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Regional, Irrational and Regurgitated gods,
and the God of Eternity who Made Time
The Age Old Follies of Man,
Occupied with gods that are not there,
While Spitting in the Face of the One who Is!
SUCH A WASTE,
CHOOSING WHAT IS NOT THERE, TO TASTE
Some are drawn to irrational gods, who do not measure up in verification, validity or testimony, but failing, are kept alive as by government or regional, or indeed racial allowances, propped up, unable to support themselves, their words not beyond the capacities of man to pronounce, their power not in accordance with those words, if testable, or verity, if untestable. Some like them of regional influence, as in Arabia, the Middle East or some other region where the power of the allegedly irresistible will bring all to the feet of Allah, or whatever being is far too late for any truth whatsoever, yet presented for adoration*1A. They have never done so, any more than did Hitler's racial god, or Marx's class god, in a class of his own, since he preferred not to be called god, only to act as one; which of course, not being there, quite understandably but not excusably, he did not do!*1B
Some prefer masterpieces of pastiche, irrational like the rest, in that they rest on thin air from a purely scientific, rational and investigative mode, like naturalism, popular from ancient Israel's day, when it fell to these follies of surrounding peoples despite the power which God had so palpably shown, and for so long, and with such splendour, in their long sustained deliverance (cf. The Exodus Escape, and the biblical book of Joshua, with Psalms 78, 106).
It is the same today; for naturalism's gods may differ in various elements, but they have the same base, being mere regurgitations of the concept of this or that feature of the might of the dynamic creation called the universe, yet singularly unable to do anything in design advance, since they already have their instructions, which they unhesitatingly obey.
NEVER do they show design advance in new information, since this is not their role. Information as Professor Gitt precisely attests in his own special field of information theory, comes not in mere statistics, but in a realm of purpose and assignment; and to have purpose when you lack the capacity is myth and fairy tale, interesting for provocation of thought in the young, when very young, but not suitable for those who study reality in their 'teens ... or later (cf. the trilogy, The gods of naturalism have no go!).
Today, there is a flurry of activity, as in the day of Christ on earth when, as Psalm 2 predicted, there was an outrageous, a callow and a cruel desire and design to rid themselves of the cords of truth, the bonds of morality and the rule of the Lord. Since He was present then in the flesh, they sought to extinguish His divine crusade; and now that He was there in person, the Redeemer, the Lord of hosts (Isaiah 44:6, 53:6,11), the Messiah whose throne is the throne of God (Psalm 45) and whose sin-bearing was that of deity Himself (Zech. 12:10), now was their wonderful opportunity, to crush Him.
So they acted, and today the case in spirit in singularly similar. There is a flurry of activity. Then, the scent of death attracted the blood-hounds of desire; now the hope to crush biblical Christianity, to misname it fundamentalism and then to compare it with the follies of the myth-makers, the god-makers, the sects: it is this which attracts.
Obviously, 'fundamentalism' historically was a desire to stress fundamentals, five in one major case; and the intention was good.
Yet Christianity is not 5 important doctrines. It is a matter of God Almighty who has chosen to speak instead of destroying this sinful race: a wonderful option which He, knowing the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46), had in hand from eternity before the world was formed (Ephesians 1:4, Revelation 14). Present from the foundation of the world was the slaying of the Lamb (Rev. 13:8), the incarnate Lord as sacrifice to replace and fulfil all the preliminaries that had ever been or could be, and to do more, die as man for man, with the power of God to atone, as deity. Thus was it that it could be and was that "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world."
This was the REMEDY which was the REDEEMER who, incarnate deity, would die to cover the death penalty and rise from the dead to apply His work and destroy the power of the devil, with his sin-folly obsession (Hebrews 2:14-15). The love of deity in this, and His mercy was active to the uttermost, and in so providing His speech, this same God has categorically acted as He told us; for otherwise it would be thought, not action: and when action is taken, then news is made. The news is the Gospel, and the connecting medium is faith, inspired by the Holy Spirit in that love which God has so much that He would have all reconciled to Himself (Colossians 1:19ff.), but He forces none and nothing. Although man cannot rise above his sin to find God, God can descend below man's evil to find him; and does, and those souls are the redeemed, for you cannot pay into an account that is blocked, but when you do, the cost is covered.
In so speaking, God has opened His mouth, and as He is the only possible truth, and the validated and verified truth (cf. Reason, Revelation and the Redeemer), in so doing He has told truth and nothing else. The Bible is of course infallible, since God does not descend to error, and insists in the Bible, a testable proposition which He desires to be tested (Isaiah 41,44,48), that His words come to pass and are incomparable; which is simple fact. Modern science can fail or look ludicrous in a decade or two, as its earlier pronouncements are reviewed; but the Bible, the word of God is immutable and irrefutable over millenia, and many are its exposures to things past, present now and future. History ticks and chimes like clockwork, and yes manifestly so in our present Age; and none can institute any discrepancy between it and the word of God (cf. SMR Chs. 8 -9, Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
Whatever you choose to CALL this (and Labour can
call Liberal 'big business' in this country, and Liberal can call Labour
'unrestrained socialism', but this does not alter any facts), it IS biblical Christianity,
where various 'doctrines' indeed occur; but it starts with GOD and WHAT SAID and
then DID in CHRIST, and continues with what HE DOES for those who COME on this
ESTABLISHED and COMPLETED BASIS, and what He will do, in the UNCHANGING GOSPEL.
Christ's return is chief amongst the coming events (Acts 1:7ff., 2:19ff., I Thess. 4).
Then, in His day
on earth, they chose to SLAY Christ (in the unbreachable wisdom of God sent
and now they
choose to seek to SLAY the Church,
Thus, today as then in Christ's day on earth, they prance, they dance, they seek to lance, to destroy, to inure the children by false teaching; they provide as here in S.A., grossly ludicrous anti-christian premises (so not the less because they are made applicable to all religions - TMR Ch. 8). Whatever their motives, conscious or unconscious, the result, the effect is the same: the alienation of a generation in no small measure. Unfortunately for all the transgressors who thus continue to fulfil Psalm 2's description of the revolt and rebellion: the attack and the assault on the truth, which Christ is (John 14:6), His verifiable words with His own signature. Yet just as He, resurrected and continuing in intercessory prayer, is not subject to destruction, neither is the Church, since it is His and He has guaranteed it (Matthew 16, Ephesians, I Cor. 12:13, Isaiah 26:19), since God is, and it is His.
It IS subject to persecution, however, and this is one of the major features of Christ's teaching as in Matthew 10:16ff., and to infiltration, as Paul showed the Ephesians elders (Acts 20), and Peter warned (II Peter 2); but despite Satan's most mordant efforts, it is not available for successful overthrow. Its face reflecting truth will continue until the abyss of darkness in a coming world rule of mystic humanism, is met at last by removal of His people, followed by the blazing destruction of impossible darkness, a mass of contradictions and contrivances, by irresistible light! (II Thess. 1).
The parallel however remains, the rising crusade to abolish God, His word, His testimony and His attestation.
Such, today, is the desire; such was the desire when Christ came; but just as the resurrection beat it, so the Church continues as it started (cf., Acts 1:1!), a place of His power and a butt for persecution and mischievous misrepresentation, surrounded by religious frauds, who either reject Christ openly, or seek to change what He did or who He is, and yet use His name. This remains true of all the sects including of course, Islam, which seeks to re-shape Him 'with honour'.
Indeed, the intervening Gospel Age between the day of the Messiah on this earth, and His return (Acts 1, Revelation 1, II Thess.1, Matthew 24) is provided for the opening of eyes through the preaching of the Gospel and the impact of the word of God through the Spirit of God. As with the Age of Preparation, the time of the prophets who predicted the data and date of the coming Messiah in detail (cf. SMR Ch. 9), the scope of the Age of the Fulfilled Gospel, is vast. Just as that was from around 1000 B.C., in its clearest statements, till Christ came and gave His birth as an ideal for the whole dating system, so this has extended in pity, a preparation this time, not for salvation but judgment.
All the world must know this Gospel; and until then, the end does not come (Matthew 24:14).
As to the former preparatory Age, that was a millenium, and this latter Age, it is so far two millenia; but the result is the more imposing, and the patience of God the more impressive, as in II Peter 3:9, for He is not willing that any should perish; yet the day at last comes. He has even given us a once in two millenia index of the closing this Age drawing near, the return of Israel to possess Jerusalem (as in Luke 21:24). Even the blind could be made to see that; but there is a blindness which eyes do not cause! (cf. Matthew 13:15, Christ citing from Isaiah).
Israel of old, then, even before Christ actually came, showed just the same tendency to adult fairy tales, the gods of naturalism, the operatic works for adults, unfortunately now run in some of the universities where scientism forgets the laboratory necessities, and the requirements of scientific method, and seeks by putsch, to rule the minds of the young.
This they do with a pseudo-scientific substitute as far from the verifiability and virtue of science as the skirts of the universe from its centre, but they do not rename it, derogating thereby both science and truth, life and destiny for many. This is science falsely so-called, and warning of this has been made, no less than of all other forms of mischievously used disciplines in the field of knowledge
(I Timothy 6:20 cf. Earth Spasm ... Chs. 1, 7, Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 7, Secular Myths ... Ch. 7 , Cascade of Truth, Torrent of Mercy Ch. 3, The gods of naturalism have no go!).
It is no less a religious advent than is the preaching of the Gospel, so that in terms of non-discrimination, it would be perfectly in order to have preaching and Bible instruction available in colleges and universities, to the same amount as naturalistic preaching, which would amount to hundreds of hours per week in some academic institutions, which are naturalism-bashers, some even pathetically trying to accompany the corpse of Darwinism, to make the heinous to be hideous as well, seemingly unaware of the death*1 of this ludicrous fallacy.
Ancient Israel, too, before its time of judgment came, it too had reached the depths. God then sent a very special prophet, Hosea.
In Hosea, we have an amazing life. Called by God to minister to Israel, as its time for judgment began to draw near, he was asked by God to marry a harlot, and this became a symbol of the fact that Israel, at first taken by God, had been sinful and without the salvation of God. Later, the new wife is unfaithful again, even after his kindness, and she needs to be redeemed, as she is sold into slavery of some kind; so the prophet redeems her.
This speaks of a shallow, superficial relationship in which the Nation, Israel, failed, and of the coming Messiah who alone can pay for sin, through whom any one who comes, may be redeemed and brought back for ever. Accordingly, at the end of the account of the long historic dealings of God with Israel, we have this in Hosea 3:
"Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king.
They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days,"
and this in Hosea 1:
"And it will come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
'You are not My people,', There is shall be said to them, 'You are the children of the living God.' "
Romans 11 tells the same tale in terms of the Olive Tree from which Israel is cut off for unbelief, into which the Gentiles, as many as believe, are engrafted, and from which those of them who are mere 'sports', not genuine, but wild stock, will be removed. It tells the so-called Christian nations to beware of being 'high-minded' lest they fall, for ceremonial Christianity is no more real than a 'sport'. They are by no means automatically 'IN' because Israel the nation is currently 'OUT' (Romans 11:18,25).
Israel, so far from being a 'pet' nation, was to face the truth, justice and wisdom of God, and if, like anyone else, it failed in faith, then it failed altogether. To be sure, there was a covenant, but this in illustration of the truth of God, in its blessing phase, did not make allowance for hypocritical formalism, obsessive ceremonialism or yes-sir-isms, facile mouthings of phrases, where the heart was on vacation, or otherwise occupied! (cf. Isaiah 29:13-19).
Thus we read in Hosea 9:8-9,
"The watchman of Ephraim is with my God;
But the prophet is a fowler’s snare in all his ways—
Enmity in the house of his God.
They are deeply corrupted,
As in the days of Gibeah.
He will remember their iniquity;
He will punish their sins" -
and again in Hosea 8:11-12:
"Because Ephraim has made many altars for sin,
they have become for him altars for sinning.
"I have written for him the great things of My law,
but they were considered a strange thing."
Altars! a grand thing, the people say, so let's have more. Certainly, we can have one for God, but many for other spiritual interests. In this way, we can have a multiplicity of gods, a catered for diversified interests. Regardless of what is SAID about the Bible, the word of God, the actuality and attitude both in the text and in the response makes it clear what is meant! As to this, the god-multiplier response, the syncretic confusion, the doctrinal diffusion, the erratic profusion, these things are not at all what HE said! who changes not! (Malachi 3:6, Psalm 102, Hebrews 13:8). Thus does the divine scorn apply. The wandering is sustained, prolific and simple opposition to His speech.
It is something which, today, we could compare to the Uniting Church concept of NETWORKS, where subsections can have perverted pastors, and others straight guys, at the sexual level*2A, for example.
Yet they do not consider that if there are networks, it is of something, and they need to be authorised, and the authorising, constitutive body which says they may be, in its name, this is guilty of one, and all, so that the worst is as much its guilt as the best. It is as if a medical practice authorised both child delivery and wanton abortion. It cannot make its better side a balance for its worse; ALL are in its bed. It is guilty of the lot, and where any part of the practice is tainted, then no part can be touched. What authority allows, organisation permits, the entity IS.
The management is willing for any, and responsible for all; so that to tolerate or functionally touch such a management is to adopt the abortion practices as acceptable (Romans 16:17 cf. Separation). A criminal kind to his children, is not thereby honest, nor is a politician of zeal, sound if handling funds in his own way.
There is no way for any BODY or anybody to escape the guilt of his or her lesser moments, on the basis of good works, or better moments. You, be you organisation or individual, are yourself and your actions weigh on your own name for good or evil, each last one. Beyond that, your spirit is answerable for your thoughts and desires, your permissions and your omissions, and it is no good being like the reputed Scotchman (and it seems something like this really happened), who being brought to law for misuse of alcohol, insisted that it was not he, but sin which dwelt in him that did it, so that he was not really responsible, nor should be be prosecuted.
Not surprisingly the judge was unimpressed: nor was his guilt diminished! Whatever dwelt in him, had a permission for habitat, and the man who was involved in ANY aspect of his personal network, with what directed his resultant action in ANY way, was answerable for his own internal composition, as being man, irrespective of whatever ground or reason he had for such a composition. Explosives explode, and if you are satisfied for their presence in your pocker, or on your back, then you are answerable for that occupation of yours, of carrying them about.
II SUCH DISGRACE,
IGNORING THE ETERNAL GOD:
AND HOW IT COSTS!
ISRAEL was answerable for its many altars. Useless would it be to protest that there was a true and godly worship AS WELL (another network ?), for if the LAND did not PURGE this obscenity (and some of the often mentioned ashtaroth appear to have been just that, literally as well as spiritually and metaphorically). If the land did not purge, then it would BE PURGED! Purity was not an option, and longsuffering, forbearance and grace on the part of the deity did not excuse, nor did it for ever prolong, such licentious actions, such illegal practices, such abuse of the sanctified and beautiful provisions, which the Lord had made for the continuation of the race amid the love of those who provided the children, and the wonder of the means given.
If it made MANY ALTARS so that they could relate to sin, and so to the 'realm' of the God who forgave sin, what then ? Since these altars were but the inventions and fabrications of their own lusting hearts (whether in imagination, physical desire or flirtation with philosophies), they became altars not for the atonement for sin, but for the practice of sinning! The cure became the disease, the hospital the brothel. It was obscene to the point that were toleration to continue, religion would become a mockery, the name of the Lord a stench in its inclusion in the pantheon, such a pantheon! and the nation should become a comic opera of religious works.
Not at all would, or could it thus remain a nation to show the praise of God, to indicate the power of God, the necessity of His covenant and the provisions for divine pardon (Romans 6:1ff.). Indeed, you see it in the prophet Isaiah, 43:21-28, most clearly.
"This people I have formed for Myself;
They shall declare My praise.
"But you have not called upon Me, O Jacob;
And you have been weary of Me, O Israel.
You have not brought Me the sheep for your burnt offerings,
Nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices.
I have not caused you to serve with grain offerings,
Nor wearied you with incense.
"You have bought Me no sweet cane with money,
Nor have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices;
But you have burdened Me with your sins,
You have wearied Me with your iniquities.
"I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;
And I will not remember your sins.
"Put Me in remembrance;
Let us contend together;
State your case, that you may be acquitted.
Your first father sinned,
And your mediators have transgressed against Me.
"Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary;
I will give Jacob to the curse,
And Israel to reproaches."
The divine desire, disposition and willingness to pardon, and the provision for pardon, becoming inoperable nationally when faith became a mockery, after much delay, many warnings, much exhortation, scores of opportunities (e.g. Jeremiah 17), then there would come a judgment never to be forgotten; and yet, in the end, as we find in Isaiah 54, there would come to the remnant, that same pardon, and as in Isaiah 53, only by the utmost cost of ransom, personally to be paid by God. This, it was even for Judah.
If then, at that time, the nation centred in Samaria, with golden calves also at Bethel, apostate in principle as well as in fact, if this were to be so false as to make comic the profound, and profane the sacred, how could it continue!
The case is not left in any doubt.
"The watchman of Israel is with my God,
but the prophet is a fowler's snare in all his ways - enmity in the house of his God.
"They are deeply corrupted, as in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity, He will punish their ins... Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit,"
Again it is written:
"Sow for yourselves righteousness,
Reap in mercy,
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD,
Till He comes an rains righteousness on you.
"You have ploughed wickedness,
You have reaped iniquity.
You have eaten the fruit of lies,
Because you trusted in your own way,
In the multitude of your might men"
- Hosea 10:12-13.
What then would, could come ?
"Therefore tumult shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be plundered:
So shall be done to you, O Bethel..."
It was only after such horrors, disciplines and ends, first to the North, and then much later to the South, with its capital Jerusalem, that that southern part of the now divided nation of Israel, Judah, which returned from Babylon, centuries later, together with whatever of the former northern sector, 'Israel' flowed back into it, would return by faith to rebuild with Ezra and Nehemiah in that prodigious work of testimony and devotion. It was only after more centuries that they would find the Messiah who offered a redemption, such as Hosea had to offer for his recalcitrant and renegade wife; and at that, only some would come. Indeed, by that time, the New Covenant announced predictively by Jeremiah 31:31ff., ushered in by prophetic detail through Isaiah before its time, centring on the Redeemer paying the price: this and this alone would be available, so fulfilling Isaiah 65:13-15.
The rigours of divine truth, the justice of divine righteousness, the blessing to ALL nations announced to Abraham (Genesis 12), which showed the universal nature of the notion of Israel from the FIRST, its expansive desire for kindness and divine mercy for all, without division or relegation, thus would they be fulfilled. In that seed of Abraham, through Mary in fact, Jesus the Christ, just that would be the case, and it would indeed be "too small" a thing for Him to redeem those who were His own within Israel, for His salvation would be towards this entire earth (Isaiah 49:6, 54:5).
So it was predicted, and
so it came, as always, to pass with that magnificent tenacity and invulnerable
truth, that unvitiable wonder of the Lord, who sent His Messiah, the prince of
peace, that child to become the Counsello. Aat once not less than God, being the very
outshining of His presence, the Redeemer and as such deity (Isaiah 54:5, 49:6,
9:6-7, Psalm 2, 45, 72 cf. Divine Agenda
Repent or Perish
Ch. 7, pp. 174ff., cf. SMR p. 773-774), He yet proceeded to lay down His life as ordained, and delightedly envisaged by Him, before He came (Isaiah 52-53, Psalm 40, Matthew 26:52-56 - cf. Joyful Jottings 22 -25).
When God declared, "O death, I will be your plagues" and again, "O grave, I will be your destruction," , as in Hosea 13:14, which Christ fulfilled (II Cor. 5:17ff.), it was for those who received Him, as Lord and truth, and to these alone that this saving action applied. The medicine of immortality is not for those who do not take it!
In the end, the redeemed soul is no mere recipient of a divine pay-out, but in order to be redeemed, has to be sought, wrought, regenerated, brought back to God and finding God when the barrier is gone and repentance is real, by faith live with, for, by and through Him, through that very, divine Redeemer, the everlasting expression of the deity (Hebrews 1, John 8:58). So regenerated, so does that soul endure (I John 3:9, 5:11-12).
As we have just seen, you get that basic reality in Hosea 13:14, where God, the Lord Himself indicates that as to the redemption, HE HIMSELF will pay, HE will strike down death by taking it Himself. Incarnate as Christ, He did so! (II Cor. 5:17-21). Be it nation or culture, be it man or woman, be it child, be it present or past, in the predestining wisdom of God, it is ONLY by reception that relief is obtained; and as to ransom, the payment is made, but it is not stuffed into your pocket. Quite simply, you receive it. If not, then the fantastic, the prodigious, the peremptory work of God in sealing sin on Himself, to bring deliverance to its captives, lost in the thoughts, idols and cultural epics of their days, it becomes a measure of the depth of the judgment to come!
Disregarded, the judgment which mercy was willing to enshrine in itself, is now to be imparted direct and whole; not without mercy, but BECAUSE mercy is despised, not by the intemperance of God, whose patience is profound, but by man, whose sin is compounded in the face of compassion, be he of Israel, or Gentile.
The God of the Bible is the "God of the whole earth" . It is so written in Isaiah 54:5, 49:6, 42:6, where His universally seeing eye has all before it, omits none, has no limits nor suffers any obscuration to its vision (Isaiah 14:27, Hebrews 4:13, Psalm 11). Only Redeemer to any (Jeremiah 16:19ff., 2:11-22, 44:24ff., 45:22, 53, 54:5), displayed in magnificent humility as man, it is He who is incarnate as Jesus the Christ (Isaiah 9:7, Psalm 45, 2), the eternal into the temporal, God manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16, John 17:1-3, 8:58, Matthew 11:27ff.). In dealing amiss with the Saviour, man deals awry with God Himself. According to the crushed compassion is the consequence, whether as in Isaiah 54-5, or Acts 4:11-12, John 3:19,36.
It could not be otherwise and never has the Bible depicted it otherwise, neither for work nor for hope nor for 'deals' nor for valour. It is God or not God, salvation or not salvation, depicted in symbol, established in fact, prepared in prediction, fulfilled to the title in performance. As then so often, so in parallel now, it is as in Isaiah 5:8-12), they call good evil, evil good and -
"they do not regard the work of the Lord
Nor consider the operation of His hands."
The justice of God has no favourites, but the love of God is expansive, and stops at nothing, not even at the Cross of Calvary, for with Him, all things come to their end, except what is redeemed; and for many that very end is endless, called everlasting destruction (cf. Isaiah 66:24, Mark 9, II Thessalonians 1:9). In His impervious passion to disenfranchise sin and grant liberty in grace by love for life eternal, God has acted. Justice cannot be aborted, nor truth shamefaced, and while our type of time is an invention for creation (Romans 8:35-6), yet the everlasting shame is apparent, and nothing abates it.
How can what is shameful be not shameful when truth rules (John 14:6), or how can mercy be exploited when anguish is already divinely given at Calvary, and antipathy is the response of man, or apathy!
How can love be frustrated when it is consummated, or the God of all mercy and Father of comfort fail when His work is regarded! It neither does not can (Romans 8:31-39, Ephesians 3, John 10:27-28); but man is forever trying to please himself in his sins or even in his approach to salvation; for if it is to depend on you, what of your sinfulness ? and if you are Lord, whey seek another ? and if you are a god, why not rule yourself alone! and all else as required ...
For such is the way or will of many; but salvation is OF THE LORD, as Jonah had to learn afresh (Jonah 2); the righteousness is of God alone (Romans 5, Psalm 71), and is accordingly a gift, kept intact by the zeal of the Lord (Romans 5:1-17), whose zeal is aflame. Purity is His, and none can accomplish it (Romans 6:23); and he who would, but deludes his little, fallen, created self, to act the god he is not, and meet the God who is!
As the wrath, so is the mercy, and blessed the one who finds it where it may be found (Isaiah 55), for its cost to the Almighty was prodigious, to the very integuments of His being, in the ravagement of His Son, sent to bear what He bore, in the midst of the mêlée of scorn, contempt, indifference, hardness of heart and unhallowed withering of the soul!
Let us then consider Hosea 14, where the RESULTS of such favour, duly and AT LAST received, and indeed the very invitation to it, are to be seen. Far is this, in kind, from being limited to Israel, for those who return are those once called 'not My people', but now deemed 'My people' (Hosea 1:10). This we find in Paul, in Romans 9:22-26:
"What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known,
endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy,
which He had prepared beforehand for glory,
even us whom He called,
not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? "
"As He says also in Hosea:
'I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved, who was not beloved.
And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God."
Thus does Isaiah in 65:1-3 make it clear that as to God, He has
"stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people,
Who walk in a way that is not good,
According to their own thoughts,
A people who provoke Me to anger, continually to My face ..."
Was Israel then such a favourite that truth did not matter ? Far from it! Morality, spirituality, godliness are CONSEQUENCES of faith, and faithlessness has no truck with Him (Matthew 7:15-20, Hosea 3:7-10, 11:1-2, 14:1-3 cf. Isaiah 7!). Is it not bad enough to weary man, but must you weary God also! He lambasts the dithering, double-minded, devioius, subtly unbelieving, verbally inclined Ahaz! when He announces the coming of the Messiah (cf. Isaiah 7,40,53-5).
His mercy was long and strong, but truth is indissoluble, and in the end, their ways found their deserts and destinies at that time, though in His own faithfulness God had guaranteed the final end from the first, and stresses that fact in Ezekiel 36, esp. v. 22, when at long last, and to the Messiah, He brings back the remnant (as in Isaiah 11:11 cf. Ezekiel 37), once and for all. This is a testimony to the nations that for sin they went, and in divine faithfulness they are returned (Ezekiel 37:25-28, 39:23). For that, first they awaited for some 6 centuries from Jerusalem's later fall, to the Messiah; then it was some 19 centuries more, till Jerusalem again was in their hands. There are times indeed when the mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small, as the maxim has it!
In the interim, the Gentile era came (as shown in outline so clearly in Romans 11), and
"I was sought by those who did not ask for Me,
I was found by those who did not seek Me,
I said, 'Here I am, here I am ,' to a nation that was not called by My name."
Thus did God make surpassingly clear
His intention, summing it up most piercingly in Isaiah 65:13-15, in His charge
to the people who so misused His name:
"Therefore thus says the Lord God:
'Behold, My servants shall eat,
But you shall be hungry;
Behold, My servants shall drink,
But you shall be thirsty;
Behold, My servants shall rejoice,
But you shall be ashamed;
'Behold, My servants shall sing for joy of heart,
But you shall cry for sorrow of heart,
And wail for grief of spirit.
You shall leave your name as a curse to My chosen;
For the Lord God will slay you,
And call His servants by another name;
So that he who blesses himself in the earth
Shall bless himself in the God of truth..."
It is as THE GOD OF TRUTH
that He consistently, persistently and insistently appears.
Just as a rose has petals,
and small resemblance is there to a rose in what lacks these,
so with God is truth:
what cardinally lacks it, is nothing of Him.
For fallen man, divine mercy enables it, but salvation provides it.
Let us then see the invitation.
Certainly, initially and primarily it is here to Israel; but equally certainly is it entirely applicable in its principles and passion to the Gentile as to the Jew, since ONLY by RETURN in each case is there any opening for salvation. Thus, those not His people would here become His very own, whether straying Jew or Gentile. It is ONLY in the Messiah seen as God on earth in Hosea 13:14, the Redeemer, who as Isaiah 54 tells us, is the GOD OF THE WHOLE EARTH: yes indeed, it is only to this end and in this name that ANY shall be called. It is in the Messiah of Isaiah 53 and Calvary, who died at the date prophetically set in the master key by Daniel in God's name, in the time of its historical occurrence (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), with the inalienable purpose and undeterrable design to redeem. This He planned, pronounced and performed.
There is no other God, or way or salvation (Isaiah 45:22, 41:29-42:1, 43:10-11, 66:2, Acts 4:11-12). When God the Creator speaks, it is man who must hear, not speak! If he speaks, it is to reject or receive. Playing with words is mere fatuity.
As to God, as He is, so He speaks, not regionally, not tribally, not with favouritism, not with changing ideas, not with short cuts, not with equivocation, not with sensuous appeal or for pride and pomp: not for the actions of man, but to His own mercy, He calls. There is no other, only vacuity and noise. All competitors for man's attention are gross violations of truth, evidence, verification, validity and idols (Psalm 96:1-5).
As Isaiah puts it in 8:19ff.:
"And when they shall say to you,
'Seek to them that have familiar spirits, and to wizards that peep, and that mutter' :
should not a people seek their God? should they seek on behalf of the living to the dead?
"To the law and to the testimony:
if they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. "
Why seek for dead things where the living is required ? Is it not as in the tomb when the disciples were told by the angel, "Why do you seek for the living among the dead ? He is not here, but is risen" (Luke 24:5-6)!
Then the challenge was uttered in the face of the divine incursion into history to the Cross, the most staggering wonderful act of all time, its motives singular, its performance perfect, its naturalness such as only the supernatural God could achieve in the world He made, its results its testimony. Earlier, to Israel, it was in the same principle, here put by God into salient practice! Always the same, the Lord presents life, just as He made it in the first place, and life must seek life, even His! Otherwise it is stranded, in His image but without His presence. He has made it easier, having come; but man is where he is, and needs to come, and seek the living in life, not in the dead prognostications of varied insulations from God, often masquerading as if they related in ways other than those of rebellion!
In Christ, God was present and accessible direct. The word was divine, final, the way was as declared, immediate. It is no different now. What then does God say in the Bible, that book of verity, verification and unique validity ? He declares Himself, His salvation, His redemption, alone given from Himself, in the One sent to do it, equal with Himself, who is the Redeemer, issuing from Himself, in glorious trinitarian majesty, to redeem! (cf. Isaiah 48:16).
As ONLY GOD is saviour and redeemer, and Christ is in Himself, Saviour and Redeemer, paying in the coin of His own life (Isaiah 53:6,8,11), He is God, just as the same applies to Him as Creator (cf. Isaiah 43:10-11, 53:1-12, 44:24, 45:18,21-22, 46:9-10, Colossians 1:15).
Creation, accordingly, prior to His incarnation, that eternal Word of God wrought (cf. Proverbs 8, John 1:1, Colossians 1:15, John 1:1-3); and the Creator is God, and there is no other! This is the emphatic, dramatic, direly direct and re-iterated biblical message: there is none in heaven like God! (Psalm 89:6, Jeremiah 10:6, Isaiah 46:9). Creation, salvation, HE ALONE performs. From Him comes the earth, from Him man, from Him his salvation! God is one, and Christ is His eternal expression, in the heavens, sent to earth, accomplishing the Gospel in Himself, sending forth the Spirit from the Father (John 15-16, 17:1-3, 8:58, 5:19-23, Isaiah 48:16).
With this, Isaiah abounds, especially in Chs. 2, 41-46: now as then, blindness exalts itself and shouts its forsaken creeds to the devastation of people. Then stricken were those whom the prophet loved, just as now the Lord still loves, amidst the clamour, and has provided His last word, the Gospel as announced in the prophets and performed in His person. It sails through this Age like a grand galleon, often fired on, never stricken. Its testimony like that of Jeremiah in the preliminary phase, is final; its sound is deliverance and its meaning is salvation and being brought near to God, for ever, accepted, adopted and changed.
That performance which put it in place, it was His own part, as God incarnate; He will never relinguish it. The Gospel is indestructible, immutable, beautiful, simple, sublime. It is fitting to such a One as that: immutable in being, immutable in Gospel (Psalm 102, Galatians 1 cf. Marvels of Predestination and the Ways of Will Ch. 3, Sparkling Life ... Ch. 4, Calibrating Myths, Machining Dreams and Keeping Faith Ch. 6)
He has no deputies, and when He acts, He does it Himself, needing and permitting nothing and no one to add to his own glory (Isaiah 42:8, 2:17,22), by complementing God! None other is almighty or could be, none other is the source and original of love and the payor of ransom for the soul of man. Useless pretence is pretentious arrogance. Fiction is not for the construction of life in man, but rather for imaginative play, once it is received as such. Indeed, function demands truth, not fantasising troubadours, deleting, qualifying, complementing or co-ordinating with deity, as if grace were merit and arrogance were achievement.
Fantasy here makes friction for fiction; reality makes truth for service. Idols are spiritual oblivion.
God has spoken, then, and acted. Christ is His eternal word, creator and saviour, at work in the Father, just as the Holy Spirit is at work in those saved. As to Christ Jesus, He is not only the EXACT IMAGE of His Father, and hence possessing eternity and almightiness (Hebrews 1), but He is the brightness of His glory, so that seeing Him is seeing this same God, whose is eternity and in Him is the fulness of all wisdom and glory (cf. Colossians 1:19, 2:9, I Corinthians 1:24). This is the fact to which fantasy must bow.
Failure to realise this in the very face of such marvels as have never before been seen, and were precisely as set down prophetically for the Messiah: it is this that has been the chief destruction of Israel (cf. the prediction in Isaiah 49:7). Its enemies have not prevailed, when they did so for so very long, because of their own strength, wit or wisdom, but because of Israel's oblivion to that divine reality which the nation once knew (cf. Deuteronomy 32:15-25,29ff.). This God makes so very clear when He predictively dwells on restoring Israel according to promise, in Hosea, Isaiah, Micah and Ezekiel*2, to mention but four.
He dashed Israel for its sustained fraud (cf. Isaiah 29:13), and restored them for His gracious promises*3, for God does not change, His ways being everlasting (Habakkuk 3:6). It was then, on their restoration to the land, in His mercy, as foretold most amply and in great detail, that He slew their enemies in triumphant wars (1948-1991), which also He was at pains precisely to predict of the restored people, before their eventual massive repentance as described in that same place (Zechariah 12:10ff.).
It is because that time still has not come, that Israel, adrift yet, continues in the turmoils which so deeply afflict it. Just as Ezekiel 36-37 made so clear, their final national emplacement, the physical return was to, just as it does precede the spiritual life to be imparted (cf. The Biblical Workman Ch. 1, *3, with Ch. 3, *1). Yet all are in place, each phase in its pacing: the victories, astounding, pre-conversion, post-arrival as a nation (cf. Isaiah 66:8ff.), they have come!
When God acts, He wins; when He chastens, you lose whatever it is that takes form from the chastisement. When He blesses, again you prevail, and if it is by death, as for many, you yet prevail; for the issue is not how long you last on this earth, in order to be churned by worms, as to body, but whether you prevail in saving faith, in the work given you. With Christ, this was death and resurrection amid the personal display of deity. This resurrection is a fact which, being integral to the provided salvation for man, makes life on this earth, while a privilege, yet not an indispensable one! *4
III THE PROVISION FOR RESTORATION
Let us then relish the Chapter 14 of Hosea, which spells out the meaning and provides the platters for eating up the realities which returning to the Lord means for one, as it means for all who so come. Applicable to all, it is here special to repentant returnees to the Lord from Israel, that gala centre of the remonstration of Hosea. It exhibits the principles always to be found in the dealings of the God of truth with fallen mankind.
In Hosea 14, there is vital and vigorous exclusion of idols, hence of all that is not God from His place and prerogatives, and hence of all religious inventions, confusions, delusions, profusions, intrusions and the like. Here we see the result in particular for Israel's children, for those of them who come home to His holy will, life and salvation. These return, having strayed so long, to that same God of truth, verified, validated, vindicated throughout history, in lives as in logic, experimentally, existentially, empirically, and in comprehensive monopoly as God, as seen for example in the volumes, Reason, Revelation and the Redeemer, SMR, and The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy, with Celestial Harmony for the Terrestrial Host.
They return to the God who has redeemed in an action more grand than theirs was despicable, and now applies that redemption where it belongs, in the hearts who receive Him; and to these He speaks.
No more in their right hand is a lie (Isaiah 44:20): that, spiritually, morally, physically, when this day arrives, it is past!
THE FOUNDATION FOR FAITH and
In this, we shall omit the basic inverted commas in the blue text from the Bible, at the start of each section, since it is progressive and clear from the colour, so giving less sense of complexity.
O Israel, return to the Lord your God,
For you have stumbled because of your iniquity;
Here is the request to come, as when the wedding
guests were invited to the prince's
wedding, and many making excuses, no time, new wife, new land and so forth, did not come, and so inherited no place in the king's domain (Luke 14:15-24). The parable is applied further by Christ as seen in Matthew 22:1-10. It was brought to a point when someone who DID come, failed to wear the wedding garment, signifying the clothes of righteousness, the cover of Christ (Isaiah 61:10, Romans 5:15), and so was excluded in disgrace for his presumption. For this, he inherited not place but an abiding wrath. It all abides. Here is the pivot of eternity in Jesus Christ.
invitation is real, definitive, essential,
and its refusal the same; or its acceptance (John 3:16,34). It extends to
Take words with you,
And return to the Lord.
Say to Him,
'Take away all iniquity;
Receive us graciously,
For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.
'Assyria shall not save us,
We will not ride on horses,
Nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands,
"You are our gods."
For in You the fatherless finds mercy.'
IN coming, the repenting life is to "take words with you", so returning with expression and meaning, ask, "Take away all iniquity, receive us graciously", being ready to confess Christ as Lord (cf. Romans 10:9). Salvation is ALL of grace, since it is not of works that it MIGHT be by grace (Romans 10:4, 11:6, Ephesians 2:1-10), and any participation of works becomes an idol, not an idyll, since otherwise "any man may boast." Anyone boasting of his part in achieving salvation, in the light of the cross and its submission in purity to bear sin, seen in the Saviour, without whom and which there is NOTHING, and by which ALL (Romans 8:32), lives in a darkness that may indeed be impenetrable! That, it would also be to 'glory' not ONLY beyond the Cross (Galatians 6:14, cf. 3:1ff.), but despite it: an additive like arsenic to aspro, or rather arsenic to turpentine, for diet.
'I will heal their backsliding,
I will love them freely,
For My anger has turned away from him.'
The free loving grace of God in restoration of the saved sinner (Romans 6:23, 5:15) is, in the very habitat of grace, foundational to the Gospel. The Lord loves freely, heals freely and there is nothing too much for Him to do, to restore!
As we read in the New Testament of His culmination
in the performance of the salvation which He promised to achieve, in Romans 3:25-26:
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed,
being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ,
to all and on all who believe.
”For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith,
to demonstrate His righteousness,
because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins
that were previously committed,
to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness,
that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
'I will be like the dew to Israel;
He shall grow like the lily,
And lengthen his roots like Lebanon.
His branches shall spread;
His beauty shall be like an olive tree,
And his fragrance like Lebanon.'
Now comes growth in form (I Timothy 1:13 - "hold fast the form of sound words"), with the very dew of delight, dew of heart from the refreshing Lord upon the new 'plant' (Matthew 15:13, I Peter 1:23), with its new spiritual genesis, with increase in depth (Ephesians 3:17ff.), in scope (Isaiah 54:1ff.) and in very fragrance of life (I Cor. 2:14), as the victorious surge of spiritual life transforms the convicted, converted, cleansed and kept life (John 16, I Cor. 3:18, I Peter 1, John 10:9,27-28), kept by the power of God.
Those who dwell under his shadow shall return;
They shall be revived like grain,
And grow like a vine.
Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
Revival will come to many who find in the shade of the new trees as they grow, a reflection of the One who planted, and so seek Him who in turn sends refreshing rain to revive the grain, otherwise threatened with drought (cf. Acts 3:19-21, John 4:14, 7:37-38); and the beauty of the Lord will bring joy (I Corinthians 3:18).
'Ephraim shall say,
"What have I to do anymore with idols?"
I have heard and observed him.'
With all of these sublime because divine provisions, there is a positively negative result! You DO NOT continue in company where the doctrine is not biblical (Rom. 16:17, Jude, II John ). There is one God and His mouth is not multiple. What is not according to what He has given in His written word, Isaiah announces and denounces (Is 8:20), just as Christ declares of the incarnate word, Himself, has no light! (John 3:19,36). A dark wasteland is available, but not in view!
'I am like a green cypress tree;
Your fruit is found in Me.'
In another sense, the returnees of Israel, with those of the Gentiles who come, will not only disdain the futile substitutes for the divine glory of Christ the only Saviour, and divine Lord, but find themselves mystically incorporated in a tree of which each is a branch (cf. John 15), and find that fruit is not a result of restless striving, but of quiet and believing abiding in the living presence of the Lord. For these, the Gospel has opened the way, in the fulfilment on earth of the first phase of eternal life, pending His return.
Who is wise?
Let him understand these things.
Who is prudent?
Let him know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right;
The righteous walk in them,
But transgressors stumble in them.
These things, then, they are faith fundamentals, impossible to hearts still twisted, but foundational to all believers. The Gospel has never changed: only two things in this field change. The first is the coming of Christ to DO the predicted payment, now duly fulfilled on time; and the second ? It is the RECEPTION of that same Christ as Redeemer and Lord by new persons!
This leads us to the dramatic and essential theme of the RETURN OF CHRIST, for our return to HIM, is stage one, and HIS return for us, is stage two. We take the communion, for example, UNTIL HE COME, and as to the nature of that, John in Revelation 1 shows how it will impact the earth, as does Matthew 24:36-44. Many will mourn! It is better to mourn now (Matthew 5:4, Luke 6:21).
Man is to be ready, not just for possible death before that return, but for the return itself, when all receive what is fitting: hypocrites the rewards of their trade or craft, like goats, and Christians, His sheep, the reward of His grace, always sufficient, by which He has with His own last breath before death, snuffed out the warrant for sin, and provided His own life instead (II Cor. 5:15, Colossians 3:2-4). “It is finished” (John 19:30, Hebrews 9-10). In this, His people abide: in Him is their fruit found. Christ expounds this in John 15. Planted by the Father (Matthew 15:13, I Peter 1:5ff.,22ff.). these abide; but what is spiritually sportive, freakishly unmixed with faith, this does not.
When the light of Christ is within you, it expounds itself; when it is not, darkness has a different voice (John 8:12, 10:9, 27-28).
Much of the practicalities of spiritual living in Christ, is disclosed in this word of Paul:
"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
"Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
"For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
"Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
"Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,
in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
"But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another,
since you have put off the old man with his deeds,
and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge
according to the image of Him who created him,
where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved,
put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;
bearing with one another, and forgiving one another,
if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you,
so you also must do."
EXCURSION INTO NEW-BOY GODS
See for example
More Marvels ... Ch. 4, Highway to Hell,
SMR pp. 1079ff., 829ff.,
Barbs ... 17,
TMR Ch. 3, Great Execrations ... Ch. 7,
Calibrating Myths ... Ch. 6,
The Christian Pilgrimage Ch. 9,
New gods, newly arrived, of which even as early as Moses, there was mention, new-boy idols arising not from the speech from the Eternal One, but from the thoughts of mankind, unvested in test, unverified therefore, invalid because too late for sin's answer from the first, implicating God by omission of remedy until they come, if indeed, unlike the Islamic case, they provide divine remedy to cover sin, at all: these are trivial. If God gives minds, He gives reason, and the reason is clear.
What He has said from the first, even in the protevangelion of Genesis 3:15, was not for this or that race or view, not for this domineering or dominance by martial arts, regional pushes or military programming, carnal reward of unspiritual remonstrance. It was for MAN, the entire descendant body from Adam and Eve: this has been remedy in view, and in the beyond-time mind of God, it was installed from the first. The cover was never missing.
God was never implicated in the sin of man, since freedom means that man MAY choose it, not must; and the misuses of liberty granted to a creation is the affair of that creation. While one could argue that knowing it would happen, God ought not to have man at all, this does not stand. He does not penalise in denying existence to man, because of harrowing rebellion by some; He does not extinguish the lavishness of His grace because some despise it.
Since He loves righteousness as of course He does, this being His own way, what is right for what is made, is what is provided, and what is needed for love is created, whether it abort or cavort, dispel or receive. Indeed, He being in need of nothing to cover any deficiency of this or that, since He is free, and limited and designated by nothing, Himself entirely self-determinative, and therefore without need or deficiency, then man is ordained for reception, first of life, and then if need be (and need there is!) of salvation. The violation that man's sin brought had need of remedy, or man of removal. As we see, the former is the provision! We are still here...
Man was not removed. What then was the solution to sin ? Remedy. It was the only option where God is unlimited, to removal of man. Man stayed. The remedy arose at ONCE, and was announced, AT ONCE, even in the very time of first reproof to the sinners. Without that, God would have been implicated in sin, and all its evil and hurtful, painful and grievous results. As it is, man is; but God has implicated into Himself, the remedy, indeed, this to such an extent that He Himself IS IT, and to fulfil it, came to earth as the seed of woman, of which He prophetically spoke to Adam and Eve at the OUTSET, so that He, as He alone COULD, dealt with the satanic power of the devil. So covering the ground of accusation and its results, He gave man a fresh start, fresh heart and new horizons, even those of eternity.
Islam is too late: it has no such remedy at the outset. It is too little: it has no remedy at all, which implicates God: it provides merely the works of man to put something onto the other side. That removes nothing, covers nothing, merely adds light to black, not light FOR black, which is wrought by blood, the sacrifice which covers it with judgment, which God, as He alone could, bore (Galatians 3).
Not only so, but Islam is not merely too little, too late, but it is too trivial, inventing a new christ, which it somehow wants to substitute for the tested one of the record. You cannot CREATE the creator, except as an idol, which thus, a form of idolatry, Islam is and must be. If anyone speaks of the Messiah as NOT God, then this merely contradicts the nature the Old Testament gave to Him (Psalm 45, Zechariah 12:10, Isaiah 43:10-11 with 53), all His own claims as recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke, not to say John as in 8:58, 5:19-23, but invests from 600 years too late, history with mental figmentation, a sort of mental pigmentation, in the name of one who would displace Him.
The fact that the writer of the Koran evidently cannot make up his mind whether Jesus Christ died or not, does not help the invention he makes of an historical character. On this point, see Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8, *1, part of which reads:
Thus in the Koran are too varying accounts.
In Women, 4:153-157, the writer says this of the death of Christ: “They declared: ‘We have put to death the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the apostle of God.’ They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but they thought they did.” The presenter of this English ‘Koran’ (N.J Dawood, in Penguin Books’ ‘The Koran’), adds this note here: “Or literally, ‘he was made to resemble another for them.’ ”
In the ‘Imrans, 3:51, on the contrary, the writer has it as if God had said to Christ, ‘Jesus I am about to cause you to die and lift you up to Me. I shall take you away from the unbelievers and exalt your followers above them till the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me you shall all return and I shall judge your disputes. The unbelievers shall be sternly punished in this world and in the world to come: there shall be none to help them.”
Further, Islam as in SMR 1080ff., seeks some authority from the mouth of Muhammad, by speaking of the true nature of the Old Testament prophets, which require, demand, predict and show the Redeemer who was to come as man, even God in the flesh, the ONLY ONE who COULD redeem, doing so as a man. Since this is granted, apparently to give some basis for the new-boy religion, it also removes it, since this very consistent heart of the prophets' message (as Christ shows, reported in Luke 24), is the exact opposite of Islam, which has no such divine atonement. It is like saying that a body is in accord with a machine, or an aircraft with a worm. They are wholly distinct, and here, infinitely so, since in the Old Testament prophets, God Himself is declaring the utter necessity of receiving this Messiah, Redeemer, God Himself as man (Isaiah 45-55), without whom there is no profit in life whatever.
So, too little, too late, too irrelevant, too self-contradictory, too invalid, too inaccurate in the implications concerning the deity and too oblivious of the Old and New Testament records, while appealing to the former and failing to see the conjunction of the two, and the necessity for the Messiah to be God, even He predicted in the Old Testament: Islam is outlawed from the truth. In the end, its famous submission is to man, not to God, and the degrading conditions of those whom it conquers, in some specifications, merely attests this (cf. Koran 8:36-73, 9:1-6,27). This is war by faith on faith. This is force where faith is, an irrelevance both tiresome and tedious.
These things are shown to be so, even before Islam's own failure to have the results of all might shown, according to the many futile holy wars which it has waged against Israel, midget mouse, Israel, with all the Islamic wealth, power and plurality of established nations, even for half a century. It has waged, and lost.
The God of the Old Testament is indeed God, and the prophets of the Old Testament indeed spoke verifiable, verified, valid truth, the remedy from the first, and the address of God consistently in these terms from the start; and His word has forecast this very time of Israel's triumphs in war, upon its return (cf. SMR Ch. 9), right to the enormous disproportion between the invasive armies and the size of tiny Israel, and the triumphant victories notwithstanding! (cf. Zechariah 12).
It is in vain to propose invalid, self-contradictory, inventive, unverified, anti-verified works for a religion. It is simply a Christian sect, with overtones and outreach from its attachment of various scraps or items from Jewish tradition, or the Old Testament, which it abundantly violates to the uttermost part. It violates history no less, even Dr Mahathir specifying the enormity of all those Islamic nations failing for half a century to 'deal with' the tiny land of Israel!
It is a sect in this sense: define a sect to mean any religious body of a coherent assembly, which specifies a place for Christ which is eminent, but unbiblical, and places Him in an environment of terms which either adds to, subtracts from or transgresses against the biblical record concerning Him. In this case, the RELEVANCE of the term is that the NAME and FAME of Christ are ingredients in the acceptability to many, of the religion in view, and the derogation which He suffers, in such a religious innovation at the same time, is a re-invention from the mind of man, retrospective history from nowhere, concerning the One whom God in the Old Testament foretold as to date, place, site, history, miraculous power and atoning death and resurrection.
It is verified against anti-verified, the redundant mentality of man and the abundant wisdom of God that is the contrast. As God says in Isaiah 41:22-24:
" 'Present your case,' says the Lord.
'Bring forth your strong reasons,' says the King of Jacob.
'Let them bring forth and show us what will happen;
Let them show the former things, what they were,
That we may consider them,
And know the latter end of them;
Or declare to us things to come.
" 'Show the things that are to come hereafter,
That we may know that you are gods;
Yes, do good or do evil,
That we may be dismayed and see it together.
Indeed you are nothing,
And your work is nothing ...' "
Whether Israel, Moslem or other Gentile, when it comes to choosing the invalid, excluding the established, the result is the same. With Israel, there is a vast historic monument to the power of God in its initial deliverances, its mighty power under David and Solomon, its divine warnings and judgments, its exiles, its restoration, its triumphs and its continuing unbelief until the time come (as in Deuteronomy 32, Romans 11); in the Messiah and in the developments within the Gentile realm after His predicted crucifixion. Divine remonstrance and eventual wrath was on account of a hideous blindness; but it is not theirs alone. The many false prophets formally predicted by Christ, who vainly should strut their wares before His return merely fulfil His word, just as their works deny them. When you are acting on the word of God, it NEEDS TO HAPPEN!
Like all the other sects, Islam fails to gain credence in the sense of being in this way, parasitic, using imagination to provide what history does not show; and showing for itself, nothing to verify itself, nor possessing anything by which to render valid, the invalidity of what ignores the divine purity and truth in favour of a speech which lacks the power to fulfil itself, just as it omits the performance to show its propositions are not from man, but from God.
With the Bible, the precise opposite is the case; and as there is NO religion which is valid, verified and historically sustainable, but this, with its testimony back to creation and its coverage to the present, the innovative tendencies of man's misused imagination are indeed in thrall to a bondage from which Christ alone can deliver. That these religious elements, religious or profane, be they even naturalism or humanism, or other, invade universities is itself merely one of the many predictions of the Bible, fulfilled, adding to the panorama of regrettable pollution for which this world hastens to its judgment (cf. I Timothy 4, II Timothy 3, II Peter 2-3, Matthew 24, Acts 20).
It is in the interests of each, of all, that this warning be heeded; for it is not founded on the word of a man, but on the book which stands, verifies and validates itself, and is unique, possessing the control of history which ONLY God can have, with the predictive words which ONLY GOD could know (cf. SMR Chs. 5, 9-10, Reason, Revelation and the Redeemer).
As God notes in Isaiah 41, 43, 48, PROVE IT! SHOW the comparison, show how you could bring evidence to match this! If not, BELIEVE and act accordingly. Let us employ a little scientific method!
It is not God, but this world which is passé. Soon, alas, it will be past.
In Red Alert ... Ch. 10, *4, we have this summary:
The Koran denies the redemption in Christ, His vicarious and substitutionary atonement, His deity and His kingdom that shall not pass away. As such it is a heresy more articulate than most, more direct, in its dismissal of Christ. Like the rest, it gives faint praises, which deny the realities of the Bible categorically. Unlike some, it is highly explicit. Like all heresies, it uses the Bible and abuses it, appeals to the Bible and dismisses it. It is unusual in combining spurious materials both from the Jewish sources (outside their canon) and from those relating to Christianity.
To call it 'good' is by implication to call the Christ of the Bible 'bad', since it mangles its testimony, as did Israel the Christ. Such action is by no means unknown in the Bible and is in fact part of the predicted rebellion against reality (Hebrews 10:20,29-31, Jude, Matthew 24:24, II Corinthians 11).
Those who so characterise Islam may or may not be aware of what they are doing. It is an anti-testimony to Jesus Christ.
The relevant details of this anti-Christian religion have been considered as shown in the Index, under Moslem, in both SMR and The Rest. In particular, note Lord of Life Chs. 4 and 5, esp. pp. 91 and 112 respectively, Light of Dawn Ch. 5, and SMR pp. 50ff., 65ff., 91, 986ff., 1080ff. , Barbs, Arrows and Balms, Highway to Hell. See also *1 above.
Indeed, Muhammad simply excised the centre of the Old Testament prophets' presentation, in the name of the Lord, but without the book of the Lord or any other distinguishing contribution from practicalities or past, as if God became of age in one day, and had been silent for millenia. In this way he invented a new religion, a new and unverified 'lord' in competition with the God of the Bible, and so far from receiving validity from God, he became an enemy and assailant of His name, which he dared to use while assaulting His word, misrepresenting it and acting with ignorance, deceit or both. In a similar way, he invented a new 'messiah', a new Jesus if you will, a mental reconstruction 600 years too late for evidential data to present, with the same central feature, the same cardinal omission - redemption by grace; and having made two new religions, he wedded them, himself the master of ceremonies.
Such weddings lack power, authority, purity, credentials, historical bases and accuracy. The same result will greet this invasive, corrosive and subjugating religion, demanding submission to its false and invented god, when the time comes, as God has handed out before, whether at Mt Carmel in the day of Elijah, in the fall of Babylon and the advent of the predicted liberator, Cyrus, in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, or in the Reformation, when the evil may have thought its power sufficient in the papacy for anything: it had an ARMY and armies to direct!
But it failed! (cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H, 923ff., 946ff., 950ff.).
It is God Himself, HIS POWER, PRINCIPLES AND PRESENCE changelessly attested from the outset and through the millenia, biblically, logically and historically, to whom one rightly refers by that name, and not to insurgents, innovations, or as He Himself put it in Deuteronomy 32, 'gods newly come up', new arrivals who seek the name but lack the credentials. It is to Him, and not to man or to his armies, papal or political, his procedures or his passions for riot and rebellion, irrationalities and imaginations, that glory and honour belongs; and when as foretold as all the rest has been (cf. Amos 3:7), the final assault on Israel arrives (as in Ezekiel 36-39, in the context of the recent restoration of Israel to its land, as in Zechariah 12), then the results will not vary from the days of Israel when it actually followed the Lord (cf. SMR pp. 502ff.).
When those armies come to make their idolatrous, humanistic and mystic point against the truth, as armies have done for millenia, whether or not Islam at that time has any part or participation, the consequence is not one which one would wish on anyone; but when folly abides and passions prevail, in youth or age, and in any Age, the end result is sad indeed, and grievous! One would wish it on none, and would seek therefore in all mercy and truth in the name of the Lord for ANY who would return to the Lord and find His rest; but more of this anon, as we look at Hosea.
Meanwhile, one must warn of these consequences, just as one instils the Gospel of grace by which, in the Messiah, Jesus the Christ, peace with God may be found, through faith in Him who stands no conflation, no admixture of alien ingredients, whether from Rome or Beijing, Arabia or the belligerent cultures of this world.
Earth Spasm, Conscience Chasm: and the Renewal of Life Ch. 6,
Beauty of Holiness
Ch. 4, with Sparkling Life... Ch. 4,
Beauty for Ashes
Ch. 7 where the appeal to force is shown as an
additional item in irrelevance,
where faith is concerned, as there it is.
Aviary of Idolatry, SMR pp. 925ff., Delusive Drift ... Ch. 5, News 44, 69, 97, 98,
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8;
The Grating Grandeur ...Ch. 2;
News 97 (the exploiters, the fanciful, the Communists, the de-godders and the realities),
BFA 6 (and Hong Kong, and the movement of nations in the last century a concern).
See Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Chs. 4, 3, with Spiritual Refreshings Chs. 13, 16 and Wake Up World! ... Chs. 4-6, for example, with SMR pp. 140ff..
Whether individual or church, there is no guarantee for the utterance when it departs from the book of the Lord. As Isaiah puts it, if they do not speak according to this word, there is no light in them (8:20).
What would you expect ? Did the prophets give their lives, sometimes literally, did the Lord give the life of His only begotten Son, in the midst of spiritual sedition from temple governors and corrupted political power, were the warnings uttered, were the predictions made, was the entire fabric of the tartan of truth woven on this earth with such industry, verifiability and strength for weary millenia of ceaseless striving in the midst of the marauding sin of man who seeks by every perverted, diversion to misdirect the truth: was all this done, in order that somebody or other should seize the reins of destiny and make some new morality, or spirituality, or god, or goddess, or guru, or device ? Was it accomplished so that God could wash His divine hands, like Pilate of the whole contorted morass of trouble and delinquency!
In love, no! it is not so (Colossians 1:19ff., John 3:16-17). He is constant, for even the magnetic poles vary slightly, but He not at all. He is truth, for there IS no truth except in the absoluteness which knows no tempest to trouble it, nor any limitation, through sin or sedition, limitation or relativity, to disenfranchise it (cf. SMR Ch. 3, Barbs 6 -7). When HE speaks, it IS truth. That is WHY it is never shown false in the Bible over the millenia. The grinning skull of asthenic, seduced scientism, humanism, naturalism, spiritualism does not deceive the eye that is not shut!
Thus unsound and most unwise is the seduction of the scriptural spirituality by making sex an option contrary to the mode of generation, as if a toy, or a tool for the truculent to show their autonomy, or indeed in any way which severs from the scriptural stringency, the handbook of the Almighty, the Maker's Manual, as from common sense and reason likewise, and in particular the defences of physiology which of course, being designed, protect significantly from the scandalous follies which rock the world through Aids, by this means greatly augmented.
This topic has been investigated from the Bible previously, as has the Uniting Church's involvement, and not that of this body alone. It has been considered both in the historical movement and the anti-scriptural deviation involved.
See, for example, I Timothy 1:10, I Corinthians 5:11, 6:9, Leviticus 20:13, according the testimony of either Testament, with Romans 1:28-32. Notice in particular Paul's word in Romans (cf. I Corinthians 14:37), that some persons were "leaving the natural use" in matters sexual, to occupy themselves in preferred diversity in sexual matters; but he does not characterise it in this way! Indeed, he fits it into the kaleidoscopic contrarieties of moving from the light of God, in a quarrel of celestial dimensions and historical delusion.
As death was the old testament provision for various of these indulgences contrary to natural use, divine design, directed occupation, so exclusion from the kingdom of heaven is announced in the New Testament; but not for one misuse only, or for one area only, but for covetousness (I Corinthians 6:10), for example, no less.
Perversion may be moral, spiritual, physical and indeed, dividing from the very reality of design's correlation with the Designer, on whose design, some having designs of this or that kind, fail to find the God of their lives (cf. Index on morality). Others, seeking, yet defile the directives at will, not changed in heart, using a name to which they do not submit, so that Jesus asked in expostulation (Luke 6:46):
"Why do you call Me, Lord, Lord and not do the things that I say!" (cf. Matthew 5:17ff.).
The Other News 15 , 19,
The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 3,
Joyful Jottings 2, News 126,
Swift Witness 3, News 76 , NEWS 23 ('Church'),
The Defining Drama Chs. 4 , 5,
The Bright Light and the Uncomprehending Darkness Ch. 6,
Galloping Events Ch. 7,
The PItter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 2,
His Time is Near Ch. 2
It seems singularly strange to apply for salvation to God who as man, is Lord, and to seek to change Him, or His words; but the thing is a pandemic. When the option was physical, that was used at Calvary! When it is not, it is used where it may be.
That too, it was foretold (cf. Matthew 24:5,12, II Timothy 3:4-5, II Peter 2:1-3).
As these elements of the criteria for His return manifest themselves, who would not seek that some might awaken from the delusion that God is a dirigible, susceptible to man's riot or rule, that misconception older even than Calvary, at which it reached a height of folly, as seen in Psalm 2! (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
See SMR Appendix A, The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 4, SMR Chs. 8-9, Galloping Events Chs. 1 and 8
See Ezekiel 29:23,28, Micah 7, Ezekiel 36ff., Isaiah 42, SMR Appendix A,
Galloping Events Ch. 4 , esp. Excursion 1.
Great Execrations ... Ch. 7;
Barbs ... Appendix 3,
Biblical Blessings Ch. 15, Extended Endnote 2,
Acme ...... 11,
With Heart ... Ch. 3,
The Magnificence of the Messiah, Endnote 1,
Dastardly Dynamics ... Ch. 11,
SMR Ch. 6 and Index,
The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 9, Section 14,
Joyful Jottings 25,
A Spiritual Potpourri 15, 16,
Stepping Out for Christ Ch. 5,
Things Old and New Ch. 2, Excursion 2A;
Light of Dawn Ch. 3,
Beyond the Crypt, the Divine Script and the Face of God Ch. 2;
Dizzy Dashes, Heady Clashes and the Brilliant Harmony of Inevitable Truth Ch. 2;
Spiritual Refreshings ... Chs. 5, 6,
Ancient Words and Modern Events Ch. 8
(on resurrection and Lazarus, yes and both with Jerusalem);
contrasting Greek bodily terms - GBG 2 ;
and New Zealand Dizzy Dashes, Heady Clashes ... Ch. 6,
The Frantic Millenium Ch. 4.