AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH April 27, 2014
Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith
in accord with the biblical thrust of the Constitution of 1901 of the Presbyterian Church of Australia
FALLS GOOD AND BAD
THE FALL INTO CONDEMNATION AND
THE FALL AT HIS FEET
COME TO ME, SAID CHRIST,
COME OUT OF
HER, SAYS HIS WORD
ISAIAH, JEREMIAH, THE GOSPEL AND REVELATION
HAVE THINGS TO TELL US. LET US HEED THEM.
Have you considered the falls ? the great rushing of turbulent waters, suddenly exposed to the light which transcendentally rushes through the cascading waters, mist the mantle, glory the crown. Tumultuous in power, terrible in danger, a marvel in majesty, as at Niagara, light and foaming, deep and rushing, these falls are uplifting to the spirit.
There is another sort of fall. You find it in Isaiah 21:9: "Babylon is fallen, is fallen! And all the carved images of her gods He has broken to the ground."
Again in Jeremiah 51:8-9, you have it, with a sad addition:
"Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed. Wail for her! Take balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed.
"We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed. Forsake her, and let us go everyone to his own country; for her judgment reaches to heaven and is lifted up to the skies. The LORD has revealed our righteousness."
As to that it is Himself as in Jeremiah 23:5-7, which speaking of the restoration of Israel, when it finally comes to the Lord, has this to say:
"Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, that I will raise up to David
a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved,
and Israel will dwell safely. Now this is the name by which He will be called:
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."
THAT is where the righteousness of Israel lies (as in Psalm 32), and nowhere else (as in Romans 10:3-4); and that is the case for one as for all (Ephesians 2). The difference in self-estimate led to the destruction of Jerusalem, for as they rose, so the word of the Lord fell, even on deaf ears and they were left to the slippery places, like their Gentile parallels. Babylon is very epitome of false and fraudulent prophets who often profit by their own pronouncement, both monetarily and in following and esteem (II Peter 2:1ff., Jeremiah 23:23-40).
God adds to His lament: "My heart is broken within me because of the prophets," using Jeremiah as a human expression of the heart of God in his lamentation. God resumes in Jeremiah 23:11: "Both prophet and priest are profane; yes in My house I have found their wickedness, says the LORD. Therefore their way shall become to them as slippery places in the dark."
In the end, as in Jeremiah 23:39, Jerusalem caught in the false leading of the prophets and the false morals resulting, could not escape her destruction (of 586 B.C.). It was predicted; its grounds were rehearsed; opportunities were given for recovery (Jeremiah 17); but she would not; just as happened again when the Lord Himself came, as in Matthew 23:37ff.. He would have healed her, for as in Luke 19:41ff., there was a DAY of OPPORTUNITY, but she did not know it! He knew what He would do, but she did not know what was available, or refused to reckon with it, oblivious to the obvious, so chained by various lusts as not to see the Way of the Just One (Acts 3:14-15). So she slew Him (as predicted, fulfilling part of the divine plan as specified in advance).
He had no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). He even sought forgiveness for those crucifying Him. So it is now in our contemporary period; the nations foregather in their meeting rooms, as if watching TV of their end, but they wilL not look, neither will they heed.
THE BABYLONIAN FALL AND ITS TYPE
Babylon would destroy here, and then in its turn, BE DESTROYED, for it became a source of the same infection, roaring and deleterious, dynamic and devastating, self-assured and saturated with its idolatries (Jeremiah 50:2,24). Contending with the Lord, executing its work of judgment mercilessly (50:24), its fall was complete, its assured end certain (Jeremiah 50:46).
Deeming her a "destroying mountain," God declares this, "Behold, I am against you!" Just as for the Lord's own people, we cite, "If God be for us, who can be against us!" (Romans 8:31), for outcomes in the end, and power in the present, however great the testimonial suffering: so if the opposite be true, as it was of Babylon, NOTHING can avail. But note the Lord's willingness to heal ... even Babylon, but she was not healed. Nor is the case different for this world to whom the end duly comes (as in Isaiah 2, 24), in its time, and as spoken by Jesus the Christ (Matthew 24:35). Whether it be Babylon, or a sinning Israel, or a permanently desolate Babylon (Isaiah 13:20-22), there is to be an end, and the world leaving nil glory will pass; but the word of the Lord will stay, and the words of Jesus Christ, as now in sequence being fulfilled, will rule.
As to Babylon, Jeremiah
As to Babylon, Jeremiah 50:29, "she has been proud against the Lord." Isaiah declares, 47:9-11, it was even to the point of having "a multitude of sorceries, for the great abundance of your enchantments"; and indeed
"Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you, and you have said in your heart,
'I am, and there is no one else besides me.
Therefore evil will come upon you. You will not know from where it arises ... "
Babylon, then, has been scripturally characterised. We are well aware of her syndrome of pride, mercilessness, self-regard, self-assertion, contending with the Lord and exalting herself. Romanism (the so-called R.C. religion) has so far shown a similarity (cf. SMR pp. 911ff., 1032-1088H), that the very name of Babylon is applied to her in Revelation 17, as being citable of a great city of seven hills, Rome, with her 'sorcery' (Revelation 18:23). 'Sorcery' in this setting would primarily refer to unauthorised, innovative works of a spiritual kind, dedicated to deception, human in inception, disregarding the Lord, perhaps even in His name.
The devil can readily delude people who so act (2 Timothy 2:25–26*1), so that one of the tasks of "the servant of the Lord, "is to act so as to instruct "those that oppose themselves; if God perhaps will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." As to Jesus Christ, not even sorcery can bring Him back to earth before His formal appearing (as Acts 3:19-21, I Cor. 11:26); for it is clearly declared by the apostle Peter that it is in heaven that He is received, and there is just one Christ, just one resurrected body (Hebrews 2), for He became just one man.
When does He come back then, from heaven as the Second Person of the trinity ? This epochal event is stated in Acts 3 to be at the "restoration of all things" which is the era of His coming, and until then it is He "whom heaven must receive", so that if any one in the interim to that epoch culminating history, as in II Thessalonians 1, should say, Look, He is in this room, or in the desert (24:23-26), Jesus Christ Himself commands us to disbelieve it (Matthew 24:24-28). No such claim is to be entertained. Such is the case of the so-called 'mass' (cf. SMR pp. 1088Aff.), for precisely is this of that kind. This is the way for false christs (24:24), for when HE comes it will be like lightning from east to west, He declares in direct contrast. There is no room for legitimate mystification or ambiguity on this point. This option is denied here.
Meanwhile, the term, 'Mystery Babylon' makes it clear that this is a city, Rome, which in its day is to represent the very character of ancient Babylon, as condemned, giving a certain continuity in kind. The FALL of the grand waters of spectacle is magnificent; but the fall of Babylon, whether the city or the mystery that follows that former and utterly desolated city (Rev. 17:5), is occasion for lament (Revelation 18:19ff.). Yet since this type of rebellion against the Lord from the first, arrogantly to elevate oneself to sit with Him in various ways, on high (Genesis 3), till later in Babylon, its great exponent, and then on to this Rome, a famous and celebrated centre of religion to this day, started early, so it ends late (Rev. 18-19 cf. SMR pp. 946ff.). It would be desolating were it not that it is precisely this spirit and attitude, thus epitomised in the religion of this city for which it has renown, that has swallowed up the lives of countless victims (Revelation 19:24), often seizing their lives, gold, even with torture.
THE NOT SO MYSTERIOUS MYSTERY AND ITS RESULT
What then ?
The fall of the city of Babylon and that predicted of the Roman counterpart, the R.C. religion as in that city as the end of the Age approaches (Revelation 17-20), while earned, was a desolatory thing with its own sorrow; and so with that of Romanism to come, it is not to be a place of merger. COME OUT OF HER! says the Lord in Revelation 18:4. Centred so markedly in Rome, and in its mystery form continuing, it reaches back to all ages, with these intensively characterised foci.
The "mystery" thus includes all that with Romanism is like it, absorbed by it, longing for it, embracing with it, and so all the ultra-ecumenical bodies which partaking of the same character, practise the same collusion with many things NOT the word of God, CONTRARY to the word of God AS IF their mere say-so constituted an equivalence to God, and they could USE HIS NAME for their spiritual innovations, for which the term sorcery is used, in the cohesion with former times (cf. SMR 729ff., 1088A and 981).
THERE ARE TWO FALLS,
1) TO THE KNEES IN
ADMIRATION AND ADORATION OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE HEART BROKEN BECAUSE
OF SIN, THE WASHING AS IN TITUS 3:3-5, GRAND AND THE POWER GLORIOUS; AND THE
2) THE FALL FROM THE GRANDEUR OF PRESUMPTION AND ARROGANCE TO THE DARKNESS OF OUTLAWRY BEFORE GOD, FOR CONTENDING WITH HIM AND HIS WORD.
As to the former, engage in it, and rejoice in the place of grace found in Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, forever, in the same Gospel as that which Paul had preached (as in Galatians 1). As to the latter, the biblical command is this: DISENGAGE. That is the word of God in this place.
"Come out of her, My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues, for her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her inIquities."
The lamentable loss is then itemised in all its desolation.
The whole world indeed, with this pivotal centre of elevation and rebellion, is like Jerusalem of old, to come to its judgment, and Isaiah 24 dwells on this, as does Isaiah 2. Yet while Jerusalem is ALSO the site of the crucifixion of the Lord and through His central work there, the means of escape (Hebrews 6:19), that through Him from this fallen world (Romans 5), here will be a central testimony placarded (Micah 4, Isaiah 2), of NONE but the Lord, of no other religion for there is no other God. Indeed, the Lord has promises to fulfil to Abraham (Genesis 17, Micah 7, Ezekiel 36ff.), which He foreknew as part of His own divine plan of salvation. This incorporated a Jerusalem to come, largely converted. Already it is back home as predicted, re-assembled as in Ezekiel's two phase prophecy (Ezekiel 37). As yet unconverted, it is back in its own name and land there now: Israel in Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:1-10)! As it was to be, so it is.
To it the Lord will surely come (Micah 4, Isaiah 2), not to vindicate Israel for its ways (Ezekiel 36:22), but to vindicate His own name, consummate His own plan, illustrate His own ONE AND ONLY truth and Gospel, WHERE it was implemented some 2000 years ago, by His payment for eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12, Isaiah 51:11, 54) which nothing can abort. Where man killed Christ the Lord, there will He show the majesty they disdained, and in this world, will He exhibit the righteousness they have disdained, and from which vainly and stridently departed.
SPIRITUAL PRACTICALITIES, SUCH AS DESTINY
Mystery Babylon, decline, declination and spiritual rebellion ? COME OUT, of all that, and COME IN to the Lord, who mercifully does not require a world movement to find you, if you are not already found; but the heart, the soul and centre of the life of any mortal, this He requires, there to provide peace. DO NOT harden your heart, is the divine counsel, as in the wilderness when Israel REFUSED to enter a land PROMISED ALREADY, losing a whole generation in the process before entry.
Do NOT be part of that generation, but of the believing multitude from the beginning to the end, who have trusted in the sole authorised declaration of God to man, set in singular site in the Bible, implemented in Jesus Christ Himself (Isaiah 34, I Peter 1:10ff., II Peter 1:19ff., II Timothy 3:16, Proverbs 30:6, Galatians 1, I Corinthians 10-11, Revelation 22:16-19 cf. SMR Appendix C and D).
It is good to come in from the tempest, to come into the truth, it is glorious to come into the Glorious One, Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, and to find not refund of life to sin in waywardness, but securing of life, with the liberty to love and the wonder of His creation, redemption and eternal life, Himself vindicated, victorious, showing His fruit in that generation (Psalm 22:30-31). This, instead of physical descendants (Isaiah 53:8) and in this generation is regeneration of one and all, and in this claimed inheritance, the Lord knows each of them, and they behold His face, having come back each one to that blessed place.
The thundering majesty of the mighty fall of Christ not into sin, but into a temporary death, cleansing and resurgent like Niagara, the Victoria Falls, the humble necessity for spiritual life to fall before Him in repentance of life and redemption of soul, to fall for nothing else, and to arise, is as in Colossians 3:1:
"Ïf then you were raised with
Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is,
sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears,
then you also will appear with Him in glory."