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and the THREEFOLD PRONG
POINTING TO THE END OF THE AGE
Ezekiel 26-28, 37-39, Revelation
In Chapters 12 and 13 above, consideration has been given to the specialised case of Tyre, dealing with Ezekiel in the Chapters 26 and following. Now this Epilogue, what was planned as a short, sharp completion with its own emphasis, has become not only an account of the later development in ancient Tyre, but a call for insight and recognition of divine oversight, in the progressions of history, using our special interest in Tyre, and hence in the surrounding imperial list of Daniel (four in number), for comparison of such things with the ways of the Lord. Thus the birth of their kingdoms and the worth of His domain, come into view in contrast. With this as is natural, comes review of His word as it binds history which follows for all its shoutings, with the conformity to the word of God, of a lamb. Not lamb-like however are its howlings, but only in this, that what has been written in the Bible, is what is found with the eye and ear.
Latter Day Tyre
In the last Chapter, we saw something of the elevation and degradation of Tyre, its heights so great, that even after the ravaging of Nebuchadnezzar, unknown to him doing his stint as in an opera program, and singing his oratorio with splendid zeal, it endured much. This included a 13 year reported siege of the mainland city. Undaunted, it even showed centuries later, a spirit of undimmed assurance, daring to slay some of the messengers seeking its surrender, from Alexander, with the confidence of its offshore, island retreat. The Little Tyre which grew as mainland fell, was not now so small. This murder of some of the conqueror's messengers would possibly seal the city's fate at the strategic level, making it mirror that foretold by Ezekiel 26.
God uses many
means, and that includes making even the wrath, the hot anger of man, to serve
Him, as here (Psalm 76:10). What fulfils that task, may then in its residue
become absorbed by the deity, like clothes, and be aborted as in the case of the
early death of Alexander. That was the conquest of Alexander by mortality,
coming in his still almost youthful years, in his thirties. The world of the day
was won; but Alexander himself was lost.
The situation leading Alexander on, before his grand sweep of world powers, to overcome them, to invade Tyre at such cost, by one report the workers on the mole amounting to figures in the ten thousands is of interest; for it can educate us on the potential folly of power and the power of folly, when untamed in man: that lofty spirit. Possibly it was out of outrage and questions of kudos, as well as of imperial aspirations, that the initial flamboyant refusal of the city to yield, with murder to match, clinched the desire at such cost, for a full invasion of the city. This was to fulfil Ezekiel's prophecy, in providing a REASON in the mind of Alexander for putting the stones of the city into the sea in order to build a causeway (to become an isthmus) to the city to enable its overthrow amid imperial vengeance from Alexander for its audacity in treatment of his messengers.
What steps, then, did the fleet-footed Alexander take when he both reached and breached the island city, Little Tyre, which now appeared a repository for much transported to it from the mainland scene ? Just as the story of the building of the causeway arouses interest, for the report is of canny and determined efforts, when Tyre at last realised its impregnability was not so, but rather an incitement to the conqueror, and so sought to destroy this growing maritime path to the city, so does that leader's response.
It reportedly included tests of purpose and endurance for Alexander. For example, when the causeway was in danger of failing, instead of deciding that enough was enough, Alexander redoubled his efforts to complete the construction. Starting with fresh vision, he caused it to be rebuilt it more stably, including tower consolidation, and with naval power coming back to his hand from elsewhere, overcoming Tyre's fleet disastrously, he breached its massive wall. What then ?
When Alexander the Great conquered the island off Tyre's coast, Little Tyre, he reportedly had thousands crucified, more thousands sold as slaves, while that maritime location suffered rampaging assault. Thus even the Island was smashed, and it continued to be devastated by many forces in the following years, even by earthquakes, with ruins now in view coming from Greek and Roman times, with no trace of the Phoenician city, its culture, its civilisation, all left mounded over its breaches with the flux of time or pounded by the sea.
The other towns built around the isthmus and adjoining area, as if at a wake, are recently said to be depressed, mauled in war, neither the site of mainland Tyre nor the grandeur of island-retreat Tyre with anything left to show. In sum: the work of Alexander in using the materials of mainland Tyre to reach and ravage the Little Tyre on the island, was artfully resisted by the Tyrians; but in the end Alexander receiving reinforcements for his fleet, had a great victory over that of Tyre, punctured its walls, slaughtered people, smashed treasures and went on his way at length to his own death session in India, dying like Tyre.
On his demise, as Daniel 8 predicted, there was a multi-partite residue of his power and civilisation, leaving four regions! Division led to excision, and there was no more unity in the Macedonian empire. Indeed, the empire so slipped, that it did not even provide safety for Alexander's wife. He himself was gobbled up in his own grandeur, like the food of one of his feasts. As to Tyre, glory, ancient site, monuments of glory, continuation of culture, imperial presence and power, its own nature and contribution were all swallowed up in desolations continuing over the ages, and as to the predicted fishing, yes even now it continues, as it may well have done in the days of the initial 13 years siege and ravagement of Nebuchadnezzar. That was a feat to yield scope for the many sunken stones of Alexander and his intensive, sustained fury.
Thus whether in small attacks by some, or in these two massifs of assault by Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander, Tyre was spoiled, soiled, its splendour departing, its site drowning. Sought in vain in its loss, it yielded only this negative, overall and sustained result of its civilisation and glory, site and sufficiency, imperial temper and spiritual signature. Wrought chiefly by two, but over time by the unconscious co-operation of many assailants, these many actions led to the eventual unchartered burial of Tyre. But who did more than Alexander, who having despatched the glory and will to resist of that magnificence, was himself despatched in short measure, living not long after this! So was the temper of intolerant majesty and invincible aspiration left ready for others to seize in satanic power, as beauty turned to ashes, vision to death, might to murk and ostentation to rebuff in the world.
Note: The site
gives much information on Tyre and Alexander. For more, use this hyperlink in particular. A major source used is the ancient "historian Diodorus Siculus, who lived from approximately 80-20 B.C.," who "wrote extensively of the young Greek conqueror’s dealing with Tyre."
ANOTHER THREE (1)
Rome - its empire,
Rome - its religion,
and its Take-Over
by the Essence and Finale of the Beast,
the Ultimate Tyre and Pyre of Unreason and Untruth
But the flaming Phoenician empire, the one self-elevated, self-motivated, intoxicatingly vindictive towards Israel and insurmountable by the world, rich to dizziness, sick with a surfeit of false religion, treating itself as a god (Ezekiel 28:9-10), it is no more; its ruins buried, it has no replacement ... there. The imperial baton is there; but it is not for Tyre.
But what of others ? Daniel's listing of the four empires in view as in Daniel 2, 7 and 8, leading on to the spiritual exposition of Daniel 9, then, began in his sphere of concentration, with Babylon. It went on to Media-Persia and this was followed by the Greek or Macedonian case of Alexander the Great, rushing into a highly temporary greatness, his feet in his pursuit barely touching the ground, as foretold in Daniel 7:6, where the image for this third of the four predicted kingdoms was a leopard, but not only this for lunging speed of conquest, for it even had wings! A winged leopard, there is speed, and Alexander richly fulfilled it.
Tyre, then, being hit by this third empire, the narrative, the listed kingdom sequence of Daniel 2, 7, 8, led to the fourth and final beast in this overall coverage. This was the European empire of Rome. It was this which took the unholy baton of imperial power, as the things to come in the world, facing Israel indeed, were exposed in advance. That Empire, in turn, that of Rome, led on to the end of the Age.
In Daniel 7's cover of the case to come, we find that this fourth empire, or beast with its commercial, military, political and religious (quasi- or direct) character, was different from the rest earlier in the list. Such is the message of Daniel 7:1-10,19-27.
This last beast was in fact to be partly strong and partly fragile or broken (Daniel 2:36-45). For ravagement in its strength, it was incomparable; but there was also a certain weakness, which qualified that strength in its own way. So has the Roman Empire, succeeding in imperial impact the Alexandrian one and the four derivatives of his Empire, four break-up residues of his power, in different regions. All this went by the Book, and the Book, the Bible, went by the word of God.
Now unfolded to be fulfilled, then, was this fourth kingdom, with its own final type, specifications in many ways.
Thus for long Roman imperial surges ruled with architecture, roads, civil developments and forms of organisation marking its progress. When Rome fell in 410 AD, there was still not only its power to absorb, but the Eastern Empire, a spin-off in some ways, soon to be dishonoured by the Emperor, Julius the Apostate as he is called. This coming and going Empire was to continue, partly strong and partly fragile, with its ecclesiastical vying and relevant power, till in 1453 Constantinople fell to the troops regarding favourably the false prophet Muhammad. Even at that, the Roman power, despite this fragility, was not gone.
Indeed, it remained, rather directively, in the Holy Roman Empire, its beginning as an Empire in 800 A.D., in due course giving collateral lines of power for Rome. Proceeding past the times when the Moors in Spain and the Islamic efforts at world rule (like another Alexander, risen from the dead) sought in vain their goal, this being set back by the Battle of Tours in 732. This their rebuff kept Europe from their demeaning desires. Proceeding on, developing oppressively, as centuries past followed that 800 Empire of Charlemagne, It developed into that Holy Roman Empire which lasted in some form till 1917, when the powers in which it was invested were defeated. Yet just as this so strong and so fragile Empire began in Imperial Rome, so it expanded its borders in a new Roman imperialism, a religious one, seeking to use the nations for its wishes.
This one showed strength once more, and is famous for such items as the Inquisition, in Italy, in Spain, in England, for its orders to kings, and for the humiliation of the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV, summoned to seek pardon for his independence, and left for some days in the snow before the religious head, the pope, would condescend to see him. Multiplied thousands perished in the Inquisition, a tyranny of body, soul and mind, specialising in killing, as Christ specialised in being killed, in control, as Christ in compassion and the procurement of pardon, and this not for Himself, who needed none, being faithful to the death, and overthrowing death in the resurrection, available in its time to His people.
He procured it for His citizens, disciples in the kingdom of heaven, which He declared, is not of this world. Otherwise, He pointed out to Pilate, His servants would fight. That however He forbad. This world was the scene of His lovingkindness, not shoving blindness. That was left to the agencies of evil, imperial, exacting, often inhuman, certainly inhumane, filled with desire based on nothing but pride and circumstance, thrust and various forms of lustings.
So this partly strong, partly broken Empire of Rome continued in various forms, this one the Holy Roman Empire, till after World War II, it came with renewed strength, to occupy the imperial floor, like successive dancers arriving, this continuing till near midnight.
Thus after World War II, Europe began with the Common Market, moving to the European Union. Becoming a large world power, it began to look for a Constitution with which to define itself. What would it call itself, or under what name would it go ? What character would it assign to itself ? Would Greece and Rome be a basis for a character reference ? No. Would Christianity, or the this worldly distortion of it in Romanism or Roman Catholicism, as it is in self-contradiction named ? Europe would have neither, so that a "common destiny" was the portmanteau to carry it where it might go, whatever that might be, and wherever it might be.
For years there were ten in this new alliance, for more years there were ten in the Western European Alliance, the defence group set up and relating to it, that winding down in 2011; and now the forms await new definition.
Meanwhile, as in Revelation 13 and 17-18, there is to be a specialised religious side as well as political, so that in Rev. 13 there are two beasts, the one supportive of the other (Rev. 13:11). This is an ultimate formula for one religion, just as there are signs for the coming effort to culminate the anti-Christ regions with one coinage, one financial system at last, and one rule overall. But in Rev. 17:1ff., we come upon what is called the harlot, indeed "the great harlot". This is sexual imagery as in Ezekiel 16, 23, as in Hosea, for unfaithfulness to God on the part of what is ostensibly committed to Him, like an erratic wife. She, typifying the spirit reaching back to Babylon and its multiple religions and soaring pretensions, and indeed to Eden, in its breach with God from the first, is identified in this phase by seven hills as Rome.
This harlot, or prodigiously erring party, religion leaning, in fact riding on the imperial beast (Rev. 17:1-6,15-18, with Ch. 18), while using the name of Christ, is tossed off the back of the beast, we find. Burning is her lot (Rev. 18), many mourning their lost trade, in some parallel to the case of Tyre. Then, without her governance or interest, the ten rulers proceed to amplify unhindered their rampaging presence.
Thus this fluctuating Empire , pursues its arrogance of imperial power alone. There are ten major participants, but there is but one image, and this is to be worshipped (Rev. 13:17), by decree, though none can force the heart in which Christ savingly abides (Revelation 13:8,15). What in the early days was the Roman Emperor to be worshipped, now is their IMAGE of the BEAST, dowered with deceptive powers, to be given what is for God alone. As we find it in II Thessalonians 2:10, the underlying power, Satan, has all the deceivableness of unrighteousness, deceit his trade, lies his lore, tyranny his trade.
This now unfettered imperial power then acts with ruthless fidelity to its type as with Tyre, and though the time is not long, the ten end kings in the Fourth Empire development will luxuriate in their power, being given "one hour with the beast" (Revelation 17:12). Insatiable according to the nature of the four successive empires shown to be coming by Daniel in Chs. 2, 7,8, with addition in 9, these predicted kings burn the site of the "harlot", that is its Roman lair. This resembles the fate of Tyre in that for it also, the merchants were shown giving funereal sorrow at its passing, so ending all competition, and vast were the engulfments that saw that end.
Religion now will be just according to THEIR desire, and just as Europe has now bypassed a Romanist basis, cardinals notwithstanding, the entirety looking for something better for itself in its constitution, but not knowing where to go, so their imperious rule continues for its brevity. It falls in its limits, when "the man of sin", showing himself that he is god, in the temple, inherits like Alexander, a very sudden end (II Thessalonians 1 and 2:4-10). The flames of consummation are very active in the end!
Thus inquisitorial Rome, the great slayer in the NAME of Christ who Himself forbad the sword, whose kingdom did not involve itself with this, even for HIS OWN defence before Pilate or the soldiers (John 18:36, Matthew 26:52-56), was one of the components of the 4th beast. Yet, occupying itself with power over the beast like a woman riding on its back, this religious ruler finds herself suddenly dumped, her contributions to its scope ceasing, her loss irreparable (Revelation 18 cf. SMR pp. 946ff.). Its raw and elemental self-worship then come to its day, the ten kings rushing alone to their "one hour" with the ravaging beast.
As earlier seen, this is terminated when the "man of sin" of II Thessalonians, the antichrist of I John, comes out of darkness to shed gloom on the vanquished earth, prelude to his doom. So God, who had all this evil in control, ends its aspirations to make evil the nature of the earth. Having dashed empires 1 to 3, He now abruptly terminates the 4th, without intermission of any kind, its glowing power met head-on as in Daniel 7:21-23, and Revelation 19:1-19. It is only then that the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of our Christ as in Revelation 20, and 11:15 in the its review of that Chapter of the whole Age and its conclusion.
HE shall reign, even the Lord's Christ, for ever and ever (Revelation 11:15) with His Father and the Spirit (Revelation 5, 7:12), with the wonder of His kindness and grace (cf. Revelation 22:5), God the irreplaceable, now continually present, and it is His face, not a mock-up which they see (Revelation 22:3-4). Indeed, "His name shall be on their foreheads."
The three components then of the last beast in this overall survey ?
First there is the imperial Rome of
then there is
the Rome-centred pseudo-Church,
Thirdly, there has been the Holy
Roman Empire, first starting in 800 A.D.
In general terms, thus there has come
the secular, imperial in religion in the Roman Empire (1), followed by
imperium, using the secular for slaughter, author of the fires and tortures
of the squalid Inquisition; amid this came the soaring synthesis in the the Holy Roman Empire
latter day re-organisation (2),
leading through a reconstituted European unity to
a delusive secularity toward the end of the Age, its unhallowed humanism allied to meaningless mysticism, by force (3).
In this, Rome's religion is dumped, in terms of a more explicitly and enforced one world religion, extending and universalising the type, not only in intention, as with Roman Catholicism, but in fact, till escape is not in this world, strength given only by divine counsel, direction and succour for the saints and their testimony (Revelation 12:10-12, 13:1-18).
Note in Revelation 13:16, that the second or religious expression of this fourth beast DIRECTS all to receive the mark of the beast. This is the case in terms of the text; and indeed as there seen, not all obey it. This is indeed a time to be a light for Christ, reflecting His grace, truth, beauty of holiness and intractable truth.
Thus these three components, the imperial forces and their imperia have proceeded, do proceed, one chasing the other, as in a game of hide-and-seek. Yet after the duping is complete, there is little seeking, for force has become the now universal ruler, propaganda a mover and perversion of man's inbuilt trend to worship, at work since God made him, but here re-directed to a furious folly.
Many have been in it, are and will be, this imperial power-loving, God-discarding or misusing series of unsublime empires. Yet the end of this game is inglorious, as with Babylon, Media-Persia, Tyre tied to both Babylon and Alexander the Great in its destruction. Before that you had Sennacherib of Assyria, eruptions of yore, and in the last cited coverage, those of Rome following and developing in their phases, at last discarded as the swift desolations come to their conclusion. Long is the series; short is its end.
KINGDOMS IN CONTRAST
Let us compare the multiple firings of the Tyre type, as found throughout history, like an atomic missile with multiple independently targettable heads. This type has thrust (it forces), it has self-confidence (it boasts, surveys supremely), often has personalised panache, is heartless except perhaps episodically, has delusive, superficial vision of which it is proud and has a true or pseudo- or even quasi-religious base, engendering a sense of power or mystery or hubris.
It gobbles up lives, thinks strategically, is wise in its own eyes, and in general exhibits an indifference to mere humans, though run by them, truly startling and utterly horrific. Here power is normally surpassed by devilry. That is why many can scarcely believe what is being done by some following this bestial model. Devilry, not mere victory, often seems horrifically to drive it.
Such are the beasts of Daniel and Revelation, and such appears the spirit of those involved in these episodes and sub-episodes such as Tyre, which is instructive because its depths and heights are given such attention. Such is often the trend in those who, exploding with the Darwinian myth in recent times, imagine they are serving 'nature' or 'advancement' by becoming unfit for any last relic of morals, self-control or rationality. It is par from that construction-through- destruction folly, which creates nothing but havoc, both literally and metaphorically.
The kingdom of heaven, of Christ as the Word of God in person, is not merely the opposite of all this. Where might is right is the monstrous fallacy, as if power made morals, and push were principle, hands made overview or the meaningless, in the consistent naturalistic model, could become moral! Right is not possible without having truth to tell it (and relativistic reactionism has no truth, even to state itself, being concerned with internal reactions, not contradictory overviews), principle to know it and reality to show it. The humble know it, read it, discover it in their Maker.
Not power but purity inherits the earth, because in humility it finds the God whose it is, whose love gives to those who are His. The peacemakers pursue it, for the Lord is good and reliable, just and compassionate. The poor in spirit do not spoil for a fight, but fight for self-control and the beauty of holiness. The kingdoms of this world, of the beasts, of the antichrist, are pitch compared with daphne, fungus compared to wheat.
The Lord Himself cannot be evacuated in heart, mind or spirit from this world without its collapse into malice, rampageous bulls thrusting home any advantageous, irresponsible dreamers whether in theology or politics or both, woven like an evil tartan. How vast is the difference between the ENFORCED worship of the beast in Revelation where neither heart nor head nor spirit nor soul can be willing, except in a temporary intoxication before pay-day, and the loving worship of the Lord because it is fitting, due, a marvel for the spirit, as is the DNA for the body. Hence in Revelation 5:9-10 and 7:16-17, we hear worshipful because fact-based and realistic praise for the triumphant lamb and His sender.
In 5:9 there is a hiatus in heaven, as One is sought to open the scrolls of incoming history, that the world may complete its tour, and life its testings. None can do it but the Lamb of whom it is said,
"You were slain and have redeemed us to God by your blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings,"
and so is to hear this,
"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing."
WORTH! FITNESS ? it is ultimately what has what it takes, gives what is needed for the overall wisdom that creation needs, and for which it was created. Only God even KNOWS the truth, and dispensing it, gives not the mere anodyne to spiritual disease, but the vision of truth, the paths of peace and the entry to life eternal, which includes His shepherding, NOT His herding skills. As Revelation 7 puts it:
"He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.
They shall neither hunger any more nor thirst anymore:
the sun shall not strike them, nor any heart;
for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them
and lead them to living fountains of waters.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. "
Lacking God, people readily fill the place for His grace, as their God, with trash which seeps in like poison to the water table. It seems so natural, as does sin; but it is foul, demanding not only on this earth the festering fealty of the oppressed, even policed in thought, but the soul's shameless ending in divorce from God. But God, following repentance of heart and the regeneration of the soul as in John 3, Titus 2-3, in love has provided what is WORTHY for worship, because it is true. Truly nothing like this, the living Son of the everlasting God, sent from heaven, His tour foretold, to redeem sinners, has ever been seen or heard or found.
Without it, however, man is but a foundling, crying that it is meaningless, or fostering festering dreams of pretended power which comes and goes like grass, in this case, in the end, by burning. In the kingdom of heaven, self-worth and self-evaluation are like grass, tedious thrusts of presumption into the arena of truth, where grace gives, love finds and kindness funds, while devotion flowers amid the undying trees planted by rivers of water. Such is the tested word of the Bible and of Jesus Christ.
A SWIFT TIME REVIEW
Thus, we have covered in grand sweep some of the last elements in the maturing of the Gentile era, contrasting the glory of the utterly human because utterly divine in concept and condition, character and basis, kingdom of Christ. As to the end of the earthly kingdoms in their vainglory and vice, It is that noted by Christ, as in Luke 21:24, that there is a key indicator - among many as in Matthew 24 and the epistles of Peter and Paul.
You may recall that the very title, "times of the Gentiles", arose in terms of Christ's saying that when the times of the Gentiles had been FULFILLED, THEN Jerusalem would have a vast regeneration of rule. NO MORE would (various) Gentile rulers occupy the site. Now, partly in summary, partly in detail, partly in overview, we ponder further the word of God on these topics. Take first the Jerusalem ingredient, and something of its background.
In Matthew 24:1ff., and Luke 19:42ff., we learn of the complete destruction predicted by Christ to come because Jerusalem did not take her great opportunity, when the very Son of God, deity incarnate, was not only on their doorstep, but had been born into their land, growing and going to the death and resurrection markers of His mission.
Here was God in Person, God with Us, Immanuel, the climax and culmination, the source of salvation (as in Isaiah 7, 9, 11, 49-53), the Lord of loveliness (Isaiah 61), the restorer of the breach, the glorious Lord (Isaiah 49:15ff.). He came healing thousands, saving souls in the unique fulness of grace and greatness that was never stopped by any power, and controlled all powers, yet without grandeur or self-seeking.
Here was the Lamb of God whom John the Baptist had named from the first (John 1:29); and instead of receiving His healing and sealing, His reconstruction of heart and His entry into the kingdom of heaven, they
abhorred Him, and
gave Him an exit visa from their land, calling truth blasphemy and
consequently, murdered Him with the same sort of callous,
When was that latter action? It was the work of a transformed, inquisitorial Romanism, over some centuries That was a crucial Gentile great slayer in the NAME of Christ (cf. John 16:2), who Himself forbad the sword, whose kingdom did not involve itself with this, even for HIS OWN defence before Pilate or the soldiers (John 18:36, Matthew 26:52-56). That was one of the components of the 4th beast.
Yet, occupying itself with power over the beast like a woman riding on its back, towards the end of the Age (as shown in Revelation 17-19), the religious renegade for which Rome is famous, finds herself suddenly dumped, her contributions to its scope ceasing, her loss irreparable. Its raw and elemental self-worship then come to its day, the foretold end-time ten kings rushing alone to their "one hour" with the ravaging beast, without their 'rider'. Her burning as in Revelation 18 and Christ's return as in Revelation 19 flow on without interruption of sequence.
These are orienting ingredients.
ISRAEL ONCE MORE TO THE FORE
Meanwhile we look to the predicted national history of Israel, a beacon set by God (Isaiah 43:21), one which met a national failure in the day of its Messiah who came precisely as predicted*2 , which has resulted in a dire history (Micah 5:1-3), but which leads to a delightful end in pardon, mercy, Gospel fulfilment and restoration first in land and then in spirit, for Israel. As in Romans 11, Israel was removed from the tree of established faith in the eternal God, but will in due course be restored to it, its blindness as Paul characterises it, removed at last, and its collaborative work in the Gospel glory of Jesus Christ yet to come.
We have considered the imperial aspects, but these are overthrown in the end by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, whose Gospel is the only method of approach, and specified as the one to come to Israel (Revelation 19, Galatians 1, 3, Zechariah 12-13).
It is time to consider further this highly distinct phase of action in the ongoing history which Daniel set in the four empires, beasts, which had their place, just as they are at last displaced. Just as first Rome left the truth for various idolatries as indicated in her name in Revelation 17, so too its former supporters, now rampaging powers of the day, come to align themselves in their hour of power with the essential beast itself, that emissary of Satan, glorying in their own false religion till too late, this too ends abruptly (Rev. 17:12-18 & 19:11ff.).
Nor does this cover all, for using coherence with Rome as a facile fellowship, in at least parallel paths of pseudo-Christian unbelief, many are the other components of "mystery Babylon" (Rev. 17:5), an embracive term (cf. SMR pp. 729ff., 1031Cff.), covering many a cult, or degraded church remnant.
The Israel element then comes into the midst of these things (Romans 11:25). Its transformation is indeed in Romans 11:25 specified. It is to occur "when the fulness of the Gentiles has come in." In Luke 21:24, we found Christ's wisdom showing that when Jerusalem was back in Jewish hands, no more a victim of empires and the other nations, then the "times of the Gentiles" would be "fufilled". Now it is their fulness that is in view. In other words, this is in the very essence of the end, the finis for the preludes.
For a swift review of this in the present context, we turn to Ezekiel 36. There you see the Lord's divine grace in covering His promises in returning Israel, because of honour to His name, despite their failures (cf. 36:22). In Ezekiel 37, there comes, in a powerful parable, the two stage restoration of the people, not only in land, but in spirit to Christ (37:24ff. with 4-14), the latter with massive repentance.
Soon, not long after this return and establishment of the restored people, from the far North come several peoples together, with the aim that recently restored Israel be raped, stripped, ravaged, parallel to the concept employed by Iran and Hamas now, in their inveterate enmity. This lunging attack fails, since God meets it Himself. Without success is this flamboyant thrust, as in Zechariah 12-14, as in Ezekiel 38-39; for this world is not only for test and exhibition of truth and securing of the people of the Lord but also, after due test and exposure for all, for defeat of the domineering, ignominy of the aspirants for divinity, and what backs it. Wishing, to act as if a god or even God, they are confounded utterly in this lunging attack on Israel.
In this, we learn, there are heavenly powers to be instructed, and this earth's people will also learn (as in Ezekiel 39:22ff.). The Lord is in fact God, and mercifully, there is no other. Israel receives its deliverance, now that it is back, and then its spiritual restoration as we have seen. The entire program comes, towards its resting place, as judgment prepares and finis is found.
Faith works in the truth; folly despises it; but this neither lowers nor exterminates either the truth or those ordained of God for their part in His plans. These, then, include such as Israel in its long and educative history, the love of God at length prevailing in the Gospel, as in Romans 11.
To the end of the Age the Tyrian type, the Babylonian motif, the fourth Empire of Roman power, in its partly strong and partly broken state, all continue each in its phase, till folly sated, frauds exposed, the Lord's rule is experienced as a consummation. Both heaven and earth are replaced, no place being found for them as the Lord acts in judgment (Revelation 19:20-21:4).
But the word of God is not annulled (as done by Pharisees and such, Christ denouncing the same in Mark 7:7ff.), neither in part nor in whole (Matthew 5:17-20), nor is the Gospel altered (Paul preserving this at the level of his diction, as in Galatians 1:6-9).
Not merely is this so, moreover, but those who do this are in advance designated frauds, pleasing men rather than God (Galatians 1:10, cf. Proverbs 30:6, Deuteronomy 4 and 12). If this were not enough, Paul declares them also cursed. So great is that curse that the apostle Paul intimates that if he himself were to make such an error, he too would be cursed.
So it is the foul work of the four 'beasts', specialised in every type of abortion of truth, contortion of power, distortion of doctrine, as if emptying the fulness of God to allow the futility of their aspirations. False religion with human authority applied like incinerative flames, waxes until it becomes vested first in a spiritual pope, claiming to be God Almighty on earth, and then in a spiritual pest, the very evocation of the antichrist, the devil's messiah, showing himself that he personally IS God. Mixing the wonder of God with the derivative creature, man, is worse by far than confusing our star, the sun, with a comet. It is disproportion to the ultimate, the finite with the infinite. But it ends.
REPERSONALISATION OF DEPERSONALISATION:
THE COMING OF CHRIST
An infinite mistake has no small come-uppance, and an imperious, impervious one is the worse by far. So do some centuries of mischief become fixed in a miscreant, on whom the direct power of God Almighty is brought (II Thessalonians 1:6-10, 2:4-10), as light on darkness, or truth on confusion, devastation on drought, judgment on the flimsy films of pretension, exposing such to interminable destruction, who would not be instructed, so that more even than Tyre, there would be nothing to show, but at last, the wonder of the absence of such torment from the earth (Revelation 20:3).
No more are dehumanised, anti-spiritual, ungodly forces working to make man work in some subordinated, disorientated dynamic of polluted power and defaced control. No more is man to be turned into fodder for tyrants, material for control, depersonalised by persons always excepting themselves from the reductionist fantasies they preach, using, assessing, evaluating all things, proclaiming truth from models which lack that very entity, as the very caput of captivation and capitulation to caprice. Before this, on Christ's glorious return to rule as in Revelation 19, there is flame for the inflammatory, and rest for the reviled, restoration for the rejected and the majesty of God shines patently on the rescued earth (cf. Psalm 72, Isaiah 65, Revelation 20).
Now man in the presence of Christ, despite every hazard, is repersonalised, his soul valued more than the world, his spirit free as that of any, to roam, realise and determine, resolve and believe. The devastating unsophisticated, heartlessly superficial tirades of tyrants, their nullities their base, have their come-uppance, at first in some, Christ disciples, and then in the millenial vindication, when indeed, the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14). No wonder Christ wept over Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:41ff.), a city then rejecting their Shepherd and His peace, and all that He had prepared for those who come to Him in faith with repentance, a sundering with dire results.
Look at the wonder of it, which many Jew and Gentile, even now forsake.
It is not just that God is, in some purely inward way, dying to confer this eternal blessing; but in the format of man, incarnate, the Lord actually DID DIE to secure it freely, ransom in excruciating death the cost (Matthew 20:28), resurrection in overwhelming life the triumph, faith the way to it and repentance its prelude.
And for man, what does this regenerative wonder - in which God changes as for the tropics in clothes on a trip, for heaven in heart in a destiny unfolded - have to present ? It is a work which like a type, has its place and charter, has its challenges, but these are on a basis with access to all that is needed. In this, the power of peace in truth courses through the smitten for His sake, the testimony faithfully made, and His love continues to be shown as well as spoken, His people shining with a reflected light; just as the light of prophecy, covering to the end, shines in the darkness to reassure and replenish the perspective of the saints (II Peter 1:21ff.). If now the test is glorious because of His power, peace and presence, what will be the case when His regal power again is found on the earth, now manifest before all!
But consider the present!
To be a willing servant in the wonder of freedom in the Lord of glory, the Almighty who can reasonably resist ? This is past all romance, adventure, excitement, awe and staggering impact from the things of this present world; it is the acme of truth, the excellence for which the soul yearns, the final target of its love, being moved towards its Creator, despite sin, to find His company, His cleansing and His magnificence of life. The imperia of the imperious and the shabby shame of spiritual impostors, whether so self-styled or not, compared with this, are like tar compared with tartan, rot compared with reality, light compared with darkness, devilry compared with healing, obscurity put next to the transforming incandescence of suffusing light.
The WAY of the Lord as in John 14:6, Christ Himself, being sent as meant and securing salvation as directed, is not some programmatic option or choice between sign-posts merely. It is what works, not in endless and increasingly meaningless clashes of intoxicated powers linked to pride and false glory, impudently self-vaunting, but in peace and saviour, meaning and method, in heart and in spirit. It is fitting, as tyres to a sports car, as water to a stream, as cows to the pasture.
Here is the ultimate and intimate naturalness, found only from the supernatural who made us, with the power NEVER seen now in physical creation, because it is finished as He said; but found in the Lord's personal dealings both with His people and the nations, in His healing as He works on His own discretion, in His comfort for every one of His pastorate, and His discomfort where sin enters, its rules for fools (Proverbs 8:36). Be glad then for this discomfort, for it always has a point, however deep, and waiting steadfastly on the Lord brings light at last, and strength, grace, patience and understanding.
How blessed it is to be with HIM! how much more blessed when the shadows pass away and all is made manifest... (Revelation 22:1-5).
In Christ, is the victory of liberty, the lure of love, the frankness of mercy, the peace of pardon; all are available and then will become the manifest norm in the millenium before the dismissal of the heavens and the earth, for better things in a new heaven and earth. On Christ's return, as in I Thessalonians 4, Matthew 24, His people go, one bride as in Revelation 19:8, and with Him is their place for ever, His return with them as in Revelation 19 an overflowing joy. At last the scene is finished, the universe departs in "fervent heat" and a new heavens and earth are produced as in Revelation 22, II Peter 3. But with all this, Christ is the centre, the significance, the Saviour for ever and ever, His victory, vindication in the millenium, evacuation of heaven and earth and creation of the new heavens and earth, all these things are episodes in glory, works in wonder.
Ever with the Lord as I Thessalonians 4 declares, the soul is sated with the spiritually lovely in the presence of the God of all glory, who is worthy, Creator, Saviour and Judge.
Then not only will the Christian disciple find that "God will wipe away every tear," as in 21:4, but there "will be no more death" and the divine motif returns, the underlying offer and the constant alternative to the bestialities and devilries of so many types, "I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who is athirst," Revelation 21:6. This is a thirst which neither this world nor its beasts can begin to satisfy. It involves both reality and mutuality. Again in Revelation 22:17, as if a last call to supper, the third verse from the end of the Bible, we read:
"Come! and let him who hears say, 'Come!' and let him who thirsts come.
Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely."
On the rising flames of confused churches, unleavened fellowships, misled entities using the name of Christ, see for example News 121, 122, and the daily press! This constantly reports horrors contrary to biblical morals and even ANTITHETICAL to the care for the comfort and design of mankind, as is the fact that without God you turn to sod, with spiritual responsibility added, for judgment. The Bible stresses that fellowship in Christ's name with such as leave His principles, word, commands, morals, has the folly of light communing with darkness, entirely repugnant as these ways are to each other.
That in fact is what Paul declares in II Corinthians 6:14-18. If you do not believe Christ is God in human form (John 8:58, Philippians 2), then as I John is swift to declare, you are following a lie. DO NOT ASSOCIATE with such says II Corinthians 6:14ff., or even eat with the securely immoral in sexuality, or many other moral lapses: not as judge for the seeking, but as comrade for those who drink of such drafts, contrary as Paul teaches in I Timothy 1, to sound doctrine (as in I Corinthians 5:9 through to the end of Ch. 6). Scoff or manipulate as some may, the word of God is clear: if so-called Christians are like that, have no fellowship and avoid them, as also in Romans 16:17 (cf. Separation).
Indeed, even and especially if you have another Christ, either one without authority, or lacking unchangeable truth, or in any way subject to the administrative changes of workers, who work Him over, as in II Corinthians 10-11, people called "false apostles" for their changes to what is more unchangeable than the universe, which will go for its own replacement (Revelation 20, Matthew 24:35): then what ? Do you share the light of Christ in communion with what dabbles in devious darkness, even with His identity! Not only are these unbelievers, but positively false; not only are they false teachers, but false apostles. Well might the godly mix and share with such wolves in sheep's clothing, the young exposed to their twisted teeth (cf. Matthew 7:13-20).
The biblical reproach is "deceitful workers", who " measure themselves by themselves", being not wise. Do you engage with deceit! Indeed, take this case further, to consider this kind.
If you ARE the measure, then with what do you calibrate your measure, or in what measure are you the appointer of the world, do you become its criterion and how do you measure ? Being the measure, you are immeasurable, yourself the metre stick, and you have then no way of measurement, only self-affirmation. Yet how are you immeasurable if your limits shout at every corner! Such a profusion of confusion is one of the aspects of the end of the fourth empire (II Peter 2, II Timothy 3-4), and indeed was present enough in the imperial desire in Rome in stage one of it, to have its emperor worshipped, as though fraud were a faith! To avoid participation in such worship, saints died, people were stripped, slaves were made.
These articulations, stuff of that second, religious propagandist for the beast at the culmination (Revelation 13,17), following on from the false prophet (Revelation 16), were a devious infiltration from the first in Eden, setting up an imaginative authority contrary to God. It was the devil who did it (cf. Revelation 20:2), using one format, and planning to use others later, as for the devil's messiah (in one way presented jointly - as in Revelation 19:20, bur having a singular face (II Thessalonians 2:4-10).
Here facing its end, comes the confused companionship in which many involve themselves, finding this or that excuse to be spiritually lodged with these darts of evil and preludes of ruin, as they reel in confused panache, earthly abuse of spiritual principles and fellowship, wandering among fallen churches like spiritual terrorists, for all who will receive them, pursuing propaganda for power and misleading, if it were possible the very elect. In the mystery of Babylon of Revelation 17:5, there is room not only for the actuality of the Roman Catholic take-over of the role, for so long a main motif, yet one as noted, to fall, but for more. Thus this 'mystery', type of religious ruin and violence, encompasses as its spiritual pandemic rages, all those fallen churches which IN that mystery, coalesce and do duty with the same abuse of liberty. Their spirit of addiction is in the TYPE from Babylon, and there are parallel changes by addition to, subtraction from, or confrontation, with word of God. The SPIRIT of Babylon works ruin.
As to God, then, FOLLOW Him, KNOW Him (John 17:1-3), for this IS eternal life, which never ends, that you should KNOW God and Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh. Know Him and WAIT upon Him, who has already visited this earth to wait upon you, unless you refuse to be served, in spiritual rampancy rebelling as did Israel, though to her, repentance is to be granted (Zechariah 12). For there is an end, creation to salvation to consummation; blessed are those who do not pollute the waters of life, but rather drink of them, who do not attempt another source, spirit or foundation, but remain on the only foundation which stays, as in I Corinthians 3:11, Jesus Christ, the self-definition of God in human form: ready, but not militantly, to receive (John 6:37), impossible to deceive! (John 1:12-14, 5:24, Hebrews 4:13).
See on this religion, SMR pp. 1032-1088H for example, with SMR pp. 911ff.
See on the correctly predicted death date for the Messiah, around A.D. 30 in our method of recording dates, in
Christ the Citadel... Ch. 2,
The Christian Prescription Ch. 2 and
Highway of Holiness Ch. 4,