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THE MARROW OF THE MILLENIUM
THE BIG SEVEN
What do Deuteronomy, Psalms, Isaiah,
Micah, Matthew, Romans and Revelation
have to say concerning the millenium ?
Let us look at it progressively as an exercise.
The Australian, World Commentary , p. 6, Dec. 20,2011
A dash of cocktail in your gods, an unsublime slapstick!
Matters of the Millenium and the Judgments before it, form an edifying contrast.
In this field, the teaching of Deuteronomy 32 mingles with Psalms 2, 72, 110, and these coalesce with Isaiah 2, 11, 37,40, 65-66, Micah 4, 7, Romans 11, 15, Matthew 19:28 and Revelation 20. Particular exposition of some of these has been made already; but today our concern is to link them and gain a consolidated picture from their depictions.
1) Deuteronomy 32 and
Isaiah 66 are on the same plain,
2) Isaiah 65:17ff. and Psalm 72,
3) Matthew 19:28 and Revelation 20,
4) Micah 4 and Isaiah
5) affinity of
feeling between Deuteronomy 32, Micah 7 and Isaiah 66, Jeremiah 33,
First, about whom is the Deuteronomy text talking ?
Since Moses is
addressing the specific nation which he has been called to lead, and
telling them their nature, characteristics, progress and prognosis, explicitly,
and since there is
no other such nation in the whole history of this world
that came from outside the camp of truth and salvation, as one called body into it,
and then in overwhelming, endemic-seeming rebellion, enforced and insisted and persisted (cf. I Kings 17, II Chronicles 36) on constant erosion following revival, until it broke lose,
only to be given explicit divine assurance that, despite ALL these preliminaries, there is to be a gracious, gratuitous, loving, faithful restoration of them to both their land and to their God:
it is accordingly to Israel that Moses is speaking (cf. SMR Appendix A). One often finds just this distinctiveness in God's address to that nation, which people ignore to the detriment of truth. On this, see SMR Appendix A.
What does Moses, then, here say ? It is this.
"Give ear O heavens ..." - meaning this is a marked discourse to which heaven may bear witness, for it will view what is to come, "and hear O earth!" for the things that heaven is to see, the earth will know!
As to God, there is nothing defective, deficient or lacking there!
"Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work if perfect;
for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice: righteous and upright is He."
Thus you do not start by in illusory intoxication of soaring spirit, imagining that God made you able to judge Him, or gave to you powers He lacks, or insights into moral grandeur of which He is unaware, or that He is some demi-god who has to keep up as far as he can, with things that come upon him like tribal attacks, whether from inside or outside. On the contrary, He is self-constitutive, being THE ETERNAL BEING without whom nothing temporal could ever have arrived. Being cannot come from literally NOWHERE, for since ALL is the topic, there COULD be NO future for that: otherwise it could not BE nowhere, but somewhere with potential for events. Either this self-sufficient Being always was there or nothing ever will be; but two of us are here, he who writes and he who reads, so that is out of the question.
Moreover, if you want to go on having those who make gods and so have ever new ones, then these crafted gods, made by makers of gods, idols, they have to have their basis for existence, and so you merely invent a system of god-productive potential. Making it out of your mind, however, is entirely different from having your mind created by that Source. Moreover, any such source has to be sourced, unless you go to the sourceless, eternal, One who has by being there, enabled anything else to arrive, on His account and action, the Maker. Otherwise, each proposed stuff or site or situation or arena for action, that has to be made too; so that in the end of causation, you have EITHER the Eternal Being or mere stepping stones which you refuse to follow rationally. Since our cause is rational, we have God.
He does not swallow up Himself in self-made war, or being almighty He would end. Since time is a limit, and it is imposed on this world, it is not as we have it in God, so that the end is before Him as surely as the beginning, as in the case of an expert novelist, and it makes no difference at all to Him. Beginnings without Him cannot be, since then there is nothing for production; and end cannot be, since that would make Him a subject of time, which being a limit, is self-contradiction. He is what He would be, and that being beyond time, has no change, nor has He. A limited 'god' is merely an imagination, requiring delimitation causally so that he might inhabit the limitations.
What He has made is in such test and potential as He sees fit, and we being able to consider both Him and ourselves, are tested concerning our own meaning and His; and where some imagine He is unjust, by implication they make Him in Himself either
1) at war with Himself, making what He wants to make, then forcing it to squirm or become wronged,
and so is not a possible Almighty Being; or
2) at war with His expression, what He says, making Him incompetent, which is a limit and so impossible; or
3) in lust for pleasure from pain or deformation, making Him defective within, controlled by a desire to satisfy which means He IS dissatisfied and so subject to limits.
He is just to what He has made, being just; and without iniquity, truth being His standard, who knowing all time and all deeds and being ultimately at the base of all - sin being an application of freedom made WITH what He righteously provides for better purposes - is the Truth. He does not lie, for that would indicate that truth in Him and concepts and internal ideas contrary to this were in conflict, the one now, the other then in the ascendant, to speak or to deny; or that the battle itself were His will. In that case, an internal defect would be in view, a contest of contraries, which being limiting to each side, would constitute a limit to both. But He on whom all depends, and who depends on nothing, being self-sufficient, cannot have any internal conflict, so being delimited and limited, or contraries, these being limits imposed in his very constitution; which would imply what had so constituted him, which is merely once more to stray back into our own created backyard, and to forget the One about whom we are talking.
When you are talking about God, it is necessary to keep to the point, and not surreptitiously or confusedly contribute other topics in insalutary slides!
This God, who has no boundaries, nevertheless SET boundaries (Deuteronomy 32:7-9) for the nations, including Israel. Indeed, "Jacob is the place of His inheritance," the text reads, meaning that God had a special mission, commission and call to Israel in terms of what He would do with and upon the earth (cf. Galloping Events ... Ch. 4). In Deuteronomy 32:10, we are reminded of the unexalted past of Israel, in desert lands, and of the intimate drawing of Israel to God Himself: "He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye." Thus Israel is contradistinctive to all other races in this encircling call. The history before us is a select divulgement on Israel, the historic nation. Nothing COULD be clearer.
Indeed, little could be much tenderer, for
"As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up,
carrying them on its wings, so the LORD alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him."
Tender instruction about flying, here meaning, in terrestrial mode, walking in the ways of God as in the figure of a parent, we find in this figure both natural and supernatural aid becoming a mode of living (32:13ff.). That of course is precisely what happened in Abraham's life as traced in Genesis 12ff., and the life of Israel in the Exodus.
God as God, without iniquity, the Rock, the One on whom one can depend when all else fails, and who is timeless in power and with no limit in insight and knowledge of what has been and will be, this God had this relationship with Israel, and there was no misuse of man's playful and inventive, imaginative and ruminative powers such as would create quasi-fathers, crypto-friends, or pseudo-gods (32:12).
Liberty moved with God as a garment (Jeremiah 13) with its wearer, and the intimacy was perfect in kind.
Then Israel "grew fat and kicked." You can sometimes see this with kids growing up. Solicitude and care, regularity and order, provisions and appointments for living surround until in the very fulness of content, there is the thrust of 'must', of obsessive desire, of misused volition, of folly, and the youngster 'kicks' - that is, asserts himself, misuses his mental, spiritual, moral, physical, ideational liberties and powers, in such a way to indulge, glorify or assert himself, truth the captive, self-made glory the delusion or a tedious twittiness the invention. Although it comes in from very different directions, this in the human race, is as common as dirt, all about us. You just have to stoop down to touch it.
Israel AS A NATION, did it, as have some since, though not with quite the background which Israel then had!
Conceiving Israel as if a wife, for illustrative purposes, the Lord in Deuteronomy 32, indicates that this made for a threesome, a source of what in matrimonial terms would be jealousy, but in spiritual perspective, an intense dissatisfaction with the breach of vital reality, a lie, a Hebrew term used of idols. The people then are playing with God. What they follow, these are not the truth.
Indeed, when these are followed, the massive marvel called man becomes 'wedded' to falsity, meandering thoughts and misdirected creativity, so that it is, in such a figure, a matter of jealousy to see this insufferable prostitution of purity in the interests of what, in reality, is NOT EVEN THERE! Not only are these 'gods' new arrivals (32:17), new-boy gods, inventions as if to remove parentage, or marriage, alike, but it has involved two basic ingredients of error.
God is estranged BY THEIR ACTION IN HEART by what is NOT-GOD, an impostor on the one hand, and they have forgotten the Rock who was the basis of man's very arrival, his OWN arrival into the world at all in the first place (Deut. 32:18,21). They have become intoxicated with untruth, and rely on it, alienated from the truth, and forgetful of the source of their spiritual, mental and moral powers EVEN TO DO THIS, by abuse of privilege, setting up their wills as spiritual thrill sources, just as a beginning! like kids doing wheelies on roads made for other purposes.
So is the depiction in Deuteronomy 32:1-21. God makes clear an action He will take. He will (again using the same type of imagery) make Israel 'jealous' of another nation, what has nothing like the credentials of Israel (if only it would use these aright), and so show the folly of its wandering, witless and without wisdom, in the world as if it were its own creation, and reality neither meant anything nor mattered (32:21). Troubles would follow in high order, as the way to it was explored by a straying nation (32:23ff.). God is not willing to destroy Israel, since His word and His faithfulness would thus be fouled. Indeed, some enemies both of God and of Israel (some 'lovers' would become enemies more obviously from time to time, as in Ezekiel 23:12-24,37-49 with Jeremiah 30:12ff.) might imagine themselves powerful, rather than puny poltroons, eating like virus into the ruins made by bacteria.
What then ? In seeing into the future of Israel, Moses is declaring highly specific prognosis. He is discerning depths and actions that accompany these. They have forgotten or, with Moses' prophetic word, seen as is quite normal as if it had already occurred in what is called the 'prophetic perfect', they will do so, what God has done for them.. Obscured from memory are the miracles, the interventions, the deliverances. As a nation the time comes when they will fail to consider: when the enemies fell routinely, before them on mission, what was the difference ? It was the Rock of Israel who was the difference, as they well enough saw at the time; and when these their foes fell, it was their own 'rock' or substitute for deity, their own new-boy god, their own naturalistic substitute, their own idol which 'sold' them. That is why Israel won crucial matches as it went on the prescribed path for its ordained work from the Lord.
That is, again using imagery, it is as if they were in a game of finding the most stalwart, reliable, powerful, testimonially perfect being, and whereas Israel DID find Him since HE found Israel, yet the nations who merely followed their intellectually fiddling and interior desires and so made from their own hearts the desires they held, and formed and forged them into gods of illusion, these had a very different experience! Why ? It was because THEIR rock SOLD them, or their illusions did not stand up to the quiet forces of reality. HENCE they lost.
Thus just as Israel would suffer enormously at the hand of those deluded by gods that are not even there, foolish nations, SO God would for HIS part not forget, but store up treasures of vengeance; for while man may not take vengeance, since God alone knows all, and deals with perfect justice, God will deal with cases in the end, with perfect justice, and in the interim with such measures as help prompt man to awaken to truth.
In fact (Deuteronomy 32:36ff.), knowing and having predicted the history that an erring and errant Israel is to inherit, God makes a second point obtrusively and obstructively clear, even to theologians and intellectual vagrants who love to wander. THIS SAME ISRAEL will be the subject of a divine action, as if a husband were to take action to protect a wife (however unfaithful she may have been, as foretold likewise in Hosea 1-3).
He will expose the illusory character of the gods of the nations (as He did with Egypt in the Exodus, to which God compares this action which He will take expressly, in Micah 7:15). He will act with the axe, if you will, as in the Exodus, in that ORDER of magnitude, in the deliverance of Israel. Where are the so-called gods of the nations, those which may even lurk in the shadows, like those of naturalism, and not even be recognised, merely having the powers of gods given to them subversively and surreptitiously! Where indeed, for they die into mere fictions and figments of imagination, as in the enormity, for example, of dead-letter Darwinism, having NO SITE at all for the construction of all creation, any creation, or anything, but the departure selectively of some things, for reasons variable and insecure, now this, now that. Departure, death, dereliction, this as the source of creation is worse than myth: it is splendiferous humour, like the emperor's new clothes, SO ridiculous that few like to state the obvious fact that they are not even there at all! (cf. News 94).
Take away the garbage and don't worry about the new radio, TV or other items far more glorious in conception and demanding in concept than these, such as the human body. The great theory of Darwin is dealing with its institution, you know, the way things just come; but the item of genius, it is that things not good enough (leaving no trace however, in the rocks), these go, removed out of the way, and their going MEANS things good enough coming. You just keep on writing words (though this must be done without intelligence and without words, but anyway, write them), and after a while your essay is there, replete with understanding, better than a work of genius, compressed concise, combining symbolic commands, ideational coherence, development drive, multi-functional combinations of concepts, enough to make your name forever, outclassing the greatest spirits (though you are not using your own mind, in this figure, since no mind is supposedly there).
It is however far more than this, for it is an engineering essay, this arrival of the universe and of man, and with man what ? It is found with commands to practical things, and provision for their timely arrivals, with engines for making elements, such as proteins, and installed editorial modes for correcting faults, and you must at the same time make it all so that when mind is added, with its intrinsic laws of logic, one of the many meta-information procedures, it has also spirit, which can survey just such matters as this, and hold thought and action, idea and ideal with direction and correction to match these, all simultaneously and continually in action for hundreds of generations (oh, and these generate themselves over and again, because there is also a master draft which duplicates itself, making this the most intricately brilliant program ever made, with ultra-programmatic powers to investigate itself).
Worlds of thought, conception, inception, prescription, proscription, logic, logical analysis, initiative, thought, understanding, with motor accessories, all these things making robots look ludicrous by comparison, mere servants, not 'masters' of thought:: all this, then, this assemblage 'arises', and as to these things, they just fly in from NOWHERE (for as noted that is the model without God, like it or not, logically), and do everything from nothing. If you believe such things, and ignore information science's dictum that information does not make itself without intelligence (programs already made may proceed to utilise it of course, or intelligently interfered with, so act), then you stand like Atlas holding up the world.
Unfortunately, however, you have no relevant muscle to do it: just think about it, clap the hands (if you had them then, or could be there at all), and there it all is. The gods of naturalism have no go! deals with these things in detail, but the source in view, it is as Deuteronomy defines it, NOT-GOD, having a vain and empty nature, as the Bible has been stating in this part of Deuteronomy 32.
TO create a monument by throwing away stones that did not come out well, and not to be able to throw into the bargain, and leaving no trace of having done so, to continue, is the format of organic evolution in this way. It is equivalent to a scientific insanity which in the minds of brilliant people is a sedative at work (as Christ indicated in Matthew 13, using the figure of deliberately shutting one's eyes).
Many scientists of eminent distinction, now in this way and now in that, have found the basis of such tales, Darwinian or its atheist precursors, insupportable. People like LÝvtrup, Nilsson, Denton, Cuvier, Lister, Kepler, Newton, Lord Kelvin, Fleming, Joule or Linnaeus, yes and Faraday. have pointed out or by telling logic have shown in contrast the force of the reality of creation in its laws and legislation by which the world proceeds. Even Professor Stephen Gould expressed horror at the ludicrous nature of Darwin's drive, noting with appeal to heaven, though he shows no evidence of believing it, various contradictory or inadequate features in this game of decreasings designs over time, by means supposedly showing their increase! a sort of contra-factual dance in his eyes (cf. Wake Up World! ... Ch. 6).
This is the trouble with something from nothing*1; it does not go. Yet some even now, still teach it. It is a matter of new-boy gods, new arrivals, long lurking, but using pantomime dress now and then, for new forays at the box-office for deadly boring presentations of old themes.
Meanwhile, in many countries, not scientists generally, but a segment of them in the interests of scientistic thought, a politically motivated, religiously directed union, in effect, pursue their union demands and seek to ostracise non-conformists, remove the authenticity of school training that does not follow their follies, the lecturing acceptability of those who promote logical thought instead of philosophically foundering presuppositions in this field, seek to force even independent schools to follow their private religious preferences, which are superimposed on the realities, things of hope and imagination, never of sight. Communism is not more zealous or more misled. So do they erect the gods of their own counsel, dressed with nothing, caped with considerations that are as insubstantial as a dream.
God will deal with these gods, whether socially, biologically, astrologically, psychologically, militarily or politically derivative, things snatched, like a passing flame of will-o'-the-wisp, from the fires of heated imagination. Since "there is none who can deliver from My hand," 32:39, when at last He acts for this nation, defined as Israel, THEN "I will render vengeance" - there is a lot of scope for this over history for Israel ... and "those who hate Me", the constant indicters of Israel, who cannot stand her ancient past, promised future or current potential for the Lord as a testimony on this earth, will be repaid for their depredations. Israel will THUS escape and be delivered; and so vast and notable will this event, this episode, this stage of the Acts of God on Israel be, that many Gentiles, already converted to the God of truth, are asked to "Rejoice ... with His people." It is the "Gentiles", the other nations who are so invited!
Paul cites this last passage (32:43) in Romans 15:10, in making clear that the Gentiles have indeed a place in the Good News from ancient times.
In Isaiah 66, the parallel is intense. God makes it clear that it is not sacrifices that are the crux - in that as in Isaiah 52-53 there is ONE sacrifice which is to be ONCE made which is the end of the entire matter, on which free salvation (54-55) will everlastingly apply to those who receive it, He points out on this basis what is crucial for man, for his part. It is to this man He will look.
Since heaven is His throne and the earth His footstool, it is not a matter of securing something of value that He for His own part needs, but of finding something necessary for man that he might take part and find place with God. What is this ? It is "the one who is poor and of a contrite spirit." If you are rich, you do not have hunger. If you are poor, you are fillable. If you are proud, you do not look for real need, already squalid with superiority; but if you are of a contrite spirit, then reality is ready for you, and truth is in your very midst, and you are a prepared field. God then laughs at the thought of any continuation of animal sacrifices: after all, they can hide what matters within!
No, God is going to ACT (Isaiah 66:5ff.). Those whom a misled nation had cast out (such as the apostles and all who followed them), and who mocked their victims (saying, now let us see your joy!), will be repaid and those whom they mocked will be vindicated.
Firstly, in God's line of ultimate actions, He will cause the nation, Israel, once more to be THERE, like a child not there, and now SUDDENLY THERE! Leviticus 26 had made it clear that she would NOT be there in the midst of some of the final results of her continued rebellion against her Rock. Now she would be back. Indeed, so sudden would be the restitution of the said nation, that it is narrowly comparable to a child, it is a nation to be 'born in one day." (That was a day of proclamation in May, 1948, in fulfilment, when Israel, not there, was suddenly ... there AND at war.)
It is to be this sort of affair: it will be as if God has brought the people there, but they do not yet have a place, a name, like a birth ready but never coming to be.
"Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery ?" the Lord asks rhetorically (Isaiah 66:9).
In fact, not only will Israel, and indeed its capital Jerusalem as of old, BE THERE, but this FACT when it arrives into history, will be a cause for rejoicing (as in Deuteronomy 32:43), and this will lift the hearts of those who have been mourning for this lost land, this invaded arena of divine action, from Moses to the Messiah.
There is to be a simply glorious restoration, in this, the only way, that the LORD is there (cf. Isaiah 59:20, cited by Paul in Romans 11:26-27. Indeed, not only will this restoration rest in the power of God, but in His time He will bring to it a peace and a bounty, and "as one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you!" God proclaims. He adds to the point a specific as so often in predictive prophecy: "And you will be comforted in Jerusalem." Here once more, then, is Israel, a chosen nation, in a context of 'the nations' or 'the Gentiles' as so often rendered in translations. These will rejoice with the non-Gentile Israel. His accusations as in Isaiah 59 have been vast, and the depravities unearthed, staggering (59:6-15), almost soul-withering even to read.
The Lord seeing this and that there is none to help, takes action as before. "Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him, and His own righteousness, it sustained Him." Such is 59:16. It proceeds to declare to us how this is to operate practically. He puts "a helmet of salvation on His head" and "clad with zeal as with a cloak" He proceeds to repay "fury to His adversaries" and in this setting "the Redeemer will come to Zion." It is this same Zion to whom the Messiah when He comes (as in Isaiah 61:1-3, cited by Christ of Himself - Luke 4) will bring healing, even for the broken-hearted.
So specific was His intense and immense first mission that to the Syro-Phoenician woman He first said the bread was for the children; but she persuaded Him to cast out the demon, by saying that even the little dogs under the table should be considered (Mark 7:27). The 'children', He indicated had to be served first, and such was the burden of this, that but slight at first was His attention outside Israel, though His mission was world-wide in its application.
In coming, then to Zion, the Lord will be acting to those who "turn from transgression in Jacob." Such then as in Micah 7:15, in a Chapter dedicated to the ruminations of a lost and defiled Israel, seeking for the time of the Lord's appointment for her rescue and deliverance, is the Lord's intent concerning the land of Israel, defined, detailed, the object of His special and singular determination whether in Romans 11 or Deuteronomy or Isaiah or the Psalm.
2) Isaiah 65 and Psalm 72
We have already, in conjunction with Isaiah 66, touched on Isaiah 65, and so shall proceed with addition to this and Psalm 72 jointly.
This Chapter begins with a repudiation of merely formalistic, nominalistic emphasis in Israel. To be sure, the Lord will be faithful DESPITE their unfaithfulness (cf. Ezekiel 36:22), but there will be no cover up, and it is His indubitable word on their return and restoration and spiritual regrafting as a declarative entity that makes things sure. He takes pity, He declares, on His name, and as to His word, He has exalted this above all His name (Psalm 138:2).
He is the most utterly and entirely reliable Being there is, and there is no possible, conceivable or perceivable shadow of turning, as if to exhibit the control, as in an astronomical object, mathematically or otherwise exercised OVER Him; for over Him there is nothing. As to the universe, His poem, novel, there is no such thing as nothing, since as Author, He is always beyond it, always will be, whether as is to be, He dismisses and dispenses with it entirely with profound heat and noise as in II Peter 3, or makes a new one as in Revelation 20:11ff..
There is no doubt in my own mind that one reason for so much that is divisive and even ludicrous in biblical theological is quite simply this. It is that people tend to forget either by wilfulness or pre-occupation, or professional fashion as in Arius' day, when as Jerome noted, the whole world seemed to groan under his schismatic and seductive evils, what ... ?
This, that the Lord God is a Personal Being who makes universes when it is His sovereign wish, persons in such, as He will, and has in this present heaven and earth, the precursor to one where the woes of wily wilfulness are absent, the test work done, not of HIS work but of ours, made many things clear. These abide. He has shown therefore both His generosity in the scope, variety and controls over the physical creation, and curse for voluntary sin, enacted fatefully near the first by those in His image and able to perceive, conceive and respond with reason to His revelation as in Romans 5.
The curse as in Romans 8:17ff. shows , as the miserableness of the pre-occupation in creation in so many ways, with striving and surviving, in its being "subjected to vanity". That is, it is given subjugation if not submission to things less important or insignificant in ultimate size and place: as if to show the Lord's rebuke once and for all, to the horror of self-trust, self-will and self-interest, self-belief and other ludicrous oddities that fall from before Him. The curse was earned from the first (Romans 5), and it endures till the Age is past (as in Revelation 20-21), when there is no more pain or its succourers, sin and uncleanness of heart*1A.
It is God who has acted with that majestic might, perfect control, massive understanding,
fulsome felicity of technical capacity, divine wisdom and aesthetic wonder
that produced this world and its setting. It is He who has given to man,
equipped to a marvel with power to ruminate, cogitate, elevate thought,
enquire into worlds, consider his place and his Maker, and dispose his will, the test which he failed.
It is He who has given to mankind rebukes as in the flood, warnings as in the history of Israel,
perception to see the fulfilments of his multiplied prophecies (cf. Isaiah 48),
and rashly to ignore these concepts for cognition, these affairs for eventuation,
these forecasts for attestation.
It is He who has given the Gospel of grace, showing in the sacrificial death of His uniquely incarnated Son,
the extent of His saving concern (statedly this world, which in the setting of God, man and the world,
has only one meaning, as in Colossians 1:19ff.), the depth of His love (SO loved)
and the glory of His mercy.
It is He who will judge according to truth, and His foreknowledge,
so far from preventing freedom in its essence in man, made in His own image, is its guarantee.
From all this comes that vast significance in human history, the attestation and detestation of God, the subtleties of satanic deception, in which man with erratic philosophies and errant theologies often joins, the persecutory intensity of the haters of holiness, the urbane pretension of imitators of holiness and the exhibition both of truth and courage, deception and pretence, till the roll is called.
ONCE this is clear, then things like the universal flood, the rise and fall of nations (as in Acts 17:25ff.), the interweaving of voluntary evil with sovereign direction in brilliant devices (as in Ezekiel 29:17ff.), and of mercy and judgment, as in Jeremiah 4:23-28, 5:1ff., with 17:1ff. 38:14ff., these become relatively simple through the exalted perspective of what is the scope of divine work and power in view. In the case of Jeremiah, as itemised above, there to the last just before the horrendous fall of ancient Jerusalem, was on display that ordinate divine mercy which is freely available even in the midst of creeping doom. Here was a sudden, staccato offering, a way for blessing enabled instead of cursing, and it was made with a simple challenge at that! MERELY to keep the Sabbath and the thing would not be, the desolation! Such was the almost stunning divine offer at the very brink of ruin, from God to the people. But they did not take it up!
Merely that! That was the exceedingly slight-seeming requirement, to avoid all and inherit all... But this test, so straight-forward, nevertheless searches the vagrant heart and shows up clearly that it is not just a judgment which is being meted out, but an uncontrollable twist away from truth which is being judged in man. There was no vast mountain which had to be moved to escape destruction, but a purified heart needed to be found, a resolute desire, a purposeful intent equipped with determination, to serve God, even a meaningful departure from meander to truth! And that ? as in Isaiah 1:18, it is available ...
"Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord,
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall be as wool.
"If you are willing ..."
To apply this a little: thus when in Isaiah 65, we find the divine repudiation of nominality and the insistence on spiritual reality, the exposure of the lordly disdain of self-willed humanity so readily saying even to God, "Keep to Yourself. Do not come near me, for I am holier than You," or the same to the neighbour (with a small 'y' in the 'you'), or to both, what do we find ? This being the spirit of the thing, there is a cleansing in view. This is both punitive and purifying for Israel: nor is God merely selective in this for one nation, for it is a blackboard demonstration allied with a laboratory exhibit of what is the mind of God toward such errors in human flesh. Thus we move at Isaiah 65:8, to a restoration, from which beforehand will be purged the recidivists, those given to change in holy things (65:11ff., Proverbs 24:21-22). Indeed, to Israel God has an important and particularised message. They will go for good reason, but come again; and their return at the end will be on the basis of the Messianic sacrifice for atonement (Isaiah 50--55),making sin's guilt white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).
What of this blessed time ? Because of the kind of fake spirituality noted in Isaiah 29:13 for example, and earlier in Isaiah 65, the extraordinary in this epoch will for a time before normative. God is not limited to Israel, so that (as in Romans 11 where the Gentile believers are grafted into the tree of salvation, eternal life, and at this level, Israel is cut out temporarily - Romans 11:15,25ff.), He will in fact also choose non-Israel contingents for the faith. As seen in Isaiah 65:13-15, when that day has not yet arrived (as in 65:11), far will the condition of Israel be like that at the end.
Alas for them, till that time, His servants (and if they include a remnant of Israel, so much the better, but for long it will not be Israel the nation which is so included, cut out of the tree) will rejoice. On the contrary, misery will embalm those who have name (as Israel), but through pride and sin, no place in grace at the spiritual level.
Thus "he who blesses himself will bless himself in the God of truth," and God will have a SPIRITUAL REMNANT to praise Him before the end comes with Israel's grand restoration. His people will be from all places, just as the Gospel must go and is going to these (as required from the lips of Christ, Matthew 24:12), but eventually, it will include a national contingent from Israel, when spiritual restoration brings back a changed people, able to participate in that glorious liberty and love, truth and righteousness, grace and mercy which never has any alternative before the unchanging God.
Indeed as in Isaiah 65:17, God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth; and II Peter 3 and Revelation 20-21 show us that this is a totality in the end. Before that time, when heaven and earth flee (Revelation 20-21), however, there is a transmutation on this earth which has its own freshness, as in Isaiah 11 with 11:9, Habakkuk 2:14. In this period, though sinners will not be entirely excluded by any means (Isaiah 65:20), yet there is to be a sense of equity and justice which will be astounding by contrast with the present iniquitous inequity in this world, its grasping grabbing and evil pursuits (65:21ff.): for then it will be conquered by a conquest both spiritual and overwhelming. This Isaiah 66 goes on to show (Isaiah 66:14ff.).
What then of this millenial period ? Reality now for a season will be seen on this earth, and not pompous pretension on the part of commercial, national, family or city connivance, corruption and deviousness. At this stage, there is to be such a nearness of His majesty as to sustain a manifest counter-evil goodness, one dynamic and not just visionary, one directed and protected, and not a prelude as so often before, to simple and sinful sacrifice of the just through the exploitation of those too evil to care. Righteousness as in Isaiah 11 also, will in this blessed epoch, be with power even at the visible and manifest level.
That is the millenium, the vindication of virtue, the exhibition of righteousness, the flourishing of peace; and it is not heaven at all, nor is it now; but it is that twilight if you will, where as the earth comes near to departure, a strangely solemn and beautiful light comes back to its sin-scarred being.
It is indeed that epoch found in Psalm 72 with Psalm 2, where the Messiah, though the descendant of David according to the flesh - Romans 1:3, yet as the Son of the everlasting God, manifests world-wide rule: having been declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness through the resurrection of His body from the dead. Thus while when present in the flesh, He had raised Lazarus, for example, from the dead, now clearly His corpse was not the worker in His own resurrection. The Father in this practical and conclusive manner attested His authenticity as the Son of God.
In fact, the God who sent Him to become incarnate in that form subject to mortality was willing sacrificially to let this coming be the measure of His love. In this, He was moved to permit the Messiah freely to be seized in satisfaction for the guilt of sin, and so 'numbered among the transgressors.' Himself willing so to come (Psalm 40, John 17:1-3, 10:1-10), the Messiah was indicated in power while on mission, vindicated in resurrection in its conclusion. In the millenium, after the epoch of Gospel proclamation throughout the world, there He is to be seen now majestic in rule; but what a rule!
Psalm 72 shows its vital features. It is worldwide beyond mere Israel in scope (Psalm 72:8-11), and there He will be found delivering the needy and the oppressed, such a major feature of His applied principles and personal participation in covering the earth with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea (which is so, both in scope and in depth! in beauty and in wonder!).
Despite what happened to Him (as in Psalm 16 and 22 in prediction, the Gospels in predication), "He will live" (72:15) as indeed we learn in Revelation 1:18, for He is living and was dead, and is now alive forevermore. Indeed, prosperity and development will occupy the earth. As to Himself, "His name shall endure forever ... continue as long as the sun ... all nations shall call Him blessed." Such is the period of Psalm 72, Isaiah 65, Micah 4, Psalm 2 and for that matter, Jeremiah 33:15-26 and 23:5-8 (cf. Jeremiah 16:19-20). His staggering spiritual power will be indeed as in Isaiah 11! majestic and solemn, all-penetrating and secure. If one Australian magnate took over some of the Mediterranean coast of France for a wedding, God will take over the earth for the exhibition of His majesty and power.
Then it ends. Then the massif of eternity begins as in the culmination seen in Revelation 20-22. With the resurrection (Isaiah 26:19, I Thessalonians 4, I Corinthians 15) of the body (II Corinthians 5:1ff.) and the delicious result of His triumph past, these things applied, the quest has been transformed into incalculable rest, and the love of God shines pellucid, with no darkening in sin, nor any subjugation to iniquity, moral, spiritual or political.
Then the righteous shine like the sun in its glory (as in Matthew 13:43), even those who not just nominally or notionally but dynamically and directly know, love and trust the Lord of both creation and salvation. These, imbued and covered with His righteousness (cf. Psalm 71, Isaiah 61:10, Romans 5:17ff.), have their heart's rest in Him who does all the works, has finished them for all of us. He is our deliverance, and He applies His meritorious marvel and magnitude to our small beings with abundance of grace, giving and now manifesting the gift of eternal life BY grace (Romans 5, Ephesians 2, Romans 3:23ff.) in its awesome solemnity, delicious joy and oceans of integrity which sparkle with an energy divine.
3) Matthew 19:28 and Revelation 20
We have already been noting things to come in Revelation 20, but now we join them with Matthew 19:28 (cf. Luke 22:28-30).
In the latter, as to those who would become apostles, intimate disciples, God indicated of their eventual number, that these would be on twelve thrones judging Israel. It is the twelve tribes of the same, not particularly visible in the Gentiles. God does mean what He says, and second guessing His word from some theological dis-vantage point, though exceedingly common, is extremely naȉve.
This does not mean that metaphor is excluded any more than that it is included. We take things in their context as it requires, trusting that God makes it clear to the one who understands (Proverbs 8:6-8), and what is to be understood first of all is that God does not trifle with His speech, and shows His meaning as an expert communicator: this being clear, its application by faith results in clarity- knowing this, that ALL of His word is read as one, just as each part is taken in its own total integrity.
Is there in this case therefore any imagery ? It would seem in view of the extreme thrust about meekness (even the King of glory - Zechariah 9, Matthew 21:5ff., coming on an ass's colt when exhibiting HIS OWN majesty when in the simple format of man), and the blessedness of the same, that the actual thrones may simply be symbolic of authority, of power and of obvious registration with power for the purpose of rule. WHERE is the site for this ? what is the place of His coming authority as a central locale ? Where did He come on the ass's colt ? Was it not to Jerusalem ? And to what city did He say this, "for I tell you, you shall se Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" It was the same one into which He had just entered. Which city therefore will have this response to the King, in due course to come in actual and visible rule ? Why it is Jerusalem.
There is no possible question or discord about the Jerusalem site and its significance for the purpose stated. Israel will find that what it denied is over it, and what it whipped brings forth fruit in a better administration, one indeed where spiritual blessedness is the first criterion of its rule. As Zechariah 12, in its tracing of events before the return SPIRITUALLY of much of Israel to the Messiah whom the nation had crucified (12:10), the restoration is to a city by the name of Jerusalem.
Indeed, he is very specialised in his account of the matter:
"In that day I will make the governors of Judah
like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves;
they shall devour all the surrounding peoples
on the right hand and on the left,
but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place - Jerusalem.
"The Lord will save the tents of Judah first,
so that the glory of the house of David
and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem
shall not become greater than that of Judah.
"In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitant of Jerusalem..."
His foot will indeed touch the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:5). Tribes will go up to Jerusalem (Micah 4). It would not be till those who rejected Christ in Jerusalem at last said
It might almost seem, and indeed it might actually be that the Lord, foreseeing the stultification of many who like to allegorise and improvise in 'interpreting' the word of God, as Pharisees and Sadducees turned into fine art forms without any divine joy (cf. Matthew 23, Mark 7:7ff.), thus annulling the word of God, as Christ declared it, made this deliciously super-clear affirmation. WHERE is the city in view to be inhabited ? The answer is given in Zechariah 12. It is "in her own place." Various cities have their own places: my old city of Melbourne has grown from my boyhood population level of one million, to the present one of four million! Yet there is no possible doubt that if I were writing about history, "its own place" would be obvious. It is by the river Yarra, just as Jerusalem had questions of Judah and relative importance in its midst.
This is just the start of this excursion into clarity however in the book of Zechariah. Jerusalem will be INHABITED AGAIN. It appears from this that it HAD BEEN inhabited, HAD BECOME uninhabited at least by Israel, and now was to be inhabited AGAIN. This is the second time it has a divinely stressed and specified usage. Nor is even this all. Having noted that Jerusalem will be inhabited AGAIN, and for that matter, IN ITS OWN PLACE, God goes further, and specifies once more what that place is. "Jerusalem", He adds. Look above and see that this is what the text says. It says it and says much more: God is like a man of business in this, and what He specifies He intends to keep, to the jot and tittle, and if anyone seeks to twist or nullify His word, or so acts, there is a great barrier to such pretence, in the eminent clarity of His own word.
However, as in all imagery, it is not for its own sake. It has a purpose, point and place in the communication. The lace-work does not destroy but rather embellishes the cloth.
Thus there is to be a time on earth when Israel will once more be a nation (as in Zechariah 12-13, Luke 21:24, Isaiah 11, Micah 7, Ezekiel 37ff.), and it will be at one stage, so ruled. This is close to the millenial passage in Isaiah 65, Psalm 72, and shows this segment of the world in its special glint of glory. How does this relate to the undoubted and manifest rule of the Messiah Himself ? It is clear that His rule is absolute, personal and particular; but this does not exclude a certain authority in vindication and explication of His own glory in His own chosen apostles; and while none but Himself will be exalted in that day (Isaiah 2), yet this is not a matter of exaltation, since that by contrast with the kingdom of heaven, is a matter for the unbelieving nations in their ponderous follies. Thus the insistence on Jerusalem for rule and for authority is by no means to exclude the wider application. "Rule from London," for example, while precise, does not exclude other devices of authority: it is just that the centrality and its nature is highly specified in such a phrasing.
It is a matter of making it clear that there is no junking of the word of God because judgment is setting in, but rather there is a culmination and a consummation. We do not find a new rule by a new christ with a new look and a new law with his own majestic pomp and glory, such as this world loves. We have instead the VERY SAME Jesus Christ, killed as predicted in the region on of A.D. 30, (cf. Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 2). We have the very same city. In the millenium it is not a subject of some patch-work quilt of querulous and mutually contradictory religions. Not at all: it is a city SO well known, and SO famous for SUCH a crucifixion in a nation SO notorious for its dealings, SO impressive in its many exploits for and in the Lord, and so decisively the national capital from David on, for century on century, where the ONLY ONE God has made His OWN word to have these things to say, specific, historic, meaningful, majestic, indefeasible, indubitable and to come.
There is then to be a rule for a millenium, as noted in Revelation 20. Whatever may be the literal time, that is the duration of this epoch, in this book of Revelation, one of highly symbolic content, with intensive reference to the nuances of the Old Testament (and we have before noted some of the care to be taken in such interpretation here, in terms of the custom of the book itself), it is clear that it is not rushed, hurried or subject to a flick of the finger or a touch of the hand. The millenium will be long enough for the majesty and power, grace and glory, truth and mercy, concern and solicitude of the Lord to be shown in a rejuvenated earth, and that is the point. (On this matter of length, see Major Millenial Issues as marked.)
To Micah and Isaiah 2 we now repair, for further light on the field in view.
4) Micah 4 and Isaiah 2
First of all, in each case, there is an area of virtual identity. This occupies verses 1-4 of Isaiah 2 and 1-3 of Micah 4. In view of the teaching of Micah 5 concerning the incarnation of the Lord as Messiah and His mistreatment, followed by His majestic rule, it is apparent that there is to be no change in the underlying bases of the divine revelation as given to Israel: culmination, consummation, fulfilment, Messianic impact in rule, yes, all of this; but there is nothing innovative, for God has spoken and will do. The centrality of the revelation as given in Jerusalem (through prophet and Messiah) will be certain, singular just as Paul declares in Galatians 1-5. There will be a universal acknowledgement of this Christian revelation, prepared up to the Messiah, in Israel, through the Messiah thereafter, but with no more alteration than Christ's words in Matthew 5:17-20 permit. That is, to the jot and to the tittle, will all the prophecies be fulfilled which had come up to His time, on this earth; just as all HIS own words will LIKEWISE by fulfilled even though, and when, heaven and earth as we now have them, pass away (Matthew 24:35). They go; HIS words stay; and by His words, jot and tittle is the level of fulfilment of what foretold Him, the word of God in the law and the prophets.
NOT PASSING AWAY on the part of God, both in the resurrection of Christ and the insistence on His written word (I Peter 1:214-25, Isaiah 40:8) is one of the chief criteria of Christianity and the chief distinctive marks of the beast, in its denial! It wants anything, everything before using this confused concept as a build--up for the authority which sanctions this innovative admixture, this contradictory side-show, and declares itself to the bemused populace, step by step deluded, as God (II Thessalonians is quite specific about this - a sort of meta-Hitler, Mao, Stalin all rolled into one). The antichrist might have a 'little red book' of his own colour...
The evil spirit of the antichrist, the substitute christ, the satanic bonanza invention, the devil's messiah, already at work in the day of John the apostle (I John 2:18), and so noted, is to come to its zenith in just this inclusivistic spirit of vague generality, which enables a new christ, with a new message, and a new hostility to the Christian Church, and a new tyrannical intolerance (of which both Islam and Rome have been prior exhibitors, and the quasi-religion of Communism, a pseudo-secular extension).
What of Jesus the Christ ? It is this same Messiah, who as predicted, with the history predicted and fulfilled, and the time of coming as predicted for the killing (in His case, the murder OF HIMSELF, not as with the false religions and secular perversions of truth, the slaughter OF OTHERS, brutally mis-ruled), who is so incontestably identified. It is He will govern the earth as in Isaiah 11. MANY PEOPLES will acknowledge this and come in a time of peace, when war can no more be an excuse for the deceptive pre-occupations which the evil one loves to parade in order to pulverise the glory, reduce the understanding and engage and enrage the furious cloudiness that can infect the spiritual heart of man, like a mould!
The devil in fact has mounted the most extensive work of delaying tactics in which, by every means, invading with armies, with false churches (cf. SMR pp. 660-670, 682ff., NEWS 121, 122, Lively Lessons ... Ch. 6), with religion with irreligion, with charm and with brutality, with deceived 'christians' as with missionary zealots of atheism, and will proceed no further. But till that time, he has one trump card on which he has placed much hope: his OWN messiah, his own man of sin, blatant, corrupted, incorrigible, mounting from appeal to zeal to cruelty to tyranny.
Can he be displaced ? By God, certainly. That is the precise point of Revelation 19. When God DOES act, in flood or in crucifixion of His Son or in resurrection of His body, in raising the dead like Lazarus, in raising the paralytic, in punishing and in bringing hope, you know it.
Isaiah 2:5 then proceeds to use this coming clarity and charity of rule for the earth with a call to spiritual revival NOW!
"O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the Lord.
For You have forsaken Your people,
the house of Jacob, because they are filled with eastern ways,
they are soothsayers like the Philistines...
they worship the work of their own hands ...
"Enter into the Rock and hide in the dust from the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty."
Thus having moved his divinely directed gaze from the millenium to Israel of his own day, Isaiah is moved back to regard the time to come, which should fire and inspire his people.
"The haughtiness of man will be bowed down, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day...
the idols He shall utterly abolish ... They shall go into the holes of the rocks,
and into the caves of the earth from the terror of the Lord, and the glory of His majesty,
when He arises to shake the earth mightily...
"Cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils, for of what account is he!" - Isaiah 2:11-22.
Micah 4 however, after the basically identical same opening as found in Isaiah 2, proceeds to note the irenic beauty of quiet living which after the advent, is to develop in this millenial time (4:4). He adds, however, that while man is free to walk in many different ways, having diverse and divergent perspectives, yet WE will walk in the name of the Lord our God. That is, the millenial centrality of the faith being objectified, and the Lord resident president (as in Isaiah 11's account, and that of Psalm 72) in vast understanding and power, the thrust of the whole realm, of those now foreseeing but then to be living, is one. It is in the name of the ONE LORD who has always been there, their God, and the same King! Thus the King of the Jews, as Pilate had written, will be the Lord of the Gentiles also! (cf. Isaiah 24:16, Jeremiah 16:19-21, Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, Revelation 7).
Nothing could more fully emphasise, than these two short passages of Isaiah 2 and Micah 2, so pithily, the fact that there is NO CHANGE HERE, either to the word or to the work of the Lord. It is Israel's God whom, to be sure, they have greatly grieved, but who will fulfil and not destroy all that He has said. His ways are everlasting (Habakkuk 3:6). He has had a plan, used Israel, anointed Jerusalem for His passion, for His resurrection, for His return, and has as in Romans 11 used a beautifully symmetrical procedure in reaching through first one nation, and then one Messiah, ALL. This is the chosen way; and it is immovable.
The believing remnant of Israel will be there; the Lord will be there, and His compassion will not be a mere ornament, but to the weak and afflicted He will give help, for He is not one of those who need to fight to secure gain; but it is He who died and rose to provide redemption, now made manifest even on this earth, while it remains, and before its own day closes. "For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He mgith be Lrod of both the dead and the living," Romans 14:9.
To be sure, "many nations have gathered against you," as you see both in the current newspapers and in this prediction (Micah 4:11), but "they do not know the thoughts of the Lord, nor do they understand His counsel, for He will gather them like sheaves to the threshing floor." On such a floor, things are thrashed out, in more ways than one. Divine power, as in Ezekiel 38ff., will institute the millenium. God then, at the start of Micah 5, shows immediately that this is no MERE exercise of power. In fact, in Micah 5, at once He proceeds to His incarnation, even His whose goings forth are from everlasting, noting His rejection, though rightful ruler, and of the following time of travail of an unbelieving Israel (as a political entity).
Yet the power of God is in this very same Chapter of Micah shown as He deals with the militant Assyrian, now in the realms of what we call Iraq and Iran, and the coming time when Israel, instead of being a laggard concerning the Messianic faith, Christianity, will be a leader (Micah 5:7ff.). Indeed, some in Israel have long done this, starting with the apostles (cf. Isaiah 66:20, Romans 15:16).
Micah 7, one of the most soulfully dramatic, and wistfully powerful accounts of Israel to be found, then exhibits the long-delayed, hearty, longing of the remnant of Israel for its culmination in the mercy of God, and ringing with the splendour of the mercy in which He delights (Micah 7:19ff.), these find their place at last. Confirming and consolidating it, God devastates the unspeakable atrocities of inveterate pugnacity against His people, now restored in spirit as in Ezekiel 37, where the geographic return to their land is stage one of restoration, and that to their heartland in God, is stage two.
Micah 7 and Isaiah 66, Jeremiah 33,
together with Psalm 2, 110.
All of these sites, have now been given some thought and voice, leaving only Psalm 2 and 110 to round off this combination, with further exposition in Jeremiah. In the former of the Psalms, cited in Acts 2 by Peter, there is an indication of the continual chomping on the word and work of God, and His Messiah, which led to the crucifixion and His mocking display of power in the resurrection. This demonic dynamic is displayed as at work to derail if it were possible, the entire program of the Lord, His salvation and His Messiah.
Instead of this result, in Psalm 2:4ff., the Lord made it plain that man COULD not effectively deny or rationally defy HIS overcoming of man's maximal horror, that is, His slow death and blood-letting oozing of the life of a man, the sacrificial Son, despite gloatingly condemning Him in His innocence. Epitomised in the Messiah (where this aspect of the defiance seen in Psalm 2, is shown in its suffering climax, as in Psalm 22), and the insistence on His overthrow, this revolting spirit of revolt is thrown back at the impotent incumbents of power. Will they break His 'bonds' ? then they will be in bondage.
What bonds are these that they snap for murder ? It is bonds of reality which rebound on the perpetrators, so that in the face of this rampageous rebellion, "He who sits in the heavens shall laugh!" Those arising to destroy the kingdom of God will be "held in derision." First, God will resurrect His Son, begotten from the dead (as in Psalm 16 also), and then, in His due time when all His plans mature, His Messiah will
"break them with a rod of iron," (as in Revelation 19), and even "dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel," as in Matthew 21:44.
The truth is like that; the more you struggle, the more you hurt yourself. When as now, it is discovered that it is the personal God whose creation attests His truth in word and history and the laws of His command, by which the universe runs and which our small intellects can discover, unearthing the conceptual commands and realities with which God created, the more you hurt yourself, your integrity and dash any wisdom you may once have had, on the rocks that realism did not despise, but you did.
What a laughing stock indeed these God-haters, albeit religious, made of themselves! Why, they could not even parade the object of their intense hatred, the crucified Christ; they could not display the dynamic of their purely imaginary power, their empowered victim at last in their grasp. Why ? HOW was an Empire PLUS His own nation JOINTLY unable to do this ? The reason is simple, but it is also profound: for He walked out on them, and God left vacant the premises of their safeguarded tomb, as he later did the prison, from which He rescued Peter (Acts 12).
So does the warning of Psalm 2 concerning the plan and purpose, the thrust and the Messiah of salvation proceed, written some thousand years before it all happened, climaxing at Calvary.
This rebellious attitude, even to free salvation (cf. Isaiah 53-55) proceeds in the portent and content of the Psalm 2, until at 2:10ff., judges being duly warned of the wrath to come when the truth on which they have been trampling arises to judge THEM, there is the simple exhortation. What is it ?
It is this. "KISS the SON unless He be angry." In view is not the Judas kiss, but one of devotion from, the heart, for you should love the Lord with ALL your heart and soul and mind and strength.
Blessed are those who trust in Him. There is to be no parley, as if the Middle East confrontation between God and man (for that is the underlying background) could be settled by negotiation.
God's word is un-negotiable; God's statements are gloriously clear (cf. Galloping Events ... Ch. 4), His intentions are undeflectable and the power of His opponents when He acts (as expressly stated in Micah 7, to the extent shown in 7:15, in Isaiah 66:14ff., Psalm 2, 110, Deuteronomy 32:36ff., Joel 3:14ff., Habakkuk 3:12ff.) will be as that of a grasshopper in a cyclone, nations crawling out of their smitten holes like abased serpents! (Micah 7:15ff.). But HIS MERCY, in which He delights, this remains the same, and just as even a thief on the cross could effectually call on Him for salvation, instantly granted so that the time "when You come into Your kingdom" is denoted as "this day" (Luke 22:42-43).
That mercy will stop at nothing, except the truth. Thus Israel is as assuredly as the heavens and the earth in their astronomical emplacement are there, to be returned to its place, and in that place, its Messiah will return as in Psalm 2, Micah 4, Isaiah 2, Jeremiah 33. Indeed, it is there that we read of the divine determination so profound, that the challenge is this: OVERTURN the entire astronomical universe and then it could be considered whether you could induce God to forsake Israel, BOTH its national return to its land WHEN the Messiah will shortly take up His millenial rule (Jeremiah 33:15-26), and in its spiritual restoration as in Ezekiel 37 (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 10, Zechariah 12-13). He is simply not interested in having new plans, adjusted plans, denials of His procedures in the plan of salvation, revised versions of the divine will. You see, it was all wrought out, even who would be saved and who not, before creation. It is a matter of seeing it in perspective, and not trying any more to understand things divine and the Celestial Champion in terms of mere creation, as if God were simply one of us. His becoming man was in love, not in delimitation of His vast grandeur and eternal wisdom and knowledge.
Let us move to Psalm 110, in our thematic pursuit. This has a beautiful aspect. Yes, the Lord will indeed so act (110:2,5-7), in no merely metaphysical way, but as warlike on the final workings of corruption in human flesh, as Isaiah and Deuteronomy with Micah indicate. He has for a long time held His peace, giving His 'class' vast scope; but now it is ended. Patience having had its perfect work, the Gospel having gloriously shown Him to the nations and languages, the END comes as Christ announced in Matthew 24:12.
Truth does not lie forever impaled; judgment is not for always over-ridden with riot; and when mercy has ridden like Paul Lasseter with the good news for an extended 2000 years or so, then the time comes for results. These are as found in John 3:36, where divine wrath broods over those who despised mercy, despatched it to the ruins of history, and cried for a new religion, where bits and pieces of this and that could be amalgamated to make out of false and unverified prophecies, a patter for politicians and a site for hypnosis in lieu of holiness. What rejects the Gospel is 'condemned already,' like a nation in debt to China say, for a trillion, with no means to repay, when asked to hand it back.
As in an examination, however exhilarating it may have been, and however much its conditions in their rigour may have stimulated pertinent action, WHEN that end comes, there is a blessed relief. What then of THIS, our own terrestrial examination, yes, its time for assessment WILL come, so look for it and be content; for He will delay no longer when that time comes.
Just as, in the Exodus after some 400 years, THE LORD acted, so He will act more generically for the whole remnant of God, Jewish and Gentile, when things wind up, like a clothes-line, lifted to avoid the sheets dangling and dirtying themselves on the ground. There is chaff and there is wheat, and they go to their respective appointments. It is not aristocratic wheat versus plebian wheat; for each particle of chaff is so cut because it rejected a better fate, and despised another outcome.
Why is this Psalm 110 then beautiful ? It is because this display, though of intense and immense power, is not inhuman. If power is used, it is only after millenia of time for man in nation and city, in family and tribe, in individual, rich and poor, oppressed and oppressor, have flowed like a vast river. It is only after God Himself has taken in Himself far more than any other is asked to do, because the violation of the vileness of sin impacting on His own sacrificially intended incarnate body is without limit in horror, as you see in the trial of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39ff.).
Accordingly, ensconced in this Psalm 110, in fact at verse 3, there is an intensely beautiful reference. It has two major components. Firstly, there is the beauty of the Messiah, who so far from being wrathful or irritable in this unfolding of His power against evil, is measured and has waited till every other path is totally explored and implemented. He is seen thus:
"In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth."
Now youth can be a very beautiful thing. Things and processes, functions and powers which later in life may lapse, especially in old age, are rampantly alive. The extreme wonder of the human body, the freshness of relatively uncluttered mind is all there. An investigative and roving spirit may be loose and lithe. Yet it so often is exceedingly short on wisdom, self-control and sagacity, prudence and understanding. Not so is the Messiah. HE has the dew of His youth though His own goings (Micah 5:3) have been from everlasting, and before Abraham was, He declares, "I am" (John 8:58). He comes from the womb of the morning, His advent without the tiredness of age or the grime of the day, and He issues as one so fresh that it is like being born.
He comes in the beauties of holiness, for while these bodily expressions are fine, it is the spirit which is fundamental, the ultimate functionality and point, and in His holiness there is no barren or blighted severity; for power has been used only at the uttermost point and after the most sublime actions of forestalling mercy for millenia: instead He comes in the very beauty of holiness.
So does the millenium situation reveal itself, its onset, its beginning forces and power, its overcoming of the perennial efforts of the devil, its beauty in helping the afflicted (Psalm 72), its foregoing of the norm of the confusion of the 21st century, the idea that might is right, and wisdom is tame, that survival is power and that morals are subjective, that Christ though admirable, is a pantheon-participant and that the antichrist to be uncovered, in his blatant power and charming deceptiveness (as from Daniel 7, 11) is the thing. It is this Siegfried Line of false theology and idolatry which cannot be used any more to hang up your washing, because it is not there. The day passes and the time is gone, as in Matthew 22:13. Highways and byways have been scoured, and some have been saved even from there; but excuses do not remove necessities, and the Lord has requisitioned for salvation all that is needed freely.
Thus while the world is to fall once more and its much creased and all but creviced face, before its oncoming idol, that alas, but needfully, will be swept away with the other dirt, and this world will be cleansed for a time, before its own time comes, as with the aged, and it goes, being old (Isaiah 51:6, II Peter 3), and it is gone.
THE TRANSLATION and the broader
When it comes to Revelation 20, the relevant section on the millenium is of some interest as to its translation. The quest is 20:4. The New Berkeley translation (strangely taken off the market, though it has some eminent excellent features, through a purchase of its copyright it appears), has this:
"Then I saw thrones by such as received power to judge.
I also saw the souls of those who had been slain
for their testimony to Jesus and for God's testimony,
and of those who had not worshipped either the beast or his statue,
nor had received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands.
These came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
The Authorised version and the NKJV which often follows the former, have only one category with two descriptions, but the English Revised Version corrects this well, having the two groups each quite distinct, the beheaded along with the more generally obedient ones: those who had been slain for their testimony to the word of God AND of those who did not worship either the beast or his statue.
This is hardly surprising since this is precisely what the Greek does, separating the two sets of those concerned categorically. The 'word of God' instead of God's testimony as in the Berkeley is in fact just what is written, and in such matters endeavour to make it more general do not help. It is what it is, a matter of the WORD of God. The ones concerned, the Greek states, are the souls of those beheaded on account of .... and those who ...
The New American Standard Bible has likewise the two categories of those present:
"I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded
because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God,
and those who had not worshipped the beast or his image,
and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand;
and they come to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
The careful translation of Weymouth similarly has:
"I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded on account of the testimony
that they had borne to Jesus and on account of the word of God,
and also the souls of those who had not worshipped the Wild Beast or his statue,
nor received his mark on their foreheads or their hands;
and they came to life and shared Christ's kingdom for a thousand years."
The Greek says, after the beheaded group, "and those who did not receive ... "
The Greek dictionary (Thayer) defines the terms, 'anyone who', 'whoever'.
At times, someone seems to translate it as if the 'and' were not there. The reason does not appear to bear investigation; what is there and what is not there is not there. Translation is of what is there. Two kinds of entries are there, the first distinguished by the participial form, 'the having been beheaded...' on account of the testimony to Christ and the word of God, and the other group, in the simple aorist indicative, the more to seclude them from the former, 'whoever had not worshipped...', so that the first is stated in one form, the second in another, the former being seen as left for identification in thought, in that state, dramatically so with the perfect participle, and the latter being seen in their simple act of not worshipping, in straightforward announcement, they did NOT worship the image ... As the groups change, so does the grammar. Both are there.
It would have been simple and not unusual if the same group were in mind, simply to have repeated for uniformity and conformity of thought, the second group with ANOTHER perfect participle, making it: the have been beheaded (ones) and the not have worshipped (ones). Instead, a grammatical gulf is placed to prevent any thought of making the 'and' to be conceived as an 'even' which is possible in general.
Moreover the relative pronoun used to designate the second group, translatable 'anyone who', a particular form being chosen with this sense, is like a net, to grab anything at all in that domain. It is an inclusive net. The having been beheaded ones are there, those who had insisted on a testimony both to Jesus and to the word of God, so coming to calamity on this earth, and with them are any who had not received the mark or worshipped the fraud... all that clan is there with them, the one dynamised into graphic appearance, the other prosaic in the simple negation. THEY DID NOT WORSHIP. NONE in either group succumbed. It is all there, the one and the other, the dramatic and the prosaic, the pure with the pure, and all find mercy.
Thus the disjunction of the verbal forms, despite Greek trend to multiply the participles, and the use of the inclusive relative pronoun for the second group make it apparent that we are looking at two groups, the one an extreme case, the other inclusive of the simple refusal, not taking the testimony of evil. Thus the two are complementary categories: the one those to be seen as beheaded (the sight as it were in the perfect almost continued to the imagination), and those - indeed persons who without going as far as all that, were nevertheless to be incorporated in this more generic and simple region of faithfulness, that THEY DID NOT DO IT.
You have thus those who had action taken against them, and on the other hand, those who refused to take action to accommodate the pressure to be unfaithful, and together they make up the category of faithfulness under pressure. The first is a SIGHT phenomenon, and you SEE them there, thus stricken; the second is a PLIGHT phenomenon, and they hear of them THAT they refused. Trying to merge them and to overlook the 'and' as well as the stark and abrupt grammatical change in the verbal representation is like trying to turn a flummery into soufflť.
The word of God assures us it is clear to the one who understands, and the first thing to understand is this, that we listen to its devices and methods, and do NOT over-ride them! It is hard to see how it could be clearer when such steps as the change of verbal form, the use of an inclusivistic relative pronoun for one category, the simple use of an 'and' with a new type of clause, occur in directive conclusion. Indeed, the whole situation is inclusive, itinerative, for John sees 1) thrones 2) those who sat on them 3) the souls of the-having-been-beheaded ones and 4) whoever had not yielded to the blandishments of evil in the form of the worship and the image.
Items appear as seen, and transcribed for our information, not cast into a jumble of words contrary to the simple methods available and used of indicating an abrupt stop and new direction within a broad category. It is not confusing, but illuminative, giving a double and decisive display of the diversity and the enumerated objects, people and actions involved. What is diverse is thus in text diversified; and what could have been made one altogether by a simple method, is not so treated. Whatever ELSE is left which did not obey the false call to worship the beast, this too, it is there in glory!
Being beheaded would, moreover, make it reasonably clear (just as thumping someone on the back to make his teeth chatter, makes it reasonably clear, that the matter is conclusive!), that they did not bend. It would be bathos to imagine that the second category is the same as the first, the less dramatic following the more so, both the same, yet one in a divergent format. Is it to be conceived as so definitively designated differently, in a different frame, categorical, whilst the former gruesomely corporeal is really the same lot as its more irenic successor ? The point is that IF they were the same grouping entirely, and not parts of a whole, each a part, then the second group would of course be contained in the first, and a bathetic addition as well.
For the assumption that they are the same, we must oppose the principle that the text will indicate which route to follow, and in all these ways, this is precisely what it does.
The issue: faithfulness or not. The result: to reign for one thousand years with Christ. The issue ? not HOW you do this or that, but as always, THAT you do NOT take one road but adhere to the OTHER, whether in a gruesome depiction of the extreme, or a simple and factual statement of the issue, that you duly met. All are indeed one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3), and elevation of groups is precisely what is NOT in view.
Hence we have here a simple statement that the saints will be given life and reign for one thousand years with Christ on this earth, as in more general terms, shown in Revelation 5:9-10, where the saints are to reign on the earth. The universality of the situation is clear in 5:13, as to topic, and the faith of those involved is equally so in 5:11-12. As in Psalm 2, the earth will not be excused from the sovereign impact of the majestic power of God; and as in Psalm 110, and as in Isaiah 66 God will not fail to use power when the purity is to be met categorically, when it seeks to rule forever with its sin syndrome. It is as in I Thessalonians 1, when the Lord returns and acts on this earth. It is as in Daniel 2, when the earth is smitten with a stone which disrupts and disperses the kingdoms, and in Daniel 7 it is by no means a gradualistic thing, being as in Daniel 7:25-26 a matter of the epic flourishing of evil met by divine fiat in its time.
As to those who quite simply and with loyal faithfulness did NOT (repeat NOT) worship and did NOT receive the mark on the forehead and did NOT receive it on the hand (whatever the mode, the import involves thought, on the one hand, and action, on the other, again a comprehensive thing, this obeisance REFUSED), it is well to consider 'mystery Babylon' of Revelation 17:5, a locale for the fourth beast, which wearying of Rome, the fourth empire centre, dumps her (17:16).Indeed, it thus proceeds to its own appointed doom, after that of Rome, which in another illustrative image, might be thought of as mistletoe on the gum tree of dubious grandeur of the beast, 'sitting' on its back! before, in effect, being bucked off.
Thus the entirety of the spiritual evil is characterisable in terms of Babylon, devastatingly in turn characterised through Jeremiah in 50-51, where its end is seen in a stone cast into the river, and its beginnings are seen in its devastating cruelty, pride and self-affirmation of the historical Empire of Babylon, seeking to smash the sacred and pitiless in the endeavours of its injudicious dynamism. From the first to the last, this entertainment centre for the devil, this violation of all that is holy and godly, has had its name. Eminent in Babylon, biting the dust in its perpetual fall, like a gross bloom in Revelation 17, relating to the last (that is, as in Daniel 3 and 7), the fourth Kingdom proceeds through the geographical centre and area of rule of Rome and its Europe.
The mark of this beast has been perpetual, and even if at the end, it is physical and applicable in simple steps on hand and brow, yet it is as old as history, from Cain and Abel, from Eve and Satan: there in Eden as ever after till t he end, is the implication, the imputation concerning God, the dissociation from truth and the leeway given to insubordinate lie, with the 'harlot's' caress of smirking sedition against the Lord. Against this evil unity, is the unity of the saints, as always envisaged together, as one body, of one Lord, now indivisible in its outcome in the general resurrection, and so depicted in the millenium.
Major Millenial Issues:
For a more detailed exposition of Revelation 20, and some of the issues, see Regal Rays of Revelation Ch. 8 and The Holocaust of Morality ... Ch. 4 with TMR Ch. †† 4 as marked and Sparkling Life ... Ch. 10. For a fairly comprehensive coverage of major related issues, see Possess Your Possessions Volume 3,
Ch. 4 , and for the length of the millenium, see *4 in that Chapter.
Further on millenial issues, see Galloping Events Ch. 8, *2.
The saints will as in Revelation 5 indeed rule on this earth. For more on Psalm 72, see for example Joyful Jottings 18.
THE DIVINE DETERMINATION
Above, the human disinclination to see the unique divine splendour, His rampant power in creation and judgment, the scope and sublimity of His dealings was shown. It is a categorical trend, as old as Eve's deception by Satan, who tried to make man appear nearly equal to God, and to disparage deity in sly innuendo (Genesis 3:1ff.).
Man is forever wanting to make an unsublime Messiah, or a vague one who will not actually interfere too much, or a world without one, making of Christ a suitably subverted memory, or changing Him into a clown or a revolutionary, or an Anglican consensus (where Christ is NOT and yet elsewhere IS the only way to God in a marvellous confusion, entirely worthy of ancient Israel*2).
In the vague category, you can have one who is very imperial, but perhaps metaphorical, as if death were a poem, and the spear in the bowels were a thought; or one who is merely an ambassador for a particular group, as with Ahmadinejad's Mahdi, with whom he wants to maintain a nice power for arrangements, right down to street map felicity for a tour, it seems*3. Whatever happens, this type of illusory messiah MUST NOT get in the way, but do strictly what is prescribed by the entertaining power, be it mental or political. God is subjected to man. That is the point: the religion of fraud and antichrist is to be USED by man; whereas with the Messiah, God is used for man.
However, in fact, man is subjected to God, and He, having chosen one people as the introduction personnel for His word and the Messiah, in precise and indefectible clarity, and having sent the same in fulfilment of this, and given them a site and a place for His purposes, will neither relent nor move in His battle plans or His gospel goodness (Galatians 1 with Jeremiah 33!). He is far more determined, the very Rock of resolution as He resolves His own way, the insurrections and devilries, deals with the defections and defiances, over-rides the befoulments and the pollutions of the human race, and puts all in place by His grace.
As He would not relent, when punishing Jerusalem, nor will He relent in punishing the nations (as in Micah 7, Revelation 19), when THEIR time comes. It has been the very epitome of unholiness to charge on about the Jew, his work at Calvary. It was not ALL the nation, but its rulers who did it; yet it was this nation, so ruled. If the nation is involved, then, as it IS, yet from this same nation came the apostles and in it, the Church of Jesus Christ. If they have been punished by finding in war and persecution what it is like to detach forcibly from yourself, the Prince of Peace, then the nations which seek to act, in their own unbelief, as if judges, these too will be judged. The wrath of God and His intractability could not be more eminently obvious than in Psalm 2.
Take heed then, you judges, and seek the Lord, not indolently, as if reading a novel, but practically, as if facing a new X-ray of your cancerous condition, with one month to live. If you do not yet know the Lord, NOW is the time to seek and to find Him (II Corinthians 6); and if then, how much more if possible, now!
If you do know the Lord, then rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: there is none like Him, to know Him is a gift of magnificence, to follow Him a privilege of development (II Peter 3:18) and to be one of His adopted children is a munificence so great that it is almost too deep, even for tears of joy.
Praise the Lord.
SMR Ch. 2, Wake Up World! ... Chs. 4-6, Secular Myths and Sacred Truth,
The gods of naturalism have no go! TMR Chs. 1-4, 8. On divine design, see Deity and Design ... including section 8 on validation. See Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ on verification.
'Let's forget the fire and brimstone,' says a profane article in The Australian, World Commentary , p. 6, Dec. 20,2011, as if the year were ending in a kind of religious expletive.
Really ? If so, then let's proceed. Let's forget too the curse, death, cancer, graft, corruption, dynamic evil, corruption and disruption, atrocities, white and blue collar crime, the inane braying of the UN, powerless except when it counts for itself, and then tilted, and ignore the plight of the earth in its powers and movements, together with the fight of the militant, always about to explode and take others with them. Let's forget about God, and just remember the gods men make; let's forget too the contradictions between the personal meekness required of Christians and the yawing and desolatory arrogance and crushing thrusts of the deluded, and altogether trust in illusions, live by confusions, make our idols of opposites and find for ourselves a theory of life which is NEVER verified, on a basis NEVER seen, with remnants of failed efforts NEVER found, and call ourselves sophisticated, and libel those who believe in the God who DID what we NEVER see at the time when He wished it. That is one erratic and irrational and seemingly recommended path, when you trace its implications.
Or else, then, what ? Instead of this harrowing monstrosity, let's understand that the reason why such things as brought the world into being are now NEVER found is simple: The Innovator, Creator, Constructor is not doing it now, as He stated some time ago, a few millenia indeed, was the case. He did it. It is here. He is not doing it now; even information increase without intelligence*1B is not found now! There is no process. This is FINIS.
This sort of ignorance of the actualities, parroting of the normal scientistic works of unionism which seek to control education, and the bundles of irrationalities which such oppressors of the poor indulge in, would have some common points in some religions, despite their massive clashes the basis of a therefore man-made religion of bits, so that then people, states and governments could do as they more or less are doing now, precisely as they please. Here, however, as foretold in Revelation 13, we would have a Second Beast, a religious one, which would try to make it appear that this blatant making of idols was in some way a religious or virtuous thing, so that the most evil of all, the meta-religious construction, idol of idols, culminating in the man of sin (II Thessalonians 2) might manifest himself. It is ALWAYS going to be personal in the end, a fact which destroyed Communism, which is rarely practised and never by any large State, because it does not work, omitting the main thing in the interests of minor things, in a very minor key.
It is not a matter of fundamentalists versus moderates (cf. The Biblical Workman Appendix III ), an inapposite and confused re-grouping of stark opposites in kind, but of a validated, verified, scientifically impeccable book of the Lord, the Bible of millenia in its co-ordinated presentation and challenge to heart and reason alike, with the personal testimony of the foretold Leader who came and showed it all, verified, verifiably and direct. This has thus established itself not only on a rational basis, but in such a way as to give meaning to logical proof, versus efforts to make nothing the king, and symbols the salvation of the human race, thus justifying the judgment to come: and THEREFORE understandably making some very sensitive to 'fire and brimstone,' a metaphor of divine judgment in this case.
The Desire of the Nations Ch. 2, Epilogue,
Little Things Ch. 3 (esp. *3),
Beauty of Holiness Ch. 4,
As noted in Member Notes 31-33, at point 3 (with a slight adaptation for our present purpose):
The whole book of Hosea makes the point in the most graphic of fashions, the prophet literally marrying a harlot, by divine direction, in order to show the fashion of the spiritual apostasy, which like an adulteress physically, the nation had followed, in spirit! vexing the Lord, through its combinations of its own culture, that of others and the wayward ways it discovered about itself in the world. Alas, with an Anglican Primate telling that it is not necessary to come to God through Christ, other avenues avail; and the Lutheran body in SA CELEBRATING the rapprochement with Rome, and the Uniting Church authorising homosexual pastors in a way which may lead to thousands leaving, and has led to the talk of it, there is a medley of false association. Freemasonry is merely one of the varieties of the thing. It is not for that reason any better.
This sort of official confusion and blighted unbelief adorning itself with combinations of spiritual squalor attacked as such by the Lord, was in Israel a major cause of its downfall, and does not have licence for those who imitate it in this, to avoid the same now. Follow the path, find the trap. See Ezekiel 23:12-30 for example. It is the work of a friend to give counsel from due authority of the dangers others run. Let it not be lacking, whether they hear or forbear (Ezekiel 2:1-8), for here lies the work of one who warns (Ezekiel 18 and 33, with Proverbs 24:11-12).
See also Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 7 (May 2000), regarding the Christ-compromising Anglican Primate. An accommodating all-inclusive Church which makes its haven broader than Christ as sent and designated in history and the Holy Word of God, is like a band of apostles, some following the resurrected Saviour, others having a preference for a sort of Judas who did not bother to hang himself. It is a gross defilement of the Christian Church, forbidden entirely (Romans 16:17), and wilfully ignoring the strictures of both Peter and Paul, and John as well (Acts 20:28-29, II Peter 2, II John). If the foundations be destroyed where can the righteous flee ? Back to God, and only there (Isaiah 28:16, I Corinthians 3:10-11, Psalm 11:3).
In Lively Lessons in Spiritual Service Ch. 6, there is some reference to the topic also found in News 121, 122, concerning the blurry endeavour to invent a false messiah, which is now becoming so popular, that very stock modes are being focussed, while wider and broader means are being sought to make up something manufactured as multi-vitamin for consumption by the masses, in the field of spiritual leadership.
These presentations in due course focus on the Ahmadinejad matter, and an excerpt appears below.
On p. 9 of The Australian we find a piece of mundane spiritual news.
A religious Parliament no less!
A Presbyterian Minister from the USA has arrived for a conference. Indeed, the Executive Director of the Parliament of the World's Religions, ready for the next meeting of the said body, is in Melbourne. This global "inter-faith" event was first held, we read, in Chicago in 1893, and now is convened on a five yearly basis. Lasting 6 days, it is expected to draw some 8000 people.
Scope is provided for those ranging from Dalai Lama to Native American tribal leaders. It includes those who "embrace any form of spirituality" - and with New Age, this is a spectrum almost as vast as the universe, in ideational scope, variety of concepts, new and old, miasma and martiality, models of force and favour, of grace and adventure. "Our work," he declares, "is to reduce the shadow side of religion, and the violence that accompanies it, and ... maximise the positive of religion to human relations."
The one point is good: violence in the name of any world religion is currently both unnecessary, dire and ready to damn this world, as well as damage it. That is, the powers of the religious-political pen and the nuclear sword are becoming correlatives, as Iran so eloquently exhibits. In fact, in terms of the force issue, it could scarcely be more obvious there. President Ahmadinejad is now abundantly using a well-known dogma of much of Islam, one of wide if not universal recognition in this field, and vastly esteemed by various branches of it, that of the Mahdi, evidently a special spiritual leader who is to rid the world of injustice, error and tyranny, and may come in company with Jesus (some differ), taking some 9 to 19 years to clear the mess. Arabs of course will gain whatever land is deemed their due in the process.
People in this way are fulfilling Christ's prediction of false christs. This has much in common with the Buddhist belief in Maitreya, sometimes rendered 'lovingkindness', or friendliness, a parallel figure, whereas the Mahdi idea relates to this being as "the guided one."
In the Maitreya case, the coming one is taken to be a bhodisvetta, of a special order or kind, who is supposed to gain complete enlightenment and teach pure dharma (or law, or justice, what is fitting). Various aspirants for such posts seem to appear, or are claimed to be close to appearing.
The Mahdi concept in Islam comes with Muhammad, into a religion which itself did not exist before that; while the Maitreya one appears in Buddhism with its 600 B.C. beginning, in various references in that religion. Just as the Mahdi is a rather obvious take-off of Christ's Second Coming, often foretold in the Old Testament centuries before this, in Psalms 2, 72, 110, Isaiah 11, Jeremiah 23, for example, now confirmed by that Christ who has already demonstrated His power without attrition, so the prime focus and empirical source for any such concept is found first in the Old Testament. It was One, who was to be, as He came to be, Christ the Redeemer, who suffered as Jesus the Lord who would come again to rule. He was first tested before men, and then accorded this place (as in Philippians 2).
Thus, His is no mere 'enlightenment' specialty, for HIS coming is as the One who, having exhibited the power of God, paid for the redemption from the real results of sin, on the Cross of conviction, thereby quelling most just divine wrath, by vicarious sacrifice.
The presence of Jesus in some of the conceptions in the Islamic literature, merely emphasises this huge disjunction between Him and all fabrications, fancies and imaginations. Firstly, He always was the eternal word of God (John 1, 8:58) and was predicted in successive detail and scope, thematically. In detail that was testable, and still is. He came not to be enlightened but as the Light of the World, demonstrating the power of God empirically, and HENCE gained many of His followers, passing each severe test. Being deity is easy to exhibit or fail to exhibit! Indeed, He showed a vast spirit of love in bearing the anguish and mockery which sin deserves, and He for man took.
However, to revert: In Psalm 2, 1000 B.C., centuries before either of the above religions began, as in Psalm 72, you have, as in Psalm 72, precisely this Being, to ruler over the nations, who as a man has all the power and place of God, being the One in whom one MUST TRUST, whereas in mere 'man' one must NOT so trust (Jeremiah 17).
This fact is made even clearer in Isaiah 11. There as a descendant of King David, as foretold, in the flesh side.
He rules with power and majesty, dominion and peace, Gentiles also seeking Him and His rest;
as in Psalm 22 (where His power is preceded by His anguish in bearing sin).
Isaiah 32 (where again He is seen as ruling King, even the shadow of a mighty Rock),
Isaiah 40 (where His coming is with tenderness as well as majesty),
Isaiah 42, while in 49-55, His salvation is seen in detail
as to its substitutionary sacrifice for those who by faith receive Him, Jew or Gentile,
as He really is (and not, as above, in some excrescential, incidental or mutative format,
such as II Corinthians 11 exposes!).
The depth and reality, testability and beauty of it is composite, continual and verified.
Moreover, right from Genesis 3:15 there has been the divine promise that THROUGH MAN God could deliver from the superior spiritual power of the devil, of satan, whose overthrow would be accomplished with pain and bruising to the deliverer, and total judgment of satan's person.
In the case of Ahmadinejad, there is as shown in the testimony of Israel My Glory, September 2009, a commitment to this Mahdism so complete, that he conceives himself in direct contact with God, and is moving towards the coming to the point that the route for the appearance of the leader concerned, as he passes through the streets, has been determined, and that with access to this privilege information on the part of the President. Victory and accomplishment are all to come, and the Iranian politician is evidently working towards a perceived climax in world history of this type.
However, though Jesus may be neatly tucked into the proceedings somewhere, as is customary from Muhammad on, in the effort to displace His claim to be "the way, the life and the truth", yet it is His words which will judge all (Acts 17:31) with a finality which comes from His being the Eternal Word of God (John 1:1, 5:19ff., Isaiah 49:16, Philippians 2), chosen to perform manís judgment, as a fitting result of His unique incarnation and exclusive salvation (Acts 4:11ff.).
What makes His coming office, as Judge of mankind (Acts 17:31, John 4:22), still more fitting is the fact that this salvation was wrought through His willingness on the Cross of purchase, to take as representative of all who come in faith to Him as He is, all that was coming negatively to them (Matthew 20:28, Galatians 3). Such things were seen before as in Daniel 7:25ff., Psalm 2, 72, 110, Isaiah 11, 22, 32, 40-55, Joel 3, Zechariah 14, Jeremiah 23, Micah 5-7, as likewise was his emplacement as the babe of Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-3), even He "whose goings are from everlasting". It is He alone who balms the heart, pardons the soul, is coming as He is sent, demonstrated His deity, and He alone who will judge. Rejoice for there is none other knowing all, loving all, seeking all, subject to no deception, knowing His own from before time, calling all to come!
Light does not waver or wander, nor does truth vary or vacillate. As He came, lowered in His Messianic role, starting on this earth as the babe, so He becomes, in historical succession, the Lord of all creation, in His return era, the knowledge of the glory of the Lord filling the earth as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11, Habakkuk 2:14). So did He, for whom equality with God was His natural state in eternity, lower Himself to the place of man in his sin, while yet God since He does not change (Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6, Psalm 102); and overcoming death, He has returned to His place, providing time for the Gospel to grip the earth (Matthew 24:12), as Isaiah indicated would occur, before returning to what He died for, to take His own (Matthew 24:36ff., I Thessalonians 4).