lose with itself, the love that sent it. It continues; His principles do not alter, the judgments are not revoked, vileness still inherits violence, as does any other criminal who proceeds too far: and this, to leave God is already too far. While nothing is beyond Him, this is far too far for peace.
It is useless to make a tepid God; truth rules. It is hopeless to seek to de-vitalise God, His life controls. There is only one way to avoid judgment, violating what is vile with truth, and that is the path of mercy, of pardon, of peace through the vicarious death of Christ, who, provided from heaven, attested on earth, propounded by the prophets, astounding before man, has the path of mercy for man on earth, and IS it! While justice has been warped by many, it is not found by seizing man in robbery, and making him slave to vacuous dreams, inane concepts, nugatory passions while blood flows as if it were rain, and water had forgotten itself.
Justice will never cease to afflict the fallen conscience of man; truth will not elope from its basic necessities of proceeding from God, and gobbledegook ideas of having a truth to proclaim when there is not any, as in the models of materialism, are as useless as the last breath of the fallen foe as he expires.
Life has its ways, and these are not in its pathology, but in its redemption. Trying to drive a shattered car, warped, about to explode, after a terrible accident is far more wise than it is for man to try to drive history in ignorance of God, while indulging in assertion of dreams, depth of blood and endless contradictions of endlessly, and kaleidoscopically contrived and changing philosophies, built on nothing but accomplishing ruin.
The love of God continually offers the Gospel of His grace, built on what as man He accomplished on the Cross and its antecedents, in the resurrection and its corollaries; and history follows all that He has said, as it follows nothing else, to the last detail. God made; God spoke; God acts and His patience and love should not be misconstrued as inability or indolence. To this, the constant completion of this and that prophecy, and rarely more thickly like heavy rain in our own day, bears eloquent testimony. He leaves nothing out.
He has judged not only those who are His spoken enemies, but Israel who, with a covenant to keep, fell foul of it and thrust itself into the woeful ways of this world with increasing vigour in the centuries preceding its destruction at the hand of Babylon. He has judged also its attempt to delete the Messiah, although ignorant of their folly. Yet it was culpable negligence. He is judging now the nations who seek to destroy His erring nation; and this process is mounting as it must, until its denouement, as foretold (cf. SMR pp. 502ff., 755ff. ).
History is all of
one piece; it has its phases, but God and truth continually dominate its
It was so then, as it is now.
THE DIVINE LOVE
What then, what was the position in Jeremiah's day ? The actual love of God for Israel, despite its multitudes of sins and severance pay, in the coming destruction of Jerusalem according to covenant, with a longsuffering of centuries preceding this action, appears like the keenness of a dog on a leash, awaiting some opportunity to run. It is zealous, vigorous, persistent, eager.
Thus in Jeremiah 50:14-20 you see the passion for vengeance on Babylon for her tumultuous aggressions: "As she has done, so do to her" - 50:15. Israel is seen in the wake of this Babylon's invasion and depredations as "scattered sheep" driven away by lions, "devoured" first by Assyria - when the cyclotron of multiplied inequities, idolatries, child murder in Moloch fires (cf. *!A) and depraved kings at last reach critical velocity, and then by Babylon. Even that last case was despite wonderful offers of deliverance, sovereignly rejected by Ahaz of Judah as in Isaiah 7 - cf. SMR pp. 770, *2. The very manner of it was deviously unbelieving, formalistic deceptive as you read in Isaiah, leading to the prophet Isaiah declaiming after the King's evasive answer to the amazingly limitless divine offer: "Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you wary my God also ?" It was at this that the sign of the virgin whose Son would be God with Us, and indeed God Almighty as propounded later in Isaiah 9:6-7 (cf. Bible Translation 20) was given.
To the lustful generation of Ahaz, what help would this be ? It would take centuries; but since they trifled with God, with truth, truth seemed to trifle with them. The offer in view was indeed limitless, and embraced, even in its temporal distancing to some 600 years later, action without parallel, and power without limit, even the incarnation and with it the atonement (as in Isaiah 49-55). Indeed, Daniel later again, stated the actual date for the atonement (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4).
Thus there still came that ultimate deliverance for the nation, and indeed any of any nation, then depicted as coming with the advent of the Messiah, and that in spiritual terms. This meant suffering for the Messiah FIRST, as Christ points out in Luke 24:25-26; and then regal glory. The suffering was to occur before the onset of the ultimate of finales as in Isaiah 66, Micah 7 and Habakkuk 3 and Joel 3 with Micah 4, Isaiah 2, 11, 65 when "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2:14, cf. Isaiah 11). The glory to come, and now near to arrival, like a large vessel long at sea and now hoving into sight, will have the outward expression in a world needing instruction, of what has for millenia been available; and before the world has its marching orders, to depart with vast noise and heat (II Peter 3), it will be the scene of demonstration by the One it crucified, of the meaning of righteousness, and the cause of truth, the way of peace and the glory of God.
Let us however return to the day of Jeremiah, seeing from earlier, the basis for what was to come, and is now surely coming.
Let us summarise this part of Israel's history. What the Northern Kingdom suffered under Assyria, the South received from Babylon; but the latter meant dispersion and exile only for 70 years, as precisely predicted by Jeremiah in Ch. 25, before the rebuilding under Ezra and Nehemiah. Thus the line and locale for Christ remained intact till He came, just as our present world remains, though beginning to totter (cf. Isaiah 2, 24, Haggai 2:6, Hebrews 12:26) until His return (Hebrews 9:28, Acts 1:11).
The fate of Assyria, in terms of its capital Nineveh, for its pains ? It is as in Nahum, foretold, and in the sands to behold, a ruin and a rubble these millenia.
What of Babylon, the ardent devastator of Israel ?
Just as Nineveh was a hidden archeological residue for many centuries, so Babylon's blast has been echoing for millenia.
Not only does the Lord undertake to "punish" the king of Babylon and his land, as He punished the king of Assyria, but to "bring back" Israel "to his home", and to a covenant of pardon such that "the sins of Judah" may be "sought but not found" (Jeremiah 50:20 cf, Isaiah 53:5-6,11).
This is in the day of the Messiah at last (Jeremiah 23), whom even the Gentiles will seek (Jeremiah 16:19, 23:5ff., Isaiah 11:10), and in whose rest delight.
Here is the justification by faith which Habakkuk depicted*3D, for the "just shall live by faith" despite all the adversities and iniquities surrounding, and then it will be "as if I had not cast them off, for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them" (Zechariah 10:6).
It is, after all, from Israel (as in Romans 10), that comes the cornerstone, that of Isaiah 28:16, the sure foundation stone indeed, so that he who believes
in Him will not make haste, in Him
of Isaiah 32:2,
in the One who presents the shadow of a mighty Rock in a weary
in Him who will be as a "hiding place from the wind"
in the One who indeed will replace the Temple (Psalm 40)
Thus Babylon, instrument of rebuke to Israel, not without sin, oh not at all without it, vehement and desolatory, shall become a desolation (Jeremiah 50:46). The inhabitants of Jerusalem will remark on the way they were "swallowed" as by a monster (51:34), only to be "spit out" when the stomach was "filled with delicacies". "Let the violence done to me and to my flesh," cries Israel (Jeremiah 51:35), "be upon Babylon". The LORD responds to this foreseen and then coming cry of devastated Israel:
"Therefore thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will plead your case and take vengeance
for you. I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry. Babylon shall become a heap."
Berlin did little better after Hitler's ministrations to world Jewry, and the USSR did not maintain her cause*3 after her gross withholding of millions of Jews from repatriation for so long, in her matter-grovelling misconceptions and idolatries. It is a sad business to take on the role of task-master for Israel, who has indeed paid in good coin for her sins!
While then Babylon, tormentor and desecrator of Israel (who had been doing a fine old job of desecrating itself for some centuries before that dénouement of destruction, ignoring countless testimonies and divine appeals on the way), was to find amidst its international ravages of many, a destruction of eternal import, the case for Israel, though searing and grievous, was far better in the end.
Israel, covenant people, with many in it who were yet faithful to God in that day (Daniel himself a noble example), would find that the Lord would "plead" her "case". Indeed He enjoined them to "go out of the midst of her", in speaking of Babylon (Jeremiah 51:45 cf. 51:6), "lest your heart faint"; and so they should return.
They would come as a remnant (Jeremiah 23:3 cf. Isaiah 11:11 for a later epoch, the Messianic), and be reconvened at their place which as we have noted above, was to be restored to them. Indeed, they would come to their home, not merely the land, but the Lord!
Such was the faithful love of the Lord. It is not different towards His now universally elected remnant, from all peoples, Jew or Gentile, who are advised to go out of the ultimate 'Babylon' that 'mystery Babylon' of which Romanism is merely the centre through its traditional devastations of doctrine and people, that delinquency from the truth which is to be the epicentre of the divine response at the end (Revelation 18 cf. SMR pp. 946ff., 743). To His people, then, in Revelation 18:4, the Lord equally for that time, indeed now it is here, demands that they "come out of her". The Anglican endeavour to re-write whole aspects of scripture, noted above, indicates clearly just how broad is the spectrum of this spirit of Babylon!
The Lord's keen desire for His people is that they remove from what is obstructive of His light, beguiling the misled with another Gospel or way or word or covenant or approach or perspective, and concerned in effect with educating God rather than learning from Him! This is the purity of His love, that He still seeks, that what comes to Christ in faith He will not cast out (John 6:37); and the reality of this Messianic specialist who being divine, knows what is good for His people, it remains (cf. Zechariah 9:7, Hebrews 13:8, Revelation 5, 22). It is He, and not delusion, not confusion, not originality in making new gods, and it is Him that there is scope both for return to and rest in the living God, who changes not at all, and foretells what He will do (cf. Amos 3:7 ... and governs history! - SMR Chs. 8-9).
It was, after all, not from Babylon in any form or format that the foundation stone would be taken! Here was no rest, here no eternal covenant, no bud to bloom as Messiah.
THE CELESTIAL KING AND CONQUEST
To revert to ancient Israel, however, as foreseen through Jeremiah in their coming disasters and more distant blessings, there is not only a restoration promised, but an honour.
It would be (as it has been, prophecy fulfilled) from Israel that would come the foundation stone, one for all peoples (Jeremiah 16:19, 31:31ff., Isaiah 11, 28:16, 53-55). Not from Babylon, from that fatal mixture of synthetic religion and meretricious productions, said the Lord, would come any foundation. But for Israel, there was a coming solace spiritual and eternal; and eloquent indeed with pity and care is the lesser but pregnant promise of Jeremiah 51:19ff., a word which would include the kingdom of the Maccabees.
Yet there is a more significant rule to come, as in Jeremiah 23:6ff, one spiritual and regal with a divine regality and wonderful with the majesty that does not diminish (Jeremiah 16, Isaiah 9:7ff., 11). Indeed Isaiah 11 shows the wisdom, justice, divine insight and glorious rule of the Messiah who is to come, for Jew, for Gentile, who has come and did come at the date given through Daniel the prophet in 9:24ff. (cf. Highway of Holiness Ch. 4l).
There is a certain poignancy about the case of Babylon. This is in fact partly a matter of the divine love as seen in the last section! "We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed!" Indeed it is made far more intense by what precedes that verse (51:9).
"Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed. Wail for her!
Take balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed."
Even this miscreant portrayer of false religion, betrayer of truth, arrant in arrogance, ravaging in dynamic, ingesting much and making of her culture and religions a pinnacle for admiration, as if to admire a pig wallowing in a pleasant garden, and making muck: even she the Lord "would have healed".
Even there His assiduous and ardent desire for mercy was reaching, like the rays of the sun near twilight; but there was no response. "Perhaps she may be healed" comes the sense of enquiry, the passionate exhibit of the Lord's desire for all! But she is not healed.
This vast love of the Lord is as in Matthew 23:37ff., and Luke 19:42ff., and Colossians 1:19ff., where the Lord is poignantly seeking for Jerusalem, or remembering how He has sought, with what tenderness and continuity; but she did not come to Him. She too in that day was to be destroyed, and how thoroughly (as foretold in Matthew 24:1ff.); but she would return to her home at last (as in Luke 21:24) and so in the end escape the Gentile domination which she inherited with the demise of her Prince at her own hand! (as foretold in Isaiah 49:7, 50-55).
The tragedy of Israel, to become for the remnant a glory (Isaiah 46:13), and already in our contemporary world, in the initial phase a triumph of divine patience and mercy in her return (as in Ezekiel 36-37 cf. SMR Appendix A, and It Bubbles ... Ch. 10, Galloping Events ... Ch. 4), is vast. Yet it is to be ONLY in and through the Lord, the Messiah (Isaiah 65:13-15, Isaiah 61, Zechariah 12:10-13:1), and to the humble in heart in them as in any other.
However for Babylon there was no such restoration.
To be sure, the 'mystery Babylon' phase of Revelation 17 would enable the spirit of the place in its disgusting and cloying horror, to have some kind of continuation, as if a second attack of cancer were to strike the body and so give some continuity to the first one: yet it is no glory, that!
Nor is this all. It was not from Babylon that would come "a stone for a corner, nor a stone for a foundation", and this is in marked contrast to that very destiny for Israel through whom was to come and has come the Messiah. No, Babylon is a "destroying mountain" (Jeremiah 51:25), not a site for spiritual refuge or the destiny of the world in its constructive phase, through the God of salvation.
Babylon is to go, both as a place and as a portent! "At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth trembles, and the cry is heard among the nations." Just as the restoration of Israel is to be a lesson to be learnt in its multi-age significance by the nations (Ezekiel 37:28, 38:23), so the doom of Babylon is to be a lesson in the negative field. It is the more pungent and urgent, since "mystery Babylon" as in Revelation 17-18 is a broad spectrum of spiritual decline, centred certainly in Rome (SMR pp.946ff.) but by no means limited to it, for many have indulged in her fornications, as the Bible puts it (Revelation 17:2,4) and the very name associated with the 'mystery' is powerful in history, and well-equipped with divine curse! She is in fact (Revelation 17:5), "the mother of harlots" and so there is from Babylon itself on this character of specious synthesis, naming God and denying Him in an array, a pantheon, whether of words or bricks.
In contrast, as the end is foreseen, Israel comes past its punishments, having a certain sweetness to come, when its heart is with the Messiah. The symbol of what is to come, as in Ezekiel 37, in the first step, it is its restoration to its land, now a major feature of history over nearly half a century. It is the second (Ezekiel 37:7,9 cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 10).
. Jeremiah shows this.
"How long wilt you go about, O thou backsliding daughter?
for the LORD has created a new thing in the earth,
"A woman shall compass a man4A.
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:
'As yet they will use this speech in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I shall bring again their captivity; The LORD bless you, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness. And there will dwell in Judah itself, and in all its cities together, husbandmen, and those who go out with flocks. For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.'
"Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet to me."
Small wonder the sleep was sweet when in the midst of the vision of an immediately coming desolation and devastation of a beleaguered and long rebellious Judah, there is seen the innovative, transformative and miraculous reality of the coming of God to earth as a man. From God the Father He comes, and comes as a Son as in Isaiah 7, 9, 42, 49-55 and in particular, 48:16, as in Micah 5:1-3.
He has come with all the long predicted results both near, alas in the crucifixion, and far, in the rule to come (as in Micah 4, Isaiah, Jeremiah 23). Here it is the latter which is in focus, though the prelude in the incarnation is nearer and choicely expressed: the point so dramatically exposed in the events and words of Isaiah 7.
Israel indeed, despite all its suffering, rebellions, riots and oddities, it is to be the site for the emplacement of the Messiah (Jeremiah 23, Isaiah 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 22, 26, 28:16, 32, 49-55, 61 et al) and to be the place of the Lord's crucifixion (cf. Zechariah 11-14). Such was the dower, the gift, the grace shown to it, despite all its rebelliousness, even past its ruin: but it was also not only its privilege to receive the Messiah (whom it despatched alas for it, too quickly), but its necessity to trust Him, as for any other.
To it, in His time so long delayed in Israel's defiant self-definition and idolatries, then the prophets should, would come the King for His reign! Stricken ? yes. Smitten ? Yes. Faithless ? largely. But to Israel would come the King. He was crucified ? Yes. But to Israel would return the King a seen in the above passages from Isaiah, as likewise in Micah 4, Zechariah 12-14.
It is He who rules, and not another. There is no superior nation; but where the Lord was crucified, there in regality is His rule. Where the earth was made His standing ovation, there the realities will pulse, there the peace will flow.
There is in the ways and will of God a certain majesty, and the attempts of the Ages to seduce it to the reductionisms of men is as futile as trying to dig up Mt Everest with a child's spade.
What He says, it simply goes; but as to the way He says it and the scope and the majesty of it, it comes continually, like a never drying stream. In Jeremiah you see a glimpse of this day also in 30:21, 49:19 50:44, 23:5-6, where the inimitable power and grace of God and His Messiah appears, in marked contrast*4 to any other: for it is He who is the only final determinant of the life of mankind, with the only way for its realisation.
To show it, He foretells much; to meet it, you have only to open your eyes. The practice can become uncommon (as in Matthew 13:14ff.), but it is still one which the Lord cordially commends to all races, all peoples and all languages at all times! It remains true as always, that he who sees the Son and believes on Him has eternal life (John 6:40).
First, Do not Forget the Epilogue
The educational disaster is world-wide, but especially so in South Australia, where not merely is the wild-eyed folly of organic evolution exclusively taught in science, but there is refusal for FACTUAL and resolving discussion outside it. It must be assumed, in this befoulment of academic liberty, that there IS not place for 'decision' in the field, and thus a murmur of emasculated talk can proceed. This, it would seem, would be precisely acceptable to the antichrist when he comes, and is a voidance of logic and an insistence on the anti-scientific exclusion of the examination of facts, constructions, method and result which alone gives to science any credibility at all.
This has often been discussed, in terms more or less broad, on this site, and is available in such files as TMR Ch. 8, Ch. 1, while further elements are readily discernible in the broad coverage of topics recently made available in one spread, in the pair of volumes:
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST, WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS
The refusal of both the Premier's Department and the modern equivalent of the Education Department (DECS) to respond to challenge to public debate, one or other or both in a period well beyond a decade, is typical of the hiding from the light which has been the attestation of the darkness which bedevils this area. The facts are not too difficult; scientific method is not too abstruse (cf. Scientific Method ... ); the read-out is quite simple (cf. SMR pp. 140ff.). What makes South Australia, gripped with drought, to have a spiritual parallel to it, is the simple fact that, not satisfied with replacing education with indoctrination in this field for High Schools, it also makes a crusade in a document called a Circular to Principals, which since 1988 it has ruinously refused to remove.
In this, it talks of religions in the work of such ignorance, in terms of generalisation, as if you spoke of nations in the same way, or political parties, or bacteria, not all of which are detrimental, some beneficial: and why ? It appears it is at least in this instance, to indulge a love of ignoring data, or some such reason in the realms of negativity. What then IS this religious generalisation, which of course MUST include in its intent, the Christian religion. It is, to apply it to the case in point, that Christianity has no TESTABLE BASIS (the opposite is true, whereas in their field, the test is not only open but categorically negative, that is for the philosophy back of such a statement). Yet the spurious and injurious, the fallacious and contumacious point is made that the Biblical faith is not a matter of facts testable, but of meaning stories, legends or the like. Such is the irrational assertion.
This is a direct assault, and gratuitous and indeed unscholarly war, with proselytising zeal, on the bodily resurrection of Christ, on all biblical prophecy and on the basis for belief. This is shown in its folly at some length in terms of an earlier Victorian attempt to espouse the same decadent and irrational philosophy: in Deliver Us from Educational Temptation, presented to Melbourne University as a thesis in 1977. See also briefly, TMR Ch. 8, *7 and also SMR Ch. 3, 422Qff., 374-386, Barbs ... 6 -7. Repent or Perish Ch. 7, and Ch. 2 above, where some of the antilogies involved are given coverage.
*1 Thus we have
apeiqeis, acaristoi, anosioi, astorgoi, aspondoi
all start with the alpha negative, while the last two start not only with this, but with the duo, as. Added to this is the fact that the t and the p sounds following those two letters, are very similar in sound, each having a somewhat explosive burst, such as in English, ast, asp. Further, in these same two latter cases, what follows even that is in each case the o sound, making asto, aspo type sounds. As if this were not enough, the oi endings add to the assonance, while the g and d sounds before them again have some assonantial similarity. We have almost a chant!
After the next term, diaboloi, slanderers, we have a further trio of alpha negatives,
akrateis, anhmenoi, ajilagaqoi,
making so far 6 in all! Moreover, it is not only the SOUND, it is the SENSE of negation of so much that is good and virtuous and true which comes echoing in like the landing sound of some giant jet, as it screams towards the tarmac. Even after that, Paul in his inspired predictive denunciation is not done: for there are two pro- prefixes, with the sense of moving fast into evil, followed by that deliciously ugly tetup- sound in the word for puffed up, or blinded with pride, these last two giving one translation noted above, headlong with passion, blinded with pride.
Having a form of godliness and not really believing in God's power, we find in this passage, they are people from whom Christians must TURN AWAY. If you seek to save some, then even at that, you must despise the filthy garments, and act with fear, as Jude tells us near the end of his epistle.
This intemperate attitude to truth, merely to begin, to arrogance in the very face of truth, darkness before the light of it, trifling with it before the authority of it, changing it despite the authenticity of it, as in the Anglican dénouement of the doctrinaire devices against biblical doctrine noted above - headlong in cultural passion, and blinded with ecclesiastical pride: this is merely one instance. Our contemporary world is full of such anomalies, asininities, cultural regalities and desecrations of the holy, using Moroni or pope, or other pseudo-angel or ambassador instead of Christ: the only foundation, the biblical Christ, the sure foundation, with His stated Gospel (Galatians 1), the unchangeable means bought by God to satisfy His own holiness.
Our generation generates such a blind parallel to Paul's prediction that it encourages one to rejoice with trembling (as in Psalm 2's prescription!); for such an atmosphere as this is more perilous than the radioactivity of the bomb, more arrogantly inviting to judgment than mere blasphemy - being systematic false teaching, more imposing as predation than the cry of wolves, more subtly devastating than the seducer of bodies, for this is seductive of the spirit itself.
However, since God in His changeless knowledge and all-sufficient competence has already explained and contained the phenomena of this religious disaster, like a physician predicting nausea with measles, there is the same stability and security, certainty and evacuative power as always. In Him is the refuge to which one may continually resort, and in Him is the container provision for all His own: now to keep them, then to bring with Him in the celestial dénouement of so much of earth's history, at His coming (cf. Acts 1:7ff., Revelation 19). It is all as announced, the Coming itself, to be no exception.
This matter is dealt with in a biblical exposition of Psalm 106, at more length. It seems best to include the context as well as the treatment, so the whole is presented here as a reference.
CHOICE COMPARISONS - Psalm 106
THAT CHALLENGE TO CLOSE COMMUNION WITH CHRIST
In considering the history of Israel, its redemption from Egypt, its access to the promised land, its performance, Psalm 106 gives us a plan, a look-out for perspective from which we can survey the principles and apply them to ourselves.
I PONDER THE PAST
Psalm 106:1-2 The mighty acts of God were for Israel those of creation and redemption from Egypt in the Exodus. For us, they remain creation, but now to there is added a new redemption, not by mere power from another land as captor, but from sin as slave-driver. It is not by concentration of divine dynamic alone; it is by shedding of blood. It is Calvary; for Exodus, with the lamb's blood on the door of those to be protected, there comes the Cross, with the Lord's own blood on the heart to be covered and granted His peace and His victory.
Psalm 106:3-4 Visit me with Your salvation ... Here is the concept of abiding, then as now, but now direct and without priest's aid. Here is the path of holiness, of godliness as one seeks at all times to follow His truth, justice, love and ways.
Psalm 106:5 Seek for the favour of the Lord's people - this is the concept of service, of presenting your bodies to Him who is the Head of the Church and Lord of all creation, as a "living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" - Romans 12:1.
Psalm 106:6-7 Acknowledge sin - "they did not remember the multitude of Your mercies". Then as now, there is the hideous unthankfulness of many who yet think they serve God. You see it in the recent Anglican assault on the word of God, not just in one place, but systematically, detesting justice and judgment as if it were 'violence' and acting as if 'He' means violence. One might as well say many women practice selfish artfulness as this, that man is brutal. Children too, can be bumptious and unfeeling.
Perhaps we should never mention man, cut his name off and refuse he or she or child or any! In fact, there is such a thing as judgment, as authority, and seemliness; and when God came to earth, it was to be sure, through a woman, but it was as a man, to whom the presidential role is given (Ephesians 5), though only when he is himself, as Christ was, prepared to sacrifice himself for the other. It is twofold and mutual; and is meaningless without love, for GOD IS LOVE!
He is also Lord and to be addressed as what He IS! Why, He asked, do you call Me Lord, Lord and not do the things that I say! (Luke 6:46). The solution is not to refuse Him the title which is His as Commander (Isaiah 55:4), but to DO what He commands OUT OF LOVE (John 14:21-23). The Anglican manoeuvre is in the direction of an entirely different religion, made despite the ruling and face of Him who as man, is called Lord! It is not the same as that of Him who died for us, being Lord, and declaring, "If I, then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet" - John 13:14.
Indeed, in John 13:13, Christ declares this: "You call Me master and Lord, and you say well, for so I am." The Anglican view, reported in The Advertiser, we are told that in an approach approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury, includes a distancing of such language, and Church Anglican leaders are cited as declaring one should think twice before declaring God to be 'Lord'. It is a perilous practice, we learn. Cultural reasons are cited.
Christ in complete contrast declares that one should do WELL to call Him 'Lord': not think twice but act once! This is flat contradiction of the authority of Christ, and that is only one of the reconstitution of the image of God approach. Naturally enough, with assault forces from this ecclesiastical base used on the heartland of Christian doctrine, it is not at all surprising to learn that the new approach casts doubt "on huge swathes of Christian teaching and practice." If you take the core of an apple, there MUST be a lot of movement of the periphery!
What does it mean ? If Christ days YOU SAY WELL, and Anglican authorities declare you may well SAY NOT WELL! we are finding here represented a new Christ, subject to 'Church leaders' just as the incarnate Christ was so placed by them into custody leading to the Cross. They too could not stand Him as He was. His authority, total because He is God, was made the very ground of His execution (Mark 14:61-65). It was to be, then as now, THEIR authority, and to Christ not HIS but their word was to be applied. They condemned Him as He was and tried to make Him different by crucifixion, only to be frustrated by the resurrection, in the power of which current Christians ought to act, in denying what denies Him, and removing it far from their fellowship; and if it will not go, then they must do so!
If such is to be the case: Come out of her! the call is. It is indeed seen or applicable in such biblical passages as Romans 16:17; as I Corinthians 11:4,13, where another Jesus is a work of false apostles; as I Timothy 6, where the sound words of Christ are made the criterion and those departing from them must be left alone, having no part; as II John, where the doctrine of Christ is the beginning of fellowship and its lapse the end of it; as Acts 20:28-29, as also II Thessalonians 2:15, 3:6, and II Peter 2:7,17. You simply do not, to use Paul's language, keep wolves on your staff for your 'kids', nor have another Jesus portrayed for your sheep, when you worship the true one. That is idolatry, and idolatry keeps out of the kingdom (I Corinthians 6:9).
What would you expect when the name of the Lord is suspended from grace! You call me Master and Lord, and you say WELL, for so I am. You do not well, because it may lead to trouble. These are not one voice, or mind; and the religions differ, one that of the crucified Saviour and risen Lord, and the other than of men.
Thus all things are to be in place: and it is useless to try to put God in His place. His is all.
Man's ways come to design fruition only when before the Lord and His ways, each takes and all assume what is their proper role. Sin added to sin does not obliterate it, and denial of the word of the Lord does not make peace, but merely intensifies the grounds of irreconcilability. When a Church does this, it is an assault force, not a friend.
Israel too had foreign and alien deities, ideas and dispositions, and they were the ruin of her. It is better to acknowledge sin and repent, and follow the Lord's Christ with godly zeal and practicality.
"They soon forgot His words". Despite the most assiduous kindness and amazing deliverances from the Lord, the people were apt to forget and just 'be themselves'. God sent 'leanness to their soul'. When you demolish beauty, the result leaves a memory and a mess. One should recall His redemption and all it took and brings, and not litter the kingdom of the Lord with half-heartedness.
2 PRACTISE HOLINESS
Psalm 106:16-23 "Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach, to turn away His wrath..." This he did even after through envy they had attacked his rule, a prototype of the assault on Christ to come. We are reminded thus to pray for those who persecute us, yes even to intercede, and seek the good of those who do us harm (Matthew 5:11-12,43ff.).
Psalm 106:24-33 "They angered Him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses on account of them..." Boldness in holy testimony to the Lord must go with a personal meekness. Provocations may intensity; self-control must remain, the courage of testimony fraught with individual humility.
Psalm 106:34-39 "They served their idols which became a snare to them..."
Thorough-going personal consistency in seeking, following and loving the Lord is not an option but part of the way. Ignore it at your peril. It is ludicrous to have heart-cherished demands of spirit and person, which your 'require' and practise for yourself, when you are the Lord's! bought with a price (cf. I Cor. 6:19). It would be like making your domestic home a public place. II Kings 17:33,39-41 shows the desolate character of this, such a thing proceeding even when Israel to the North, had been devastated. Learn early! They "feared the LORD yet served their own gods", fittingly a residue following the collapse of that section of Israel, its depopulation and the coming of many aliens to repopulate, with some of Israel to 'guide' their religion.
We read here that Israel "even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons!" How great is the sin of a people that sacrifice their young! Instead of learning early, they impose their sin on their children (see Epilogue). Then they would burn them physically to Moloch; now they fry them mentally and burn in offering them spiritually to the gods of naturalism, unremitting in their hostility to the living God in their schools. Small wonder in some things at least our PM is trying to have curricula made more wholesome.
3 PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
Psalm 106:40-43 "He abhorred His own inheritance..." He gave them to Gentile rule, so ghastly was their two-sidedness, double-mindedness. SO can bodies called churches, yet slide and slither into spiritual worldliness and efforts to attract by foregoing their very reason for existence, making themselves abhorrent to God: COME OUT OF THEM! is His word (cf. Revelation 18:4, Romans 16:17, Jeremiah 51:45-46). The last declares that one should come out from such 'worship' sites, lest your heart should fail! It is like being a leg of roast mutton, stored for eating in the dust-bin. Come out! If you are brought low, it is God who can raise you in due time (I Peter 5:6). Don't stay THERE!
Psalm 106:44 "Nevertheless He regarded their affliction, when He heard their cry..."
Let not desolation dictate, but seek to overcome it, and cry to God! Note the 'when' in its place. WHEN He heard what ? heard their cry! Look at Psalm 145:18 here. “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” You must persist, for the PROMISE is for all things relating to life and GODLINESS (II Peter 1:3). You are KEPT by the POWER OF GOD, says Peter, and granted these precious promises. Remember the unjust judge in Luke 11:8, and how importunity is opportunity!
Psalm 106:45-48 People need to be brought back to the Lord, to
"triumph in Your praise."
Focus must be maintained on what life is for, on being removed from mere wallowing in this world, and acting as citizens of the kingdom of heaven (cf. Philippians 3:21).
Let us recall to heart that the heart of the Gospel is the Lord, and the heart of the Lord was laid bare at Calvary, and His power at the resurrection. So let us give thanks and praise to Him for His mighty works, the summit Calvary and the resurrection that chastised death and reunited man to life forever: receiving with humility the love and ability of our God, our souls restored in His kindness, our ways chastened in His purity and our lives sent in His service.
Bright Light ... Ch. 3, Of the Earth, Earthy .. Ch. 7 ,
and on the Web
The Germans in 1912 looted the Babylon they entered, and the US is charged with considerable damage to the massively cracked bricks of the rushed Hussein exploits, which in degeneration are said to resemble an abandoned housing project, while the actual ruins of ancient Babylon lie extensively present, witness both to the crushing for ever of its greatness and grandeur, and as if following the motif, to the ruins of more modern kind, beside it. So does history act its part like a robot, doing the pre-announced will of God, supplying His works as prescribed, a testimony to one and to all that although in mercy He is infinite, yet in truth He is indomitable; nor does mercy pretend to work where lies rule and truth is given no passport, in the end. Ruin, in Babylon or personal life, is the end for the exemption from truth.
See on the invisible: It Bubbles ... Ch. 9; on purpose, Little Things Ch. 5.
See *3 below. See also Aviary of Idolatry, Highway to Hell, Repent or Perish Ch. 7, News 122, Bon Voyage! Ch. 1, SMR Chs. 3-4 and 5, 8-9 with TMR 1 and 6-7.
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S
The gods of naturalism have no go!
On Communism, see:
Aviary of Idolatry, Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch. 5, News 44, 69, 97, 98,
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8;
The Grating Grandeur ... Ch. 2; SMR pp. 925ff.;
News 97 (the exploiters, the fanciful,
the Communists, the de-godders and the realities).
On Romanism, see:
SMR pp. 912ff., 1032-1088D.
On Hitler, see:
Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 14;
Beyond the Crypt ... Ch. 1, The True God has Go, Gives Grace and Glory Ch. 4
On Islam, see:
More Marvels ... Ch. 4, esp. *4,
SMR pp. 829ff. ,
Dancers, Prancers, Lancers and Answers Ch. 3, *1A
Lord of Life Ch. 3 (and force), Outrageous Outages ... Ch. 5;
His Wounds Opened Eternity Ch. 4; 3
Stepping Out for Christ Ch. 9,
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8 (in perspective), see also *1,
Divine Agenda Chs. 6, 3 (an overview of religious truancies, including Marx, Darwin and Koran);
Highway to Hell (Koran citations in both, with ideational parallels in perspective, in the former; and in the latter, futile depravities in endless ideologies such as Sudan has shown so significantly, Islam ablaze without glory),
cf. Overflight in Christ Ch. 1 (and the Koran's musings);
Red Alert ... Ch. 16;
News 138, Beauty for Ashes Chs. 4, 7, SMR pp. 822ff., 986ff., 1074ff., esp. 1079ff. 1081ff. (and faith), 1O88D.
(These latter show this religion, with the other three major conspiracies towards the ultimate - why conspiracies ? It is because men conspire, or breathe plans together for a control, rule or oversight not ordained by God: these are breaths of man, and the breath that matters is that of God, in and by which all scripture is inspired by Him (II Timothy 3:16, Isaiah 8:20), in the Book of the Lord (Isaiah 34:16), the Bible, and sustained and implemented by Him (Matthew 26:54ff.): other ideas for rule are always unruly, since they always tend to use power for what neither reason nor truth compels).
See Highway of Holiness Chs. 3, 4, 5, 10 esp. the last. For the date predicted so accurately for Christ's death, see Ch. 4 in Highway of Holiness, and SMR pp. 886.
See for example:
Tender Times for Timely Truth
The Grating Grandeur ... Ch. 2; SMR pp. 925ff.;
Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch. 5, News 44, 69, 97,
Beauty for Ashes Ch. 6 (and Hong Kong, and the movement of nations in the last century a concern), with News 98, News 37.
See Jeremiah is more than Jeremiad.
In this delightful chapter, you have a series of such fragrant concepts and charming kindness that it is all but overpowering. Thus the love of the Lord, His everlasting love begins the word (51:3): and it has a result - "therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you." Again He will act, in His time, to build! This He declares, and even in the precipice of desolation, impending, this vision is presented. He recommends them to proclaim, give praise and say, "O LORD, save Your people, the remnant of Israel."
It resembles the day of Britain as Hitler approach in the Battle for Britain; but in this case, the desolatory outcome for Israel in the short term was already sure, their centuries of dissonance and spiritual dispersion a prelude to a national and physical one.
The Lord however continues to show the return in its pathos and poignancy, its passion and its hope (Jeremiah 51:8-14). Such a joyful restoration is filled with pleasantness. Yet after this, there comes ruin indeed as we see the prelude to the crucifixion of the Messiah, not now the culmination of blessedness, but because of sin, the acme of defeat. This is as so often, and in particular in Psalm 22, 16, Isaiah 50-55, Zechariah 12. Just as there was a prelude in John the Baptist as forerunner to the Messiah (Isaiah 40:3 and 10), so there is a result to set the tone for what was to come. We hear of Rachel weeping for her children (Jeremiah 51:13-16), as the lust for power on the part of Herod brought about the famous Slaughter of the Innocents, as it is called. It was a relatively simple matter of slaying children in case any one of them would be the promised future King!
Yet Jeremiah 31 proceeds to indicate that this is not the end, that there is to be a work of grace still to be wrought, and that it will be rewarded. In 51:18, the Lord indicates,
"I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself,
You have chastised me, and I was chastised,
Like an untrained bull:
Restore me, and I will return,
For You are the LORD my God.
Surely after my turning, I repented;
And after I have instructed,
I struck myself on the thigh:
I was ashamed, yes, even humiliated,
Because I bore the reproach of my youth.
Is Ephraim My dear son?
Is he a pleasant child ?
For though I spoke against him,
I earnestly remember him still!
Therefore My heart yearns for him."
This deep love of God neither skimps on justice, whatever man does, not hesitates on truth; yet it is full of mercy and is willing to pay what it takes to redeem man.
Set up sign-posts! the word continues. Make landmarks. Set your heart toward the highway.
There is thus a thrust to return to grace, to find the right way, to resume the highway of holiness as in Isaiah 35, and to walk on it.
But how will this be accomplished ?
Turn back! the Lord continues. It is time to forget the gods of this earth and return to the Creator-Redeemer.
What is the signal then ?
It is clear, simple and comes next.
How long will you gad about ? How long will they seek any slithering substitute for grace, any slimy scheme instead of truth ?
Backsliding daughter is Israel now called (Jeremiah 31:22), but in tenderness it is so, for the next depiction shows a woman of a different kind. There is one who will encompass a man (*4A), and this is presented as a new thing: and so it is. This is a full parturition, something new. Where then is the Father ? It is as in Isaiah 9:6, where the Mighty God is the name of this child (cf. John 14:9, Divine Agenda Ch. 5), and thus it is possible to refer to Him in terms of 'everlasting Father', who it is the King of eternity who constitutes for man his reservoir of reality, his source, beginning and objective; and this is the God sent who comes to give His life to redeem among men (Isaiah 48:16) to bring from the temporal ruin to the eternal restoration, in spirit starting NOW.
This is the incarnation, and this is the manner of its depiction here, as it quickly moves to the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31). Thus we find that there is to be restoration by grace, and Jeremiah awakes having found the dream sweet. It is a remnant as we have just seen in Jeremiah; but the thing, it is one which is to be.
Individual responsibility will be the issue and each soul will answer to the Lord, and find the Lord or not (Jeremiah 31:27ff.). Indeed, there is, we now learn from Jeremiah 31:31ff., a New Covenant, one which indeed is to be written on the heart; and these things are more sure than astronomy and will surely come to pass (Jeremiah 31:35ff.).
So does the judgment meld into the grace, the destitution to come move into the restoration to follow. In this, the Messiah is the way, bringing grace to each who receives Him (as in Isaiah 53:10-11), while the New Covenant that results is paraded in its inner beauty and certainty. It is so in terms of the Prince of Peace, as in Isaiah, just as now in Jeremiah in its very institution through incarnation.
See the chapter on, Habakkuk. See also Importunity, Opportunity and Purity of Heart Ch. 3.
See on these themes in Jeremiah and Isaiah such files as these:
The Biblical Workman Ch. 1; Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 1 (Jeremiah);
With Heart ... Chs. 4 -7, Barbs ... 22, End-note 3 (Isaiah).