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THE DESIRE OF THE NATIONS
DESIRE ... ITS ORIGIN AND DESTINY, MEANING AND MODE
The Australian, October 31, 2005
THE CONTEXT OF THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS
In Haggai, you might feel, there is merely a minor prophet, and amongst the minors, he is of small rating. Not so. There is no 'merely' about the minor prophets - Zechariah, for example, is one of the most evangelically boisterous and prophetically astounding of them all; and size is not quality, as any diamond would tell you if it could.
Haggai, to be sure, is small in dimension, page-wise, but not in the pageant of predictive prophecy. To adapt from the way Virgil put it, on another topic: Small is my focus, but not small my theme. Such is the nature of Haggai's words from the Lord!
Not merely did Haggai (who is not our topic, but his words contain a vital element of it) prophesy for ACTION at the time of the rebuilding of the second temple, in Zechariah's day, but he was incisive, decisive, powering into the situation on a divinely directed chariot, as God spoke through him. "You have sown much and bring in little; you eat but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm: and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes."
Thus did he expose the survival programs of push without glory, program without progress and desire without meaning. Survive ? what is that ? the acme of the rat. What has survival to do with anything that matters ? Survive for what ? To be alive ? To be alive for what ? Even a pen, if it could and would, would surpass this. Survive ? why for writing. Or a car ? Survive ? why ? for providing transport.
A man, survive ? For what ? why to fulfil the divinely created purpose. WHAT divinely created purpose ? that of being a companion of God, explorer of His domains, investigator of His creation, with power to implement, for good, the divine specifications, or to shove lust in place instead, and live for whatever, survival, spurious glory, furious wars or whatever other asinine idiocy may take the polluted fancy of spewed out man.
That is negative, but so is divorce, from God.
Put a car in a coal pit, and it might indeed think, if it could, of survival, since in its inglorious displacement, there would be little else to think of ...
The point is not that delinquent irrelevance of divorce from the divine, just to survive. It is not that meaningless, tasteless, ignoble and base basis; but rather is it to arrive at the fruition of your purpose, divinely donated, deliciously dynamised and mercifully sustained. Thus, the old concept that England expects every man this day to do his duty has something to which many could relate. Since God made man, then man had duty to Him; and if a man lived in a country for which he was grateful as conferring the liberty in which to serve God without molestation (as at times, many times, England became), then he might indeed find a chord of the heart struck with such an appeal.
Unfortunately, many a nation, acting on this or similar or parallel basis, expects unswerving loyalty to whatever sort of polluted politics may have survived, inglorious, in office: and so treat enemy prisoners abominably, and not at all as other members of the kind-race, called man, and treat truth as a basis for divergence in the interests of ... survival. Hence the very concept of duty may dutifully become derelict of its beauty. However, when a man sees that the derivative forms of duty, such as partriotic allegiance, must first be construed under the aegis of one’s duty to the Divinity, and hence have honour accorded or withheld, then for duty, its summit of splendour is restored. It is then that we see that Jesus is Lord, becomes a primary principle, under which the exploits of life are to be construed.
The prophets all attested in one way or another the Christ, the salvation of the merciful, faithful God; and as to Haggai, unlike Daniel who predicted His death date from many centuries before it came (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), he was given the duty of describing His APPEAL, His intrinsic and inevitable appeal to the nations, His eschatological profundity and His culminating grace, to come into history like a Spring day.
Indeed, in Haggai 2:6-7, we have this forecast to the ears of the temple-rebuilding Jews, one which echoes to the end, for as Christ declared, EVERY JOT AND TITTLE of biblical prophecy will be fulfilled to the end, so that as Isaiah put it, these words will not depart from the ears of the children, theirs or those to come (Isaiah 59:21). They stay, these words, and their message stays; their predictions come and their day goes into action, as the sun of their time comes and they are fulfilled like so many programmatic instructions.
What however did Haggai have to say, here, in Ch. 2 ? It is this:
" 'According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’
"For thus says the Lord of hosts:
‘Once more (it is a little while)
I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land;
and I will shake all nations,
and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations,
and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts."
We find this, that the Lord has an inveterate program which He will implement. He brought Israel out of Egypt, when it was enslaved, showing in detail that HE had power to abort the illicit survival techniques even of the greatest and most cultivated of nations, to taunt and deride their false gods, even turning their very glories into plagues, and instituting the Passover, that killing of the lamb at even, and placing of its blood on the doors of the houses of His people, thereby protected from the fruits of sin, even death. In doing this, and confounding in the sea, the Pharaoh with his mud-grounded troops awash, He showed the power to intervene at any level and to deliver according to the PATTERN OF SALVATION. This, in multiplied sacrifices, Moses was used latter to codify in form and symbol (what Hebrews calls 'shadows' - in fact symbolic representations of salvation to come in the Messiah of Deuteronomy 18).
We read of this preliminary temple of stone, to be an augury and deposit if you will, for the Living Temple, Jesus the Christ, to come, who would offer Himself as priest, being both presenter and presented, and BE the sacrifice once for all, which those once so hallowed walls proclaimed. It was when this fulfilment was crucified, that the temple became ready for a destruction, even of that which was built in the day of Haggai and adorned by Herod; for if the symbol is preferred to the substance, the code for the Christ, then the code becomes accursed for those who so misuse it. What could be more eloquent of this than the presence of the idolatrous Mosque upon this site, where the true God is unhallowed by an unauthorised option and the thoughts of men, this time alien to the divine covenant itself, are made the architects of what is in biblical terms, an abomination.
Was the crucifixion of Christ, the key to the code of the Temple, less horrid ? Thus is the infamy parodied, and the error paraded ... for as God declared in Deuteronomy 32, a foolish nations would show them up; and so has history turned to do so. It is of course not merely a national entity which is here involved, but any and every people who used a false prophecy as a basis, or act in this generic mould. Naturally, those who differ from this delusion are not included.
It was therefore important, in the symbolic form, that the temple be set in one place, as it was, in Jerusalem. It was crucial that when the Messiah came to displace that one place with His own one place on the Cross once and for all, that this should be realised.
Of these things, we read in SMR pp. 823ff..
You are wrong, you are wrong, it goes. See the Almighty call you to sacrifice by the covenant with Moses, until the Christ comes (Deuteronomy 18, Isaiah 53, 66). When He comes, then soon you cannot, cannot year by year make those old animal sacrifices in the appointed one place only prescribed (Isaiah 66:3, 53:10); and you will stay unable to do so until a whole new time like that of the period from Abraham till Christ is past. Will this teach you how special you are (cf. the excoriating irony of Amos 9:7, therapeutic irony), when and if you break the covenant and fail to recognise... God!
How firmly God told them of that one place for their covenanted sacrifice. Review it, if you will in... Deuteronomy 12:5-11, 14:23, 26:2, Joshua 9:27. I Kings 8:29, Psalm 78:68, 132:13-14, and II Chronicles 7:16, 33:4. Not only does the God of Israel choose a place - and that Jerusalem is that place in these scriptures; but He goes considerably further. Having shown Solomon that this is that place of which He has spoken, He gives a disciplinary forecast which is also a teaching announcement for all the world. lt would be near to criminal to neglect, from the only God there is, an announcement of such clarity and high impact!
He says, in II Chronicles 7:16,19-21 that
"I have chosen and sanctified this house";
and in terms of the covenant then in force, the choice is announced as perpetual; and then...
"If you turn away and forsake My statues and My commandments... and go and serve other gods..."
(and Christ said: 'If God were your Father you would love me'... John 8:42, and "You are of your father, the devil" - 8:44, to those rejecting Him among the Jews)...
then ? then ? what does the divine King tell His people He will do, if they so forsake Him ?
"Then I will uproot them from My land..." (done),
"and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight..." (done), and
"will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations..." (done).
All this is painful; so was the crucifixion. The physical pain of it may have been the least!
Thus the temple of Haggai's prophecy was rebuilt, to be displaced some half a millenium later, when its MEANING, the Messiah came. Haggai, then, in surging forward with his eloquent but brief, divinely directed speech, exhorting them to build, was not imagining this to be any final terminus. Far from it: like the prophets in general, and the Bible overall, he indicates that there is a FINAL time coming, and that the Messiah will be the criterion of it.
As in Micah 7:15ff., he shows the power of God as exhibited in the dramatic and dynamic Exodus out of Egypt, in itself a multiple-layered allegory of salvation, history the foundation for the teaching in a magnificent and sovereign way which only the ultimate of the plan for history could achieve. He uses this Exodus exhibit of divine power as a trailer for the final actions of divinity. First, the entire earth is to be SHAKEN. This is reiterated in Hebrews 12:26ff., in an exhortation for our own day, indeed for the entire New Testament Church Age, one which leads us not this time to a temple of stone, but to the Kingdom of heaven, of the Messiah, whose return is to be looked for with expectant joy (Hebrews 9:12-28). This focusses in v. 28 on His coming a second time, without sin, for ultimacy in salvation. As to that, it has already been achieved (Hebrews 9), and applied (Hebrews 4-5), for faith (Hebrews 2,10); but the application of judgment awaits, the world a platform not to be sustained.
Indeed, God declares in Haggai 2, that He will shake not only the earth, but the heavens also.
In the meantime, while these divine despatches to history are fulfilled, and the time at last comes when worldlings find their so treasured real estate no longer available, and if they so neglect this salvation, their estate in heaven non-existent: there is to be this profound centre-piece to all history, prepared for millenia, applied to faith for millenia, and to bring meaning and terminus alike, to all millenia, even all, whether they have been 6 or 7,8 or even 10.
It is but a short time, compared to that of eternity. What then is its marvel ? It is this: THE DESIRE OF THE NATIONS, declared Haggai in his prophecy, indeed THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS, will be the one in the midst of these terminal events, to which they will COME.
Jesus said this, COME TO ME, all you who labour and are heavy laden, promising soul's rest (Matthew 11:28ff.). The call is to come not to a temple ludicrously replaced by the mosque of a false prophet (as in More Marvels ... Ch. 4 and its many internal references), and this as a shattering of the illusion that the stone temple was the ultimate one. It was not to this preliminary depiction, but to the Christ Himself, even Jesus the saviour, personally. It is to the DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS that all must come, Jew or Gentile, through the intervening symbolism of Temple worship, or direct. It is all one; but the symbolism has spoken and is profoundly used in the New Testament, in teaching, as in Hebrews.
It is HE who now builds, and the units He uses are LIVING STONES (I Peter 2:5ff.), in a building of which He is the once rejected, but firmly in place CORNERSTONE (Ephesians 2:17-22). So important is this concept of the Desire of All Nations, and the cornerstone of the building of living stones who come to Him, that it is necessary to cite this passage of Ephesians.
"And He came and preached peace
to you who were afar off and to those who were near.
For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
"Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners,
but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
in whom the whole building, being joined together,
grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."
It is He, this Messiah, of whom Isaiah in Ch. 11, says this:
"And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious."
In what, however, is He the Desire of all nations ?
THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS
For the answer to this, , as a prelude only, let us consider what it is, this human DESIRE!
Man has a desire for his youth back, or his wife back, or his prominent position back, or for his health back, or for his dream forwarded, or his importance realised, or his unimportance achieved for peace' sake, or whatever it may be. It is not in the realm of the ultimate, as is customary with hearts not united in themselves to the fear of God; for rather is the personality in sin apart from the living God, eroded like a strangled, straggling reef, appearing here and there above the surface of the ocean, and a mere momentary pang or site for achievement, is this kind of desire.
In the heart of man, there is something far more fundamental than that. Particular desires are merely its fulfilment on the one hand, or its disturbance, distortion or surrogate on the other.
There is something more than pleasure which, with its good and bad pleasures, never achieves ultimacy as a category, but acts merely is a descriptive item, or a medium. It is more than importance, since importance merely carries import, and if you do not know what you are or are to do, then the ascription by others of importance to you is a bauble tossed to and fro by those who love death, in estrangement from reality.
There is, within man, something which is the dynamic and the desire from which alike the palatial irresponsibilities of a Saddam Hussein, the witless red book of Mao and the claims of fame of Alexander the Great, together with the lust for gambling and drugs, the overtaking of records and the sex-mad invasion of others alike, are outcomes ... These are are sad and rather insignificant relics, rather like reminiscences of what was, or might have been; but IS NOT SO NOW!
What then ? It resembles the case of a car, wrapped about a tree. In this, you can still, perhaps, see dimly the outline of what was once a car, and you can explain the distortion by the knowledge which, prior to the 'accident' or incident, you have of cars. Otherwise, the resemblance now, analogous to sinful divorce from the reality of knowing God, is slender in size, in quality and in coherence.
THE WORD OF JEREMIAH
So in this case, these absurd distortions of the dynamic in man are explicable, one and all, and this without undue difficulty, though God alone knows the actual condition of a given heart, and the incredible seeming perplexities and complexities of multiple levels of deceit, self-deceit and delusion, as in Jeremiah 17:9-14:
"The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know
" I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
the fruit of his doings.
"As a partridge that broods but does not hatch,
So is he who gets riches, but not by right;
It will leave him in the midst of his days,
And at his end he will be a fool.
"A glorious high throne from the beginning
Is the place of our sanctuary.
O Lord, the hope of Israel,
All who forsake You shall be ashamed.
"Those who depart from Me
Shall be written in the earth,
Because they have forsaken the Lord,
The fountain of living waters.
" Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise."
In principle, the case is clear. Riches as an objective are a ruthless disregard of the owner of all, as if grabbing from His care what one may, is better than living for clothes or weight or looks or other implements of life. Forsaking Him it is which is shame itself, and there is a record of such declivity, and a reason. Why is there a divine record of outcomes for each person, just as real and assured as the income for each person - that is, the GENETIC income, by which each one is physically instituted within that astounding KIND, called man, which has continued these millenia from His inception by divine fiat, as in principle is the case for every other creation design. Omission of this fact by many, is still leaving culturally captured man squandering intellect and wandering as if demented, in seeking some way for things to write themselves, conceive themselves before they are even there, or anything of conceptual capacity is there, and other magics of nonsense.
Why then is there a record ? and why should it be obtained (cf. Revelation 20). If grace is rejected, only the books of history are in view John 3:19,36).. The book of life does not then apply. Where grace is excluded, disgrace is included, and of this, there is none greater tan trusting in yourself, play-acting for God and ignoring the divine, because you are a double derivative, made in his image and then using this to your detriment, wilfully astray in the very face of mercy, and in despite of His kindness (as in in Titus 2-3).
THE ROGUE ROCKET
For this privilege, they depart from the fountain of living waters - that is, from an abundance of refreshing, sustenance for the spirit, pure and purposeful, a gift and a grace from God, such as any man needs. It is this God, and it is this grace for which man seeks; and his many buffooneries are mere distortions of directions, captured dynamics, as if a rocket, swaggering in its power, forgot the astronauts and surged through the universe with every maniacal substitute for due and true direction one could imagine.
Now it is seeking to SURVIVE, by missing this and that comet, asteroid or force field; now it is entering into diplomatic niceties with this or that terrestrial probe, to avoid destruction in that way; now it is seeking to enjoy the romance of the whole thing, this extravaganza of delight; now it is wondering how to gain power, not how to conserve it, now how to swerve suddenly, and it seeks to acquire courses to explain such niceties. In such ways, our imaginary rogue rocket, the pilot killed, spends its little time of romp with every irrelevant, ridiculous, impending and dispersing sort of consideration with which rebellion reeks, and irrationality is replete.
The DESIRE in this case, it was not to be a rocket and to co-operate with the driver in a momentous provision of wonder; but rather to go off its rocker, its rocker of rational direction, and become a now meaningless, a now 'very meaningful', an always perplexed, and an often distressed rocket. seeking how to increase its thrills and decrease its spills in a manner redolent with fraud, filled with fancy and destined to certain doom.
Its current perplexities are mere symbols, indeed symptoms of its matrix distress, its ontological oddity as separated from meaning by desire; and its DESIRES are deadly, derelict consequences of a wreckage within, none the less horrendous because not pictorially visible.
THE MEANING OF THE DRIVING DYNAMIC OF DESIRE IN MAN
Man is activated by desire which is a major function of his divinely created psyche. It is not just that he wants to dress or eat. These are elemental items, no more important than gas or oil to a car. It is the thrust and the direction which matter, the meaning and the progression, the purpose and the vision.
He is to be what he is; and this is most difficult and indeed utterly impossible when he wilfully is ignorant of what that is. Since man is in the image of God, which is equipped with the meaning that although he is a mere derivative, indeed a creation of God, and so is both limited and delimited, yet there is in him a spirit. This exists as a created homologue in a way, to God as Spirit. Through this, when first created, he was able to commune with God, know God and relate to Him in such a way that a PERSONAL PRODUCT can rise to the height of understanding. Because of sin, he now must find the channel of restoration, the grace of restitution and the mercy of pardon, where it may be found, where the Lord has placed it, in the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:26).
In this way, He may have fellowship with his Maker and garner meaning both for man's life generically, and his own individually; and in the love of God, find the meaning of sonship, or of being a daughter of the Divine One.
This is the primary desire of man, residing past all depravity, set in his midst like a spiritual heart; and if it fibrillates, then it is yet its ultimate and only designed condition. Here is man's essence as a creation.. It is usually uselessly distorted, disturbed, degraded, traded and so forth, and man wilfully without Christ, the Lord's own Christ, is a parable of a scrap yard. Christ used the term Gehenna. WIthout this link, he is divorced, and at his best, he is yet in dissolution from the drive of the divine dynamic, an oddment in need of place.
Such is his condition ulterior to and beyond the customary sale of the soul for this or that limited and illicit desire; but it is there.
Desire ? TO BE what ? To be a thing of pleasure, early-retirement leisure, the boss, exalted, or whatever, perhaps to be as a god in the end: these are parts of the derogated desire of mankind. He may try to follow some guru to gain something indirectly, or not, trusting in his own guru-hood. In the end, it is not desire in and of itself, as some so foolishly imagine, but distorted desire which is the trouble. It is desire without the divine basis, perspective and meaning ingredient, the lust of what is just a divorcee.
To seek to eliminate desire is merely to abort the thrust in the darkness of delusion. It is to find what is to be desired which is the function and necessity for man, not to lose desire.
THEN, if and when it is found: at such a time, this dynamic, this thrust, this bubbling spring of energy, this adventurous delight, this mountain-top climbing drive, this search for mastery in knowledge, this spirit of esprit, of spryness or when it falls, this openness to a spirit of depression, or even manic-depressive (bipolar ? like that better ?), it is directed aright.
Then it finds its source, its channel. In one way, it may seem a loss, as would occur for the terminus of the undelimited, undefined madness of our imaginary rogue rocket above; but in another, it is all gain, for now the rocket, or in this case, the man knows WHY he is, HOW he is, WHERE he is, WHERE he is going and WHY, what his MEANING is. Now he knows with whom he is to be adventurous, for whom to climb, where to climb and which mountain and with which objective. In this knowledge, in this meaning, in this reality, in this summation of spiritual significance, in this God of creation, whose comforts are myriad and whose strength is illimitable: in Him, self-defined and made manifest in Jesus Christ, man finds rest.
He also finds adventures illimitable and grace divine. He finds love of which his own for wife or child, learning or truth, is a derivative. He finds the meaning of love, and with it, satisfaction of his love for meaning.
All is explained. His DESIRE is met at last. His RACIAL desire, his KIND's desire, his DESIRE as a man, as one of the race, individual and corporate, all is met. Yet let us be careful to emphasise a basic aspect: where is it met and in whom is this to be found ?
THE DESIRE WHICH IS TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH OF THE DESIRE
It is in God who made him. And where is He to be found ? He is not to be found by mere reason, which assuredly leads to Him (SMR); but there is more needed than that. To be infallibly led to a palace, this does not secure entrance, a point which Christ incisively stressed (John 5:39ff.) ; and if you should be perishing from thirst from a desert journey, and at last, by reason, find the palace, you would still die of thirst in the alien streets, if entry could not be swiftly and freely secured.
Thus God sent His only begotten Son, making for Himself a format like that of man, yet without sin, sent His eternal word, or expression, and sent Him as a man so that man might find the actual way, not merely in word, but in flesh. This He long foretold (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17, TMR Ch. 3), and by power and miracle, prediction and protection, fulfilment and appeal, He wrought much for long with many.
In particular used a nation called Israel to relay His message and depict His salvation. There was of course no ground for Israel to glory in itself, though much for it to glory in God (Deuteronomy 7), because of this. As Paul shows in Romans 9, the Jews did a great job in relaying these divine messages, centred in the Messiah to come; but yet they aborted their place (AS A NATION - Jews in fact founded the Christian Church at Christ's enabling!). This they did by crucifying Him instead of crowning Him.
As in the Exodus, when they reached AS A NATION (this did not applly to ALL the individuals) the promised land, what did they then accomplish ? This: they aborted the mission, like a rogue rocket. When Christ came, what did they then accomplish as a nation ? What they had done with the promised land, they now did not only with, but TO Him! Dealing with the Messiah, they came to the point of even murdering their own mercy. It is virtually impossible to realise at once the entire poignancy which one must feel in grief for their situation.
Hence they have suffered a riot of meaninglessness within a matrix of intense meaning, giving that bipolar and sad, indeed grievous pathos which is their very own.
Modern man, coming from his past in vast numbers, as having held, whether in truth or in devious derangement, even to the level of whole nations, to some sort of Christian format, now reels into departure from such a measure of light.
He moves from what in many cases became mere forms, and then mangled forms through further rebellion (departing into formalism, without the power of God as foretold in II TImothy 3); or from a more sincere and discernible faith: but either way he moves negatively in large aggregates of peoples and nations. He moves amiss relative to this degree of turning toward the truth, which was earlier accomplished. In this, he is just like Israel of old, and if there is one madness which is singular, it is the desire to pillory the Jew while following precisely that same national fault, in essence, which has so grievously afflicted the Jewish nation.
Departing from the living God, the fountain of living waters, the Messiah of truth, the God of creation and mercy, of sacrificial redemption and love, modern man puts up his hand to duplicate as “the nations” the work of Israel, in rebellion against the light itself!
Dark indeed, Christ declared, is your life when the light which is in you, is darkness! (Matthew 6:23-24).
Yet into this mêlée, this maelstrom, comes the Messiah, made available for the predicted sacrificial murder at the hand of Israel, so that by man rejected, He might become an open door for all, suffering it with distinctive divine dutifulness in accord with His delight in mercy, and His intransigeance against sin. Placarded as if the very moon were a billboard, these two millenia, His feat and Gospel remains in intense illumination.
The path of the divine scenario was not least to cover sin, for this was the roguery of the race; but it was also to defeat death. This was the need of the race; and to demonstrate life awakening past all death, a mere penalty which He had now borne for all who received it in this divine gift, and thus received Him (John 1:12-14, TItus 2; 3:5ff.). Here now was the door to the palace and the key to the door. Here was the place for reception once more of those living waters from which man had as a race divorced himself, and Israel had departed, specifically in the very face of salvation, now to be joined by the other nations in overweening folly. That they in no small number do this with hypocritical denunciation, of Israel, adds to their folly as if a drunkard took crack while driving.
The latest such enormity of profanity has of course come from the President of Iran, by report; and doubtless such scimitar rattling, or clashing, or echoing, is part of the prelude to that giant invasion of Israel foretold for the last days, in Ezekiel 37ff. (cf. SMR pp. 502ff.). It comes to nothing, since as in the Exodus, God intervenes, as He repeatedly states elsewhere He will do (as in Joel 3, Habakkuk 3, Micah 7, Isaiah 59, 66, Romans 11). However, it is a part of the play that now this, now that nation or corrupted creed or corrosion of truth or erosion of love will seek to smash, the Church or Israel, goodness or glory, or to seize it.
This is all part of the misused DESIRE in the nations. Into all this, then,
It is all about the Messiah, for man
cannot get his desire straight, his defilement redressed,
It is this DESIRE, this fundamental DESIRE OF THE NATIONS, the clean, true desire, the undistorted, uncavorting, unaborting desire, the needful and intrinsic desire of the nations which Christ constitutes, and to Him ? Who can tell how many millions have come, now in this national surge, that international surge, this reformation release from Romanism, that patient pastoring, in the paths of history these near two thousand years! And who can tell how many before that have come in the belief in the intimations of the Messiah who WOULD come ?
To HIM, then, do they come, for He is the desire of the nations.
To Him, as foretold, in Haggai, then, they HAVE come. It is done. The earth and the heavens are indeed being shaken, and doubtless this will increase as there come increasingly, the madly mistaken misuses of human power. Alight with thirst for glory, indifference to the gory, with rancid and burning rogue rebelliousness and intrepidity borne of disarticulated dynamic, meant for co-operation with God as Father, men as brothers in Christ: the race moves as one lost. Meant for heaven, it is inflamed by hell. James in his third chapter is most eloquent on this lustful talk and action, which has such a source (cf. James 3).
As the climax comes, we find this in Haggai's prophecy, 3:21-22:
"I will shake heaven and earth,
I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms;
I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms,
I will overthrow ..."
That is precisely what Isaiah 66 declares, with Micah 7. It is seen in II Thessalonians 1, and its consummation is to be found in Matthew 24:22, where a time of tribulation is foretold, and its index is unique: it is never known before on such scale, nor will it be; for if God did not intervene, the earth would simply become uninhabitable for man.
The DESIRE of the NATIONS sees to that, when He gathers His own as He foretold in Matthew 24 and I Thessalonians 4.
There is what is the summit and destination of human desire, if man is to be man, or any of the race is to continue. It is indeed only in releasing the survival catch, and all the other falsities and frauds with it, and finding the entrance divine, in Christ, that this desire is met. In it, in this Desire of All the Nations, in Him: there is eternal life, everlasting joy (Isaiah 51:11) because reality He confers, the Lord its basis and creator, Himself King of Eternity, is love. He does not willingly bring about the destruction of the human race (Lamentations 3:33), but instead suffered in order to redeem man: just as He so saliently promised in Hosea 13:14 and in Isaiah 53; and this He has done.
The DESIRE of the nations is now available; to fail to come is to perfect rogue rocketry; which is mere imperfection adored.
Its results are predictable and predicted, whether for the race or the individual.
It is, however, so unnecessary, so completely unnecessary. One must come to the Desire of the Nations, even though the blind are too distracted to see, while the deaf are hailed by music too loud to enable the hearing. Wilful blindness however does not see, any more than any other kind.
It is necessary to open the eyes (cf. Matthew 13:14ff., John 12:46-50)), and it is required to call on Him, to come to Him, who made so much in the way of divinely donated information of His coming for us; who soon will come to collect us, who are His, who are the children of God by adoption in Him (Ephesians 1:1-11). HE is the ark of eternity, and in Him is the security which has both delight and meaning; for it is not sought as an end. Rather is it received as a grace, consequent upon the reality which is God, and the love which is His, the covenant in His blood which is provided: and here lies destiny, with everlasting joy upon its head (Isaiah 51:11).