Isaiah 30AW W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Volume What is New
MAKING USE OF THE MEANS OF GRACE
SITES OF HOT-FOOTING IT TO FICTION
OR RELYING ON WHAT IS WRITTEN FOR TRUTH
When a person's mind is captured/captivated/agitated/set/fixed/allured sufficiently by some idea, it is notable how difficult it may become to diminish, re-examine, analyse its presence or power in a particular case. If, in addition, the idea or thought or preference or understanding forms part of something where pride or dignity or professional standing is, or is held to be involved, then the issues can become like the legs of a special octopus, not with eight, but with more like eighty arms. They all resist.
Take the case of Isaiah 66, very simply, for we have considered it in depth before, more than once.
God castigates formalism and insists that He has strong and solemn regard for the one who is both poor in attitude and contrite in spirit, who is not boastful, extravagant in personal self-regard, who is far from trusting or believing in himself, and who sees clearly what he might have been or done, and did not do or become! He is objectively inclined about his sins, and nothing helps in this like the convicting power of the Holy Spirit working through the word of God (cf. John 16:5-8,13).
As Isaiah 66 progresses, He turns His attention to those performing the prescribed Old Testament rites, and having shown the Messiah in His unique and all-sufficient sacrifice at large and at length (e.g. Isaiah 49-55), and its gloriously free and favourable provisions, He depicts animal sacrifices in this vision of things to come, as horrendous!
However, "when I spoke they did not hear," this the lot of His special, covenantal people to whom all this was initially predicated. Further, " He proceeds, there was even a directly adversative element, rebellion: "But they did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight."
We are in the well-known realm of the only covenantal people then on earth (Ephesians 2:12), to whom very special privileges and opportunities had been given, but who had spoiled as they toiled, telling themselves what their imaginations desired, and giving to this their trust, while from this seeking to draw their thrust. They became like pistons that could not STAND running up and down in the cylinder apertures, because it is, you know, SO LIMITING! It can seem so when lust is lord and truth is a subject of the human will.
The point is, it is Israel, not some fancy concoction of OUR imagination. That is the extensively outlined and intimated subject.
It is not ALL like that, in this adversative and rebellious mode. You see that emphatically, not to say dramatically, in Micah 7 in that glorious soliloquy of the sorrowing personified Israel, looking at the justice of her sufferings and the hope of the Messiah.
SOME did not so act; and notably in terms of the initial arrival at the Promised Land, they were very few. Indeed who but Caleb and Joshua and Moses stood very notably firm - and of course, in THAT case, Aaron too.
A SUDDEN CHANGE OF THE POWER-PATTERN
OF THINGS VISIBLE
There is now, precisely as in Micah 7 (cf. Ch. 4 above), a sudden change of the power-pattern of things visible. He notes the aspersions they have suffered from mocking nations round about (Isaiah 66:9). Indeed, is it only nations ? is it not in Israel, so castigated in this very chapter as seen, that there was guilt in so acting towards some! A change of heart is needed (and granted to what appears the bulk of the nation, towards the end of the Age, as in Zechariah 12). Indeed, in this approach to the finale, there is to be a divine exhibition of power and rebukes to the sensationalistic, bullying straying mob that makes if not a living, then a gleeful hobby or psychic thrust in so doing. These gain their come-uppance.
Those who mocked as they cast out the undesired godly, these were so ironic, so self-assured, saying as they hated and heaved these many afflicted out, "Let the Lord be glorified," as though His very name could be used as they smashed into His people; but shame is to be their immediate come-uppance now in the envisioned coming action of the Lord, securely here predicted (66:14-17). Glorying in goading, they will be abased with a power so ultimate and irresistible that their mounting self-exaltation will forever be exposed. In fact, just as it became depraved, so it will be abased.
In this dramatic end-time context, however, there is to be a demographic change in Israel itself (Isaiah 66:11-12, cf. Zechariah 12-13, Isaiah 32:17). A people who had surrendered their place so that now in divine discipline as foretold (Leviticus 26), they were not even there, AS A NATION any longer, are seen to have two special features. First of all, in the Lord's sight they are assuredly there, but without nationhood. Racially there is a remnant, and many are they who have preserved something of their identity with a singular zeal. It is a people who were distinguishable as ZION, who is about to give birth. Note that: Zion is not about to be born; it is the mother of necessity there already! Birth without a mother is like water without H20.
You cannot at all have a mother giving birth to a child, if the mother is not there. She is not, like the naturalistic conception of the origin of our universe, nothing, or what is good for nothing, being indescribable and without causal power, as if this mental antic were more than avoidance of logic, like tax evasion of law, and this in wilful incoherence.
A void of unreason does not bring forth a universe of rationality, peaking with a logical instrument to show it and know it so, one called mankind!
Similarly, a VOID does not bear a child. This, the mother, Zion, has to be recognisable and present to engage in the processes and procedures of birth. She has a name, and this helps. It is set in a defining context of vast complexity and singularity, and that helps more, like having both an Identity Card and a Social Security number. No doubt is now left.
This reference, then, to the Zion as mother, is not otiose. It does not mean that she is not there or someone else, in the coordinating context. The question of HOW she gives birth is however highly relevant. It is to be a birth of a NATION, through the mother well known, and called ZION, already entirely present and crucially operative, which is addressed. This same ZION is to have others rejoicing with her, the pre-existing and famed recipient of this sudden, startling, unexampled nationhood, something wrought in a day! (as it was in May 1948, with prodigious courage, by Ben Gurion).
So a people called Zion, here with a heavily defined history, culpability, applied discipline of momentous character from the Lord, with a sacrifice-laden past, is to give birth to a NATION. Since the nation was the format previously, and the dispersed, the remnant, often referred to, is what is left but still called Zion, then the result to fit the features known as evidence, as context, so that we are not attempting to write the word of God, like some over-stewed secretary, is that as so often predicted, they are back. In a day, they are back to nationhood.
In this instance, there is a notable feature other than the so notable and oft-repeated theme of this restoration and its national and international surrounds *1. It is the suddenness of the restoration of Israel the nation, incontestable, outrageously, monstrously unexpected, and it involves more distinguishing characteristics.
What had happened, which needed this restoration of the long abandoned nation (but not people, who had long promises from God, as in Genesis 12, 15, 22, and 17:7-8), was not to be wrought in a place of peace, or of non-militants (as also likewise shown in Zechariah 12:1-4). instead, it was to come where there was abundant victory staggeringly effective against numerous invasive enemies of this newly reformed State: this nation no more nascent but BORN!
This supportive and defining victory involved divine wrath, and indeed it is even God Himself who will "render His anger with fury", and so slay many people. That is the context. When the Person spoken of is God, it is doubly necessary not to stray from the subject in substituting someone else. When GOD acts in His own name, it is wise not to molest the text, let alone put what is finite in His place. Let God be God! Otherwise the mistake can be infinite.
This divine assault, after so long a patience (just as was paralleled in Genesis 6 and 15, in the flood as in the case of the morally corrupt Canaanites), is a theme in the Bible. It is for example paralleled in Micah 7, in Deuteronomy 32, Joel 3, Isaiah 49 (Department ... 4, Ch. 10), and 59. It is incontestably what the Lord plans as His action, and His OWN action. Impersonating God is exceedingly unwise, and having any such doctrine is, alas, a travesty of biblical truth.
The divine action is exceptional, exceedingly great, utterly transforming to the world, utterly contrary to the wonder of the Gospel, being the judgment option (as in John 3:16 moving to 3:19 and 36). It is not irenic; it is vengeful; vengeance is MINE, says the Lord! When His patience, as with the Amorites (Genesis 15), is finished, and action must be, HE ACTS! His purposes permit vast uses for liberty; but when enough folly, iniquity has passed to illustrate the sheer folly of oppressors, as with Egypt, as with Tyre, as with Sodom, as with Nineveh, and as is to come with Rome (Revelation 18-19), and as with those who put the "cup of trembling" into the hands of an Israel trampled on as if this were a norm, then it is useless to pretend that He does not act, or that it is another (Isaiah 51:21-23).
His divine and underlying goodness, base for any and every goodness, is not another name for slackness; indeed, He tells us in II Peter 3:9 that He is not slack in waiting so long (as Peter implied that He would do), before returning to rule this earth, as in an exhibition match (Psalm 72), in fact the millenium. This done in prospect, it is still true that He has a cascade of mercy yet to pour forth on those still to be saved. That is the message in this verse: it is because He is longsuffering, Peter 2000 years ago indicated, not willing that any should perish, that the time before His return will be so extended that people will begin to lose patience; but in mercy, God is patient, as by contrast in creation, brilliantly original and dramatically empowered.
Just so! In mercy, time has passed. Precisely this has happened, for exactly this reason. In the context of vast divine mercy, and as in II Peter 3:9, the past two thousand years become like 2 days, in terms of II Peter 3. It is a week-end, yes but also an Age end (as in Luke 21:24), when the restoration of Jerusalem to Jewish rule is the signal: the Gentile era, its Age is over.
The end faces this world, with restoration of Israel a sign of it, Gentile thrashing about a further testimony, evil and death as a way of life, as in Revelation 6, a further defining testimony for its identification. It is NOW. It was NOT before now.
Before 1967, it was inapplicable. It is modern, recent, developing with a dynamism that is startling but which could not be unexpected if the word of God is read into the heart!
ONE of the reasons why you do not need to be psychically concerned if a Christian, is that the predictions concerning Israel in particular, and the world in general are being fulfilled like a train going on schedule, each part ticked off before the next (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5). There is method in this, just as there was staggeringly disciplined method in the DNA. Prophecy says Peter, once more, is like a light in a dark place (II Peter 1:19-21). This should be USED, he indicates, as such! Follow this evidential testimony and you do well, he indicates. If you can read the orders to make new generations of bodies increasingly, mankind, then read what the order of fare is for the spirit of man, which often loves to pretend it is not there, while USING it so to argue. It is so convenient and irrational. But then, sin is like that. That is its nature, disorder, disorganisation and intellectual dyspepsia, with occasional relief, till the next bout.
THE GLORIOUS POINT OF TESTING ALL THINGS
One more pointer, in this approach of TESTING all things, for which Christianity, in biblical terms, is justly famous, having cultivated many great and original scientists, and flamed its way into verificatory methods. God insists that we VERIFY what He says (Isaiah 41, 43, 48), and why not ? Prejudice, pre-judgment, the government of emotions or desire, is it so difficult to avoid, when your life is at stake! Indulgent imagination is not the name of any war of wisdom; and this, it is war (cf. Matthew 10:34, Ephesians 6).
This further pointer ? It is this.
BEFORE Israel TRAVAILED, she would bring forth. That is, before the ancient people, as specified above, in Isaiah 66, went through some whole, ramifying process of gaining nationhood so sadly lost, with so much at stake and then to be so bitterly contested, she would come to the birth! Forget the thrust and counter-thrust. AT ONCE, she would resume her national existence, the more amazing because of the rebukes and rehearsals of her ways. It was not the Church which was lost and categorically astray, but the nation of Israel; and this nation was excluded even from the tree of faith, being exclusively national recipient of what she had lost, judicially, and categorically.
The name securely defined, the act is uniquely explicit: the lost roving people once Zion, now dispossessed and astray, would be restored to its nationhood in a creative day, at once, like a birth without labour, travail, a freak, but a fashioned one, this being from the word and mercy of the faithful God who had predicted its return in so many ways and with so many images for so long (cf. Hosea 12:10, Ezekiel 36-37, the nationhood the first of the two major restorations cited in Ch. 37, and Isaiah 49*2 , 51).
This also happened by divine fiat, as in Ezekiel 37, by the word of the Lord. In May 1948, in one day, the announcement was duly made, and Israel, for lover 1900 years dispossessed of Jews, was 'born' before the main effort, like labour in birth, arrived. It DID arrive indeed; but the BIRTH came first, in a few minutes, and it was done. Then came the action, precisely as described in the prophecy.
The notional Zion, the Zion of history, the one defined in context unique and evocative, iot was this and this alone mothered the new nation, fathered by the profound power of God, so moving from corpse to corpus. What prodigious joy, only to be surpassed in its place, when the second step of Ezekiel 37 should come, their foretold return to SPIRITUAL life, as explicit for the returned nation, in Zechariah 12-13, and implicit in Luke 21:24. But all in order.
Our own capacity to be precise does not come from nothing, but what has what we gained. Let us learn then from our source, instead of indulging in sauce, as if decrying the divine were like an after dinner mint, so titillating.
This amazing and unheard of achievement was part of the program. When however it actually happened, there is amazement.
Who has heard of such a thing ? a child born before labour! God knows what He is doing to the smallest detail, hundreds, yes thousands of years ahead of the predictions (Matthew 5:17-20). With a great champion, victory becomes likely; but with God, certainty is unbreachable. Man longs for it; God provides it; and with it, man longs for peace: God supplies it beyond all understanding. Man is made by God for God. He does not fit into any lesser situation. Philosophy is an account largely of the sparks of grating, as he rubs along scratchily where he should not be!
Just to sum up a popular confusion: ZION, rebellious and cast away as shown, cannot already exist as a mother, if it is rampagingly and gratuitously taken here to mean 'the church', in order to have a child. The Church itself had no basis into which to be born (cf. Ephesians 2:12), and those not in covenantal relationship with God in the offspring of Jacob, were "strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world." Israel's spiritual place had been utterly repudiated as a basis (Isaiah 65:13-15). Its national place had been disastrously lost. But its name lingered, its place secure in history to come, a brought-back-in ENTITY as in Romans 11, one so intimate in correlation to come, as to bring GREAT joy when its spiritual restoration capped the process, like life from the dead as Paul declares so dramatically and incisively (Romans 11:11-12,23).
It was not its own basis; for God was this and He alone. Promises indeed remained (Genesis 17:7-8), but premises were missing. The name was a recipient to give it meaning, and its definition was not only particular and precise in this text, but a glowing reality in the many poignancies and promises of God. It could be a recipient but not a basis. It could be a mother, but not to the Church. Spiritually it was not only lost as a nation, but divorced in spiritual status (Isaiah 50:1-2).
God declared this,
"that you will leave your name as a curse to My chosen;
for the LORD God will slay you and call His servants by another name."
A curse is hardly a frame for conception! It is so generically deathly.
There was no question of Zion as a new being called the Church of the New Covenant, built on that of the Old; for the national body of the old was disowned spiritually, and God's servants would come from a different source, with a different lineage and name (Isaiah 62:1-3, 65:1 cf. Isaiah 30:8-11). Things might be handed on in part (Romans 9), but the point is that the realities were absent, the continuity was denied, the residue was accursed, scarcely a basis for the eternal foundations! let alone the spiritual site for the spiritual Church, as its mother! Moreover, as such it is expressly cut off and out. Only its regrafting into the tree of FAITH (NOT of Israel - it was a branch cut off), could change things. And that ? it would be more of the same, one more limb back in the same tree*2A, her spot in which she had rather tellingly vacated. In terms of the format, this was theocide!
It matters; but never once let it be thought that the same KIND of process within the heart of ANY race has not in essence the same divorce, outrageous quality, and if there be no repentance, exilic force in the place for life! If you are poor (in personal being), and do not take an offered million (in the same terms), then you remain just where you were. If you expect, and do not receive from a given or particular will, and do not get it, or take it if it is offered, then you remain as you were. Israel is not a matter of starts and fits, but a thorough commentary: brought in from outside, flourishing inside, rebellious over time, disciplined and finally forsaken to learn what it is like without God; and then restored to faith and to land, in the opposite order!
That is the case.
Nothing fits with distortion, as with a sideways stretching mirror image. Some things are too wise, others not high enough. Here ZION as a nation is already THERE to BE a mother for the instant child, the NEW nation of the OLD people, Israel. The Christian Church was NOT already there to receive itself, nor was the coverage of the body addressed in Isaiah 66 indicative definitionally of any but Israel the nation, the covenantal people who so far from being formed, had been formed and deformed long before, and were to lose their informational status, to show God's praise, for a long period, to people of another name. They were not there to carry on, but dismissed until such time as the Lord should bring them home to their land and back to their Lord. The former occurs in Ezekiel 36, and the latter appears as the second and spiritual stage, perfectly distinct, in Ezekiel 37.
Zion did not give birth to itself, but the dispersed people of that name gave birth to the nation once again, suddenly reconstituted in one day. The renegades were not the basis for an add-on, but dismissed from all such operation as also in Romans 11. It is a question, says Paul, of re-grafting, and says Isaiah, of His coming back to His own people who had so diligently done evil to the uttermost (Isaiah 59:16-20). Indeed, Isaiah 49*2 gives a depiction of the situation.
It is at once not only moving in its historical multi-faceted account of call and contest, rebellion and restoration, through Him who alone is the light of the Gentiles, whose personal redemptive trials (49:18, cf. 52-53) and whose judgments (49:25-26) on the oppressors, in eminently dynamic terms of eventual slaughter, encapsulates what was found in Isaiah 59 and 66. There is more. The multiply presented, mutually reinforcing accounts join like a table of assorted and beautiful woods inlaid, to make one thrilling overall consistent pattern.
The intimacy of the fallen Israel as a spiritual entity and the Lord's intervention to breach the enemies of her sudden birth again, and to do so with wrath, anger and militant fury has less than nothing to do with salvation. It is a part of the restoration of a nation, a rebuke to many nations, oppressive as if it were some game, a spiritual lesson to many peoples (Ezekiel 39:23), which long had they delighted to ignore, wallowing in woes for those of Israel.
Let us read what is there, and not make up a new and fictional account that fails to distinguish contextual definition, and idly mingles contradictory premises, promises and performances. How true is it that many as before in Israel, (Mark 7:7ff.), ironically enough, forsake the word of God for the traditions of men; indeed NULLIFY it for this purpose.
It is time to cease sleeping if you are in that kit, to wake up, and relish the light in a dark place which illuminates the soul, as Peter instructs us all to do. It is then that the mind and unrescindable realism of the word of God, conjoining, give with confidence, the fleet foot to the fleeting hour before His return. Make haste therefore to make peace with the God of all grace and glory; and to remove obscurations, obfuscations of this kind or that...
But what does Paul say in Romans 11 ? Is it that Israel remained the tree, and part of it was cut off, and back into Israel was the 'Church', was the Christian grafted ? Far from it. The tree is not Israel, but the faith, the covenantal faith, first Old and then the bloom, the New. It is from this which Israel is cut off - not in order to become a basis in some esoteric way, but in order to leave the tree, so that others might become a part of it, and that she herself in time might be grafted BACK, when God is ready, and they are prepared, into that from which she was ENTIRELY REMOVED!
How mixed are the fallacies and how futile the evasions; and now that the Lord has DONE the first part of the restoration, that to the land as part of the twofold entity in view as in Genesis 12, 15, 22, the national site and the international blessing, is it possible that the thing for some is yet confused to this very point, as if to parallel the head-burying exercises of the organic evolutionists, as they SEE now before them, fulfilled to the letter, the WORDS, the expressive, meaning-fraught units for construction of the most advanced visible design on this earth, our DNA, and then, referring back, see that God SPOKE, and it was done... This they do, yet in residual psychic revolt, reject all reason and obliterate reality by obscurantist unbelief! Yet the prediction and the performance remains! Everything fits when you are led by the light of the Lord, that Great Teacher whose word is truth.
Whether physical, or communication laws, whether with astral or electronic, electro-magnetic or gravitational laws, whether with simple directives like Hook's law of proportional stress and strain, or Einstein's partial coverage of pure simplicity of law, governing vast domains, in ever-expanding complexities of application, God spoke and the interpenetration of law and result, cause and effect, adequate input and relevant output happened.
LOGIC AND SCIENTIFIC METHOD ARE INDEED APPLICABLE:
It did so because it was caused. So with Israel, God spoke in simplicity, in figures at times, in propositions self-defining as He made clear the orbit in which He spoke, from time to time, and then USED this to apply prophecy, simple prediction to the future for the entities in view. It is not necessary to humble His word so that the egregious ideas of the modern gnosticism might flower, like grass amid the orchids.
It was said, and sequentially in precision, it happens. It is in the utmost degree relevant to scientific method, for the work is
1) defined in word, precisely.
2) applied in history, exactly.
3) surrounded with relevant emotions as in the outset, so in the onset.
4) confirmed in both times, issuance and result.
Thus the work has further features.
|5) It is so in terms of divine faithfulness to be relied
so that what God says, He does,
not some impresario's imaginative operetta,
to fantasise reality and satisfy the patrons of philosophy.
This is the routine mode, to be compared with other faithfulnesses in type,
basis and power required.
It is in that domain, superlative in degree, unmatched for millenia*3.
Here there is a special feature concerning Israel, but many are the applications.
|6) The findings are compared with other relevant and germane things.|
In this case, this includes other prophecies and their nature, and the results are found to cohere with all the collateral compulsion of ONE MIND behind all: the logic of man and the logic of God, whose it was, is and remains, and who dowered it to the design called man, equipped with spirit so that it does not control him, but offers to him staggering gifts of liberty for good or for evil.
|7) Contrary cases do not appear.|
The field of investigation has a name, the Bible, has a history, millenia, has a scope for multiple testing in many depths and dimensions, and never fails*3, even when a superficial pride of man invents the impossible and endeavours for a time to make it sound plausible It is the word of God which always wins, though at times a stupendous stupour afflicts erring man. This too is what is to be EXPECTED when the source, as defined, is God; and of no other entity IS it to be expected OR found! Liberty and logic alike attest the central theme of creation by what is competent for it and everything in it, attesting itself through that very creation, both with patience and hope, despite dire disgraces amid mankind. Nothing made nothing. Absence of all is like that. You need what it takes.
|8) On every side, tests have one result,
and a testy substitute of superficial enthusiasm or gnostic delusion has NO implementation. Such are the operations to be examined*3.
|9) There is no phase of applicable scientific
method left undone, history being the laboratory, and the Bible the handbook for
testing; and what is more,
as in Isaiah 41, 43, 48, the authentic author POINTS THIS OUT!
|10) Now there is a special test situation in type that of scientific method, but intact because of its unique nature. It is a very special case with criteria of its own.|
This is unique, in that the domain of investigation being mind, with personal nature and vast wisdom, is able so to do. Every law in nature did not invent itself from chaos (which does not exist, since then it could not even have the orderliness of being nameable as a type of entity). It was made by mind and installed in operative format, like an engine in a car. There is reason always. The irrational even discards its own self from argument, if it is desired to use it as a competitive model.
Such are 10 methodical elements. Scientific method*3A is sated here; and as the Bible commands, TEST ALL THINGS, so are the results confirmation.
Let us then return to the particular issue of such moment.
SO the terms "Israel" and "Zion", each one, mean whatever the defining context makes it mean, and when numerous contexts provide collateral confirmation in their many parallel messages, whether on this or that aspect, some almost restatements, you have the universality aspect beautifully evident.
This universality is that of the only operative singularity EVIDENTIALLY attested for man, namely that of the Author of both the mind of man and the mentality behind and constantly confirmed in endless laws of intriguingly brilliant design and subtlety of readable formulation, in the universe. Thus the universe of man's thought and that of the creation's thought attestation, merge like twins, one of them however, born before the other!
This aspect has been dealt with at more length*4 ; but it is never wise to ASSUME a basis for something to happen, and then have the result confounded with the cause! Assume nothing. Read everything. Do not intrude when you interpret, but read what is before you and apply the normal scientific method, to trace cause and correlate with consequence, and test with verification*5 and examine for underlying validity. Never was there longer, better, more precise and more magnificently formulated situation for attestation, confirmation and correlation to enable the people of God to be enlightened in deep times, sheltered with comprehending understanding and fortified with courage because it is so clear.
As in Joel 3, Isaiah 49, 59, 66, Micah 7, Deuteronomy 32, Ezekiel 36-38 for example. In Joel 3, vain is the caricature of the context of militant and furious overthrow of oppressive powers with overpowering thrust and might, before which all must quail, having no hope of rejoinder or effective deliverance, as some non-furious, not wrathful substitute in the provision of peace and pardon. Fury is not donating pardon.
Textually in the word of God, as the very heavens shake, and war is divinely declared by the deity, as source of the long delayed day of the Lord, there is a swallowing up of stability, and a desecration of what had prided itself, in abasement through an overpowering ruin, leaving the results contemptible. Though the day of the Lord had some precursors as in Amos 4, even that prophet did not fail to warn of its TYPE (Amos 5:18-20), and he is very categorical and explicit, defining both by what is said and what is denied as inapplicable!
This, not Gospel peace and pardon, but the ultimate rebuke for the oppressors and robbers of creation, who wish to use its inbuilt powers to make contest with the builder. Nice try! but a useless vanity, a flighty folly, like a child answering a challenge of many droning fighters aloft, with a toy paper aeroplane. They try; they try.
The locusts in the earlier Joel account make a useful image, history its vehicle, earlier for this thrusting in of the sickle in due time, into the fields of thorns, and the plagues of impotent man, seeking to make an exhibition of his clever manoeuvres, futile delusions, and alas, of his gnostic bypasses. Knowing more than God, and improving on the context, what is it like ? It is like being sacked by your employer, and then saying, Ah, I know sir, what you mean, it is that you want to advance me in your company, and term 'sack' is merely a playful way of referring to setting me up, like an exhibit of good products, for all to see!
When such liberties are taken with words, the final words of God still rule, and the danger, indeed peril of being traditionally obtuse, becomes closer and closer to the traditional Jewish fault, of SIMPLY NOT SEEING what the word of God is demonstrably and manifestly SAYING, as in the case of the Messiah, when HE came the first time (cf. Matthew 11:4-18, Mark 7:7). Making void the word of God, as Christ put it, what may be said of it ? It is an art form appealing to some traditionalists and operators, and it provides a standing rebuke to those who RELY ON MEN, even fine and godly persons, who make a fine but not perfect contribution, and then making of their occasional weaknesses a criterion of faith!
That is just what was done with the bronze serpent. It was USED by the Lord as a symbolic image, transfixed on a staff, and many were healed by it. But the thing used is not God, and worshipping it (here use the term 'following it blindly') is not compliment to man, but rather a direct confrontation with God Himself (I Corinthians 3:1-11). You are not ALLOWED (like the tree in Eden case) to do this thing.
You MAY NOT use even a name like that of Paul as a criterion or basis for differentiation. It is FORBIDDEN. If you want to see the past, go to the first three hundred years of the Church to see the outstanding figures who looked for the return of the Lord and the millenium in that order; go to the Reformation and find numbers who vary from this AMID a far more basic contention in which they made some fitting changes to the horrors of Romanism. But DO NOT set up ANYONE, with any NAME as a basis, or class or category, but Christ only, His word only: or just rebel and do it anyway!
Good helps are one thing and should be relished with discrimination, for each must answer; but to turn them into classification mechanism, traditionalist statistics to determine this or that, is to abuse the very persons cited. You MAY NOT DO IT. Listen to God when He speaks: alas failure to do this has led to man's downfall from the first, and persists in this world, to the last. The simple word of God: AVOID IT. Indeed, avoid those who insist on it, for it is forbidden (Romans 16:17).
See for example Department of Bible ... Vol. 4, Ch. 10.
*2A EXCURSION ON THE FIDELITY TO THE WORD OF GOD
WITH VARIOUS APPLICATIONS
THE DISTINCTIVE THEME OF TEXTUAL FIDELITY
Thus it is not some retrogressive feature, some reversion to Old Testament symbolism, but the one and only everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ, unclad and direct. Once and for all, the former was already obsolescent, its point finished, its symbolism of salvation sated in fulfilment to which Israel (or anyone else) comes, with its national restoration (Hebrews 8:13). In fact, "He has made the first obsolete." Galatians 6:14 is mandatory. What is fulfilled is not what is to be kept to jot and tittle, since it ALREADY HAS BEEN FULFILMENT, and we do not turn back to clock on the cross itself, and what it depicts both directly and uniquely for the future from it.
Israel, as in Galatians 3:28-30, is one of many peoples, in Gospel terms, though distinctive in this, that she alone among the nations came through the preparatory symbolics and the experiences of a spiritual history, making in the process, a huge contribution, despite her own many failings, and the eventual fault line, to be remedied.
Thus it is necessary to preserve ALL the word of God, concerning the future of Israel, and of the Gospel, the elimination of what departs from it as if there were two religions, not as is the case, a bud-bloom relationship, irreversible and comprehensively assigned, irrevocable and integumentally operative from the time of the resurrection. Neither is Israel to be made some separate spiritual domain, nor a dumped entity, promises voided; but it has a place in grace, as a testimonial from first to last, from the Abrahamic appointment and premises, promises and principles, to their faith-level fulfilment personally (Romans 4). It contributed the Old Testament and inherited the New, though as a nation unwilling at that crucial time. It is neither superior nor inferior in this, that all have sinned; there is one Gospel, one judgment, one Saviour, one murdered Messiah (slain in the conscience and heart of many Gentiles, as well as on the select scaffold of Israel and Rome, for their work was JOINT).
Neither is dispensationalist (cf. Deliver us from Dispensationalism) exaltation of Israel the nation, beyond the rest, nor is the norm to be found in the amillenial camp¶, to the contrary voiding certain data and divinely stated planning premises and promises, procedures and lessons, available for biblical exegesis. The one is on as active collision with the word and work of God, much as is the other. Truth is often not found in the contrary and mutually contravening traditionalistic clashes (though this is not to say, one or other party in such is always wrong, for truth has its own domain), but rather that it is always discernible in the precise presentation of what is written, not excising this or that in the interests of some appealing philosophic extreme, nor adding AT ALL. Indeed, it requires not only a careful and precise fitting with the biblical concept or command in this or that particular, but being filled with ALL SCRIPTURE, for it is this which is so eminently profitable, useful and stabilising, whether it SEEMS extreme or not (II Timothy 3:16).
You can say, to take a simple example, "Go!" and some grab this and do so, speedily assuming that they do well. But if they had waited till it was finished (comparable to considering every scripture on a topic, each presentation and its import), they might have heard, "Go on the way you are going, and it will bring joy to your enemies!" ALL scripture must be brought into account, omitting nothing, neither ignoring any, nor overflowing with unauthorised exuberance beyond it, alike.
Israel is as shown in the word of God in all its phases and facets, deployed contextually as the case is, each reference rather like a well of water to be drawn faithfully with what is there: no additions, no removals. It is in fact often shown as the nation, distinctively, decisively, assuredly, thematically, with a traced, unique and heavily heartfelt and particular relationship with the Lord; and to change this is mere obstruction to the word of God, re-writing with addition or excision. It is unconscionable, and grips the heart with deep concern for those who so err. Israel was at last to be returned to its land according to promise in times verging on the end of the Age. It was then to fight as described in Zechariah 12, win in an amazing manner as testimony to the Lord and as insisted, to be a troublesome place with many assaults and insurgencies, even after this its return, even then still unconverted to Christ. It was to proceed in two steps.
First would come as it has come, a physical return to its site as so early assigned (Genesis 17:7-8 cf. Luke 21:24), and then the spiritual return to the Lord (Ezekiel 36-37), the latter at last being the site and the acme of revivals, a grand passionate return in heart with repentance to the Lord in terms of His former, rejected salvation in the nation. The geographical with its historical background thus preceded the spiritual and indeed the evangelistic phase, in its cardinal wonder.
This is shown as bringing the nation not merely back to a closer association with the Lord, but in large measure, indeed characterisably back to Him altogether, whose calling card in PERSON was earlier trashed, torn up (Isaiah 52:13-15). This, then, it was by a nation which, after its long absence as in Hosea, will repent of it with a bitterness a water mark for all repentance, repent precisely of the treatment thus accorded to its very Lord, Messiah, and this in its depth and horror at itself, expanding to a joy in the Lord, which nothing can contain, such is the Lord (Isaiah 12).
What else is there in this gripping drama of divine invitation, discipline and enduring faithfulness ?
In the power of God, it will be delivered from its enemies, including a massif of multi-national assault, and spiritually as a nation once in, then it is found coming back to its former tree, that of life in the Lord, of faith's focus in the Lord, the foundational realities of the covenant-making God. In so doing to the one GOSPEL (Galatians 1), it will become a sound part of an eminently corroded Christian Church, joining other authentic residues, as false prophets and christs abound (Matthew 24:24, Romans 11, Isaiah 66), deceiving many, but not bringing about the downfallof the actual Church of Jesus Christ, though suffer it will!
Taking ALL His bride (none sent on later by post of the major components that constitute that bride), He will assemble all in His heavenly wedding of unity in profundity (cf. Ephesians 5, theme). Jew and Gentile will have no priority in the assemblage of faith (Galatians 3:23-29), as is written; but on His coming back to reign, Jerusalem will be in staring, startling focus (Isaiah 2, Micah 4), when the Lord returning, consummates this togetherness of which Paul speaks so delightedly (Romans 11:30-36,Hebrews 8:13), and institutes the millenium as in Revelation 20, Isaiah 59, Psalm 72, Revelation 20.
In this, Jerusalem the slaughter house, where 30 pieces of silver is derisively noted by Zechariah 11, as a good price for the LORD, now becomes the regal centre, the focus which is virtually shouting, HERE IT IS, the ONLY place where grace reached and showed its grand heights to the uttermost visibility, where Christ the only begotten died for you, where He rose in the slaughter of mortality for those who receive Him, and the assignment of immortality, this ONE Christ, ONE place, ONCE the crucial site for the remedial suffering of the ransom. It is not glorified in or for itself, but because there is glory in its regal Ruler. This shines out like the sun, radiating.
Unique was the love, the ransom, the day of the offering, the rupture of death that followed, and was the Gospel of grace so paid for. There is no aggregation of gospels, christs, payments, procurings, lords, human ideas begetting more scare-crow children with the thoughts and aspirations of fallen man,s tripping truth as if it were once more to become a target! It was an expensive and expansive one!
There is and never has been any alternative, the case is prospective, retrospective, foretold from the first (Genesis 3:15), and sustained to the last. God said it, foretold it, did it, applied it and will consummate all in terms of it as in Revelation 5!
There is His glory, as in Galatians 6:14, and while the "cross" there stated undoubtedly refers to ALL the love, mercy and grace shown, as background, it also as foreground shows to the horrified mind, the locality and the reality, the particularity and the processive anguish IN which it was USED as a non-poetic death penalty by transference, for the deliverance of all in the entire world who receive Him, as in Isaiah 53:1-5, those healed having their sins borne by Him, just as He freely and in the love of God offered this very thing to all (John 3, Colossians 1, I Timothy 2, I John 2:1-2, John 15:22-25) in the glory of enterprising mercy. It is moreover not the object as such that is glorified, but the sovereign Saviour who was placed upon it, and there wrought in wisdom sublime the sacrifice effectual for sin and salvation.
It had its locale, as did the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil, as did the betrayal by Judas, as did the site of his throwing back his unhappy sale price; and it has its testimony, like Niagara Falls for the US: but this is more than that. Here was the fall that finished inveterate failure in man,and a work that was completed by His Creator. It was He who fell upon sin and sin which fell upon Him; and it has been met by the Maker of man, in format as man, in function as victor, by His own everlasting life, faultless and sublime, unable to be convicted, squashed, or defiled. There is the repository for faith, and there is no other (John 14:6, Acts 4:11-12).
So does His word depict, and mighty is He who executes His word (Joel 2:10-11, Isaiah 46:8). The wars of the nations will be pulverised in their presumption (Isaiah 2, Micah 7, Ezekiel 38-39, Revelation 19), peace now prevailing; and free of endless assaults will this His domain be on the earth, whether from inquisitions or terrorists or jihadists or Hitlers or Stalins or Maos or Napoleons or any other kind or variety of vice, while those receiving the tender mercies of God will have world-wide depiction, not in words only, but in their predicted culmination, history, that laboratory of God, the site of His splendour of heart, patience of spirit and glory and salvation. The millenium will not as by the quill of some intellectual thrill, be deleted. But it ends. The very earth is finished, as was His own work on the Cross as He came as in John 3:15ff., that the world might be saved. Having been lost, with precious jewels set aside, it is finished, and a new heavens and earth come from Him whose power is of that order, and without limit (Psalm 115, Isaiah 14:27, 40). His will, as at the first, is what is done; and what He prizes, in the end, that is to be kept.
Neither is the Jew exalted, but Christ who used that race for His incarnation; neither is the Gentile exalted, who in general did not even bother to take action in view of the plight of the Jew as predicted with such fidelity and detail in the joint scriptures of the prophets; nor is this world, in which unspeakable horrors become so common, but rather it is to be dismissed (Matthew 24:35); nor is man, whose breath is in his nostrils (Isaiah 2:22 cf. Bible Translation on the same), for taken apart, like a ball point pen in bits, of what account is he ? ONLY in the Lord has he even meaning at all!
Significant is the failure of numbers of squalling contestants of this or that philosophically identifiable cast or other, to be just in exposition of all the parts of the apparatus of history, the intent of God, of the laments of His heart and the lordliness of His decisive, imaginative and infinitely loving action of mercy, using Israel mightily, manifoldly and repeatedly to press home His gift, His discipline, His reliability and His active mercy that does not die in itself, though the scarred heart of folly may at last no more heed, nor listen, in its state of self-imposed outcast.
This is that foreknown to God before sin even entered, or folly knew its place among men (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29ff.), knew all its ways and would both create, save and secure in His own power, even when strength of man is gone (cf. Deuteronomy 32:26ff., Micah 7:15ff., Isaiah 2, Daniel 7:20-22). It is necessary to cease from man, whether to make himself, find himself, save himself, deliver himself; for while exploits may be commendable, the exploits of commencement, salvation and deliverance are a divine exclusive, structuring for man what he is, is to be and why. There is no other Saviour but GOD HIMSELF (Isaiah 43:10-11), whether the nation of Israel, the nations of this world, other spirits, luminaries or lords. It is ALL by grace through faith. Right till the very end when judgment comes as in Daniel 7 above noted, does the evil power lower; and this is UNTIL this judgment as in II Thessalonians 2 and 2 likewise. Why not visit the word of God and FOLLOW IT! It does not speak in riddles.
NOTHING is what may with unwarranted initiative be poetised (perhaps a new word for an old failing) into a profundity of unlicensed obscurantism; nothing is what may be suppressed; and NOTHING is the elevation to be given selectively to any particular elements in the overall failure, each in his own way, of every individual, every nation and everything that exalts itself in the whole human race. GOD ONLY will be exalted in that day (Isaiah 2). Neither poetry nor prose, imagery nor imagination of man will alter it. Images illustrate, predictions concentrate; neither literalism nor allegoricism is the point. The word of God is clear, when you follow it assiduously, uninventively but with a lively imagination which takes heed not to surpass the scope of what God has chosen to reveal.
It is the sober realisation that the word of God like any other word is not a matter for squalid squalls of unwarranted despisers of some element of the vast array of expressive possibilities in language, which is a crucial need. Even less is it a matter of citing -isms, using illustrious names of past saints; for this is forbidden (I Cor. 3), in the matter of parties and partisanship. You are not to CALL your position after ANY of them. Those whom God called ministered the word (I Peter 1:10ff., 2:19ff.) in the depth and detail given (I Corinthians 2:9ff.), and the result is the point, not at this level, the pens or the scribes who wrote.
It is a matter of checking for each biblical site in integrity, and for all in relevant inter-relationship which yet does not subvert any particular case, for with it comes the realisation that every jot and tittle will be fulfilled. The issue is not a literary embolism wantonly working its obscurantist way, but of the authority of God to speak clearly as He insists (Proverbs 8:8) He does, and of man to hear responsibly, taking all things into account to the uttermost part, neither swelling in triumph to new additions, as if the car had no brakes, nor deleting the tyres, as if it could not travel. Certainly some things are hard, but nothing is said for nothing, nor is any decline in clarity involved.
Textual fidelity, then, is a phrase giving the sense, and the need, not needless warfare about what in the clarity of God, is amply provided with correctives for the wallowing imaginations, and sadly personalised traditions with which man, as in the day of Christ, tends to manipulate the word of God (Mark 7:7ff.). The word itself must judge, all of it. It must be permitted to speak, while at the outset, the heart is silent to appreciate, realise, relate and being subdued, find.
See for example Index, and in particular here:
Man in Retrospect, in Prospect ... Chs. 7 8
Department of Bible ... Vol. 2,
and Vol. 3. Ch. 10; and especially note Bay of Retractable Islands ... Chs. 18 -19.
On these matters in terms of comprehensiveness to avoid needless partisan particularity, see especially Bay of Retractable Islands ... Chs. 18 -19.
On Zechariah 14 and the biblical principle of using a given perspective to interpret all imagery, and its characterisation of what is obsolete, see Hapless Hitches... Ch. 7, The Open Door, The Closed Mind and the Call of Christ, Appendix.
REFERENCE NOTE ON ISRAEL PENTAD
On multiplied points concerning the wonder of the work of God in Israel, see
Israel Volumes 1-5. Access is provided below.
now a PENTAD
The fifth volume with the others, is given particular attention below, as might well be, since Israel is currently on stage for what in Shakespearian terms is Act 5.
Vol. I ISRAEL BLOWS THE TRUMPET, YET IT DOES NOT HEAR
Nor Will Many
Nations! But Hear it all Will!
Vol. II ISRAEL: ITS DAY FROM A LONG WAY AWAY
Consider Israel - If
You Don't, You May Have to!
FAITH, FISHBONES, FIASCOS
AND THE FAITHFULNESS OF THE LORD
Inspection and Collection
in the Inextinguishable Light of the Bible
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR ?
ISRAEL and The TWO-EDGED SWORD
FOR and AGAINST -
and the setting is
SIN or SALVATION
GOD BLOWS THE TRUMPET
BUT WHO IS LISTENING!
RUMBLING, TUMBLING THRUST TO RUIN
TRUTH IN THE EXHAUST
This extends Volume I above, in the field of News.
See Department of Bible ...
Vol. 1, Ch. 10 (symbols, symbolism and structure),
Vol. 2, Ch. 1, Ch. 1, Appendix, Ch. 6 (foundational),
and also Ch. 10 (measures in the millenium); with
Vol. 3. Ch. 10;
Vol. 4, 10 (case of Isaiah 49),
Vol. 5, Ch. 4 (includes review in list, of 'Israel' the national entity), Ch. 5,
Vol. 6, Ch. 12.
See also the following.
Why Not Believe the Lord's Christ! Ch. 5 (power is of God,
whether in creation, salvation or restoration of a person, a nation or a new heavens and earth: in dealing with infinity, the God who made even that concept possible, mistakes can be weighty!).
Bay of Islands ... Chs.. 18 and 19.
Looking more broadly on the topic of Israel,
the UN, this world and its condition, method of approach,
you might wish to consult the following.
It Bubbles ... Chs. 10, 11,
It Bubbles ... Chs. 8, 9,
The Biblical Workman 1, esp *3 , and 8;
Galloping Events, Chs. 1, 2, 3
(the last gives broad biblical coverage in depth, including Romans 11);
Highway of Holiness Ch. 6 (survey of end-scenes and historical antecedents regarding Israel);
The Open Door, the Closed Mind ... Ch. 8 (correction of some maverick concepts for Israel, without failing to retain the actual privilege and those promises which are unconditional - extensive Israel coverage);
The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet, Ch. 9
in conjunction with Lord of Life 3
(perspective of Israel in modern history, seen from the Biblical forecasts, including basis for concern one month before the Twin Tower disaster as recorded here).
Of considerable interest is the series of uniquely collated features concerning Israel.
Red Alert Ch. 10
On some of the highly specialised and specific features of unique Israel, not available for transmutation at the liberty of will, are these, noted in Red Alert Ch. 10. It commences with the fact that just as the exile of Israel was foretold (as in Micah 5 for example, and Ezekiel 36ff.), so on its eventual restoration at the end of the Age (Luke 21:24), with its capital Jerusalem, there is STILL need, despite this relocation, a regeneration of the heart of many in the land, to subvert subversion, and restore faith in the Messiah, whom the nation before crucified.
This by no means diminishes the force of the highly diffferentiated land of the name of Israel, its romance and its ruin, its imperial phase and its once kingly beauty, its rescue from slavery through a prophet and its testimony, despite much amiss, before it fell (as in Romans 9).
It is time for Israel to seek the Lord. They are in need. They are without strength just as was to be when the Lord predicted that HE HIMSELF would intervene (Deuteronomy 32:36ff., Zechariah 12, 14, Micah 7:15ff.), for them.
It is a beautiful drama, really, that of
delivered from slavery after being promised a land, out of
with panache, Egypt
miraculously preserved in the desert while discipline mixed with faithfulness deals with a tragic lapse in faith at the very portals of the promised land,
arising in lustre with David, the King, type of the Messiah,
languishing in the foulest of misdeeds among Gentile nations, as if she were one of them,
disciplined to the loss of her northern member entirely,
delivered in Jerusalem in Hezekiah's day, by a miracle parallel to that in Egypt,
lapsing so utterly that exile to Babylon ensues,
delivered with purged and purified people, a remnant of passion, who rebuild,
drifting into subtleties and misprogramming wiles after the days of the Maccabees' victories,
murdering the Christ their peace,
finding the loss of peace ever since,
evacuating their homeland as they evacuated their Messiah,
despised by those who suffer for it according to promise,
acclaimed for their brilliance, hated by many,
murdered to nearly one half by Hitler,
but first acclaimed for a homeland by England who with the League of Nations provided Palestine for the purpose,
while the 'international community' gave most of it away to other states, and now wants still more returned.
Despite all this,
has been amazingly victorious over decades after its historic return (cf. SMR pp. 775ff.), a return and a style of victory just as predicted from that ever validated Bible. That, it has been brought to pass for it by divine power, though it was dumped by Britain, truly in this 'perfidious Albion' of Shakespeare's phrase, and assailed by the UN, wanting if not her blood, then her capital and most of the land, as since 1947. Nor have been lacking intensely interested neighbours, lusting for her extinction from time to time, and some perhaps all the time: such as Syria, Iraq, Egypt (since at peace), or the international Islamic meetings, desiring her extinction, and yet prevailing not at all to secure this, not though they be tens of millions with tens of billions available, in oil funds. Israel
Man versus the word of the living God - the Bible, that word that breaks Rock, can never win; and though it be in madness to cut off his own mercy, yet it does not prevail in its disposition of times and events. You have only to look and see ...
See the volume on this site, Scientific Method ...
See the extensive work, The gods of naturalism have no go!
See the above, but for a multi-faceted coverage see also
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS
Bible or Blight,
Christ or Confusion:
The Comprehensive Resolution of Man's Intractable Problems
is Found Only in the Bible, the Word of God,
DEITY AND DESIGN, DESIGNATION AND DESTINY