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WALLS, WISDOM AND WITNESS
Looking Over the Wall
The Significance of Prophecy
The significance of the wall prophecy in the context of all the other related and associated prophecies in the Old and New Testaments needs thought.
It is one thing to predict the coming of the Messiah, to die, to rise, to be incarnation of God, unique, profound, bringing salvation to those who are not, like Israel of old, slaves to Egypt, but to other pre-occupations of psyche, spirit, soul, life, so that eternal life and not simple deliverance in crisis, should accrue to those receiving His advent, action and gift. Such a development, a new creation, is indeed a natural seeming resultant and overflow of this life in its intensity, immensity, significance, powers of thought, entertainment of marvellous things, although certainly it is not a deserved item, that such a prolongation, indeed provision should be made for its eternal interests, thoughts and probes (II Corinthians 5:17ff., Luke 13:1-3).
In this created humanity, with this provision as predicted (Isaiah 26:19, Psalm 22, 16, Isaiah 51:11), for eternal life, we find at the outset a producer of remarkable insights concerning the way things work - admittedly abused by the shameless rant and cant on the part of those who misuse the formerly austere name of 'science' to make it an irrelevant basis for making matter king, based on nothing, meaning nothing, and enabling thoughts about meaning in a romance of nothing, fit for any early Greek philosopher in his laughable nostrums. What is this man who thinks such thoughts, has such aspirations, can subject them to rant and ridicule, makes such ambitious errors and suffers for hauteur and unholiness, who can rise to lovableness and show mercy with keen compassion, or become hideous enough for any devil, skilled in evil, as if newly graduated from a sophisticated course on causing horror!
A creation of God, given scope for re-creation on repentance into the realm of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, as predicted, he is walled about with many conditions for his folly, and given one escape route from all of that, to a place where he fits, on the Rock of his salvation, sound, stable, guaranteed in access and available on request with repentance. God predicted all this along with the return of the failed Spiritual Camp for Disseminating the Truth, called Israel, in that mission, to its land and the details we have been noting, biblically accompanying this. Let us look further, having gained some perspective.
It is one thing, then, to predict the central means of healing man with his sin-ceiling ever rising upwards, till he actually begins to consider godlike powers, without realising any thought about intellectual insanity in so proposing, as if he were a mere product of nature, itself seen in this delusion, as a cause-free product of nothing, yet able to be ruled by its intelligent offspring, mankind! Nature ? immensely limited, its matter intensely lacking in intelligence in KIND, productive power over itself, intelligence or spirit or wisdom or any invisible attributes such as those which drive man to research! Like a philosophic bipolar case, man tends to attempt the destruction of his origin, while having no pangs about seeking title deeds to the universe, by his lust and knowledge, understanding the laws of what lawlessness allegedly produced, and how to control the adventitious, the results of nothing.
Obviously, begun in nothing such a delusive world is controlled by nothing. But neither it nor man is nothing; but rather does created man, given liberty, seek to control the rest of creation in what then becomes the greatest sized theft in history! The universe, delete the title deeds, killing Christ might help, destroying churches as is now common, either spiritually or physically, also helps: and then OWN IT ALL. Indeed, RULE it all, whether by Communism, Romanism or Islam (three great attempts there) or by secular pomposity, or anything else with an attractive dynamic, by which to be deceived for the umpteenth time. Conveniently talking irrational myths about his beginning, he seeks to level at the top, and even control the creation, while meanwhile deeming nature itself a product of nothing, making the take-over seem guiltless!
This nature, from nothing, thus would show itself remarkably inventive for what comes from what is not there, from nothing. Such fantasies face facts in logic, as in SMR, and in science and scientific method, as in TMR; but they also are equally outfaced by prophecy. In fact, if nothing is not first, then something is; and since for at the uttermost level, nothing can NEVER be there, for then once again, nothing would have anything to come from, then the something must of course be always there, and so eternal. If it were imagined as always growing, then who made the potential by which to do so, and installed it ? Come to the necessary start, and it is not only eternal, but subject to nothing (who is is this to which to subject the ultimate basis for anything). It must be self-sufficient, bound to nothing, eternal and adequate for all that follows. It is normal to refer to this source for nature and man, with his thoughts chosen freely according to vision and hope and personal individuality, lust or love in a particular term. It is God. Sometimes it is God Almighty, or the Eternal God.
And He has had much to say and to do with his precociously evil-turning product, man, and to those who return or would return to His ways, which are everlasting as attested in Hababkkuk 3:6, 1:12, Daniel 9:24, Micah 5:2, Psalm 90:1-2, 102:27. Being changeless, and having invented with the creation, the time element, one which demands and weighs on man, He knows all on a changeless base and basis, and so can and does predict in staggering precision and remarkable quantity: and this is one barrier to the attempt to thieve the universe in the worst of all paranoias to be found in man. Yet lust is lavish, and so many persist to grab life, or universe from God, their own first, and to conquer first others, then all, with the idols held aloft, as some hold up vitamins, before dying with the rest.
What then ? The concept to first to kill the Messiah (but this according to prediction as in Isaiah 53, Psalm 22) and for a stated purpose (cf. Isaiah 9, 11, 40, 49, 50-55, Micah 7), arises. Let us, as Psalm 2 predicts, cast their bonds away! It was a good try, as such things go, adept, but in the end cluntering as in I Corinthians 2: 7-8, for it supplied the sacrifice for sin that God was willing to make (as predicted in Psalm 40, for example), as the butt of their hatred! It was a work of divine wisdom, using their evil for good.d
What more then ? Why then, with Christ (for their point of view) disastrously resurrected, as predicted (Psalm 16, Isaiah 26:19), they could try to subvert His Church (in part only, to be fulfilled as in II Peter 2 and II Timothy 3, I Timothy 4, II Thessalonians 2), or to advance their negative cause by destroying Bibles, or preventing access to them (as Romanism once did), or trying to distort them (as multiplied modern heresies have done, trying to outface reason and revelation both at once!), or seeking to kill Christians, or torture them, all widely practised, as predicted (John 16:2, Revelation 6, 13). Trying what is good, made so by God in heart, is one way of testifying the truth, and so even this has good fruit, evil though it is, for righteousness, though it is naturally very costly.
All these things, elements of the carnal desire to outwit God and grab His universe, starting with number one, or its appointees, thus have contributed to the attestation of the accuracy and wisdom of the God of all reason, and truth, and understanding, wit and power, whose love makes permissions gaunt in themselves, but glorious in consequence. The case of Paul watching the death of the remarkable man of faith and divinely given power, Stephen as in Acts 7 is relevant here, and so are many others, such as that of Hugh Latimer, 1555, crying as about to be burnt, that this (their burning) would light a fire (of truth, illumination, testimony) which would never be put out! It was a case of Romanism burning a Protestant, so fulfilling John 16:2 as did countless others (as itemised in part in Foxe's Book of Martyrs).
The Scope of Prophecy
But let us move to other aspects of biblical testimony in word, and verification, in forecast, and in fulfilment, in perspective, and in perspicuity, in coverage which history has completed willingly.
Consider, for example, that not only is the first coming of Christ predicted in date (for the culminating crime against Him, of death turned into sacrificial coverage even for the transgressors who repent and believe and receive Him - Christ the Citadel Ch. 2), in dynamic that would bring dynamic, in His bodily resurrection, as for the resultant exile of Israel for a long period (as in Hosea, cf. Micah 5:1-4); but it is associated with a restoration of Israel (as in Messiah, Jesus Christ ... Ch. 12, cf. SMR Chs. 8-9) to its own land. With this, as if not enough, there is predicted for the eventually returned Israel, a glory of amazing wars on its part, to concentrate at that stage, and this against overpoweringly unequal enemies.
Moreover, this is on the part of a relatively recently returned nation! (cf. Ezekiel 37ff., Zechariah 12). Not only has all this happened as there shown; but Israel being back, being if not rampant as yet, but in the midst of ravages, remains triumphant in staying put, keeping alive, generating power, flowering like the rose (literally, being one of the world's major exporters of flowers (Isaiah 35:1). Fascinating as this divine forecast in all its elements is, yet THERE IS MORE.
While the world rejoices tremulously in its predicted vapour cloud, sufficiently notable to be remarked in the short account of developments after the outpouring of the Spirit foretold in Joel and confirmed for this Age by Peter at Pentecost (Joel 2:30, Acts 2:19), the not so forgotten atomic bomb the cause, this prediction is quietly fulfilled. This column of vapour, this the effect divinely pre-construed and ensured as testimony, and here is the word of the advance witness, who foresaw before any could see!
The world has this witness; but Israel has also its own substantive witness. We have seen this in the last Chapter, but let us further consider it now.
It is a FENCE, over half done already, projected 700 kilometres, a survival fence, statistics showing its enormous help in stopping religiously maladjusted murderers from their indifferent slaughter of old and young. So great is this thrust, that it is still made, even from land given to those wishing Israel's destruction, as a peace offering, though being used as a base for further such pseudo-spiritual slaughter. This we further saw in the last Chapter was as predicted in that amazing book of Micah. In its Chapter 5, it announces the eternal Judge, the Messiah, whom Israel would injudiciously abuse even physically, to be born in Bethlehem, the manhandling of whom would lead, we read, to their expulsion. Thus for no short period, Israel has become exiles from their land. Micah indicated this, but set the time limit on this dispersion, just as it was set in Ezekiel 37. It would continue, UNTIL the time up call would come for the Gentile Age. It has come. Israel is back, the Messiah's name great over all the earth, as Micah 5:4 foretold.
Their return, that is one more prediction; but it goes yet further. Ezekiel 36-37 shows that this is not their conversion however, for that is the next step as in Zechariah 12:10ff., and the re-assembled scattered 'bones' will get life! even that of the New Covenant as in Jeremiah 31:31ff.. That comes in the midst as there shown, of wars and exploits, suffering and international interference.
Ín this period, with Jerusalem recovered as in Zechariah, and confirmed by Jesus Christ in Luke 21:24, we are introduced by Micah 7:11, in his distant coverage of the restoration of Israel, to the WALL. It is to be seen, thus, in its broader Messianic setting, and prophetic context.
What then ? On the Gentile side, a PILLAR of vapour stands out for the period; for Israel in particular, it is a wall. The signals interact.
Just as we have identified the wall in the last Chapter, now we are to consider the meaning of this portent. WHEN this is occurring, THEN enormous immigration back to Israel is to occur (Micah 7:12), from many sites on this earth, distant or near, as in the case of Iraq. Now see how the Lord manages history, His word ALWAYS being fulfilled. In that period in the 1990s, the Lord meanwhile had arranged for the glasnost and perestroika phenomenon in the USSR, as it lay dying, and Gorbachev's novel approach relaxing many old restraints, coming into its vastly significant place, action on a grand scale happened for Israel.
The report is that one million Jews came back from Russia alone, back to homeland Israel. Even now, with so many additions, the population of Israel is a mere 71/2 million, so that was perhaps one sixth of their population, drawn from sources aborted for long by the USSR. THAT metaphorical wall went down fast, and the internees, they were freed suddenly, in one dramatic hit. Not only was this so, but from many countries they came, including the Solomon operation from Africa, things exotic or normative, on this plan or on that, from the USA or higher economies (as at that time), or less, they poured in.
There is a conjunction of the WALL being build - and
note the language, it is "in the day when your walls are to be built,"
that the surging immigration comes. This appears to indicate a
process of design and doing over a period, a wall DURING the population explosion,
on its way. This is precisely what has happened since 1990 to the present. Not
only is this so, but the immigration is not just from one land, but from MANY and very DIVERSE and WIDELY SEPARATED
sources. The wall goes on building, the nation goes on with increments at a
surging level. This is so now...
The Challenge of Prophecy
Small wonder in Isaiah 41, the Lord flings out the challenge to the cognoscenti and the other idolaters, trusting in their schema, finesse, projections, inward idols or whatever else:
"Present you case, says the LORD.
"Bring forth your strong reasons," says the King of Jacob.
"Let them bring forth and show us what will happen:
Let them show the former things, what they were,
That we may consider them,
And know the latter end of them,
Or declare to us things to come.
Show the things that are to come hereafter:
'That we may know that you are gods;
Yes, do good or do evil,
That we may be dismayed and see it together.
Indeed you are nothing,
And your work is nothing;
He who choose you is an abomination."
He goes on to make massive projections in the next Chapters, first of the Messiah Isaiah 42, 49-50, 51-55), and of the King whom He names from the days of Isaiah centuries before, who would (and did) release them from Babylon, when as predicted in Isaiah 13-14, they are sent there in exile. It was a king of that very name who did indeed send them back, after the Medes and Persians (as predicted in Daniel 7) took over from the Babylonians in the list of major world empires foretold. The so-called Cyrus Cylinder archeologically has shown this to be so.
In other words, in Isaiah God issues a particular challenge: see this prediction, MATCH that for all your pompous and pretentious talk, and DO something to justify your challenging claims.
Can you ? Then DO it! In fact, He indicates, you have shown and continue to show your barren splendour, and your matchless sovereignty and power is but dust, the lust that turns to dust. Instead (as in Isaiah 45:22-23), He calls, turn back to your Creator (as in Isaiah 40:10-31, 53:1, 55:1-6), and believe in the Messiah, as in 40:10, 49-55. The case simply is that His coming is so clothed with identification tags in history as to make the discernment of who He is to be a matter of course, except for rancorous disbelief, that knows no reason, the charge continued in Isaiah 48 with intense irony, such as befits a wilful child.
So the WALL is not only to be conspicuous in this returning phase of Israel's long and often lamentable history, one of active and repeated rebellion, but in turn, it is to be associated with massive immigration from MANY and widely separated sources, on a world scale. Of course modern Israel is MOST notable for just such a sourcing of immigrants returning, after so many centuries in effect, racially speaking, to their land. Wall and return link. Wonderful has been the return of this people (Isaiah 49:15-26) as foretold in that post-Messianic proclamation.
Not only is this so, but it is in a period when the Messiah's fame and influence is world wide as in Micah 5:4, which comes in that prophet, in the period following the Messiah's birth, slaughter, Israel's dispersion and its return to its land. Indeed, we find, "for now shall He be great to the ends of the earth." It is so, but not that part of it is not yet so in Israel, to whom the outpouring of the Spirit, so often found amid the Gentiles leading to salvation here and there, in this and that part of the Christian epoch, is predicted to come in the very midst of world-invasion projecting, preparing, even active against it, as in Zechariah 12-13, leading to the return of Christ Jesus, as in 14:5, and Isaiah 59:219-20.
The scale of that confrontation to come, military in kind, spiritual in basis, one thrust forward with the aggressive authorities who make it their business, call it what you will, in fact to prey on Israel, is a vast and worldwide one. What do they assault ? It is a little Israel which is staggering in works in its diminutive national site, a people robbed by the UN from the entirety of Palestine given by the League of Nations. It is a terrestrial thrust made in lust (Ezekiel 38:1ff.), to abase the tumultuous nations, humiliating their power, pretension and aggression, even to the dust. This is shown graphically in , as Micah 7:15 and on, as it develops.
So does the storm brew in the Middle East, where of course there is no successful summit, though they may claw one in due course, for a little.
Why this failure ? it is because Christ the King is ignored, His dispensations for Israel are treated with contempt, and this is possible for one reason only: it is that He is simultaneously disciplining Israel till it realises en masse, that they are the nation which foully misled, killed the Prince of Peace; and that as God is One, so safety and security and even existence on earth, is from one source. Repentance is what is needed, what will come, while the Gentiles make their own account in terms of rebelliousness against the God of creation and redemption. There is the duet: first you do it, then we do, quite a matching pair. It leads on to the results specified in Micah 7. Nor is even this all, for at the very end of this lamentable development, though just and needful, we are re-introduced to the nature of what the world is so neglecting: the God of MERCY.
He LOVES to show it, delights in it, and to clean up sin, renew hearts, restore fellowship, overcome iniquity, bring forth children of God into the world, where peace is the correlate of lovingkindness, and evil is no more called good (as in Isaiah 5), or good evil.
SMR pp. speaks of the wonder of prophecy briefly, and is here a good reference. It follows, as taken from p. 973A of The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, as an endnote in Ch. 9. Layout is added.
*24 The selective identikit power of prophecy
is one of the ingredients in identifying the speaker of divine revelation, as seen in Ch. 1. The revelation was necessary, the competition was abysmal and there was only one result: the Bible. The detail for these things lies in Ch.'s 1,6,8-10, but a brief overview of a few elements may help the minds of some. (Cf. pp. 59, 769, 830-831, 936-943 supra, 1082 infra.)
In sum then:
The generic coverage as to historical type of human development
over thousands of years;
the intimately and exceedingly detailed coverage
of the Jewish developments re Christ and thereafter,
dispersion and the mode of it, temple non-access,
high impact and startlingly sudden re-institution of Jewish State,
its products, its scenery, the half of Jerusalem gained, and the whole,
the intrinsically amazing nature of the military operations
against overwhelming odds on the epochal Jewish return;
the world attitude to Jerusalem upon this Jewish return, and
this amid a highly defined and distinctive contemporary world situation
to be in place at this time, with precise parameters
politically, morally, academically and spiritually;
the type of amazing gospel, and its detail,
to be in broad Gentile operation relative to the to-be-slain Jewish Messiah;
the Jewish national and world responses to this same Messiah,
with alternations in the response by the time of the Jewish return epoch,
becoming notable and distinctive also;
action in travel and knowledge, in philosophies
and religious and moral attitudes to the revelation of God,
in this same contemporary period, again covered like so much of it,
thousands of years in advance, with parameters as neatly dissected
as if the work of an investigating journalist, currently on the scene;
the rigorous and deadly Messianic identikit,
likewise given vastly before Christ came,
as was the time in history of His (then) coming death;
the plethora of phoney Christs and phoney religions
predicted to adorn the world as it developed, rising to a crescendo;
the continuity of the Christian church (q.v. Index)
amid vast dimensions of slide, nevertheless unbroken
in its organised testimony: in all this, in detail,
in sequence and in developed synthesis, as in much more,
show clear grounds.
(See also pp. 58-71, 262-267, Ch. 6 supra, 755-769, 806-809, 1147-1160 infra.)
Grounds for what ? Grounds for identifying far beyond any normal, scientifically oriented recognition criteria, the word of remedy, in any evidential approach. There is simply no competition at this level. As we have seen, that is precisely one of the things the God of the Bible pointed out. It is one of the essential features of recognition of the speaker: no grounds for confusion on any sound evidential approach. On the other hand, there has been shown to be multiple disabling of all relevant contenders, quite apart from their identification-dereliction in this area. Identification of the word of God has only one rational claimant. The rest is religion without reason.
THE CHALLENGE TO FAITH
Believe ? that is correlative to RECEIVING. Receiving what ? The Messiah, just as Israel did not accept Him, and the nations now increasingly turn away from Him, following the time of the heyday (formally speaking) of the British Empire in its Protestant commitment to Christ, however nominal in some parts and things this may have become, and however many scoundrelly misuses of this power there may have been made.
At least it was a protection from the scourge of the scimitar, the arm-twisting, nay murders of unbelievers mounting international pressure, seeking world-rule, these coming in major invasions like those of ancient Rome, of Romanism in due course, or from Islam, cresting in its near subjugation of Europe, stalled at the battle of Tours in A.D. 732. In this, Romanism for its part crested in the Inquisition, moving over centuries, while Communism given some measure of power for 70 years or so, quenched almost as many candles of light as it could, and China now sputtering on in hybrid union of Communism with what in that case could be called a mutation of capitalism, presents a ludicrous synthesis. Not at all vague however are its persecutions, endeavours to licence the Church, as one does a dog, to incriminate, terrorise, incarcerate, circumscribe, delimit or delete Christians, Bible-believers.
These giants claimed between them, tens of millions of deaths, tortures, and false impositions of force where faith is concerned, and where it cannot be duplicated by any physical torment or its products. And these ? they are only a prelude to the world-condition detailed in Revelation 13; and mercifully this is to be short - in symbolic terms, as in Revelation 13, it is a matter of "one hour with the beast." Next Chapter, a little attention is given to aspects of this matter.
It is well to return to the Prince of Peace and His ways, and THEREFORE to His word, and thus to His commandments, including this, to love one another in His domain, and to love God with all the heart and mind and strength, and this being so, in turn to love one's neighbour as oneself (Mark 12:28ff.). It is well to cease war with God (by lêse-majesté or any other means), and to make peace as in II Corinthians 5:17-20, for God was, in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. If IT won't, then what about you ?