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Man is not outsourced but outwitted
Fantastic is the realm of man's egocentric, anthropo-centric, humanistically concentric misconceptions.
If all men were so bound, none could know it, for there would be neither basis for thought nor standard for truth. Yet the epidemic is now pandemic, and the pollution is now not only over cities, but tops the mountains and bottoms the seas. It is surprising to many that their conduct is accountable; and in many ways, man is becoming theologically and even logically autistic. He cannot respond, he cannot realise, he reads not at all the faces of events, the features of the countenance of God, the realities of his world or the condition of his life.
It is abominable to him, when he can still feel, and it is distasteful if there is a little life left; it is irrelevant to many, whose word is go, go, go! Where they go, why they go, how they go (in the sense of the design differentials which make man man, his spirit's significance for his own contact with its Creator), this is not to his taste. He wars and worries, spends and earns two incomes in order to have more to spend, and spends it feverishly, lest he fail to have the maximal satisfaction, the minimal jolt, in many lands.
He esteems nothing his source, and in his estimation, he does well for a product of what is not there. He considers matter his source, and does well to estimate the significance of what does not think with the thought it does not produce, with a realm of being thus detached from basis, and so of meaning. He does well to know what he means, whether nothing or anything, when there IS no meaning. He achieves the remarkable in knowing just how meaningless he is, from a basis which is filled with meaning, illicitly imported, though void of the power to express it or know it. It means, his materialist basis, that his mind can rightly discern what is not mind, and so has validity; and that its validity is because it has access to the truth, which is not present in motion merely, nor in thoughtlessness at all. (Cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7.)
He rises, like the sun, but without basis, to shed light on darkness; but where there is no light, there is no relief from darkness. HE IS the light, but his light is made of stone, the energies that come from nowhere, uncaused, the violation of logic, mixed with forms which come from nothing, the violation the second of logic, mixed with the energies, the mind to estimate them, also from nothing, the violation the third of logic, the spirit's power to will and analyse with purposive input, also from nothing, the violation the fourth of logic; and he continues in this mesmeric, logically autistic manner without power to do other than invent the myths that dissolve his power to know, to be and to realise.
In this way, he comes to the end of his tether, as H.G. Wells' book title expressed it (Mind at the End of its Tether!), and then he decides to become mentally sick in various numbers of millions of persons, and seeks to have his spirit healed by scientists who often do not know of his spirit's existence, and using their own spirits, declare what is the trouble; as if they cut off a leg, and did not know there were legs.
In this way, a muddied, muddled world, loves to talk logic, and defile it; to have everything 'arise' from nothing much, or at all, in that way which is the precise antithesis of all scientific method, or all reason and hence of all peace, since reality charges high for oblivion. It is so whether the drug be physical or psychological, logical or ontological. It is one. Ignore what you use and what you are, and you end where you would rather not be. What could you expect!
The world is busily doing this, at high speed, and is fittingly arriving not at oblivion, but at anguish, distraught in panic attacks, violence-mongering, affrights, affronts, viciousness, vileness, pre-occupation with disgusting comics on TV, which are reductionist, blasphemous, debased and debasing, laughing at himself, mocking himself and enjoying his debauch.
You can however be drunk, like this, with beer, wine, liqueur, philosophy, drugs or occupational oblivion, man without mind declaring himself such by the assured results of his irrational extravaganzas, proving many things by reason on the basis that it has no basis, and ignoring its requirements at the outset, before he proves.
You can, but when it is your life, it is lost. He is like a Mafia Man, who forgetting tradition, turns his weapons on himself, without even noticing.
The casuistry of causelessness is at once adequate to remove all reason, which in its use of both language and depiction, cannot move without it. What depiction but it has characteristics, and what characteristics that have not results, and what results that have no cause, and what denial of causality but it denies speech and reason, and what denial of this can cause anything but confusion, stand before anything but its own execution for self-contradiction!
It is thus that Zechariah 12 begins in the midst of a nation which forsook the God of all truth, reason and righteousness. It is His whose word alone HAS EMPIRICALLY STOOD FOR MILLENIA, unconfounded, and laughing at every illicit generation of modish philosophy which stands and falls, ready for the next, all wrapped up in pit-paper for despatch to vainglory, and the continuing without the slightest change itself: for the word of God is the word of the God who knows, who has made man and his spirit. It is He who alone gives cause for thought, indeed for any delimited, conditioned existence, and without whom nothing valid has stood, can stand or will stand; and whom none can withstand.
LOOKING BACK IN ZECHARIAH
BEGINNING TO SEE WHAT IS COMING
As one illustration of this fact, God here prefaces His divine dealings in indelible dynamic with these words concerning the 'fate' in the last days, of Jerusalem:
"The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel.
"Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him:
"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples,
when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.
"And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples;
all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces,
though all nations of the earth are gathered against it."
We have studied this already, but our current concern is the preface: the Lord who stretches out the heavens. They did not yawn and stretch all of themselves to make the fascinating, mathematically organised realities we see (cf. TMR Ch. 7, Section E); the earth did not decide it would be fun to be, and so form itself with its fact-filled laws and rigid dynamics, adding life forms by the million as an after-thought and then letting these reduce prodigiously, as a sign of progress (cf. SMR pp. 234, 252H); and the spirit of man did not decide to invent itself, nor did anything which lacks spiritual perception and analytical capacity, throwing personal powers and logical validity into the machine, in order to deny its source.
Actually, what was there for ever, since otherwise, nothing was there for ever, and in that case would be; but it is not, since we are here. What was there was always adequate or we again, would not be here by definition; and its adequacy was always unprogrammed and undevelopmental, since if it were anything such, it would be created, composed and loaded with cause-demanding goodies!
Deny causation, however, and you deny the reason with which you putate and
posit, the words with which you speak, and hence are invalid in so doing (cf.
Causes, with SMR
Ch. 3, Repent or Perish
Ch. 7, SMR pp. 3ff.).
The Eternal God was always there, and was never matter, since matter is what is formed and delimited, and for this to be He, He would need to be contrived, which would merely require the origin until at last, panting and humbled, we come to the cause of the whole thing which, to be sufficient, is not subjected to anything and is the cause of everything. The only alternative is magic, which being really an appeal to powers of a high order, bypasses the issue rather than resolving it. You need the cause for that, and so on, until in the end you come to God. So there is no option. That is what God says also, as in Romans 1:17ff., so that what reason requires (SMR Ch. 1), revelation confirms with that perfect consistency you find in truth, and nowhere else.
It is this God who speaks in Zechariah 12, as having stretched out the heavens, laid the foundations of the earth, and formed the spirit of man within him. This alone prevents man from being insane in his pretensions of truth, for without truth there is no hope of formulating it!
Moving then in Zech. 12 through the divine actions with a power irresistible, as is obvious it must be, we have seen the restoration of Jerusalem despite the drab Jewish dealings on the part of the nation which forfeited blessing in selling its Lord, who using His self-exposure for their redemption, proceeded to bring that redemption to pass, albeit unwittingly as far as they were then concerned.
We have seen that the great city will be 'INHABITED AGAIN IN HER OWN PLACE - JERUSALEM' (12:6), just as we are about to see that, this being so, in the day of judgment to come, "the LORD will go forth to fight against those nations" - the anti-Jerusalem aggressors, seeking divorce for Jerusalem from Jew!
In His swallowing up of this multi-national assault, the Lord will act
¨ "as He fights in the day of battle". Not only so, but
¨ "in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives"
and in case anyone is confused still, this is further explained.
It is that "Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east" (Zech. 14:4). Further, that Mount of Olives will be "split in two" - a geological fault line has been reported.
Many hate allowing God to mean what He says, but their emotional odium does not alter the divine connotations. These are among the things declared to be done by that the Almighty Maker of man and matter, spirit and personality, the base of truth and its source, enshrouding it in His own being ("I am the truth" (John 14:6), as the Messiah, deity in flesh, declared - and His performance was on par with the declaration! nothing and no one EVER frustrating His declarations or actions once announced, in all His Messianic mastery cf. Christ the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 8, Repent or Perish Ch. 2).
We have seen in the latter part of Zechariah 12, following this declaration of divine Creation and Institution of man, even of his very spirit, as well as of the platform for performance graciously provided for him, this world in its dazzling universe (cf. TMR Ch. 7, Section F): that the Jewish nation repents. That is dynamite for its aggressors, for it is haunted by Hawks, not within, but without; so that when the hawking proceeds, many fall and suffer. We saw that in Zech. 12:4ff., where those who seek to REMOVE Jerusalem from its Jewish place, and face, are removed. Inveterate in disdain, in entanglement, intransigeant in involvement, implacable in desire, those who seek to remove it, are removed. God has not forgotten those who forgot Him, and has remembered indeed those who appeal to Him in His name, as now becomes the case.
This panoply of powerful events is one leading on to repentance as in 12:10ff., and it finds its acme in 13:1 where the fountain of blood, as already explained in its symbolic significance, is in effect opened in Jerusalem, for all sin and uncleanness. No more is it a question of how many animals, and how much blood for how many millions of people, all needing repetitive sacrificial actions; for now it is a very fountain, for the SIGNIFICANCE of the blood of the Messiah, who sold and pierced, as in 12:10 and Ch. 11, is ample for anyone and everyone who comes in repentance such as Ch. 12 so amply exhibits.
Thus the Creative Power and the Redeeming Fluency abide together, and the Institutor of Man becomes the deliverer from Destitution for man.
Accordingly, as we saw in Zechariah 13:3ff., all the harsh callowness of philosophy and religious idolatry becomes just what it is, the romancing misuse of the remarkable powers of the liberated human spirit, not tied to mere instinct or to mere program, but equipped with power to err, and that even on purpose! This, it is the price of liberty which is the pre-condition and ante-room of love (or hatred!).
What then is it which has for so long in so many and with such degradation in this way been wrought ? It is a sickness, a pathological process, an unhappy hysteria of the soul which, like a small craft leaving its moorings in a storm, is simply tempest-tossed and useless in its way, a craft minus its craft. This is not to say that it is useless for drowning people, and great have been the drownings of philosophy and its adjunct political systems, in recent times, making a marvellous crescendo to the follies of the past, as our new but frustrated Alexander the Greats, show their comic decrescendos, like elephants which, having failed to dance, sink slowly in quicksand. The twentieth century has been full of them, and they do elephantine dances, like those in Disney's Fantasia, in the fatal fantasies of the philosophic flesh, and political dynamics as of dervishes.
When it is over, and sometimes in stages, however, they sink.
Some quicksands are quicker than others, so that Hitler went faster; but they go, unlamented, lost souls hammering their frustrations into the deadened lives of their victims.
It is not pretty; but then arrogance never is.
Arrogance ? It is not merely an undue DEGREE of self-love, self-elevation, self-centredness, mixed with indifferent ability to see reality, but it is the DYNAMIC which is of this kind, and so ignoring reality, and seeking either to become it or be it or both, disappears into the mud of demolition as it falls, hit by the facts which do not alter because our spirits can be fanciful, though often in ways highly inept at taking anyone's fancy.
When this occurs, then they often try to take lives instead, which is rather gluttonous, in terms of feasting on victims. Such things never satisfy the insatiable hunger of the depraved, who mistaking their depravity for deprivation, seek endless satisfaction for their lust.
Alas, it was arrogance which killed Christ, seeking for safety for the nation, or continuity as well for the power structure of those who would run things according to their own will (cf. John 11). The more dynamic the divine, the more the mutilative thrust against Him. He suffered for sin, using this lust for His justice in satisfying penalty through love, in His own Person on their behalf; but when this too is despised, either by being ignored or assailed, there is then no other avenue for mercy. Prodigious the cost, powerful the defeat even of death, the way of the Lord does not always strive with man, since he also is flesh. There comes an end. As Christ put it in Matthew 24:14:
"And the Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness,
to all the nations, and then the end will come."
In the end of Zech. 13, we have seen the results of this kind of arrogance, and the effects in the dispersal of Christians, as they brought their testimony, the Gospel, to the world, and of the Jewish people, as they suffered the "bond of the covenant" (as in Ezekiel 20:37), so breached (Zech. 11:10).
Arrogance has been met by arrogance, and default by default, as Gentile joined Jew in departure from the very heartland of the Gospel, the make of this earth a mansion for malady, blighted now doubly with a dynamic which is not merely from the sin of omission, or the thrust of commission, but joined in jubilation short-lived though it be, by the 'prince of this world', by the devil in whom the world system lies, though he chafes at its controls, and trembles at its Maker.
Thus all have suffered, and not least, the Jew. Indeed, we saw that a named two-thirds would perish because of the rebellious State which had so presumed as freely to contract to follow God, and then made a very, centuries long mockery of it all (cf. II Chronicles 36, Joshua 24:14-27).
THE DAY IS BRIGHT, BUT THE EARTH IS RED
How ludicrous! the Lord has shown them, to imagine that their prodigious victories as He sustained them in their most exalted past, were 'happenings', in view of their huge scope, timing and reliability (cf. Deuteronomy 32:28ff.)! Foolish and people and unwise, He deemed them. It is no less so that our Gentile neologians and pseudo-scientific method men of our own day, imagine the production of law by chance, when chance itself is law in form, devoid merely of known purpose. Is car a product of chance when you cannot see the driver! (cf. Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Chs. 9, 13).
Instead, you find the source of it, and the reasons for the manufacture.
The LORD not being sought, He nevertheless comes. In His grace, up to this end of the Age time, soon to move past the repentance of Israel as specified in Zech. 12:10ff., for their murder of the Messiah, and moving on to the actual personal return of the Lord with His people as in Zech. 14:5, millions have found Him. For many of these, in their blessed relationship to the Lord, it may be said, as in Isaiah 65,
"I was sought by those who did not ask for Me,
I was found by those who did not seek Me".
Now in Zech. 14:1-3, we see the Day of the Lord coming; and on the one hand, as He proceeds to "gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem", so on the other, He "will go forth and fight."
First notice the sequence. From Zech. 13:7-8, where the dispersion and the dismemberment of Israel is in view following the epochal movement against the Lord, there is no great leap to Zech. 14. After all, the real leap is in 13:9, where the remnant, the residue, the restored and penitent Israel of 12:10ff. comes again into prophetic focus, Now deliverance is theirs, blessed fellowship with God. First however, this is reversion to … war, decisive as in the days of the Exodus (Micah 7:15, Zech. 14:1-3).
In the end, those refined will once again say, we there find, "The LORD is my God," just as the Lord will once again say, "This is My people!" (13:9). What is true for the Jew is true for the Gentile in this, that those alienated in their minds (Ephesians 4:17-19, 2:1-6), astray in their spirits, whose hearts said, AVAUNT! go, to God, and now say, AVAST! Hold! Stay! Jew or Gentile find one mighty to save, who would have all to repent and return to the knowledge of the truth (Isaiah 63:1, 55:1-6, I Timothy 2, Colossians 1:19ff.).
However, in this section, it is on Jerusalem and the Jew that we focus, and their long saga now comes to a fitting conclusion (cf. Romans 11 which covers it by parable, ending with the separation severed as the light shines and the sight is restored - Romans 11:25ff.).
As the nations thus gather against Jerusalem, half the city goes into captivity and half remains, as happened so very dramatically in 1948, the Mandelbaum Gate being the contemporary separation point between Israel and Jordan then (Zechariah 14:2). People were, we learn from firsthand report, were raped, and the place indeed ravaged as predicted (14:3). The nations assuredly were gathered in international multiplicity of the widest scope: the UN in its constant hostility, proposing dismembered bits in one section of Palestine as sufficient for Israel, ex-Jerusalem as capital; and many Arab nations were seeking its take-over as Britain evacuated with special help to the Arab Legion, which nevertheless failed; for God had it written otherwise. They were BOTH at it! UN and Moslems.
Nevertheless, the Lord delivered them. Of this we have seen much before in Zech. 12, as we have also in Habakkuk 3, Joel 3, Micah 7, Deuteronomy 32, Ezekiel 38-39, following on from the dry bones parable, in which God acted twice. As in Ezekiel 37, His first command restored Jewish people to take their power into Jerusalem physically, with formal existence there; and the second command gave them life which is identified as spiritual, as they then come to know the Lord personally as they should long have done, but did not!
These things may be pursued in some detail in SMR pp. 502ff., 510ff., and one short citation from p. 515 will give a brief coverage of much:
A short sequence
Israel returns; Jerusalem is liberated; Israel fights triumphant wars; the Gentile period of speciality ends, the church in some of its forms falling away, and false prophets abound; the Confederacy assaults Israel; the Spirit of God is poured out; many Jews are converted; the Lord appears and the whole (composite) church disappears to be with Him at the marriage feast of the Lamb; the antichrist now appears in full force, unhindered by the power of Christians (Revelation 11, II Thessalonians 2:7-8); the Lord returns with His own, destroys the antichrist and the millennium ensues in which the rule of righteousness is witnessed on the earth through a Christ whose earlier crucifixion shows the height and purity of His love.
During their trials, and up to Christ's return for them, the people of God are kept inside a more powerful presence than any evil can create (Luke 21:14-15 ; Matthew 28:18-20; John 14:21; Mark 11:25; Ephesians 1:19). Then they are removed at an unexpected time (Matthew 24:50; Mark 13:32 ff.), taken from this ideological, psychological and unspiritual horror that at that time overtakes the earth.
But when, when is this, the return of Christ to rescue His people and allow the earth to reach its evil prime, ready for destruction ? As well as the pointers already noted and in place, we find from Christ the words of multiplied wars, rumours of wars, earthquakes and famines, a time when people's hearts 'fail for fear' and when, if it were not shortened, ''no flesh could be spared''... But when ? Before, then, no flesh could endure. But when! In a time shortened for the 'elects' sake' (Matthew 24:22). How much shortened ? We do not know, so why should we be concerned!
It is enough that to Christ we look, the Lord of glory soon to appear and come in His love stronger than hate, irresistible and all wise (Jude 24-25), removing all who ''love His appearing'' (Hebrews 9:28; Matthew 24:31-40; Acts 1:7-11; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 John 3:1-3).
Scenario before that sovereign Spirit, sole Saviour
and Governor who is God
And then, when the rapture or recall to the Lord of the saints is past, and the following return of the Lord with His saints, when these rejoicings are fulfilled; and when the masterly millennium in its time is past; and the final rebellion in its time (Rev. 20:2,7,10,14) is over: then the old heaven and the earth are dismissed and dissolved (Matthew 24:35; Is. 51:6; II Peter 3:10. Revelation 20:11) . What then ... ? Then is the magnificence of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21) exposed like the butterfly from the grub; and the former things do not occupy the mind (Isaiah 65:16-17).
What is shakeable is gone, and the unshakeable remains (Hebrews 12:25-28). As our sins (Heb. 8:12) are forgotten, so is the trauma, tragedy and trial of the pilgrimage. The race is won; the echoes depart.
Indeed, the new, the later things so far surpass the former things that it would be as if a Professor of Mathematics should think of the former things of school's first stages, as he studies (Revelation 21:1-4; Isaiah 65:16-17).
But Christ, the eternal Son shall not be surpassed: rather shall He be found, as Revelation tells us, in the centre of the throne (Revelation 7:17; 22:3; 21:22-25): He who with the Father is one God, to be worshipped for ever. He is the God, the only God (Isaiah 45:14,21-22), who loved; and sent; and saved; and has judged and rules and is the delight of His own. For His love is fulfilled, and not frustrated; it is alive (John 17:23-26) in His adopted children.
He has done as He pleased; and His power is the path of His desire; and it is found perfect.
Zechariah 14:5 reveals the Lord's final actions for this Age as He comes with all His saints together (just as in I Thessalonians 3:13).
IF ( and one is inclined to make it
the mathematical IFF, 'only if')
if you have been despised by this
world for your stand for what it cannot abide;
then there is that natural liberation to which you look with relish.
You come at that time with Christ to this earth not as a pilgrim and a stranger (cf. Hebrews 11:13), for so long your appointed role: for you come as a child of God in His direct, immediate and ruling presence in His world, no longer subjected to any outward and dire efforts from the evil 'prince of this world' (John 14:30), but under the Lord's own immediate Shepherd's crook. Is it not strange how our word 'crook' can mean just what the crookedness of this world means; but yet with a Shepherd, it means his comforting implement for our safety!
Such is the change. It is not merely verbal, but virtuous. Now living waters come from Jerusalem and there is change in its land surrounds. It seems that symbol and geology mix here, and that the Lord's poetical powers are once again moving to make for man a physical symmetry with the spiritual. Light becomes different also, the darkness not arising, but departing*1. No more "utter destruction" is there, but "the people shall dwell safely."
Such is the change. It is is not merely verbal, but virtuous. Now living waters come from Jerusalem and there is change in its land surrounds. It seems that symbol and geology mix here, and that the Lord's poetical powers are once again moving to make for man a physical symmetry with the spiritual. Light becomes different also, the darkness not arising, but departing*1 (Zech. 14:6). It is diffused differently in the direct presence of the Lord. No more "utter destruction" is there, but "the people shall dwell safely."
The aggressors now are seen languishing with what may be a radiation dissolution in tongue and eye, the flesh losing its natural strength. History is not stalled, but rather scrubbing up for the final operation.
Wealth so long expropriated from the Jew, as in the slavery in Egypt, and the World War II enormities, and the UN denial of the international gift of Palestine for the Jews after World War I, this sordid sally will end now with seizure of wealth by the afflicted nation (Zech. 14:14, cf. Ezekiel 39:10). It was so in the case of Egypt, a retributive restoration! (cf. Exodus 12:35-36).
From Zechariah 14:16 we learn that there is to be an enormous emphasis on the fact that GOD made a contract, a covenant indeed with Abraham (cf. Galloping Events Ch. 4), objectively, that He realised it, that He applied it, that despite evils including deicide (relative to the fleshly format, in Christ), He has brought them physically and literally and actually and historically into their land. He excavated them from their broken foundations, and He restored them to their new life.
He has done what He said. It was not a case of a Jewish people once pulsing with power and then declining, at all: this was not what happened to Israel of old. Rather, it was in its heyday, and even in the preliminary profundities of mercy in its Exodus, a people vitalised by divine dynamic and then later, in squalid and successive stages derailed by poor steering and false leadership, departing from their Lord. It was, moreover, a people to be defended at the end, as at the first, after their intervening nodule of discipline. Why ? because in His love, He undertook to do so! (Ezekiel 36:22, Deuteronomy 32:30ff.).
This would appear to be at least the general direction of Zech. 14:16, for the Feast of Tabernacles was just such a thing, a graphic reminder through having leafy little coverings for a little life in the outdoors, of the fact that the Lord led them OUT of Egypt, through a desert to their land.
This is just the same emphasis as in Ezekiel 39:21ff..
" 'I will set My glory among the nations; all the nations shall see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them.
'So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day forward.
"The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel
went into captivity for their iniquity;
because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them.
I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword.
According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions
I have dealt with them, and hidden My face from them.
"Therefore thus says the Lord God:
‘Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob,
and have mercy on the whole house of Israel;
and I will be jealous for My holy name—
after they have borne their shame, and all their unfaithfulness
in which they were unfaithful to Me,
when they dwelt safely in their own land and no one made them afraid.
'When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them
out of their enemies’ lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations,
then they shall know that I am the Lord their God,
who sent them into captivity among the nations,
but also brought them back to their land,
and left none of them captive any longer.
'And I will not hide My face from them anymore;
for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God."
It is precisely now that "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" - as in Habakkuk 2:14, and Isaiah 11. In that era,
"The LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be -
'The LORD is one, and His name one.' "
It is as in Zech. 10:12,
"And I will strengthen them in the LORD;
and they shall walk up and down in his name, says the LORD."
Again, it is as in Isaiah 26:13ff. (red added for emphasis):
"O LORD our God, other lords beside You have had dominion over us:
but by You only will we make mention of Your name. They are dead, they will not live;
they are deceased, they will not rise: therefore You have visited and destroyed them,
and made all their memory to perish.
"You hast increased the nation, O LORD, You hast increased the nation:
You art glorified: You had removed it far to all the ends of the earth.
"LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer
when Your chastening was on them.
"As a woman with child, who draws near the time of her delivery, is in pain,
and cries out in her pangs; so have we been in Your sight, O LORD.
"We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind;
we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth;
neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
"Your dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise.
Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: |
for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead."
Here of course you see the resurrection which comes, as in Daniel 12, so here in Isaiah 26:19, a prelude after pain, to the marvels of divine action of such magnitude upon the earth.
Finally we see divine rebuke to unbelief in this era as in Zechariah 14:16ff., with an entirety of the conception of holiness, of everything in all ways being before the Lord, and spirituality in its transcendent reality and practical imbuement, before the manifest divine sublimity, no more obscure.
Much of all the multiple preliminaries and dynamic preparations has happened in our own generation, and more in past history. Relatively little remains; but what remains is for Him who remains, our God (Zech. 9:7); it is for those who are His. To be divorced from the wife of your early youth, it is tragic, the more so if you commit adultery and so come to this end. To be divorced, however, from your God, it is worse than abortion; it is contortion with it!
It is great then that this historical parable, this use of history to make a parable which is set in blood and land, is nothing less than a divine assurance that there is nothing impractical about the Lord who stretched out the heavens and formed the spirit of man within him! It is manifestly impractical to exclude Him who invented what we call practical; as if a father's love being rejected, his house simply evaporated, or one came over our heads, equipped of course with a fantastic array of provisions acutely correlative to our need, or would do so if we lived a million years, in our actual house,: which however dissolves at death, as if to remind the recalcitrant, that design does not become immortal by thinking about it.
To imagine that 'life' is the source of such accommodations, without thought or will, program or provision, but simply as is, a fund of parameters and provisions of complexity and unitary character, is to imagine that subsistence is creation, or that structure is its own creator, form its own formulator or function its own director, even in advance.
This is myth, that attribution of causative power to what provides no evidence of it, myth itself, definitionally distinct and rankly defiant with all the bluster of the child in a tantrum. It reminds one of that delicious case of a small child who being told to 'get off the broom', a straw creation on which he was illicitly resting his suspended weight, in his own time, got down and paraded into the kitchen in order to make an announcement to the adult world. "I will not get off the broom!" he announced. It was necessary to obey far enough to declare defiance, even though in that very act, it collapsed. So it is with the panorama of will and its little hills and valleys!
The world is not mythical, but its inhabitants seem drawn to this as an escape mechanism; and what do they escape ? Only the truth, and that, only for a time. Life does not create life because it is vital; it is vital to realise the difference between a functional realm and the power to establish it. BEING is not MAKING!
The reality is far other; and the temporary and passing character of this present world and its dying, decaying, diminishing forms, as they are shown to be, both in biota and through the Second Law of Thermodynamics, is no great loss
(cf. Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch. 8,
TMR Chs. 1, 5, A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 4,
The gods of naturalism have no go! 25,
Cascade ... Ch. 2,
Christ the Cumulative and the Culmination Ch. 8,
SMR Ch. 3, pp. 208ff.).
The artist has better paintings than these (II Peter 3). It is not that this creation is not a marvel of exuberant wit, marvellous contrivance, towering design, intense integrality, dynamic diversification containing vast stores of intense beauty, spread in landscapes, set in seascapes, soaring in skyscapes, witnessed in minute flowers, manufactured with units, surpassed with spirit, spectacles of peace in profundity and glorious exuberance of delicacy. It is rather that it has been soiled and spoiled by constant disregard of its Maker.
Indeed, this world has a use-by date, afflicted in much and projected for a purpose (Isaiah 51:6). In it, we find no exceptions to the decline of made material things, except in the case of the application of intelligence. Accordingly, God’s own power of course can regenerate what He will, as a mechanic can toil with an ageing car, or fit new parts; but of itself, the natural has decline in its face.
If we could IMAGINE a world which went UP to balance our DOWN, yet still the system would require outsourcing to manufacture for BOTH this imaginary world and our own; and the up going world would need implicit potential insertion of the most ludicrously complex kind, to enable it to realise its output from its input. The outsourcing of potential would do nothing whatever to reduce the requirements for its construction; any more than its absence does anything to show its presence. It is merely a vain myth without logical or empirical significance.
This world is not so; and hope is not evidence; nor is logic to die that fiasco might live.
We are here, and it is going ... down. It is time to seek the Lord, and to go with Him, not out, but on the way of holiness, which is merely what we are made for. It is like a car which, denied expert aid for years, now limps ignominiously; and is told of the garage. NEVER! it chuffs, as it dies. A pity, yes decidedly a pity, but then some cars no doubt, tend to be like that, or rather, to be fair to the cars, their owners.
The LORD has waited long for Israel, but has known from the first, the last. He is not impatient.
What He offers in spirit and heart to them, it is for others also.
Hear a divine word from Isaiah 55.
" 'Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
" 'Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
" 'For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord.
'For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
" 'For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
" 'For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.' "
We who are His have no need to wait for our spiritual deliverance: it is NOW that we know Him; and on His return, we go to Him and remain with Him for ever.
When the Christian takes the Communion, he or she looks
for Him in heart, just as we shall find Him on His return; and in this Lord’s
Supper we “proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes”
– I Cor. 11:26.
“To those who eagerly await Him, He will appear a second time apart from sin, for salvation” – Hebrews 9:27.
The glories of His reign, of His dismissal of the earth, of His haven in heaven, of His everlasting mercy and ineffable righteousness, the wonders of living eternally with your Creator, your God, your Redeemer leave this earth as a preliminary, a preparation for the light which nothing can contain, but which is Jesus Christ, the same today, yesterday, forever.
The divine dynamics have always been vast, and the fact that any one phase or stage of His procedure may endure long, like temporary housing at a War-time base, should not diminish realism. Not only does the infant life become at length, mature, the day become night and the fabricated equipment old, but the world as a stage where liberty shows its fondness or fangs, this too has its day and time, and it passes to the end of it all. The drama is not eternal, only its results!
From Chapter 2, above, there
is this anticipation of the aspect of light,
and it is here provided in its due course at Ch. 14 itself. However, it is has been considerably adapted and somewhat extended for this present purpose.
In Zechariah 14:5, we find that at the time of the massive judgment of God against those whose tender emotions are stirred in reverse, as if not to nurture but to abolish the city where Christ was crucified and David ruled, a number of fascinating events occur.
How does the Lord respond to this final assault mode 'solution' to the 'Jewish question' ?
One is this: the glorious ones, as Keil translates it, the lights of the heavens will as it were, be demobilised, or become dysfunctional relative to their norms. You see this too of the final crescendo before the return of Christ, in Matthew 24:29, Revelation 6:12 and Joel 3:15, where the multitudes in the valley of decision are of course not people trying to convert themselves by decision, which is contrary to John 1:12, Romans 9:16 and John 15, but a striving of armed and milling multitudes, awaiting the outcome of their martial lusts as specified in detail in the context, as in Deuteronomy 32:36ff., Micah 7:15ff., Habakkuk 3, and Zechariah 14:3ff..
Let us then consider Zechariah 14:6-7 in a little more detail.
"I will gather," says the Lord,
"all the nations to battle against Jerusalem ...
Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations
as He fights in the day of battle,
and in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
which faces Jerusalem on the East..."
You find the same absolute confrontation from the Lord, in Ezekiel 38ff., and in Micah it reads like a storm in full motion, while one is seated in an aircraft! After reviewing in Micah 7:8ff., the humiliations sin has brought to the nation, and the waiting, as in a soliloquy of the afflicted, yes and with this, the readiness to bear the indignation of the Lord, before light arises (cf. Zechariah 12:10), the Lord provides us with this declaration. In Micah 7, we read:
"As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,
I will show them wonders.
"The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might;
They shall put their hand over their mouth;
Their ears shall be deaf.
They shall lick the dust like a serpent;
They shall crawl from their holes like snakes of the earth.
They shall be afraid of the Lord our God,
And shall fear because of You."
We may not rationally confine this to some kind of decisionism, for it is the battle which is to have its resultant or decision, being a decisive battle. The proclivity to abuse contexts and export ideas, minus their homeland, is almost inveterate, and when a cultural norm cries for a 'Christianity' minus power (as foretold for the end of the Age in II Timothy 3), or detests the direct intervention of the Lord in the history of nations, then the results can be as amazing as Jules Verne's descent to the centre of the earth - that is, in his imagination.
Yet far is this earth and world from being divorced from the spiritual grace of God, just as it was not in times past in the Old Testament era. There is strategy and counsel in all of the Lord's dealings, and there is need to trust in Him in every of them, since without faith, you cannot please God, your whole personal being is merely imitating a speck of dust, which being contrary to fact, has not a speck of wisdom in it. Indeed, there is such a thing as spiritual autism...!
Thus Micah continues as the ultimates are made manifest:
"Who is a God like You,
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
“He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.
“You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.
You will give truth to Jacob
And mercy to Abraham,
Which You have sworn to our fathers
From days of old."
Notice that three marvels of mercy here coalesce. Firstly, there is the PARDON in full mode; next is the POWER in presence of God to overcome the sin which is pardoned and which seeks to wrest control, for this is “subdued”, and thirdly there is the faithful and reliable (in Hebrew, the very word for ‘truth’ signifies stability and solidity) FULFILMENT of just what was promised.
His very coming again is mercy, just as it is a finale in the Age's desperate conflicts and earthy pre-occupations. Yet it is God who made the earth, and to be earthy is merely to be oblivious of the magnitude and multitude of His wonders and mercies. Even the light, made at the first for its pockets and packets, is on His return to reflect His immediacy.
Amongst the criteria of the return of the Lord is this one:
"It will happen in that day, that there will be no light, the glorious ones will
And it will be an only day, which will be known to the Lord, not day nor night:
and it will happen that at evening time, it will be light."
This is the rendering of Keil, except that one puts "happen" for "come to pass", which is scarcely modern idiom. It is to be acknowledged that even this is not perfect, since come to pass in such contexts undoubtedly carried a contextual feeling of being MADE to happen, so that one might prefer another approach. However, the idiom has no formal addition, and 'happen' serves, and it does so the better with this explanation. In these verses, Zechariah 14:6-7, Keil sees light springing up at evening; but in any case, there is a clear suspension or commuting of the normal astral situation for the earth, and light is not removed at the night on this brilliant day, but rather is to be found. This is denoting divine action at the uttermost level.
THIS is the day of the Lord! This is a physical occasion in it, to specify it and denote to all that the Age is past, the millenium is in view, the occasions of the Gospel Age are coming to their termination and that the earth is to be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14, cf. Isaiah 11). Light is irrepressible, continual and newly irradiating, it appears, a luminous index to the presence of the Lord. This is fitting for the City of Light, which Jerusalem has symbolised, but alas, not in the slaughter of its own Prince! Now He is there, and so is the light!
How many detest the thought! They prefer symbols to substance, suggestions to realities and myths to majesty! So be it: it will merely make for them the judgment which darkness has as its corollary. It will not alter the salvation, or the situation or the illumination of the Lord! It will merely demonstrate an area where it did not reach, like the waters of Ezekiel 47, which did not heal the marshy places...