W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page What is New
GOD IS THE SOURCE, EVERY LITTLE THING COUNTS
The Texture of Quality and
Test of Truth
Dr. Robert E. Donaldson
by World Wide Web WItness Inc.
ISBN 0 9578816 4 9
Such is the discernment
and infinite understanding of Christ the Creator with the glory of the Trinity,
Himself a member, for there is no other Creator but God, that seemingly little things can broadcast the
fame of His name, His attention to detail, show the wisdom that invites, and attest the Lord who alone is
Little things can fascinate.
Firstly, they often bear a clear relationship to things much more conspicuous if only one knew: as in the tip of an ice-berg.
Secondly, they can be symptomatic of larger things, like a small melanoma, indicative in some instances of cancer in the entire system.
Thirdly, reward often comes by attention to them. Thus DISSONANT DETAILS preclude, both in interpreting the book of creation (often called Nature, rather oddly), and that of the Lord, certain errors which the lax, the misled zealot and the slack, alike, can follow, like unobservant detectives, or unwilling ones, personally involved in the outcome to the detriment either of perception or implication or both!
Fourthly, things that SEEM little may do so merely because of a false perspective. Thus the spirit in which one does something is paramount; but it may be put beneath the dignity of observation or concern, by many.
Fifthly, children are little, but profound are the portents and the results of living at that area! Little things can become preludes to passions, introits to wonders or beginnings of dereliction.
Sixthly, each individual is but little; but one individual in the presence of God, can move mountains, which are huge.
Seventh, little things can trace out the care and precision with which big things have been made, as in the case of our own DNA, which is prodigious in brilliance, enormous in conception, fascinating in intricacy, amazing in miniaturisation and staggering in the combination of creative power and executive ability, so uniquely blended as to be an index of grace and truth at the architectural level alone.
In studying for a time, little things, we shall find all of these considerations illustrated, Lord willing, and see the fine texture of the imprint of His handiwork, in body, mind and spirit.
IS IT NOT A LITTLE ONE ! Lot asked the angelic visitant, bent on the destruction, by force of vice, of Sodom of Gomorrah. He had staid long in such vicious surroundings, was accompanied by a wife still having a lingering mind for the place, could well have lost his life by his chosen environmental hazard, like those who linger too long in denominations increasingly clearly subsistence mechanisms, not spiritual organs, far from the word of God. It was indeed a little city which he longed to find, though when he had seen the devastation of the cities of the plain, he went of his own accord to the mountains, where more than a little evil was to occur.
Little things can be gateways to destruction; but nothing is too hard for the Lord, be it ever so small. In His mercy, which is not a little one, the smallest details are secure. In His word, they are manifest. In His ways, they are governed, for He works ALL things after the counsel of His own will.
Lordly approaches to His word are a little too leisurely. Making it fit preconceived ideas is a practice a little long in the tooth and short in the truth. It is no small thing to give small place to the smallest part of His word. After all, it was Christ Himself who said this (Matthew 5:17ff., and see for a full exposition here, SMR Appendix D - it is a fascinating passage of no little value!):
- "Do not think that I came to destroy the Low or the Prophets. Id did not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
- "For assuredly, I tell you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so shall be called least…"
That is one way to go from being little to least. At least, the instructions are plain.
Chapter One - A Little Look
at some Little Things with Big Meanings
Being Particular about Prophets
Chapter Two - 'Is it not a little one ?'
Seeing a lot of
Chapter Three - Little Children
Chapter Four - Does it take Another Stephen ?
Chapter Five - Spiritual Wings and Little Things
Wings are not the Only Things that Fly
Chapter Six - The Eagle, the Nightingale and the Willy Wagtail ...
He's coming, are you ?
Chapter Seven - The Hunter, the Fox and the Lamb
Chapter Eight - A Little One (the chapter)
on the Big One (History, and Time)
Dawn, Dusk of a Day, of a Universe, of a Soul
Chapter Nine - MOSAIC - A Matter of Method
Patterns, Premisses, Premises and Precision in Design
as History Blushes into Fulfilment of its Program
Chapter Ten - The Texture of Quality and Test of Truth
at some little things with big meanings
There are so many little things. Often they are so, in the presence or even relative to bigger things. Indeed. they may take their meaning and significance from the bigger things; but are not unimportant for that. A little love can bring a vast chastisement into proportion. A little hill can bring the plain into perspective, though the Himalayas beckon with a different majesty in view. A little flower in the desert betokens a world beyond the immediate senses, but not without beauty. Often, a little error begins a vast slide, a little touch indicates a change of heart.
There are little differences
in some of the presentations in the Bible, of vast and searching topics,
and these often have vast significance, seen in the light of the arena itself.
Thus in Isaiah 60, we see
the DYNAMIC FUNCTIONALITY of spiritual reality, the very walls of the city
being salvation. Clearly, we have moved via method, from reality to allegory,
but the allegory itself moves back to the meaning, and this to the gospel
and to history and to Christ. Here we have, to reach this point, moved from
Israel and its need, to God and His ample provision, so that suddenly we
have touched base, a home run, moving through the bases of Israel's deliverance,
her enduements, her restoration, her meaning,
her essential meaning, allegory of that meaning expressed, for its part,
in terms of a city, and this Zion. Indeed, in vv. 19ff.,
we move to functionality in terms of spiritual light, to the invisible segment
of the Church, "Also
your people shall be all righteous", so that it becomes almost
undifferentiatable from the church at large,
and indeed is not; except that it has a location which is stressed to the
end, in vv. 21-22. This "all righteous" is found again in these prophetic
sites, as we shall shortly see.
THE STRUCTURE OF REGALITY
In Isaiah 65, with Micah 4 and Isaiah 2, however, it is not so much the functionality as the STRUCTURE OF REGALITY which is in view. Here Jerusalem is seen as a focus, and why not, since it deigned to crucify the King, who set up the patterns of spirituality in the Temple before He replaced it with Himself, whom it prefigured in structure.
in this Chapter 65 of Isaiah, on this occasion, Israel the people is demolished in any superiority it might claim, indeed it is rubbished, ruined, removed from spiritual sight, made a curse even; while a new breed is to become a nation in its place (vv.13-15), but not a political or theocratic nation, rather a spiritual nation, where as in Isaiah 60, "they shall not labour in vain", so that there is let behind, all that is theft and demolition.
Here it is then the structure and practicality which is in focus, but it is, like the case in Isaiah 60, pervasive: there are no exceptions. You could call it the invisible church, Israel segment through salvation in the common gospel, if you like. However, there is an eminent stress once again on practical realities, such as this, "the voice of weeping shall be heard no more" (v. 18), and this, "the sinner, being one hundred years old shall be accursed" so that it is not merely a terrestrial version of heaven, made mutatis mutandis, in a picture on earth. Not at all. It is real and practical, structural and diversified, but the PEOPLE on whom the focus is made, are "My people" (v. 22), and "they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord" (v. 23). That is WHY they shall be so blessed.
In other words, here is a
spiritual generation, not idealised, but focussed relative to their structural incorporation
in Christ, without ANY merit or provision from the Old Covenant or the name
of Israel (65:13-15) for the purpose. Yet there is a Jerusalem, a new Jerusalem,
which as in Isaiah 60 in function, so here in structure, seems both spiritually
distinctive and essentialised, and yet not without
relationship to Israel the disjoined, now with the remnant of believers from
it, so conjoined that it is like a city in a new heavens and a new earth,
betokening therefore the millenium.
THAT WAS, IS NOT AND YET IS
But WHO are those of the millenium ? Or is it a depiction of their spiritual estate, so that there is NO place ? Yet the sinner 100 years old is not a spiritual estate of the realm of the righteous, being essentialised! Hence it appears that this time we are moving from the virtual Jerusalem of Isaiah 60, a spiritual functionality, to the virtual Jerusalem of Isaiah 65, a spiritual structure; but in BOTH there is without possible doubt an evoking of things specific to Israel that was, and is not, and yet is, to the point that it would appear that the point is double.
1) It is NOT Israel
as a distinctively spiritual body which is in view AT ALL.
2) It IS Israel as a location and exemplar of the Christian faith, which is in view.
If then this is the meaning, then those of the Jews who had not heard the gospel may be the target people, and then the participants, now realising the restoration with the Messiah here, like others elsewhere of other races; or it might well be those saints who come with the Lord as in I Thess. 3:13, Zech. 14:5 will in some way, share with them. It could even be both. It must always be remembered that the foolish virgins are those who HEARD and even made profession, but were not saved. No hope remains. However there are those who had not heard, who, in the predestining favour of God, may yet be His people*1. If so, then these could be among the inhabitants of the land.
In Isaiah 33*2, we have yet another localisation which is too intense to be merely a backdrop, too detailed, too diversified (cf. 33:9). There is too specific a deliverance as in Isaiah 60 (cf. 33:10ff.). There is too localised a pointer to the "sinners in Zion" who "are afraid", and too specialised a contrast in those who are not afraid (33:14-19).
Here there is a sense of rest (33:15ff.), of realisation, of power, of the presence of the Lord, and as we near the end of the chapter, we read:
there the majestic LORD will be for us
A place of broad rivers and streams,
In which no galley with oars will sail...
For the LORD is our judge,
The LORD is our Lawgiver.
The LORD is our King;
He will save us...
Then the prey of great plunder is divided;
The lame take the prey.
And the inhabitant will not say, 'I am sick' ."
Again, at the end, there is qua universal, the parallel to "all righteous" and again it is clear that this is NOT a mere essentialising of spirituality; but a presentation of a specifically distinctive (because of location and preliminaries) but wholly homogenised (because of the Gospel) remnant of Israel, who, though there be exceptions which are like marshes made of men (cf. Ezekiel 47's presentation on that topic!), will have a spirituality which dominates in its complexion in the arena of life.
Is this also then millenial ? It seems that so fluid (as in Isaiah 66:24's depiction of hell via an earthly scene) is this mode of presentation, that one must watch as one regards mercury. In fact, at times it seems almost to move like a jet, like a glance, now at the high hills, now at the microscopic slide in front of one's face!
The prophecy is then quite well able to represent related realities with touches of allegory and strong colours of reality and detail, sometimes even incorporating restoration of Israel as a nation, or cursed exceptions, but then to return to a scene which is imbued with an impressionism which is not that of light to the eye, but of light to the heart. Here is
TRIUMPHS OF THE TAKE-OFF
Thus one sees the ground of the aerodrome from one's little window, and it is VERY REAL. But the flight is about to lift, and that too is EVEN MORE REAL since one will get the greater overview of more of the field. Thus one is seeing the beginning (getting into one's seat), the middle, the strength of take-off and all that has betokened it on the way to the airport, like directed taxis doing what they do well, GETTING YOU THERE, and the movement aloft. So here one sees the return of Israel as a nation, of the LORD as King and peace on earth, so that "they shall not hurt or destroy on all My holy mountain" (Isaiah 11:9), and the wolf shall lie down with the Lamb, and the lion eat straw like an ox (Isaiah 66:25).
This brings us to the more directly Messianic focussed places, for the millenium in clear colours, as in Isaiah 11, Micah 4, Isaiah 2. As in Isaiah 65, it is a transformed earth, but the main transformation is He who transforms, who is able to subdue all things to Himself by the power with which He works (Philippians 3:21). Like Isaiah 33 in the power that delivers categorically, yet it is in a separate genre, in these areas, in terms of the express visage and vigour of the reigning Lord as explicit focus. His mouth destroys the wicked in such style that "with the breath of His lips, He shall slay the wicked".
For all that, "In
that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people,
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious" - Isaiah 11:10, and the Lord
"shall set His hand again the second time,
To recover the remnant of His people who are left,
From Assyria and Egypt..."
"He will set up a banner for the nations,
And will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
And gather together the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart...
But they shall fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines..." (from Isaiah 11:12-14).
To essentialise into spirituality is far too rough to the specialised, diversified and historically unique set of data; to render in little things as if directive, on the other hand, as if the spirituality theme were not dominant, or sub-dominant under the direct and directing presence of the Lord, is too pettifogging to the scope of the presentation. It is apparent therefore that mobility of thought is needed. There are the elements:
1) dominant spirituality without the slightest merit to
2) dominant power, without the slightest success to their enemies to impede them.
3) dominant rule by the Lord, without the slightest chance of making it ephemeral, since events of categorical proportions are also detailed in an historical fashion as seen in Deuteronomy 32, for example, as noted in Galloping Events quite often.
Thus it appears that the picture is of the take-off area. The Lord is gathering His people, comes to rule, removes the adversaries, humbles His own people who are totally renegade and reprobated, yet accepted in the Gospel, restores their symbolic situation, and enforces the tidings never disqualified as to their place of origin in the saving work of the Lord, and makes on earth a spiritually dynamised structure and function, with leads to the return of Himself in many fields, which has a beauty in the outward form, long recognised by the people of the Lord in the inward form.
There is no room
for New Age quintessentialising, to the extent
that the Lord is changed and all covenants forgotten, for as Micah 4 puts
'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.'
out of Zion the law shall go forth,
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between many peoples,
And rebuke strong nations afar off;
They shall beat their swords into ploughshares...
Neither shall they learn war anymore.
But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree,
And no one shall make them afraid,
For the mouth of the LORD of host has spoken.
For all people walk each in the name of his god.
But we will walk in the name of the LORD our God,
Forever and ever."
This is to the uttermost remove, distanced from New Age and the like. It is an integration with zeal, a continuation with fidelity, a restoration with magnificence to the reality of the same God. HE does not change, nor do His ways alter, being everlasting, nor is there any shadow of variation in Him (Psalm 102, James 1, Habakkuk 3:6). It is Israel which changes, taking its appointed place in the New Covenant, being in the end a failure in the Old. Yet the covenant itself, this or that, of the One God, whose word is always true, is either fulfilled or maintained, nothing lacking with the God with whom we have to do (Matthew 5:17-20) as Christ was most zealous to insist (cf. SMR Appendix D)
Here we see the actual cessation of war, not its spiritual and international concentration as now (cf. Ephesians 6!). As we shall shortly emphasise, it follows profound divine power being deployed (Micah 7:15, Isaiah 66:12-16. 49:26, 63:1ff.).
In this peaceable program to come, we find that Israel in new dress with the LORD Himself in their government, will form a centre, but not one with the slightest admiration for itself, for it is OUR GOD who is dominant, even He from whom they so deeply departed (as in Micah 3). Indeed, in Zephaniah we find that it is a HUMBLE people who congregate and one poor in spirit, for whom the English-style danger -
'We are a great nation, see what God has done for us, so great indeed that we need to export the awareness of Englishness to the world, as through the Boy Scout movement, and do not actually need the Bible itself and the Lord Himself, having come of age' ...
is no more applicable. It is not only the Jews but the English who have been in danger of spiritual pride as a PEOPLE. The Germans twice in one century tried it on EX-GOD, and with another one, ungifted with the benefit of existence as in Mein Kampf; and that of course was madness. But it is not the only madness. England has been sinking solidly for decades because of her follies, and soon her very Church is under review, to be disestablished. Already it is very largely so from the minds of the people, numerically!
Zephaniah has such a touch of the nature of the spirit in these matters that we need to quote it:
"I will leave in your midst,
A meek and humble people,
And they shall trust in the name of the LORD.
The remnant of Israel shall do no unrighteousness,
And speak no lies.
Nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth,
For they shall feed their flocks and lie down,
And no one shall make them afraid" - Zephaniah 3:12-13.
Indeed, now we see the spiritual lustre:
"the LORD your God is your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing" - Zeph. 3:15.
This verse however is enclosed between two highly specific other ones:
"Sing O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!" - the one above;
and - here we shall move on to the end,
" 'I will gather those who sorrow over the appointed assembly,
Who are among you,
To whom its reproach is a burden.
Behold, at that time I will deal with all who afflict you...
And gather those who were driven out.
"I will appoint them for praise and fame
In every land where they were put to shame,
At that time I will bring you back,
Even at the time I gather you:
For now will give you fame and praise
Among all the peoples of the earth,
When I return you captives before your eyes,'
Says the Lord."
THE THRUST OF THE PHYSICAL
Not lightly has one chosen a more blood coloured heading this time. For the captives to be returned from their interim of shame (richly implied by Zephaniah 3:11), are those whom the Lord intervenes to liberate, this time at the end of the Age, prior to a presence both judicial and magisterial (Zeph. 3:15,17,19-20, with Isaiah 11, Psalm 72, Psalm 2), which FOLLOWS a "determination to gather the nations". For this purpose is this to be done ? : "to pour out on them My indignation, all My fierce anger: All the earth will be devoured with the fire of My jealousy" (Zeph. 3:8).
This is the necessary preliminary to the coming consummation for the nation of Israel: its deliverance as in Deuteronomy 32:42ff.. Here is the same restoration to the land, to the Lord and to intimate communion with Him, with the same preliminaries as in Isaiah 49. In that Chapter is seen in sharp relief, the Messiah (cf. Galloping Events 4) who is to BE My salvation to the ends of the earth, to whom we are requested in Isaiah 42's parallel, to LOOK, the criterion and the king, the accomplishment in action, the Lord without sin and so able to be the sacrifice of Isaiah 52-53, the blemish-free Saviour when ONLY God is the Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11). It is here that the Light to the Gentiles (42:6, 49:6) is in order, FIRST pictured in His patience and grace (as especially in 42:4), and then we see, in these chapters, amidst events with much in common. They involve direct action, direct deliverance, boundless dynamism and the deployment of power against adversaries to these actions, enemies who fail utterly.
The people, though blind in continuing unbelief (as in Isaiah 42:18-19), very like dull (spiritual) students, are nevertheless to be LIFTED by the LORD back to the land:
" I have held My peace a long time,
I have been still and restrained Myself... I will lay waste the mountains... I will bring the blind by a way they did not know".
In 49, again after the introduction in power and distinction to the person of the Messiah, and finding Him extending His ministry of light to the Gentiles, while "abhorred" by His own nation (v. 7), so that all seems desolate, there is this sudden, eventual divine interposition.
Scarcely the preaching of the Gospel, then, is the parade of divine action, culminating in Isaiah 49:26 as follows:
will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh,
· And they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine."
In fact, the Lord
All these gather together and come to you.
As I live,' says the LORD,
'You shall surely clothe yourselves with them all as an ornament,
And bind them on you as a bride does.
FOR your waste and desolate places ,
And the land of your destruction
Will even now be too small for the inhabitants..." (from Isaiah 49:18-19).
Indeed, a deep purpose is also explicit for this long-delayed divine intervention:
"All flesh shall know
That I, the LORD, am your Saviour,
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
Impotence and destruction alike await the former scoffers who had oppressed the land, intimidated the people, taunted them and taken the place of their habitation; and part of the triumph of grace for this errant and often erratic people is this, that IN THEIR DELIVERANCE and triumph, there is a 'clothing' of themselves with their enemies with a special ground for it. Here is the capital letter emphasis in the quotation from Isaiah 49:18-19. THOSE WHO TAUNTED THEM NOW RECEIVE TUITION! "FOR" - it is because the land of their destruction, the place of their abasement, the glory of their defilement, the ground of their dismissed tenure, will NOW be restored to them and replete with bulging inhabitants who are JEWS (Isaiah 66:10ff.). That is how they will so clothe themselves with them. It is the evicted tenants, restored to their usurped pastures, shame excluded, guilt overcome, faithfulness pre-eminent in the God of all mercy.
This of course is precisely
the picture so sublimely pictured in Ezekiel 36 and 37 as noted previously,
and the result is as clear as is the area of purpose, as we see in the reverberating
harmonies of the prophet Zephaniah:
In which you transgress against Me:
For then I will take away form your midst
Those who rejoice in your pride,
And you shall no longer be haughty
In My holy mountain.
I will leave in your midst
A meek and humble people,
And they shall trust in the name of the LORD.
The remnant of
Trust in the Lord, no more futile obsession with formalities, with the Pharisees, as if ceremonies and traditions constituted it; no more unfocussed as with the Sadducees, as if thought ruled the Lord, and its secular sanctions were the criteria of understanding. No, not at all and far from it.
FAITH will act in a LORD who has ACTED and been at long last, understood! He means what He says, does what He wills, declares to this people, Israel, what it is (Amos 3:7), does it, and in fulfilling the joint if diverse features of profound discipline and profound protection and restoration, first to their land, then to their Lord, takes relish, and adding to it, as it were, zeal*3, with triumphant patience, unleashes the finale that speaks, to one, to all.
All this is in the
highest possible degree specific, specialised
and detailed in the tone, text and terms of the only nation on earth who
qualify for the post. In fact, it is not entirely opaque that it is to this
nation that the Lord is in fact SPEAKING! in JUDAH, the last bastion of Israel
left intact, the centre of the return from their FIRST banishment (cf. Isaiah
11:11 which tells us about their SECOND and its culmination in the manifest
Messiah in His rule over the earth, as in Psalm 2 and 72, with dominant power).
USEFULNESS OF THE LITTLE,
AND THE SHADOW OF THE LARGE
Quite useless is it to be carried away to forget what it is SAYING when one 'interprets'. It is simply declaring a transformation for a people who had long known the things of the Lord, who had even developed specialised reactions to them, as in our last quotation above, and who had borne specialised shame among the nations, not mere consolidation with them in sin.
This people is to be brought back, and its humility and poverty of spirit in view of its follies, is to be matched by its ecstatic delight in the most present intimacies of the Lord, who will act to consummate the return of this people, but now under a management that strains off pride and rebellion as also ruin and devastation, as one strains off a toxic liquid from gold, now duly extracted!
Thus in all these things we find that mixture of delight and detail, the little and the profound, the spiritual and the temporal, the subduing of the latter to the former once and for all, a new heart for a restored, highly specialised people, famous throughout the world for their follies and the disciplines resulting, precisely as in Ezekiel 37-38, where the Lord distances the dynamics of their enemies (as in Micah 7:15 and Ezekiel 39), coming as in Isaiah Chs. 2, and 59:16-20, to be the regality of the ruined people, the delight of the remnant of faith restored, the King of the earth, with the lips that perform on evil (Isaiah 11:4), the fiat power that was His in creation, for "now I have seen with My eyes" (Zechariah 9:8).
Interesting indeed is the fact that our last quotation from Zechariah in context, is shortly before the announcement of the King coming on the ass's colt, and proceeds to this,
"I will camp around My house
Because of the army,
Because of him who passes by and him who returns,
No more shall an oppressor pass through them,
For now I have seen with My eyes."
AFTER this first coming of Christ, in 9:6, we find continued the conflagration of warfare, just as in the highly diverse elements of salvation and judgment, in that order, to be found in Isaiah 61:1-2, the first part only being quoted at Nazareth as we find in Luke. Again, following this intervention as in Deuteronomy 32, Zechariah 12-14, Micah , we have peace of a categorical order on the earth:
battle bow shall be cut off,
He shall speak peace to the nations,
His dominion shall be from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth" - Zechariah .
This in turn is precisely as in Psalms 72, 89.
The way to it involves a resolution to scatter the power of the ruthless nations and restore to Himself His people from all sides, as in Psalm 2, where the rambunctious are over-ruled and the terrible subdued, and in Psalm 110, where there is that amazing medley of tenderness and quietness, labour and love, and overthrow with all necessary power of the recalcitrance of the ages, of those implacable, free of repentance, resolute in ruin, tempestuous in untruth, relentless in disturbance, impervious to truth, ready for flames.
There is NO cost the Lord has not paid, there is NO limit on the extent of His willingness that ALL things, yes in heaven or on earth should be reconciled, and this is exhibited in the atonement for passion and purity (cf. Colossians 1:22ff.) and in the glorious design for majesty (Colossians 1:19ff.). It is thus that the terminal scenes of the Age proceed:
"The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of
Rule in the midst of Your enemies!
Your people shall be volunteers
In the day of Your power.
In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning,
You have the dew of Your youth."
THIS is followed in this way:
"The LORD has sworn
And will not relent,
You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek,"
making as in Psalm 2, the ONE on whom it devolves clear, and then comes the end:
"The LORD is at Your right hand;
He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.
He shall judge among the nations.
He shall fill the places with dead bodies,
He shall execute the heads of many countries."
It is after this finale, that we see the intense graciousness and the intimate littleness to which love came, can come and is willing to come:
"He shall drink of the brook by the wayside:
Therefore He shall lift up the head."
If there has to be an end, it is by Him who took His own apparent end, at the disgraceful hands of those whose hearts were numb, consciences lost, hand in blood, and that, His own! Little things give great clues, when presented aptly. Here is such a time!
So have we seen the
tenderness, the cost provision, the discipline, the restoration in categorical
and unique terms, the spiritual steps involved for the Jewish contingent
to the Christian church in its time, the end time resolute action by the
Lord, foretold since Deuteronomy 32, the chapter alike telling this finale
and the apportionment of the lands to the peoples, including that to Jacob,
at the first. It is a picture defined in its own terms.
WITH THINGS instead of DISPENSING THEM,
DELETING THINGS instead of DISCERNING THEM,
the little with the great, each in its place, as in the garden of the Lord
The dispensationalists tend to ignore the transformation, humiliation, restoration, spiritual and geographical, in poverty of spirit and newness of covenant; the amillenialists tend to ignore the national restoration of the dispossessed and driven, as if determined to be different with the light they have on the spiritual theme, to the uttermost, altogether.
For them, it is not there.
For the others, it is not what it is depicted to be.
How long is it before we have it AS it is depicted, WITH the spiritual realities as depicted, and the other elements as depicted, in the ensemble as depicted, rather than graphic pictures, foiling this or that scripture, and bypassing many prophetic plateaux,
|as if seeing the hill means there is no plain,|
as if seeing the elephant means there are no ants,
as if seeing the gladioli, means there are no desert plants,
as if the entire Old Covenant is disassembled
because there is a newly effulgent focus,
rather than duly fulfilled, with that leisurely certainty
which comes from the word of God,
with the inspiration behind it, which needs no revisionism.
This composite scriptural depiction ... is the one that counts, because of its site. It needs no dispersal of the realities, because of this or that difficulty, but with everything in place, and masterful emphases of the most certain kind, endorses the principles which require dominance as given, and the particulars which require fulfilment as given in the setting as given. It is not in some other setting, as if it were a mere embarrassment that disorder and imprecision would then rest in the text.
Back to the text: not to the cover of the book, and whatever unknowns or manoeuvred contents may therein lie: no, rather back to the text itself, all of it, interpreting it by itself, using its rules when it gives them and not inventing our own, when we prefer them, have some penchant, preference, or worse, pugnacity of parts, some -ism or other to defend, or with which to attack. Every last jot, tittle, precept, principle must be employed. Only then is the liberty of the Lord deployed with fidelity in our midst.
Big things do not demolish
little things; but they do overshadow them.
"who works when, and where, and how He pleases.
So also are all other elect persons,
who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word."
So also what ? "regenerated and saved by Christ."
This testimony is just to the sanctions of the word of God, who knows what He is doing and chooses time as He will, who made it, not to be run by it, but to run through it as He will. Nevertheless, the rejection of the Gospel is quite final where it occurs (John 8:24, 3:18ff.). It is not a matter of man's will, but God's; of man's gospel but God's; of man's time but God's, of man's mercy, but God's.
The doctrine of second chance is mere foolishness. There is no even a first one. Chance does not figure at all, but predestination which is effected not with unseemly fecklessness, nor in the imagination of man, but in the power of God, through whom and to whom are all things (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:28ff., Romans 11:36).
For more on Isaiah, see: excursions esp. in Scoop of the Universe 47; Biblical Blessings App.1, 3; Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium 11, The Biblical Workman Ch. 1, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 13, Divine Agenda Ch. 5 - esp. Isaiah 9, and Galloping Events Chs. 4, * 1, and 8, esp. *3 .
You see this zeal very directly, in Isaiah 59:16ff..
"For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head,
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
"According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay,
Fury to His adversaries,
Recompence to His enemies….
"When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.
The Redeemer of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.
"The Redeemer will come to
, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, Zion
Says the Lord."
He then makes it apparent in Isaiah 59:21 that these provisions are irreversible, not tenuous but tenacious, assured and to be kept in mind to all generations.
It is mirrored
in very substantial measure in Isaiah 66:14ff, in the detailed parameters