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"I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker" :
"Remember to Magnify His work"
References include the Westminster contribution in
The Truth About Da Vinci, the
Dictonary of the History of Ideas
Especially relevant is the
The Shadow of Mighty Rock Appendix C.
The Encyclopedia of Christianity
How history suffers like one abandoned in Belsen! How the people ignore her sufferings, and applaud with their dollars, the defiant dereliction of duty, which would oust her from her place!
Yet by the grace of God, and in the name of the immutable, long predicted, wholly and passionately Bible fulfilling Messiah, Jesus Christ, we will not leave her in this baseness, nor abandon her in this assault!
What have we here ? Do we read of many millions of copies of a book which invents history and legislates what it does not know ? We do. Surely, you may retort, you are on the topic of communism, which tells how industrialised nations are to be the first to fall, when Russia was and Germany was not ?
Not at all, that is all unscientific historicism, and useless verbal pyrotechniques*1. The world has paid with something like 50 million tormented or dead, and with perhaps 1200 000 000 turned into soulless instruments of State - as far as may be - in China, with its official detestation of things spiritual, using things spiritual to assert in the domain of things spiritual, the annihilation of things spiritual, like some perverse child, naughty, face-flushed, refusing correction, telling his parents: YOU must obey ME! A spirited discourse to be sure, but unspiritual, irrational and the mere hurly-burly of the tongue. But no, this is not Communism of which we here speak. That was given its grave long ago.
What new assailant would seek to dim the dynamic of man, reduce the reality of rationality and divorce man from truth, if not with this set purpose, then with this mode of action ?
What then do you have ? Is it something new ? Not really. You find what might be called a Jewish version in Simon Magus, with a sordid substitute for monotheism, to which we will look later, a sort of nervous breakdown in his version of deity, which merely presupposes insuperable limits to its power, and who, may one ask, imposed those! It is thus a form of atheism, where the chief Being is impossible even to achieve existence! It is not merely contrary to the New Testament, but to the Old, and has no tested credentials, in addition to being irrational. The Code work (henceforth meaning the teaching of the book, The Da Vinci Code) dwells on the synthesis of elaborate philosophic meanders in undisciplined thought, like that of Simon Magus, but these pseudo-gospel effluvia came later.
This sort of secret-style, esoteric philosophic romancing in the field of religion, invasive of monotheism, becoming simply dualistic, good and bad guys amongst the gods, is as old as gnosticism, which in its Gospel-creating assault on Christianity may be placed a little after Valentinus who died around 160 A.D., a late second century affair, flowering as the centuries whirled by, with exotic blooms, like the Venus trap.
It was criticised, this flowering into Gospel production, by the early church fathers Irenaeus, Hippolytus and Tertullian.
The underlying philosophic arias sung of an heroic, evidentially aloof, idealism of a sort, which sought to distance God from creation and make a demi-urge do an inferior job on it. Gnostics - the word centres on knowing - love to have mystic, special knowledge of sacred things, and hence are most inventive, actual history being at a discount. It is the system, the idea, as with Plato, that counts. Paul warns in Colossians of some of this esoteric, parasitic growth, which tends to look for something to hang on, and in this case tried to hang on Christianity as a bright and appealing field - in Colossians. It was then rudimentary, mere interlopers, but the idea of having their own Gospels, like plagiarised works for sale, grew much later, say one century later, to be adorned later still.
As to Valentinus, a fatherly figure for this particular application of such evanescent dreaming, he had a work, The Gospel of Truth. His message was a blending of Pauline theology and gnostic ideas, with their dualism of good and evil, and mysticism. Not dissimilar philosophic inputs and borrowings of Christianity for ulterior motives, by what was not well enough grounded in itself to thrive, occurred on the part of Philo, in the first century*2A, his philosophic work also debasing the Christ, the Word of God to a created thing. Such preoccupations put musings of this type into a box, much like many more recent attempts to synthesise someone's ideas and Christianity, as in most of the sects.
Arius*2 , much later, made an enormous attempt to do much the same, having a created Christ, despite the enormous Old Testament and New Testament evidence to the contrary, in no small depth, shown in SMR pp. 532-560, The True God has Go, Gives Grace and Glory Ch. 5; but these ultra-biblical romancers sought to move from the Bible to their ideas. This, you could do with Wordsworth or Shakespeare, a few hundreds years later, without accomplishing anything but using others as a base for your own ideas, amounting to a combination of plagiarism and incompatibility. If you are to stand, however, you need more than these two errors, the one circumventing logical adequacy, and the other ignoring logical impasse, to do it.
Valentinus' efforts led to what appears a school, similarly interested in prodding revelation and injecting philosophic modes, and the 1945 find in Nag Hammadi, a town in Upper Egypt, of 13 papyrus books, contained in a red earthenware jar, has added to the testimony of mystic philosophy, as it moves from its own resources into the field of religion, like viruses seeking to control the cells of the host body, and to make them turn out what the virus has, rather than its own kind.
In this set were the Gospel of Thomas - a collection of sayings and parables ascribed to Jesus rather too late to bear credibility*3A, but as something hidden as so much of gnosticism, plus important here, writings ascribed to Philip, Mary Magdalene, Adam, Peter and Paul. The CODE has special affinity for the Gospel of Philip and of Mary.
The former is not even a Gospel at all, not even a spurious one, being a collection of gnostic sayings, with summary of Valentinus.
It is even without a claim to be written by an apostle. In fact, the wholesale use of gnostic myths, secrets and accretions, reminds one of the Koran's trend into Jewish legends and stories, and later Christian oddities, which are swept into the book, with neither evidential basis nor verificatory scope. This is precisely the category of the gnostics, free with facts, empty in basis, parasitic in claiming relationship to Christianity, wholly other in testimony, alien immigrants to what is not theirs. In this sense, Islam is as much a Christian cum Judaistic heresy as many of those other impositions and inputs which we are here considering for their lightness and lack. The rational, empirical, heuristic thrust of the Biblical word, with intense correlations and that cumulatively, with history and final test, and from that to the index to the coming Age from Christ and the apostles, intensively fulfilled, are as missing as the criteria of validity (cf. *8 below).
The latter, the so-called Gospel of Mary, is dated by one authority as around 350 A.D. (Bentley Layton, The Gnostic Scriptures), around one quarter of a millennium after the New Testament Gospels were in broad usage.
There is always the distinction between historically tested information, public and grounded from the first at the relevant season and testing time, and growing in company with events, enduring in the midst of immediate opportunities for refutation, existing in strength with constant confirmation, and what ? There is the distinction between this and whatever anyone, centuries later, happens to say. If it is claimed God told him, whoever it be, then he has to show the evidence for this.
The evidence for the Biblical Claim is that there has been a sequence of propositions, predictions, claims and principles, all coherent, all historical, all in the crucible of vulnerable prophets and often vehement events, all susceptible to refutation at the time, or later from research or failure to be fulfilled. None has ever been falsified, all come to pass in their time. Two millenia, for much three, have led only to confirmation, and more, a history of our times which comes to pass just as prophecy in the Bible beforehand, proclaimed it. It is like journalists thousands of years before the time, writing it all up graphically and dramatically. God in Isaiah 41, and 48, makes the point: TRY TO COMPARE! It is the word of God, distinct, authoritative, demarcated, sure.
That, apart from the rational necessity exhibited in SMR, is one of the unique distinctives. Such an availability is a first consideration in verifying the truth of any such statement. The mind is given to man with which to TEST, and what is outside test, is outside consideration. TEST the spirits is not only good biblical advice; it is necessary spiritual and human caution. God even provided the Christ in person, at the stated time, for the stated task, in the stated manner, in front of the stated nation, with the stated results, and the stated Gospel then coming into fulfilment, as foretold for centuries. (Cf. SMR Chs. 8-9, Highway of Holiness Ch. 4).
The biblical Canon not only has no empirical equal, but no rational alternative, as seen in SMR (cf. *8 below for broader reference). However, it often seems attractive to people with ideas, to find a base for them; for unless they are ruthlessly rational, energetically empirically founded, they are mere musings. They seek something, like mistletoe finding a eucalypt, from which to draw its meat and meaning. Everything reasonable must be able to stand without using the legs of another.
Indeed, a child of 7 can muse and prattle; but we need to test, and that is one way in which we help the child.
The temptation is always there, in finance, marriage or religion, just to rush and then to divorce. There is not only the weakness of temptation, there is the presence of highly explicit evil, whether in human form, from romancers and surrealists, opportunists, prime time seekers, money makers and frauds, or with devilish intent. Never under-estimate the devil, for he is the expert bowler, ready for careless batsmen, and enormously successful with many*3.
This invasion of the church, then, from gnostic elements had been brewing for some time in many traditions and secrets, phases and forms, a mystic delusion of philosophy, always looking for outlet and inlets into which to place the output.
Thus, by the day the Gospel of Thomas appears as perhaps a later second century writing, it is as far removed from the day of Thomas as from the doctrines of the New Testament. It takes time to dream up synthesis! Gnosticism, infected with Greek philosopher, Plato, downgraded the physical side of things, unlike the entire consistent biblical message, in which the apostles were founded, and the Christian Church; whereas the Bible downgrades the yielding to its lusts, its deformities and enormities, AS SIN, not as defects in its 'unspiritual' nature.
This lofty but creator-divorced form of idealism is seen in the Gospel of Thomas to have an additional negation of part of what humanity IS. Namely, it derogates women. According to Gospel of Thomas, "every woman who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven"! ( see *3A).
The ludicrous variability of these romancings and musings, as in the 'Gospel of Truth', which does not bother to provide any coherent account of the deeds and words of Christ, but speculates and intimates as it will, is notable. It is not alone in this. Thus, in the Gospel of Mary, which may be a third century text from Nag Hammadi, there is effort to make Mary SO significant that to her are allegedly imparted such 'secrets' as the gnostics love; for what is open, like certain germs, is likely to be killed by the light of day. In this gnostic creation, the romancing even moves to the opposite extreme, inventing another Jesus who is made to have a special affection, not this time for John who ran with Peter to the tomb, but for Mary.
The Code tries to bring illicit sexuality into it, like an incipient Freud at work, but even in the gnostic text such as it is, however fanciful, this cannot be extracted from it. Vagrant as it is, it does not require such a view. Inventing slush is not limited to our present day, when people love to revise well-established history with often gross assassinations of character. It was present then, and untested imaginations invented anything, for the credulous to believe. Honesty however requires evidence, and in this they lack everything.
Actually, it was the disciple whom Jesus loved of whom Jesus spoke, when on the Cross He told Mary, "Behold your son!" (Matthew 19:26). It would be strange to refer to a woman as a son!
It is even stranger what sexual preoccupation seems to infill THE CODE's approach, as if it cannot keep its fingers out of the field of delusion and illicit religion. In extreme contrast, as seen in some false and biblically detested varieties of religious error, such as the those of Canaan, and the obscene ashtaroth images, it was war ON this type of thing that was fundamental, constant and basic to Israel's even being in the land. Avoidance of it was a covenantal basic! This name, moreover, refers to the various fertility religions of the Middle East.
It did not cease in the day of Paul, as you see in Colossians 2:8, nor did they fail to make up false Jesus figures from mere imagination, even in the day of Paul as you find in II Corinthians 11, from people whom the apostle Paul calls false apostles and ministers of Satan. If you believe what anyone wishes t o tell you after a while without evidence, then with what care do you act ? Is this not mere slander and libel, fit for those who want to follow their own noses, or are confused by din! Truth requires a far more coherent, confirmatory and consistent evidence than that. Believe these ? why not believe anything; but God has provided the consecutive testimony of truth, and of no other in the canon adopted by the Church for the New Testament, and by the Jews for the Old Testament (cf. Romans 9:1-5)..
Avoiding such abominable perversions of what man is was one of Israel's reasons for being and moving into the Promised Land. They were to be a show-case, an instruction centre, a sight in practice. It was to show forth the praise of God (Isaiah 43:21, Deuteronomy 4, 12:1-4, Genesis 15:16) that they were called. It was in the end an operation of mercy, to enable mankind to find the truth which in perversity of spirit it has abandoned, with endless fictitious gods, like the later equally fictitious gnostic gospels, proliferating.
An exemplar of truth, clarity and spiritual wholesomeness was needed; to such a role was Israel commissioned; and for this was it to enter the land. This whole operation was instruction, education as well as judgment. It is like a death penalty: if it is to be imparted in the name of morality, that is one thing; but if the one performing this does the same things, it becomes an intolerable stress situation. Truth is not to be contained by hypocrisy.
You see such false lords and libidinous religions condemned for example, directly or indirectly, in Judges 2:13, 10:6, I Samuel 7:3, 12:10, I Kings 11;5, 1:33, 14:33, the anger of the Lord is associated with this drastic forfeiture of His direction. It is associated with this, that "they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him"! Samuel makes the removal of this feature a condition of the Lord's deliverance, in parallel to the negation earlier. Repentance includes the acknowledgment of having served such things, the gods of the lands! Solomon's error includes such things as these, in the field of ABOMINATIONS! These are the biblical facts.
To suggest that of the religion of Israel in the Promised Land, that its main opponent was its major constituent is not interpretation, as so much else in this romancing: it is contradiction and an endeavour to wed a cat to a concrete wall. It does not relate. It is CONTRARY to what is its field.
Nothing is surprising in the ways of inventiveness, with late-line gnostic inventions, mixed up history and interpretation by contradiction. The glory of God in the temple a feminine principle ? Yet in heaven they neither marry nor are given in marriage. What next will enter THE CODE's misconceptions, and export of sexuality as if Freud with a beginner.
Even more amazing in its inconsistency is this, that this very 'Gospel' has not only posed a special repository formed in Mary for secret teachings, but continues a negativity to women with it, surely a most excruciating contortion. Whoever the Mary is - there are seven in the New Testament, she is made to exclaim this, amid praise to the christ, whoever it may be, concerned: "He has prepared us all by making us men."
Nothing could be further from New Testament teaching, biblical fidelity or perspective. But that, it is the whole point. These gnostic teachings are too late by far, to have anything to do with eyewitness accounts, factually tested presentations, and are by no means too late to insert inventions, musings, contemplations, new forms of gods and the like, into the biblical base. It is rather like some skin creams: you have a 'base' and into this, you insert your own special nostrum, to make 'my skin cream', saleable at such and such a price.
Moreover, in the Gospel of Thomas , we have ludicrously unbiblical and innovative secretions injected into the newly made 'other Jesus'. Consider this almost 'New Age' effort:
Gnostic-Jesus says, "When you come to know yourselves... you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty." (Thomas-3)
Again, we have this in Thomas 71, where the Gnostic-Jesus says: "I will destroy this house and no one will be able to rebuild it."
This contradiction of John 2 is attestation of the Gnostic hatred of resurrection: they were far too concerned with spiritual oddities which they invented, to deal with the vile realities of creation seriously, like the bodies we use in order to discuss it! We have then a polemic against the biblical doctrine, and every sort of embelishment, distortion and addition is to be expected, along the lines of the earlier mysteries and devotions to secret knowledge, always invading text with ideas of their own.
Not only so, you have developments of Valentinus' gnosticism, in due course, where there were movements towards philosophy mixed with 'Gospel', his own, refuted by Irenaeus. Thus later and earlier movements, including magical ones*4A, secreted themselves into the minds of creative artists who in due and significantly later time, gained the conception of making gospels, since this was the basic order of the day, famed, life-changing and concerned with the greatest episode of amazing events ever witnessed on earth. It was a good leg for the leech.
Indeed, you get developments of pure untested imagination, words that are emitted like a dance in their exuberance, but not propelled by legs, but by tongue, such as these: one or two first principles (cf. News 57, 59 ) emanate 'aeons' which provide the pleroma or totality of spiritual beings. How do principles emanate anything: if they are God, they act as they see fit, not as creatures of the sea with spawn, have wisdom, are complete, are not subjected to a potential which develops, for who would IMPART and IMPOSE that, but the actual God!
However, ignoring reason, it continues: The cosmos comes into being at the thirtieth aeon. Wisdom fell into darkness, became pregnant and begat the demiurge. The SYSTEM for all this contained, impelled procedure was of course - were it so - created by God to whom they would need to return: were they however to do so, and to find Him, they would need to examine the evidence as distinct from the dancing of their words.
The composition of abstract ideas and practical events, oddities and enormities, essences and principles, the adventitious and the unpropitious is in one series of mazes: without reason, without revelation, without verification and without logical consistency. Secret ideas were very much loved by the esoteric, and this romancing has been no small part of the history of folly (II Esdras refers to 70 hidden books, in addition to the canonical books!). Like seeds caught in some pocket of the earth, these secrets tried to insinuate themselves into sites they might exploit for their growth, no more relevant to the ground of their choice, than any other seed.
Always, in the end, Christ is downgraded, man is upgraded, secret knowledge is the lift, and spiritual realms undisturbed by any sort of disciplined thought about their actuality, in the broadest possible extreme of distance from the Old and the New Testament, explode into their various fancies and fantasies, like a tap left on inadvertently. Neither man nor history is much in importance, and history is as readily crucified in the fanciful and late gospels of the gnostics, as was Christ by Israel. Here you have new nails, and new wood: imagination is the wood, and recklessness is the nail. You put them together, and behold, hundreds of years after the event, you can seem to crucify Christ again. Crucify ? yes, mangle into forms and speeches as attested from the first, as is the sun at midnight.
THE COURAGE OF CASUISTRY
These gnostics were nothing if not brave, and to find what Adam, for example, wrote after a few millenia does much credit to imagination, if not to research techniques. That is what is missing: evidence. Anyone can romance, and modern theologians have been doing it ad lib for a couple of centuries now in our own 'late' time, manufacturing the most amazingly irrelevant 'interpretations', involving contradiction and synthesis, to such a degree that one wonders why they try. You cannot re-write history; you cannot remake God; you cannot pass eye-witness accounts, rising to conquer in their own day on account of their invincible basis in the knowledge of eye and ear, and the confirmation of those who had seen and experienced.
The opposite is of course true. What had been seen and heard could not be countermanded by mad apostles, joy-riding in the gnostic manner, declaring this and that because of some principles which they liked, with a philosophic indifference to what actually happened, gripped in the maw of the voracious themes and ideas which controlled them, and propelled their thought! That is far from what actually happened in the crucible of events, when the apostles spoke words which, to the contrary, were overpoweringly obvious in their claims, factually based and incontrovertible.
Thus in Jerusalem, days after the Lord had been resurrected, there was utterly no hope of making merely imaginative claims which anyone would know were completely bogus and unbalanced, concerning a crucified criminal; but there was no way even authority could put down an appeal to what was subversively being covered up by authorities, and was now publicly proclaimed by the apostles. Their guilt was motive enough for secrecy and persecution of the apostles; and they abundantly pursued this line. When in trouble, seize, arrest, imprison and cut down is certainly a method not unfavoured by this world; but it does nothing to arrest the truth, which continues the more obvious in the midst of such ruffian substitution for rationality.
The priests and prelates, the governor and rulers, these had no desire to be held guilty of murder of so great and popular a preacher, so vast a healer, so clear a fulfilment of the Messianic prophecies which filled the Old Testament and had spilled over into factual history in front of their very noses. They imprisoned the apostles and forbad them to speak of this (Acts 4:17-18, 5:28, 40,, 12:2-4); what else could a cover-up do.
The actual cover up then, is not something which could not surface until history was well packed away, and this is the nature of the gnostic 'gospels'. It could not mix with or match what was proclaimed with power from the first in the most public of manner, being itself merely distilled in much later brains, passionate in their philosophies, and now grown impervious to events. The actual record was that of the death of the Messiah, on prophetic time exactly (cf. Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), His resurrection and His continuing power as shown in the Book of Acts, which was its own renewal of the matter, since power speaks, just as philosophy lacks a laboratory. These things were from the first acknowledged by many, implemented in power as was the work of Calvary and the resurrection, attested by appeal to known facts, working where challenge could be meaningful, enduring because irrefutable, and experiencing tortures without flinching, because truth cannot bow.
What a presentation then is this of THE CODE,
appealing after millenia to philosophies
in 'gospels' written and publicised long after Christ,
traditions of gnostic talk without deeds,
without available ground for comparison
with truth or fact, and
in flat contradiction in kind and basis
of the actual Gospels,
which had so weathered all storms and
in the wind-tunnels of test,
affirmed and confirmed as four with
authority and force, in word and in listing,
so that they were accepted on all sides in the continuity of the church.
The contrast between philosophic gabbling and fact-based history, openly prevailing against all attack and assault is shown in SMR Appendix C, from which the following quotation is taken (slightly revised for our present purpose).
Irenaeus deals interestingly with Valentinus, active in his period of history. It is worth an excursion into Irenaeus' work, Against Heretics (XI. 8, pp. 428-429ff., Ante-Nicene Fathers), T0 OBSERVE THE ATMOSPHERE IN WHICH - SO FAST - THE NEW TESTAMENT COMPLETED THE TOTAL BIBLICAL CANON COMMENCED BY THE PROPHETS. The cohesion of this is shown so fascinatingly in II Peter 3:16, Galatians 1:17; with 2:1-10 relative to Paul and the other apostles: in Acts 2 with regard to Peter and the prophets; in Acts 13 with regard to Paul and the prophets, as in Romans 16:25; in Luke 24 with regard to Jesus Christ and the prophets, as in Matthew 5:17-19.
Indeed, it is qualitatively shown in Paul's writings relative to the Gospels; in the harmony in worship and witness between his writings and the gospel writing; as in the ardent accord with all scriptures which was manifest in numerous New Testament references such as those of Clement and Ignatius*4. These references pre-suppose a corpus or cadre of apostles in concert, and precise prophetic preludes to the incarnate life of the sent Saviour, seen to be emanating from the power of the Spirit of God - from them, and before them (cf. Hebrews 2:3-4).
N.B. Stonehouse in the The Infallible Word, p. 124, states of Ignatius:
The apostles are accorded a place of unique authority and privilege as proclaimers of the gospel; their ordinances possess the same authority as the Lord (Phil.5:1,2; Magnesians 13:1; Trallians 12:2; Ephesians 11:2). Ignatius himself speaks with a high measure of authority to the churches to which he writes, but for all of his claims he is far from associating himself with the apostles.
On the one hand, Irenaeus, in his adroit and scholarly argumentation and his intimate knowledge of the preceding identities and authorities, merely confirms with expository intensity and abundant detail, what the writings of such as Polycarp, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Clement of Rome and the listings of the Muratorian Canon attest positively. Indeed, Irenaeus' reference to Matthew's Gospel as first (op. cit. 111,11,i) agrees well in turn, with the now notable Magdalen College, Oxford, Matthew papyrus, claimed by Dr C. Thiede, from handwriting style, to be from mid-first century (The Australian, 26/12/94).
On the other, the failure of authenticated documentation to attest any established apostolic work beyond the famous four gospels and constantly corroborated works; the conspicuous failure of the spurious to penetrate the sanctum of historic authorship, despite philosophic submissions of late reference seeking 'success', even making appeals to scripture while making efforts to twist or subvert it: this leaves the negative side as decisive as the positive testimony to the authentic.
Speaking of the so-called 'Gospel of Truth', a gnostic effort of the Valentinians, Irenaeus (born 120 A.D.) writes revealingly of "their comparatively recent writing":
... it agrees in nothing with the Gospels of the Apostles, so that they have really no Gospel which is not full of blasphemy. For if what they have published is the Gospel of truth, and yet is totally unlike those which have been handed down to us from the apostles, any who please may learn, as is shown from the Scriptures themselves, THAT THAT WHICH HAS BEEN HANDED DOWN FROM THE APOSTLES CAN NO LONGER be reckoned the Gospel of truth. But that these Gospels alone are true and reliable, and admit neither an increase nor diminution of the aforesaid number, I have proved... (Capitals added.)
The categories of old and new, apostolic and non-apostolic are clear, distinct and contra-distinct; and the gnostic productions ? FOR CHRISTIANITY FOUNDED on Jesus Christ, with the testimonies in scriptures of the apostles and prophets and Paul expressly stated: These are simply irrelevant. They are also - to catch Irenaeus' thrust - recklessly boastful. What are they then, these innovators ? Irenaeus deems them: "Wretched men indeed ! who wish to be pseudo-prophets, forsooth, but who set aside the gift of prophecy..."
It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are ... it is fitting that she ( the Church ) should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh ... He who was manifested to men, has given us the Gospel under four aspects, but bound together by one Spirit.
Without doubt, this has the very ring of the treatment of Paul, who dealing with adventitious intruders from without the scene and dealings wrought by those "preaching another Jesus whom we have not preached", those involved with "a different spirit which you have not received," or a "different gospel which you have not accepted", calls them: "false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ," (II Cor. 11:4,13).
Indeed, F.F. Bruce, writing in the New Bible Dictionary, p. 487 notes :
The Valentinian Gospel of Truth (c. A.D. 140-150)... among the Gnostic writings from Chenoboskion ... was not intended to supplement or supersede the canonical four, whose authority it presupposes; it is rather a series of meditations.
Such "meditations" have some of the resemblance, we find as we read Irenaeus, of a gilded frosting on an apple, an arsenic additive to an aspro, and all the ingenuousness of that delusive dreaming which knows no way to make its own thought able, but that of parasitic leeching on the works and words of another, whilst pursuing a philosophy neither harmonious, nor attested nor historically related to its butt.
What then is the new impetus to finding the musings and imaginings, the mystic revelations and the philosophic dramatisations of gnostics, knowledgeable through meditation, furnishing themselves with the ludicrous concept of good and evil powers, which always leaves their creation and their dissonance in need of invention, since they are mere delimited objects in a total system, designed to contain both. They are causeless excrescences, lacking limit-free operation because of ultimacy, and so requiring imagination to invent them, since nothing else could. Simon Magus, a first century philosopher who was earlier in the gnostic movement, even had a breach within the godhead leading to evil, a yet more momentous anomaly, since time being delimited, and God necessarily not, the ascription of an event in time to a change in the godhead is like having a new chapter in a book, written by some author, leading to a change in the author.
Obviously, any such being as one suffering breach birth of a new and opposed personality is limited in power, in resolution and in foresight, a creature and in no respect, linked to God. You can have as many nervous break-downs as you like, but God is not of this constrained and disfiguring type, equipped with such a character than it has inherent incompatibilities. Who would have contributed such a thing to Him, who of necessity is free ? Even ANY nature which embarrasses or harasses Him, would be an insertion, and necessarily from without. Hence the inserter would be God. You cannot have such gods, and reason. The gnostics however love them; and so hate the truth, the Biblical depiction (it has to be 'adjusted' always, from the first, and new models are made up one or more centuries later, with no more reliability or relevance).
What is the source of it , as in THE CODE: this lust for
snide comments on Christ,
more character assassination,
more unattested nonsenses
about words supposedly meaning this or that,
with a Leonardo painting supposedly having this or that special figure,
What does this appear in such terms to be, but a series of sub-plots to suppress where the suppression was of what was entirely and catastrophically open for examination! It was so from the first, every time the Christian refused to worship the emperor, or valiant, disdained to confess what was violently required. Here was the Gospel of the day, of the event, of the time, furthered in impact by the apostles, who paid as they presented; and it was open at every port, declared in every time, irrefutable because of truth, while those 'guilty' of its testimony were marked to be met, as with the Master Himself, by torture, by death, or both.
Why do people give even a slow smile at the
wholly arbitrary and fanciful work, precisely in the tradition of the nuances
and restless imaginings and ideas of the multi-coloured, long-moving traditions
of gnostics and their surreptitiously hidden like, and not dismiss it as errant
intrusion on history, from imagination, in violation of every canon of evidence,
THE PREDICTED COMMERCE OF HIDDEN KNOWLEDGE
The Bible is Predictively Knowledgeable
and its Knowledge is NOT SECRET but has been available for millenia
It is the prey and the predator. They co-operate splendidly. Actually, the best point about this nonsense operation, which might have made good pantomime for naughty children, is this: the Bible SPECIFIED that there would be SUCH an intolerance for sound doctrine, that LISTENERS would have itchy ears, nothing but some new thing able to tittivate them; and FALSE TEACHERS would have various motivations for satisfying the itch. This was a thing to come, and in II Timothy 3, the general arrogant molestation of goodness and truth, formalistic religion without the power of God was foretold for the last times, in which we now live (Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8). This is a special for the LAST DAYS, said Paul.
Peter specialised on the false teachers, the market-place provision for the itch. It is BECAUSE of the itch, that there is a market - as in skin disease, when ointments are in good demand when the disease is in epidemic proportions. Thus in II Peter 2, we hear that in the last times, false teachers will ARISE from the Christian body, and will MAKE MERCHANDISE OF MANY. Now to make merchandise of you, means assuredly, to molest your souls, to bind you, to set you up and sell you, so that your usage brings profit. Two things appear to happen. Firstly, you are SOLD, inveigled, tricked, trapped, sent to be spent into sin, harassed into unholiness, driven into devilry.
Secondly, those who do it, these make money: Peter declares the generic motive in this movement then to come: it is this - that "by covetousness, they will exploit you with deceptive words" (II Peter 2:3). That is the scripturally defined motive in this configuration of events and times.
They gain, you lose. They become rich, you become spiritually impoverished. You hear of the same sort of thing in the field of physical medicine, where those who do not bother with accuracy and study and care, make money out of bogus remedies, which in fact may cause even death.
The only really nice thing, then, about this spiritual pandemic is this, that it fulfils what the Bible predicted as one of the signs of the last days, to a perfect degree. Where, said Christ, the carcase is, there the eagles gather.
Whether or not this or that particular exponent of shoddy, irrational talk about Christ, is in this motivational category, the Lord knows; but where carelessness coming into the realm of the slipshod is mixed with millions, and where facts are brushed aside as by an imperious hand, thre is assuredly the sign of an equation too fitting to ignore.
The PRESENCE in FORCE of just that category of religious statement, it is this is PREDICTED to be occur in the last part of this Age. It is occurring. Whatever the known motives of such, the known financial results are indisputable, and the demonstrable flush of errors would be all but incredible, were it not for the prophecy. It sits majestic, past all the murmuring of mankind. He says, and it happens.
Thus we have at once a complete characterisability of this type of thing. There is the slackness, the ready use of non-truth as a means; there is the invasion of the church with such sentiments, drawn largely from mystic thought, that of yesterday or today; there is the merchandise aspect as people carelessly allow themselves to become faddists for the culture of disillusion and contempt for truth; and there is the enormous profit on the part of the propounders of these old ideas, brought out in despicable indifference to the rigorous domain of investigable history.
With that, there is the stately certainty of the Bible declaring not only what will happen, as in the first coming of Christ, and WHY it would happen, and WHEN, and HOW it would happen and WHERE; but declaring what would be the end of the Age derivative from Jesus Christ, the Messiah. In this domain, we have what we are now seeing, just as in the climatic, the oceanic, the earth movements, the fear in the hearts of men, the pandemic of shedding blood, the fulfilment of the precise scope of Christ's warning about the way to the end (cf. SMR Ch. 8).
As in the days of Noah, said Christ, so will it be (Matthew 24) - many doing this and that, until the time comes! Pre-occupied with pettiness, they are to unaware of profundities; looking for merely superficial gains, they lose the very world in which they sought to gain them!
So it is, and so are we warned. The huge popularity of these fantasies makes the impact as great as that of the climatic*5 one. In fact, with the indefatigable reliability of the Bible, the written word of God, both these things are foretold. Both of these, together with the war syndrome, the blood shedding syndrome (Revelation 6), the famines, earthquakes and horrible sights (Luke 21:11 - not just 'awesome' is the Greek term, but 'inspiring fear', or terrifying): these make up a good exhibition, fit for students as in medicine, to behold, as they see the end of the disease: in this case called sin and rebellion.
Far the worst component is failure to repent (cf. Luke 13:1-3), which means increasing turbulence, like a smoker in the last stages of lung cancer, refusing to forego the habit (Revelation 9:20-21). Not only so, they refuse the Gospel, and are turned away to fables (as predicted for this last phase of the Age in Timothy 4), follies such as now are well exemplified in Communism, evolutionism and other fantasies of false prophets (cf. *1 below and More Marvels Ch. 4, with Divine Agenda Ch. 6).
This biblical background, and contemporary foreground being shown in their correspondence, It is now time to look a little further, now, at some of the romantic oddities of the presentation in THE CODE.
Far from its being the case that Constantine invented or invested the deity of Christ, Paul is the most eloquent and assured, the most impactive and exacting of apostles in this field, and his works are from the first century, a couple of centuries before this imagined, pantomime-like work of a rebuilt and fantastic Constantine, appearing like a ghost, remade from the tomb, stripped of history, invested with the ideas of raging imagination. Indeed, THE CODE has much of the criteria which made gnosticism: stark invention, free play of ideas and compelling constraints to change things to the way one wants, without regard to evidence.
What then as to history itself ? So far from anyone then inventing the canon, let alone the Gospels, these had been known from the first century, Matthew and Mark treated significantly with much of Paul, as by Justin Martyr (who died around 165 AD), who refers to the memoirs of the apostles being read every Sunday at Church Worship. Earlier, Papias held forth in some detail about the coming into being of Matthew and Mark, with other works noted. Indeed, Irenaeus, born 120 A.D. had sharp words in criticism of gnostic style, 'secret' documents purporting to be gospels, but not publicly tested. Anyone can write a gospel once the originals are out; it takes merely a dead conscience and a lively imagination, with the prospect of finding a tree for your mistletoe to drag on, for life.
In fact, in Against Heresies, Irenaeus declares:
"Besides the above [misrepresentations] they adduce an unspeakable number of apocryphal and spurious writings, which they themselves have forged, to bewilder the minds of foolish men, and of such as are ignorant of the Scriptures of truthʼ (I.xx.1)."
R.J.R Paice on this topic (in Irenaeus on the Authority of Scripture, the 'Rule of Truth' and the Episcopacy) makes moreover a fascinating observation, concerning this same work of Irenaeus:
"In Adv. Haer. i.3.6 he speaks of the writings of the evangelists and the apostles and of the law and the prophets, and then designates all by the term Scripture. Two paragraphs earlier (i.3.4), after quoting from a number of Paul's epistles, he speaks of these and like passages to be found in Scripture."ʼ
This easy assemblage of Old Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ, His words, His apostles, their designation to convey it, their inspired words, is as much a divine conflation, a unit, as is a magnetic resonance imaging equipment. It is all for one purpose: God has something to do for and say to man, and makes sure that the equipment is provided, both in procedure, scripture, and in person, Christ. Just as the Son was SENT by the Father (John 3:16, Isaiah 48:16), so the Spirit was given from the Son (John 15:26, 14:26) so that the God-breathed scriptures should be given (II Timothy 3:16). In the early church, these things are so clear that they tend to be simply assumed, as you see in the above.
Indeed, by the time of Irenaeus, the fourness of the Gospels was as elemental as the compass quarters, and this with Ignatius shows the authority which they possessed and had possessed, treated as scripture in Church assembly. Notably, Ignatius in his Epistle to the Romans declares this:
"I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles; I am but a condemned man: they were free, while I am, even until now, a servant. But when I suffer, I shall be the freed-man of Jesus, and shall rise again emancipated in Him. And now, being a prisoner, I learn not to desire anything worldly or vain."
Tertullian likewise listed the Gospels over a century before Constantine, around 200 AD, and most other books of the canon, while the Muratorian Canon dated around 190 A.D. has a list of New Testament books, clearly indicating the four Gospels. Nothing else Gospel-wise is in consideration; but the assaults of polluters are rebutted by Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Tertullian, just as a mother might remove hair lice from her child's hair after school. It did not belong, but was an alien intrusion from an irrelevant source masquerading by philosophy as if to have something to say, when what HAD to be said, HAD been said by those who saw and heard. You cannot invent God: when He acts, you watch and see.
Three things stand out: it is the writings of the APOSTLES or their close associates which are considered as source, and from that comes in this 'see and hear' empirical setting, those which may come to be regarded as scriptures to be read in Church. Thirdly, these are not to be countermanded, but basic to belief. God did not send Christ in order to have biographical nullity; but sent the Holy Spirit to provide certainty of the portrait and the performance (John 14, 16, I Corinthians 2).
Applying these criteria, we find an error of nearly two centuries in timing in the lapse of THE CODE, which has arm-chair inventors, telling about the 'match' a few hundred years later. They are of course regarded by those who followed the incarnate Christ, as of no consequence at all, and find no spot in the listings of the early Church.
We do not expect split second timing, to be sure, but two centuries before the Emperor Constantine and his alleged manipulation ? is this not a trifle turgid ? school-boyish ? in the worse sense, of someone not watching at all, what is going on. Is this not perilously close to the merchandise proposition of Peter, that such skill should be used in such bucolic buffoonery, as this! And is that not a beautiful fulfilment of the prophecy of Peter, like daffodils in Spring, more accurate than landing on the moon' for that is within visible space: this is within invisible history millenia in advance!
The thing is starkly impossible, like dividing a number by zero. There is no meaning in it, just a ludicrous supposition, unresearched, unconfirmed, like a bank robbery. You cannot get results that way, that stand IN PUBLIC!
Indeed, you have the prophets, the apostles and their close associates, the Gospels in particular, the writings of Paul, all from mouths tested in time, public in utterance, declaring themselves sent by the one changeless God of creation, mutually approbative, testifying direct into historical situations in the Old or the New Testament, before an often rebellious Israel, in BC times or AD.
So they act, before all the world, attesting their words, which are testable before any audience, thrust into the midst of the maws of those who prefer not to eat, like it or not, or to use the scriptural term, 'whether they hear or they forbear' (Ezekiel 2:4-8, 3:1-11). The thing is open, consistent, fact-based, whether of the Exodus' day, or the Incarnation time, wrought in observation, compelling in truth, sustained for all time in verification. The Canon is like a great cannon which fires the demarcated, explosive truth far, but with salutary not destructive power.
The flavour of these needs to be realised.
they are impudent children and stiff-hearted.
I send you to them; and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’
“And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.
you, son of man, do not be afraid of them,
neither be afraid of their words,
though briars and thorns be with you, and you dwell among scorpions:
be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks,
though they are a rebellious house.
“And you will speak my words unto them, whether they will hear,
or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.
"But you, son of man, hear what I say to you; ‘Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house: open your mouth, and eat that I give you."
Again in Jeremiah 3, we find the same spirit.
"Moreover He said to me, 'Son of man, eat what you find; eat this
scroll, and go,
speak to the house of Israel.' “So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll. And He said to me, 'Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.'
"So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness.
"Then He said to me:
'Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to
For you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language,
but to the house of Israel, not to many people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, whose words you cannot understand.
'Surely, had I sent you to them, they would have listened to you.
But the house of Israel will not listen to you,
because they will not listen to Me;
for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted.
'Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces,
and your forehead strong against their foreheads.
Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.'
"Moreover He said to me:
'Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to
and hear with your ears. And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people and speak to them and tell them, "Thus says the Lord God," whether they hear, or whether they refuse.' "
Here is the straightforward, direct, confrontational, non-discursive, proclamation of truth into the midst of the active situation to which it relates. It can include things near or distant in its survey (as did Ezekiel in particular, including the Messiah as in Ezekiel 37), but it publicly probes for the present. It is a matter of multiple test, near and far, the word from the living God who not only integrates it in spirit and substance with what went before, but exposes it with relish to what is to come (as in Deuteronomy, Joshua, Daniel in their gifts from God, of sustained, testable revelation).
Ezekiel for example foretold the case with Tyre with dramatic precision, a matter moving on to then distant time of Alexander the Great, who performed the last deeds of the Tyrian matter (as in 26:1-4), moving the stones of the city into the sea, just as he foretold in the immediate future, what would befall Jerusalem (Ezekiel 23).
With mingled pity, courage, clarity and force, they presented what was, what was to be, what should be, the word of the unchanging God, to the clamant world, whether Israel or more generally; and their words in the midst of the people of God, challengeable, perhaps leading to the death of those who spoke thus in the name of the Lord, were always fulfilled, always pure, always consistent, in name, in power, in precision: and behind was the delight in mercy (Micah 7:19ff.). This was also seen repeatedly in Jeremiah as offer after offer was made, only to be rejecte. A different outcome was seen also in days of Hezekiah, where the Lord being sought, deliverance was obtained by miraculous means (Isaiah 36-37). These things were continual confirmations, as from the days of Moses and the Exodus, often unpopular, stated under continual scrutiny, in the name of the unchanging God, whose fame and name were apparent.
After all, it was good that Israel should testify to the truth, for it was made for such a purpose, and if only it would do it, so it would be enabled to continue. But despite some massive revivals as with Josiah and earlier Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah, it would not! It was not willing. This same rebellion infected the Jerusalem of Jesus’ day, a fact He made clear most forcibly (Matthew 23:35-39): on them would come the blood of many years, as they slew the Son who came after so many prophets had already been rejected, mistreated or worse (Mark 12).
Yet “wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered!” (Matthew 24:24-28). Thus, the same false prophet syndrome, fecklessly imaginative, not able to be tested, merely contrary, rejecting the purity of the one God, the continuity of His doctrine, the fundamentals of His power, the Messianic centre and the solemn means of deliverance, while altering, debasing, mixing, muddling, compromising, seeking place for spiritual or physical lust as was done even in the days of Moses (Numbers 11, Exodus 32, Numbers 25): this proceeded. Just as it was in the Old Testament days, so it fluttered its flurries, in the New.
It sought to find place, to snare the people, to use their basis by subtle or gross differences, to prescribe moral folly, or imply it or to seduce in any way, its proponents seductive but obviously alien in their words. It came like a tornado, destructive. Yet there was no alteration. The testimony of tested truth in the changeless name of the self-revealing God Almighty continued, clear, contradistinct, authoritative, known, assailed as were its spokesmen, the prophets, the apostles, but never in the end invaded. God’s word stood like a rock, contradistinct, settled.
The case was clear in the New Testament, in close parallel, and all the venoms of hell could not get false gospels listed in the Church lists, nor the false god Gnostic materials, to be lodged in place. It failed, and the lust continues now, as it was then. It strikes on the rock, but is unable to move it.
No Gospel but the four, nothing of Paul but his epistles; the public fruits of public truth are forwarded till the final details of the last members of the canon are settled in the day of Athanasius; but the criteria are clear, and just as there were OF COURSE many false prophets in the Old Testament days (so often noted, as in Jeremiah 23), proposing direct contradiction of the word of God (as in Jeremiah 20, I Kings 22:6ff., and notably at Mt Carmel in I Kings 17, where a mass contest was explicit, won by one, in the Lord of all truth, continuity of truth and of testimony): so was the case in New Testament times.
Their doctrine was untested, false, unverified, dissident from the ways and person, the purity and truth, the testable truth of the Almighty attested by prophet and apostle alike. Their contests were vain, and though much evil came on people infected by them (like King Ahaz), who would not believe, and did not have the faith to follow the word of God, but preferred natural things, gods, expressive of natural feelings, that line even coming to include perverted persons, and their ritual booths (II Kings 23:7): yet their lairs were discernible with simplicity and their ways subject to destruction, as by the vigilant King Josiah.
The prophets opposed these Canaanitish, these Phoenician, these Middle Eastern ramparts of ruin, these battering rams of belligerence towards the tested, attested and invested truth of God, presented before all, and with results which COULD have failed to happen, but DID happen. Not in vain was the death penalty for those playing with the name of God (Deuteronomy 13,18). The test is always there (Deuteronomy 18:20): DOES IT HAPPEN ? and is it the same God, or does it have the habiliments of another! These tests there are several, and not merely joint! They are independent, a double criterion.
Thus when Irenaeus in his second century work, Against Heretics, inveighs at great length against every distortion of the New Testament scriptures in particular, which themselves have come by direct attestation of eyewitnesses and apostolic sanction, and expands and dilates on the essential centrality and deity of Christ as depicted by them, and the doctrines of godliness as in continuity in all the Bible, and ravages through the invasions of dissidents who seek to corrupt from these things by idle words, it is nothing new. It is merely the work which had been manifest in the Church from the first, now re-appearing as the New Testament Church stood with the law and prophetic writings of the Old Testament, with monumental and detailed fulfilment in Christ given them from the first, and the observations of their eyes, of their ears, and the testimonies of the apostles against hostile Jew and Gentile alike!
There was nothing else, any more than in Old Testament days, but the authoritative, consistent, historically tested word. Now there was rushing into the Church, the vast compact of gospel and epistles of Paul surging like billowing waves in its heart of the Church, visible, viable from Christ’s own day. Into this select company, no aliens were admitted, but as in the Muratonian canon, rejected, while the list of books was being completed. Irenaeus, indeed, has all the vigour and vitality of the Old Testament prophets, reminiscent even of Moses, as he reviews both books and doctrines in the latter part of the second century, himself born about 120 A.D.. How intensively and extensively he expunged what was contrary, expounding in detail the coherence, the content and the harmony of all. This he gives not only in names of books, but in exposition of the content in substance.
Just as Christ, as He spoke with the apostles, had told them that He would lead them into all truth, and bring His words to their remembrance (John 14,16), so did the canon become clear in all major matters from the earliest date, and altogether in the day of Athanasius, then down to the smallest detail. Of that, too, we may note that the bishops who dissented in the vast concourse of Nicaea, from the strict and most stringent attestation of the deity of Christ, when Arius had sought to act as did so many in the Old Testament, against the long established testimony of apostle and scripture: they were not large in number. They were TWO out of hundreds!
But what of this deity matter, the confused concept of having the Christian Church make a god, when they died rather than allow Rome to make its emperors gods, in this, that they would not bow! Is there no end to illusion! The conceptions of making gods and being made by God are infinitely apart. It is unwise to confuse them, like making zero infinity and vice versa, by oversight.
THE CODE wants to have a new fornicating christ, one made into deity by a politician, one conducting secret knowledge for salvation via some Mary. This puppet of contemporary pretence is to follow the current descent to the abyss, in morals, while being elevated to a goddy sort of thing, of some kind or other ? Not at all, this new fangled, mangled 'christ' is to become the infinite God of creation by some kind of ... imagination.
Surely the gnostics are not dead, and imagination blows the trumpet for the pantomime of impossible things, to excite the children. People dying in droves rather than allow that the Emperor is to be worshipped, while making a fornicator into supreme and infinite deity! … For a scenario based not in this, but in that century, it takes as well as oil to water. It is impossible in conception, a contradiction in terms at the basis of the whole affair. What HAD to be God to be recognised, does not have to be MADE into the minimum for its mission! WHEN recognised, as by Peter at Caesarea Philippi, He is then equipped with a follower. The rules are simple, straight and strict, the morals are categorical, death penalties were still applicable. The apostles were named and numbered. The authority was granted (John 14, 16), and it was unequivocal. With one voice the apostles attest the deity, the Old Testament specifications, the prophetic requirements and their fulfilment.
The only opposition is as always, from false prophets, known by having other gods, and not receiving the Messiah as defined in the prophetic identikit, by God (as in Micah 5:1-4, Psalm 45, Isaiah 43-45, where the Saviour and Creator ALONE is God, and none other is there or will there ever be, pre-formed or post-formed). THIS is the Saviour, the Messiah, to whom every knee must be bowed as to God (Isaiah 45, Philippians 2). Here is MY LORD AND MY GOD! from the lips of the actual Thomas (John 20), who thus spoke to Him. Here is the I AM, of Exodus translated into flesh.
These constraints, uniform in the Old Testament, in the Gospels, in the words of Christ, in the canon compiled, in the epistles of Paul, were as contradistinct form the works of changing gods, changing morals, changing criteria as a bull from a mouse. It is obvious that the Gnostic messes would be excluded with the same vigour and fire as were the words of false prophets in the Old Testament. The testimony of history is precisely this. That is what happened. It always happens. God is God who makes it happen; and though many are the trials of the people of God, and were those of the prophets of old and the apostles, many dying, yet the testimony was as shining as metal from ore. Trying to remix was as noxious as vain.
Those whose desire, like that of Arius, much later, is to de-recognise the basis of the Christian church may certainly 'have a go'; but the foundation was too strong for such belated mockery, and the overwhelming majority could not be moved at Nicaea, to any such infinite revisionism.
The Bible knows nothing of such things as making gods, except as idolatry, nor of fornicating, except as a prelude to a deserved death; nor does history, and even the gnostic books of THE CODE are merely interpreted in terms of a fornicating 'christ' , by a cast of thought. It is by no means stated, nor does it follow even from the gnostic references.
There is nothing stated, nor demonstrable. As to the secrecy, the One who declared “I AM ... THE TRUTH”, and asked them why they sought to kill Him, "a man who has told you the truth" (John 14:6, 8:40) is scarcely a candidate for the surreptitious, any more than the subversive. Indeed, His naked exposure in crucifixion would seem to be the precise opposite in kind, in intention, in nature and in degree to the whole concept of secrecy. MAN is exposed in sin, and CHRIST was exposed to bear it!
Further, Christ declared in association with His presentation of the Gospel to Nicodemus, seen in John 3, one vast in significance but simple in expression, these words (3:19-22):
For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
This is the way of Christianity in total contrast with the gnostic hiddenness, snivelling in the darkness, hiding its blur, slur and stigma, shadowy and unsubstantial, a thing of calumny and secret shame.
That indeed moves to the very ground of condemnation among mankind, that they prefer darkness to the light which with universal application and celestial power and grace, has come to this world of shame. It has come to give another and a better name, that of the Messiah, the Lord of glory, who through the Cross of shame, provides a better name, a better way, escape from worse than oblivion, in peace and pardon, in the pathway of truth.
To His disciples, He declared that He would lead them into all truth (John 14:26, 16:13ff.). Playing with these words, by contradiction, is the exact opposite of building a case. No doubt, if you use bin Laden as a voice, you could make a different Messiah again, one equipped with the shedding of the blood of thousands rather than shedding his own, with force for religion's sake, rather than peace as a product of faith. You could try this; but not with history on your side. That is not what the prophets predicted for the Messiah, who would justify many, for He would bear their iniquities; nor would the time be right - for it was to lead to the death of the Messiah in AD 30; nor would the appeal be right, for slaughterous salvation is a contradiction in terms. It is a composite picture which God has provided, and it is because everything fits, rationally, empirically, prophetically, arithmetically, substantially, in dynamic and in miracle, in word and in deed, that it must be believed.
To ignore it, in favour of imaginations unbased in reason or history, it is as preposterous now as it would have been then. Naturally, the Church ignored this play-acting.
It is the sudden spurt of imagination, as dismal in evidential standing, as fog.
The deity of Christ is not the work of imagination, nor was the death of so many of His followers, but the conviction from evidence, in the crucible of experience, in the context of the scriptural predictions, in the wind-tunnel of test. You could pour on as many metaphors as you wish, and scarcely do justice to the contrast, between the lurid lures of gnosticism, on the one hand, and being unable to deny what they had seen and heard, on the other, and so standing firm before hostile priests! whose power to kill had just been exhibited at Calvary (Acts 4:20).
Let us investigate the deity of the Messiah a little further, for historical perspective and realism.
LAMPOONING HISTORY MAY BE ROMANTIC, BUT IT IS COSTLY
Firstly, the New Testament scriptures which are most eloquent, impelling and declarative on the deity of Jesus Christ, those of Paul, are attested as shown in SMR Appendix C, from the first century and multiply in many cases; and the endeavour by this or that heretic to change their testimony, to degrade Christ as they did physically at Calvary, now in the mind, was simply scurrilous and imperious. It was never accepted because it was just an individual work or some gesture coming over a century later, which did not have the verifiability of being from the apostles or their close associates, simply contradicting this or that their testimony and writings. There was no concerted, consolidated, correlated body which could bring up an evidential testimony to confirm anything contrary to those whose power and whose testimony alike showed no crack for exploitation. Therefore there was no significant place, no place in lists, no acceptance for these alien 'gospels', this late place staters of spiritual philosophies, with or without words that fitted their theories.
Further, there WAS no Roman Catholic Church, no pope. The bishop of Rome for centuries, was merely slowly gaining a degree of ascendancy in some matters, but even Gregory I, pope on the Romanist clannish concept, denounced such activities as shown in detail in SMR Ch. 10 (pp. 1036*6). Such distortions were far from extant, with the use of papal armies and power, an obvious derogation of the word of Christ (John 18:36), and adoption of worldly methods. In fact, it was a very different world then with naked power used against the Christians, open hearted and vulnerable, slain and sundered, but standing firm because of the truth, neither recognising emperors not any other, but Him who alone had done the works and spokent the words which made it in all honesty, impossible to deny Him.
It was not for nothing that Christ referred to them as shutting their eyes lest they should see; but this is a human option, not always consciously performed, but done amazingly well by many ... until sometimes suffering, and always grace, enables them to leave their culture camps and face reality at last.
There was no scope for repression or suppression except OF Christians BY the powers that then were. The power of God, invisible but active, however, at length, after centuries, brought the Empire to book, first in Constantine and then in its invasion. Meanwhile, it is useless to try to make the victims into powers to enact and determine by their will, the things to be allowed or found.
The evidence however could not be destroyed, not even by the cover up on the death of Christ, not even by the slaughter of thousands, the tortures and demeaning violation of many.
There were only two bodies: that of the apostles and the scriptures, Old and New in perfect accord, for the vast and increasing body of apostolic Christendom. Against this, when the first century from Christ is past, you begin to get some perhaps 11 or 12 written efforts to shanghai the work into some ill-attested field, in terms of writings of alleged authority as 'gospels', outbursts against the victims of political oppressions, the Church itself. It did not however yield either to physical violence or to metaphysical innovation. It stood firm on Christ, and His contemporary, God-given and promised, testimonies. What had been predicted for a thousand years, was protected by the power of God.
The CODE concept of Christ, then, as a fornicator, therefore one worthy of instant death by the biblical law then applicable, did not appear as an alternative to His crucifixion; moral complaint was not found, which might have spared them the trouble of murder.
Further, to suggest that any such godless folly as this, by the book, would be missed, that
anything so utterly outrageous in Jewish code and law,
would not be found by those lynxes and wolves
who could not bear His authority, His miracles or His message,
when their vehemence knew no end (Luke 11), and their hatred no intermission,
as foretold in Isaiah 49:7 and Psalms 2, 15, 22, 41, 55,
108, for example,
this would be to imagine a world quite different from this one.
With the operations of Judas giving intimate access to the group, with the milling thousands who made use of Christ, and those who rejected Him,
there was no
knowledge for even a false accusation to this effect ?
there was no easy way out, such as the Chinese have, in seeking to sink the reputation of Christians before imprisoning them ?
Did they have to go to the limit of crucifixion for
Christ's claiming to be the Messiah
when the claim was most easily,
on this imaginary CODE model, to be shown to be a moral plague, a ludicrous anomaly,
a crass impudence in the face of moral standards not in question!
To suggest that He was married, on the other
hand, is an enormous imposture, adding to what is given in all early records,
turned into nonsense in view of His intensely open and probed life. It is available only to those
for whom history is a basis for romance, not reason.
With people pressing into His private life on all sides, so that even rest was an achievement as in the feeding of the 5000, no one could see ? With disciples and enemies, traitor and sick all about, He concealed what is by nature public, a marriage ?
The thought is ludicrous, the idea is a sensation of blackguarding, and the concept is like suggesting that the Germans possessed weapons which could have destroyed England with ease, but instead attacked Russia and suffered Berlin to be taken. In fact, they were hopeful through atomic work and buzz bombs, and they used these to the uttermost, even in the most elementary form, and had some limited success: but they tried, oh yes, they tried.
When your regime is to be subject to numerous works for its extinction, so that it may continue only by greater power and glory, truth and not fiction, is it to be suggested that not only did Christ escape, but so too did the persecuted, harried, harassed, victimised, hated and assaulted Christian Church, in impostures unclean, circumstances secret, liveries of deceit ? Do pigs fly ? Is the impact of unanswerable truth to be met by the assumption of insufferable lust ? Is a new christ to be invented every time morals change, whether as assassin with the liberationists, clown with the comedians, humanist with the self-measuring pedants!
This is mere anachronism. There was no power to deceive, no place to hide when the face was that of Christ. Very different for centuries, was the plight of the Christian church from that imposing billionaire to come, Romanism, yes and that to the uttermost part. Not for it was the option of the clandestine, for its testimony was at all times remarkable for boldness, openness, fearlessness and insistence on the practical facts of Christ crucified, not Christ lucif-ied in lies, as in THE CODE. Their place lay in being not proud, but humble, not pompous but evidentially open, not imposing but exposing Christ from the testimony of truth and the knowledge of the people, even in Jerusalem within days of His resurrection.
The CODE is a puzzle indeed, but merely makes compositions of error.
Are the vehement and intimidatory enemies to be denied any access to such a flirtation, double life and dishonour, such an hypocrisy and double-mindedness on the part of the most single-minded person ever known ?
Moreover, is the testimony of years and multiplied thousands over the early centuries, to defer to some small and inconspicuous testimony, among a number of others, which without evidential ground or popular consent, is to be simply written. Well might such slander be secret, and not show its face, be found in jars, in philosophies, too shameful a slander to be open.
Small wonder that it did not, and the canon of the New Testament gave no place to these secret slanders and peculiar mystiques.
There was to be no yielding, then, in the face of what had prevailed increasingly without being overturned, during long years of persecution, to this trifling with truth. They would yield neither truth nor Gospel to incisions, even when in the most abased condition, under the authorities of government and temple, and is a series of various, vicious and unconfirmed assaults. No innovative and unhistorical ideas were to be given credence, no 'gospel' of this kind was to be listed, no, not though the face of the whole mass of Christendom, without pope, without power and riches, such as came to Romanism, was slapped repeatedly and the body of the saints was set the midst of interminable persecution!
The idea is ludicrous, on all sides, by any rules of evidence. They neither deified the One accepted for being Deity, nor did He show a testimony of insidious sin, but of a righteousness so intense, that none could fault it, though their motives, their methods and their meddling were almost unlimited, and their power was vast. Christ was ON SHOW, and when He would take rest, readily was He interrupted as more and more sought healing and help. It was in a way like those early Chinese missionaries whom many would seek to watch, even in their domestic affairs, when they lived in open places, in order to satisfy their curiosity.
Nothing however could make Christ fall; and false gospels taking a hundred, or two or three hundred years to find paper, were instant failures, would-be despots over history, contrived to turn the victory of Christ on the field, into some verbal failure, appealing to invisible faults that showed not at all, after exhaustive tests. The two stood together: infallible life, infallible power and infallible morals, and ineradicable fulfilment of every scripture which they could throw at Him, whether it meant the use of miraculous power as in Isaiah 29, 35, or inveterate power to overthrow every verbal assault.
Nothing but death would do, for the exclusion of Christ from the place of Prince of Peace. His murder meant that the priceless having been slowly strangled, with blood oozing the while, there would and could be no peace for Israel till its time came. So it was to be, and so it has been; nor is there any peace for this world, while it follows the work of Caiaphas, with its endeavours to kill again who He was, and slaughter what He did, in insolent aversions, and unmemorable imaginations.
Further, the trinity is clear from the Old Testament (cf. SMR Ch. 7, Section 4, cf. Isaiah 48:16), and the deity of the Messiah is consistently insistently and persistently pressed in it, so that Peter's acclamation in Matthew 16, as recorded, was a necessary belief for any acceptance of the Messiah. Paul's words expressive of the deity of Christ are as categorical as could be imagined; and these are they which circulated and within several decades of Christ's death, were approved by the apostles, Peter deeming Paul's epistles to be scripture (II Peter 3). Where is this concept that someone centuries later invented the deity which was imposed from a millenium before Christ came, and that at the date, as well as with the authentication, required (cf. SMR pp. 532-560).
To conceive that certain wholly unobjective and purely imaginary Leonardo pictures have some inscrutable message which only imagination can even conceive, which in some way was to enshrine the unevidenced filth that a few writers threw at Christ, as has been common over the Ages, the production of ill-attested romancings: this is a scandal to rationality, an impudence to verification and a journey into loose adventures of the prurient mind.
Purity and deity were the entire scope of the Gospels, which swept to place as scripture in the early church within decades of His death, now directly attested, now in this or that case, now as a body or corpus of writings, now as inexorably obvious truth, as unalterable as the directions of North, East, South and West, in the eyes of one of the leading scholars of the time, Irenaeus. Reckless, renegade re-writings of history, in philosophic clowning, were candidates only for contempt, their code unscientific, their message unbased, their philosophies irrational.
It is the same with the CODE’s pretence that there are Dead Sea Scrolls, the earliest Christian records, that do not "match up with the gospels of the Bible” (p. 245). In fact, as trial attorney Craig L Parshall points out (Israel My Glory, Jan. – Feb. 2006), there is blatant falsification in this claim. Whatever the motive for such false assertions in THE CODE, this is the result.
In fact, there appear to be no Christian scrolls in the Dead Sea collection, and the relationship of the Essenes has been considered in SMR pp. 1163C-1164.
The spirit of antichrist has many forms, like that of those who imagine the Romans did not know how to kill, or to attest those whom they killed in crucifixion; or that blood and 'water' separation of the elements of our life- giving fluid (John 19:34) is a suitable base for sustaining life (it being the discharge of ruin!); or who imagine Christ was not killed, or did not rise bodily from the dead, as if a tormented relic showed the power of life eternal; or from a callow, crippled condition, a crucified butt produced the formula for immortality and the function for faith.
Chapter 6 supra has dealt with such contrived follies of desperation, flits into the fancy of existential irrationality; but God's word deals with those who withhold faith, and so test... the Almighty, as if judgment were not just around the corner.
Indeed, will a romanticising theologian allege that the this-worldly 'deceiver' in some ancient document of a sect of zealots (like the Essenes, anti-Establishment penitents who spoke of a teacher of righteousness, but did not perceive the Lamb of God suffering for sin in His divine passion of lovingkindness, in their doctrine) is in fact the sublimely altruistic Christ!
What is this but jousting with reality by sheer anti-evidential guesswork!... contrapuntal procedure by contradiction, while constructing on this basis an irrelevant 'political' potentate or party, who nevertheless said: My kingdom is not of this world... (John 18:36) and lived it; who did not fight or seek political power and said so, as also from the first in His withering rejection of the devil (Matthew 4:9-10); who instead carved a kingdom of truth on another basis altogether, deeply embedded in the scripture, one explicitly, emphatically and continually so (John 6:15,27-29, Matthew 16:20-21), declaring: "My kingdom is not from here!"
Will rational man listen to such irrational reconstruction of unevidenced anti-history, in endless vendetta with essential and available reality, at daggers drawn with the data ? as equally with the essential logic ? (Cf. Ch.'s 1, 3 and pp. 931-936, 989-1010 supra.) If fairies may then contrive, so that neither data nor logic, nor history nor Old Testament nor New Testament nor Church foundation nor church history, nor indeed anything pertinent empirically or rationally be involved: let them. We are talking of Christianity, not plagiarism.
Man now mixes his blood with his ink. Much of both... has flowed. He is unkind to himself, his race and his future. Only redemption remains, then judgment. (Cf. pp. 316Cff., 592, 631A-B supra; 1174D infra.)
In fact, the creation still has that wonderful bounty, originality, that poetic imagination that enlivens the spirit of man, justly inducing worship of its Creator; but it has been marred beyond recognition in many ways, such as these (cf. Ch. 2 S1-S14) :-
i) In the heart of man: without Christ, this is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9), not least in imagining its own purity or wildly seeking to reconstruct... God.
ii) In the environment, which is charred, broken or marred, its magnificence subdued... being subjected as Paul states in Romans 8:20-21, for the time, to things lower than its original disposition, to vain things, a fitting rebuke to the sin of its 'lord' (Psalm 8:4-6), yours truly, man: forming a chastening picture in terms of its... deformities, of man's own, a continual sermon on sin. Man is not the only one who can give sermons; and God can provide them in stone (archeology) or in life (biology) with the same consummate ease with which He first created life forms in their teeming complexity and fascinating compression of code and format (cf. Ch. 2; 631A-B supra).
iii) In the human form created for the eternal Son of God, as we read in Isaiah 52:14, an 'astounding' matter for many. Here the highly exalted servant of God, Christ as man, becomes a sin-bearer, and in that form He is marred beyond recognition (lit. "beyond the form of man") by the barbarous cruelty, the sophisticated hatred and the carnal convenience of man. He has presented us, like a barber, the 'back-view' of our own sin, in terms also of our own creation. If to that some object, this merely exposes yet again the same marring... within. Our evils as a race are not photogenic within or without. They are not good to look at; but look we do, and must.
Yet despite the marring, the marvel still remains: both of the love of God who sent His Son for deliverance from damage (not for damage control), and of the majesty of God who made not only man, but also his environment, in His time mirroring how He would, the vain faults of fallen man. It is not reason which can object.
Thus for the Christian, God instead becomes the ultimate environment (Colossians 1:27, 3:11-17), the Maker for the made; and indeed, as Christ is now resurrected, so in due time, at the end of this trial, when the pages of this history have finished their first turning:
The creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:21).
It will be time then. Meanwhile, God has started with the children.
There is in the Essenes and their purificatory rites, self-made teacher of righteousness concept which is far from the Messianic role of Christ, merely one of the numerous sects which littered the landscape at this period, as noted in Unger’s Bible Dictionary; and endeavours to parallel, or even correlate them with the wholly divergent work of redemption through the blood of the slain, predicted and sin-bearing Saviour is mere intransigence against truth. They do not match. They move to remove the relationship to God Himself, or the work, or both.
You might as well try to match the work of the former USSR and the Carnegie Institute because they have one or two points in common. Such confusion is the enemy of science, the bane of understanding, and like the rest of these myths, a patent and blatant work of confusion of incomparables.
Thus this additional idea of THE CODE, is barbarous. In no sense is there ANYTHING to do with the Christian Church or the Redeemer, with Jesus Christ, with the account of His life or the scriptural centre of His significance. It is a Jewish sect intent of purification and their teacher, as far from Jesus Christ as the moon from the sun. It does NOT, emphatically not provide anything whatever to do with the Christian Church, has no relationship in doctrine or dogma to it, but is like a false road, leaving the core of the prophecies of the Lamb, for a philosophic preference. They did it their way; but no Christ was in their midst, nor was the Messiah in their midst, nor was the Cross in their minds.
As was noted earlier for this Site, the contrast between the Essenes’ teacher and Christ is vast. Thus one wrote earlier (slightly revised for this purpose) as follows.
A book of F.F. Bruce, a prodigiously famous scholar and Professor in this sort of area in the University of Manchester, is Second Thoughts on the Dead Sea Scrolls. This gives an informative account of various references outside the Bible, in a B.C. sect, which was very fond of the term "teacher of righteousness." As Bruce shows on pp. 60, 71, 76ff., 92ff., 112ff., with reference to detailed items found in the cave, there appears to have been a highly regarded teacher who was very inappropriately forced into some contexts in Habakkuk, so that it was made to appear that HE would be the one to interpret and provide data. Others might possibly have borne the name as a title, but it seems that there was one, the founder presumably, who was most singularly revered. The distortions and insights combined provide, as Bruce exhibits, a strange fare indeed. It is far from Biblical truth, history and its termination, all three.
It was, Bruce indicates, a sect which seemed to have felt the end was near (e.g. p. 96) and that their teacher would instruct them concerning what was to be done. He also indicates that there is no slightest evidence of any special kind of death for this ‘teacher’, or that he was at all regarded as a, or the Messiah. Nor was the end anywhere near ‘near’!
In fact, as you can see by consulting The Shadow of a Mighty Rock pp. 886ff., even the First Coming of the Messiah was set for His death about 30 A.D., long after this sect arose! They did not look intently for the many Messianic requirements, but followed a form of their own.
As for the rule of the Teacher, in fact the Messiah, that was a matter of millenia distant as you see sketched in II Peter 3:9, an Age in which a whole series of political, moral, religious, spiritual, social and international events had first to transpire. Theirs was a void, with a swift step past the suffering of Christ, to reach at once very far to the realm of the Second Coming and the End. This, biblically in the prophets, had to await Christ's resurrection, the dissemination of the Gospel to the Gentiles, the restoration of Israel after its dispersion and the entire Gentile era! (cf. SMR Ch. 9, Appendix A, Joyful Jottings 22-25).
This too was taught likewise by Christ (cf. Luke 19:42ff., 21:24), for Israel had to have its temple ground to the ground, and to be taken over by the Gentiles, and then to be restored, before there was anything of the Messiah to rule on this earth, in view. As noted, Peter showed the scope in II Peter 3:9. Here, in the context of the entirety of history, where phases can be seen as a thousand years, one page, there is an awareness that thousands of years are to pass, and God is by NO means forgetful of His coming. The time is His own.
It is groaning now, as the weight of the years presses. As mentioned in Bon Voyage Ch. 2,
Many ignorantly imagine that because the patience of God is colossal, His kindness is equivalent to making Him irrelevant to action. It is just like the smoker who thinks the advertisements can go to blazes, for he enjoys his little fires in his pipe. Yet to this moment, though some of the coming physical distortions of the order of the earth which will mirror to some slight extent, and then a growing one, the distortions of deity and His designs, by man, and the twistings of truth and the marring of morality, are beginning to suggest themselves to both eye and reasoned prognosis from changing events: yet the patience of God is profound.
We are still being given a little more time in the grace and love of God (II Peter 3:9), as Peter foretold, and what is to come waits yet a little. Remissions however are no ground for ingratitude or folly.
Time is vast, but not endless. The coming was not to rule first, but to suffer; but the suffering of folly, though almost inordinate, has an END.
As Jesus indicates in Luke 24:25-26, there was first the prediction of His sufferings, and to follow, then that of His glory. They were very far from being the same. These were two epochs, to suffer and produce the Gospel, fully paid up, and to return and to reign, till the earths should be filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah11, Habakkuk 2:14).
The ‘teacher of righteousness’ concept of this sect, therefore, a stark feature, on which they were so keen, is not really very interesting, in this: that we just the same sort of phenomena today. It was a slim and even at that, alien connecting link to a mighty corpus of concepts, deeds and provisions prophetically affirmed by the Almighty, and then redemptively done by Christ. It was slimmer than string tied to a bull.
Even now, people are still trying to force this or that into or out of the Bible, and seeming rather to make fools of themselves, like that modern sect which confidently ‘prophesied’ that Christ would return in 1934 or so. He neglected to do this, just as the modern sect apparently neglected to think much about Acts 1:6-8, where knowledge of such times and seasons is denied even to the apostles.
What the Dead Sea Scrolls do show, as Parshall points out and W.J. Martin, when Rankin Lecturer in Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages in the University of Liverpool showed so exquisitely in his “The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah”, is the amazing fidelity of the transmitted Isaianic text relative to the earlier version in the Scrolls. There are found only insignificant variations, some omissions in one scroll rectified in another, and the substance is secure to a highly impressive degree (Parshall cites to this effect from Martin Abeg Jnr., Peter Flint and Eugene Ulrich eds. In The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, 1999).
Thus items in the Dead Sea Scrolls corpus, which in fact includes the confirmation of biblical accuracy and the relics of some sect of Jewish zealots with lustratory rites as a preoccupation and a leader of zeal in a mission of their own: this in some nugatory manner is to become an early Christian document! It omits the Gospel, the Christ, the testimony of Jesus, the redemption, the Cross, the centre and the name both of Christ and of Christians, and is an early Christian document! Perhaps next we will find that caustic soda is really sulphuric acid, or that Bush was Nixon.
There is no depth to which pride and folly will not sink: there are those who from time to time, become similarly obsessed. They who MUST assume homosexuality between David and Jonathan, although nothing is more distant from the text, the tests which they underwent, or the courage, character and morality of their lives, their biblical law, their godly devotion to the Lord their strength and their trust. To be sure, David went ONCE into a wholly other venture, in adultery with a lustful eye for Bath-Sheba; but it was cut short in horror, almost smashing his life, leading to anguish almost unspeakable as seen in Psalm 51.
The very concept of disobeying God, of rebelling against His word, was like someone slamming him against a wall. There was far from any intimation of a preliminary in horror, deserving of death, as the young saint wended his way amongst his enemies, in danger of death at any time, accessing and waiting on the Lord in every contingency, with child-like devotion and manly courage. Such compilations of those who cannot stand a prior passion for righteousness and must invest or infest truth with enmity, are the mere imagination of what cannot stand evidence or God.
It is not in one point or element: it is a pathological passion. Some things arrest the attention, perhaps stir the guilt of the workers of evil, and they MUST change them, or die of shame, if not conscious, then uncomfortably near to being so.
Thus, there were those, in later times, the Arians who persistently tried to REMOVE the deity of Christ, like Arius. He was born about 250 A.D., centuries after Christ, and long before Constantine, and he strove to remodel his Maker. Such endeavours in their fourth century day, had an impact; but the scriptures of both the Old and New Testament would not permit such a renovation, and the Church removed this luxury of imagination.
There was nothing new in trying to make of Christ something which the evidence did not attest; for there was everything old in showing, as Paul and many others together had done, that what the Old Testament required, from the very first and in every detail, Christ fulfilled. A desire for change, and for demotion occurred. It was not uncommon among men, and it came like a bull raging and rampaging into the 4th century Church.
In fact, however, ALL happened as the Bible said, and as He said, and NONE could show at any time ANYTHING to the contrary. It was like a scientific theory which on all sides and in every circumstance was verified, stunning in concept, clear in mandate, authoritative in its consistency with all knowledge, without competitor, which could indeed be assaulted and attacked, but not with reason, not in ANY field where evidence confirmed, or reason allowed. Arius failed. The Council of Nicaea overwhelmingly rejected the demotion of the Lord.
The assailants like Arius could try, they could seek to create some new christ, alien to both the Old and the New Testament's unremitting, long held beliefs and data bank of centuries aged by that time. Yet they could not succeed, for the unremitting evidence of the ages was consistently and persistently against them, and they were as mavericks, leading to the sterile valleys and deserts.
NOTHING supported their ideas, neither reason, nor verification, neither report based on credible testimony, nor the contrary mass of tried evidence of events in Christ and the apostles, which none could evidentially deny, and which accumulated during the major persecutions of the non-Roman Church, where humble apostle and not proud pope led.
The idea that despite a total lack of any evidence, and despite the fact that the epistles of Paul and the Gospels are full of the deity of Christ, centuries before Constantine, the latter invented it : these are as ludicrous as the concept that Queen Victoria was a professional harlot who was the courtesan of the real ruler of England in that day, Prince Albert, whose death was merely contrived. Here THE CODE ought indeed to become the remorse code, and reverse its raucous and squalid confusions.
What then ? You can say ANYTHING; but it is evidence, and not shadowy romancings of da Vinci, empty of all evidence, not a Constantine who is invented contrary to all-recorded history, which is de rigueur if truth is your quest, or peace to be your end. Moreover, the pseudo-'Gospels' which are used by the producer of this defamation of Christ are from the third to fifth century, earliest late second century, and are thus secondary in dating, long in coming to their attestations and branded with philosophical patterns and types neither rational nor anything less than glasses for seeing, which like a double polaroid action, obscure everything. They are as relevant as a gun going off, two hours after a murder.
Mauling the truth, irrespective of motive, whether the pursuit of philosophical, psychological or political passion, is always a deadly farce.
OBLIVION INDUCED MAY BE PLEASANT
BUT IT IS WORSE THAN OPIUM'S PRODUCT
Pondering the Perspective
If you are seeking the cause of a crime, starting to take evidence from some centuries later is scarcely likely to succeed; nor is so belated a work a deposition of what occurred, but of minds tardily at work, so being provided with plenty of time to produce ill-conceived expostulations. In fact, Irenaeus in particular makes it clear that the Gospel-seekers, outside the four, the followers of the mode, of the form or at least of the word, were exposed by him as false because secret.
By contrast, the testimony of open and available, public truth was from the first of one kind, it met, because it had to do so, every assault with reason and evidence, because it had these things in abundance, and so was famed for its candour, boldness and clarity. When, as occurred, as centuries past, it was later assailed by post-scripts invented in later history, there was a certain falsetto note. This could only be done on the basis of public evidence long-known, whereas the precise opposite being the case with these literary and philosophical assailants, these gnostics in this case, the assault forces were left as providers and propounders of simple imagination. Their secret presentations were of no greater value than any other slathering of ideas, call it what you will, that people come up with, from time to time, to satisfy their lusts, to implement their programs, or exercise a belated and baseless innovation.
In fact, efforts have poured forth from the day of Paul to now, to make a new Christ, better suited to current tastes than the actual One, just as the nation in His own day, had just the same idea, except that the priesthood could do for the time, with its echelons of power. It is a continual mode on this earth, to replace God either with fraud, with falsetto philosophies of mere imagination; and very often, to this is added the desire to replace His servants, by carting off their carcasses from the earth, assailing their reputations by slander, grabbing their children, and so doing a thorough job. Was the USSR any better than Rome ?
Yet the gnostics were no more successful than all the other assailants, whether literary or political, with word or sword, with torture chamber or Star Chamber.
Not least, their strength in founding the Gospel and overtaking this world came precisely because the objective, public, tried and tested proclamations and intimations concerning Jesus the Christ, the Messiah:
are unique, attested by history,
are in accord
themselves from His mouth and the work of His apostles,
met the original
and continuing crisis of their beginnings in the midst of weakness and
Further, as shown for example in SMR, logic requires the Bible, and not something else, and this requires the Christ, which in turn, history depicts in only one way, except where emotion rules, or facts are dispelled and dispersed in order to speak*7. This is merely one of the pimples on the face of irrationalism, that it should so invent, contrary to the cogent requirements of reason, at such distance from the events, and use disreputable and unsupported diatribes as basis, to which prior history gives no support, nor subsequent reason.
The Gospels are so branded on the face of history, that it is startling in its suddenness, impactive in its might, open in its reception; and so are many letters of Paul, received, as by Ignatius so early, as commandments, yes and these too from Peter.
These writings, attested here in this way, there in that, come so early in their listings, mentions, depictions, use as authoritative, as from God, as parallel to Old Testament Scriptures, in various ways by various authors, as they grow before our eyes into a corpus, that it is like a living gardens, open to all, the delight of the occupants. Often the authority is merely assumed, always an excellent attestation, sometimes it is provided by clear references to various books as authoritative or decisive, sometimes we have some part of a list (fragments appear at times), sometimes enumerations of the books so regarded as inspired by God. It is clear from the first century and is continually confirmed into the second.
By the time of Irenaeus there is an immovably profound categorisation of the Gospels and an utter sense of inspiration explicit, the latter as in Ignatius. By the time of Tertullian there is a detailed listing, while a little earlier in the Muratorian Canon, there is nothing less. Gospels, Paul and more appear.
the day of
Ignatius (around 107 A.D. see above), though
authority is found in his own words,
that of Clement of
Rome - Bishop c. 95 AD, there is vast reverential respect for those New
Testament documents, as we now call them, to which reference is made,
and they are many.
Papias, not far
on, (c. 130 cf. SMR p. 1149), we
find reference to the exquisite care displayed
Polycarp (near 100
AD), we find the domain of one who "perverts the oracles of the Lord
first to early second century AD), we find reference to his being a
Martyr (c. 160 A.D.), we have the declaration that the apostles
Irenaeus (c. 180 AD), so emphatic in his decisive depictions of the Gospel, makes it unthinkable there should be more, they being compared to the four directions of the compass.
Vast references to the gospel contents in John, Matthew and Luke appear, as to Paul, while Mark has the special attention of Papias. Thus all are well cited or noted by around 115-130 A.D., the apostolic authority or that deriving from it is manifest as crucial, the spurious and parasitic gospel is detested and loathed as venturesome, devil-inspired folly and New and Old Testament citations are put on an equal footing as scripture.
So was the vast bulk of the New Testament word of God early received and regarded in the Church, so alone in their provision till time grew old in waiting, were the Gospels and Paul, and neither were other words to be assigned to Paul but those of his epistles nor other gospels listed or accorded place, so that their unique position, in a compilation of the corpus, is not in question. It is like trying to have someone 'in' a race, after you have just watched it, and have SEEN that there were precisely four contestants in the literature of the time, referring to it.
It is not in the least difficult for the enquiring mind to find where is the deposit which from God must have come, as we have shown*8. There is the Old Testament, New Testament corpus, the latter startlingly authoritative, as not unexpected in view of that of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His authority in the apostles. You see this perspective clearly in Clement of Rome (c. 95 A.D.), writing this:
"The Apostles for our sakes received the gospel from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ was sent from God. Christ then is from God, and the Apostles from Christ. Both therefore came in due order from the will of God. Having thus received his instructions and being fully assured through the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, they went forth with confidence in the word of God and with full assurance of the Holy Spirit, about to come..."
This authoritative, increasingly listed corpus, open to all, spreading more and more extensively from nation to nation, is unique, coming from the first, defined to the last, even to the most slender documents.
It is nowhere else, not in the magical, mythical, incoherent, irrational, it is not in the anti-biblical, since the God whose word alone attests who He is from antiquity, without whose word the world in this state could not be, did not sleep. The spiritual, the rational and the empirical agree in one.
Sleep ? On the contrary, by so many ways, for so many centuries, through so many prophets and in so many testable events did the Lord speak, with such participation in word and deed in so many nations, and above all with vast precision and intimacy with the Jews, that anything not founded in the Old Testament is merely irrelevant. It lacks the foundation for verification, the corps for reason's work, the age-long testimony of continuity needed (cf. SMR Ch. 1, esp. 50ff., It Bubbles ... Ch. 9).
The Gospels are the only product equal to test, in being, in early production, in consonance with the Old Testament, in demonstrating its precise relevance, in fulfilling what it required, and in time, in standing WHILE DOING SO, against all affront, in stemming from eyewitnesses, and being directly linked to the authority of Christ. There is no difficulty; indeed, the late 'gospels' merely by absurd contrast show the more completely the authenticity of those which hit the tarmac of truth in time to be evidentially based.
The word of God is in unity expressed, compressed, the Book of the Lord, contradistinct from philosophy, rummaging, ruminations, historical in emphasis, tested in nature, open to all, moving from the apostles and close associates, who moved from the Lord, who fulfilled the testimony since the creation, of what God requires of sinners.
Let us however look further now at THE CODE concept of Constantine as inventor of the deity of Christ and the Canon place of the Gospels, in this context, however.
What do we find ? It is this.
Since Constantine did not in fact have the power to perform what had been manifest and received for some 200 years already (it is like asking someone to remove an appendix, when it was taken out a decade earlier ... rather an irrelevant request, and notably behind the times!), the whole CODE thesis of fraud by force and circumstance, or if you like it, pomp and circumstance, is extinct, dead on arrival.
Good for making money, perhaps it may be, but not for making sense. It is like serving up food with the advertisement, 99% fat! It does not go.
Gnostics had operated from Simon Magus, but their irrational, illusory and secret views were contrary to what stood the test of multi-scale and violent persecution, as open as an open cut mine, in the four Gospels. It was indeed a persecution suffered repeatedly by the church; and it was one equipped with every evil and lustful, wanton motivation to achieve rebuttal of the domain and lordship of Christ, so that it provided in ample scope, a wind tunnel of test, leaving the Christians with no hope of suppressing anything, their bodies in the grip of such autocratic and incendiary violence.
The actual power to suppress, however, if you want to look at historical action in the world, not enchanting dreams, lay for centuries with those authorities alien to Christ. They simply could not, however, suppress Him, or His people, or His testimony: public, spread, tested, thrust forward with dying lips and surging attestation on all sides. They could not do so because the truth made manifest in word and deed, in historical impact and national exposure, in Old predictions and New fulfilments, is an insuppressible thing; you might as well seek to stop an avalanche in free fall down a valley, when it is moving at 100 mph, by having 100 bull dozens in train.
There is a time to suppress; but when the world knows, when the people are informed, when the testimonials are in public eyes and ears and memories, when the events in question are more significant that was the atomic bomb, when Jerusalem rings with the wickedness just as a little before, it had sounded with His goodness to many, power for all: then by the grace and power of God, it is impossible to suppress it. Error would do it at once; but truth in this context could not be clothed, not though a thousand priests put their backs to the wall. In fact, many of them became Christians (Acts 6:7).
What then do we find ? When what was in view was central to the Word of God of vast fame, for millenia, and to the saving matrix; and when the nature of the events had gripped Jerusalem as nothing else could, both with the impact of mercy and healing power, of verbal facility and understanding unthinkable without God; and when, with guilty contrivance and vehement endeavours leading to murder by the judiciary, Rome and Jerusalem alike implicated, which many seem to forget: then try to stop it amidst these elevations of glory and depravities of shame ? Try stopping an express train with a sword. You see precisely this impact in Peter's speech in Acts 3:13-19, after one of the healings so characteristic of Christ Himself, was PUBLICLY wrought in His name:
"Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this?
Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?
"The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.
"But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
"Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began."
This is precisely the power and authority, historical insistence and presence of power from God that characterised so much of the writings to which we have been referring above. It had a base in the apostolic power, commission and manner; which in turn went to the documents which God gave them, as according to promise, He gave to their memories what had been (John 14:26).
Secrecy and fantasy, this might be suppressed; and the finding of some gnostic-ware of this type, perhaps 1700 years after its supposed creation, is in this not surprising. Select, eclectic, philosophically minded bodies could well have interest for their members, and their cast of thought might appeal, and they might, as they did, seek to suppress things, as implied in II Esdras.
Yet when it comes to publicly testable material, far out from the first in the cycle of evidence and public knowledge, this is all too late, too little, too varied, too crankily composed, as useful as films purporting to present a book, with all the normal editorial licence, for reaching their waiting public!
Known facts attested from the days of the events, in an unbroken chain of open-faced mining, where every stroke is under the watchful eye of adversaries and the corps of those who believe and see, alike, with endless testimonies from the very day of Christ, back when every saying and every action was under scrutiny from ruthless enemies: these have no counterpart in secrecy, fantasy and blind assertion, mixed with untenable philosophies at ludicrously late dates.
It could have been rebutted, the factual account, had evidence mocked it, or facts not supported it. The motive to do so was present, and had been shown with VEHEMENCE, in endeavours to trip up Christ Himself (Luke 11:52-54). The excitement of indictment when Christ exposed their hypocrisy (as also in Matthew 23), is understandable, and the lust to remove Him, if a self-preserving reaction, is readily comprehended. They did so, to the best of their ability, which did not work well, since to have a murdered man return would always be embarrassing to those who had hoped to dispose of Him. Yet they are without excuse; it had even been predicted memorably, often and for long (Psalm 16, 22, Isaiah 26:19, Hosea 13:14, Isaiah 49-55 for example), including their own abhorrence of Him (49:7).
In another world with another history and another, a false christ, and without the power and work of God, it might indeed have been rebutted; but it was not.
It might have been, if this and that party had seen Christ fail, had observed unsuccessful resurrection attempts, failed healing efforts, clearly wrong statements; but it was not because it could not produce these negative evidences, while the power of God in consistent exhibition was presented by Christ in continual and open view, with integrity, sincerity, compassion and divine mandate apparent. The case for cover-up by those who can, those in power, it could be considered; it could not be accomplished.
It was always very easy to show up an impostor, when the canon of the Old Testament was in view, for the very simple reason that you had to have the powers of God in order to qualify as Messiah, miracle worker, sacrifice interceding in death, dying at the predicted date; but of gods, there is no multiple number: there is ONE God. Of that power, there is ONE source, and that source uniformly supports and never allows the failure of any one of the statements in his Book of the Lord, nor did He in any one of the actions or words, of the Lord of the Book, when He was on earth.
The intense and immense opportunity to discredit, the knowledge, sophistication, savvy, unscrupulousness of those learned authorities motivated to do so, the temporal power, temple forces, working with Rome (as with Pilate, governor, so infamously): these things gave vast leverage. But when you have to move the Rocky Mountain chain, you see rather more than bull-dozers. God Himself is not moved.
But what if He had at any time failed ? had tried and failed, or spoken and not done accordingly ?
Any such failure would at once demonstrate that He was a fraud. The actual, historical trouble for His enemies was this, that He had all the answers, in work and miracle, in claim and announcement, in understanding and in healing, in raising the dead, and moreover did precisely what the prophets had said He MUST do, if genuine. Only murder remained; so of course, with envy and inviolate hatred at such power, He was murdered. That in two ways all served God (but did not excuse the nature of this).
First, it made the test SHOW the truth, though its work was the opposite in intent; and secondly, the murder being divinely planned and pre-announced, paid the cost of redemption, while the following resurrection, demonstrated the power of God to prevent man from his worst endeavours. No body could they control, nor could they suppress the results of that resurrection in wholly changed disciples, in bold apostles, in speech incontrovertible.
The more they menaced, the more the truth continued to thrust itself into the minds of those who saw an apparently hopelessly unequal contest, being won, though with major sufferings to which sincerity is heir, against them all. Moreover, it was just such sufferings of which Christ had warned from the first (cf. Matthew 10).
It was all very simple. Desperate situations, for some, require desperate means; and what made it desperate, and yet more desperate, was not only the whole concourse of His scathing criticisms of the ruling religious junta, and of many of their polluted and innovative, unauthorised principles, traditions not in the word of God, but His immeasurably apt power. By this, He was able to do all that one could ask of God, without delay and without error.
How then could He not be He; and how could the very date be other than that required by Daniel. They were cornered, but implacable; their will was inflexible, their determination inveterate, but they could not contain the truth of the apostles or the power of God. Indeed Nicodemus, one of their own authorities, had warned them of this very thing (Acts 5:33ff.). Therefore they killed Christ and then James, and were preparing a similar fate for Peter, whom God elected to rescue, not once but twice (Acts 5:19ff., 12:1-19).
Even that torrent of persecution, however, did not work; and that, of course made for the most frustratingly extreme situation possible. They could not produce the body, that notoriously necessary item when resurrect ion is in view. It simply was not available. They set up a guard, who instead of being put to death for negligence, in letting the pierced relic called Christ, whose blood and water separation had been witnessed, rush off on His way, were paid up for silence. Some relic! some reward for shameless negligence ... or impotent inability to prevent the predicted working of the power of God: to the DAY, timing perfect, as always (Matthew 16:21, Luke 24:19-21).
Even the devil lacked the imagination to get around this one. Evidence smiled blandly, while fury extended her fevered hand to the purse. The power, the authority of Christ, unbroken even by crucifixion, but confirmed in resurrection, was transmitted (Acts 1:1, Luke 24:44-49) to those whom He chose, and shown and seen (Acts 1-10), first in apostles and then in Paul (Acts 13ff.), and the writings which came from those chosen were in word, what in deed was likewise shown (cf. I Corinthians 2:9ff., John 14:26, 16:13). There was no room for caricature in the business of full living, irresistible testimony and open-handed expression of the pity and power of God in terms of the everlasting Gospel, foretold, preached and founded in the One who could not be faulted.
HERE HAS CONFUSION ITS MASTERPIECE
(with apologies to Shakespeare, but not at all to THE CODE!)
Pondering the Enormity of it
How illicit logically then, is the work of the fabricator of fiction in the da Vinci code, which is not a code at all, but a wholly imaginary fling at unsupported imagination
and facts that do not even smirk at the suggestions being made,
on the poor painter which the evidenced facts know nothing of, and
Catholic or imperial power, that of Emperor or pope or both,
Neither was there scope for Constantine to do what the Gospels, received and listed for centuries, had already done, nor to make of them the centre-pieces of the account, also without competition ruling in the Church for centuries, when that position had been occupied to the point of listing books, in the closing years of the first and the earlier years of the second century. Nor was there a place for dominating the scene with subversive pretence, in the midst of open slather, public actions and the words which passed the power of man to stop them, from the first to the last.
What THE CODE suggests is impossible, because firstly, it had been done centuries before Constantine was born, already, by incontrovertible historical account; and secondly, because the power to have covered up the truth, was not available in the tyrannical regime of persecution in which the Christians were placed, or in the open forum in which their claims, made in Jerusalem itself, were heard from the first. Inventions centuries later, untested, merely written with philosophic pen and penchant, these have only psychological interest.
historical evidence concerning the Gospel acceptance and embrace in the Church,
the lack of competitors in the same realm,
even in a realm where the ability to suppress
these simple facts were thus imposing on Constantine no belated power to do what had been done already! You cannot go from rags to riches when you are in riches already. It is simply not a possible transition. It contradicts itself.
As to the Church, the supposed power to act as it had not done, with social authority which it did not have, and control in secret session which it did not possess, and to do this, unknown to its own people and while having it unused against them, for long years by those who opposed them, and infiltrated: this is the height of the irrational and the depth of illusion.
To be sure, the philosophers and the new-makers were at work as early as Valentinus, but their scope was on the gospel manipulation. They had business to work with them. It started and could start only because these were the authoritative documents which they wanted to treat in this or that way, to muse on, to elaborate or contradict. Even Valentinus' work is more musing than Gospel, and is not in the same category.
The time then for suppression was long past, by Constantine's day. It seems rather ludicrous to export the power of a professing Christian emperor, to the long years of persecution before him! The Gospels and their Pauline accompaniments and much more, were all quite exposed by then, and the opportunities to infilter other books among the Gospels, this had been legion, but had been legless, accomplishing nothing.
For centuries, the aggregation of the New Testament had been shown and known, always with the Gospels, more and more explicitly, from the days of the second century, at no small distance from the fourth, of Constantine.
Imagination and freely roving philosophical inputs, as those from the gnostics: these could not prevail or gain acceptance, when it was thought it fitting at length, for these to come, because anyone can write that sort of thing, at any time; and to over-write it into the Gospels was just a thrust of ignorant audacity.
It in no way changed them, merely showing that other people's goods can be better than your own, and can be a useful coat-hanger for your gear. It did not of course have the designer label, or the tested character of such garments. It was, like the Asian tendency, in some places, to steal soft-wear. It does not have the least chance of appearing as the original, or of attesting creative power. It is commercial power that is in question, when things are copied, and the underlying principles are stolen for surreptitious, for secret, for odious misuse.
Indeed, martyrs under duress do not really make a good repressive medium. The prevailing of New Testament documents, attested rigorously and variously from 90-180, in increasing lists, with Gospel primacy, and indeed in the case of Irenaeus, with a thunder of definition concerning the the fourfold character and its universal significance, this without any sign of the work of imagination in their midst, prevailed amidst repression of Christianity, not BY it!
Nothing could extinguish the exclusive viability before truth and reason, of the documents of testimony. Thus they had no competitors in the realm of evidence, eyewitness in scope, concerning the history of Christ's deeds and words, amongst His scrutinising followers.
Greek philosophy after all, could not invade the evidentially based, historically impeccable, realistically unique reality of Christianity, however much it might slaver for a base for expansion, or a score for its music! The two are utterly contra-distinct, with various gods, principles, or original with dissociation in myriads of poses and proses, or ONE, changeless and omnipotent, doing all things well. There is indeed, the contrast: urges and demi-urges, or GOD, withering gods or the Almighty, with 'divine' or philosophical reconstructions lacking all Old Testament background, making new christs or sayings of exceptional oddity, or baseless audacity.
These they implanted in leisurely time, as if such inventions could even be compared with what HAD to fulfil ENORMOUS pressures, the exacting challenge of the biblical basis, by which anyone calling Himself the Christ, could be attested readily, or suppressed.
Here was no rabid passion to prevail, saying anything; here was death to the Messiah, as, when and how predicted, readily testable, unique in character, with precisely that subsequent series of events foretold. From the rejection by Israel, to the spread of the PREDICTED GOSPEL to the Gentiles, from the nature of the treatment of Christ to the Gentile reception of that Gospel, from what the Gospel WAS in detail, to what sorts of things happened when it was preached to the Gentiles, all was foretold (cf. Isaiah 11:10, 60:3, 52:15): its international appeal, its penetration to royalty in lavish style, its delightful rest and its arresting light, which explains.
Early or late, and late the worse for wear, nothing could scientifically compare. This was a self-testing scenario, invented by God, invested in words, implanted in the Book of the Lord (Isaiah 34:16), and followed up by the Lord of the Book, open to challenge, easy to confront, never overturned, and here were His words and works standing in full view of His detractors, so that even His murderers could do nothing to quell the carefully vindicated result. This would have to and did fail, whether at once in the day of Christ and the time immediately following, or when Paul wrote, a few years after the death of Christ, His vast testimony to the deity of Christ, proclamatory for all time. His words Peter attested as of divine origin (II Peter 3:16). This whole scenario of history was of one vast, tested accord, leaving nothing for Constantine or any other imaginary agent to do.
It is not that Constantine did not exist; it is not that, for he is famed. It is rather that the records show nothing of any such action, as THE CODE imagines; and even if they did, they would be incredible and monstrous, since it had all been done centuries before, as multiply attested by evidential writings!
Let us be clear, meanwhile on gnostic invasions from Greek philosophy and biblical statement and conception in both Testaments. The former deals with thought and imagination, with no limit even by reason. The other deals with uncrushable fact, evidentially presented testimony that is wholly vulnerable to being overthrown by simple evidence. Nothing could change that, nor could anybody, not even when the church was an infant, and apostles were in prison (Acts 3-5, 12).
Indeed, even when Peter was imprisoned, he was willing to go right back to the temple precincts, in the very midst of the open persecution, and continue his account to the people. Could a man be taken, and escape ? assuredly, but when he has the good news, the sure evidence, the populace aware of the truth, then there is an audience and there is a mission, and with courage matching evidence, they went right back to the Temple, and proclaimed "the words of this life", all the more. There was complete openness, and the danger of death was neglected for the commands of truth, in the Lord.
The apostles DID tell what they had seen and heard, and feared death not at all, for life without truth is an illusion, and death with it, in Christ, is still victory! Fanaticism does not fear to die for its illusions; but faith does not fear to die for the truth, for truth reaches beyond the grave, while fanaticism in a frenzy of insistences, based on nothing, is scarcely fit for this life, let alone the next.
The apostles presented to the guilty authorities, as Peter told the priestly persecutors, what they had seen and heard. Twice from the first, they used just such a formula: they COULD not say contrary to what they had seen and heard, it was impossible, they had to obey God rather than man (Acts 4:19, 5:29ff.).
There was, in the abstract, opportunity on the part of the ruthless authorities to rebut it by saying that nothing of the kind had happened. It COULD not be said, because it was KNOWN that it had; so persecution arose, the force-alternative. Just as Christ could have been crushed, if divine power equal to that required by the words of the prophets for His work, and inherent in His Person, had not been proportional to His claims: so could the apostles have been extinguished. It could have been, if their not at all appreciated assault on the guilt of Israel, could have been falsified.
However, there WAS history and there was NOT body, and neither could the one simply be manipulated nor the other produced.
If there had been any flaw, then murder would not have become so expedient, in order to reduce the liability felt by some, for Roman displeasure in such a 'king', even though He clearly declared and showed, not only in word but in deed when sought after as a king (John 6), that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36, Matthew 26:52-56).
Christianity, however, despite murder, starting with regicide, and proceeding with James, Stephen and thousands of others, on multiple points, under reckless persecution, the blood up, enemies incensed, is able to be dismissed in any one failure to ratify and verify itself by the penetrating biblical tests.
Exquisitely was so in the historical performances of Christ and of the apostles after Him in His name (cf. Acts 1:1); but it merely became stronger under such ruthless tests. In sport it is somewhat the same: the more severe the tests, which could induce failure at any time, the more splendid and obvious the champion. Thus, though the way seem torrid, the result is florid, with congratulations! When the claim is to be God, the 'sport' has infinite scope; but it was never on any single occasion to have any reward. Truth, even in such a domain as that of the power of God Himself under test in the Messiah, is not like that. What it is, it does. That is the way with the Lord. He will work, as He Himself declares, and who will prevent it! (Isaiah 14:27).
Moreover, as to them: what had they to lose ? life eternal was theirs. How could they be ashamed, truth was their best friend! Guilt had not place, guile no need, integrity spoke, reality addressed all, power to meet the truth was present, and willingness to pay for the proclamation likewise. What matter the servant suffering for his Master, had not the Master suffered extravagantly and efficaciously to bring them back to God ? Had He not told them (Matthew 10, John 16:2), of the red-hued taunting songs of the adversary!
Was not this the divine excursion, that tour of the universe which brought them to God (cf. Colossians 1:19ff., I Peter 3:18ff., cf. MContrib3 as marked)! Had not God sent His word and then His Son, culmination of all the prophets, His own eternal Word, and had He not demonstrated His identity till only death could snuff out His time on earth, and even that only for 3 days, and even then, with the whole episode as foretold in detail!
What did it matter if lies sought refuge in truth, and philosophy sought to foul the truth ? It could not intrude its devious machinations into fact, its darkness into light, its surmisings into what had been seen and heard! The more the eagles tore at it, the more ineluctable it remained, compact as granite, the pollutions of the beaks of the birds of prey ineffectual, irrelevant, too late, too vague, too much the human proprioception, divorced from the point. And that ? It was the power, the propositions, the performance and the love of God, demonstrated in word and deed, coherent over the millenia, projected onto the screen of history in prophecy, principle and living test, now at last direct, presented in the Redeemer, Himself on view, testable, subject to lashes and questioning, the Judge of Israel, as foretold, whom they would strike upon the cheek! (Micah 5:1-3, Isaiah 50-52).
In this milieu of the deity of Christ, God the sent as in Isaiah 48:16, nothing could well surpass the emphasis, the clarity, the force, the pith, the pointedness of expression of the Pauline epistles, whether in Colossians 1-2, Philippians 2, I Timothy, II Timothy, Romans 3, or excel the Gospel's insistence on it as in Matthew 11:27ff., where the WILL of the Son is seen, just as that of the Father is seen in salvation and its attainments, in John 6:37,65, 5:19-23, 8:58.
God only is Saviour and Creator, as Isaiah had proclaimed, and Christ in His own name, is BOTH! From the Old to the New Testament, from Micah 5 and Psalm 45, to John 8:58, there is but one message on this: the MESSIAH is God as man, and the covenant is in HIS name, He bearing sin and being the God who in Ezekiel 34 and Hosea 13:14 declared that HE HIMSELF would be the shepherd, it was HIMSELF who would perform it as man, His kingdom being eternal and His name in the Son of man (Daniel 7) to whom all power would be given.
To 'invent this', Constantine would have needed to live, not before Paul wrote, but before Isaiah and Micah and David, a millenium before. The monstrosity of the implications of this febrile imagination on the part of author of THE CODE is a testimony to the spirit of man, the marvellous powers of creation with which God has invested it, whether to construe what happens, or as here, to misconstrue it with profundity! Had such Old Testament prophetic rigour for the Messiah not been fulfilled, how readily would the whole Christian Church have collapsed; yet the opposite was the case. After all, what would be the good of it, or the testimony, if it were not precisely that required result, that necessary Redeemer, that specified salvation, that mode of implementing not judgment (John 3:17), but now deliverance! An atomic bomb that does not explode and a salvation that does not happen, is of no value: the one for destruction, the other for restoration to God Himself, not some piece of imagination, that cannot even hold up its own dates, far less find logic in support.
Paul, therefore, and not unexpectedly, was adamant about the Messiah, about the Old Testament predictions, argued immensely, intensively , extensively in the synagogues on that theme, as you see continually in the Book of Acts; and yet Constantine invents it centuries later! This ? it is like having 'wood' which is in fact not even plywood with veneer, but paper with plastic. It is not even in the same world.
The testability of Christianity was its ability; the vehemence could not overturn it; philosophy could not rethink it, for it was watertight from a millenia before, and its happenings were subject to popular vetting and scrutiny, yielding the only possible result: if you hate God, hate the Messiah, if you love Him, receive the Messiah. Thus said Christ, and it still applies: "If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24). What else ? There is only one repository, not rituals and hidden boxes, not lustratory techniques, not mere assertions: but Christ according to the word of God, whose word manifestly rules history, till He comes, to fulfil the last as already the first . Thus indeed is He called, the first and the last (Isaiah 44:6, Revelation 2:9).
Thus the power of truth was waging war on the power of lies and deceit, philosophy and invention; history was in conflict with hysteria, and reality with renegacy. The world thus commenced its baneful task of seeking the final confrontation with God. This, to come as you see in Revelation 19:19, and already visible in many institutions, religions and nations, is already near to its climax (as also shown in the signals given, to tell the time is near - Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8).
Such is His love that the mere clash was not to the point; that could have only one result. It was the preparation for it, as with painting wood, it was this that mattered. It was, and it is, the Cross of Jesus Christ by which the world is crucified to the Christian, and the Christian to the world, which is the avenue to heaven and the disengagement of hell, which is the proper place of pardon and the exquisite definition of power, moral, physical, in things little and great: it is this which matters (Galatians 6:14).
MAKING FACES, OR FINDING PEACE
That preparation for the final confrontation, it has seen many, far out of the court of testimony and testability, inventing new christs just as Paul indicated in II Corinthians 11, even in his own time. If they did not do it at that time, with quite the boldness of later years, it was still even then audacious (II Cor. 10:12, 11:3), acting with that parasitic syncretism which has always been popular with idolatry. That is like freckles on the face. It is a small thing, an obvious blemish, but it does not change the face. Parasites however can sap vigour, and it is well to have them cut off.
As to the 'face', that has been established long before the freckles made their insignificant little intrusions.
The face of Christ was clear in His life, in His ministry, in His works, and if ruinously tormented in His death (Isaiah 52:13-15), it was all the clearer for that testimony of power and love, foreknowledge and fine performance, as in an opera, every last note being played to the full, with clarity and conviction. The environment of hatred and hostility towards it, related to its intractable, unique records, could do nothing to diminish its actuality, its reality, its viability: they could not void or vitiate the testability of the man, of His message, of His apostles' records, of their antecedent life, their countervailing power and their acceptance in the churches, following the triumph through blood, the testimony to which, they represented.
The gnostics in particular were just irrelevant.
If they wanted philosophy of their own culture or invention, that was theirs;
they wanted myths*9 and legends, not put through the crucible of history, and
such as now found for 3rd or 4th century documents, that was for them.
Christianity made its case, centuries before, and the elaborate hoaxes coming in secrecy, putting out paws like mice from the hole, far later, these are no more relevant than some secret history of World War I, complete with mythical surveys, written from philosophic inspiration, in 2150.
What then ? That to which THE CODE gives the place of author of Christ's deity and of the Gospel selection could not set up what history had demonstrably set up, centuries before.
It is not difficult to understand.
The testimony concerning THE CODE, then is of value simply because it illustrates two scriptural predictions, highly applicable to our time in the run of history, as it moves towards the advent of Christ as King, It is that which is the next major step before us, in the scriptural chronology which has never yet failed in things little or great.
What is this prediction in II Timothy 3-4, I Timothy 4, II Peter 2 ? It is this.
1) There is to come, in the last phases of our
Age, or its mature development,
2) No less is
there predicted, another feature. It is one concerning expansive provisions of
That is what is to come. We have been warned. It is well to heed, as history comes to pass precisely as Christ predicted (Matthew 24:24) and Paul proclaimed (II Timothy 3 and 4). Paul also spoke of coming ' savage wolves' (Acts 20:28) who were not going to spare the flock. As it was to be, so it is now.
It is now here. It has been mounting for a generation, and even longer, reaching a climax like that in pneumonia, now. This now is, as when the temperature in that disease, reaches 105 degrees (cf. SMR pp. 683ff., 691ff.,699ff.). The flaming flares of hideously sulphurous glow, like the smoke of a thousand foundries, making weapons to assail the truth: how they rage, have raged and continue to rage like unsatisfied passions, in the increasingly decrepit body of ravaged mankind.
Their fuel unclean, their methods the very masterpiece of pollution, they give increasing reason for the judgment which afflicts this world, and point by the folly of their own perverse fantasies, to the wonders of liberty which the Lord has given to man, in showing for all time, the results of irrationality, the resumés of false religions and the reward of rebellion.
As to these victims of this false teaching crusade, or any other in history, as it is cashing in on the polluted passions of the Age, it must be said that they asked for it. If, by parallel, your desire to make money means that you do not scrutinise "get rich quick" schemes and programs, and so lose, then you have only yourself to blame, if you lose your inheritance itself! It is the same here: there IS an inheritance. Disfaith can disengage from the call to it, as when one sleeps on, in the morning, ignoring the alarm.
That is part of the meaning of II Peter 1:2-3. It is the impact of such words as these: "they will exploit you with deceptive words." They join in this the others: "walking according to their own lusts" (3:3). These, discounting the historical reality of the power of God and its testimony over time (as in the II Timothy 3 prediction for the end of the Age likewise), bring in myths and imaginations concerning this earth, and its future judgment. This is to become vast in scope, and what we have here is part of that, and how many HUNDREDS of millions show it in their purchases!
Idle words, contrary to all reason and testing, however: these can neither remove the beginning, nor distance the end. It comes, and its way is as clear as was that for the coming of Christ in the first time. The main difference is this: then the DATE was foretold, leading to His death in the vicinity of 30 A.D. in our present dating methods. How could anyone miss it ? (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4). Now it is the cluster of developing patterns which is so detailed in its tableau character, that one could not miss it (SMR Ch. 8. Answers to Questions Ch. 5). It is not even difficult. The criteria of His near coming, a child could understand at least in outline, a youth comprehend; and if the full scope of the understanding takes more maturity, yet is the basic reality clear to all who will heed it.
Peace is not found in inventing gods or history, but in receiving the invincible reality of God, as attested for millenia, required by logic, exhibited in revelation, continually, consistently verified and confirmed, as years pass, and Christ came; and His words continue to hold history like a vice.
It cannot move. It does precisely what He has said; just as history has always done what God has said. God has from the first indicated the divine character of the deliverance for man, and has most emphatically insisted that HE and HE ALONE will do it, in redemption, whether in Psalm 2, 22, 45, 110, Zechariah 12:10, Isaiah 43-45, 49-55, Ezekiel 34, Isaiah 40, Micah 5, Zechariah 4,6, Malachi 3 or Daniel 7 (cf. Barbs ... 17, TMR Ch. 3, Joyful Jottings 22-25) . There is no other Creator or Saviour, as He declares (Isaiah 43:10-11., Acts 4:11-12).
Christ, the Messiah, was to be and is, is DECLARED AS BOTH Creator and Saviour, God Himself, sent from the Godhead to the format of man for the function of providing salvation, the initiation of His divine and royal rule (Luke 24, Isaiah 11, 32, Micah 5ff., Jeremiah 23, Zechariah 6, 14, Matthew 24, Revelation 21). Not merely, indeed IS He saviour, but He is CENTRAL as Saviour in that HE SAVED! He paid! It was HIS BODY, HIS SPIRIT which was in anguish (Hebrews 5:7), and it is HIS experience which told. Thus, it is BY HIS KNOWLEDGE that MY SERVANT WILL JUSTIFY MANY, says Isaiah 53. He adds however, this: FOR HE SHALL BEAR THEIR INIQUITIES. There is nothing romantic about that, any more than there is about sin, death and judgment.
How ? let us ask again, lest any should miss it .
It tells you. It is not by your knowledge as in gnosticism; it is HIS KNOWLEDGE. And what sort of knowledge ? It tells you. "For He shall bear their iniquities." THAT and not some esoteric knowledge is the entire biblical record; and many other gospels come, but none are founded on the rock of the Bible, but circulate, secret from public view or public logic, erratic, imaginative despots without meaning, crude imitations without consensus, historical prime time or practical verification.
The Christian is one who knows God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent (John 17:1-3), and in knowing Him, he is one who knows this, that HE SHALL BEAR THEIR INIQUITIES, even Jesus Christ; and now, now He has done so.
EXCURSION ON HISTORICISM
with reference to ideological impulsions and the compulsions of sin
Historicism is just one of the array of dental drills with which to assail the mouth of man in order that he might be controlled, ideas placed in his jaw and made to erupt with the tongue.
Man has to be CONTROLLED by something, say the free-thinking pundits who KNOW this; although it is not possible to know anything objective if you are controlled by forces which subject you to deterministic direction. You become a programmee, not a person, a propulsion or impulsion, not an overseer, a subject and not a surveyor.
It has to be
worms (as in one book), or
economics (when the lust for money
or economic power is assumed to be in control,
Communistic popular mystiques buried
in what is dead, have to be in control of life,
or something, anything which man can regard idolatrously, with serious mien and facetious fact, as a god to control him or things.
The next faculty to be lusting is that of HISTORY. Yes, HISTORY must be in control. Historicism in general is defined in this way: the belief that all social and cultural facts are historically determined, that the standards of one age are inapplicable to any other, and that periods in history should only be studied in terms of their own values.
Thus the SPEAKER in any such
ideology, is determined by his own values, and these are inapplicable in any
other period of history. Thus he is unable to survey periods and to find
what is the objective reality for them all; hence he is by definition unable to find what is the perspective for all, and hence historicism cannot be true. Not in principle different is the loose talk of psychological determinism or its parallel, as shown in
incl. End-note 1
(esp. programmatic psychology and its ilk), Marvels of Predestination and the Ways of Will
7, including *1;
The attempts to distance God from His own creation, and to make man malleable by mysteries, whether those of ancient or more modern gnosticism, secret knowledge propounded repetitively and in passion because it has no other basis, sad and surreptitious jibes, some seeking to sun themselves and share their cancer, as in evolutionism, mysterious gods or forces never to be seen or shown, but always to be known, these are part of the endemic failure of the human race in its impious expeditions throughout history.
While such attempts are repetitively made, and endlessly fall into the seas of confusion and mere mystique, when the clarity of creation and redemption are like the moon and the sun in the firmament on high (cf. SMR, TMR), you see one of the beautifully apt illustrations of the power of the word of God, which covers the case in detail, in principle and in terms of illustrated pathology.
This word not only presents to man his determination by sin, in such a style that he is alienated from the life of God and cannot see, and so seeks everywhere but in the manifest truth for his control system, or the lord of his liberty (often himself for reasons unknown, since he is not in control in fact, as may be readily determined at birth and death), but the phases of its degeneration.
The former is to be found in Ephesians 2 and 4:17ff., and the latter in Romans 1. The folly of it is depicted for example in Jeremiah 2 and 18, Isaiah 1 and 44-46/ The scene of degeneration as in Romans 1, reaches the moral and the psychological, as seen at the end of that chapter, which is precisely the stage and phase in which the modern world finds itself. Holland for example appears to be sinking in altitude, apparently before the rolling seas, as also into euthanasia in increasing degrees, while pushing same sex marriage, in the latter paralleled in Canada, moving along comfortably into this sort of realm, with others in train. It is when you see - as has been seen - the EU even rebuking Turkey (if it wants to join that august body) to cease stirring against homosexuality. It did much the same to Britain concerning homosexuality, which must be permitted its formal place in the Army, so that its ancient lures, proceed as in Roman times (cf. Wake Up World! ... Ch. 3).
This may be the darkest hour for Europe, that it becomes a provocateur for degeneracy.
The actual powers that 'control' history are to be found in the Creator, as the references below show, and SMR in detail. This has the advantage of being empirically demonstrable; but it is also the only power which could: even to know it and Him whose it is, means you are not controlled except by the truth, and the truth is such that it requires overview of all things without being subject to any.
There is but one exception to that; and it is not actually one, but apparently so. God is not a 'thing', so the definition stands. However history IS under His control. The fact that He is not only not a thing, but IS personal means this. He can relate to persons (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, Little Things ... Ch. 5, SMR pp. 348ff.) such as man, without subverting their objectivity, since the creator of all IS the perspective without which nothing can be finally known. To know Him, opens to this perspective which only He can have, being without limit to knowledge, distortion through passion, having all things and needing nothing, neither psychological kicks nor power parading kudos (cf. Sparkling Life ... Ch. 4). .
Leave out the only One who having all knowledge, distorts none, and then you CANNOT have what the truth is, since you omit it. Even when He is in your perspective, if He is there as a visitor or component, this ipso facto distorts and is of little value. It must be foundational or fictional. Flits or fits do not constitute perspective, and danglings do not establish truth, but merely mock it.
When history is in the control of God, however, this is far from mere determinism. It is control by the personal God of the affairs of personal people in a perspective which, including all their cultural, ideological, economic, psychological, social, financial and other elements, aspects and facets, is yet beyond each and all of these (cf. Bon Voyage ... Ch. 1). Having mankind with his spirit and powers in sight for their own sake, apart from their defilements by accepting created controllers voluntarily (or even unconsciously), God who knows all and each, is then able to show the way to truth IN the truth which He as composer is. He can show it directly, as His revelation of Himself, of man and concerning creation, or indirectly, as He helps, judges, exposes and shows in history various features of folly, and beauties of wisdom.
This does not force man to know it; for made in the image of God, as man is, does not make him, even in spirit, into some manipulable thing like an alarm clock or a computer slave; nor does it disenable him. It is sin which does that. God acts in His own way, and since man is damaged goods, there are conditions to knowledge, just as a disabled car needs a truck to tow or lift it.
Sin, being pathological, means than man is functionally manipulable in degree; but salvation means he is wholly rescuable without measure. However in the PROCESS of that rescue, man's liberty is wholly dependent on the God, without whose knowledge truth is alien, so that choice is inept. That is the fact as in I Corinthians 2:14.
Only when God, beyond the distortions which result from ignorance of Himself, the truth, acts in His own initiative, can man be delivered. Equally, only in truth DOES He deliver, for He pleads and exhorts and reasons and appeals throughout the Bible, with passion, but does not force. Thus His action alone delivers, but on the other hand, man's efforts in the process are crucial, since he is a free creation in the image of God, though unavailing. The Bible shows the resolution of saving damaged goods: God does the saving, but in terms of FOREKNOWLEDGE, not of what man does, since this is blind, but of WHO ARE HIS OWN, and it is to these that He freely reaches with a salvation which liberates (II Timothy 2:19).
This you see in Matthew 23:37ff., Colossians 1:19ff., I Timothy 2, Luke 19:42ff., Ezekiel 33:11, John 6, Romans 9 in its different facets.
WHY WILL YOU DIE! is His protestation, for He would have all, in heaven or in earth reconciled to Himself and says so (Colossians 1:19ff.). Even theologies often have defilements, as man seeks to avoid the manifest and multiplied wisdom of God and the clarity of His word. Pollutants are not limited as to their disciplinary fields of knowledge!
Man is ever parading his weapons of death, in whichever -ism or false religion, such as that of THE CODE, to which this present chapter in particular is directed. People are always trying to remake God, one motive being this, that if you make God and God controls, then you make your controls and can make them what you will. This can allow passions of various sorts to seek to authenticate themselves, so lessening a sense of guilt. The irony is this, that while people thus seem to attain almost impossible degrees of liberty, their failed efforts merely bring in a bevy of new controls, where passion and escapism join to create a territory of delusion. Free to roam in the clouds, you are already in such cases, fey. Reality is not so obtained, and divorce from reality is not liberty, but oppression.
Making gods is as old as man, and making himself one of them, was implicit even with Eve, who was to be ELEVATED, by gross deception and slander against the God of truth who made her, to occupy by her own power, the realm of equality. So would she become ONE OF US, who KNOW and can bargain together! (Genesis 3:4-6, 22). But it is not so: there is always the fact of being a derivative, just as there is the glory and wonder of being able to be elevated by grace, to enjoy the relationship such as being adopted children of God. Snatching children are always offensive!
Sometimes these idols, which man is ever finding so pathologically pleasant (like drugs) are made in stone, sometimes in ideologies, sometimes by making meaningless and futile attacks on the Bible, as in THE CODE, assaults which can stand neither in logic nor in history. It is common, has long been so, and has been the work of theologians and neologians in profusion for centuries (cf. SMR 683ff., 691ff., 699ff.).
In our recent times, it is just as in ancient times when brands of false prophets abounded (cf. I Kings 18, Jeremiah 23, 20, Ezekiel 14), always unable to control history, and always ludicrous, seeking solace in passions which they evoked, but achieving nothing but force or failure, and so becoming mere loose canons, irrational and pools for the bathing of man, pools which become puddles of pollution.
God however is not mocked, and these inventions (God made man upright, says Ecclesiastes, but he has made many inventions!) are mere disorders of spirit, in the starkest contrast to that rationally irresistible and solely valid word of God. It is there that the action is verifiable as well as valid (see *8 below).
Thus not some part of the creation, not some facet of man, and not some geometry, some parallelogram of forces, with assignable outcomes, specious and unspiritual, is the control of man and of his history. It is God who allows man liberty, which man uses as a child might use a carving knife, if inveterate and selfish, and allows man deliverance, and applies the latter, and rebukes misuse of the former, but not in such a way that the liberty cannot manifest what it is, in its futility as an option, when without the Maker.
God is very deep; but it is He, who through freedom and love, through mercy and knowledge, through foreknowledge and prediction, illustrates, intimates, executes and in the end, completes His way. It is not some thing, but the God of creation who has the control and within that, where man without God becomes like the chaff subject to various forces through alienation (Psalm 1), and man with God is restored to meaning and vision and place and naturalness without distortion, there is a pageantry of many motions and characters.
History is not governed by man or any one facet of him, nor by his rebellion; but many powers within it operate with priorities as man's latest follies act; and thus the entirety shows in its domains and disasters, and in its exuberances and its reposes, the hand of the God who, having made it, has told it what it will do and what He will do, and does it, without ever varying from what He says. What in the end controls history, but in a personal and discerning way, is not an impersonal push, but the personal and discerning God, who acts as personal with the spirit of man.
See for example:
1) on Communism:
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8;
The Grating Grandeur ... Ch. 2; SMR pp. 925ff.;
Beauty for Ashes Ch. 6
(and Hong Kong, and the movement of nations in the last century a concern),
with News 98, News 37.
2) in broad expanse:
Bonvoyage!... Chs. 1, 2 - 3 which provides much in overview,
The Glow of Predestinative Power Ch. 8
(and measures of divine, predestinative oversight amidst human liberty),
Beyond the Crypt, the Divine Script and the Face of God Ch. 1
(survey in terms of rule),
Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ Ch. 10;
Dastardly Dynamics, Delirious Daubs, Wandering Woes, Bleary Theories and Immovable Faith Ch. 6,
Secular Myth and Sacred Truth 1;
Calibrating Myths, Machining Dreams and Keeping Faith Epilogue;
and consult also - Ch. 5 above; From Dancers ... Ch. 5, The Pride of Life ... Ch. 5, and The Wit and Wisdom ... Ch. 2, esp.*1.
Philo's contribution was dealt with some years ago, for this site. It is reproduced below, and appeared in the file by this author, Fantasies of Philo.
There has been throughout the ages this desire to have various deputies, gods or whatever, who will move about doing whatever comes naturally, and the Greek myths are still more fanciful. Based on desire, it has no evidential value, testimonial check, verification procedure, inventing subordinates like some beserk Managing Director, who wishes more style.
Arius similarly, though in his own way, sought or acted as if to degrade Christ, but not merely philosophically like Philo. Rather he attempted to divert the Church from the historic figure of Christ, with which it was planted in Paul and Gospel, in Old Testament and New, to the dream of his desire. When Christ is so derailed into the trackless waste of a lesser being, He is available for 'treatment'! This can be very pleasant for those whose desires move from the objectivity of revelatory fact to penchants.
God Himself, however, is not so, nor is Christ His eternal word, made flesh, of this kind, as seen in Ephesians 3:9, 4:9-10, Philippians 2:1-10 with Isaiah 45:23 where what is the unique prerogative of God is that of Christ, and seen to the end, in Ephesians 1:10, as in Revelation 1, 5, 19-22. He, Christ, is "the first and the last" (Revelation 2:8, cf. Isaiah 41:4, 44::6), author of creation, of all in the category of the 'made' (John 1:3) is deity to the uttermost, His descent to flesh the paragon of pity, the pinnacle of power; when in weakness is strength needed, and in vulnerability is sovereignty shown, when the plans proceed immovable.
He is the last word, as God Himself, the last possible word and the end of the surmising substitutes for evidential truth which man loves to mould to his own passions. Being both Saviour and Creator, the categories which are God's alone (Isaiah 43:10-11, 45:18), Christ is the very essence of the former, doing it, and the criterion of the latter, doing it also!
Mutilation does not rest at Calvary. Man's mind wants man's invention for god; it is so convenient: but neither the New nor the Old Testament, from first to last, have God at man's mercy, except where idols are invented for his pleasure, so that it is but dolls, toys, not God who is in view. These idols are called 'vanities', nothings, emptinesses in the Bible, for they are based on just that! (cf. Deuteronomy 32:21, I Kings 16:13, Psalm 31:6, Jeremiah 8:18, 10:8, 14:22 and Jonah 2:8). The last is worthy of a little attention, since it was a word of the fleeing prophet, who brought back to his spiritual senses by trials, issued his praise of the God of truth.
"They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
"But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD."
Thus Jonah awakened from his transgression!
Such a way of acting, whether in Philo or Arius, has moved in its reckless passions to vanities, and continually seeks to prey on the unwary. It did so in the church in Arius' day, just as it did so in the Liberal Age, just past, where you would get a Christ who was basically an educator, a welfare agent, and later, a democratic liberator (Liberation Theology), even with passing years, a clown. Man cannot leave God alone, when he is on adventure bent; and as to God, His solace, protection, grace and Gospel thus disgraced for those who practice such creative jousts on their Creator, His provisions and His mercy are thus lost. The world of false prophecy was alive and bursting with energy, then as now it is, always trying to make a new Christ. Indeed it was active in Paul's day (II Corinthians 11), a new Jesus, new Gospel, even then a new Spirit being in the domain of what was nearly equivalent to spiritual shopping lists!
Yet all this is merely man's illicit, irrational and unverified imagination, a forest of little gods.
Little gods, like two into one, do not go. You get imperious fractionalisation, dispersion, imagination and when it comes to God, this is as useful as imagining a car when you are stranded at mid-night on a lonely highway, rather than focussing on an actual one that moves you, having achieved its non-illusory definition over the years, by what verifiable, rational and realistic testimony!
Let us then move to the word from the earlier file, concerning Philo.
FORBIDDEN FLIRTATION WITH THE PHILOSOPHY OF PHILO
God, unlike man, knows the form of God, the nature of His life and the way He acts within Himself. He tells us in Proverbs 8, and in many places, especially in the Gospel of John and in Colossians; but indeed throughout the Gospels we find from His own lips, the declarations which inform on these things. However, when man decides to "investigate" the heart and inward goings (cf. Micah 5:3) of God Himself, rather than to understand from His word and works what in fact is His power and grandeur, and the nature of what He has said, we come to the futile realm of foolish philosophy (Colossians 2:8).
It is so in fact, presuming where it has no place, indeed more than in the folly of making 'space' a place for man (Psalm 115), the mind of man can construct a fabric of presumptuous fantasy which adds to the word of God, and would penetrate that light to which no man can approach. Christ has led forth God to show us, but it is quite another thing when someone seeks to breach he barrier of incandescence and merely announce what he imagines, the philosophy of frustration and vanity.
Philo became famous about the time of Jesus Christ (and lived past the crucifixion and the resurrection with some zeal for what he took to be the Jewish faith) for his ambitious deliverances in just this field. It is of interest to us here as both a divagation, and an exploration without adequate ground, into the area which Jesus Christ had JUST shown in the only historical direct incursion of the Godhead into human form, the only definitive expression of Himself in this way. Here was a bypass indeed!
Yes, Philo, like Arius, is a somewhat distinctive character. Arius too vexed the church and Athanasius, back of the Athanasian creed in substance, was banished five times before it was over, that great controversy which the Jehovah's Witnesses still take on the downward side, to their bosom. Arius' influence too was felt and some succumbed, indeed many; and some were slow to realise the implications, as today of course with Rome, though there is not now the excuse that one is ignorant, or too busy, for Reformers of merit, acuity and distinction have long adorned the scene from Wickliffe and before to the present.
Philo's heresy, which downgrades Christ to created status, for that reason has some little similarity to that of Arius - except of course Philo was not a professing Christian, so that it was the Word which he was downgrading, the Word which is the Christ. It is cast in lofty language, which always helps that sort of thing. Such could appeal to many an unwary soul. I well remember when in N.Z. the lofty language with which the bodily resurrection was dismissed from required service in the church, being given instead merely a stall where it could appear as an option (because of which, in the end, I was to leave that former church body which, in such terms of speech, became a heretical sect thereby). If Christ be not risen then our faith is in vain, as Paul said in I Corinthians 15:1-4, having already noted that, as Machen put it, the THING which was put in the ground was the THING which was raised.
They did not in NZ say this: WE REPUDIATE THE BODILY RESURRECTION, or:
WE THINK IT IS ASKING TOO MUCH TO BELIEVE THIS; or even this:
IT IS A POSSIBLE OPTION IF YOU WANT TO WEAR IT.
What they rather said was to the effect that ... within the scope of the existing controversy, they wished to affirm that both parties in the debate were within the ambit of belief acceptable and held within the NZ Presbyterian Church. That of course is quite as horrifying as was your Hembury when he sought to attack - but in vain - the Bible over and over during a time when I was talking to him and to one of his professors.
If, as Gladstone put it, they want to start a religion, let them rise the third day and so forth, but not use the name of another.
Back to Philo: yes, he of course had an influence on a number of susceptible souls, and like Arius doubtless it would be felt in various ways, especially by the unwary, the unstable and the seduced.
His "contribution" may have sharpened perception of what the facts are NOT, as often happened. Plato and Philo doubtless have much in common. Philo's words and those of Christ, as with the RC, have some formal similarities pulverised by the categorical differences. The additions in both cases are not without peril (Proverbs 30:6); but some love to add to His words, their own. For my part: If God is the author, don't worry about your own two cents worth. Infinity bears no improvement and needs no ventriloquist; and the fact He is personal makes it worse when any try.
The Biblical doctrine of the Bible is reviewed in Appendix D, especially, in
The Shadow of a Mighty Rock (pp. 1165-1186C). , and elsewhere such as in Barbs, Arrows and Balms, Appendix III, The Living God.
It is, then, well the Lord has stated the facts in the Bible, with stringent safeguards such as indeed one might well expect with anything of such absolute importance, sent by someone with such marvellous power, with such entirely fundamental results. Thus the intoxications of some sections of what is called the church may be sobered, and the accretions - such as indeed Princeton Seminary, once one of the greatest in the world if not of all time, in 1929 in its fall, explicitly acknowledged in declaring the Bible to be ONE of the sources of doctrine - an be detached as cancers worthy of surgical removal.
As to God's own revelation especially in this area, in the Old Testament before Philo, some millenium later, it is textually investigated in Barbs, Arrows and Balms, Item 31, pp. 239-264 in Wisdom chapter, which expounds what the Bible actually says of the "wisdom" of God in a personal way, in the book of Proverbs, Ch.8. This passage, because it is the word of God, shows important aspects of the real relationship (which of course being personal, only God can know) between Father and Son, co-creator as in Colossians 1*1, John 1:3. There is nothing new about it, Solomon preparing or at least presenting this about a millenium before Christ - and Philo, for that matter.
Philo wedded Plato - a formalist with occasional flashes (Timaeus) of thought of an Almighty being - with Moses; and naturally enough, the children are illegitimate, with some form of similarity at times to the authentic revealed statements from the One who knows what is in His heart, and what are the modes of inter-relationship and working. Being infinite, He knows well what may be merely imagined, and one does well not to play the tele-psychiatrist to Him. However such advice is not always taken, despite the fact that Paul so well notes in I Tim. 6:16, and the other fact of critical point here, moved to in John 1:18.
In particular, it is of interest to read in the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (which to use the word in the paper you sent me , is "prestigious") - Vol. 9, p. 40, that Philo held that God in Himself is unknowable. The Bible (John 1) states that Christ has declared Him - what is declared, of course, is not unknown, when the declarer is competent to the point - and in fact, eternal life (John 17:3) by flat contradiction of Philo, is stated by John to consist in knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.
This merely illustrates how utterly estranged the illegitimate child (Philo's thought) is from the Bible. Philo's construct ion of "mediators" from God is a multiple one; whereas as to God, His consists in one (I Timothy 1); and as to these mediators of Philo, when done, they leave the job of revelation of the "unknown God", in this way undone. Christ on the other hand declared, He who has seen me has seen the Father (John 14).
Again - "Between God the Infinite and the finite imperfect universe," Philo we find from Schaff to be teaching, "there is a wide gap which is, however, removed by being filled with divine potencies" - and of these the Word is the chief.
In the Bible, by contrast, however the Christ and the Father are one, in the sense of equality (John 10:30, Philippians 2), and there is never any question of "mere" instrument as John 5:19-23 makes clear - they do, we find Christ there telling us, THE SAME THING IN JUST THE SAME WAY, AND THE SON IS TO HAVE THE SAME HONOUR AS THE FATHER, AT THE FATHER'S GOOD PLEASURE.
Philo's 'head dynamis' or chief mediator, is a sort of effluvium which has separate powers and does the stuff, forming and so forth. Biblically in both Testaments they are ONE God, with one name (Isaiah 28:16, Zechariah 2:8, Psalm 45), distinguished but not in any sense separate. Actually Philo is very like Aristotle in this - that Aristotle in many ways so loved by Rome.
Of course Philo's heresy extends further, as to be expected in any ideational marriage with Plato. Man was made imperfect, we find from his teaching, was indeed made not very good, being equipped with capacity to sin - was made not by Logos alone, but with aid from some dynameis, mediators ... Thus the whole doctrine of God and man is warped incredibly and ceases to have even passing interest as serious exposition, or charm, involving dangerous presumption into declarations about the form of the divine Being and His mode of consisting within Himself.
Like so many of this kind of 'interpreter' of God, Philo has sown many seeds which have, to change the image, become stuck in the trouser legs, or long socks of many, and have been deposited in many places, before being picked up by the relevant vacuum cleaners. It is sometimes indirectly useful in stirring up the due use of vacuum cleaners, this sort of thing, which then may pick up other stray seeds; but then, prickly seeds which pierce the foot are not entirely to be coveted in the first place. (Cf. I Corinthians 11:19).
*1 Colossians 1:15-23 is given careful exposition and is intensely interesting in this sphere, being distinctive, Biblically integrated as indeed is ALL the Bible, each part complementing the other, supplementing it like a cohesive fabric of delightful tartan, fearlessly individual in strains, gloriously harmoniously in totality. And what is more so than the Gospels, written with that fearless objectivity which comes from the reality which needs neither timidity nor excuse, that frankness like that of someone who knows his team has won, and is not confined to effort, the facts being able to speak, yes to shout for themselves. For this, see Appendix III below, pp. 233-236, The Redeemer who has a Infinitude of His own, being God as Man: The Magnificence of the Messiah.
To confuse the hungry reaction of Arius, determined to bring down the long established and vastly emphasised deity of Christ, whether from the Old or New Testament definitions, with the invention of the same, as if this were some original: it is a masterpiece of deceit, meretricious confusion at best. It would be like trying to show that King Edward VIII was really removed from kingship by those who were resisting every endeavour to have it established. Cute idea ? Not really. In fact, kingship was clearly established in Britain ling before that, and the man removed himself. The relevant historical documents leave no room for mere imagination.
So here: all that THE CODE is trying to have START in the 4th century, is older than a double centenarian by that time, was applied consistently, insistently and persistently in New Testament times, by Christ and the apostles; and he confuses efforts to DE-establish the deity, with efforts to invent it.
See also touching Arius, 2A above.
As noted, this gnostic collection includes the saying, "every woman who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven." To say that it is contrary to every whit of both Testaments, and that it is in accord with other gnostic dabblings into the occult, is not too much.
Thus it is in the Gospel of Thomas that is found this nostrum, while in the Gospel of Mary, so much favoured by The Code, there is the wholly unbiblical and directly dissonant negative view of women, marking it out as philosophy at work, irrelevant to the Gospel, antithetical the Bible, the Lord, to Christ. With the fantasy so frequent in the gnostic parasitism, this 'Gospel' has Mary declare: "Let us praise Christ's greatness! He has prepared us all by making us men."
Suppositious sex change ? Actually it appears that in fact the inference is that the male is better, more in the image of God, and hence entry into the kingdom implies such a de jure change. This must be one of the most confused, mixed and derogatory views of the creation of all these fantasies. God made man and women in His own image, so that when they become Christians,
"there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).
So far from denying the outright image of God in women, He has made both man and woman in Christ to be
"heirs together of the grace of life" (I Peter 3:7), while in heaven at the resurrection,
"they neither marry nor are given to marriage, but are like angels in of God in heaven"
It is in time, that procreation proceeds; in heaven, all is complete.
Effetely to the contrary, is the gnostic area chosen in The Code. It is not surprising that this is so; for the abuse of male-female categories, their distortion and exaggeration is part of the preoccupation with sexual themes found not only within this gnostic assemblage, but in the fallen culture of today. In fact, this misuse of religion to invade such realms, associated with false gods, is part of the reason for the commission to Israel to replace the Canaanites. Abuse of these categories in a religious field is found often in today's Islamic nations' cultural conditions, and in other ways, in some cultures outside it. To seek to import these errors by gnostic documents into the authoritative canon of the New Testament is like trying to import AIDS into a land. The audacity is as great as the folly.
News 87, and his infernal strategic plan;
Joyful Jottings 9,
The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 8;
Dastardly Dynamics … Ch. 6,
and his ways, 25 assaults on the divine plan, battles against the Lord;
The Christian Pilgrimage Ch. 9 devices of the devil;
The Bright Light and the Uncomprehending Darkness Ch. 7,
and creeping callow concepts, and in particular, *2 ;
Anguish, Ecstasy and he Mastery of the Messiah 5,
and devices in social engineering;
Eulaine Pagels, in The Gnostic Gospels, states:
"These diverse texts range, then, from secret gospels, poems,
and quasi-philosophic descriptions of the origin of the universe, to myths, magic, and instructions for mystical practice."
Here is the brand of mystical machination, philosophical disputation, lyrical invention which from Babel on, has sought the exact opposite line to that of the Bible, the Lord, the Christ and the Gospel, which consistently warn of such vain philosophy (cf. Colossians 2:8, 18-19).
The latter declares this:
"Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility
and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen,
vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head,
from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments,
grows with the increase that is from God."
The various romancings of roving minds, having their say, and at times seeking to mix it with the ways of the God who knows, and shows by verifications innumerable who He is in contradistinction to the annals of presumption and the creeds of nescience: these are all biblically included in the term 'Babylon'.
This is first because that is the patter of the comprehensive religious approach of that historical city, inclusive of much invention, and much syncretism. In its glory. a site with one of the seven wonders of the world, the hanging gardens, it was headstrong; but it met its doom as God foretold (Isaiah 13-14, Jeremiah 50-51). The same term is again seen later, in Revelation 17, in the phrase 'mystery Babylon', a place clearly identified as Rome, with its seven Roman hills. Now the term is used as a symbol branding the new source of such follies,'mystery' because it is not just a city, though it centres on one (Revelation 1-18 proceed with the seven hills); it is a way of life and of death. It is TYPED by the phrase.
The magical, the mystical, the mythical, the relief in romancing from reality is the feature, and just as the earth's vagaries in these spheres often involved sexual licence, with the fertility goddesses, and lascivious temple practices, so it included more than poetic licence, in its depraved wanderings in the drains of the earth.
It is small wonder that the Lord, who told Abraham (Genesis 15), that the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full, leaving some 400 years before judgment, and who has hated misuse of children as sacrificial victims with an intensity not surprising in the Maker of all, took an action through Joshua.
It is one which still grates in the minds of those fallen into infidelity, who cannot stand the mission of Israel in its day, some 1400 B.C., to replace the Canaanites. That Israel failed to be the example, as noted above, that was required, in no way lessens the strength of the judgment under Joshua. The flood preceded it; the coming of Christ followed it, with salvation, the medicine of immortality freely given upon repentance and faith in Him as revealed in the flesh, and shown by eyewitnesses at the time, and in their Gospels; and after this, no it is not the flood again. There are two coming features of Twin Tower type.
The first is the return of the crucified Saviour, having paid all, done all, finished all, to remove His servants, prior to the last agonies of a vagrant earth, and then to rule as the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14, Isaiah 11).
When at length, the earth with its heavens is cast off like an old, worn-out garment (Isaiah 51:6, II Peter 3, Revelation 20), and its works are burnt up, no more place being found for it, and judgment sits, and the books are opened, the book of life in which are written His own and the book of judgment, known before all time (Ephesians 1:4), what then ?
Then it is over, not only in redemption, for that is over already (Hebrews 9:12), for He has purchased eternal redemption already, and grants it freely (Romans 3:23ff., Galatians 3-5). It is over also in final judgment. Unblessed is he, is she who is not prepared with the robe of righteousness (Matthew 22, Isaiah 61), which is Christ's gift, better than any lead covering, or asbestos, or cover that can be named; for it is all-inclusive in its contribution of peace and pardon. The One who paid, covers all; for those who avoiding the illicit false gospels and poly-cultural creeds, or repenting of them and returning to the Lord, He has redeemed, these are back with God from whom man began. They are back, by the Gospel of grace, through the Calvary of blood, and the resurrection of power (Romans 10:9). .
Not only did Ignatius in the very early years of the second century, perhaps 80 years after Christ's death, speak with authority, but he made it clear that the apostles had a far higher authority than he, in what they declared. Not only does he thus attest their writings as well known, but the apostolic or cognate source is vital for him. Indeed, the parallel point that his emphasis on the deity of Christ is intense, well over two centuries before Constantine, is seen clearly by personally checking for example, his epistle to the Ephesians. So intense is it, that it seems best for the reader to see it with his own eyes.
Some of the epistle to the Ephesians, from Ignatius, is therefore reproduced below, with blue colour for special emphasis.
Gregory Koukl of the organization 'Stand to Reason' states this:
"The early Christians, from Ignatius at the beginning of the second century on, all defended the divinity of Christ.”
Before we look at Ignatius' work, let us further review the situation before us.
That early figure of great fame, shortly after
100 A.D., Ignatius wrote a number of Epistles. To
investigate one, in this very early date, two centuries and probably more before Constantine's involvement as Emperor (NOT high priest!), is a great privilege. It is instructive when facts are at a discount in vague modern generalisations, such as hit history in THE CODE.
Ignatius may well have known St John, knew Polycarp well, while Irenaeus kept up the line of ancient communication in a cluster from the apostles. Irenaeus for his part, was most emphatic in his Rule of Truth and elsewhere, that there is ONE GOD, there is one God who is THE God who as in Genesis created all, that He created through His word, that Jesus Christ, of whom John declares that all things were created by Him, may be addressed as GOD (and he does in fact do this, regarding this verse concerning Christ, from John 1:3), and is God's only begotten Son; and he declares that God needs no intermediates, but acts HIMSELF. In nothing did He SO act as in the coming of Christ to crucifixion.
Thus there is the continual authenticity of what has come from those who saw, knew and participated in the works with Christ, as with those who themselves simply knew Him, and from the apostles and close associates who wrote. All else, writings corrupt in principle, doctrine, adventitious, meretricious were as spurned by the early Church as is rubbish by the hygienic householder.
As to the scriptures, they have the very authority of God. Such is the teaching of Irenaeus.
Ignatius to the Ephesians
(Lightfoot and Harmer)
3:1 I do not command you, as though I were somewhat. For even though I am in bonds for the Name's sake, I am not yet perfected in Jesus Christ. [For] now am I beginning to be a disciple; and I speak to you as to my school-fellows. For I ought to be trained by you for the contest in faith,
and I speak to you as to my school-fellows. For I ought to be trained by you for the contest in faith, in admonition, in endurance, in long-suffering.
3:2 But, since love doth not suffer me to be silent concerning you, therefore was I forward to exhort you, that ye run in harmony with the mind of God: for Jesus Christ also, our inseparable life
is the mind of the Father, even as the bishops that are settled in the farthest parts of the earth are in the mind of Jesus Christ.
4:1 So then it becometh you to run in harmony with the mind of the bishop; which thing also ye do
For your honourable presbytery, which is worthy of God, is attuned to the bishop, even as its strings to a lyre. Therefore in your concord and harmonious love Jesus Christ is sung.
4:2 And do ye, each and all, form yourselves into a chorus, that being harmonious in concord and
taking the key note of God ye may in unison sing with one voice through Jesus Christ unto the Father, that He may both hear you and acknowledge you by your good deeds to be members of His Son. It is therefore profitable for you to be in blameless unity, that ye may also be partakers of God always.
For our purpose, we now move to Chapter 7.
7:1 For some are wont of malicious guile to hawk about the Name, while they do certain other things unworthy of God. These men ye ought to shun, as wild-beasts; for they are mad dogs, biting by stealth; against whom ye ought to be on your guard, for they are hard to heal.
7:2 There is one only physician, of flesh and of spirit, generate and ingenerate, God in man, true Life in death, Son of Mary and Son of God, first passible and then impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord.
8:1 Let no one therefore deceive you, as indeed ye are not deceived, seeing that ye belong wholly to God. For when no lust is established in you, which hath power to torment you, then truly ye live after God. I devote myself for you, and I dedicate myself as an offering for the church of you Ephesians which is famous unto all the ages.
8:2 They that are of the flesh cannot do the things of the Spirit, neither can they that are of the Spirit do the things of the flesh; even as faith cannot do the things of faithfulness, neither unfaithfulness the things of faith. Nay, even those things which ye do after the flesh are spiritual; for ye do all things in Jesus Christ.
9:1 But I have learned that certain persons passed through you from yonder, bringing evil doctrine; whom ye suffered not to sow seed in you, for ye stopped your ears, so that ye might not receive the seed sown by them; forasmuch as ye are stones of a temple, which were prepared beforehand for a building of God the Father, being hoisted up to the heights through the engine of Jesus Christ, which is the Cross, and using for a rope the Holy Spirit; while your faith is your windlass, and love is the way that leadeth up to God.
9:2 So then ye are all companions in the way, carrying your God and your shrine, your Christ and your holy things, being arrayed from head to foot in the commandments of Jesus Christ. And I too, taking part in the festivity, am permitted by letter to bear you company and to rejoice with you, that ye set not your love on anything after the common life of men, but only on God.
10:1 And pray ye also without ceasing for the rest of mankind (for there is in them a hope of repentance), that they may find God. Therefore permit them to take lessons at least from your works.
10:2 Against their outbursts of wrath be ye meek; against their proud words be ye humble; against their railings set ye your prayers; against their errors be ye stedfast in the faith; against their fierceness be ye gentle. And be not zealous to imitate them by requital.
10:3 Let us show ourselves their brothers by our forbearance; but let us be zealous to be imitators o the Lord, vying with each other who shall suffer the greater wrong, who shall be defrauded, who shall beset at nought; that no herb of the devil be found in you: but in all purity and temperance abide ye in Christ Jesus, with your flesh and with your spirit.
11:1 These are the last times. Henceforth let us have reverence; let us fear the long-suffering of God, lest it turn into a judgment against us. For either let us fear the wrath which is to come or let us love the grace which now is -- the one or the other;
provided only that we be found in Christ Jesus unto true life. 11:2 Let nothing glitter in your eyes apart from Him, in whom I carry about my bonds, my spiritual pearls in which I would fain rise again through your prayer, whereof may it be my lot to be always a partaker, that I may be found in the company of those Christians of Ephesus who moreover were ever of one mind with the Apostles in the power of Jesus Christ.
We turn now to Chapter 18, for our purpose.
18:1 My spirit is made an offscouring for the Cross, which is a stumbling-block to them that are unbelievers, but to us salvation and life eternal. _Where is the wise? Where is the disputer? Where is the boasting of them that are called prudent?
18:2 For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived in the womb by Mary according to a dispensation, of the seed of David but also of the Holy Ghost; and He was born and was baptized that by His passion He might cleanse water.
19:1 And hidden from the prince of this world were the virginity of Mary and her child-bearing and likewise also the death of the Lord -- three mysteries
to be cried aloud -- the which were wrought in the silence of God.
19:2 How then were they made manifest to the ages? A star shone forth in the heaven above all the stars; and its light was unutterable, and its strangeness caused amazement; and all the rest of the constellations with the sun and moon formed themselves into a chorus about the star; but the star itself far outshone them all; and there was perplexity to know whence came this strange appearance which was so unlike them.
19:3 From that time forward every sorcery and every spell was dissolved, the ignorance of wickedness vanished away, the ancient kingdom was pulled down, when God appeared in the likeness of man unto newness of everlasting life; and that which had been perfected in the counsels of God began to take effect.
Thence all things were perturbed, because the abolishing of death was taken in hand.
20:1 If Jesus Christ should count me worthy through your prayer, and it should be the Divine will, in my second tract, which I intend to write to you, I will further set before you the dispensation whereof I have begun to speak, relating to the new man Jesus Christ, which consisteth in faith towards Him and in love towards Him, in His passion and resurrection,
20:2 especially if the Lord should reveal aught to me. Assemble yourselves together in common, every one of you severally, man by man, in grace, in one faith and one Jesus Christ, who after the flesh was of David's race, who is Son of Man and Son of God...
See: Barbs 10 with SMR Ch. 8, The Pitter-Patter... Ch. 6, for example.
Clothed in airy philosophies, people nowadays tend to hate to confront realities, in some ways almost verging on a parallel to the earlier days of the gnostics. Perhaps the biblically predicted and clearly rising fears of things to come (as foretold for our day, in Luke 21:26), amid the rushing riot of thuggery and human bombs, and the available power of atoms for abuse, are making a reaction. Unfortunately, this tends to be counter-productive, as when someone is hypnotised by a snake. It does not really make it go away. Action is called for; and in this case, it is repentance according to the Gospel which has never changed in 3000 years, and seeking the Lord. In fact, the earth will go, but not before the rest of judgment comes to its height, and truth is manifest in its depth!
Meanwhile, the inexorable reality of the Greenhouse Effect, continues, while polar glaciers melt in huge swathes, waters rise, temperatures vary and rise, and you get now reports as in The Advertiser, May 24, 2006, of an escalation procedure for heat (cf the prediction in Revelation 16:8).
Here US research is pointing to possible temperature rise of 14 degrees Celsius by the end of the century (if of course, Christ does not first return! to an unworkable earth - Matthew 24:21-22).
It is now found that earth and ocean tend to emit more carbon dioxide as temperatures rise, so making a vicious circle: first come greenhouse increases from gaseous emissions and varied reflectivities, then temperature effects on ocean and earth, the retention of heat through carbon dioxide and other gaseous accumulation, then more earth and oceanic emissions augmented as temperature rises, then more temperature rise for this additional reason, then more effects on gaseous retention and more temperature effects, in a symphony of dissonance, like sin in its cumulative consequence, in the Meteorological Symphony.
Experiments on heated earth are confirming such concept.
This is a work, noted, of Harte and Torn of UC Berkeley, of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.
Their studies including work on Antarctic ice cores. They found that in air bubbles trapped in ice, at the past warm periods, the levels of carbon dioxide and methane increased more than would be expected from the increased sunlight alone.
The experiments on artificially heating earth show that there is a substantial increment in carbon dioxide beyond the case for non-heated soils.
Although there is a difference for different situations, this is the trend that appears. Indeed, the experimenters consider that man may not be able to depend on oceans and soils to absorb more carbon dioxide as it is produced, as atmospheric levels increase. Just the opposite may occur, as saturation levels, reached in the wake of the rises being found, are eventually reached. Not only may the 'sinks' or receptacles for carbon dioxide in ocean and soil NOT accept more in time, but they may disgorge more, as the load is increased.
From SMR p. 1036, we have this historical background to the disorder of the papacy:
We have already observed what the Council of Trent has to say ... (pp. 903-904, cf. 913-917 supra - see also Index, Trent). Back of it all, amongst some other things, clearly is one of the Papal claims, which without doubt is to RULE THE WORLD, a temptation Christ forsook. The world has its cost and its price, and blood tends to be included: the sacrifice of others... Small wonder Pope Gregory I (590-604) called anyone taking the title of 'Universal Bishop' an antichrist! (surely one of the best papal utterances). After all, the term objected to by this pope is pregnant with unscriptural arrogance (compare Matthew 20:25 ff., especially 20:28; I Peter 2:6; 5:1-4; 2:2-4,20-25; 4:12-15; Matthew 11:28-9).
Gregory's word was indeed almost prophetic, and showed remarkable foresight. The fact is pleasing that he stated he did not, by such a title, wish to appear to take any of the honour due to this brethren (cf. I Peter 5:1). That is one reason why he declined to use it!
The more popular kind of papal struggle, that for pre-eminence, on the other hand, contrasts with Christ (Mark 9:33 ff.):
What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road ? ... If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.
See in illustration: SMR pp. 857-877, Ch. 10, 611ff., while 699-717 gives some concept of the scope of the modern movements in concert, without basis but passion, subjective and predicted to the last point, an array of testimonials to Christ as God, because they exhibit His precise power to foretell the nature of things, which indeed, is set in the wider predictions from His lips, all being fulfilled intensively and extensively, as seen for example in pp. 646-697.
The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy
REASON, REVELATION and the REDEEMER
CELESTIAL HARMONY FOR THE TERRESTRIAL HOST
SMR pp. 973A, 931-943, The Pitter-Patter ... Ch. 4, SMR Chs. 8-9,
and in particular in this regard on Islam,
SMR pp. 48ff., 986ff., 1080ff.,TMR Ch. 5, Highway to Hell, It Bubbles ...Ch. 9.
There is always, on one phase, the double-barrelled assault on Christianity, depending on what folly is in the mind of man. On the one hand, there is the desire to obliterate the supernatural, in hard-headed, even unheaded monstrosity, as if creation were self-contrived, from nothing, the self-contradictory source or basis. This is the naturalistic fantasy at its bed-down (it has no rock - cf. The gods of naturalism have no go!).
On the other hand, there is the fantasising romancing, which not content with finding the meaning of verifiable cause for man, the cosmos and intellect, and its match to matter which it can manipulate through understanding, has to have a lot of gods, demi-gods, semi-gods, like semi-trailers, trailing their non-glory with fastidious care about their mythical actions or imaginary events. Here, it is as if moving to the realm of spiritual things in some way meant that you do not need to use your mind, your testing, scientific method on all proponents, and check everything out with all the greater diligence, since everything depends on it.
Oddly enough, these two opposite trends meet in the middle, when the mythical side, as in evolutionism, is wedded to the naturalistic side, and ignoring causation, they beget the children of modern mythology, a barren waste in destructive assault on causation, which in turn, leaves them irrational in constitution and so unable to defend themselves. It is marvellous in this world, how many marriages are simply that, marriages of convenience, with no compatibility, at heart and base, at all!
See on the vagaries of mythical passion, which Christianity abhors, requiring rigour, reason and evidence:
(demythologising demythology cf. SMR pp. 374ff.),
Lead Us Not into Temptation Appendix, 4,
TMR 8, pp. 254ff.,
Answers to Questions Ch. 5 pp. 116ff.,
Wake Up World! ... Chs. 4, 5,
News 82, SMR 374-385, 252H-I, 422Eff., 999-1002C,
A Spiritual Potpourri 1-3,
The Kingdom of Heaven, Ch. 8;
Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 16;
Delusive Drift Chs. 2, 7,
Cascade of Truth Ch. 3,
Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 7,
The Defining Drama Ch. 10
On Historiography, see also Gordon Clark's: Historiography, Secular and Religious.