AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH July 7, 2013
Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith
WAIT FOR IT: IT WILL SURELY COME,
BUT DON'T WAIT TOO LONG TO BE READY!
A PEEP AT JOEL 2:28 - 3:21 AND HABAKKUK 3
AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH July 14, 2013
Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith
WAIT FOR IT:
IT WILL SURELY COME, BUT DON'T WAIT TOO LONG TO BE READY!
A PEEP AT JOEL 2:28 - 3:21 AND HABAKKUK 3
In fact, the heading is taken from Habakkuk 2:3:
"For the vision is yet for an appointed time,
but at the end, it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come,
It will not tarry."
In the interim before the finale of the Age, to which we now scud like a yacht before a strong wind, sailing to the finish (Answers to Questions Ch. 5), there are moral and constitutional issues (that is, concerning the constitution of man!); but in the end, God will indeed take action concerning the depredations, slaughters, deceits and deviousnesses of arrogant and invasive man. He is invasive, this mankind, not only of other lands, but of the law of God, and indeed as portrayed in Psalms 2 and 22, as far as he is able, of God and His kingdom itself (cf. Isaiah 53, Matthew 11:12). and this ? it is often with a strutting arrogance, elegant in its uncouthness.
Communism, Romanism and Islam are three religions, one too bashful in this alone, to name itself as one, though it seeks to account for all by begging the question and then reducing the issues to superficial substitutes for reality: these three are but centres of defilement and defiance, two taking off from Christianity, Rome with another master apart from Christ (Matthew 23:8-10), Islam with another Christ made up 600 years later without eyewitness support, or testimonial attestation; while Communism has a perverse inversion of Christianity. Thus the people ostensibly do the saving, their sins defined by the State, despite the fact that morals are disallowed, in this force-fed-fiesta, , nor are the people less than smitten by un unelected body of utter rulers, men as morals, and what they are saved from is being free from people-managers..
Such issues in type,
Habakkuk covers with horror and appeal; but today our interest is what we
are to WAIT FOR, at the end, as in Habakkuk 3:9-12 in parallel with Joel
2:28 - 3:21.
The nations are summoned as in Joel 3:12, for all of them will be judged. Abounding in the ways of wickedness, they come, in multitudes, massed as in vain tumult (cf. Isaiah 9:5), whereas peace they miss; for what peace COULD there be when they assemble in a near terminal last, vast battle of lust against the Lord, in the day of the Lord, which as Amos told us, is anything but a happy one at its outset.
The Lord "will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem," Joel 3:16 (a new 3:16 verse concerning deliverance), indeed shake heaven and earth. But Zion! It is the same doubly identified city as in Zechariah 12:6, with its threefold definition and historical depiction, moving from without covenant to within it, then out again, leading on to a vast personal repentance in that nation which crucified Christ (Zechariah 12:10 - 13:1). This, apart from Roman connivance was not a work of Gentiles, but most specifically of Israel of old. It is best not to become poetical when understanding history and its terminal modes, though imagery may ADORN the account, without changing its data bank. Now they SEE the Lord as crucified!
In this conflict, then, in which Jerusalem is to be delivered (as in Isaiah 49, 66, Deuteronomy 32, Zechariah 12-14, Joel 3, Ezekiel 36-39 and so on), "the Lord will roar from Zion," in such a way as to be noticed ... Is that not clear! Astronomical happenings as in Joel, and Matthew, will occur, but the Lord will take zeal in delivering a straying, but now returning, an afflicted but now restored people, returned to faith, and "be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel," Joel 3:16.
With much destruction resulting, in particular Egypt not escaping, with its murderous testimony, the Lord will acquit the believing, the faithful, those who wait for Him (at last, as in Joel 3:21, for He will "acquit" those whom "He had not acquitted," we read).
In the interstices of Israel's varying history, NOW those not forgiven, because not receiving the Lord, at last ARE acquitted, since now they receive Him.
What many of Israel come to at last, many a Gentile has come to in his or her own life span similarly... at last! in the one Gospel that is generated by grace and received with repentance.
Before, however, we continue with Joel, notice that though there will seem to be an inordinate delay, yet in the outcome, as in Habakkuk 2:3, it will be soon enough, being terminal in character, when it arrives!
A JOURNEY OF INTEREST IN HABAKKUK 3
Habakkuk 2:3 has instructed us to wait patiently for the terminus of evil and the resolution in judgment, to come to this world in its time. It is in this like II Peter 3:9, which instructs us not to be concerned at the passage of time, for the Lord is not intemperate or impetuous, having many things to accomplish in the salvation of man before He comes in judgment.
This prophet however does tell us that coming at the onset is this, that the Lord is to proceed through the land (of Israel, the topic), in indignation, going forth for "the salvation of Your people," (Habakkuk 3:13), the people of that same land in view. It does not transmorph. He is to lay bare the foundation of the wicked in their building of power and internal strength. HE is to go out on this assault on the assailants, as He saves His people, "with Your Messiah."
That is as in Psalm 2, where the assailants on the Lord are to be broken as a potter's vessel, and the judges of the earth are instructed that it would be wise to bow to the Lord, not exalt themselves! It is also as in the fascinating Isaiah 63 passage. Here the Lord is seen in land near to Israel, and the question is asked of Him,
"Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? "
His reply is that He has trodden the winepress alone...
"in My anger, and trampled them in My fury, their blood sprinkled on My garments."
Why ? It is because it is
"the day of vengeance is in My heart."
He had looked, but no one was there to help His people, so He came Himself (Isaiah 63:5) and He brought down the strength of the assailants in His fury, they drunk in their elemental intents of evil as before so often, but now no more. So do we find the parallels to Psalms 110, and 2, Isaiah 66.
As John 3:16, like Titus 2-3, is full of pitiful mercy to our race, so John 3:36 exhibits how far is unbelief from being acceptable to God in man's warring selves, psychic settlements and ideological trumperies amid the nations; for to those not accepting repentance, regeneration and restoration by the way of God Himself, in His Messiah, there is nothing but justice, which afflicts the arrogant, the careless and the brutal, the self-assured and the proud alike. Internationally it has its counterpart, for what has killed millions of Jews and Gentiles, is not forgotten; and nothing escapes the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fre throughout the earth, not only to deal with evil, but to be strong on behalf of those whose trust is in Him (II Chronicles 16:9), this the new situation for Israel, to come after their recent return (as in Ezekiel 36-37, Zechariah 12).
Nestling in culture,
in racial pre-occupations
moving even to overall human racism, against the Lord,
indulging desire - nations and their occupants,
denying HIS place,
exalting man in thought and deed:
peoples grow ready for plucking as over-ripe fruit. It is not so nice then.
In Noah's day, most did not bother with judgment, nor did Sodom when its time came - despite Abraham's care - in view of its almost total depravity throughout its midst (Gen. 18:16-33). As in the case of Lot's family, the time DOES come, and when it comes, it can be most urgent for those who have lingered in the wrong way! II Peter 3:5 forecasts a parallel position for a race increasingly made of mockers, when the time comes, even approaching the zenith of folly.
ACTION IN THE INTERIM
Now we turn to a three course meal for the interim, before that final time, and crucial day, which makes the Battle for Britain seem leisurely in terms of its furore. For this, we look as did the apostle Peter (Acts 2:17-21), to Joel 2:28-32.
As seen in One Only but Not Alone, The Holy Trinity, Ch. 11, and Logos Uncreated ... Ch. 5, we have, in Joel 2, moved from the coming time for the Teacher of Righteousness (2:23), to the outpouring of the Spirit, to follow. Just as in Isaiah 32, where the Messiah is focussed before the outpouring of the Spirit in 32:17ff.; so is it here and in John 16:7, Luke 24, where it is Christ's completed saving work which leads on to the spiritual dynamic of direct and unmediated access to God in His name, announced by Him in word, and so dramatically at Pentecost in deed.
In this work of the Spirit amid the Word of God (as in John 16:12-15), where the word gives the position and then the Spirit works the outcomes, there is the announcement in Joel 2:28ff..This is provided for the time BEFORE the armed conflict then to come. This arrives in a work so stupendous as to leave utterly stricken the international assaults on what then becomes a national focus on Israel once more (but this in the context of Israel first coming in repentance to that same Christ, whom the nation once crucified, as in Zechariah 12).
Stripped as in Isaiah 65:13-15 of its former covenant's ministry, it now has the ONE Gospel, with the SAME Christ for the SAME sins, but because of acceptance at last (as in Romans 11:25), this now has VERY different results (as in Isaiah 51:21-23, Joel 3 and Habakkuk 3 with Isaiah 59:20-21, 66).
What then for man, in the blessed interim before those days, awesome in spectacle and power, resembling the work of the Exodus which God cites concerning "him", and the humiliation of antagonistic power against Israel in particular - Micah 7:15ff. ? To man, instead of downgrading by pompous prelates come visions , these quite common, especially with the young, while the old will dream dreams (Joel 2:28). The Lord will be very near, with open access, though this by no means implies debased presumption or arrogant intrusion on the part of those saved, but rather special grace and mercy to those obeying and watching with Him as in John 14:21-23.
There is to be an outpouring of the Spirit with a dynamic thrust, so that mere formalism is not all; though again, this does not mean that being fast and loose with the authorised ways of the Lord is sanctioned (cf. Psalm 89). God is ALWAYS to be held in reverence, to be feared (I Peter 2:17). This, while not craven fear, is fealty to magnificence and submission to His splendour, of morals, principles, power and grace, kindness and vast recesses of love, for salvation. .
These gifts have come, but like salvation itself, they have been subjected to presumptuous imitation, interference and joy-riding, as if God were a laboratory for inventions, not the Lord and Saviour, alone delivering anyone from damnation, and that out of the purest of mercy! While these blessed influences, not reduced because misused, any more than the Gospel is, are at work, there are also to be external testimonies as well, adorning the period of WAITING for what, indeed for HIM, who will SURELY COME (cf. Matthew 24:29-51). It is He, this same Messiah as in Joel 3, who advises one and all, not to play the fool in the interim, which is now, before He returns in majesty, having saved in lowliness, through agony, by divine mercy.
There is the column of vapour in Joel 2:30, as are cosmic signals in sun and moon to come, though whether the latter be bloodshed from lunar battles or atmospheric is not known. "Blood and fire" will be striking things on the earth, as has occurred so notoriously at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and gashing sequences of wars; and who is to say such blasts will never recur while religions of force, noted above, show such mutual aggression, conflict or histories! Yet there is no need for any of them to use the current powers of destruction, for even individuals can work further vast atrocities. In the outcome, however, two eminently positive, nay blessed items are noted, both of a profound importance.
Firstly (Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21), "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved," so that just as the end is elemental in judgment, so this interim is elemental in basic and underlying simplicity. Not only may little children come to Him for salvation, but it involves calling on His name. What does that mean ? It is the verbal symbol which represents Him, filled with the accounts of His past actions, declarations, principles, power and mercy; replete with His saving actions on the cross which represents the focus of glory in all for which it stands, from love to incarnation to the reckless repudiation of the Lord, to irresistible resurrection and the call for repentance. This is to one as to all (Luke 13:13), for ALL have sinned (Romans 6:23), and each specialising on the sins of others is MERELY A COVER. If you have need of a heart operation, reciting cardiac statistics will not cure you!
Thus you come to God
with repentance as to yourself and your own ways and your failure to find Him sooner,
with reliance on His love, works and saving splendour in His incarnate wonders and blessed resurrection (Romans 10:9), and
receiving this dispersal (as lions their meat at the zoo, for let us be realistic, if you are not DEPENDENT then on Him ONLY, you merely insult Him and assault His word) - Romans 3:23ff., Galatians 3, Ephesians 2, Romans 5-8): and
commit unreservedly to Him. .
It is great to find the Gentile nations (our own, the West, the East) so free to find Him; and not less so, is the special care the Lord takes now of a converted Israel (soon to come as in Zechariah 12-13, Romans 11:25ff.). After these divulgements in Joel 2, we find in 2:32, a notation of force. There are obviously to be no relenting in the word of God, nor unfaithfulness, no simple throw-aways in judgment or in mercy. Thus after "shall be saved,." it reads, "For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the remnant whom the LORD calls." Note the conjunction "FOR". Facts cohere!
This comes as one more attestation of the Lord's intent NOT to have His plans reduced to some man-made mix. He has stated not only His promises of Messiah and land, as a covenantal and unqualified provision for Israel, but His steps on the way as well (as in Ezekiel 36ff., Deuteronomy 32). Nor is He is planning to resile from His word, however small some point in it may SEEM to some of exalted vision, captured by their own dreams to dare to reduce what God so strenuously affirms. There is to be a remnant whom the Lord calls (as in Isaiah 11:10), when He brings back Israel a SECOND TIME. It is repetitive in emphasis that especially involved in Mt Zion, Jerusalem, in her place as we have so often seen.
Deliverance is to come as in Micah 7, when the nations lead to a result comparable to the Exodus as the Lord delivers His people from the nations, even those who having first come as called to the Lord, are then shown as a people in sad reflection on what they had lost. Yet then found, they find Him come to their spectacular rescue as in Micah 7:15ff..
Playing cards with the word of God may be playful but it is not profitable. Once He clarifies the context, small is the wisdom of those who toxify it with their own thoughts of what is fitting, as if retro-rockets of our own thought, alter the words of the Lord. Thus there is no loss of the jot or the tittle, of faithfulness in most as in least, in reliability of divine promises, as perseverance of divine premisses. It is a saddened, once welcomed then forsaken people who come back, and are rescued. It is "my God" who will "hear me," as in Micah 7:7, the one fallen and to be restored.
God is; He does not change; nor does His word; nor His salvation; for not only will the Lord save those who call upon Him, as in Romans 10:9, in faith and heart according to His word, (Jer. 29:12-13, as so beautifully sung in Mendelssohn's Elijah), but He will not forget Israel either (Isaiah 49:16-17), though it be humbled in coming back to the very Messiah whom the nation once rejected, as predicted (Isaiah 49:7). In all things, always He is utterly and entirely faithful, and believing thus in Him, one finds this out in fact, as in faith it was taken in the first place.
God does not alter. Intractable seeming 'facts' fail first, and His people rejoice in the wisdom of Him, deep in understanding, who constructed our staggeringly brilliantly made bodies, and provided for our startlingly strong liberties, including those taken against Himself, no mere programmer, but the creator of personality. Praise His name, and FOLLOW HIM in all things.