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STEPPING STONES OR CRUMBLING CLIFFS ?
Today, we have an interesting
task. First, there is a question to be answered, and then there is a realm
to be considered. Let us start with the question.
Question: "I am interested in the parallels between our beloved Jesus and the Teacher of Righteousness - is this something you agree with ?"
Good day. Greetings in the glorious name of Jesus Christ.
Yes, there are some things
to be said on the topic you mention: Teacher of Righteousness.
First, concerning material on what the Bible declares on this, see Barbs. Arrows and Balms 23.
This shows you the passage
in Joel relating to the concept. It is as you will find there, also found
in function in other passages of scripture. These include in essence, Psalm
72, Isaiah 11, 32, 50 and so on. In that connection, I recommend that you
consider reading also The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, the first
part of Ch. 9.
That will give you some idea of the actual prophecies in Isaiah, what they do and do not say, and in With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength , Chs. 4, 5, 6 and 7 cover a large part of the predictions of Isaiah, and may allow you to become more familiar with the background in the Bible. The Biblical Teacher is one who is found in Isaiah 50, 52-53, 54 as a leader, commander, the Saviour. There is none at all like Him (Isaiah 41:28-42:4, 49:6). In glory and suffering, as sacrifice and saviour, as God and man therefore, He is without comparison, as God is (John 8:58).
I suggest then, that you first that you read the first article above, to find what the Bible has to say, and check the others.
A book of F.F. Bruce, a prodigiously famous scholar and Professor in this sort of area in the University of Manchester, is Second Thoughts on the Dead Sea Scrolls. This gives an informative account of various references outside the Bible, in a B.C. sect, which was very fond of the term "teacher of righteousness." As Bruce shows on pp. 60, 71, 76ff., 92ff., 112ff., with reference to detailed items found in the cave situation, there appears to have been a highly regarded teacher who was very inappropriately forced into some contexts in Hababkkuk, so that it was made to appear that HE would be the one to interpret and provide data. Others might possibly have borne the name as a title, but it seems that there was one, the founder presumably, who was most singularly revered.
The distortions and insights combined provide, as Bruce exhibits, a strange fare indeed. It is far from Biblical truth, history and its termination, all three.
It was, Bruce indicates, a sect which seemed to have felt the end was near (e.g. op. cit. p. 96) and that their teacher would instruct them concerning what was to be done. He also indicates that there is no slightest evidence of any special kind of death for this ‘teacher’, or that he was at all regarded as a, or the Messiah. Nor was the end anywhere near ‘near’! In fact, as you can see by consulting The Shadow of a Mighty Rock pp. 886ff. even the First Coming of the Messiah was set predictively for about 30 A.D., long after this sect arose! That, of course, is, a matter of millenia, very far from the Second Coming and the End!
As Jesus indicates in Luke 24:25-26, there was first the prediction of His sufferings, and to follow, that of His glory.
The ‘teacher of righteousness’ concept of this sect, therefore, so keen on it, does not appear really very interesting, in this, that we have just the same sort of confused phenomena today, people trying to force this or that into or out of the Bible, and seeming rather to make fools of themselves, like that modern sect which confidently ‘prophesied’ that Christ would return in 1934 or so. He neglected to do this, just as the modern sect apparently neglected to think much about Acts 1:6-8, where knowledge of such times and seasons for His bringing in the kingdom, is denied to the apostles. It is true that when Christ’s return is "near", there are signals but these are not date setting things, and from Bruce’s indications and citations, the ancient sect appears to have been out by several millenia, in its views on "the end"!
This for me makes them merely a diversion, a foolish aside, as in Jeremiah. If, said Jeremiah, the false prophets HAD stood in the counsel of the Lord, then they might have turned some from their evil ways (Jeremiah 23: 16-24)! Instead, people listening to them, were merely misled. They should have sought the word of God, not some unauthorised spiritual stimulus. That is the message of Jeremiah here: the word of God is a hammer that breaks rock, a fire, but it is not something dubious!
The sect’s writings never received canon status, and it is fairly obvious why they are so bereft of such status, since this sort of thing did not reach to the heights required for true prophecy, which at that time still was held worthy of the death penalty if it failed (Deuteronomy 18:19-21). What sort of a failure is several millenia!
God hates presumption in this field (Jeremiah 23 shows you just HOW MUCH!).
Actually, then, it appears that this teacher at the time of the Sect, who were thinking in terms of a horrible time before the coming end, was neither regarded as Messiah, nor found to be executed, nor exhibited the necessary powers (as in Isaiah 29, 35), nor provided any kind of salvation as in the Biblical prediction of Isaiah 52-55, but simply sought to give extra information for the end. Thus in all that is crucial, the parallel to the Christ who actually came at the actual date predicted, is more like an intersection!
The interpretation of Habakkuk
2:4 seems especially astray (Bruce, p. 95 - cf. Barbs, Arrows and
Balms 22 and Licence for Liberty
On Biblical predictions on the Messiah, in the Psalms, you may care to look at Numbers 21, 22, 23, 25 in Joyful Jottings, which are much to the point here.
On the Old Testament Canon, you may wish to look up Sparkling Life Ch. 2. This also gives you something on New Testament Canon in Chs. 1 and 3, while SMR Appendix C deals with both, and Appendix D with scripture more generally.
People often want to do "something drastic" about "the end", and there were such in the Reformation. The requirements for the actual end are spelled out carefully in the Bible, and these as noted are shown together in the site noted (Questions and Answers Ch. 5). The proper thing to do at all times is to follow the word of God, to ignore the words men who as Jeremiah exposed it, act as if trying to put into His mouth, be thankful for the Bible and to execute the commands of Christ, saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:1-12), by His free redemption. Christ showed that the important thing then is in faith to get on with His appointed tasks and commands (Matthew 28:19-20, 24:29ff., 45ff.).
The erratic things that come
instead of simple faith in Christ and His word, the study of it and the
wealth it gives, can serve like fat sausages for athletes, before a race.
Not very well!
I hope this helps. You will realise that one does not know your background, so that a spread of possible vantage points is provided, and I hope these prove of help. If you care for more discussion centring on what the Bible actually states, please write further.
The omitted features of the Messiah, which are the essential ones, leave this invented teacher, this leader in an earlier time, a sort of oblivion for any just comparison, at the necessary level. For many, this rather leads to a delight in the wonder of what IS in the Bible, and DID happen when the Lord DID come and do all He had to do (as in Matthew 26:52-56). Hence discussion of what the Bible required and Christ met is the more commendable for His glory. Error is gone in a moment; truth endures for ever.
On that, as you may find
in the first reference above (Joel), there is much of interest to this
point. The actual TEACHER (cf. Matthew 23:8-10), Jesus Christ the Lord,
has no equal, parallel or person near His greatness, being God on earth,
as in John 7:46, Matthew 24:35, Isaiah 32, 40, 50-55, 11, Micah 5:1-3,
Zechariah 12, Psalm 45, 72 and so on. HIS KNOWLEDGE as Isaiah 53:11 makes
so very clear, includes this:
"BY HIS KNOWLEDGE, MY RIGHTEOUS SERVANT SHALL JUSTIFY MANY, FOR HE SHALL
BEAR THEIR INIQUITIES". All who came before Him, that is, when and
if they exalted themselves as if in His domain, were, He said, "thieves
and robbers" (John 10). "The sheep did not hear them."
God alone is Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11, John 14:11, Acts 4:11-12, Ephesians
1:10), and this is He.
THE REALM TO BE CONSIDERED
These considerations, it will have been noticed, are not merely relative to one issue; they concern a foundational reality. This has been considered in such places as Barbs, Arrows and Balms Appendix IV, and Biblical Blessings Ch. 9, before, and indeed in many other chapters.
In our present milieu, however, let us look at the view. We seem to have been walking along a perilously loose cliff top, and to be dealing with a perspective or common presentation which might rather regard the terrain as one of stepping stones. Nothing could be further from the truth. These steps are those to the inferno. First there is the chilling splash of fact, then the departure of all light, followed by the distressing flame of guilt unatoned.
These steps are those to the inferno.
This is because the cliff crumbles, the perspective recedes, as the last glimmer of gloaming, the fields passing into obscurity; and the endeavours are in vain.
God is not found by a number of cultural accretions. His word is not defined by a number of man-made 'inspirations' in which man makes up the papier-mâché god of his choosing, and then changes the capitalisation, as if inadvertently, to God.
Truth does not distil, concerning the mind, will and plans of God, from the natural premises: neither biological, geological, psychological, sociological nor cultural 'developments' define God. He is self-defined. His works attest Him, indeed require only Himself (SMR Ch. 1, Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming... Chs. 4, 5, 6 with Sparkling Life in Jesus Christ Ch. 8, A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-9, Spiritual Refreshings ... Ch. 16), and that Being is so potent that our very validity of thought as well as our articulation of it, depend entirely on His specialised super-programmatic skills. These leave our own as dust, when you consider objectively the output required for life, and compare it with that shown possible for man by himself.
Without God, there is no truth; and the truth of the contentions is mere self-contradictory blather (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6 -7, SMR Ch. 3, That Magnificent Rock Chs. 5, 7).
God speaks, it is infinitely more important than the latest dictates of
some creature, such as a Prime Minister or President. There is simply no
comparison. This is expressed biblically in such a passage as this, in
"Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,Here you see the disparity with clarity, for before the stark reality of God, you see in their confusion, the calls of pseudo-profundity in their callowness, the visions of nothing in their dull and null profusion, and the rank spiritual debauchery which insists on persisting in the platitudes of irrationality, when God is staring you in the face. Terrorists slap it, communists deface it, imperialists invite plastic surgeons for it, materialists are blind to it, existentialists distort it, neo-evangelicals neo-orthodise it with grease and paint, so that you would not know whose it is: but it is there, the face of man is there; and God is there.
Or as His counselor has taught Him?
With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him,
And taught Him in the path of justice?
"Who taught Him knowledge,
And showed Him the way of understanding?
Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket,
And are counted as the small dust on the scales;
Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.
And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn,
Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.
All nations before Him are as nothing,
And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.
"To whom then will you liken God?
Or what likeness will you compare to Him?
The workman molds an image,
The goldsmith overspreads it with gold,
And the silversmith casts silver chains.
Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution
Chooses a tree that will not rot;
He seeks for himself a skillful workman
To prepare a carved image that will not totter.
"Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
"He brings the princes to nothing;
He makes the judges of the earth useless.
Scarcely shall they be planted,
Scarcely shall they be sown,
Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth,
When He will also blow on them,
And they will wither,
And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.
“To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing.
"Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
'My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God'?
"Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
"Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."
God needs no counsel. He takes no advice. He is aware of need, and meets it; and when He speaks, it is Himself. Human powers are His invention; human invention is by His power, and when man invents false gods, no gods or other arbitrary invasions of truth with unscientific and prolific evasiveness (cf. SMR Chs. 1-3, TMR Chs. 1, 8), then the fall is furthered, and the consummation comes closer. Then there is merely a diminution of stable dynamic, which detached can be manipulated as drink manipulates the mind of the drunkard. We have seen this in the last 70 years ad nauseam, and still man continues in his delusions, cunning in contrivance, lost to all thought, deficient in realism, without God. It was so in the destruction of Assyria of old, of Babylon (cf. SMR pp. 713-714), and it is this deficiency which has eroded the British Empire until the proud pomp of the Establishment, decreasing established in God, becomes the watery willowy uncertainty of the Commonwealth, whatever it may have in commonality!
Christs likewise: they do not arise, except the false ones, like so many chimerical distortions, obtruding in a colourful but banal manner upon an invaded screeen. ONE GOD has spoken in ONE PLACE definitively for man, in the ONE BOOK (cf. Isaiah 8:20, 34:16, Psalm 40:7 cf. SMR Appendix C-D), and coming in His own person AS MAN, has spoken with ONE MOUTH in ONE CHRIST who has come at ONE TIME (SMR pp. 886ff.) for ONE LIFE of atonement and manifestation of God for man, with ONE OFFERING (Hebrews 7-10 cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H), so that each man ONE AT A TIME may come to the place of peace and find God. This Christ has WON the one fight which God only can achieve (Philippians 2:1-12, ,Hebrews 2), and having done so, has of successors precisely NONE (cf. Ephesians 1:10), and of gradations and shades, NULLITY.
Infinity has no precursors, and omniscience no grades. As to Christ, in Him is all the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form (Colossians 2:8-9), and when He came, it was as the first-born BECAUSE all was created THROUGH HIM (Colossians 1:15), yes even all that can be called creation (John 1:3) - Himself above and beyond this whole category, His work. Confusion of Creator and His word, with creature and his exploits is so tiny, so petty, so profound a piece of superficiality, that the world both deserves and increasingly RECEIVES what it is asking for.
It is deluded, it has no answers, its problems mount up on wings as eagles. Its peoples increasingly are subjected to terrors, suffer delusions, have mental health 'problems' in millions, pop pills, sing dirges to drugs, both medical to 'control' and hedonistic to destroy, slowly, amid pleasurable sensations which then betray and became more 'problems' inducing insanity, lack of concentration, of stability.
Man is courting disaster, like a tom-cat chewing on the lip of a lion. He is blinded by pride, inured by indifference, lusting for pleasure, loathing his way, his neighbour and his destiny, increasingly, like someone in love with death.
this is the PREDICTED scriptural position for such a treatment of his own
Creator, and of his own Redeemer, as you see in Proverbs 8:22-36 (cf. Barbs,
Arrows and Balms 27). There you see
the pre-incarnate Christ, dressed as wisdom, declaring His work of creation
with His Father, and indicating the resultant needs for man.
“The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,The work of a master craftsman as well as a nurturer is indeed in our bodies and brains (cf. Joyful Jottings 16), and these ancient testimonies are merely modern discoveries, but not of man's work, for man quite simply did not perform it: it is the work of God (cf. SMR pp. 211, 252Aff., Ch. 2 Supplement, 422Eff., Stepping Out for Christ Chs. 2 and 7-10).
Before His works of old.
"I have been established from everlasting,
From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no fountains abounding with water.
Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills, I was brought forth;
While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields,
Or the primeval dust of the world.
"When He prepared the heavens, I was there,
When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,
When He established the clouds above,
When He strengthened the fountains of the deep,
When He assigned to the sea its limit,
So that the waters would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth,
Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,
Rejoicing in His inhabited world,
And my delight was with the sons of men.
“Now therefore, listen to me, my children,
For blessed are those who keep my ways.
Hear instruction and be wise,
And do not disdain it.
"Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
For whoever finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord;
But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;
All those who hate me love death.”
The word of God is still more awesome, since it is not subject to decline or decay, as in the second law of thermodynamics*2, so dear to Lord Kelvin, and so sadly reminiscent of the doctrine of decline (Isaiah 51:6), which denotes that our creation is something DONE, that our status is something as a globe, DECLINING and our need is not some fate or destiny of arm, but the GOD WHO MADE ALL, so that the next step can be found, not discovered from the waste basket!
In Christ, this need, long exhibited in the Bible, long met in the Bible with the antidote and remedy, this cover for sin, this uplift for decline, eventually a new heaven and a new earth (cf. II Peter 3), has now also long been met by Christ's own accomplishment for dispersal to man. The decline is merely like something in a book. It occurs, it is covered, the case finishes, and the resolution appears. There is no fear in the Lord; it is fear of God which applies, not a craven fear, but a clean reverence (I John 4, Psalm 19:9):
Of excuses, there are ZERO. Of God there is ONE. Of remedies from God, there is ONE, and this is the one who confirmed it in word and deed (cf. John 14:11), so that the only way to get rid of Him was by His death (cf. John 11:48), which really doesn't work because of the resurrection, which did (cf. SMR Ch. 6 and index).
If Christ had once failed in His forecasts and authoritative word (e.g. in the case recorded in Mark 2:1-10), it would be the case that a false prophet was present. Any failure to rise of the commanded paralytic would have been the failure to be verified for the Son of God. It would have taken but one such case! God however knows what He is going; there is no impasse with Him, but all things work together with His power, for His people, whom He sustains while His program and purposes are fulfilled. Failures for Christ ? in any dimension of His purpose ? of His proclamation (cf. Isaiah 52:12ff.)! None came till He drove His enemies to distraction, envy and madness, murder indeed. Religious murder by priests! It is not so new now, but then, it was not pretty, a studied case.
It did not matter whether He commanded wind, devil or disease, bread to multiply or money to be found in a fish, money-changers in a temple or words to meet the savants: He ALWAYS prevailed in a way which only God could do, in every sphere, every time, in every contingency, no excuses, no exceptions and no compromises, no changes and nothing except one testimony: "Before Abraham was, I am!" (John 8:58).
Christ's prayers when on earth are thus like signing a cheque with the signature of God (cf. Exodus 3:14, 6:3ff.). And then cashing it at a heavenly bank! (Cf. John 11:41-42.) Quite simply, His Father ALWAYS heard Him: for they are one Being, and His identity, it is that of God the sent (Isaiah 48:16, Hebrews 1, Zechariah 2:8).
It is not ‘fate’ if you refuse to cash the proffered cheque that His salvation provides for you (cf. Matthew 11:28-30, John 6:40,50-54, 4:14, I John 2:27, Isaiah 55:1-4, Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1-12, Galatians 3, 5). It is fatal, to be sure; but then, that is far from being the same thing!
You may remember when the sturdily rebellious, but later supinely fearful King Jehoiakim took the scroll of Jeremiah, one outlining his predicament and providing the word of God, cut it with his pen-knife and threw it into his (comfortable) Winter fire. Jeremiah wrote it again. His decline and demise were not things to be desired (II Kings 23:25-24:6).
You cannot suppress the word of God, since it expresses Him. You may however receive it, and with it, the Author whose power is like His pity, His mercy like His love, without limit; but His judgments are sure and true, and when despite His presence and truth (John 15:21-23, John 1:12), men do not receive Him, they merely deceive themselves.
is not able to be vacated. It applies.
I Peter 1:10-12, II Peter 1:16-21, and SMR
TMR 1, pp. 8ff., 17ff.;
TMR 8, pp. 200ff., 210ff., 224ff., 226ff.,
Benevolent Brightness ... 68, 82 cf. SMR 329ff., 315Aff.,
A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 4, pp. 58ff.,
Swift Witness 4, 5 (STEP 2, 3); Stepping Out for Christ ... Chs. 8, 9, 10;
Wake Up World! .. Chs. 2, 4, 5, 6(incl. overview of the torturous windings of a meandering river, that ends in silt),