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WALLS, WISDOM WITNESS
THE SOVEREIGN AND WITTY SCOPE OF IT
In Chapter 3, above, the
topic of Walls, Wisdom and Witness was pursued.
Since then, we have considered biblical truth and its confession
and then the maturing of the evil, its point, pollution, testing and consummation,
this time being consumed by truth, in blazing brilliance,
to its guilty shame for ever, in the Person of the Judge,
the smitten Saviour who has outplayed it.
Now is the time to consider the prophetic splendour focussed in Ch. 3, and to consider more its scope and the practical consequences.
Today, then, we look back on the discovery in Micah of the triple prediction in Micah 7. This followed that of the dispersion of Israel in Micah 5:1-3, and their restoration with the renewal of the nation ("given birth"- Micah 5:3, as in Isaiah 66:8-10) in parallel with Leviticus 26 and Jeremiah 37. In Micah 7, then, the nation is seen at last back in place, and indeed with a famed wall being built, and in that time of building (so far from 2000 - informal start - to 2013), there was to be a highly notable world-wide return of Jews to this restored nation of Israel, again as also in Ezekiel 37, which moves on in 37:24 to the return of Christ to the regal rule over the earth noted in Psalm 72, and Psalm 2, Isaiah 2 and 59:20, with Revelation 20.
Thus we have 1) the restoration of the nation 2) the building of the vast wall (we saw it is planned at some 700 kilometres, it includes Jerusalem and is more than half complete), and with this 3) a prodigious return of immigrants from their dispersion, from mountain to mountain and sea to sea, at this time.
It is important to consider, to conceive the power of the Lord, the depth of His strategies and the precision of His predictions, since these include eternal life. His faithfulness, unlike the lack of it in many politicians, is splendid in all things, so that He even speaks of jots and tittles, the most minimal matters being fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-20). In high precision work of great moment, you need something like that!
Thus about the time the wall was being conceived and first constructed, there was another move far off, in a land, one which had told God to get away, bag and baggage, and one of whose astronauts seemed to think it a good thing to note that he had not observed God in his travels (as if someone would find me in one of my books!). It was the USSR, the godless captor, which held back for long, Jews longing to return to their newly reforged nation.
With Gorbachev coming into power, a vast change occurred in the land approaching bankruptcy. Glasnost was one of the elements, perestroika another, openness and some measure of toleration. The Jews could and did go - in part of the period of the wall building, we find it is no less than one MILLION who came from there to Israel, some from Iraq, the Assyria in part, of today as predicted.
The hinges of history turn with oil, so silently for some, that they do not hear. But we hear, for we are told and we listen! It is one of the vast movements of divine instruction in history, like that of God's paying Nebuchadnezzar for his assault on Tyre, Ezekiel 29:17-21 (with Egypt!).
THE SYNDROME IN LUKE
We have seen the significance of Israel's return, and the related events, which in Micah 5 included the incarnation of the eternal God, violence against Him, the dispersion of Israel, its restoration, its wall, and the flood of immigration during its building.
In this period, and long as in Hosea 1-3, it has been, the Gentiles have taken over the mission of Israel, to declare the praise and the news from God, now in terms of the completed Messianic work of salvation - for He who rode on the ass's colt as predicted was also the One having salvation (Zech 9:9) a prophecy lfilled on what is now called Palm Sunday, and in what is called the atonement (II Cor. 5:17-21, Hebrews 9:12-28). He was to suffer in His life, sacrificed now ONCE, not often since the foundation of the world, as it is written. But His people suffer often, not always for their sins, but for their testimony as in Rev. 12:11-12, as history moves towards the final divine kingdom, as in Rev. 11:15. This suffering gives voice to the love in those who have received His salvation (John 1:12, I John 3), and so being regenerated, live in His presence.
This world does not comprehend the kingdom of heaven, and it takes a miracle to open eyes seized up, like metal melted, to reflect iron hearts. Thus the syndrome of this generation as the end of the Age approaches (Matthew 24:14, Luke 21:9). As seen in Luke, a lot has to happen before then. Let us look at some of it, a syndrome that develops!
Luke 21:20-24 shows the destruction of Jerusalem, then one generation away (as in Matthew 24:1ff., also), and commends disappearance from the riotous scene. That past, the words of Christ recorded there tell of distress in the nations, disquiet, perplexity, anxiety, and as Matthew 24 notes, most apposite to the present, a sort of turmoil of torment in wars and - as if that were not enough - rumours of wars. As in Rev. 6, death becomes a way of life, short to be sure, but a matter of a dedicated passion, out of hand, many out of their minds, pursuing it like a religion, entranced, entrapped. Indeed, the Islamic death fervour, to display it amidst murder, and even to seek it, is only a part of this mordant message of unreason and biblically defined irreligion (cf. John 16:2, I John 2:22, II Corinthians 10:12 - 11:15), as man makes his own wash of blood, instead of finding the chaste and holy blood of Christ as his sufficiency, warrant of salvation and joy of heart.
Its fruit is not to murder, but to help what is good, not to ruin, but to build in righteousness, not to blind, but to give sight, not to hate but to love. While the end draws near, the love will indeed grow cold in this world, a short kind of spiritual ice age for the heart (Matthew 24:10-12).
The powers of heavens too, are to be shaken, and this has been accomplished already in measure in the atomic and hydrogen bombs, once thought to endanger our atmosphere, and now available in growing greatness! But there are other matters foretold here, such as the arrival of a celestial target hit, perhaps from an asteroid with vast terrestrial impact (Rev. 6:10-11), making much of the waters of the earth bitter. Man's appetite to domineer and possess the earth, of which Islam, Romanism and Communism are three adventurers*1, none quite successful, leads to non-stop aggrandisement and aggravation of weaponry, but not of prudence, as if not to ruin the earth were nothing, and pride all! It has a fall, and the pit is deep. But they do not heed, most preserving their momentum to their own destruction (Matthew 24:22).
It is indeed predicted that if Christ did not intervene (His royal return as in Acts 1:7ff., Matthew 24, Isaiah 59:20, Micah 2,4 Isaiah 2, Psalm 2, 72, II Thessalonians 1, 2, 3:13), mankind could not live on earth. Even psychically, man in masses now becomes depressed, almost a signal of sophistication for some, it seems, downcast, cynical, hopeless, superficial, pre-occupied, not pausing for agonies without or fraud within, just continuing, inept, increasingly spiritually inert, mistaught, misinformed, worshipping idols of secularism, naturalism, occultism, instead of stanading on the Rock of revealed, vindicated and verified truth, so long provided. For all ignominy visted on truth, there is a result, and mercy being rejected, there is payment to be made, and currently Syria, subverted and supported by different ideologies, is one. Currently it is stated that one million CHILD refugees have fled to many nations. The North Korean gulag seems another.
Treachery, simultaneously, is to bloom, like an evil flower (Matthew 24:10), for people will have so little root in the stony soil where they abide, that small earth movements will expose them to the sun, the wind will flay them, moisture desert them. What then can be seen? Bandying about to follow this or that or him or her, will exhibit more and more opportunism, desperation and dabbling, as all not satisfying, many move like waves, and cannot STAND FAST IN FAITH, BE COURAGEOUS, BE STRONG (I Cor 16:13), for they decline as the sun at dusk, and have neither warmth nor wisdom.
Amidst all this, and in Matthew we find a plethora of earthquakes and floods as well, there is Israel, destroyed as in Luke 21:20ff., now restored (Luke 21:24), and as noted earlier in the past addresses, filled with prophetic fulfilments, like a torrent of flowers tossed and tossed from a steeple, onto a bride.
1. Be Prepared
Note things like the above syndrome with its special and unique features. Then consider the biblical advice given in view of these developments, as that in Matthew 24:15, Luke 21:20. To be sure, THAT part of the syndrome and prediction is long past, even the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome; but it is an illustration. Wise was the one who obeyed the warning.
A prelude to the Matthew 24:15 reference to the Abomination of Desolation did indeed come, in the rupture, and utter desolation of Israel's wonderful temple, and in Rome on display were placed sacred articles scoured from the temple, itself destroyed! Like Antiochus Epiphanes in the Third Empire of Daniel's four, here was calculated affront on the part of a nation playing God. Naturally it fell: they all do. There is only one which continues. The abomination of desolation of Matthew 24:15 is the one who will be STANDING in the temple, even he who claims, as in II Thessalonians 2:4-10, to be God, and has a delusion of spirit as massive as if in the body, it were a cancer, grape-fruit size in the head! This however is a type of cancer, the spiritual one, for which answer needs to be provided, and it is, when light obliterates this wanton ruin in its own darkness (2:10).
In our day, there are many signals, Israel vast, seething spirits, anxious hearts, ruminating rumours, witless wars, distraction, destruction, loss of spiritual appetite of spiritual foundation, betrayal even in churches, vast heresies, sects movements, confusion (II Peter 2, I Timothy 4, II Timothy 3, 4, Jude, Acts 20:29ff., Matthew 24:12-14, 24, Jeremiah 23:20-29, I John 2:18). All these are like our contemporary Judas, turning into seed that is spread.
2. Be Alert
Be therefore ready to testify of Christ even in the most disadvantageous circumstances. One still remembers a recommended technical professor who was quite willing to testify in favour of freedom of speech, against dictatorial corruption in schools in this field, but NOT willing to testify against the naturalistic folly of evolutionism, despite basing all on nothing being logically inert and irrational, and making the results produce everything, being arch-casuistry, as though nothing didn't need anything to do everything. Not the fact, but the impact of his testimony here seemed to frighten him professionally!
We all fail here or there; but BE ALERT to use Luke 21:12-15, and to seek how best to answer, waiting on the Lord for the event! Do not fold, just as they often say of postal items: but be valiant, courageous, strong, clear-cut, decisive in faith and in testimony alike.
When you have a commission, rule, order from the word of God, or are in those terms sent on mission, then ACT ON IT. Remember Jonathan as in I Samuel 14:1-23. You may suffer (as Jonathan almost did - I Samuel 14:24ff.), but avoidance of suffering is not to the point: How CAN you take up your cross and follow Christ, if a niggling pain on your shoulder distresses you to the point of dumping the thing!
3. Be Watchful Luke 21:29-38
Christ speaks of watching. Look, said He, at the fig tree. When it is already budding, you know Summer is near. When all the syndrome as shown in Luke 21, Matthew 24 is simultaneously and uniquely in all history, in place, then do not close the eyes. Yes, Christ speaks this not only of the fig tree (symbolic probably of Israel), but all the trees, which would include all the nations misbehaving as noted, each one after its own kind, its own 'seed': see this ? then KNOW where you ARE. Many have become disenchanted with life, defaced in heart, disinclined in spirit (cf. SMR Ch. 3), but this is further testimony of the malaise of a rotting Age, fitted with high dreams and low deeds - not these only, but increasingly characterisably at the international level.
In unsound churches, or outside all, the testimony of a withering culture, confronted by a violent cultural substitute in this way or that, the impact can be great, and mutuality in constant electronic devices, multiplying by the billion, only enhances the clatter of chatter, to silence thought. Horrible sights on the TV have become common (Luke 21:11), as in Syria now, or Egypt, or Iran, or Iraq, and the human distemper passes all temperance.
Therefore realise that the Jewish people,who were singled out as NOT to pass away as in Jeremiah 31,33, are again made, in their intense vulnerability, and their association with divine promise (as in Zechariah 12-13, Micah 4, 7, Deuteronomy, Psalm 72, 110) a testimony that the word of God is not at all forgotten. NOTHING is forgotten, but sin atoned for (Micah 7:18-19).. ALL these things, which we have been considering from Luke and Matthew, will HAPPEN, and yet that little race will still be here. Indeed, ALL races come close to obliteration in the turmoil (Matthew 24:22). WATCH THEREFORE, says the word of God in Luke 21:36, that you be found worthy to escape such endings.
Worthy ? In Revelation 7:14ff., as in Isaiah 61:10, as in Romans 3:23-27, as in Matthew 22:1-4, you see where the worth is to be found (like diamonds on your property). It is found in the fact that WORTHY IS THE LAMB (Revelation 5), to receive honour and blessing and wisdom and power and allegiance, for He is and has been faithful, even to the death, powerful, even to the resurrection, precise, even in all prophecy, and loving in coming at all (Psalm 40).
It is HIS worth which is to be the one in view, and the prayer is therefore to be based on that; and in Him is life and strength and the power to acquit and to remit as to strengthen (John 8:30-31, Micah 7:18-20).
You have then, if a Christian, the power to watch, the alert within you if you heed it (Colossians 1:27), and the word for your external eye. If not a Christian, then in watching wake, and in waking live (II Corinthians 6:1-3).
You may care to ponder SMR Chs. 8 and 9 in this connection.
Red Heart, Dead Heart, Pure Heart and references, and
Aviary of Idolatry, Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch. 5,
News 37. 44, 69, 97 (the exploiters etc.).