W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
TIME MAGAZINE, January 11
The mapping of the genes and the race for the relish
of KNOWLEDGE about MAN!
This time while we look at the secular reconstruction concept, through manipulation of genes, we will look in parallel at the theological reconstructionist concepts, which similarly would act as if to reconstruct history in vain departure from the provisions and speech of God.
The directions in the first
case are in the DNA, in the second, in the Bible.
GENIAL DEALINGS WITH GENES
Fingers on the Controls, Children Grabbing at the Steering Wheel
Of course they CAN make a difference. Of that there is no doubt. Their interference when undisciplined, can lead to death, amidst blood, broken bones and broken dreams. Children allowed to scramble for the steering wheel are a menace.
So is it with this generation. Knowing a little, mistaking this for much wisdom, finding more and more of the Almighty's control units in genes and their codes, in telomeres controlling cell duplication and hence perhaps setting limits to terrestrial life - that may entice interference; in weather patterns to which man aspires for dominance; in psychic controls as in Ritalin, in which people seek to restructure children's behavioural criteria, not always when they are 'sick', but in the interests of 'performance': dopes, drugs and domineering, these are not merely political, but scientific, and not merely scientific. Rather they flourish like weeds in that quasi-philosophical dress-up that 'science', in its majestic robes, loves to welcome from the gobbledegook highway of humanist pretension. That it was ever allowed to call THAT science is a testimony to human credulity, as active now as in the worship of stones in former times, LITERALLY; and as foolish.
God marvels as this insatiable credulity which attests the ultimate deviation: deviation from God (Jeremiah 2:26-28). It is important here, so let us quote it in full from this and from 10:11:
the thief is ashamed when he is found out,
So is the house of Israel ashamed;
They and their kings and their princes, and their priest and their prophets,
Saying to a tree, "You are my father,",
And to a stone, "You gave birth to me."
For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face.
But in the time of their trouble,
They will say, "Arise and save us."
But where are your gods that you have made for yourselves?
Let them arise,
If they can save you in the time of your trouble...
The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens."
Creativity is not the creation of the uncreative; understanding does not proceed from what lacks it; control does not come by playing god without the mind of God; but disaster does so come. It is one thing to intervene to seek to reduce natural or personal disasters, with all due circumspection, seeking the deviation from the structure which works in its schema, and trying to remedy what has left the path. Quite another is the aspiration to play god. It is not a playing matter. All this we have studied in depth and in detail in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, Chs.1-3,10, in A Spiritual Potpourri, Chs. 1-9 and That Magnificent Rock, Chs.1, 5, 7; but here we look at the social consequences in these spheres.
Even in simple affairs like meteorological things, having enough rain in the right place at the right time and avoiding the tempestuous (I say 'simple' relatively!, for here it is mere matter without the vast domains of human mind and spirit to take account of), there has been aspiration for CONTROL. Understandable to a point, it is often far beyond the straightforward silver iodide beginnings, and looks for some understanding of "all things" from which simplistic 'bible' on wheels, they might find the 'key' to temper and tamper and make it 'all well' for man on this planet.
Dreams, dreams, dreams! There is such a difference between dreaming of what is your orb, orbit and duty, and of what is God's as if the distinction could be erased by the mere thinking of it! We are and therefore He is! That as we have seen, is the real aphorism!
Has not El Nino, buttressed by La Ninia put paid to the immediate aspirations of dominance of what is the creation of the genius of God, without the courtesy at least of consultation with Him on the point! Has not God used these various tempestuous things (as in Amos 4, and Revelation 9) to REMIND a witlessly manoeuvrable world of its place ? It is the sublime simplicity of ignoring God and seeking to grab the steering wheel of the universe, the car, and MAKE it do what man wants which is appalling in its wilfulness, wildness and complete futility. The finite is fidgeting about forcing God to conform to the lie that He is not there!
How secular man loves to imagine that the vast array of graded and integral laws of matter, mind and the grammatico-logical-physical foundations of things are an incident in what is not there, or an explosion of what is always there, so denying the necessity for this foundation to be founded, or to have any basis in the realms its ingredients attest! How he loves to use intelligence to deny intelligence, logic to ignore rationality, thought to belittle thinking, and architectural-mathematical brilliance as an obvious necessity for the domains it affects with discipline, while yet calling forth from the abyss of what is not there, the genesis of his own powers. And these ? They far greater in construction, the sphere of purpose and programming, planning and production than anything they have even BEGUN to produce!
But blinking at causality does not remove it from sight, nor can any rational thought dispute with it. The more thought it seeks to avoid causality, the more it uses it and attests its validity. To render it invalid by first assuming its validity however is mere self-contradiction, question-begging persiflage.
No! There is nothing among the vanities of the Gentiles that can control or dispose the basic working of our universe for, despite the vainly hostile prose of philosopher and quasi-scientific sect that controls much in many universities, we are products of a personal Being, to whom we must give account; and while the imaginations with which we are constructed can indeed create, as our Creator has designed, yet our powers of destruction in a created universe whose Maker is ignored, like those of naughty little children in a millionaire's house, are more notable than impressive, exhibit folly more than cause for pride. Any silly kid can burnt the house down!
Our generation, in the patience of the Creator, has had a few 'goes' at it, making less than sublime 'matches' around her increasingly heedless children in particular. And there are those who like to buy matches from them, especially now that Russian scientists are so often in need, and have plenty in stock.
What is needed is cleanness of heart, the acknowledgment of the word, the ways and the witness of God to Himself, Christ Jesus and the Bible, abundantly attested over thousands of years, as earlier was the word of God through the Jews.
As to secular man, wallowing in idolatry, fooling with the household switches with no beginning of knowledge of their purpose, since he despises the instructions: the vesting of what are divine powers in himself as in his world (which God, by the way, by the joint and congruent testimony of the facts and history and of His word, has long ceased to create), the glorification of the natural and the witness of ignoring that ONE supernatural God who is there and available, there is this word for him:
Again we find: "Cursed be the man who trusts in man, makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the Lord" (Jeremiah 17:5).
On the other hand, "Blessed be the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is" - Jeremiah 17:7. Man must learn that it is reality alone in which he can thrive, and the creator-Redeemer is his only way, hope and desired end.
And endless end is the path of refuse and it is this which ignores truth, invents the lie and lives in a moral-truth vacuum, which alas is more in the mind than the heart, which is filled with what is not clean, and even glories in it, and more recently, would assault what insists that counter-design behaviour is mere chaos and catastrophe, the self-destruct button on what rejects its creator and without power, would create anew, but not... afresh. This is as clear in the push approach to children as in the putsch approach to gender, the manipulative attitude to the universe and the invasion of biology with ignorant pliers, imagining that to see something of the layout is to understand the purpose, or that the first blush of romance is the reality of marriage. And as to that, marriage to the Lord ? In all this, it is divorce.
Thus again we read:
Many have come to Him, do
come and will come, as Jeremiah also predicted, even from the Gentiles
(Jeremiah 16:19); but many more abuse His privileges, ignore His chastening
(cf. Amos 4), and seek to the end for the refuse pit.
Our Age, this advanced part of it, the "times of the Gentiles" with the restoration of Jerusalem to the Jews (Luke 21:24) is in "time-on" mode, awaiting the final whistle.
The turmoil of weather, and in particular, raging waters such as afflicted proud California not a little (Luke 21:25), and the whole over-heated, rising tide of maritime events, is set close in the identikit for the return of Christ. It is nothing to do with the downgrading of matter, as poorly misled Rushdoony*1 extravagantly imagined (in his Infallibility: An Inescapable Concept) , but much to do with the gravity and depravity of sin which leads to this long-predicted return of Christ for His own, and His subsequent investing of this earth with His majesty. It is not a defect in matter which makes boys in riot need the Headmaster's intervention; but in heart.
It is time to be practical. We can see well enough the signs in the skies, seas and earth (cf. Acts 2:19, Joel 2:28-32, Matthew 24), but like the Jews in their Age, people in vast numbers, do not heed the dealings of the Lord (Matthew 16:3).
The philosophy of the ostrich will not, however, save from the desert storm, which can destroy all his plumage and food, while he dreams, his head prudishly and imprudently prodding the sand.
The secular gods that are worshipped in intellectual vacuity, loved in ignorance and relished in irrationality, need to be taught to worship God (Psalm 97:7), dismissed in their idiocies (which reflect a willing blindness - Psalm 14), while their devotees return to the Lord who made mind, matter and spirit - in repentance. The rumpus of irrationality and the oblivion of logic needs quietus, for it omits what it uses and is merely cross-grained. It is another cross that is needed.
The cross of Christ still has the liberal capacity to cancel sin (Romans 1:16, I Cor. 1:18-25, Galatians 3:10-13, I Cor. 6:1) and the power of God visible in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, in His creation and in His ultimate control evidenced in prophetic fulfilment, is still the ultimate resource against that moral and spiritual pollution which does more than depopulate through murder and mayhem. Indeed, it depersonalises till the time comes when mankind hardly knows at all what man is. The car steered by technically minded children, lurches to the pit.
As for the children, how
shall they be educated, drug-manoeuvred and immersed in culture ? The visible
answer to that, however equivocal and confused in its formulation, it is
a separate tragedy in itself, and where more than in this benighted State,
which so afflicts them with so much imperviousness to truth and wisdom,
in its Government schools. (See That Magnificent
Rock, Ch.8, Remodelling
It may be useful to study a little further the approach of this author (see Part II below). The remedy required for man is in fact highly specific, highly personal to Christ, will come in its time to rule in the world, but only through God's own drastic method, following a sublime, divine patience (cf. II Peter 3:8-9, where the time for the personal return of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, is foreseen in a context surveying thousands of years ... now passed as shown in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, Ch.8, pp. 646ff.). Meanwhile, the equally drastic change within is required, not genetic manipulation for advance (though there is no fault in repair), but the transformation of the heart and spirit of man, by a power which first created him. The latter is now; the former is coming ... soon.
THE SCOPE AND CHARACTER OF THE RETURN OF CHRIST
"INFALLIBILITY: An Inescapable Concept"
FELICITY and CONFUSION make POOR COMPANIONS
In this work, Rushdoony expresses himself in many parts, with considerable felicity, showing again and again the erratic human desire to have something fixed that is not God. It is often given names or attributed qualities which, ludicrous as is the merely circumstantial when given such sway, would be pseudo-divine. Qualities of God may be grasped where they do not exist, and ignored where they do, with various fictional infallibilities be found in State, Natural Philosophy, Nature or whatever, meaningless or futile donations from infallible philosophers with infallible philosophies which enable them to judge all things while standing on nothing. Such is the main arena of his presentation.
However, this little exposition from Rushdoony is allied with his invention of an idea which is not at all felicitous, is in fact a false and erroneous attribution of concepts to many who in fact do not have them; and more importantly, perhaps, this is done in a systematic manner, which helps us to see any trend towards reconstructionism which may have come his way, and to grasp something of its faulty basis!
This idea errant of his, like the Knight Errant, Don Quixote is also charging at windmills. It is short and comes near the end of his little book. It is to the effect that "fundamentalists" who expect Christ radically to change the world on His return, at the Second Advent in fact, are thereby marrying a false dichotomy of spirit and matter. He is asserting that they hold in mind a ridiculous cleavage, a silly division between the two, the world of events perceived, and some inner world, and that this makes their feeble attempts at looking at real history in need of a restorative. Not seeing the power of God in this our history, he is evidently alleging, they will find it ONLY in the Second Coming, and nowhere else. Suffice to say, that he is not impressed.
The idea is this:
How is this knot to be tied by Rushdoony ? It is tied by putting such delusive thoughts, to be found in contemporary theology, in a bag together with 'fundamentalist' expectations. That is, in reality Biblical predictions, but Rushdoony puts it with the seamy slant noted - the concept of the return of Christ Jesus in Person, as something NECESSARY to them for a particular purpose, an anti-toxin to their errors.
What is that need alleged to be, for the 'fundamentalist' ? It is to heal the division which Rushdoony simply assumes is to be found in such people, a rift between matter and spirit, 'faith' and actual history, between idealising if you will, and performing, between this world and the next, duty and dynamic. Rushdoony proceeds to assume with this in mind, that the Bible believer is in some way depending on Christ's return to heal a philosophic folly in which he/she is indulging, namely that of thinking of this world as if NOT under the sovereign hand of God, NOT the subject of His divine control and direction, but rather an object alien and not truly under His governance. To Rushdoony, this straw-man, the 'fundamentalist' finds it 'necessary' for Christ to return in this spectacular, intrusive splendour to this earth, to recover history, to have a world come back from inner "faith" to outward "reality"! Let us be quite clear about his speech (p.68):
"for the fundamentalists, it is the second coming alone which can bridge the gap between faith and history" - and in this he betrays fact and confuses categories.
Indeed, the extent of his fundamental confusion here is astounding.
WHAT THE SOVEREIGN GOD SOVEREIGNLY
IS WHAT HE SAYS
Before we look at the actual Biblical teaching, which in fact itemises how it pleases the Lord sovereignly to run His business, lovingly to deal with His people and prophetically to deal with the world, let us consider the mockery of this writer, here playing the philosopher.
In effect, whatever the intention, Rushdoony attacks in this way, the Second Coming, Biblically defined, by making it a necessarily opted doctrine, a make-weight feature for fuzzy lightweights; yet this same doctrine of a sudden, dramatic, eruptive presence of Christ to come, is the direct affirmation of the word of God. If anything were ever lightweight, it is this anti-evidential concept that history is not moving this way, precisely as the Bible predicted; or that those who see this, note it in verification of the Bible, have some problem with the world of events! On the contrary, events follow predictive prophecy like little lambs; and the power of God follows the believer like a Shepherd's hand. Whoever it may be that fits the ideas of Rushdoony, it is not the Bible believer, who keeps to the text on both points, the power of God in prediction and in personal life, alike.
Indeed, in the Bible, this intrusive, dramatic and sudden return of Christ is to be found repetitively and emphatically affirmed, and it moves from first impact to final judgment. It is put in parable and in explicit statements likewise. It is contrasted with the slow development of a cancerous evil that moves at length to the point that it would so molest the world that it would destroy human life, if Christ did not intervene (Matthew 24:22); and intervene at the chosen time like a thief, He does (Matthew 24:43ff.).
What then do we find in the word of God on this ?
Rushdoony's attack therefore is not merely a false generalisation
and one of the most systematic character, against Bible believing
Christians who insist on the Bible in its direct connotations determined
by context and comparison, without addition or subtraction of any kind
(Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22).
It is also indirectly at least an attack on the Second Coming, as the Bible presents it. People who HAVE TO HAVE such and such a doctrine to make workable some folly are not in the truth, and the truth is not in the process. SUCH necessities are derogatory of the word of God, when it is so regarded. However, when the word of God is NOT so regarded, when the doctrine deemed 'necessary' is deemed not to be IN the word of God, so that in reality such doctrine in the Bible is in fact being ATTACKED, then it is perfectly normal to regard such 'errors' as a sort of necessary corrective to other errors. Let us be clear: In that case, the "necessary" doctrine is merely rejected by the critic in question. It is accorded the status of non-Biblical. It is ... attacked.
ORPHAN PHILOSOPHIC CHILDREN FROM A FORBIDDEN MARRIAGE
In this way, attacking the Second Coming of Christ as the Bible presents it, Rushdoony brings in a theological child of his own. He synthesises his concept of 'infallibility' with one of culturally mandated terrestrial rule, even before Christ's return, a terrestrial rule which in fact Jesus the Christ HIMSELF REJECTED, when so tempted by the devil as recorded in Matthew 4. THERE He DECLINED such a kingdom, and with Pilate He DEFINED His kingdom, as one NOT of this world; for if it were, He declared, His servants would fight. HE did not believe for this Gospel presentation of Himself, that world rule was the answer, that infallibility meant a ruling mandate, some embrace of this world's systems, as if sin had not happened; the ruler of this world is coming, He indicated when on earth, with NO PART in Himself (John 14:30).
As to Christ, HE would heal, answer with irresistible force His adversaries, show compassion, present truth in His own person, overturn every endeavour to seduce the truth or to present plausibly any deterrent to it, would prevail in His OWN kingdom; but for crucifixion, nor crowning. That now, the other later; the suffering now, the glory which should follow, then (Luke 24:25-27). Through His power, such things should be done by His disciples in His name, as He enables (cf. I Corinthians 12); and nothing is too hard for the Lord (Luke 1:37 Genesis 18:14). But as to THIS WORLD, it has its own base and way, and one must not marvel if it hate one! (cf. Luke 21:15,17, John 17:14, 15:19). It is alien to friendship (James 4:1-4), but not to kindness, impermeable to penetration, though souls may be won from it, may have righteousness advanced in it, but still remains the same, justly doomed, irreconcilable.
In reality, at His accorded time (which no man knows, but which signs signify, as now, when it is near - Luke 21:28), the gospel by then being given to the ends of the earth (Matthew 24:14), Christ THEN institutes that world rule at the obvious, visible and readily demonstrable level, as the only viable option (cf. Acts 1:7). It is shown to be so by that time. It is implemented in that light. It is this for a world that has failed for centuries and for millenia to do without Him as the Prince of Peace (Ezekiel 21:26-27, cf. The Shadow of a Mighty Rock - SMR, Ch.7, Section 12, pp. 623ff. ), and thus in His time, He reigns in righteousness that none can deny (Psalm 2, Psalm 72, Isaiah 11, Ezekiel 34), while evil's woeful dynamic, the devil, like a spring removed, is bound (Revelation 20, cf. SMR Ch.7, pp. 502-516). THAT time is prefaced by His return "in like manner" as He left this world (Acts 1:11), so that all the elements are specific.
That is what the word of God explicitly says, and this we explore more shortly, further to attest it. This is no doctrine necessary to correct and make workable some misconception - it is to be heeded because it is taught, and taught in its own Biblical setting with its own Biblical explanations. It is in fact to correct an evil world, to demonstrate the righteousness of God, the Bible indicates (Ezekiel 34:20-31, Isaiah 11:10, Zechariah14:16-21, Malachi 3:1-6, Zephaniah 3:9-13,19-20, Isaiah 62:7, 65:25, Romans 11:25ff., Revelation 22:3, 14:6-12, I Peter 3:7-13).
Is it not enough to make an inaccurate generalisation about "fundamentalists", a demeaning, distorting denigration, without using what is demonstrably a Biblical doctrine as if it would stabilise the alleged confusion of continuing misconception in his target group!
While it is true that for 1) some professed Arminians (more aptly), 2) some fundamentalists and 3) some Calvinists with - respectively, doctrines of
1) a "brute fact" world in a hopeless environment,
2) a world only to be met with power in some dispensation still to come, or
3) a sunk-in-sin without victory deadlock (respectively)
do NOT appear to realise the power of God, adequate and available for godly living and effectual testimony in word and deed in this present world (as in I John 3, Ephesians 1:19), yet to wed "infallibility", Rushdoony style, the divine infallibility, with some variety of terrestrial, cultural rule before the Second Coming (Biblically defined) is a false and spurious synthesis.
It is a marriage specifically rejected by Christ, and produces children for the orphan house - a non-millenial confusion and intrusion where neither the Church nor the Christian belongs. Some groups indeed export things to the millenium which are decisively indicated to belong NOW; but to import things from the millenium which are specified for that epoch is quite as erroneous (cf. Isaiah 65:17ff., 11:1-9, Revelation 20, Malachi 3:1-5, etc. as listed above). Thus is made some kind of born-out-of-due-time 'history' where neither heaven nor this present world system are possibly in focus, but a highly differentiated continuum - cf. SMR pp. 502ff.. The time-set Biblical reality is a suddenly introduced manifestation of Christ's rule and righteousness, where the devil is specified as bound, prevented from his norms, precluded from his forms.
Not even some 'infallibility', renovated and re-defined to incorporate biblically alien features, can be the truck which brings in these other things from afar, the trading device which errs in its carnal contrivances. The word may sound good, but its load is contraband. If it is infallible, it has a certain ring; there is however nothing infallible about such intrusion into the word of God.
It can lead to a philosophical reconstructionism, a this-worldly
strong arm which has invaded theology like a virus. It is something
which is delusive and illusory, premature and a short-circuit of the thorough
and divine and hence infallible strategy. Infallibility
when indeed divine, is not another name for man's plans replacing those
of God, or man's sequences replacing those of the word of God.
THAT is the same old HUMAN infallibility which, as a non-divine assertiveness of flesh, is as far from infallible as any of the other comic and queasy substitutes which look awkwardly on and off the horizons of philosophy, psychology, and politics from time to time, and to which Rushdoony himself had made some reference.
The intense and immense irony of it all is this: while
magnifying the philosophic trends towards infallibility where it does not
belong, and insisting on the divine one where it does, Rushdoony then uses
a philosophically intrusive rehash of 'infallibility' which has
just the same groundlessness as all the others which he criticised: that
is without the consent of the word of God. He then uses this enhanced and
transformed version, with its imported specifications, to produce something
different, still hidden in the name "infallibility". It is a lull-to-sleep
sort of action. He soars to the divine, and then grabs the human, marries
the two and applies the result. It is at least a little innovative! Like
genetic manipulation, it appears set for a world which both is not, and
in this style, cannot be, without waiting for that which both can and will
be. It is rather like marriage too early, with the parties immature.
into Finer Detail
Under "Orphan Philosophic Children" above, reference was made to Christ's word to Pilate, that His kingdom was "not of this world" (John 18:36). Let us look further then at the way things are styled by the Lord. Let us expand this point, and parallel concerns.
Indeed, we need to stress that this non-fighting aspect, non-military, non-martial feature itself was but part of the nature of His kingdom as presented: it was a kingdom of TRUTH, in which His present coming was explicitly "to bear witness to the truth" (John 18:37, cf. 14:6, where He exposes the fact that He IS the truth). In terms of a King ("You say I am a king"), His reply is this: "To this end was I born, and for this cause did I come into the world" - this testimony to truth. It is a Kingdom of Truth of which He is King. It is such a Kingdom ATTESTED, together with all its results...
Thus His servants did not fight because His kingdom rendered such activity irrelevant, inconsequential. His witness, "for this cause came I into the world", allied with this further statement, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved," (John 3:17), was not to blast or grasp, but to bear testimony - of truth, of judgment, of salvation, of sin, of the way, of life and how it should be eternal (John 3:16), through redemption making human life fit for its Creator. The truth required no army, but it does require testimony and entail ransom that men, women and children might be able to stand before it, and this price He paid (Matthew 20:28; 25:31ff., 7:21-29, John 7:40ff.). To all who believe in Him, it is applicable (John 10:25-28,15-16, 8:24,42,45,47, 10:26).
His kingdom remains as it was - as His prophetic, pastoral and high priestly words in John 16-17 show. Hated, persecuted, like servant like Master, His disciples are to endure to the end in conditions which when that end is near, will become systematically more adverse (Matthew 24:12-13,22), but "the end is not yet". ("The end of the age" was the stated topic which Christ was answering - Matthew 24:3.)
The situation, then, in the world, would proceed to deteriorate much more even after that initial thrust of evil (Matthew 24:6). This aggravation and perishing would contain a yet further series of destructive elements, which Christ then itemised, commencing with the explanatory "for": Matthew 24:7: "For nation shall rise against nation ..."
And as to that
situation, and all its sorrows, its elements, its features added to the
former state of decadent affairs ? "All these
are the beginning of sorrows" - Matthew
The gospel - even amidst such vast international and social, such spiritual and moral deterioration, stated in advance by Christ as He prophesied and predicted what would come - would be preached to all nations (Matthew 24:14). LOVE on a vast scale, in particular would "grow cold" - as attested in part by the inveterate self-centred and interminable exploration of every perverse misuse of that sexual procreative function intended for an expression of love, like people practising every variety of handshake because they were in fact no longer friends at all! It is equally and even more attested by the growing carelessness about the word of God, and the endless evasions practised towards its clear message and meaning, even within some churches (cf. SMR pp. 829, 659ff., 683ff., 687ff., 837ff., 857ff., 864ff., 873, 911ff., 923ff.).
IF you love Me, you will keep My words was an incisive message of Christ (put with emphasis in John 14:21-23), so that the failure in the latter dimension as a widespread phenomenon in many formerly sound churches and many other New Age and parallel works, excited and excitable but not reliable by this divine standard of the word of God, means a widespread and notorious failure in love. It is this which the Lord predicts to become a major feature of this end of the Age phase of history, our own (cf. SMR pp. 839-840 and references above). It is this which is now happening like a plague.
Then again predicted: ugliness,
fearful sights, a sort of growing uniformity of religious confusion, moral
leprosy, international tension would all but arouse the sleeping
(Matthew 25:1ff.), seduced spiritual disciples (the formalistic substitutes
for the same, that is, as in the parable just noted), drowsy amidst spiritual
squalor (Matthew 24:9-15,23ff., Luke 21:9,26), while false spiritual leaders
would abound like toadstools amid rotting wood (Matthew 24:24). But let
us change the imagery to emphasise the fact.
Before however we proceed to the next step in the predicted sequence, series, to its dénouement, let us specialise for a moment on aspects of the record of Christ's prophecies in this sphere, from Luke in particular.
The physician Luke shows that the
destruction of Jerusalem - in fact to happen about A.D. 70, in full accord
with the prophet Daniel's predictions for the period following the rejection
of the Messiah (Daniel 9:24-27), was merely one station in the decline
and spiritual l,ostness of the word (Luke 21:20-24). He focusses it as
one feature which is set in a "and when" signal, which will in its place
have a huge significance. This signal has the initial and the final elements
The latter will mark likewise the end of the specifically Gentile era, that time in which the Gentiles were distinctively, compared with the national Jewish situation, given their enormous opportunities in the Gospel. As Jerusalem is now seized again by Israel, although it is still hampered by restrictions about its temple, understandable enough since the temple represents a form which Christ fulfilled, and thus in itself its non-restoration is a signal (cf. SMR pp. 829ff.): this Gentile era is on the very brink of termination, or already is falling down the precipice which follows, for misuse of the Gospel. Amidst all the other evidences of the end of the Age, this chapter, the history of Jerusalem, is placed as a feature extraordinary in Luke, as the inspired account pours on to other specifics.
In fact, the subsequent restoration
of Jerusalem to Jewish hands is another stage (Luke 21:24). However, THAT
step is near the end - coming as there comes the end of the whole innings
of the Gentiles, the whole distinctive season of the non-Jewish nations
to whom the Gospel went, as the Jews refused it (that is, nationally refused
it, MANY Jews received it - cf.
The Biblical Workman Ch.3,
pp. 47-50, News
In contemporary history, this recovery of Jerusalem by Israel is one event which is wholly unique, without parallel or possible parallel: it happened in part in 1948 when the Arab political cartel did NOT push the Jews into the sea; in whole in 1967, was preserved in its entirety despite the war of 1973, which saw the Jews in repulsing Nasser, cross the Suez canal; reached a height in 1980 when the Jews announced it their eternal capital, was confirmed in 1991 when the Gulf War removed teeth from an Iraq statedly at war with Israel; and now in 1999, has reached yet further upward to a zenith of clarity and certainty, in the Jews' tenacious announcement of this city as their eternal and indivisible capital (see News 53). This has now been done in the face of further verbal duelling, this time from the EU. As to their feet, however, those of the Gentiles, they have not done much in the way of treading it down (Luke 21:24) since 1967, though there has been much foot-dragging about accepting the realities, and much hunger to change them!
Very well: the Jerusalem stage is determinative in itself, but is fact accompanied by all the rest of the stages, in a composition of completeness, a composure of events which had long to come, has come and is coming further. These are the environmental texture of the Second Coming. Those other events form a tapestry; this one concerning Jerusalem forms a highlight of an exquisitely clear character; and together they form a series which is to culminate in the return of Christ (Luke 21:24-28). The more manifest character and phase of the kingdom of God is then about to break into the light. (In Luke 21:31, we find the joyful time is then near, which concerns the redemption of the body, as in Romans 8:23-25, that great hope for which blood-redeemed people look with eagerness, as in Hebrews 9:12,25ff.).
Luke covers many more items in the series and sequences, and we read in Luke 21, of the Lord exhorting His servants amidst such traffic of degeneration, militancy and destruction, of fear, anxiety, tension, unrest, and note that word: "In your patience, possess your souls" - Luke 21:19.
This Jerusalem series of course is a unique one, and it is a landmark, or pit mark, to signal a once and once only situation to control perception of the rest, a vast pointer blinking in the night.
Only then may the long and eagerly
awaited return of Jesus Christ, the King manifest and glorious to His kingdom,
THE VERIFIABLE BIBLICAL PICTURE
But let us return to the actual Biblical picture of the present time, this current historical situation, a little further.
The immediate point, then, is this: the Bible teaches this return, and it is not at all to 'heal' some imagined division, split between the "world of faith" and the "world of history", but to deal a NECESSARY because apt and timely death blow to the "prince of this world" (John 14:30), a prince who, as Christ directly stated, BOTH had NO PART in Him, and was to COME. In fact and in scriptural reality, this being is one whom Christ shall "destroy by the brightness of His coming" (II Thessalonians 2), while the "tares" the weeds among mankind as distinct from the "wheat" are burned. These are, to move from parable to principle, uncoding the botanical concept, to exhibit the pangs of "wailing and gnashing of teeth" ... yes to be BURNED with FIRE UNQUENCHABLE (John the Baptist, Luke 3:17, cf. Christ in Mark 9:43-46). There is unquenchable regret, intolerable tragedy, one self-induced and sought with a zeal of folly... through delusive disregard of the Saviour (John 3:19 cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch.4). That is the other side of the Coming. Yet it is wholly avoidable, the criterion being that "men have preferred darkness to light" - John 3:19.
Quite simply, Biblically, THAT RETURN OF CHRIST IS intrusive, is drastic, is dynamic, and will bring the destruction of the "man of sin" who parades himself before his own eyes as if he were GOD in the TEMPLE, only to be consumed in the very brightness of Christ's coming (II Thessalonians 2). WHEN Christ comes, which as Paul showed, was still distant from the time of his writing: this destruction is dramatic, immediately decisive, irresistible, brilliant and world-changing. It is not however something to heal a concept of history as if this were illusory in the present time, or outside the control of the directive deity, to whom as Christ, "ALL POWER IS GIVEN" both in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28). It is not really difficult to "deal" with a history in which your Lord and Saviour, the President of the Universe, is operating on those premises. All power is actually quite sufficient.
There is, then, nothing illusory about EITHER
1) the power, or the control of God in this present world of history (Ephesians 1:11); and it is indeed a current history when mountains can effectually be MOVED BY FAITH ON THIS EARTH, yes even to the sea; and this, in any dimension without qualification to those who abide in and obey the Lord (Mark 11:23, John 15:7), and this right now! ... OR
2) the suffering which the saints must endure while they overcome through the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11...), while the mystery of lawlessness works to its own white heat (II Thessalonians 2 ; see Appendix 1, in The Other News, and SMR pp. 750Bff.). As to this suffering, merely read in sequence and sequel, Paul's statements in the following locations: I Corinthians 4:9-12, , 9:17-23, 15:30-34, II Corinthians 4:13-17, 11:9-15,11:23-29. It is often intense suffering in this world where the Saviour Himself had no place to lay His head, stating that HIS kingdom was not of this world, since otherwise His servants would fight, adding "but now my Kingdom is not from here!" (John 18:36, italics added. You may care here to read News 13 and SMR, pp. 623ff.). The church is the current site, it is not only invisible but visible, and it is being eroded, as to its giant denominations at a rate that would be amazing, if the divine infallibility had not predicted the same, the falling away in such detail and with such prolific multiple exposure in His word (cf. SMR pp. 656ff., 837ff.).
With ALL these preliminaries of their various stages ("the end if not yet", "these are the beginnings of sorrows" and "then shall the end come") found in Matthew, and with this vast additional display from Luke, jostling into place, like a seething crowd, then we come into the "great tribulation" (as in Daniel 12, cf. Matthew 24:24:21), disadorned with a multiplicity of false christs and false prophets in a time of more and more obviously approaching disaster (Matthew 24:22, Luke 21:26).
This is a period such as was never before met, and on this earth such as will never again be met (Matthew 24:21). This all culminates in the personal, visible, lightning-like return of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:24-27), most publicly, most selectively in positive result (Matthew 24:30ff.), an event just as public and real as was the preaching of the Gospel to all the world. Just as the end does NOT come UNTIL it is preached "in all the world as a witness to all nations" (Matthew 24:14), SO is the second coming of Christ visible and manifest to "all the tribes of the earth" who as a result will "mourn", and small wonder, since the rejection of the gospel is quite decisive. There is nothing further to be offered (cf. Matthew 25:11-13). The warning is as clear as the sun on a Summer's day without clouds.
In this coming, He removes His saints, His elect, those who believe in Him, His own people from this mêlée.
The time is to be so sudden, the change from the status of suffering saints to that of delivered elect so instantaneous, that not merely is the advent like lightning, brilliant and thrusting, come and gone with marvellous speed, but it will interrupt a complacency of unprepared nations, building, marrying and carrying on as if blind, much like Britain on a far smaller scale, despite the warning of Winston Churchill, before the sudden war of Hitler. It will be followed (Revelation 19:7-17, II Thessalonians 1:6-9) by a judgment as irresistible as the withdrawal of His elect.
But here it is final, fast and a more immediately decisive,
and manifest victory than Hitler could ever have hoped.
ACTING ON ACTS
No, those who follow the Bible do not look for a visible kingdom in this earth before the return of Christ, but rather one which "comes not with observation" (Luke 17:20): though it is true that the Popes have done so, at least officially, the Moslems do, the Communists do and doubtless the Mormons have feelings about this present world and its kingdom. Indeed, the roasting and toasting, the suffering as of sheep to the slaughter, dying daily, is eminent, imminent and continual as a program available for Christians, till the parousia, when
The kingdom of heaven is here already (cf. The Kingdom
of Heaven, Ch.2); but its splendour of
beauty, when "the earth shall be filled with the
glory of God as the waters cover the sea"
2:14, cf. SMR pp. 502ff.),
that has its own special, scriptural mode of introduction. It does not
come to cure a confusion and allow philosophising vanities to become workable;
it comes to bring in the form of judgment, exposure and demonstration chosen
by Almighty God according to His word.