LESSONS IN THE ERROR OF
DERIVED FROM ANCIENT JOB,
AND APPLIED FOR LIFE IN THE 21st
THAT IS ULTRA-JOB:
in proud princeliness, unremedied, unlovely,
abandoning the truth for manipulable triviality
The Australian March 28, 2006
Job has been a subject of delighted enquiry on many occasions before. For these, see
which currently has two chapters additional to those at its first publication.
THE CASE OF JOB AS A PRELIMINARY HORS D'OEUVRES
Today, Job 33-35 gives us ground and occasion for transferring our informed gaze, instructed by these ancient events, supplied with a divine knowledge through the book of Job, to the international scene which this day confronts us.
For a little, today is like a dream. There one is, lying in the fields, with a small army about one. Beyond is a high hill which stretches up above its surroundings, and the eye can sustain the impact of the brightness, as one glances up at its commanding face. Works of various relatively humble kinds, in army fashion, are going on below it. An aerial occurrence supervenes, with some sort of concern as to its outcome. While the attention is momentarily attracted to these events, and people are performing their soldierly and inconspicuous little duties, with some slight air of tension, suddenly the top of the hill is noticed. Small wonder.
On it there appears a tank so huge that it is - though it is all in fact a dream - a dream, a vision of a tank; and yet it is no vision, but real. Its sturdy enmity is silhouetted against the sky above the hill, where its dark and impending power is in such a contrast with the simple, and innocent looking blue of the sky beyond, that it is almost a picture of abhorrence, as if in art.
It is however merely a giant among its fellows, for various sorts of tanks, trackers and small caterpillar traction vehicles start moving about; yet they are not lacking in a certain significance in bulk, for all that, compared with that of the human body! Down the hill they come, and one is coming to one's own self, directed as if it were worth its while to find one supine figure among the others, in order to imprint its tracks on the body. Thoughts of evasive action occur, but while these mature, the vehicle stops and there is a sudden sense of arrest. Something is to happen. It is wise to watch ...
So do events seem at times to lapse, in our latter part of the Church Age, as frantic peace efforts mature into confusion confounded, and hope insists on its supine part, voided of virtue, full of contrivance (I Thessalonians 5:2-3). The world at this time is full of the talk of peace, almost as if it were peace-mongering, repeatedly shown insincere, insecure and specious as known enemies use polite words for superficial results, many hoping they will render their foes supine when the time comes. They bawl, they brawl, they call, they conclude some peace, they loathe, they lapse, they fight, but continually they wave a flag for man, forgetting who he is, and so failing to secure for themselves what is needed.
As this time, there comes such a scurrying which men seek to turn into a puny peace, as there flows the finale of the flush of Gospel preaching concerning the answer in Jesus Christ which man so loves to avoid (Matthew 24:1-12), and occasionally to seek to invest with something which has a specious resemblance to wisdom, though for all that, manifestly without it: for it talks of a key, but has no room for its use ... It is symbolic only.
The aerial events of the dream above, these have indeed caused arrest, a stoppage of wonder for some for a time; but another arrest there has been for many, cardiac arrest through punitive murders for some cause or other, the effects of which are obvious enough.
They have moved from centre stage a little, to off-left, or off-right, while others proliferate in opportunism. So many now have access through theft and betrayal not least, in societies which began to put power and victory above morals and means, which have thus provided this flash of power to many who were always unlikely to find it. Communism is a great elevator from the dust, and a thriving means of levelling with it; from dust it comes, to dust it goes; and it has many parallels*1, working by ideologies with teeth, religions with arms, directly or indirectly. Thus does this world continue on its warped course, where a little theft can transform the midget to the mighty, just as has been done for so long in various invasions, treacheries, dishonesties and crimes, many of them feted as if virtuous, while immersed in blood more innocent than the hearts which shed it.
The tank in the dream is a massive capacity on land for surmounting resistance by imposing means and unexpected devices. Such was Desert Storm, which dispossessed Iraq of a great tyrant, in order to give a measure of democracy to those who can so readily use its election process to instal a tyranny which may become no less profound than that of him who has no longer its crown. It is also like those of Russia, which has taken - according to one former Kremlin insider*2 once very near to Putin, in 'the swindle of the year,' but in any case taken - a vast swag of the resources of oil as it has formerly done to the gas, which it now uses as it will. Thus the Ukraine, if not nice, might be deprived of gas for a little, and indeed was!
So the various terrestrial oppressions move on, and if the intention is good or bad, yet the power is flowing and the evils, chameleon-like, move: as in Russia, from imperial totalitarianism with people not elected, to freeing President given power to prevail, whose office is then taken, replete with power, by one whose dominion appears to be growing more and more absolutist.
The keys abound, but the room of peace is not found on the battle field.
In the day of the biblically famous Job, it was not with airplanes and tanks that the moves were made. In the pastoral economy there was as yet no place for them. Yet rather similar underlying principles were operative. The story of Job perhaps needs review. He was a vastly wealthy, enormously moral, God-fearing patriarch perhaps of days before those of Moses, and his dignity, virtue and grace appeared as unassailable as the rock of Gibraltar, in its lonely sentinel position of eminence, as if to demarcate the Mediterranean to come, and regard with mingled majesty and height the sea beneath it.
In Job 1, we see that Satan appeared before God and sought to use a cynical reductionism to eliminate Job from being a testimony to righteousness, goodness and virtue. In answer to his slur, Does Job serve God for nothing! this evil being was given the opportunity by permission, to try Job, but not to kill him.
Job was at first exemplary in suffering profound loss; so Satan suggested that so long as his physical health was fine, he would not crack, but just touch that and he would fall and so far from loving or revering God, curse Him. The evil tempter was given a restrictive role in checking this challenge.
Thus Job went through his famed contortions, which were not a little physical in the horrid and humiliating things which befell him, and a flaw was found, although it did not endure without remedy. He tended at his worst, to elevate himself to the post of prince, who could, it almost seemed, stride into the presence of God, declare his ways, and demand an answer for what on earth was being allowed to happen to him! You see that not a little in Job 31:5-37. Satan did not win, but Job did not fail to be open to checking!
The full flavour of his eminent life and at times outrageous self-assurance in it, can be felt as well as heard, so let us read it. In this, especially weighty aspects, for the point in hand, are set in red.
"If I have walked with falsehood,
Or if my foot has hastened to deceit,
Let me be weighed on honest scales,
That God may know my integrity.
"If my step has turned from the way,
Or my heart walked after my eyes,
Or if any spot adheres to my hands,
Then let me sow, and another eat;
Yes, let my harvest be rooted out.
"If my heart has been enticed by a woman,
Or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door,
Then let my wife grind for another,
And let others bow down over her.
For that would be wickedness;
Yes, it would be iniquity deserving of judgment.
For that would be a fire that consumes to destruction,
And would root out all my increase.
"If I have despised the cause of my male or female servant
When they complained against me,
What then shall I do when God rises up?
When He punishes, how shall I answer Him?
Did not He who made me in the womb make them?
Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?"
· You see here no small fear of God in a good, reverential sense, and awareness of the need for responsible kindness to others, and it must be confessed that there is a very great deal that is entirely admirable in Job, even delightful.
"If I have kept the poor from their desire,
Or caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
Or eaten my morsel by myself,
So that the fatherless could not eat of it
(But from my youth I reared him as a father,
And from my mother’s womb I guided the widow);
If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
Or any poor man without covering;
If his heart has not blessed me,
And if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
If I have raised my hand against the fatherless,
When I saw I had help in the gate;
Then let my arm fall from my shoulder,
Let my arm be torn from the socket.
For destruction from God is a terror to me,
And because of His magnificence I cannot endure.
"If I have made gold my hope,
Or said to fine gold, ‘You are my confidence’;
If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,
And because my hand had gained much;
If I have observed the sun when it shines,
Or the moon moving in brightness,
So that my heart has been secretly enticed,
And my mouth has kissed my hand;
This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgment,
For I would have denied God who is above.
"If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me,
Or lifted myself up when evil found him
(Indeed I have not allowed my mouth to sin
By asking for a curse on his soul);
If the men of my tent have not said,
‘Who is there that has not been satisfied with his meat?’
(But no sojourner had to lodge in the street,
For I have opened my doors to the traveler);
If I have covered my transgressions as Adam,
By hiding my iniquity in my bosom,
Because I feared the great multitude,
And dreaded the contempt of families,
So that I kept silence
And did not go out of the door—
Oh, that I had one to hear me!
"Here is my mark.
"Oh, that the Almighty would answer me,
That my Prosecutor had written a book!
Surely I would carry it on my shoulder,
And bind it on me like a crown;
I would declare to Him the number of my steps;
Like a prince I would approach Him."
There is the graciousness, vast reservoir of kindness, sensitive treatment of many, restrained use of power with neighbourly thoughtfulness, acute awareness of the suffering of others; it becomes more than a list however, for it almost seems ... like a litany!
Thus there appears in the life flight of Job, this crack in his tail-plane, this stress fracture. LIKE A PRINCE, he would approach God, he who has a vast reverence for Him, as the earlier red printed passages above, repeatedly illustrate! Yes, when you are on the issue of Job's righteousness, and try to tear it from him, or make it appear less than it is, you are in a fascinating land.
Prosecutor's book ? What is this! it is as if he exclaims.
Do you seriously mean to challenge me ? Look, sum it up, get the prosecutor's OWN BOOK, and so far from this enhancing godly fear of consequences in me, I would act as if it were an ornament, yes put it on my shoulder, and my righteousness, apparent from the very worst that the prosecutor, no doubt after due research, could find, would be an emblem of victory and a status symbol of spiritual worth. Come, let us see!
Oh that this could be done! Job is exclaiming, and THEN we should see!
Thus every now and again, some astonishingly self-important utterance comes from the chaste mouth of the astonishingly eminent Job, and while as here, there may appear a vast self-elevation, yet it is not just air. He has in his heart been most scrupulous and is fed up with the pap of pretended sins which his simplistically minded friends repeatedly feed him. They act as if they in their righteousness were in good standing, while some horrible sins MUST have been Job's, in order to show why he should so suffer.
This is like a taunt to Job, and he is ruthless in seeking to exterminate what after all, is a gross slander and a superficial substitute for thought. Pain has many grounds and outcomes, and the idea of pain-pleasure as a worth index is manifestly absurd (cf. SMR Ch. 4). The wicked DO often, for a time, have extraordinary power, and the righteous can be tested, like Job, to the uttermost, as can some airplanes in wind-tunnels ... Pain is not the simple rebuke of evil, nor is pleasure the simple reward of virtue in this world. Christ in His atonement is the most obvious contradictory, and many in love have sacrificed much, finding suffering, to achieve what is good.
On the topic of the ingredients of the book of Job, that we might savour our part of it, a short citation from SMR (p. 358), follows - slightly revised for this purpose::
The other person, God has
His preferences which, satisfaction or not,
one is bent to meet. The stature of God, not God as a means to an end,
is crucial to worship; and worship is a prelude for the Christian,
to executing purposes via means.
The case of Job focuses exactly this point: Did Job serve God for gain of some kind, emotional, financial, status-related, security... or was the worship 'genuine', not a means to a Job-related personal design, scheme or schema ? We have noted this earlier. Flecks of self-estimation appeared in the test divinely instituted; but the resolution involved Job's utterly clear awareness of a purity he could not in himself obtain (Job 9:30), a redemption he found as basic to life - Job 9:13-27: the life of God which held an aura which transcended his own, eventually leading to a profound repentance for even thinking of himself in any sense as a criterion - 40:5, 42:2ff..
This shows some of the other features during his trial, namely the sound outcome, and the result when God eventually confronted him, not to condemn, but to correct. In so doing, the LORD commanded that Job PRAY FOR his misled friends who, despite Job's strayings at times, were spiritual provocateurs, while Job for all his lapses at times, had sought the Redeemer whom he knew would come to this earth in the latter days, in whom would be all his redemption, triumph and delight. The ROOT of the matter was indeed in Job. It was not for his sins that his sufferings occurred; and though needing correction, such an estimate of his anguish was mere trifling, erroneous and presumptuous.
This allows us to see, from SMR p. 373, with slight revision, some further overview of the situation with Job.
Does Job fear God for nought ? Satan exclaimed in his conversation with the Lord, in Job. The implication, in view of the statements following, is that Job had a good deal in life, had been well treated, and finding none better, stuck to it! His religion was self-serving:
this was the charge.
The Lord covered the case - the challenge, which can be made in principle, whoever indulges in it - by allowing Satan to put Job to the test so that any creaky self-seeking, hidden in the inward joints of his mind, could be discovered.
Job - despite some difficulties and wanderings - at length, as indeed at the very first, came out with solid spirituality in these words:
i) ''The Lord gave, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord,'' said the trusting Job, after his first great losses and suffering (1:21), as one who found goodness in the Lord such as inspired devotion, rather than devious counting.
Again, he declared, much later in his trials,
ii) ''I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last upon the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another'' (19:25).
While Job required correction, he still, even when feeling that injustice was getting away with things, believed God in his ultimate crisis, and made personal trust in the Lord, in piety, the ultimate over personal satisfaction, real or imagined, current or future.
All this having been said in justice, there still remains that stress fracture in the tail-plane of Job's aircraft. LIKE A PRINCE, he would come to God.
Contrast this with his later realisation of the actual position in Job 40, following the Lord's speech!
"Behold, I am vile;
What shall I answer You ?
I lay my hand over my mouth.
Once I have spoken, but I will not answer,
Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further."
When Job humbled himself, God exalted him, as you see in the text following this!
God was not mocked by Job, by Satan or by Job's friends.
THE CONCEPT OF COMING LIKE A PRINCE TO GOD,
OR ACTING LIKE ONE, WITHOUT HIM
From the least of Job's utterances, his coming LIKE A PRINCE before God, the book of the prosecutor like a palm of victory, on his shoulder, we come to a most useful concept for application to our own day. For if Job, being a man of wonderful spirit, could err for a little moment in this, before repenting of it, what of those who do not know how to repent, and live in this phase!
Man loves to think irrationally when it comes to his place in things. Just as Job, in a sad moment of lapse, spoke of striding into God's presence with the book of possible accusations a testimony of his own merit, so man loves to imagine in his philosophies that it is to him that it belongs, merit in his own life a bird that soars. He would in some cases even take over the earth in wantonry, as if wisdom had taken wings and flown elsewhere.
This is perhaps an antidote in intention to the sad cynical wails of the merely oppressed, who try to use their imaginations to evoke ideas of atoms and meaninglessness and poor old man, so nice really, caught up in this swill of oddity. Both of these contrary approaches tend to form a matrimonial alliance like so many today, in which they stay together, while brawling, offering to separate at such time as the desire of life finds something more interesting to do. So the cynic loves to be cynical, until he finds something more interesting, such as grandeur in directing the myth of evolution to an equally mythical haven if not heaven, where man rules all in glory, which comes from nowhere, but is specially imported for the occasion.
He KNOWS it is all meaningless, and loves to tell us so; and in so doing becomes a meaning-meter, able with some degree of accuracy to measure how much meaning there is, some, or none, or much! It is a truly remarkable achievement that one who declares there is no meaning, will nevertheless be an expert in the measurement of its existence, in himself who, as part of the whole, has no meaning. Now if you had the ability to find how much, if any, meaning there were around about, then YOUR OWN meaning would be immense. Who could doubt your pseudo-divine status in being able to assess this, find its reality and to expose itself to your virtuous powers!
To KNOW, you need truth, and to have truth, you need objectivity, and for this, you need what the case is, not your own reaction, for measurement is irrelevant in visible terms in such a case (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, Little Things Ch. 5); and for all of this, you need what is absolute, having neither your own nor any other limitations about actual truth, neither in its depth, nor height, nor breadth, nor modes. For that you need God; so that if you do not believe in Him you first need to find Him in order to declare Him absent; which of course, would be too late, since you have Him in order to deny Him.
Atheism is not much good in fact, not just because it is irrational as noted in SMR Chs. 1, 3, 10, but because it has to assume what it does not want in order to show that it is not there.
Cynicism as noted above, is a variant in this ultimate form, and it is a close ally at times of the splendiferous spectacle of man inventing evolution by evolutionism (very easily done, but always an entire flop when it comes to evidence, as to logic - cf. The gods of naturalism have no go!), so that he has only to find the handle to the thing, and he can turn it whichever way he wants.
Now this is not to say that it has a handle, this evolutionary magic; for what is not there could not have one, even in imagination; yet it is assumed, with everything else, so that these who seek to rule the world in a worthy and spectacular manner, seeing the need for it, simply have one. If you need transport, imagine a car, and then drive it. Not wise ? No, but man in his natural state as a fallen being, is certainly not wise, and his flamboyant follies are quite as irrational as were those of Eve at the first.
So he flies without wings. Then why not add one more assumption ? If you imagine yourself the possessor a a ten mile breach frontage, why not have a house there as well ? It would save you labour. The fact that it is a phantasm NEVER seems to concern philosophers of this kind, or their political counterparts.
How wonderful a brew was Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, for France for a few years of revolutionary vision; and how evidently appealing was the Swastika for Hitler's version, which Himmler saw with flowers and maidens while the master race showed its mastery, and subservients showed their co-operation, most properly it was felt, apparently! How glorious a progress to heaven following the elimination of class-warfare did Stalin oversee, so that it became in fact (facts MUST appear sometimes in all these dreams, for wake-up time has to come, for breakfast is needed) a hell's preliminary, and perhaps a competitor in some ways. Suitable statistics were supplied by Solzhenitsyn, in a treasury of irony. For this, see SMR p. 965, and see with that the Communist failures scientifically in pp. 614, 925, 971.
Capitalism by communist commissars is becoming, it seems, a Chinese specialty, the mystically found voice of the people a means of suppressing millions in unthinkable poverty, while many wallow in thinkable commercial riches. Meanwhile, militant Islam has the idea of heavenly maidens when martial arts have concluded their day, for the glory of whatever it is that is deemed to be glorified by such violences!
With all this progressiveness, naturally found in ill-equipped and unlovely ways, there is the more ultimate. Instead of being a Hitler with a race to reverence, or a Communist with the race to fund its exploitation as it develops, or wonder maidens in a haven called heaven, with Islamic militants, glory for blood: why not simply and directly seize the helm of the ship of evolutionism (we cannot say 'evolution' since the thing is, to the point, but a dream, and dreams do not have wheels), and direct it where one wants to go. So what about the UN with its pseudo-Moses 'morals' without God, and making up out of your head what is to be done, and instituting all men brothers, in some ultra-religious way. You simply direct them, and make power play for you, with the many in servitude to your technical imprint in science, and MAKE the thing go where you want (cf. Mystery of Iniquity).
Handles are always a problem for directing things. They have to be attached securely enough to bear the strain, especially if you wish to change in intention, the direction of the entire universe! They have to be relevant, and to have access FOR YOUR WILL, so that it can compel what it is which creates order, form, law, spirit, mind, mathematical ingenuity and expertise in man's very matrix.
Compel it to do what ? But what a silly question, the true believer in unbelief might yawn, to do what we WANT! What else ? Do you really think that, like Job, we reverence God. It is power, and it is ours, or soon will be, and we will use intelligence to MAKE IT WORK.
However, it is working already ? Yes, comes the reply, but make it work FOR US.
Ah, but of course. Humanism with wheels. The idea is that man, midget with a contrived system of utter wonder, which is run by intelligence and with spirit, for resource, imagination and liberty for thought such as making what you want, worth wanting, yes man, but of course, will act in the midst of all this brilliant inventiveness, of which he is but part, so that it is as if it were HIS OWN!
What an idea! Steal the universe. The stakes make the great train robbery seem utterly trivial. What MORE COULD you steal! Then, using your diminutive and derived intelligence, you find out what you want - you just ask yourself, it is so simple: and then TELL it what to do!
If now you wanted to do this to a rhinoceros, you would undoubtedly have to ruin it to do it. If you want to do it to the entire cosmos and universe, so that the power which made it, being not yours, becomes yours by some kind of stealing of the handle, or levers, what a remarkable fellow this man with his evolutionism is becoming. Now since evolutionism from mud to man is NEVER verified in ANY of its perspectives, the handle will be hard to find; but that is a small point. It is the idea.
So it is that modern man, in this mode, is striding LIKE A PRINCE, into the divine arena and displacing the originating mind, power, intelligence and imagination, he uses his own in order to control what he never understands - indeed he has a perfect marvel in not even understanding himself; indeed, concerning that small part, himself, he ceaselessly argues in ways at times almost beyond belief for their sheer irrational inanity, as if pride blows the mind and renders insatiable the spirit.
But then, that is just what it does! Man's greatness could be put on his own shoulders, and anyone who would dare to speak against it or him, could be liquidated. Did not Stalin, did not Mao, did not Napoleon on the battle field, did not Hitler, and did not the eminent series of little dictators who slew only a few thousand or hundred thousands of people for their plans, based on man, based on nothing, follow in their train, with ludicrous little lurks and quirks, dignified as ideas ? (cf. *1).
Prince Man, then, he comes, and he loves it. Never before has he had such an idea of using actual means to find the matrix ... of ... things, and to direct it HIS OWN WAY. Oh to be sure, Stalin had the ludicrous mythology of making the laws of nature obey him (once of course the thing needed was attacked, what was it ? oh yes, class warfare this time), when class problems were removed. It is like a teacher: Now class, when we remove the bullies by being bullies ourselves, you will love school! It was Lysenko, however, who appears to have been removed! Woe, the idea!
Alas, it is worse now that looms! It has to be. Now is exploitation institutionalised, as man seeks mastery by subjugation whether of his race or his universe. The alternative to the mere PRIDE OF AUTONOMY, becomes by the imaginary theft of the throne room of the universe, and the grabbing of the imaginary handles of power, a sovereign disgrace, a universalised Hitler or Mao, or anything at all really, so long as its frustrated impulses reach their specious conclusions.
Yes, this mystic humanism is to become realistic. This is evidently like asking spiritual paralytics to walk, but then, if they look to the Lord, this is not too difficult for Him. The difficulty is this, that it is PRECISELY in NOT looking to the Lord, but in activation of a theft of heart, to grab the seat of power in what they neither made nor understand because of blindness, that they proceed. God is to be excluded as inconvenient. Man is to be manipulated, for he is here; mankind is to reach the pinnacle, as if yielding to the temptation which Christ rejected (as in Matthew 4), and cast himself into the air in a flurry of unchaste ambition.
Alas the viscous vision, it will not impede the fall! The God who made the air has the control of that! Pride is in its waiting room; and the office is reached by the abyss, with no bridge.
As to Him who is God, Elihu in the book of Job Ch. 34, puts the matter pointedly; for His is demonstrable power, and ours is demonstrably contained! (cf. SMR Chs. 1, 10).
"Who gave Him charge over the earth?
Or who appointed Him over the whole world?
"If He should set His heart on it,
If He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath,
All flesh would perish together,
And man would return to dust. 1
"If you have understanding, hear this; listen to the sound of my words:
Should one who hates justice govern?
Will you condemn Him who is most just?
"Is it fitting to say to a king, ‘You are worthless,’
And to nobles, ‘You are wicked’?
Yet He is not partial to princes,
Nor does He regard the rich more than the poor;
For they are all the work of His hands.
In a moment they die, in the middle of the night;
The people are shaken and pass away;
The mighty are taken away without a hand.
"For His eyes are on the ways of man,
And He sees all his steps.
There is no darkness nor shadow of death
Where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
For He need not further consider a man,
That he should go before God in judgment."
God does not need a Cray computer, or more modern counterpart, to work things out. Knowledge is His, and man in spiritual darkness so complete, wallows without wisdom, alas by the century and by the billion, refusing to realise that absolute knowledge is His alone, and partial knowledge, misbased and misplaced, is an insane basis for ultimate action; and now the disease of wanton autonomy grows to its raging fever stage.
Tyrants have done their multi-million slaughters for baseless plans; and now new international tyrannies are examining their wings (cf. SMR pp. 750B at 731, Mystery of Iniquity) to consider how to RUN man. Some nations have tended to specialise a little in this concept, and indeed, in the case of the Babylonian, and more particularly the Persian, both of which perished in ignominy unthinkable, and Rome, there were some ideas of regional self-government input. They had their day, and it went far, but ... not far enough!
Hitler had a mode. Be elected and then rise!
Indeed, better, make institutions which will RUN things by consent (at first, they all love that, to get in), and then DO IT!
Alas and alas, it cannot be done, as seen above, and man will always RUE IT!
He does not learn because in essence, he has turned out the light, given by God to his mind and spirit, given in the word of God to his heart and life, given by the Prince of Life for the entire reconstitution of man in truth, with knowledge of the truth supplied.
It is this that is fitting for one made in the image of God, whose it is; but man, with increasing international cohesion, insists on the wrong answer. He is very like a thoughtless and thought-filled professor (thoughtless in depth, thought-filled in breath) who, having decided by sheer brilliance that 2 plus 2 do not, because they CANNOT equal 4, spends his entire life in seeking other systems. At times, he gets to 1.99 plus 1.99 but then some sort of fever seems to develop in his mind, and an unwholesome fear begins to make him waver, and feeling like one near the mouth of a volcano, he retreats, and tries 2 plus x equal 4, where x is unknown, while recovering some measure of his composure.
The world is limited. Man's imagination and autonomous passion is not. Hence there is approaching a disaster which any one could see. It is not gloom and doom: for it is the prognosis of a necessity. Scarce resources with unlimited folly and search for power of control makes up a little series, a sequence; and its end is not unlimited because its resources are not.
It is not positivity which is the answer, for it is possible to be positively foolish. It is not a sense of well-being with ambiency, which is the answer, for feelings and projections do not alter facts outside the subjectivity. It is not negativity which is the answer, since negation leaves nothing to do. It is realism where truth lies; and when lies are out of order (always a useful disabling preliminary), then the Lord, the Prince of Life comes into focus as nothing else does or can (cf. SMR, TMR). This is received by some, distorted by others, revised by still more (as in II Corinthians 11, II Thessalonians 2 to come). Yet a few are to be found on this narrow way that leads in reality to truth's realm, past the vision of God to God himself.
As to the truth, God has already called it in words, and sent it in Christ (John 14:6, I Timothy 3:16). As to the narrowness of its way ? Christ so declared it (Matthew 7). Truth always requires discipline, and error always is broad. You have to be ready to take what is there, provided by Him who made you, the key to the room which being for yourself, must open, so that being led out of it to Himself, you may inhabit with wisdom, the path for life.
Few are those who find it ? It is so and so stated by Christ.
When you have MANY generations, however, though there be but few here or there, that few swells to a multitude, small by comparison with those lost in the flood of folly, but large absolutely. It mounts over time (cf. Revelation 7).
THE REALISATION OF REVELATION
Thus, it may seem amazing that so few come, but they are, in the end, very many!
Even as early as in the book of Job, you see Elihu, the most savoury of Job's associates, spiritually, declaring this (Job 34:24-33):
"He breaks in pieces mighty men without inquiry,
And sets others in their place.
Therefore he knows their works;
He overthrows them in the night,
And they are crushed.
"He strikes them as wicked men
In the open sight of others,
Because they turned back from Him,
And would not consider any of His ways,
So that they caused the cry of the poor to come to Him;
For He hears the cry of the afflicted.
"When He gives quietness, who then can make trouble?
And when He hides His face, who then can see Him,
Whether it is against a nation or a man alone?—
That the hypocrite should not reign,
Lest the people be ensnared.
"For has anyone said to God,
‘I have borne chastening;
I will offend no more;
Teach me what I do not see;
If I have done iniquity, I will do no more’?
Let us look at these words, before we proceed with more from Elihu.
What a wealth of wonderful wisdom lies there! Do you come like a prince and declare your hand with gracious condescension to God, Saying: Right, I see where it all is, and that I have suffered for good reason. It is clear to me now that this won't do and simply must not go on. Tell me what I need to know. Then, being instructed, I shall cease the errors.
DO YOU make the terms ? Is it for you, as the fallen, to tell Him against whom your imperfections or unbelief run riot, that you are ready for a little instruction, that you will then conform in a proper way. Is it for you to invent the attitudes of God, His mode of pardon, and the way things are to be handled! This is to separate aspects of action, from the agent. What about your own SELF and Himself! Is it not for Him to prescribe, for you to repent and seek HIM! In fact of course, He requires as He always has for man, the sinner, a new heart and a new life (Ezekiel 18:31, 36:26), a regeneration and a rebirth (John 3, Titus 3:4 -8).
Consider further what is stated in Titus here:
"But when the kindness
and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to His mercy He saved us,
through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
that having been justified by His grace
we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
"This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly,
that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.
These things are good and profitable to men."
The massive majesty of God is not satisfied with less than a total regeneration of man, inherent in pardon, wrought by divine power. This is a sovereign necessity and a profound work, resulting as Paul shows in fruit fitting from such a reconstruction, with genes appropriate (as in I John 3:9), and in assurance as shown in I John 5:11ff., I Thessalonians 5:9-10, II Timothy 1:9-10, Isaiah 32:17.
Moreover, it is GOD who establishes His covenant as in Jeremiah 31:31ff., Ezekiel 16:60ff., and on Him one must wait for the atmosphere, the words, the ways and the wisdom of it, and from Him must one be found as required. Foundlings may occur, but what is of God is founded and that on a foundation never changing (I Corinthians 3:10-11, Isaiah 28:16), and that is Christ now manifest in the fulness of His new covenant, the flower of the Old on the same stem (cf. Romans 11, Hebrews 7-10), where the sacrifice of Calvary eternally replaces the introductory exhibits provided in the sacrificial rites which symbolically yet vigorously symbolised it (cf. TMR Ch. 3, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17, Questions and Answers 2).
¨ Indeed, to pursue the pith of the point of Elihu further, in terms of the answer to his expostulation, and the mighty and massive grounds for it, let us consider what the Bible teaches ABOUT this covenant! this way that GOD chooses for HIS OWN ACTION and His own means of reception of those who come to Him for pardon.
Is His mode of making peace to be guessed at, taken for granted, made as a superficial suggestion!
Far from it.
His MODE is the Cross of Christ, foretold in Psalm 22, Isaiah 49-55, Zechariah 12:10-13:1, in its basics and no small detail, and in its implications or preliminary requirements which God in love profound and plentiful would Himself meet, as in Hosea 13:14, Psalm 16, 40, Isaiah 4:6 with Isaiah 32, Psalm 49, for example. It is the 'going to war' of the only begotten Son, the eternal Word of God, as in John 3:16, 8:58, 5:19-23, the acceptance of judgment vicariously BY the JUDGE (as in Micah 5:1-3). It is the romance of heaven, the love-song of the isles. Yes on this, see Isaiah 24:14-16, as Isaiah 49:7 with Psalm 41,55, 69, 109, where the treachery in the heart of the leaders of a nation and an agent was used to show so profound and wise a way for mercy, for the demonstration of the truth. Thus did the betrayal expose the road to beauty, hatred the way for love, human delinquency itself being the occasion for divine duty, provocation the path for a peace purchased in blood.
It would seem a vast omission not to cite Isaiah 24 here, and it follows:
"They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing;
For the majesty of the Lord
shall cry aloud from the sea.
"Therefore glorify the Lord in the dawning light,
The name of the Lord God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea.
From the ends of the earth we have heard songs:
'Glory to the righteous!'
But I said,
'I am ruined, ruined!
Woe to me!
The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously,
Indeed, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.' "
The blindness that led to it is exposed in Isaiah 53,
"We esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted, but He was wounded for our transgression, He was bruised for iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him..."
Deep as was the marvellous work of God, the foundation for the covenant, profound are its blessings.
Indeed, hear this salvation song in its resultants, in the poetry of delight, the results of the work, the graphics of encounter, the thrust of love in Isaiah 33:
"Hear, you who are
far off, what I have done;
and, you who are near, acknowledge My might.
"The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has surprised the hypocrites.
among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?
who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
He who walks righteously, and speaks uprightly;
he who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands from holding of bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of blood, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil:
He shall dwell on high: his place of defence will be the fortress of rocks:
bread will be given him; his waters will be sure.
"Your eyes shall see
the king in his beauty:
they shall behold the land that is very far off.
"Your heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he who counted the towers?
"You will not see a
fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than you can perceive;
of a stammering tongue, that you canst not understand.
Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities:
your eyes will see Jerusalem a quiet habitation,
a tabernacle that which will not be taken down;
not one of its stakes will ever be removed,
neither will any of its cords be broken.
"But there the
glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and
in which there will go no galley with oars, neither shall majestic ship pass by.
"For the LORD is
the LORD is our lawgiver,
the LORD is our king;
He will save us.
tackle is loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast,
they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided;
the lame take the prey. And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick:
the people who dwell in it will be forgiven their iniquity."
There you see that it is HE who saves. Further shown are the prodigious character of the change involved when GOD acts, the sheer splendour of His divine mercy, the power of His actions and the eventual results of His deeds. Moreover, it is to one and to all, the salvation He promises, leading to the heart's ease, the vision of truth and the sight of heaven, the profundity of peace which HE will attain when HE saves His people. It is to be found with the Jew and the Gentile as in Psalm 67, 117, Isaiah 42:6, 49:6. Too small a thing is it, He declares, to do it for the Jew ALONE, it must be done for the Gentile as well!
Moreover the payment which He promises in Hosea 13:14, He will Himself provide from His own self, and the pain which He displays amidst the horror of its physical turmoil and spiritual anguish, as the innocent pays for the guilty, in love, by mercy, through justice, is displayed acutely in Psalm 22, as in Luke 22-23; while the agony of sorrow at the coming of judgment for those who ignore the mercy of God and the New Covenant in His blood (Matthew 26:28), etched into His love but satisfied when His death embraces all who come to Him (Isaiah 53::10-12) is seen in Luke 19:42ff.. The lively entreaties to receive THIS free pardon, bought in THIS costly manner are found in Isaiah 55, as in John 7:37ff..
The sheer beauty which horror borne, then resides with the Lord's people is depicted in advance in Hosea 14, and a few verses show, with Isaiah 55, its utter freedom, its marvel of costless restoration of communion:
"Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for you hast fallen by your iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him,
'Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, You are our gods: for in thee the fatherless finds mercy.'
will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely:
for My anger is turned away from him ..."
Isaiah 55 lambasts the very noxious idea of buying anything, achieving anything, working for anything whatsoever in such a setting, expostulating vehemently against it, as one might speak to a dreaming child.
What TURNS it away is that "marvellous work and a wonder" delineated in Isaiah 29:14, cited by Paul in I Corinthians 1:19, as God destroys mere impudent imagination and cock-sure approaches to God: the wisdom of the wise shall perish, He says. The Gospel of the grace of God in the Cross of the Messiah has pounded like the seas on the shores for millenia since He did it, for a millenium before He did it, and it is to be in focus in any attempt to find God; yet if this is found, all is found.
Thus Paul declares of receiving this free gift (Romans 6:23, 3:23ff.), by faith, that it is an end to any mention of man's work in salvation, any thing whatsoever of that kind (Ephesians 2:1-12), so that he proceeds in Galatians 6:14,
"God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world is crucified to me and I to the world."
You may also translate that, "by whom" and indeed both the mode and the Master who deploys it, are to the point and in point!
THIS is the covenant, HERE lies the approach, THIS is the marvellous work of God to which even JOB refers in Job 19, with such glorious vision and illumination from God, even in the very midst of his troubles. Here is the inspiration which all need (as in Matthew 16:17), to which need drives and for which grace provides, if they are to approach the living God. If your father pays a million dollars to redeem you from debt and disaster, will you simply say,
Hi dad, great to find you, yes sorry, and all that, so let's go on with life, shall we ? Agreed.
That would be the epitome of thanklessness, the summary of ignorance and all but swinish in debonair don't care indifference to reality, the funnel by which any sorrow of heart escapes, the peak of the supercilious. Contrast it indeed with the case of Luke 15 and the manner of his repentance, who erred, as all men do! In fact, so great is God's hatred of pious pretence that Christ declared that He did not even come to save the righteous, but sinners; while EXCEPT you repent you will ALL likewise perish (Luke 13).
Not so, then, is the return to God; for in it there is no mere superficiality of form, but in depth and in realism and in realisation is the repentance not to be repented of to be found (II Corinthians 7:10). The reverential fear of God (Psalm19) is clean, and this fear so far from being contrary to love, is part of its hallowing delight!
Indeed, Elihu now continues his challenge:
"Should He repay it according to your terms,
Just because you disavow it?
You must choose, and not I;
Therefore speak what you know."
The power of God is sometimes confused because He gives the tyrant time, and because history is a litany of pride and arrogance, as sometimes of humility and meekness before the Lord; but it reeks of opium-ated ideas and marijuana dreams, in the face of realism which at times, becoming self-righteous, makes of 'reality' superficiality, and so confuses confusion with a meretricious zeal.
Zeal is good if it be found in the right direction! The work of God is crucial in realising the grace of God, for it is the place for grace and its very expression! The word of God is truth, and blessed are they who find it.
This necessity of faith is also a necessity of reason, though reason can give no repentance, nor does it in itself generate faith; for being saved by grace through faith is in its entirety a work of God (Ephesians 2:8), and no other work participates in this purity of holy zeal of the Lord (Ephesians 2:9ff.). Reason indeed can merely show the necessity that the Bible is the word of God: WHAT that word is, it is HIS GIFT! *3.
Profound is His grace and majestic His authority over and in history, for the world of His creation. It is by the unique and necessarily unique power of God that HE is able to predict in detail from millenia before as a simple and sample, but marvellously multiplied testimony to HIS knowledge (cf. SMR Chs. 8-9, The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet, Ch. 4), who works all things so that eternity has a library of reality, the gross shown, the evil attested, the futility of iniquity codified! (cf. Ephesians 3:9-11).
He cannot so predict if ONE fact is beyond Him or dismissed from oversight, since each happening has like a stone in a pool, the ripples of results which may be utterly far-reaching. Without all knowledge you cannot predict with profound detail and immense depiction of components, their names and their places, their dates and their ways, let alone the miracles to be wrought in type and in location, the persons and the participants, good or evil, for millenia ahead.
There is no logical room for other views in the infinitude of confirmation, verification and revelation*3. God has not left Himself without a testimony, triumphant, incomparable, conclusive.
As to the last, again, even in Job's day, you have this from Elihu (Job 33:14-28):
"For God may speak in one way, or in another,
Yet man does not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
When deep sleep falls upon men,
While slumbering on their beds,
Then He opens the ears of men,
And seals their instruction."
God has spoken in many ways to man (Hebrews 1:1), and is Himself most communicative (John 1:1), having communicated into existence, by supreme knowledge, power and mind, the very universe itself, by which action it is contrived with law both for matter and for life, and equipped with freedom, though that may be rendered defunct as may a car engine, by misuse, and misconception, as in steering into a pit. One way to do this, of course, is to forget that there ARE pits! and that one is pitted as a derivative by sins and their consequences, and must learn prudence and reverence towards God, and find the knowledge of Him, without which one is little served, or serviceable in the end, except by direct miracle.
Even helping the helpless to remain so, may with some additives, be helpful for a time; but in the end, it is the blind leading the blind... but where! Finding God and the fund of His mercy and power is the first requisite in any mercy, and the ultimate necessity.
God has spoken by disaster and blessing, by dream and vision, by word and deed, and by their revelatory correlation in advance. He has produced a nation, which the world hates, and not only one politically distinctive, but one spiritually embracive of His people of all races (I Peter 2:9ff.). This hatred, indeed, is not forged always consciously, but in actions, for it devolves on the attitude to God Himself. It is not found in all of the world's inhabitants, but it resides in the world itself characteristically (I John 3:13, , Matthew 24:9). While it acts often, as you can see in how it is treating massive populations and slight ones, according to taste and opportunity, with dizziness, with delays, with brutal force, with devious antics of phrasing and with trumpeted compassions, while truth is suppressed in the interests of self-interest; it is especially prominent in dealing with all the components, including people, of the testimony of Christ.
Many are those in Ambon, in Sudan, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in places high and low who have suffered, yes and in the fires of the Inquisition and the frenzies of Communism. Often the professing Christians are tolerable if dumb, but dangerous if articulate, if bold, if daring to confront iniquity in the name of Christ.
Tolerated if power is there in the worldly sense, they may quickly be assailed when the political landscape tilts that way, deletable inhabitants as in the former USSR, and often in China as all too well attested and so often by so many, not least Harry Wu (q.v.), and in many lands of Moslems. Indeed in Saudi Arabia was not prayer forbidden to US troops even in their camp, even though they helped! Did not Bush use a US naval vessel for public worship!
What intolerant machinations are here, as in the Afghan case where Italy's mercy was recently used in the deliverance of someone daring to become a Christian, who had been Moslem, to ward off death either social or judicial!
Let us however take the crucial case of Israel, through which came the Bible - for the Church which is Christ's had Jewish apostles ... through which came the Christ as foretold by God (Romans 9:1-4), who uses such particular times and places, men and races, or indeed children as He pleases in His profound strategy and glorious program which in the end is so personal and so intimate (cf. Matthew 21:14ff.).
Take a case more particularly. Let us look at Israel. It was used as a basis for the collection of His verifiable writings, validated as nothing else is (cf. CELESTIAL HARMONY FOR THE TERRESTRIAL HOST) or logically could be, and the coming of the Redeemer of whom Job spoke. To Israel as a site for placement, both writing of the divine message till Christ, and the coming of the divine Redeemer were appointed.
And now in the eyes and hands of this world, how is it being treated ?
Now there is more threat, even to the slender sliver still left to Israel, after the rapacious seizure of most of the Palestine which the League of Nations appointed to it as a homeland (following the Balfour Declaration of 1917, in the early 'twenties). Give us more for the maw! they rant, as if international pressure is to be applied to the tiny nation which has escaped through the generations of slaughter that are past, yes and that for centuries. It is not enough that Israel has defended itself against explicit and oft-repeated desires of nations or peoples or religious leaders for its extinction. By the predicted power of God it has done this (Zechariah 12); and the defeated, wealth-ribbed masses who used their expansive lands as bases for the assault on Israel being rebuffed, now the cry is for the nations of the earth to FORCE Israel to give back more of the microscopic seeming residue left, to satiate the appetites of the voracious.
The word of God is reviled (cf. Galloping Events Ch. 4, SMR Chs. 8-9), His testimony ignored, the world's convenience is considered and folly is framed and put on the wall, for ceremonial purposes; and where more than in the United Nations, whose antagonism to Israel has been massive, to the point that in 1947 it was happy to make of Jerusalem an international city and give pittances of bits and pieces of the residue of Palestine, to Israel, as people might throw ten cents to a beggar*4.
As to the work of God, that has had its attestation in every most minor detail and most major prediction. The speech of God, His revelation, is absolute and incomparable as a simple matter of testable fact; and it is impossible for any but God to have declared and decreed over a millenium, both the participants and the times and the occasions of events in due course fulfilled. Such fulfilments are now being flung in our faces, as the events since 1948 attest in grand detail, the glory of God, the precision of His speech, the knowledge of the forces of history and of their income and output, their coming and their going.
Yet, despite this revelation, man as if the PRINCE, strides into the arena, and decides to play the part of God, like a mouse anticipating the Christians before they enter the arena in the days of the Roman Empire, yes, like a mouse deciding to seize and tear to pieces the lions, just for his own particular interest. It is not so much insane, as inane; and not quite so much inane, as vain.
The pride of life is a remarkable entity; you can crush it in a mortar, and it does not break. It has its own appointment with destiny, for which it waits like a farmer awaiting the rain, before he reaps his crop; but it does not realise that it is sowing the wind, and that it will reap the whirlwind, whatever the rain, or reign.
In such a case, the rain becomes a foolish expectation. It is not only rain, it is the devastating dynamic which will accompany it, the tornado of truth exploited, reviled, or ignored (Micah 7, Isaiah 66, Joel 3, Revelation 19). God works, but the world is not disposed to listen; if some do, yet as for this world, the sphere of its influence and the pomp and posturing of its proceedings is otherwise bent. It cannot lend an ear; for it is bent already elsewhere.
The grace of God, it is however far greater, and it has led to the word, its compilation in the Book of the Lord (Isaiah 8:20), the living word of the Eternal God. Here from the very days of Job, the persistent, never to be deleted, declaration of God, which has been consummated at last in Christ, the fullness of sacrifice and the triumph of declaration all one. Here then from Job 33:17ff., and notice as so often in Job, the leading on to the concept of the Redeemer, which Job himself made classic in its height and clarity in Ch. 19. It is He who has His own history foretold, His own ways, His own covenant, and performs what He says.
The book of Job, then in 33, has this:
"In order to turn man from his deed,
And conceal pride from man,
He keeps back his soul from the Pit,
And his life from perishing by the sword.
"Man is also chastened with pain on his bed,
And with strong pain in many of his bones,
So that his life abhors bread,
And his soul succulent food.
His flesh wastes away from sight,
And his bones stick out which once were not seen.
Yes, his soul draws near the Pit,
And his life to the executioners.
"If there is a messenger for him,
A mediator, one among a thousand,
To show man His uprightness,
Then He is gracious to him, and says,
‘Deliver him from going down to the Pit;
I have found a ransom’;
His flesh shall be young like a child’s,
He shall return to the days of his youth.
He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him,
He shall see His face with joy,
For He restores to man His righteousness.
Then he looks at men and says,
‘I have sinned, and perverted what was right,
And it did not profit me.’
He will redeem his soul from going down to the Pit,
And his life shall see the light."
But what does man say ?
It is this.
Let's have a test. Let's delete Israel.
¨ Now Israel is by no means to be deleted, since the Lord has declared as much (Micah 7, Isaiah 66, Romans 11, Matthew 24, Luke 21:24ff.), and has made it clear that HE will come for its eventual deliverance, WHEN it has been delivered from its own sins (Zechariah 12:10-13:1), from itself, this nation which destroyed its own Prince of Peace! He will come (Zechariah 14:5) in no uncertain terms. It is not that this is anything other than the restoration of many in Israel to salvation in the formerly crucified Messiah; it is that God fulfils what He says, has His own plans, and what He says, He honours (cf. Ezekiel 36:22!). He ‘takes pity on’ His name, is honourable and wise.
Now Israel is by no means to be deleted, since the Lord has declared as much, and has made it clear that HE will come for its eventual deliverance, WHEN it has been delivered from its own sins, from itself, this nation which destroyed its own Prince of Peace!
So there is Israel, an excellent test case for all the wit and ingenuity of god-making men, who ignore the Almighty and invest themselves with pseudo-power for the sake of pseudo-wisdom. They, this world, in their effortless wisdom and manipulable hearts, remove most of Palestine and toss it to Jordan. Other parts of it, such as the PLO, they murder until Gaza comes back to them. They want more of the West Bank, since after all, they had only the UN and the masses of those of Islam to help them seize this from the fledging nation of Israel, fresh from the tender Gentile mercies of Auschwitz and co..
They failed in their prodigious power and multiplicity of land and religious jihads ? Very well: then they need MORE HELP, to fight the midget, this band of belligerents. What if they are backed by money fabulous, lands vast and terrains all but interminable, from Morocco to Pakistan, with oil in between ? They need more help to grab what is left, and they cry for it, and Hamas is clear in its now authorised PLO sanctum, supported for so long by so many billions of world contributions to its economy, is insistent.
They have failed to exterminate. They want more help.
Exterminate ? The UN stood back in the day of 1948, but Israel was not exterminated; and in the day of Nasser, but the fight slaughtered the slaughterers, and again, in 1973, the invasion on the Jewish Holy Day, it came; but it was a scenario of ruin for the invaders, once more.
They of course did not, since they could not, succeeded.
So now invoking
the Madrid Quartet, which is only the EU, Russia, the UN and the US, a
mere trifle among men, what is to be done ? Why, they ask for more of Israel. Surely half of Jerusalem ? Why not all ? The ideas of Hamas seem to have no limit, but that of destruction, and small wonder: for if your religion fails before logic (Divine Agenda Ch. 6, More Marvels ... Ch. 4), it needs something, and what better than removing one of the other religions, and having more land to boot! If now, after yielding so much for so long, the European powers do not like the idea of complete extermination, and harrumph a little, then this is merely some mitigation. The Road Map still wants more of Israel for others!
It is sad to see such procedures; but with human race or this or that race within it, there is frequently to be seen this race for self-realisation, bin Laden having exhibited and exposed his sense of nostalgia for the former territories of Islam (Lord of Life Ch. 8), as if they had made them.
However neither did Anglo-Saxon nor did Islamic power, neither did the EU, nor Russia, neither did the UN or the USA MAKE this world. When its Maker sees fit to allocate some of its geographical resources for a SPIRITUAL purpose*4, woe betide those who enter into conflict with Him. Zechariah 12-14 makes the point very specific! It is of course complicated by the fact that while the world is to be taught a lesson (as it has been already, in the wars of 1948, 1967, 1973, as foretold in nature in Zech. 12), so is Israel! It in large national numbers has yet to find its own Christ, which is the only One there ever has been or will come from the God of creation, being God AS man (Ephesians 1:10, Psalm 45, Psalm 2).
It is to find Him who is the revelation for all the world as well, and He has not changed; and it has to find in THIS regard, the common Saviour who is so uncommon that He is indeed God as man, not merely unique but incomparable, eternal who invested the temporal, the Saviour from sin by bearing it for those who receive Him by faith. It is as it was foretold in their prophets for a millenium before He came, and it is to be as it was.
THE DEITY AS MAN TO BE CIRCUMVENTED BY MAN AS DEITY ?
From above, He has power; from below, he can but lower
Man wanders, like dispirited cattle, sometimes thundering, then stilled, anxious, unsure.
The lowering of man, like cattle moaning, it is not pleasant to the ear. And it is so common. Take the latest speech of Tony Blair. Of eloquence, it has some measure; of force and crispness, its share. It does not wander. It hits. It appeals. It is a salesman's speech. It has even some common sense and it is constructive according to its lights.'
Yet it fails abysmally. It wanders from all that made the greatness of Britain arrive. It focusses on the aftermath, the resultants, and forgets the basis.
It includes much that is good; but it omits the source of it, and hence the power of it, and hence will not work. You see it in The Australian, March 28, p. 14, for example. It speaks of the Anglo-Saxon heritage (and it has in the rule of law and democracy, a kindly part), and of the need for liberation of all to share in it. What, however, of the Islamic democracy which would allow those whose desire is absolutist, to use democratic majorities to mock democracy: because they, a majority, HAVE freedom, some THEREFORE lack it! and then, how great is that lack, for it may, as we see in the recent case in Afghanistan, lead to lacking life as well!
Imagine if other nations had not intervened! Argue that in a democracy, the rights and privileges of the minorities MUST be protected, so that they may vote again, and perhaps rule, and you add to the concept.
Add this however, and still, the democracy can RULE by the name of the people that UNTIL the opposition has a majority, it will be harassed, deprived of education or access to materials, if women, deprived of personal liberty and so forth, on the ground that this is the WAY of what is in power. In the meantime, such harassment of the minorities could occur as to diminish their opportunities for mounting a re-election campaign. In that case, all you accomplish is the removal of one tyranny for another.
Indeed, imagine if the ISSUE were something on which all or most nations agreed! Then instead of rescuing the man years ago converted from Islam to Christianity, as the report has it for Afghanistan, they would the more declare him null and void. Man in masses cannot solve the problem of man, for he has derived from God, a liberty of thought for which no masses of men can provide a substitute. Since the OMISSION of God is most noticeable in Blair's panegyric of Anglo-Saxon heritage (and it has some point, to be sure), then the presence of such persecutory passions is assured. It is the norm. It is the missing mass, the omitted massif, the voided foundation. He looks to the results of a course in athletics, and forgets the man who does it, and what made him; and in this case, the nation!
What then if such a perverse and cut-down version of Britain's idea (nor is it of it alone), were to be implemented. All would be different: the rules and measures of the sovereign righteousness of God would succumb in principle, to the ideas of man, as flighty as ducks, as airy as rainbows, as empty as the country dams in drought. What if this were to become the international way ?
The only difference from other frauds in unrighteousness would be that the international 'community' (a vast misnomer!) would become embracive. It would be the arbiter of destiny in this most surviving of worlds (for a very little while - cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5); and it would be to 'mankind' in some select sense that the violence would then accrue.
Then where is your England to whose inviting shores you may wish to escape ? Where is the Britain
which had so strong a reaction
to the Gospel even in the 6th century AD,,
whose Venerable Bede had such a
impact through devotion and scholarship on the Continent,
in the next century, giving currency there to the concept of A.D.,
following the incarnation, the Britain,
whose Council of Whitby was so
whose constructions and sites
were so notable,
whose enchainment in the
servitude, as Rome fashioned her heresy into a prime movement, with its
heresiarch perpetually elected (cf. SMR pp.
1032-1099D), was broken,
whose people so often suffered
so much that great documentation of it appears in their own justly famed
Book of Martyrs, from Foxe, whose Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer stood
brilliantly aflame under persecution, like the 2000 who in 1662 lost their
Manses and congregations for withstanding political and polluted control of
whose array of Scottish
is almost like a Who's Who of valour and dedication for Christ,
whose singers delight the earth,
v which abandoned the papacy and sought to mission the world ?
Where is the Britain whose Wesleys and Whitefield did so much to prevent a recurrence of the French Revolution on English soil ? Where is the land of Christian compassion with its Earl of Shaftesbury, Elizabeth Fry and John Newton, its Wilberforce demanding the freeing of slaves and abolition of the whole horrid abuse of man in its grasp, and its Hudson Taylor, first of the 600 to follow in the China Inland Mission ?
It is not for nothing that the churches of the land dotted even the villages and the call for the sovereign was that he or she be Protestant, and accept the wisdom of the Bible as ruling! Alas, this is left out in the civil liberty resultants of Blair; for where religious tyranny is put to rest, as in the Protestant revolution, which instituted new liberties further and further as time passed, and where the nation is tied to the Bible, then the effects are far-reaching. Indeed, even where the Empire was exploited by those who wanted power for their own glory's sake, yet the Christian emphasis was near in missionaries, and as salt in the Parliament of the nation.
To be sure, Christianity is not wisely institutionalised as the national Church, governed by those elected to the seat of the nation's power; but it is by no means necessary to have such a formalisation, in order nevertheless, to place the righteousness of God in principle as the code of standards which is in force, leaving the people free in their religion, but the land bound to the Lord. Righteousness still exalts a nation, and a free Church with a nation clearly honouring the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ is far removed from a mere running of the Church by the nation, a sad error which has led to the great weakness of the Church of England.
There is always the foundational reality for the nation, leaving the people free; but if the 'core values' are merely democracy and the rule of law, then the light is out, the foundation is broken up, the nation drifts and the immense past blessings are like some vaudeville act, a mere part of history, with no reverence for the Maker who made England great. It is as if they have forgotten what has happened to innumerable nations which have played, this way or that, the fool with God, and become foundlings, unfounded. If they found themselves on themselves, they are but puppets, ready for whoever pulls the strings.
It was not so with England, with its commitments, however over-nationalised in format. If Christ is now merely a name in its midst, where now its power, its past and its meaning!
This is the VALUE, yes the FOUNDATION, on which the nation ostensibly rested; and it was remarkable among the nations, extraordinary among the Empires, for that. There was a REASON for liberty, and it was this: that since God is love and the Bible is truth, and since God does not compel by force to faith, in any case a contradiction in terms, for no acceleration to material objects can produce a conviction concerning truth: then neither should the nation.
Instead, it would herald the truth, and seek those who would confess it. This is not to idealise. There were vagaries and vicissitudes and times of positive evil, rampant and reckless, as evil men sought to exploit for personal glory, the wonders of the nation, Wolsey seemingly among them with a pomp almost unbelievable. Yet there was the constant pressure - upwards to the God who rules, who operates, who works for those who wait for Him, who remember Him in His ways and rejoice (Isaiah 64:5). Omit it and your liver as well!.
Now this is being abandoned, just as England is abandoning her Channel for a Chunnel, her independence for a place with the nations in the EU, and Charles talks of being a Defender of Faiths. All ? then of Islamic militancy also ? it also cites its Koran! Gone or going is the testimony which made her distinctively remarkable, and characterised her ultimate meaning by something more than a base-free frenzy of words, or talk of democracy, as if people having their say determined what they said, or made it nice, or good or profitable or enduring; or logical for that matter!
This omission is crucial, like omitting a head from your shoulders. It leaves out the WHY and the WHEREFORE, the grounds for conduct and the immovable basis for living. It becomes an option of desire, and of whom but of man is this ? a soaring of mankind, or ruling mankind, or majority mankind, or whatever other humanist phasing in of man and whatever phasing out of God, is chosen. Its mechanics are relatively unimportant since its mission is miserable, muddled and without limit.
With England's floor being white-anted and the USA's commitment being synthesised, as by Bush, a high profile person as professing Christian, speaking together with a 'good' Muslim element against various evils, in hearty comradeship, visiting even the Mosque: it is apparent that the guiding morality is being traded in for a new code of conduct, the Mount without Moses, the Mouth without God and the Thrust without Truth. Live with it if you can, but living without God is far more ridiculous than living without your head. Make a fudge factor of religion, but pay for your play.
Like a decapitated chook, you may strive on for a bit; but the race in this condition, is already lost, not only to sin as before, but as to salvation as increasing apparent, as the truth is left with the self-destructing churches.
To be sure, some remain; but the structure is dissolving, and is being prepared precisely as predicted for its replacement with the False Prophet, the evil spirits of Revelation 16, the fires of Revelation 18, the fraud of Revelation 19, and its come-uppance. Why try such things, such illicit syntheses, such rebellions against Christ, such turning to irrelevances, the criterion of truth! Judas to the end, was quite close to Christ; it was just that he did not follow Him, but arrested His rule...
After God has done so much for so long, why try once more to find the bottom of the chasm, when the glory of God was once so near! Is A.D. now to become 'after ditching', the dumping of God, and to start a new dating age, a short one, of humanism in its mystic nighties, laying down its head to sleep, on a bubbling quagmire that knows nothing of foundation, only of rule by the many, for anything, anywhere, any time.
Where now is your Channel to protect from Sea Lion ? Where is your USA to which to take plans for the next bomb to still the Dictator ... where, since then he would be everywhere, but in heaven, and might even seek a place, not without success, in hell.
Striding LIKE A PRINCE, man can then, with less wisdom that that of Elihu, come before the presence of almighty power, and calling it his own, come to the finale promptly. That is the nice feature of it: when the spiritual death rattle for the race reaches in this totalitarian flower of democracy, its finale, it does not because it could not last long. It is trying to breathe without air or lungs, or beat without heart. It is dead-beat, a song in the dark, dedicated to death, gratuitously called 'Life'!
In Revelation 16 you see the false prophet at work, and in Revelation 19, the Lord in response. He is not in repose.... He has His plans, as the world should know by now, since they are ALWAYS implemented. The time, as in the end of an examination, it comes; though to the student, the time for writing may seem long! In the end, it was not too long. The thing had to be written, and it does take a little time, when the sons of men are setting to, at their desks, writing the history which is a lesson forever!
The Bible has indicated the developments with great clarity, and the lively reader might like to consult two works of fiction, based firmly on its eschatological premises and divine promises, written not so long ago. They are to be found in the two works, The MOON SOON, and the JOURNEY TO GOD OR FANTASY'S FLIGHT TO THE INFERNAL, The Dynamics of Disintegration and the Delights of Restoration.
However often Australia may commune with the USA in its AUSMIN, or now with the UK, in the newly founded AUKMIN, alas until the Lord, the Prince of Life, returns to His place, there is no resolution to the growing, growling, deceptive powers which now seek aid, and now threaten. It is exemplified with the USSR largely demobbed into Russia, or China, now aggressive, now congenial. National bodies can now shine with benevolence, now talk nuclear strike, depending on the situation, the government, the wonders of politics and the marvels of self-expression by midget man, if not forgetting his Maker, then conveniently omitting Him from consideration where it really ... COUNTS, in international affairs.
Such wisdom has only one end. It is approaching so fast, that it reminds one of the dream of the tank on top of the hill. Surprisingly, the scenario suddenly stopped; but there it was, ready to roll. (That resembles the announcement of a stay, in I Thessalonians 5:3!)
Time is given to man; and it is time to put God back where He belongs, in the centre of one's heart, and to put man back where he came from, freely and lovingly into the wonder-making hand of God, who having made, knows how to direct, and to put wisdom in place where it is to be found, in Jesus the Christ, alone verified and validated in all the pulsing philosophies and politics, thoughts and religions of man: and from Him to gain it, at last.
Job had a few wrinkles, and nearly lost his life as they were flattened. Better that at any time, than being caught in some wrinkle of life, and consigned to something rather worse than oblivion, guilt unatoned, grace unreceived, Christ ignored and God put into a quarantine of neglect.
He does not belong there. Indeed, it is as if modern man desires any actual God in purgatory, arrested, dismissed. Yet there is no such place (John 5:24, Psalm 17, II Corinthians 5:17-21); man's inventions are awry, astray.
However there is a PURGING and it is for man, man unredeemed; and there is a refinement on this earth, for the children of God (II Cor. 3:18ff.): there is a divine enactment within the heart of the believer which fires the soul, and reduces pride of life to its dirt situation, while the crown is put on Christ (Philippians 2:1-12, Revelation 4:10-5:14).
It is the blood of Christ, not the power of the atom, which is needed. It is only when man is clean that he is controlled, and only then that he is free, for the uncontrol of autonomy is mere mockery of design, and defiance of the Maker, while when He is in control, as in road rules which liberate for function, there is liberty; for it is no more the autonomous prince, but the child of God that we find in so blessed a case.
The Bible declares it
so concisely in Titus 2-3, and we now see what we pondered earlier in fuller
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
looking for the blessed hope
and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed
and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
"Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.
"Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey,
to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one,
to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
"For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
"not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to His mercy He saved us,
through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
"whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
that having been justified by His grace
we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
"This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men."
You will notice that it is to the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, that we are looking. Literally, it has this: Awaiting the appearance of the glory of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. There is but one ‘the; after ‘glory’ and it is THE glory of the great God and our Saviour. After all, as Isaiah 43:10-11 tells us, there IS NO OTHER SAVIOUR but God, and as Isaiah 523-53 SHOWS us, there is none other but Christ who is the victim by sacrificial offering of Himself, bearing sin and by His knowledge justifying many!
It is then to this long awaited, now come, and in a little while, to return Jesus Christ, it is on HIm that all history turns, as well it might since He instituted man who makes it, and the universe (John 1:3, Colossians 1:15), in which it occurs: Himsself, the express image of God (Hebrews 1), whose is eternity, in increate splendour, so that it is He who declares, amongst all His other words and works of wonder, “Before Abraham was, I am.”
Here is the thread of the pearls, here is the string and here is the neck for the glory. Follow rubbish and for what does a man or a woman qualify, but to become like it, and to end in a smouldering contemptibility (Daniel 12, Mark 9, Matthew 13), in the eyes even of the God of love whose work is perfect, whose way is known, whose Gospel had to imbue this earth, this world, before the end came, as Christ declared in Matthew 24:12.
It is the truth or the invention, God or idols.
Of idols, what does David declare ?
It is this:
“Their idols are … the work of men’s hands,
They have mouths but they do not speak,
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears but they do not hear;
Noses they have, but they do not smell;
They have hands, but they do not handle;
Feet they have, but they do not walk.
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
Those who make them are like them.
"So is everyone who trusts in them.
O Israel, trust in the Lord …” (Psalm 115).
Again he says (Psalm 94):
“Understand you senseless among the people,
And you fools, when will you be wise ?
He who plants the ear shall He not hear ?
He who formed the eye, shall He not
He who instruct s the nations, shall He not correct?
He who teaches man knowledge ? “The LORD knows the thoughts of man,
That they are futile.
“Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O LORD,
And teach out of Your law,
That You may give him rest from the days of adversity,
Until the pit is dug for the wicked…”
What life follows for its way, its truth, or its path for progress, what is the operative leader for it, this is one of two ONLY. It is God or it is substitute, called ‘idol’.
Unlike God, the idols of men constantly change, though they career around axes of imagination; and they must do so, for none is satisfactory, none answers to reason, to righteousness, to truth. They inflame, and leave ashes, for the man, for the political process, for the nation, for the world. The world is a magnificent setting for the greatest of all experiments, not for the information of God (Isaiah 46:8, Colossians 1:11), but of man and of many who watch! It shows how what is not God, in the place of God, does not because it cannot work.
In one sense, the sly arrow of Satan sent to Eve, here finds at the end, what was the answer from the beginning. It is this: that just as God cannot be made, being eternal, so He has no ulterior motive, having all already, whether for need or for emotion or for anything else (cf. Sparkling Life … Ch. 4, Ephesians 1:11, I John 1:5, Deuteronomy 32:1-4, James 3:17-18); and yes, He HAS SAID, and yes again, it DOES always happen, what He says, and that is presented sometimes with a divine irony so subtle as to be uproarious if not tragic at any time (cf. Psalm 2, Ezekiel 28:9,Proverbs 1, 8), and with a declarative obviousness that all the black-glasses in the world cannot hide.
Did man crucify the remedy for sin ? Did sin add sin to sin to remove salvation from it ? Was this the devilishly clever way of aborting love and thwarting divine desire ? Could man indeed outwit God and implant his sin into a sovereign power over the very universe that God made, in a way inscrutable to God Himself ?
This may have seemed to be so, until the resurrection merely made it ONE MORE CASE of a twofold action.
Firstly, GOD PREDICTS what is to happen, with such precision as to give NO EXCUSE to the wit or power of man, when IT DOES HAPPEN, nor any way for man to show it otherwise or make it void. With thousands of years in which to devise a way to STOP it from happening, the coming, the crucifixion, the resurrection, the sending of the Spirit, man in sin, and the devil in his power, was still quite impotent to prevent it. The evil one could neither produce the body, reduce the Church or cramp the word of God. From birthplace and time, to death reason and result, it flowed like a stream through a track long prepared; and history merely showed it!
It is rather like telling the Germans before D-day, saying
Yes, we are going to land at Normandy and invade at such and such a rate;
and then after a year or two, simply doing it.
Yet it more like telling them a decade in advance! then doing it, and doing so with explicit and exquisite power, outwitting as well as overpowering. Yes, but it was one millenium ahead of its time, the word of God before this work of God.
That is the first aspect.
Secondly, God makes what happens fulfil His own counsel. Thus the cross was NECESSARY as the most devilish way of bringing excruciating and constant pain to purity and perfection, so that the healing power for man, for mind, body and spirit, should be taught a lesson once and for all: man did not want any such thing at the price of a Governor and Captain for his life! He preferred to dispense with mercy and relinquish the rule of the God.
Yet the more man strove to be wise, the more foolish he became, for every ounce of suffering, and every pound of flesh nailed and bleeding, became the more perfect an accompaniment of a guilt-purging and propitiatory substitution of the Son of man for the children of men. God had simply planned it that way, and said so (Isaiah 49-55).
Yet just as He FREELY (John 10) laid down His own life, in this turmoiled and turbulent setting, so precisely and aptly did He show to man the reality of being made in God’s image; for man is not MADE to believe, but with a vast love, whose actions speak and have spoken, offered the testimony inevitable, which it is inexcusable to ignore, contemptible to seek to suppress, impossible to outwit.
If man prefers darkness to SUCH a LIGHT as this, which brought such joy to those who sat in anguish and sorrow (cf. Isaiah 8-9), then the light that is in him IS darkness, and how gloomy is its setting. For if a sun sets, then light departs for a time; but if darkness sets, there is only a matter of degree, greater darkness, for a greater pride, the pride of life, knifing not Christ, but itself to the finale of life, life without God. It is not worthy of the name, but yet is the strenuous preference of those for whom LOSTNESS is a way of life, and an introduction to a death which shall not see life (John 3:36), being in a condition where truth ignored, light despised, reality frog-marched, where there is such a monument to ruin.
With Christ, the ruin is already; and He has borne it vicariously for all who so receive Him by faith: in Him, the remedy is perfected and complete (Hebrews 9), the fashion of faith is made clear and the gift is entire (Romans 6:23, John 10:9,27-28), without addition, condition (Romans 3:23ff.) or cleavage (Galatians 1:6-9). Such is the simple presentation of eternal life, at the Cross, at the tomb, by faith. Light and life are inseparables spiritually, and thus with these together, does man find, and there alone, rest for his soul, and eternity for his life.
See Aviary of Idolatry, Highway to Hell, Divine Agenda Ch. 6, More Marvels ... Ch. 4, SMR pp. 614, 925, 971.
Thus BBC News, December 27, 2005, notes the resignation of Putin aide, Andrei Illarionov. He is reported here as declaring to reporters:
"It is one thing to work in a country that is
It is another thing when the political system has changed,
and the country has stopped being free and democratic."
We read that a year before, he condemned the Russian authorities attack on the giant Yukos as the swindle of the year.
This alleged swindle resulted in the arrest, as he left his airplane, of the Jewish billioniaire in charge of Yukos, who was then indicted as owing the Russian State billions, and imprisoned with various disenablements for good measure, so enabling the take-over of his oil giant. This, although convenient for State control, returning in this towards the days of Communism, left a vast gap in question, as to the legitimacy of a failure of the State to collect a few billion in tax, a rather unusual lapse one would hope, and of the fate of this businessman in such a rule.
What is to become of the imprisoned Berezovsky, hidden away before the heel of a former officer of the KGB ? This is a very just matter of the most intense and acute concern!
The affair has also a certain savour of things to come. If then in a little moment, vast changes can be ... induced in a rambling empire that was, and still continues somewhat, because a need is felt so to act, is it so marvellous if, again oh yes for a certain need that comes to be felt, other nations find themselves by authorities of unquestionable integrity, of course, suddenly changed ? or if a group of such nations should come to find the same transmutative need ? Would it indeed be so marvellous if the united nations of the day, whatever its actual name at that time or its measure or front, should so act, as the force of power becomes a substitute for the favour of wisdom, openness and investigability! That is precisely the biblical depiction in Revelation 13, and II Thessalonians 2: political mutation, grasping transformation, leaping aggregation, the lust and the 'must' that belies the truth and justice.
The take-overs of the 20th century, such as those of Lenin and Hitler, Mao and Idi Amin, may be small compared with those of the 21st., and the results, though vast enough for anyone then, pall before the issues advancing like an army, on the ungrounded, unfounded and wavering, wandering nations, malleable in morals, grabbing for destiny, while spiritually floating like abandoned ships in an ice-berg ridden and stormy sea.
See for example: SMR Chs. 1-3, TMR,
Reason, Revelation and the Redeemer,
Scientific Method, Satanic Method and the Model of Salvation
Celestial Harmony for the Terrestrial Host
The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy
See: SMR Chs. 8-9, Regal Rays of Revelation Ch. 1, It Bubbles Chs. 10, 11, Anguish, Ecstasy and the Mastery of the Messiah Ch. 4, Galloping Events Ch. 4