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LET THE COMMANDER COMMAND
The Preliminary Allegory
THE UNCOMFORTABLE COMFORT OF NO COMMANDS
They were all seated. It was a lovely aircraft, filled with food, comfortable seats, its well-stocked galley providing materials for ministration from adept and adroit air-hostesses. Rules of conduct were clear - for example, you were not permitted to indulge a desire to enter the cockpit and talk to the Captain, or to annoy by careless noise or aggressiveness, your fellow passengers.
Ethics had been worked on, to ensure that nobody could be fazed. Polite references to the physique, procedures and principles of others were de rigueur, if they were made at all. The envy of many others in the airline industry, they had only one weakness.
They had no idea where they were going.
Now the Captain was in a democratic mode, and although his safety and capacity to perform were guaranteed by the social rules and ethical concepts, it was by consultation with the passengers that the route was chartered. It appeared that the concept of destination had been downgraded to the point that it had actually been omitted. The purpose of the journey also had been discarded as too metaphysical. They were together, moving, fed and comfortable. As one of them had said, What more could you ask ?
Action, he had declared, this was the thing man needed, not sitting in the doldrums of depression or engaged in inscrutable talk about life. So they acted, and went, but nobody knew where. The subject was, not to make too fine a point of it, delicate. It was discerned by the discerning that there was here a potential conflict, so they were on until they crashed and were all killed, very ethically, and until the last moments, with great comfort.
COLLUSION WITH COLLISION
To the wiser among men - those who had not been on that aircraft - it soon became apparent that this was rather an inert way of handling things. Sparking spokesmen, sparse on top but not with words, inveighed with their ways into the multitude who consider such things. CONFRONTATION is what is needed. That soporific, supine substitute for flying had only one place to end, on the ground. It did. We cannot spare aircraft for that kind of folly. You need to assert yourself, make your plans definite, and get places, whatever the opposition, he had declared, and having a population of those with a faint recollection of fighting on beaches and blood and sweat and tears - metaphorically only of course, for there are no beaches in the air, the next aircraft took off. Confrontation is the way, get your own way and let no one dictate.
A small aircraft, not covered in the air-management frame of things, in order to facilitate independence of spirit and flight, appeared uncomfortably near to their now soaring airliner. The Captain glowered, and consulted with the passengers in the democratic mode. What do you think ? he asked. Is this the time for confrontation ? No, they answered with one voice - in fact, that of the Head Stewardess, which had a nice crisp, clear timbre, deemed suitable for rapid communication that mattered.
The Captain wondered at the failure to confront, but deeming it probably a case of the small craft not being a foe worthy of his steel, went on, mulling and considering. As they approached the first part of their flight plan, a small airport, the Captain realised that a first part implied a second, and asked the passengers if they had any ideas past been confrontational and making this first landing, as it might affect the fuel load he would take on, and since they had to be ready to confront anyone, anything, anywhere at any time, he needed an answer.
They consulted while he flew on, and seeing that they were already proceeding in a northerly direction, having left behind their small airport during decision-making, on checking with maps, they resolved that to save money, for someone always has to pay in these matters, they would go North. Selecting a moderate-sized airfield where he could refuel, and deciding next time to check sooner, he found the passengers desired next on their main plan, a target where tough stuff might be apt, so that their principles could be tested, giving that pleasant sense of getting on with things, for so they told the pilot.
Pleased, he refuelled approprriately and proceeded towards the new destination, and naturally, being a Captain of some forethought, he kept a fuel margin for confrontation, for as everybody knows, these are confrontational days in any case, and you never know how many confrontations you may have. Taking off with suitable power thrust, for a confidence builder, he proceeded North.
By this time, they were definitely getting into the Northern part of the Northern Hemisphere, which was all right in its way, except that it was growing cold. Ice was beginning to form on the wings. Rather like some of the little dogs which can seem so aggressive, he decided to come down to a lower level where he saw a brilliantly lit air-liner, coasting along with such extravagant ease, not a sign of ice, that it seemed a confrontation with such ostentatious well-being might be needed, to assure themselves that their self-esteem was warranted. Descending on this liner, he radioed a question: Would you kindly land!
This was disastrous, since the air-liner, suspecting - that it, its Captain suspecting - that this was more than a manoeuvre limited merely to securing psychological results, and possibly a preliminary to air piracy, replied with a confrontational mode of his acquaintance, deciding that anyway, this was a Western type aircraft, and one less would be good. He despatched a rocket and the aircraft of our acquaintance then descended to a destiny similar to that of the one before.
Back home, the folks were beginning to feel that there was a lack somewhere in their planning facility. Hence they consulted more vigorously. While, of course, no one could so commit himself or herself as to make an actual decision about where the aircraft should go, circumstances and conditions and developments always being fluid, so that one has to have scope for continual adaptation, it was felt that some sort of makeshift concept should be around, to enable more decisiveness.
Hence they decided to go South next time. Someone asked why go anywhere at all, but this was deemed frivolous, for people with energy have to go somewhere. Further, it was resolved after much metaphysical discussion, which vexed some, but not enough to prevent it, since death is so difficult when it comes to adaptation, and so upsetting for the concept of necessary motion, that confrontation was out. It is necessary to be peaceable, for then you could go further.
They took off, evacuating the airport as if it had been a rubbish dump, so keen were they for action and motion and doing things, and South they went. An airliner drew near, and its pilot indicated that they should land, as he had problems which he wished to discuss personally in a way mere verbal communication seemed inadequate to conclude, so the pilot, smirking a little and feeling most assured, not even bothering to ask the passengers on this occasion, since it could be too time-consuming in a crisis, which he deemed to have arisen, shot it down, feeling this most conducive to peace in the long run.
Confrontational! exclaimed the passengers in disgust, but since there was no alternative pilot on board, they merely simmered, and had their cocktails shaken more assiduously to ensure a smoother finish, wishing by this indirection also, to indicate to the Captain via the expected comments of the stewardess, that more smoothness was a thing needed. The Captain then deemed it politic to make an announcement, so he announced that the aircraft had made dictatorial remarks which could only indicate piracy, so that he had shot it down rather than allow the reciprocal to happen first.
The passengers were heavy in discussion as to whether this was really non-confrontational, until someone pointed out that they all wanted to survive, so that they could continue in being active and in motion, thus ensuring consent, apart from one or two who felt there was such a thing as what life was for, who were instantly deemed confrontational and arrested.
In a little, three fighter aircraft arrived on the scene, and one radioed the message, In view of your aggressive posture in not doing what one of our airliners asked you, courteously and with proper submission, for we believe in submission, we are going to shoot you down. You will have to shoot me up before you shoot me down, said our aircraft's pilot, as he despatched a missile which 'took out' one of the fighters, which, that is, its pilot, did not think much of this, as was true no less of his companion, who shot down the aircraft, thereby preventing the continuance of its passengers in the motion and action which, they felt, was the purpose of living.
THE PURPOSE OF LIVING
It is apparent from our allegory, that concepts of life being action and motion are distinctly short-sighted. There is also and always the question of WHERE you go while you act, and WHAT you accomplish while you move. It is not only values and priorities, such as the passengers endorsed for the cabin-conduct, but direction and destination, for which these are good, or possibly bad, procedures en route.
There can be no destiny, other than that to which motion goes, and no point, other than action and motion, unless there is purpose for the flight in the first place. Moreover, it is not only a question of direction, North or South, translocation on this globe, but the purpose behind such direction, so that it has a point, a reason and an end in view, other than merely ending the motion. Again, the democracy is far superior to some braggart dictating his superficial flightiness, but its relative slowness which may be conjoined with relative sureness, is of little point if there is no concept of the end in view, or mere argumentation about it, without light or understanding, like rats scuffling, or bees in a dither.
Actually, bees tend not to dither, but apparently issue by such means as dances, purposes in view, such as getting food 1.2 kilometres due South-East, in whatever form they divulge discovered food supplies. But with men the question arises: What do you intend to do with the energy from the food ? In what direction do you intend to move ? And when some say this, It does not matter, just eat and act, then others may say, No, but I think it would be nice to destroy your buildings, and when asked why, they say, We are under command!
Now commands have
their point. A doctor's orders are not without merit in many cases, and may
prolong life or increase its energy; but for what ? A Parliament's commands,
called law, may increase the peacefulness of its citizens, and ensure that there
are many things they do not do, but for what purpose ? Is it, as in Victoria
apparently at this time, that poor sunken State of spiritual incarceration as it
in danger of becoming, to ensure that no one's feelings are ruffled in race,
religion or major objectives ? so that even if you mean only well, your words if
TAKEN TO BE offensive, may land you in prison. Is offensiveness then the last
commandment of this last part of the Age ? Thou shalt not offend!
What however if it is offensive to the one who is told, Thou shalt not offend! because he/she feels that the offence taken is merely fraudulent, factitious, meretricious, a psychological pretence to gain money, or to evacuate it from your own person, in hope of reducing you to ruin in revenge, or sheer competitiveness ?
If nothing else performs such a task, the legal fees might do so, as incredibly but actually, the cost of assault by legal means on the part of the allegedly offended one, is apparently able in the Victorian case, to be borne by the State, whereas his or her appointed legal victim has to pay for defence. Paying lawyers is, it seems, a rather draining experience.
Naturally enough then, whether for reasons of principle, that the thing objected to was necessary for a good State, or for reasons of pocket, that the thing is offensively intrusive into due liberty of ideas and expression for good, the person deemed to be offensive might find his being thought offensive, itself to be contrary to his religion, values and priorities, and institute legal action. It seems there could be rather a lot of it, unless of course it is not permitted to find offensive the offensiveness of others who deem innocent meaning things offensive, and being offended, want it amended with lots of money and/or prison to teach just how important NOT being offensive, in their case at least, really is.
Here appears scope for negative directional dealing at a near to arbitrary level, whether or not sanctioned by some current cultural concept, raised to something nearing its epitome. Moslem states often do much the same, with people clamouring and claiming that some prophet has not had a square deal concerning things said about him, so that someone who thinks differently from this prophet would be better dead, and so is killed, if not by law, then by mob action. In this case, it is not just financial death, but physical, of course, so that the matter is taken, in practice, rather further, though there are keen and acute resemblances in principle.
It is difficult to make the purpose of living be to avoid offence. A mouse can be offended even at the presence of rats, especially so when the REASON for their being held offensive (that is, the rats) is not relevant. It is difficult to make the purpose of living, to live. You are always getting somewhere, in terms of enmity or friendship, towards all-embracive inoffensiveness, so that you believe and seek NOTHING but living on, so that others can tell the Captain in government what to do, and he does it; or other nations by war suggest to you, or by the threat of it, what to do or not to do, as in the Middle East.
There has, in short, to be a purpose FOR living other than just living, for action other than just acting, since direction is always implicit, and if not sought, can be imposed! Hitler did it, al Qaeda as if an heir, is seeking to do it, Islam in many nations and in alliances, is seeking to do it, and of course however evil these violences and dictatorial ways, they serve one good purpose. They show up the need to have purpose in life, as well as a stolid desire simply to continue living.
Direction and purpose for life are implicit in its exceedingly articulate commands in the DNA and in the genome, which provide a nice and relatively stable basis for the occupier of such equipment, to resolve how to use it. It does not keep dying or wandering about in an uncontrollable manner, since it is the subject of COMMAND in the DNA. Orders abound, taking up the equivalent of many hundreds of large volumes of text, telling everything just what to do, and by and large, it does it: cancer being one exception so notable that it has a bad name.
Towards what is man then directed, other than to simply existing ? Is a pen for existing ? is a pig for existing ? is a garden for existing ? is it made in order that it might exist ?
For what then does man exist ? Naturally there are many human opinions, as on the aircraft in our allegorical situations; and these often lead to war, and aircraft being shot down, with dismal deeds attending; and so strong is the sense of purpose, in such shootings, that sometimes humankind becomes human-unkind, although via DNA it still has a kind of format which is readily recognised.
In the plethora of competing purposes for life, then, death is often the way of it, such as millions of soldiers dead in World War I, and even since World War II, as in Iraq-Iran little differences within Islam, each believing in submission as is de rigueur in this matter, but having diverse concepts of WHO is to do the submitting, those submerging millions in the dust, as to their bodies, in an endeavour to ascertain the answer to this question.
It really does loom large in history. Someone wants someone else's land, or capital city, or wealth, or reputation, or leadership, or pride of life, or dominance, or predominance, and proceeds to take it. Again, someone thinks that someone else really needs, for religious reasons, to submit to their ministrations, as with the Taliban, and perhaps conceives further that women are largely for men, not so much persons, so that they really ought not to be seen very much, even if vitamin D lack resulting from all this cover-up, spoils their health.
This submission is a submission which one could not support, since it is arbitrary, unkind, cruel and thoughtless, submerging part of the race on grounds of physiology and the part taken in reproducing the race, to the dictates of others, who act as if theirs was the command of life, not the courtesy of occupying a place in it. There is a place for presidency, but not oppression. In Christianity the love of the wife is to be sacrificial on the part of the husband, having the sense of service implied in Christ's love of the Church. This gives to woman a place which feminism merely arrogates, and masculinism denies.
Yet what of purpose more generally ? What of predilection or even addiction to instituting purposes, one creature for another, and making it in some lethal way, obligatory if the other is to remain living, or suggesting this scenario, an increasingly common phenomenon in the world of men ? What then is the purpose ? Its necessity, always present, is thus focussed, not only by a pathological tendency to forget the issue, but by other pathological tendencies to arrogate it by force.
The question has been brought vigorously to the attention of those increasing finding delight in freedom without responsibility, liberty without love and sentiment without reality. They have been reminded by Hitler, and General Toyo, and by Idi Amin, and by Islamic hordes in the Sudan, or by Egypt via Nasser, as by more recent power braggarts that there are purposes in life; and that for man to forget his dimension, the direction of his dynamic and the point for his protoplasm does not excise it. Ignoring the clouds does not produce rain; and ignoring the rain, does not reduce floods. What is there has to be considered.
Ah but! say some, but, but, but don't you see that there is no end of all this purpose business, so we make it our business in a purposeless sort of way, to do what comes naturally, to try to adjust contrary claims and to negotiate everything.
First is that visibly what comes naturally ? Second, on what basis would you negotiate ? on the basis that purposes are useless ? If so, how is it not useless to try this sort of approach ? After all, it has its own purpose, which is to ignore truth, give it up, and making man master, see how he can continue to live for no particular reason, maximising his power to move and act without collision. That is in itself a purpose.
This blindness is not likely to lead to a lack of collision, as is the case with all blindness, when the particular things to which the person is blind, become operative. Ah well, say they, perhaps we can persuade man not to worry about things, and just to live! But the state of the world suggests that this approach is also, just blind. You do not so truncate truth and reality in the interests of convenience, since some find it convenient to occupy with this or that, the fields vacated, or even use them for a base for bombardment.
What things are to be excised from the human consciousness in the interests of maximising motion and action, then ? Why, WHERE and WHY we are going, WHERE we come from, WHERE we go to, WHY the equipment in our beings, so gloriously subservient to our purposes, was given and what is due to us to do with it, in terms of responsibility, what life is for! (cf. That Magnificent Rock, What is Life for ?).
Ah but, they say, it is not for anything. Our commands commanded themselves, inventing the speech, the technology, the integration and the executive machinery all at once, so that it worked, since not working would be deadly, a weight on living if it had to happen in bits. The concept of command commanded itself into existence, commandeered the materials, seized on the precision of command in the same way, so that the meaning for symbolism, the meaning of symbolism, the method of issuing and the means of obeying, together with the assorted materials were all created at the same time, and so it just was.
Excellent, I say, it was all created
at the same time. But what gives commands ? Why a commander!
And what is needed for command ? Why an articulator of propositions in a form and with functional correlation so that it is meaningfully inscribed; for if it is not meaningful, it is not a command but a noise. And what is needed for articulation of propositions to effect purpose ? Why a mind. And what is needed for the deployment of a mind ? why one understanding the usage of such an agency for purpose. And what is needed for purpose ? why a person. Very well, so there was immediate creation: we agree.
The next question is this one: WHY was it done! Ah, we do not know, they say. Suppose we LOOK! one suggests.
Past all the material inscribed with command, organised by procedures, there is what is not dependent on such things, since all such things require the Commander. In Him, if we are to be logical, there must be no written commands, only election, purpose and will to perform. If ever He were not there, nothing would ever be there, since there would be no reason for anything, so that unless you forsake reason, nothing would be there. You are I being here, that is not so, it is not the case that nothing is therre, manifestly, in a sort of noetic laboratory experiment.
Here we are.
Hence this non-material Being is there, and has always been there, for non-existence at any time means non-existence for all time, which is not the case. Hence this eternal Being is there, and commands. If there were several of these, they would need the institutor of the system in which they co-operate, or of themselves and of the system in concert, in which they inhered, so that there is therefore one from whom our systems proceed, who has commanded the substructure which we use, in making war and peace, in making plans and purposes, in differing and wounding, in issuing commands the one to the other, and annulling them, and then warring and killing, stealing and robbing, and becoming increasingly human-unkind instead of human-kind, begging the powers of asteroids and disease, want and earthquakes to shake us up into some kind of sense, which, under God as He predicted in Matthew 24, is PRECISELY what they are doing (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8).
We do other things on this earth, but when it comes to arson, fires are easier to light than buildings to build, and hatred is easier to ignite than love to find, and revenge is easier to indulge, that forbearance to weight; and ignorance and blindness, wilfully chosen, are easier to be given platitudinous names, than assured life in peace!
It is kind to confront madness, rather than to let it inure life to the point of destructive distraction; and when some millenia have been devoted to man's hearing the Gospel of the kind command of his Commander, and the result is an indifference verging on a fever of the brain, and a conceit verging on paranoia, and a naturalism*1, as if the book wrote itself before it had been put there, and then inventing itself, put the words in too, despising reason and the Commander alike, veering towards the schizoid: what can you expect ?
Millions do not so self-destruct ? Very possibly, but their percentage is small, for when someone escapes the inane lure of naturalism, he finds the contrary command of invalid false prophets appealing; or the need to disdain all purpose overpowering, so that it becomes his purpose in stark self-contradiction; or the need to have peace at any price irresistible, and then they fight over this and that that concerns said peace, and the world whirs away on its action, motion program toward deserved disaster.
To be sure this too is predicted in phases (Matthew 24:35, Isaiah 51:6, Revelation 19-20, after 6), but that is only the external reminder. Internally, few find the path that is narrow enough to follow the Commander, and that is just what Christ declared (Matthew 7:15ff.). It is so.
Then arrives and flourishes brilliant idea of infiltrating churches - the USSR was marvellously clever at it when KGB personnel could even masquerade as clerics in the WCC, things becoming clearer in the post-Krushchev era, and they could deny the relevance of the supernatural, as in the PC of NZ when this author was a Minister in it (but not for much longer after that) in 1966, denouncing this sort of folly*2 in Assembly, with predictable results. This is great for confusion, since it means that any ultimately purposeless government, intent on motion and action without meaning, has to deal with the 'churches', it simply asks those who have been infiltrated, having in some major cases now, homosexual confrontation with the God of the Bible*3, delighting in the deplorable, sacking the Bible, just as they long had other means of confrontation with this Commander*4, using a cover of a book for their own contents more and more, and they say whatever they want, in reply to the Government, which is most pleased. Increasingly, such think alike.
In this, such 'churches' proceed, assigning the Bible to the concept of resource book, but feeling very resourceful themselves, not finding much need for it.
For man, the only validated and verified book of COMMAND*5 is thus by many disregarded, and yes, many believe it and follow it; but name ONE government which does! Enough said.
When therefore the Commander is countermanded by a confused democracy, or His commands are counterfeited in an elaborate work of unverified unreason, manifestly contrary to fact*6, and then more and more of these factitious substitutes for reason and truth appear, oozing in and out of the actual validated and verified, well-tested and long checked command book, there is only one result.
The orderly becomes disorderly, the works of mutual benefit, turn swiftly to mere aggression, confrontation and callowly juvenile attitudes, the work of spuming flesh and fuming desire. The world grows short of food, of content, divisions arise and hate each other, clamour against each other, whatever God has said is more and more actively derided, often by means of reason which meanwhile ludicrously deems reason to have no validity itself, and the concertina of action and noise proceeds near to the unhallowed halls of hell. This is only a beginning of sorrows (cf. Matthew 24:7-8). Let us hear the word of Christ here.
"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
That had to happen, for the Commander said it would, and in practical verifiable terms, ALWAYS what He says, in proper sequence, happens. There are simply no exceptions, and the same applies to the Old Testament, both in retrospective statements and predictions, and this exactly as God said would be the case (Isaiah 41:21-24):
" 'Present your case,' says the Lord.
'Bring forth your strong reasons,' says the King of Jacob.
'Let them bring forth and show us what will happen;
Let them show the former things, what they were,
That we may consider them,
And know the latter end of them;
Or declare to us things to come.
"Show the things that are to come hereafter,
That we may know that you are gods;
Yes, do good or do evil,
That we may be dismayed and see it together.
Indeed you are nothing,
And your work is nothing ...' "
God invites us to
check His word, the book of the Lord (Isaiah 34:16), that Bible which pointed to
Christ is confirmed by Him, and contains His confirmed further forecast. Indeed, t is checked these millenia,
and it is
1) unique in
being so testable, in principle,
2) unique in
being so munificently testable not in odd spots, but in vast tracts of time
3) unique in
being testable concerning things past and future, prediction and
4) unique in
providing comprehensive comprehensibility concerning all things
5) unique in
being incapable of being shown wrong in these matters*6,
*5, despite the concerted
6) unique in
making detailed predictions, both of trend and specifics,
7) unique in
correctly forecasting man's desire to escape
8) unique in
providing a remedy for man's angry irrationalities and inane misconceptions,
9) unique in
providing justice for man, and in love both securing justice ON HIM,
10) unique in
signalling in hundreds of specialised references,
In this way, command becomes as with a doctor, for good, not for invasion; and liberty becomes not for insurgency against God or each other, but for the expression of truth, love and kindness, all in place, the purpose of the aircraft if you will, its flight intention, its code of conduct, its destiny and its plan, all alike in place, with NOTHING MISSING. The Bible is also unique in this. It omits nothing, provides everything, and does not force, which would dump freedom, make God the author of sin, and grind the massive jaws of truth into oblivion; but rather does it draw, exhort, appeal, giving freedom its place under God, evil its condemnation and sin its guilty fibre.
It is important, therefore, to realise that there is command for the spirit of man, as well as for his body, the former allowed to roam inanely if it will, wisely if it will, the latter kept - considering the mutinies multitudinous of mankind - in marvellous condition for man's operation, like the aircraft in our allegory. It is the pilot, man, who is the problem.
These commands as John indicates (I John 5), are not grievous. Let us audit this.
"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one who love Him who begot, loves him also who is begotten by him.
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.
"Who is he that overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
This essence of this command ALONE, and its authority, then, is in accord with that faculty which God has given us, reason, so that a reason for the hope that is within us who are His, may be provided and meet all the requirements. One of these is to be found in scientific method, just to mention one aspect alone, as nothing else even begins to do (cf. SMR pp. 140ff., TMR Ch. 1, 8). This command ALONE looks over history as a teacher over his pupils, and it is all in order before it, not a hair out of place in any of the centuries. The command concerns Christ as the ONLY WAY, Christ as the site for the redemption in love, Christ as the site for authority, the focus of faith, the object of faith, the reward of faith, the power of salvation and the provided of command.
It is in Him that all is realised,
fulfilled, and from Him that we find confirmed that unremitting authority of the
book of the Lord, which prescribing His coming, is also prescribed by Him:
Matthew 5:17-20, 24:35
(cf. SMR Appendix D). Small wonder that He NOT ONLY authorised His disciples to preach the Gospel to every creature, but to TEACH ALL THINGS WHATEVER HE COMMANDED (Matthew 28:19-20), for His mouth is not divorced from His deity, nor from His mission, nor is man divorced, who loves Him, from the mind of Christ, presented in such grace in such a place as accorded to Him, standing for all time (cf. Ephesians 1:10, Matthew 24:35).
What it says GOES.
What does not go, is man, in vast millions if not billions of cases, thus ensuring judgment, since mercy is despised (cf. Hebrews 10:29ff., 12).
This is sad, even deplorable; and yet, what is adorable is this, that at any time, man, not through some junta or not by some permission, ANY MAN may come to the Commander and repent and seek pardon, coming in faith to receive the commander's bounty, available because of the commands which He KEPT, when He came and DID THE JOB which man failed to do: ALWAYS doing what was commanded, and yet in a liberty so profound as to leave the world gaping, that He could and did agonise about doing the worst and first of His responsibilities, dying with sin of others, as a badge on Him, while accounted a criminal to those for whose sins He made Himself so freely available (Isaiah 53:4-12).
THAT sort of commander (Isaiah 55:4) is to be commended, admired, and that God is to be worshipped with heart, for having made the all but inexpressibly wonderful gift of liberty, He has provided the yet more kindling gift of love, and this done, with action FOR love TO SECURE redemption, He has provided man time to survey, to consider, and the world a whole in time, that many might find the God who created them, loved them and has paid for their restoration, as many as receive this same Christ.
He has done all of this to the glory of His name, that man WITH liberty might also be restored to blessed reality in Himself, from consorting with comrades of mind, spirit or body whose purpose is resentment not gratitude, or dominance not discretion, self-will and not finding freely the part created.
Thus restored and now in the very company of God, the purpose is found to love one another, after God Himself, then so to live that peace is filled with the joint purpose for all, of the Creator, and meaning is found in the diversity of vocations dowered (Romans 12, Ephesians 4), while authority is found in the Author, whose depth is our delight, whose splendour our wonder and whose constancy is our basis of loyalty, who never fails, whose love never dims, who resources are never restricted, whose creativity knows no limit, to know whom is a walk in wonder. Always His by creation, we then become His by regeneration (Titus 3:5ff.).
Thus turning to Him whose we are (John 1:12), we become His more deeply as we no more ponder or wander, but receive Him as He is in the way He has provided and follow Him whose fidelity is infinite (John 10:27-28, I John 3:1-9).
Then we become children of God, and live not in imaginary self-creation, but in the faithful and splendid aura of our Creator, the most delicious destiny conceivable. Cherishing one another with that concern that is enlightened with the understanding that God gives, with those common objectives which make it meaningful and apt, we realise the purpose of loving God beyond all, finding the felicity of His ways, discovering ever afresh, the depth of His counsel, the joy of His fellowship, the cordiality of His friendship.
But with many it is not so, whether by force of retarding will, desired thrill, selfish dynamic, auto-accolades, debased digression or any other of the contrivances of contempt, the riot of unreason, the paraphernalia of autonomy or the heritage of folly.
While disaster upon disaster strikes this world, because of the short shrift the spirits of millions are giving to the divine mercy of its Commander, as if, by comparison, the DNA became inveterately cancerous and congratulated itself meanwhile on such attainments - it looks for ever new ways of sidestepping the issue, ever new hopes despite inveterate failure of all hopes over all millenia, of finding the magical substitute for God.
It does not find what is not there; its temper disconsolate or aggressively intemperate, like a manic-depressive, drugging the while, as if this could restore peace or power, and utilising means of expressing love on the one hand, and securing reproduction on the other, as if this were a toy for the intemperate, a make-weight for the spiritually thin. In this, its only aid is Aids, which it spreads to others through its indulgence, its disregard of design, and its designs on the life given by the Designer, devastated increasingly by those spiritually seduced.
In the case of organic evolution, this seduction of spirit has become so ludicrous that it beats the comics for sheer fun. There is no mechanism, and yet it goes; there is no propulsive power for advance, and yet it advances; there is no information increment over the generations in principle and tested practice, and yet it increases; there is vast decrease of information and design over the ages, and yet it increases (cf. *1 below).
So sadly does mindless immorality squander mercy, and the aircraft which we have been considered from the outset ? one at a time over time, they crash. Instead, we look for passengers in the aircraft of Christ, which knows where it is going and why and with what and with whom: and entrance is free, as in Isaiah 55, with which we close.
"Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
"Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
"Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.
"Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
A leader and commander for the people."
|WHY, said Jesus the Christ, do you call Me, LORD, LORD,|
and not do the things that I say" (Luke 6:46).
SEE ALSO IN THIS FIELD AND THEME: News 82.
For other Allegories - try this site.
See News 44, Wake Up World! ...
Chs. 4, 5, 6,
Secular Myths and Sacred Truth ...
Chs. 7, 8, and Earth Spasm ... Chs. 1, 7 , TMR Chs. 1, 8, SMR Chs. 1 - 2.
The actual folly denounced was that of the failure to affirm the bodily resurrection of Christ, reasons and scripture provided IN ASSEMBLY in 1966, when the Assembly's Resurrection Statement was proposed, and FORMALLY condemned by this author as a Minister of the Presbyterian Church of NZ at that time, and an Assembly member. As the offending theological teacher in this NZ Church at that time, however, had also intimated that the supernatural was not a thing au fait with the needs of the 20th century man, it is apparent that the two are intimately related. Indeed, since the supernatural power of God is the issue, and the use of it, resurrecting the dead which Christ had Himself done in the cases of the son of the widow of Nain and of Lazarus most notoriously, after several days, is the application, the one clearly involves the other.
Having officially condemned that Assembly resurrection statement as apostate, unscriptural and anti-Christian, unreasonable and treasonable to Christ, the author did not find it necessary to say more, some 17000 words of testimony being FORMALLY presented to Assembly, as the law of the church permitted, to articulate the horror of which they stood guilty. The act of dissent from that notorious Statement was formal, public and in the presence of the entire Assembly. Following the failure of the Church to return to the word which revelation gives and reason demands, one changed to an American church in 1967, transferring in 3 days, in a sort of literary parallel to the deed on which one stood (Matthew 17:23), and for which one suffered such vilifying.
*3 See The Defining Drama Chs. 4, 5, News 23.
Cf. SMR pp.
699, with News 121,
122, and Unity in index,
Stepping Out for Christ Ch. 6,
Joy ... Ch. 2 .
See Ch. 4, *2 above, SMR Chs. 1, 3, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6 -7, TMR Chs. 5, 7, Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Sparkling Life ... Ch. 4.
See More Marvels... Ch. 4, SMR pp. 1080ff., 65ff., and index. Cf. SMR pp. 68ff., 377ff., 1185ff..
Excursion on the Sovereign Majesty that Knows Man's Freedom,
and yet Knows what it is to be,
and says do in Advance with Fluent Ease
The whole tenor of the work and word of the prophets has a poise, confidence, and a penalty from those who could not gainsay or overturn the word of God through them - which frequently the nation simply did not WANT to follow, or the king, or both: it is something that is characteristic. Thus Jeremiah suffered abuse of person and body, even to the point of sinking in a stinking well, and requiring rescue with old rags to protect his arms from the rages of the nobles and the proud, who wanted to going on sinning as a nation, NOT be conquered by the enemy, and NOT have to listen to the reproofs and admonitions of the Lord.
This did NOTHING to reduce the power, impact or tenacity of his admonitions, as he delivered the word of God, and in fact the king himself, when things were becoming clearer to his detriment, came begging for help, bringing the prophet out of his confinement for the purpose. Jeremiah gave him a wonderful opportunity for deliverance, but lacking faith, the King did not take it. The terms and conditions were the same: REPENT and RETREAT from folly, and trust in the Lord and follow Him; or else find the judgment which folly makes inevitable.
WHEN, as Jeremiah had for so long predicted, and at that, done so with the extraordinary compassion of making various offers, including a last minute one JUST TO HONOUR THE DAY OF REST and avoid the toil of secular work on that day (Jeremiah 17:19ff.), the people yet did not obey, you see the combination of tenderness and truculence. There is no other way, and pity does not prevail to create a path for sin, but rather a way for return to the Lord. Without that, only judgment remained.
This marvellous offer, so simple and searching, alas, was one which was summarily ignored. Thus the anger of the Lord proceeded at that chronic, inveterate and impudent rebelliousness, including cruelty to one another; and imperiousness in the pursuit of sin continued, so that it could be covered, as it would, if by any means they had returned to the Lord. Indeed, if they HAD heeded, even then, the devastation and horror, yes the appalling tortures inflicted upon them by the invading Babylonians would have been avoided.
But they would not heed.
God knew this, and what He would do, and to Him the chaste beauty of love and judgment, mercy and appeal, with Himself the bearer of the sin burden for those who seek Him so that it might be removed from their own shoulders, in conjunction with prophecy on the one hand, and performance on the other, is a thing not difficult, since He knows all in advance, and has in fact wrought what will be with the knowledge that does not merely penetrate the future, but forms it, all things before Him as in space, so in time (cf. Predestination and Freewill Section III). Let us however return to the dealings with ancient Israel.
They would not heed at the beginning, in the middle or at the end, so that by the time of Ezekiel's word in Ch. 14, the situation was irrevocable, and both emphatically and dramatically so. It is necessary to realise the strength of the forces, the contrariety of prophet and people in these things, the confrontation and the result. If there was the slightest error, how the people would stomp on the prophetic restraint, but there never was, and they could only resort to violence when the prophetic appeals and corrections occurred.
Consider therefore this dénouement when rejected appeal was followed by finality in the judgment to come - and it DID come as you see in the Lamentations of Jeremiah, one of the most appalling exhibition of the needless suffering of chronic, intemperate rebellion you could ever with to see, unless at Auschwitz, for Israel even to that day had not repented.
"The word of the Lord came again to me, saying:
'Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it:
Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,' says the Lord God.
'If I cause wild beasts to pass through the land, and they empty it, and make it so desolate that no man may pass through because of the beasts:
Even if these three men were in it, as I live,' says the Lord God, 'they would deliver neither sons nor daughters; only they would be delivered, and the land would be desolate.
'Or if I bring a sword on that land, and say, Sword, go through the land, and I cut off man and beast from it, 18"even though these three men were in it, as I live," says the Lord God, "they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but only they themselves would be delivered.
'Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out My fury on it in blood, and cut off from it man and beast:
Even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live,' says the Lord God, 'they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.'
"For thus says the Lord God:
'How much more it shall be when I send My four severe judgments on Jerusalem - the sword and famine and wild beasts and pestilence - to cut off man and beast from it?
'Yet behold, there shall be left in it a remnant who will be brought out, both sons and daughters; surely they will come out to you, and you will see their ways and their doings.
'Then you will be comforted concerning the disaster that I have brought upon Jerusalem, all that I have brought upon it. And they will comfort you, when you see their ways and their doings; and you shall know that I have done nothing without cause that I have done in it,' says the Lord God.' "
(Colour emphasis added for expository purposes.)
Notice in this passage in Ezekiel 14, the three refrains of ultimate discipline coming: the best of saints could not prevent what was then to come to impenitent Jerusalem! In such a city, they would deliver only themselves; the rest of the people could not be so covered.
Imagine what the people would have done if THAT did not happen, and Jerusalem in any case had continued after the summary judgment was finally pronounced: the whole prophetic power would lapse. But the way of it was always one, entreaty, and if resistance should become chronic over time, sometimes a long time, and if revival, should it come, and thoughts of return lapsed, while evil resumed or grew worse, then perhaps after many exhortations and remonstrations, offers and challenges, practical and powerful, the time would come when the discipline would occur.
Better disciplined than dead!
Better disciplined than continually wrong, for that matter!
WHEN THEREFORE, it had all happened, and only a small remnant, residue of the people were left amid the ruins and their surrounds, and the Governor for Babylon had been murdered, such was the wantonry for so long in the land, the people were still amazingly full of their own thoughts and desires, almost as if nothing had happened in terms of pride and assertiveness, that they asked Jeremiah what they should do.
They assured him that it was only what the Lord would say that mattered (Jeremiah 42:5-6). The author had a similar experience in one pastorate, where this was the prior claim, but when the issue came from the word of God, it was NOT what it said, but what they wanted prevailed, and continuance in rebellion against the word of God was not an option for me. Rebellion can bear its own company. What however of Jeremiah in his ministry to Jerusalem, after it was duly destroyed ?
Jeremiah, then, told the remaining people NOT to go to Egypt, and that with good reason. Egypt ? it was there that Nebuchadnezzar was going, in order to subjugate that land also. If the Jewish remnant travelled there, they would only be, in effect, going from one tornado in their own land, to the next one in Egypt. But they refused this counsel from the Lord, and they told the prophet that the word of God had not come from him, arguing speciously to avoid the fact that Jeremiah had already been shown ONLY TOO RIGHT, since their city was in ruins. Accordingly, and fatally, even with their people in large numbers removed to Babylon, the remnant ignored the simple fact that the prophet Jeremiah had counselled them to follow the word of God in the first place, and they insisted on going to Egypt.
Often bitten, never shy!
There, in Egypt, of course Nebuchadnezzar did come in his invasive furies; but our point here is this. Jeremiah at the instance of the Lord, told them to place stones in Tahpanhes, where they had proceeded, for there would the throne of Nebuchadnezzar be put. It is this practicality, persistence, flair, fearlessness, which is so impressive. It is no merely legal matter of words; it is thunderously clear, pointedly obvious to the eyes, dramatically incisive, and then done. If anything had not been done, which had been uttered in the name of the Lord, the death penalty was for the false prophet who would so say (Deuteronomy 18:20-22); but these were not of this kind.
As to the prophets of the Old Testament, again and again they suffered for truth, and truth was their warrant in the name of the Lord, and history their testimony.
Jeremiah in all this is of course a type of Christ, who WAS and is the truth, who told Jerusalem of its opportunity to take Him as its LORD in sacrificial atonement for sin, but in the main, they would not, no they would not come in faith to Him, were not willing as He summarily states both in Matthew 23:37ff., Luke 19:42ff., so that AS A RESULT, "your house will be left to you, desolate", and of course it was. That occurred in AD 70, with a Roman thoroughness which took stone from stone and salted the ground.
It is most pleasing to be able to observe that they had some 40 years in which to repent before THAT happened also, and in that time the apostles had presented near and far, the Gospel, to the rulers of Jerusalem as to others (cf. Acts 4, 5, 12), and the news had spread widely, with marvellous dealings from the Lord, including those through Paul, in successive and amazing testimony of many kinds (cf. Acts 13-16). Courage was as always needed, and clarity as piercing as a diamond drill (cf. Acts 4:17-22, 5:29-32).
Indeed, there is a majesty in the very concepts of divine diction resulting in particular prophetic pronouncements, apart from the performance. Look for example at Ezekiel 29:17ff.:
"And it came to pass in the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, that the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
'Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to labor strenuously against Tyre; every head was made bald, and every shoulder rubbed raw; yet neither he nor his army received wages from Tyre, for the labor which they expended on it.
'Therefore thus says the Lord God:
‘Surely I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he shall take away her wealth, carry off her spoil, and remove her pillage; and that will be the wages for his army. I have given him the land of Egypt for his labor, because they worked for Me,’ says the Lord God.' "
Not only does the LORD state what is to happen, He states WHY this is so, and can move whole nations in the performance of the judicious exhibition of His will, so that men might know that the very nations are like a drop in the bucket before His sovereign power (Isaiah 40:15). This is far from a lack of mercy, merely a preliminary, in that very chapter of Isaiah, to giving ground for seeking Him, so that those who seek the Lord will rise up like eagles, renewing their strength, when even young men will fail.