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HUMILITY, REALISM AND
THE REGRESS OF PRIDE
The Australian, December 23, 2004
THE BACKWARD DANCE OF MAN'S ROMANCING
When backwardness is voluntary ....
The preference for the price of pride is costly
The advance of mankind is spectacular indeed, notable, impactive and near its end.
It is advancing backwards, its engines roaring, with great enthusiastic leaps and bounds in the cockpit as the hi-tech thrust expands its potencies, ever honed, ever bursting with a sort of undivine rage, a contagion of clustering aims, to own, order, direct or possess the universe, and lord it over all.
Some want in addition to lord it over some of mankind as well, and act on that basis, sometimes as in Communism, by becoming unelected rulers without restraint, above law, but appealing to law as their basis, in a universe allegedly made of chance in one the most ridiculously self-contradictory concoctions of the fevered brow or intellectual desperados ever known.
It is one of these retrograde rockets that this constitutes, and frantic fiction that it is, it is by no means the worst antilogy; for if the contest were for the most disordered thought, the greatest piece of chicanery in consort with incomprehension, there would be many other entrants (cf. Aviary of Idolatry, Stepping Out For Christ Ch. 2), all gifted in their own particular premises. All have in view the infra-red technique to see in the dark, it seems, but lack the equipment; for in this darkness, there IS no light.
The gift of being liberated in order to oppressed in one of the greatest gimmicks of man; and it is the associate of pride, for when such ludicrous options for disorderly thought are invoked, it is always in the name of something MAN has invented.
This is the drift, whether the appeal be to 'Nature', which is merely the name for a set of componencies which are ordered and related, but do not make themselves; or to 'society' which is the name for a set of rules and procedures invented by man with the minds given to them; or to 'history' which is actually the name for the passage of time in the sphere where man's mind can reach, and has nothing to do with the its own creation, which involves the material, mental and spiritual ingredients, and their environment, at the hand of One competent to make such things, far above man, who is merely competent to use them. As to that, man is far the most competent of the array of visible designs, at that. In the nursery, indeed, some are better than others; but unfortunately it tends systematically to be forgotten, that they are all young children...
These processes are noted in Dastardly Dynamics ... Ch. 10 (slightly extended).
Others refuse to have God or gods, and so make themselves or the race into these things, by inventing ethics, inventing causes that do not exist or display themselves, and inventing life, and then living it. They do not succeed, even if they disclaim their goddishness, when acting as gods, but without the power or prerequisites of God.
You get it in biology, with survival playing creator, and chance authorising law (in oblivion of scientific method cf. TMR Ch. 1,SMR pp. 140ff.); you get it in psychology, with humanism’s crypto-divine powers surging from past to present with a meaning which needs the authority of religion for support, as Jung began to see (cf. SMR Ch. 4); in economics at its most expansive, with presumed passions of man hideously limited to one, and made to invent history as if the immaterial prioritisation of the material were in some way relevant to the truth; as in religion, with someone or other having some visions or other without support, validity or ground (cf. More Marvels Ch. 4, SMR pp. 1032ff., Things Old and New Chs. 9, 10, Epilogue, Appendix), and then directing the world with a bomb, or rockets, or a scimitar, or torture screws and so on.
ALL of these things are irrational, without possible validity, founded on the foundling, man without God, without meaning, seeking to surge into the artificially created vacuum with pretended and often pretentious solidity. They are one and all the simple expression of man’s perversion from God, into religious or irreligious objets d’art (metaphysical branch), which are proposed as if taste could invent truth, or preference become the matrix of life. Hence is explained their otherwise inexplicably tenuous, absurdly irrational, continually invalid premisses, which for men to follow without such passion, would amount to absurdity.
The rationale is not too difficult: To deny God is absurd; so finding a substitute, like hunger seeking for grass where no food is, impels man where neither reason nor truth can come; but where vacuity or cruelty love to linger.
What then of such magics and myths, one and all of them ? (cf. Secular Myths…, A Spiritual Potpourr), the metaphysical misfits (SMR Ch. 3), the slavering substitutes for truth, the divorcees from reality ? They do but exhibit in biographical form,
v the SYMPTOMS of artificial spirituality, or
v the RESULTS of pretended unspirituality.
Both are sourced alike; each presents the same face; and neither has ever given nor could ever give man any rest. Denying causality, they use it in the very matrix of speech and logic; using causality, they truncate it, invoking what is delimited and defined as the basis for itself in a way horrendous to contemplate from a logical perspective, for invoking what bears the imprint of the made but not the generic for its genesis, to make itself requires its facility to that end, and this not being the evidential nature of the made, it is merely perfunctory mouthing
Coming from and in the severed frame built by God and for God, from that human life engendered by God, without God they engender gods, trying at times even to suppress awareness of the process itself, and at other times, exalting in prodigies of the irrational, as if mere movement where the idea of God was, must make it acceptable. It is like lost children searching for their parents. Now this adult, now that is seized upon with a zeal and with a hope wholly inexplicable, except for this, that they lack what they need, and being separated, do not find it. They do not look… in the right place.
Moreover, they affirm the truth that there is no truth with gusto; or the relativity of all things that admits no absolute with absolute assurance; and so continue in dark channels in the deep which adorn nothing more than the Extreme Fire Danger Index, if there were one, for the continuance of the race.
Advised of this, they strain to smile, but then wonder if after all an asteroid, or a virus, or a bomb of atomic kind, or a madness, or a martyr or something or other will impede their progress; as to that, forgetting that since it is moral regress, ethical evacuation and rational demolition, its impeding would in the end, be helpful, since it might postpone for a little, the certainly coming judgment day.
While then in these ways, Luke 21:25-26 is being fulfilled, and Revelation 8 with its apparent asteroid impact foretold, is being prepared for, the world continues to seek its own advance, its own name, the nations likewise, and the philosophers of science no less, all without God in the main, maintaining the impossible, adhering to the invalid and continuing in droves to maintain there is no such thing as abstract truth, while in their very affirmation they deny what they affirm.
And all this, it is merely the irrationalism, the Symphony of Alogisms, conducted often by the white-coated or black gowned Maestro of Myth. Myth ? the attribution of inadequate means as the source of a result, rather than severely adequate means, and that in an often incoherent substitute for the demands of reason. This is myth, precisely, inordinately, and continually in the pathologies of philosophy, for some 150 years now, almost pandemic in the arena of science falsely so-called, which makes something of a practice of welcoming this alien.
Like the howls of the dispossessed, myth is the attribution of a reason or ground or cause for something which does not match the need, and draws on magic, muddle or imagination without basis, for its 'solution' in its account. It does not find any source, but continues of course; it insists on its theories, but fails in its practice. Even if it could begin to act, it needs what is to be there, for the beginning of action, for nothing has little to do, and creation of anything from that basis is mere self-contradiction. Yet even what is there, does not co-operate or become self-contriving.
Myth ? It starts with desire, and ends in delirium, determined to find what does not occur, and to impress that into being, which finds no room for its existence. This is precisely what Naturalism does, seeking to make nature shriek out its powers to create itself (cf. Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch. 3), by all kinds of manipulation, but without any success whatsoever; for as it has manifestly declared through every kind of test, these centuries, it has power to be, not to make itself come into being. For that, neither the equipment nor the function is to be found.
As to that, it is an entirely different order of power. So man worships by myth, or if you like, attributes and seeks to find and attribute the power for the production of mind, matter and spirit to what is deficient in grounds for it; he wants the model without the master, and the material without the maker. Hence in myriad methods, he muddles into an abysmal murkiness of discontinuous thought, aborted philosophies and dismal proceedings, as his philosophies motivate his mind to things disruptive, dispersive and destructive of rationality, reality and truth.
These things we see in Dastardly Dynamics ... Ch. 7, as in Wake Up World! Chs. 4 -6.
Myth made man, then, is the litany, which is simply another way of avoiding the issue, ignoring the scientifically formulable realities (cf. TMR Ch. 1), pursuing the necessities of logic, ruling man by man and for man, and failing to find out what man is: the matter becoming a muddle of shadows in obscurity.
Hence it is a movement in the dark, using darkness for light, confusion for logic and litany for love. Perhaps it is the most forlorn alogism of all time; but then, it HAS to be a suitable preliminary for the antichrist and his self-adulation as if he were god, and this, it is nearly there already.
The point is that this is a pointer; and the point of the pointer is that if you insist on unravelling the chains of thought, then this is for you; but never utter the word logic, or the term, reasonable, or the idea of truth. Simply for the sake of, and on the basis of no truth, do what you are told, and become nice German Shepherds, fit to guard the heels of the antichrist, the man of sin, the man of unreason, the man of supreme, superb authority, whose death before judgment will undo the myth that he is god, as God has said in many ways before, and will show once more (cf. Ezekiel 28:9).
The ultimate pride is what refuses reality; the ultimate reality is what makes the made, the delimited, the defined, instituted. When this resource and recourse of Nature is grounded, rather than being made the ground for man, in the mind of man, then it is not God but man who suffers. Pride is not just a boasting of what one has done; it is a boasting of one's race for what it likes to imagine it is.
"You like to think you are someone, don't you ?" comes the childish challenge to some haughty kid. It is the same with mankind.
"You like to think you are someone, don't you ?" human race. Not all of it ? Of course not; this is merely an index to the drift, the dynamic and the industry of our time, where these oddities which do not cover the case for man, are ostensibly or even actually worshipped, so that man in his imagination becomes a part, a significant part, an originating part, an integral part of ultimate reality.
Then, despite his birth-death cycle, and his written constitution in his non-participatory DNA, he likes to think that in this case, he might as well start directing the universe. This is directive naturalism. However, the universe does not think so, and God does not think so, and man is directing billions of dollars into space in the hope that geometry will disclose the source of space: a rather vain illusion, since it is not the configuration but the capacity to have it which is to the point.
The antichrist thinking he is God, and showing himself that he is so, in his own proud pretension (II Thess. 2) is not so very far from the lusts of humanism, mysticism and arrogance. It is not so very far away, either (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5), in time for the advent of this event!
How very simple are the old morals when applied to the new look. Pride comes before a fall. Why ? It is because it is unrealistic, first of all. If you are not what you think you are, then, it is like a car which thinks it is an aeroplane. Now there is a special ingredient of aspiration and egotism in this; but there is also plain non-realism. If you think you are what you are not, there are going to be consequences, no less obvious and simple than would be the case if you thought a tin-opener was a bomb, or a comb.
Illusion MUST lead in the long run to suffering, inefficiency and upset; and where it is about WHAT YOU ARE, because this affects ALL that you do, not merely what you do by imagining a comb is a tin-opener, merely one particular case where you err: therefore the results may be expected to be rather more spectacular.
That is why it is so refreshing when we come to the multiply indicated, massively confirmed and singularly validated Messiah (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7, TMR Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 1, 8, Highway of Holiness Ch. 4, Christ the Wisdom of God ... Ch. 8).
HE was humble. His actions were if possible, ahead of His words. You seemed to find His compassion by His SHOWING it more than knowing it, as an observer. It rushed like water from a spillway, rather than torrents thrown by a pump. It seemed natural, necessary, a fact in nature for man to perceive, glowing with a peculiar deliciousness, an abundance not dependent on ease, but unction (cf. Red Heart ... Ch. 5).
You saw His power continually as a fact of life, multiply applied to any sickness in multiplied masses of people, and with this came carefully presented claims as to the source of the power and the nature of His mission, divulged effectively to give glory where it was due, not to gain it. He humbled Himself to meet the simplest need, to praise the lowliest person (as in the case of the widow's mite), and met the might of the greatest with a severity and simplicity which left no room for manoeuvre. He overthrew them, without pomp, panache or privilege. Majesty declared itself in might, dynamic in deeds, beauty in truth.
He humbled Himself to the point of accepting mockery, suffering and death without the use of power to protect Himself, but rather with the power to continue to the Cross which had been adumbrated, predicted and divinely declared by many for centuries, including Himself in the flesh, in the preceding years before its time arrived. He did not indulge in selfish pre-occupations as He did it, but in a vast grief for those whose burdens He offered to bear (Matthew 23:37ff., Luke 19:42ff.), and with willingness wrought to the uttermost at Gethsemane, He met the impact of what was to come, nothing less than the impact of the sins, vicariously borne, of all who would give them to Him (John 8:24, Romans 8:32, Isaiah 53:1-6).
"By His knowledge," as Isaiah put it, "shall My righteous servant justify many!"
How ? "for He shall bear their iniquities" - this was the word of the prophet, as of Christ (Matthew 20:28), of Paul (Galatians 3) and of Peter (I Peter 2).
That is humility, to do what it is yours to do, bravely, simply, securely, with depth and understanding, with duty and devotion, before God with love; and with Christ, it was greatly enhanced, indeed infinitely, for from God He came, where He had always been (John 8:58, Micah 5:1-3, John 17), to do the will on earth, in servant-form and formula, of His Father. As man subordinate in this role, by meekness and spiritual stature combined, He wrought all, and so was He given a name above every name, for ever (Philippians 2), not only by nature, but by His deeds, and this, not only by their performance, but by the preliminary process of being in a position to do them, even as a man!
There was with this meekness, a majesty, since to be able to do what no other man could do or has ever done, in myriads of cases in His life on earth, in word and in work, potent to heal the sick and overturn the words of the mighty alike, until His death alone could deliver them. It was no eccentricity that they murdered Him, but a necessity for their pride, their unrealism, of daring to continue in manipulative power in the presence of the predicted prince of peace (Isaiah 9). While they so moved, He continued yet to speak what His Father commanded (John 12:48-50), and attest that the Father did the works: and this was a beautiful melody to substitute for the harsh malady of pride.
This pride, atrocious and outrageous has continued to this day, and it is this not least which now afflicts the culture of unrealistic man, who seeks severance from the Lord, and hence the Saviour, since they are one: for no other one could bear the sin, being sinless, or take its magnitude from so many, being almighty. Disdaining, disjoining or divagating, they seek once more to leave Him whether in the new Constitution of Europe, in the UN, in the programs of power broking in governments, or in the heart of wandering man, more pagan in his bastions of power as even many churches are corrupted. Hence lacking salvation, man invites destruction, damnation, first for himself in individual rebellion, then as nations in competitive crassness and devious devices, then as a race, in corporate confusion.
While to be sure, there are accounts of some movements in missionary fields, the structure of power among the mighty on this earth is as holy as a sieve, as watertight as a pipe and as reliable as a riot. In Australia alone, December 23, 2004, statistics are offered in an article in The Australian, headed with ostensibly suitable ironic intonations, "God's falling from grace". In this, in which the first capital in the title may be given, perhaps, because it is the first word, there are indications of some kind, of trends.
Amongst the opinions, there are some stepping stones, and one is this.
"In 1933, about 90 per cent of Australians declared they were religious, falling to 80 per cent in 1980, and again to 73 percent in 2001. Of the three quarters of Australians who claim a religious affiliation, the number who go to church, temple, mosque or synagogue regularly falls to reflect this. Christian observance has declined the most, down from 20 per cent to 7 per cent between 1996 and 2001."
Of course, the church attendance only starts to discover the realities, which involve changing churches in many instances, the Uniting and Lutheran drawing very close to Rome, new affiliations discovering new ties among many churches, including both of these, sharing of resources and the like, with decisive results. Thus the actual biblical faith, based on the word of God, the Bible, as infallible because HE is, and it is HIS, and man's opinions are infinitely less in worth, and man's actions are incomparable to His in relevance: this is far more vastly reduced than the above figures would indicate.
Man is becoming so fascinated with himself, that an observer gains almost the impression that this race increasingly expects, in increasing numbers, any god whom he may wish to contemplate in the midst of his multi-racial pride, to be lost in admiration. There is in all this, both in the development in sects and societies, false prophets and false christs such as the Christ predicted, a certain liberty to man, a certain licence, a pulse of power, a deadly dynamic, a sense of racing to a finishing line where, alas, the prize is doom, though few seem to realise it in the madding crowd. It is an inversion, not of temperature, but of temper; and man untempered seems to want first place, and to give to the author of system, the God of program, the inventor of human liberty, symbolic reference only, preferably in the case of Europe, where one can read in the new Constitution, BETWEEN the lines, inserting as one will!*1
It is not new, this megalomania, now in multi-racial proportions, swallowing up much of the human race. Though of course millions may be free of it, there is a small percentage who are willing to take up their cross and follow him, not in falsetto pretension, but actual life! cf. Matthew 16:25ff..
It is seen now as in ancient Egypt, where we can observe a trailer, a preview of it, which is instructive – for it is like seeing a case of disease in an earlier patient, in order to realise the better the nature of the pathology which now afflicts.
THE REGRESSIVE CASE OF PRIDE
Egypt to the Fore ...
Now we must turn to Ezekiel 29-32, for here is a case of magnificent similarity to that of the world today, and it is all interpreted, applied and completed in a form that has lasted for millenia.
To be sure, for Egypt, there is more to come (Isaiah 19:18-25); but the present ruling for some 2500 years is sufficient for our purposes of illustration! Egypt from the days of Ezekiel was consigned in conscious and profound contrast to its former history, to mediocrity, to being a 'base kingdom' (Ezekiel 29:14-15), and although it is not to be extinguished, as Tyre and Babylon were (cf. Pitter-Patter ... Ch. 4), it was given a continual edict of reduction from grandeur to ordinariness. This of course has happened, with many nations having control over it over the centuries, and not so long ago, Britain. In this way, Egypt serves as a prototype for the kingdoms of this world which are to become the kingdoms of the Lord, and of His Christ (cf. Revelation 11:15; and in their antagonism, even grouped, even led by the prince of darkness, the false christ, the devil's messiah, they will lose their leader, see their false prophet abased and be rendered inglorious, a wreck of pride and a vacuity of vanity, displayed for all and before all.
Let us then consider this ancient prototype, with its history, then future in the days of Ezekiel, but now in the past for our modern viewpoint, on display!
Egypt's relationship to Israel in ancient times is significant here, so needs to be briefly rehearsed. It was a land as is so profusely shown in many books, of much antiquity, culture, social structure and many gods. In the case of Israel, it favoured this nation greatly because of Joseph's amazing God-given gift of interpreting dreams; and in this case, it not only as it would seem, lowered the Pharaoh's blood pressure to learn the meaning of his dream from the Jew, Joseph. It likewise increased the nation's finances prodigiously, since the boom-drought sequence predicted in terms of the interpreted vision of the king, allowed both deliverance from the drought's stringencies, and wealth in the process to accumulate, as others bought the precious grain in the drought phase of the sequence. For this, following the word of Joseph, they were well prepared.
However, in due time, with a change of dynastic power, Egypt grew afraid of the multiplying Jews, set up in their fine district, and perhaps in a situation where in any case rebellion might occur on other grounds, they decided to curb the threat felt to be too intrusive from that nation still in Egypt. With cruelty and ingratitude in dreadful mix, they did what may even have been their own version of what Hitler later popularised (yes, he was far from the end of the oppression of the Jew cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 11, Defining Drama Ch. 10, Regal Rays of Revelation Ch. 1), as the 'final solution'. Such an approach to removal of a race is even now being noted of other peoples in a modern setting. Now thought is given as to whether the treatment in Sudan or such places, is actually planned as genocide. The question arises: Is it likely in the end so to discourage, decimate and debilitate a people that it is effectual genocide ? Hitler chose the direct method.
Egypt chose the indirect, it appears, or something so like it as to be exceedingly difficult to differentiate from it: hard work, hard taskmasters, hard conditions, and ruthless demands, such as making bricks without provided straw and keeping up the quota.
When Israel was called through Moses to leave their resort, the land of Egypt, to which famine had brought them, and which for its own part as well as for Israel's, had escaped the earlier shortages in their major impact, some centuries after they came, what was then the plight of that people ? It was this. They were severely oppressed.
What was the Lord's action as Pharaoh resisted the divinely directed call for the liberation of the Jews, indeed, rather their EVACUATION ?
in the midst of their oppression by the ongoing Egyptians, there was a display of divine dynamic which mocked Egypt's gods. There is an article in Creation magazine, Vol. 27, No 1, December 2004-Feb. 2005 on pp. 34ff., which itemises the correlation between the plagues which God gave an Egypt reluctant to surrender their Jewish slaves, and the Egyptian naturalistic 'gods, just as there was a similar work by Dr Harry Rimmer in his Frost series of volumes. There is a beautiful exposure of the worship of what are in fact elements of the natural system which God made, so that they become a source of affliction, whether flies or the Nile, or whatever other plague arrived. The very thing called sacred, became a plague!
In this way, the mistaken and misshapen worship became focussed as a place of bane, not blessing, and Israel escaped a wrathful and vacillatory Pharaoh, whose temper and unreliability to keep his word, both seemed of almost cancerous enlargement. Plagues successively bent the Egyptian desire to exploit, to manage, to control, the pride of attainment and the swagger of having its own will. It was so keen to have it, that even when the eldest children of Egypt were slain overnight, when the blood on the door, from sacrifice, demarcated those of the Jewish faith, who escaped, and they let the people go, more followed. In fact, the army of Pharaoh followed, but what did not follow was this: that they got their man, or in this case, their race. The sea opened as God used Moses, and closed on the pursuing Egyptians who lost interest in mortality, in their invidious pursuit. Death closed the door.
In this way, after long patience, God both delivered His people and rebuked their ungrateful oppressors, while deriding their naturalistic sympathies and occult exclusion of His own creation and salvation. He also humbled the might and right complex of the Egyptians, and their religious contrivances. They did not bite the dust but the sea-bed; but the effect was much the same, if anything, indeed, more inglorious, almost ludicrous.
Their puniness and their ineffectuality remind one of the fate of the Spanish Armada, after the soul of England, but blown by tempest and outmanoeuvred by smaller English ships. Thus many galleons went to Ireland, not for fun, but by virtue of impulsion from the storms! This, too, it was ignominious for pride, for pontification, for oppression of a religious kind, in a national setting. After all, in those days, kings could be directed by popes as to whom they should attack (nor is that time altogether so very long ago - cf. SMR pp. 921ff., 968ff.).
After Israel gained Canaan, some years after Moses, under Joshua, it too left the reality of God in the case of many kings, and priests, and allowed the worship of culturally near 'gods', those of foreign and idolatrous nations, to become part of its life. This reached a climax even in Judah, the more conservative section, in the days of Ahaz (Isaiah 7, II Chronicles 28), who in devious and simplistic waywardness, actually was guilty of bringing foolish emblems of still more foolishly misconceived gods to the Temple; and that of Manasseh (II Chronicles 33), who carried things further in literally sacrificing children to such illusory and mythical tokens of man's pride, ignoring reality and inventing gods. Like many, he acted in this as if his mental powers were to be used to invent what cannot invent, and deem this the inventor, or part of it. Nature gods are usurpers of truth, imagination spawning nonsense with vanity the bride.
Worse, children suffered torture by fire, so that the burning might be religiously attractive, their demise a pleasure to the foreign and evil gods to which Israel in spiritual inanity, now turned.
Thus there was a foolish tendency, when Israel came under threat, to seek help from Egypt, rather than from God, for gods were now in residence, and Egypt had many of them; and faith was low, and it was in this sort of escapade, not required!
Isaiah laughs at the mistaken folly, pointing out that Egypt itself was to be largely dismantled and assailed by the king of Babylon (Isaiah 30-31); and that it was in the Lord who had prescribed their salvation and its way, to whom they should be looking, not to the disgraced Egypt, or indeed to any mere component of nature of society in the world.
In Isaiah 30, accordingly, we find this prophetic admonition to the wandering nation.
"Woe to the rebellious children," says the Lord,
"Who take counsel, but not of Me,
And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit,
That they may add sin to sin;
Who walk to go down to Egypt,
And have not asked My advice,
To strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh,
And to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
"Therefore the strength of Pharaoh
Shall be your shame,
And trust in the shadow of Egypt
Shall be your humiliation.
For his princes were at Zoan,
And his ambassadors came to Hanes.
They were all ashamed of a people who could not benefit them,
Or be help or benefit,
But a shame and also a reproach."
Again, in Isaiah 31, the prophet extends his declamation.
"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
And rely on horses,
Who trust in chariots because they are many,
And in horsemen because they are very strong,
But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
Nor seek the Lord!
"Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster,
And will not call back His words,
But will arise against the house of evildoers,
And against the help of those who work iniquity.
"Now the Egyptians are men, and not God;
And their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
When the Lord stretches out His hand,
Both he who helps will fall,
And he who is helped will fall down;
They all will perish together."
Amazingly, such was the folly of a largely disbelieving Israel (in fact, the southern portion, now called Judah), that even after they had been demolished with such rigour and horror as Jeremiah shows in his laments in Lamentations, some of those left still desired Egypt. This time it was a matter of wanting to go to Egypt physically, not merely diplomatically; and in a perfect ecstasy of wilfulness, they used words of stiff resistance and callow incomprehension in asserting their unsurrendered wills to their own destruction. Like Pharaoh before them, they WOULD not be told, and they WOULD go to Egypt!
Thus we read in Jeremiah 42, this account.
"Now all the captains of the forces, Johanan the son of Kareah, Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, came near and said to Jeremiah the prophet,
'Please, let our petition be acceptable to you, and pray for us to the Lord your God, for all this remnant (since we are left but a few of many, as you can see), that the Lord your God may show us the way in which we should walk and the thing we should do.'
"Then Jeremiah the prophet said to them,
'I have heard. Indeed, I will pray to the Lord your God according to your words, and it shall be, that whatever the Lord answers you, I will declare it to you. I will keep nothing back from you.'
"So they said to Jeremiah,
'Let the Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not do according to everything which the Lord your God sends us by you. Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.'
"And it happened after ten days that the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.
Then he called Johanan the son of Kareah, all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest, and said to them,
"Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition before Him:
‘If you will still remain in this land, then I will build you and not pull you down, and I will plant you and not pluck you up. For I relent concerning the disaster that I have brought upon you. Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid; do not be afraid of him,’ says the Lord, ‘for I am with you, to save you and deliver you from his hand. And I will show you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and cause you to return to your own land.
'But if you say, "We will not dwell in this land," disobeying the voice of the Lord your God, saying, "No, but we will go to the land of Egypt where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor be hungry for bread, and there we will dwell’— Then hear now the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah!
"Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:
‘If you wholly set your faces to enter Egypt, and go to dwell there, then it shall be that the sword which you feared shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt; the famine of which you were afraid shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there you shall die. So shall it be with all the men who set their faces to go to Egypt to dwell there. They shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. And none of them shall remain or escape from the disaster that I will bring upon them.’
"For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:
‘As My anger and My fury have been poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so will My fury be poured out on you when you enter Egypt. And you shall be an oath, an astonishment, a curse, and a reproach; and you shall see this place no more.’
"The Lord has said concerning you, O remnant of Judah, ‘Do not go to Egypt!’ Know certainly that I have admonished you this day. For you were hypocrites in your hearts when you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, ‘Pray for us to the Lord our God, and according to all that the Lord your God says, so declare to us and we will do it.’ And I have this day declared it to you, but you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God, or anything which He has sent you by me. Now therefore, know certainly that you shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence in the place where you desire to go to dwell.' "
In the end, they rejected the divinely sought counsel from Jeremiah, and made it a matter of eloquence in words of wayward wilfulness, to do so. It came as follows (from Jeremiah 44:15ff.).
"Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to other gods, with all the women who stood by, a great multitude, and all the people who dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying:
'As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you! But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem.' "
(Colour, perhaps appropriately red, for the feeling at the time, and the result to follow, added.)
Those who had asserted in their plaintive sense of need, after the destruction of Jerusalem, that they would do whatever God told them, now rejected this advice from the prophet to whom they went; and this sort of vacillation is not unknown. They would instead do whatever came out of their own mouths, the acme of autonomy and self-assertion.
This author, some years ago in the USA, pastored a church which acclaimed, at the first,
Now TELL US if we go against the Bible in anything, so that we may abide by it;
but when they desired to have prayer with unbelievers, atheists, or those of any religion in a political setting, they refused to agree that this should stop. Even though the scripture, "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers" was cited, and in the way of yokage, there is nothing more intimate spiritually than prayer to the one God in His name, to have Him meet the desire of His children, yet they desired to do what they pleased. It was close; but in the end, a majority of the Board so acted.
In so doing, they lost an invaluable opportunity to act in an evangelical medium that might have led to substantial revival in the whole area; and indeed, their fear was in monetary terms, that they might be a little down at the end of the year, because of expenses. Ironically, after their failure in faith, it was found that one member of the church had decided that IF they decided to take the positive step in view, then HE would COVER any loss in the first year. So is lack of faith rebuked.
Indeed in II Corinthians 6, it proceeds to tell us NOT to have COMMUNION WITH DARKNESS, for what has light to do with it! and as to light, it is Christ who is the light of the world (John 8), and there is no other way to God but in Christ (John 14:6). Those who reject HIM are said to prefer darkness in the presence of the light (John 3:19). Prayer with them is indeed communion with darkness; but culture and custom were so strong, and fear had such a lash, it seems, that they simply failed.
Such was the true testimony of the Bible, the agreed basis; but they would not do it. Instead, they decided, at least in the end, to do whatever came out of their own mouths.
How willing are so many, until it hurts! Then how little so many provide under test! Small wonder the world is full of tests, and that autonomy is axed so regularly, while faith is so blessed.
This applied to Israel, and how it suffered; and how slow are so many to realise that while love desires the holy hygiene of obedience, which love thrusts to perform (John 14:21-23), it is not to enjoy commands, which are God's, in some sort of robotic display, as a way of life, but to enjoy God as its source, that is the point. If there are commands, they are not for oppression, but for expression, for health and life and wisdom. If there are words to obey, it is because they are HIS, that they are lovely, for He is, and this is His way; and how wholesome is the humility to wait on one's Maker, and to respond to one's Redeemer. If He SPOKE of redemption, shall He not speak to the redeemed ? and if He died to save His children, does He not conduct His sheep on the way!
The destruction of Jerusalem, then, in the days of Jeremiah, it was not enough to deliver many from their proud wills, and self-centred domains. It had had its preliminaries, as over the years, Israel had again and again sought Egypt and its gods, not God and His grace.
Israel then leant on Egypt in its day of crisis and flopped like a wet broom. It was compared to leaning on a reed for support! a reed which merely led in its intrinsic weakness, to disaster (Ezekiel 29:6).
It is however not on Israel that we now chiefly wish to dwell, but on Egypt. In leaning on it, Israel drew attention to it; and in its fall, its own failure in faith was demonstrated.
Thus came the message that Egypt's pride was to be demoted (Ezekiel 31:10), that which had lifted it up, its power and its cultural wonders, would not help; and it would soon be bereft of its illusory foundations. Egypt was set to fall, and before Nebuchadnezzar, it did.
It is like a great tree, and birds sheltered in it; but it falls (Ezekiel 31), says the prophet. Its heart uplifted, and its height "exalted above all the trees of the field" (Ez. 31:5), it grows; but in its exaltation, not only vertical but spiritual, it forgot that it was God who had made it beautiful in greatness (31:9); and so, in appalling vanity, it was lowered to the pit.
Indeed, forsaking this analogy to the tree, we turn to the pilgrimage to hell for Pharaoh, a prepared path. There those who had known the nation in a better light, see its ignominious end (Ezekeiel 32:17ff.).
Speaking to Ezekiel, the Lord declares of Egypt:
"Son of man, wail over the multitude of Egypt,
and cast them down to the depths of the earth,
Her and the daughters of the famous nations,
With those who go down to the Pit:
Whom do you surpass in beauty ?
Go down, be placed with the uncircumcised.
They shall fall in the mist of those slain by the sword..."
Even this degradation however is not all. In Ezekiel 32, we see further illustration of the fall of pride, especially religiously based pride.
"And you are like a monster in the seas,
Bursting forth in your rivers,
Troubling the waters with your feet,
And fouling their rivers.
"Thus says the Lord God:
‘I will therefore spread My net over you with a company of many people,
And they will draw you up in My net.
Then I will leave you on the land;
I will cast you out on the open fields,
And cause to settle on you all the birds of the heavens.
And with you I will fill the beasts of the whole earth.
'I will lay your flesh on the mountains,
And fill the valleys with your carcass.
I will also water the land with the flow of your blood,
Even to the mountains;
And the riverbeds will be full of you.
'When I put out your light,
I will cover the heavens, and make its stars dark;
I will cover the sun with a cloud,
And the moon shall not give her light.
All the bright lights of the heavens I will make dark over you,
And bring darkness upon your land,’
Says the Lord God.' "
It was because Egypt's heart was lifted up, because it failed to see that it was of the Lord that it had scope to become great in its beauty, that it fell so profoundly, like one falling into a pit, just now happily walking in the sunlight. For long, it had become vain and almost religiously insane before the actual facts of development and opportunity, including the grace God had shown it earlier through Joseph, and the rebuke in the days of the defeated Pharaoh of the Exodus. Egypt had flown away to its false naturalistic glamour, trusted in its own heart and so been abased to hell (as in Ezekiel 32, where Pharaoh is envisaged seeing the other nations, already slain, to which dull site he is added, as simply one more, a message to the terrible, and an exhibit to the wise).
THE CONTEMPORARY PRIDE
In a fashion not dissimilar, with its naturalistically conceived gods, this modern world is culturally obsessed with its own greatness, its spreading powers of knowledge, its manipulative techniques, from psychology to genetic engineering (though it does not invent the components, merely following the plan and using parts), its political savvy, and it extends its wings to fly to Mars, if it may. Already its emissaries have flown to the moon though the heavens are the Lord's (Psalm 115) and the earth has He given to the children of men (cf. Joyful Jottings 26, Repent or Perish Ch. 6).
The case is as noted in Calibrating Myths ... Epilogue:
So have the nations calibrated their myths, making of man a model,
of this world a harbour for enemy shipping seizing the land for themselves,
ignoring God, or worse, reconstructing their Maker as if in some beauty parlour,
for face-lifts, leg-waxings, or often, half-leg waxing as they mix it up,
synthesise with the minds made for them, the mind which made them,
in an inordinate contrivance of pride and folly for which the current world scene
is increasingly a fitting parody of their pomp, and disclosure of their pretensions.
With great precision, they seek to occupy space, despite the divine apportionment otherwise (cf. Psalm 115:16); to occupy the DNA not merely for therapy where in some thousands of years (TMR Ch. 7, Section E), they have suffered amidst the curse and the slather of sin, but for reconstruction of who knows what bionic modeling, or with what results, proud, uplifted, unconcerned; to occupy themselves with immoral fiddlings, unproductive self-indulgences, saying to Nothing, YOU are our mother, or to the created and controlled Nature, now almost obsessively, YOU have brought us forth, though it is neither seen, nor found to be operative (cf. TMR Chs. 1, 8, Wake Up World … Chs. 4, 5, 6, Stepping Out for Christ Chs. 2, 7, 10, A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-9, SMR pp. 140ff., Ch. 2).
Its machines its dreams, till in writhing fragments, they lick the dust, not merely in the hackneyed sense (derived incidentally from the Bible, Micah 7:17), but with venom, as if to find in it the ground of their hopes, in the very midst of their desolations. All things are to be controlled, if not by mentally invasive drugs, since psycho-therapy (cf. SMR Ch. 4) has fared but ill, having lost in all secular cases the very ground for the removal of guilt and the presentation of the joy for which life is made, then by politically correctness, with morals made in hell, or fashioned from philosophies, the very pride of irrationality and the very stuff of fraud (cf. SMR Ch. 3). When man makes a fool of himself, he does not make a fool of God, who has both predicted and shown the end of these follies.
Now are the emblems of nature as in Egypt of old, firmly embedded in the carefully cultivated international psyche of man, whose delusions as with those of Egypt, are so fundamental that with these he seems destined to fall, not giving glory to God, but to the creation which neither sees, nor hears, not makes its voice heard in wisdom, nor constructs and creates, but continues according to its own kinds. This we noted in Divine Drama Ch. 10 (slightly amplified).
Reason requires God. God has provided kinds, creating copy-making generics with provision for particularities of various kinds; and such kinds nothing ever bypasses, as is enshrined in history, their violation omitted from palaeontology, recognised by great biologists, Simpson indicating that kind change is not the kind of thing you find, as emphatically does Professor W. R. Thompson, and Stephen Jay Gould for one indicating imagination could not breach the gulfs between major kinds (cf. Wake Up World! ... Ch. 6, TMR Ch. 1, SMR pp. 206, 199-200).
Indeed, Michael Denton adds not only this, “nor is there the slightest hint of an evolutionary sequence among all the incredibly diverse cells on earth” (cf. SMR p. 120), which are of an ingenious intricacy, but that in the DNA and RNA record, now becoming available in microbiology, there is shown both an “extraordinary mathematical exactness in the degree of isolation” and a disjunction from any concept of evolutionary sequence for the various classes of living things.
For example amphibians, supposedly close, “are in molecular terms as far from fish as any group of reptiles or mammals!” (p. 285, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis). After survey, he concludes that “molecules, like fossils have failed to provide the elusive intermediates so long sought by evolutionary biology.” Moreover, their arrangements and character show mathematical precision, definitive design unlike gradational concepts, and no convenient continuity. In fact, he concludes from empirical studies that “The concept of the continuity of nature has existed in the mind of man, never in the facts of nature” (op. cit. p. 353).
none support what is the most unscientific theory ever produced by man,
that of organic evolution.
Logic laughs at it,
equipment is void of its necessities and
delusive insistence replaces theoretical collaboration with the evidence.
Scientific method is here in cardiac arrest.
Thus of Gould’s reference to imagination itself not breaching the gulfs between major kinds, we can affirm this. It would indeed need to be operative, even to formulate the folly, for nothing else does: nothing empirical is ever found of this kind, not to be unkind, namely the type that makes without intelligence new and discrete, brilliant and diverse designs in kind. Nothing cannot do it; what is merely a design-designate does not do it, for the quality needed is creativity. Man DOES not do it in life-designs, merely snipping and pasting, excising or touching here and there, what God has made, nor was he even there to do it in the first place. The designs themselves only God can make - find someone else or something else doing it ? Let us be practical when it comes to major forms and formats of life.
Even if man ever managing to do some copying, in his own relatively clumsy fashion (SMR pp. 119ff.), there is merely that combination of the difference in man, that he is made with designing skill, in the image of God, as the Bible depicts it so precisely. It is God Himself who is there from the first having nowhere to come from if not; without whom, you have man the visible highest creator, still in swaddling clothes compared with the works of which he is one, himself endowed and endued with a creativity far beyond his very modus operandi of thought (cf. It Bubbles... Ch. 9, Little Things Ch. 5).
One must recall a little logic at times: with nothing ever, at any time, phase or situation, all that was (and of course it would not BE in the sense of constituting anything, since its name is 'nothing'), nothing would come ever, since from nothing comes nothing; and if it did, nothing would be a false use of the term.
Yet nothing ever coming to be, as would be the non-product of such a start ? this is simply contrary to fact. We, reader, you and I, we are here.
There has never been 'nothing'. That is because there is something. These two are antithetical. Nor has there been anything altogether which is incapable to the last of producing what has been produced, however it be construed; or quite simply the results would be less than they are. Indeed, if you envisage some system augmenting itself with skill and knowledge, then it needs the potential to be able so to develop and grow; and this is not nothing, but a creation in itself, like any other, and it needs that from WHICH the augmentation is to be gained!
Place all this imaginary system (really begging the question) together (and beg the question a little more), and you are in no different plight than now, seeking to find creation's myriad minds and phases of life, which require a basis divergent from nothing, on the one hand, and in being something adequate for the result, on the other. In the end, it is the self-sufficient which is always there, or you merely waste your time trying to make what is not so by definition, exist without anything else, a mere contradiction in terms. Always, you deny reason or affirm adequacy always without any cessation. You invent nature myths, whatever the particular 'nature' you have in mind, vacuous in definition or vacuous in implication, or you worship the Maker.
There is one other option: you contract out of reason, in which case, of course, you default on an agent of reason, a proponent of any rational viewpoint, the means of attack and the means of defence for your position, by means of argument of any kind! You void yourself in order to prefer a void; and this, it is a high price, for if you did actually what you here do symbolically, it would be a kind of murder (since you did not make your life), call it suicide if you will, a vacation of human premises, reason's bar and truth's domain.
Let us recapitulate a little. If the ALL were not from the first sufficient, we would not have all. There is no escape from the totality which has all it takes, for the last, from the first: why ? It is because patching in the pieces requires the pieces, the integrative power and the understanding, conceived mosaically, which is in effect is able to be 'effected' precisely because it is capable of one concordant action for its integral life forms and totality of life structures. This concordance is merely a system in disguise, placed by thought as an escape from the grand scope of features implicit.
Machine your gods, this and that aspect of creation's power, precision, conception deposit, made into a source, and you still need first to make the sources, with all the conceptual, mental, devising power, the architectural felicity and mathematical brilliance in view, the gods of power and constructive capacities, harmonious enough for co-operation, to devise and have active communication enough for the same, and to produce what is conceptually integral enough for the result's demands. That requires their own systems as a start (not from nothing), and the coherence (not from nothing) and the communication system (not from nothing), until in the end, you have to have the inventor of the sequence, correlation and co-operation in joint and mutual co-operation of the series, which is called, of course GOD. It is quite useless to make up imaginary concepts which merely hide what you assume, which one calls 'smuggling in God'.
End of Amplified Excerpt
God however is simply not available for smuggling, and ignoring Him is worse than ignoring yourself, as if throwing yourself in the way of a jet aircraft in order to stop it, forgetful of your humanity and nature, that it is limited, ordered and generated. It can likewise by such oversights, be degenerated, swiftly!
But what is it like ? Thus does man manage to make of himself a great tree in which the birds roost, and to this emblem of progress, in the dynamism of regress, in his pathetic and pathological dynamic, there comes what must come to what faces reality and screws up its eyes, and sees visions, but not from God. It must fall.
This is, if you will, the SECOND FALL, or better, the THIRD FALL.
First, there is the fall from innocence, which
means from simply knowing,
Then there is the SECOND FALL, when
the Saviour having come to earth,
The third becomes this, the final determination of the culture and
Ignoring the lead, the leaders become misled; and ignoring the Founder, they become fatherless, not only in the sense of having lost the innocence that was in Adam at the first, as in Eve, so that they merely wander as in an alien environment, but in the sense of having lost the salvation which confronts them like an antibiotic confronting one with fever, so that redemption is fallen from, indeed not even taken. Thirdly, however, it is worse; for now, it is not only a confirmation of the loss of innocence in not walking with God, not only a confirmation of the attempt to outface the Redeemer Christ, as if unnecessary to their exalted self-concepts, but there is this desire to take over, to control, to possess not only their own souls, but this world.
Here is theft in triplicate, or better, in three volumes.
First, taking the equipment given, man absconds with it: himself.
Secondly, forsaking the remedy provided, man continues to abuse the equipment, whether personal, environmental or in successive generations of his own race.
Thirdly, facing the perils which now more and more obviously result in the physical, the mental and the moral world, not to mention the spiritual, man now wishes not only NOT TO REPENT, and NOT TO RETURN to this God of creation and of salvation, but to CONTROL His world!
In the process, he becomes in inveterate and inordinate pride of race, the human racism that becomes the fatal fallacy, like a plough hitched to a jet-engine. He can assuredly 'fly', but he is not built for it, and the process looks as ridiculous as it is. He is neither merely part of the world, since he is built for the friendship with God; nor is he a god, for the more inflated he becomes, the more inane he grows, like a clever kid, who is nevertheless a nit.
Three falls is rather a lot. It is like first being shown to be dishonest in the Office, then unwilling to be corrected, even when in kindness the Boss makes an elaborate offer to fix the thing up, at his own cost, and then insisting that after all, having been in the Office for so long, you conceive that it is YOURS, and you own it!
The end of such a process is not in any doubt. It is both illusory and useless, and exercise of elaborate scope in futility, to gather together against the Lord as predicted in Revelation 19:19; but it is happening with increasingly obvious obstructive self-assurance, will happen and will meet, just as Egypt did, its end. Europe's new unreligious constitution, conscientiously omitting its base, it is merely a symptom of the metaphysical muddle taught to students in thousands of colleges and universities, as if life could continue only where dreams control, and drift dictates, and scientific method must stop short when it comes to what matters most (cf. Secular Myths ... Ch. 7, SMR pp. 140ff.).
THE END OF THE
WRONG BEGINNING -
MAN'S FINALE FOR FAITHLESSNESS
There can be no other end to such a
beginning, so regaling itself in rejecting remedy, and so oblivious of whose
Office it is in which man dwells. Working, regardless of the Boss, in an Office is one thing,
and it has little to recommend it; but seeking to
own it is another! What price for the world ? for man's own
soul ? It was worth much, in God's eyes, in incarnation when the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world (I John 4). It was worth inordinate suffering (cf. Hebrews 5:7). It was worth keeping the very arithmetic of the thing (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4, SMR Ch. 6), and doing the works of power which some sought to use to overturn Jesus Christ, though others rejoiced because their compassion and tenderness was unequalled, needed and a cap to the cold head of man: constant, reliable, assured, just as it was unique, unparalleled and provocative of envy in some.
It was worth the whole gamut of contempt and rejection which the Messiah, precisely as predicted (Isaiah 50,52-53) would suffer, did suffer and was willing to suffer. It was worth it for as I John 4 tells us, God is love. Thus it pleased the Father that in Christ should all the fulness of His Being rest, and that having made peace through the blood of the Cross, that He should reconcile all things, yes all things whether in heaven or on earth, to Himself (as Colossians 1:19ff. teaches us so expressly).
THAT is how much man is worth. Yet man is not satisfied with this. He becomes like a big-headed adolescent, unwilling to fit. Man is taking man for himself, seeking to take the world with him, and it both will not and cannot work, for it fights against reality. They never realise that it is not free; it does not matter how many Napoleons, Hitlers, Maos and Stalins you have: man is always ready to be duped yet once more. The leaders lead on this fools' paradise expedition, and the led are controlled, constrained and abused, since it is an impossible ambition which controls it, and nothing will co-operate. Thus desperate measures seem needed, and they chaff and make callouses in the spirit of oppressed man; but he goes for it yet once more. He is rather like a drunkard in this, I will drink yet again!
It is not only so, this inveterate foolishness; but it is foretold. What you may ask, then, does it matter ? Matter ? You are an individual, and the world is not you. You opt out, if you will; that is the point.
It is time to repent, as an individual, therefore, if not as a world; for its time is now near for devastations such as those which struck Egypt (cf. Revelation 8ff., Daniel 12:1, Matthew 24). When the crew rebel, it is time to leave the vessel. You cannot leave the world, but you can leave that crew; and join the vessel of Christ, which though in this world, is not of it. If this is a test, and it is, why worry ? Examinations are not for terror but for passing. In this case, to pass you pass out, not in a drugged trance, but in a resolute realism which seeks not for 'nature' or for 'human gods' but for the Creator and Redeemer. Of these, ONE ONLY being present, attested and operative, logically indicated and biblically confirmed, you have no need of choice. You simply receive Him, Jesus Christ, who died the just for the unjust to bring us to God, as II Peter tells us.
Remedy is needed, and of course provided by that wise God who having written our book in DNA, has written our book in salvation, the Bible, alone relevant (cf. SMR Ch. 1).
The contempt shown in imagining that so wicked, corrupt, lying and fraudulent a world as this could lack divine remedy, and yet be in accord with divine wisdom, be without divine declaration, so embroiling God in the abuse of truth, justice and peace, as author of it, rather than disciplinarian and saviour of what has misused the wonderful gift of freedom, it is so great that it is questionable whether in the way of regress, anything could be greater. To imagine that He who lacks nothing, being without limit or basis from anyone or anything, but who is the necessary source of all - so that anything ever might exist, and being delimited, take its place before Him, should not act: this is an indictment without ground and contrary to all grounds.
To think that He should invent what He would then desecrate, that He who needs nothing should extort agony from His creation, is to discard even reason itself. It is to think with the felicity of worms, while in the body of a bird. It is more than fallen. It is fallacy incarnate! If He needed from His creation in this way, He could not be God but a delimited and confined being himself! It is not so with Him. Rather, He has first invented freedom, which He then meets with remedy for its errors! This has cost, but that is no unsustainable loss, since He is love.
How hard it is for unbelieving man to realise that God LACKS NOTHING, and from man NEEDS NOTHING; for if He did, then He would be a participant in a system which limits and delimits Him, and so would not be God but a creation, like man. Without source however, what does not make itself, is a mere mythical magic. And to make of oneself a mythical magic has no magical results; only judgment. Then, not only to Jerusalem before Rome destroyed it, Jerusalem which God loved but which hated His Son in its high places of power, and its feeble following of their iniquity on the part of so many, but to many others of our own day, comes the lament of Christ, If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes! Judgment then was all that was left, "because you did not know the time of your visitation."
The Gospel still visits, in His name; but it must be received, and one's heart handed in to Christ, with it, to Him alone as Saviour, to Him alone as Lord.
*1 See News 121, 122, Three Anzas ... Ch. 5, Bright Light Ch. 6, Ch. 1, Tender Times ... Ch. 7, Ch. 1, Ch. 8, for example. We have recently learned from various publications in Australia (the press and Faith and Freedom, August 2004) that the Roman Catholic body, the Anglican, Uniting, Lutheran and Congregational Churches, the Churches of Christ, Quakers, Salvation Army and seven Orthodox churches have joined in a common group for important purposes (if there are exceptions, these at least appear to be major structures in each case).
All fifteen churches, one is informed, agreed to join in common prayer; and the churches have committed themselves to recognising each other's baptism and ministries, sometimes sharing property and clergy.
This bypasses the Reformation, ignores the anti-biblical clamour of Rome (cf. SMR pp. 1032 -10088H), which continues to assert in Vatican II, all its councils of the past; and instead of governing a new unity of biblical faith, it enables a new disunity from it.
Such movements are not out of step with the unity movement of Bishop Swing, noted in the first news item above (121), the World Council of Churches, which does not keep its membership to trinitarians and has been used by KGB parties as a stalking horse, as has been found in the new glasnost that came to Russia, in which it did very ably. It was involved in Liberation Theology, which re-interprets in social terms, basic of the Gospel, a species of theologically paranoid avoidance of the historical fact in the interests of a later pre-occupations. A sort of social parody of Christianity, this is noted in Questions and Answers 4, and Tender Times ... Ch. 8, which latter reference deals likewise with the nature of the World Council of Churches.
This commonwealth of religions,
which in other forms includes other 'faiths', as in the Temple of Understanding,
and the meeting for prayer of such groups, is part of the universalisation of
man's approach on man's terms, as if God were a byproduct of his machinations,
indications or aggregations.
It is moving with high speed to the denudation of the Gospel to an item, like a chair in a house, to be put here or there, with other chairs in the room, all furnishings of 'faith', some with an actual god, or use of the word God, some not so sure about that, but wanting to use the same room; some with the Saviour, some without, some with bread for worship, some without; some with a Bible, or book, some without.
The God who speaks and has shown His word, will and witness, however, is not the criterion, either being bypassed, impacted with tradition making His word of none effect (as Christ put it, as seen in Mark 7:7ff.), in effect suppressed, or re-expressed in the ways of the majority; or else otherwise treated, like old furniture with a modern look. This does nothing to help humanity, which needs holiness not huddle, and piercing truth, for repentance to find God on His own terms, not muddle in mixture of preferred components.
It is precisely against this sort of new bonding, neological daze, that Christ gave witness in Mark 7. The Reformation showed the cardinal errors of Rome, and now it is bypassed; Christ showed the cardinal errors of the traditionalism of His day, and now there are other traditions instead. Christ showed the way of the cross, where every jot and tittle of His word affirmed, since it is His, and He did not speak by His Spirit idly, but with intent and love; nor did He die, casually but for the purpose of pardon, new power and peace, new life in the love of God. It is only the scriptures of the Bible which are bound, and sin in leaving it is adding to the fuel of its condemnation. His cost, set aside, becomes therefore a measure of man's judgment.
He met this very sin, by His paying a terrible cost; yet man is attempting to show a way of avoiding impasse by talk-fest. Words without power consume many an hour, but solve nothing. Great swelling words of vanity is the name given in prophesy for it, by Peter (II Peter 2:18-19, cf. Jude).
So it was to be; and so it is. It is always so with the word of God.
The Gospel of divine love continues to the end. So it was to be, and so it is. It will not always be so, however, for the end comes (Matthew 24:12). In all tests, there is time, gentlemen, time ladies, there is time. When it is time to hand in the papers, it is useless to pretend that it does not matter. If you do not hand in anything, it is simply failure. This, alas, in the end, it is the cost of the program for pride. It is this which Jeremiah told the royalty of his day, saying -
"Give glory to the Lord your God
Before He causes darkness,
And before your feet stumble
On the dark mountains,
And while you are looking for light,
He turns it into the shadow of death
And makes it dense darkness.
"But if you will not hear it,
My soul will weep in secret for your pride;
My eyes will weep bitterly
And run down with tears,
Because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.