If this isn’t a sign for France, and to the world – on multiple levels – I don’t know what is.
Rome is burning.
Forshadowing of Babylon.
The tower falls every time.
If this isn’t a sign for France, and to the world – on multiple levels – I don’t know what is.
Rome is burning.
Forshadowing of Babylon.
The tower falls every time.
A comparison of four classical composers, with observations on how their music either helps uplift the soul to God, or draws the mind down to wallow in the things below.
1 – Johann Sebastian Bach: The Harmony Of Logos
Examples of Bach:
Brandenberg Concerto No.3:
Bach’s beautiful choral arrangement of the Lutheran hymn “By The Rivers Of Babylon” (“An Wasserflüssen Babylon”):
Toccata & Fugue:
Bach’s music describes in vivid sonic detail the reality of God’s divine order and eternal truth. There is seemingly no phrase or note in his music not written to this one end; all has distinct purpose. There is no waste; and everything is addressed in a most dignified manner. In Bach’s music, the Light is spoken of with awe and reverence; and the darkness is spoken of within the context of God’s mastery over all. There is pure joy in the Lord, with nothing trite or frivolous. There is pure fear of the Lord, with no hint of despair. There is no glorying in man’s thoughts or strength; but much rather in God’s wisdom and power.
Bach is (among other things) the great exegete of the keyboard, and his extensive repertoire lays out for us, as it were, the divinely appointed boundaries of every note’s potential use in relation to another, with every measure of his many compositions effortlessly reflecting his own remark that “harmony is close to Godliness”. There is no flirtation with musical subversion or mindless dissonance; and the occasional unusual sound is employed only to serve the well-being of the hearer as far as it reflects the realities of God’s truth within the created order of the music.
“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”
– Johann Sebastian Bach
How well indeed did his music fulfill that saying!
2 – George Frideric Handel: The Sound Of Majesty
Examples of Handel:
Overture, from Messiah:
Comfort Ye My People, from Messiah:
Overture, from Alexander’s Feast of the Power of Music:
A contemporary and fellow countryman of Bach (though they never met), Handel’s music is hewn from the same substance, with an ever-present consciousness of honoring God’s glory. There is always a sense of divine majesty in his compositions, by which the sensitive hearer is at times made to feel that they tread on holy ground – and this without either pretension or any sense of overbearing forcefulness on the part of the music: it simply speaks for itself when played, as truth always does when uttered.
The instrumentation alone in his famous work “Messiah” can easily take one into the very holy of holies if the soul is prepared to heed its call; and the accompaniment of prophetic scriptures borne upon its heavenly melodies carries an anointing unparalleled in most hymnody. There is often a hush of awe which falls upon even the most secular of audiences when these pieces are performed in succession. That particular work was reported to have been written by Handel in the course of approximately 30 days (in its base form, without many of the large choral parts – still an astounding feat).
3 – Ludwig Van Beethoven: The Self-Interest Of Man
Examples of Beethoven:
Piano Concerto No.1 – Allegro Con Brio:
Cello Sonata No.3 in A Major:
Beethoven’s music still lives within the world of reality and truth, but it often does very little to consciously acknowledge such. There is still an adherence to the orderliness and natural beauty of things; but the element of divine authority is replaced with a largely unanswered search for meaning. Vast portions of his compositions are dedicated to meander through the deep woods of a lonesomely reasoning mind; and their occasional discoveries, though useful, are usually not revelatory. There is natural light, but always the bright sun is hidden behind a blanket of cloud; and the divine is so distant that it need not be directly spoken of.
In Beethoven the transcendent is lost to long rabbit trails of thought, and, at times, impulsive little adventures in melody. Not that anything is ever objectionable to the hearing – there is still a clear appreciation for beauty – yet it is limited to created beauty, and seemingly not the Creator Himself. Beethoven does eventually come to an appropriately resolved end in his compositions; but we are usually left wondering what ultimate reason there was for much of the journey. There is a distinct sense of spiritual unfulfullment despite the typical excellency of his musical form.
One always remembers the feeling of Beethoven’s music; but only a few of his pieces leave a definite impression – and even where they do, all of his music is strongly laced with the sighing melancholy of humanism’s emptiness. Even where he breaks through his troubles into a happy theme, it is always with a certain dullness of heart. Even if the light is brilliant without, it is as though the eyesight remains dim from within. Any soul not lulled to a certain numbness by much of his music is left wanting for a warmth and wholeness that was not granted; and who now shall sing to that soul of the brighter Day?
4 – Richard Wagner: The Madness Of Devils
Examples of Wagner:
Prelude of “Tristan und Isolde” – which has been cited by some as an early inspiration to Nietzsche’s trajectory of thought.* It is a daunting and tiresome listen:
The Ride of the Valkyries – known to often evoke in men a heightened desire for war and pointless worldly conquest:
Much of Wagner’s music (particularly as heard above) is the expression of the subversive amoral philosophy of will-to-power. There is no reality or truth there except whatever the soul desires to conquer and call its own. As an excellent example of this Satanic mindset, the starting notes of “The Ride Of The Valkyries” sound perfectly like the arousal of jealousy; and the ensuing journey is one of a constant blowing about in the swirling winds of the growing lust for power, which is the only meaning in this nihilistic worldview.
Therefore, its end is wanting of any real wholesome resolve; and throughout, the key signature changes frequently, but not often to a wholly related key. Its sense of mounting triumph has no source outside of what it has accomplished in itself by sheer will: the transcendent is drowned out completely by self-glory. At last, it crashes to an end after a swift tumble into darkness, having left the listener’s heart in great alarm. And after its echoes die off in the ears, one is left with no new thing to contemplate, no melody by which the soul is given a path toward the Logos of God. The divine is utterly cut off; the soul (if it has trusted the music) is left open to the first thought or spirit that may seek to lead it astray.
It is also worth noting that this Wagner, the composer, was a great personal influence upon Nietzsche, the philosopher; and a hefty portion of Wagner’s music certainly does seem to subvert divine order, just as the philosophy of that madman, leaving in its wake the chaotic void into which he himself no doubt gazed.
There hasn’t been a time since the fall of man when music was not a battleground for men’s souls.
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it!
Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the LORD, for He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.
*For some additional interesting information on this subject matter, listen to this interview which I came across recently. He lays out the history of the subversion of music in the late classical era quite well, and particularly touches upon the relationship between Wagner and Nietzsche.
** I do not own any of the music or audio used in this post; it is herein used for reviewing purposes only. **
History indeed repeats itself; but with every repetition, it gets louder to the hearing ear, and clearer to the seeing eye.
Every tactic which man collectively employs (and re-employs) to “save” himself eventually serves only to reveal his fallenness. We are at the verge of the ugliest part of the cycle repeating itself again; and this time, the methods of the evil rulers and purveyors of wickedness have been more perfected than ever. The final chapter of history will be the culmination of all that has been building up in the darkness for millennia.
The pursuit of ultimate wealth and power has lead the whole world into bottomless debt and utter enslavement to mammon. Enforced degeneracy is currently eating its unnumerable subjects alive by the dictates of its very nature. And in modernity, the mass ethnic-melting-pot societies, falsely imposed as the grand utopian solution to mankind’s woes, will invariably lead to mass-ethnic-cleansing, as those nations with any sense of themselves left will thereby attempt to curb the inescapable consequences of all the decadence – and this was the plan all along. The Devil weakens the nations by the subversion of true authority, but then feigns innocence upon the bloody result. For amidst the ensuing chaos, he can then define with one accusation the spirit of the age, uniting the mind of the world under a single mantra: that Christ and His true flock are to blame.
You can try to intervene by playing their “game” against them, and so be drawn in to partake in the plagues of Babylon; or you can pursue the indestructable Life which is hidden with Christ in God, and He will be enough, and His kingdom will have one more inheritor.
You can compromise and become baptized in the world’s filth, and aquire a taste for the blood of the martyrs; or you can become baptized in the Holy Spirit and drink the Water of Life, and suffer for Christ’s Name.
The Lord has given us Himself to be discovered, known, and obeyed; yet the many among us keep holding on to a wicked world that hates Christ, a world that will end in bloodshed and fire.
Part 1 can be read HERE
VICTORY REVEALED, REBELLION RENEWED
“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” – Lk 10:18
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The victory of Christ in His death and resurrection surely sealed the fate of sin and death, and spelled certain doom for the rule of Satan on the earth; but not yet has the full task been manifestly completed. The legal groundwork is laid; but the war is far from over. The gavel has resounded with “it is finished;” but now God builds His kingdom upon that decree in our hearts just as a man builds his house upon a foundation. The Potter has chosen His lumps of clay in Christ; but now He puts them to His wheel for the making of vessels, and tries them each by fire.
Yet for now, my focus is drawn primarily to the cosmic regime change at which the Lord hints in the phrase, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” This is in stark contrast to His earlier acknowledgement by silence that the kingdoms of the earth were rightfully under the rule of the Devil (Matt 4:8-10). But now, they are rightfully under Christ’s rule, in just as direct a sense that they were once rightfully under the Devil’s – yet here is where men of God become puffed up in their understanding. And to counter their leaven, we need look no further than His prescription for the church in light of His total authority: “MAKE DISCIPLES.”
Now one will say, “But He says, ‘of all nations’ – so surely the body of Christ is meant to eventually disciple the very kingdoms of the earth even in this age.” How such men must then interpret the kings of the earth committing fornication with the Great Prostitute, I am quite at a loss. For it would imply a total failure on the part of His church, thus reflecting a poor record upon He who said “the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Little do they realize, however, that such a mixture of the city of God and the city of man is the very fornication there spoken of! But no, we are to make disciples from out of all nations. In Luke’s account of the same great commission, Jesus says to preach the gospel into or among the nations [“εἰς” – Str. G1519 ] – it is the personal call of the gospel’s command to repent unto the Lordship of Christ, not a commission for the broad moral or spiritual conquest of society as a whole. It is the call to suffer outside the camp which turns the world upside-down, not the call to reorder the camp. It is the countering of worldly agendas with a heavenly gospel that throws men off balance from their mesmerization with the world; it is the individual repenting of his race to the bottom of depravity which offends the flesh; it is the simple holy life lived against the stream of the spirit of the age that sheds the most light upon the Devil’s work. We ought to be so heavenly minded that the scriptures would include us in the saying, “of whom the world was not worthy” (Heb 11).
We would do well to take heed of Jesus’ words to the seventy-two; when they had experienced the power of His authority yet admired it according to the flesh, which leads to all manner of unholy mixture:
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your Name!” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
The Lord Jesus was not impressed by the mere excercise of His authority; He sought for His own an eternal perspective of His kingdom, a heavenly mindset in which men find no earthly good – for God Himself is the only absolute good. But in the midst of this discussion, He remarks, as if out of nowhere, upon the scene in the heavenlies that backdrops His first coming: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” And it is this very scene in time which the apostle John saw regarding the birth of that Son of Man…
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a Male Child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her Child was caught up to God and to His throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
This woman was the Israel of that day, from which the Christ was brought forth; and upon His coming, the Devil incurred yet another rebellion of heavenly hosts to thwart the rule of He “who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” Yet the Anointed One did NOT immediately establish this full reign upon the earth, as had been expected by the wisdom of this world; but was rather “caught up to God and to His throne” (the ascension), “and the woman fled into the wilderness…” And that woman is made of all those to whom He comes, as unto His own, and they receive Him not (Jn 1:11).
Now as we read above, it is within the context of the first coming of Christ – not the fall of Adam – that a third of the stars of heaven were “swept down” by the dragon. And these are the forces against which much of our warfare is fought today. For it says of the first incursion of the fallen sons of god (the bên ‘ĕlôhîym – read part 1) that Christ has now kept them “in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day…” (Jude 5-7)
But concerning the new rebellion, the beloved apostle writes further of what was shown to him:
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come [Mt 28:18-20], for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
This describes the current age. Here the great commission is echoed in the saying, “the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come;” because Satan fell, as Jesus said, like lightning from heaven: “for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” He shall never again set foot in the divine council; but on earth he works to establish a kingdom of darkness, and to wear out the holy ones of God through the whoredoms of the earthly powers, upon whom he imposes his wicked influence.
“It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.” – Lk 13:33
“And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints…” – Rev 18:24
Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.
The Devil’s scheme is the seduction of all who do not obey the Spirit of Christ; and in his rage against the Son of God, he turns to persecute and stamp out the offspring which are born after His image. For notice where the woman flees to: “into the wilderness;” and there she is preserved “where she has a place prepared by God.”
But for what is she prepared? It could have been for mercy; but the story quickly changes. We see that the dragon in his wrath does not continue this pursuit of her, but turns rather to the persecution of her spiritual offspring (the church). And notice by what she is helped when the dragon sought her utter destruction: she is helped not by God, who had borne her away in mercy for a time; but she is now helped by the earth, which “opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth…” I see in this a turning of the woman away from the purposes of God to fully embrace the methods of the rulers of the earth, which the Christ foretold to her worldly children saying, “I have come in My Father’s Name, and you do not receive Me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.” (Jn 5:43) For until this day, all who reject Christ, especially they which call themselves the Jews, have turned to the kings of the earth for help; and having thereby aquired a lust for power, have embittered the whole world against them. This is the tale of all to whom He comes, yet who do not receive Him; and it remains a warning to His church. “He came unto His own; but…”
It is at this very junction that judgement begins anew at the house of God, resulting in the distinction between two women: the bride and the whore. And this is the age of judgement in which we now live; for this judgement befalls every generation in one way or another. As Christ said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see might see; and that those who see might become blind.” (Jn 9:39)
Later, the woman is found again in the wilderness and is pronounced fallen, “for she has BECOME a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.” (Rev 18:2)
This is what John saw concerning she who had become the mother of harlots:
And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly.
Now Babylon is not only the city in which “is found the blood of the prophets and saints” – a characterization which Christ Himself makes of the earthly Jerusalem (Lk 13:33) – but she is also the city in which is found the blood of “all who have been slain upon the earth” (Rev 18:24). Christ indeed seems to place the epicenter of Babylon during His earthly ministry at Jerusalem, as that is where the judgement of the gospel began; but then as the gospel spread, so also did the daughters of Babylon follow to the ends of the world. And now her cancer is found across the whole face of the earth; as she and her daughters are ever the more proficient at seducing men of God into her worldly ways. They are the false prophets which seduce the flock, they are the apostates which secretly prey upon the children of His inheritance; they are the synagogue of Satan, “who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie;” for the true Israel of God are the children of the very faith of Christ which dwelt in Abraham, but those who do not receive Him are cut off from the Vine. “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Gal 3:29)
And note what characterizes the beast on which she is carried: “it had seven heads and ten horns.” This is because the mode of her operation is religious in nature, but secular in power. Yet even the secular power in the end will hate her, resenting her sway over them, and her mixture will be her downfall.
And the angel said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”
The great whore is seated in stark contrast to the true bride of Christ. For while the former sits arrayed in purple and scarlet, the latter humbly adorns herself in the white raiment bought beyond price; and unlike the former, she drinks not the blood of her enemies from a chalice of gold: but she purifies herself in the blood of her Beloved through the fellowship of His sufferings to keep her garments unstained. And the betrothed of the Lord looks not for an earthly dwelling, but for a city whose builder and maker is God. For the assertion of Babylon is, “I sit a queen, and am no widow” (Rev 18:7); but the cry of the true daughter of Zion is, “Make haste, my Beloved!” (SS 8:14)
The pursuit of the kingdom by the will of man is the road to Babylon. The mixture of the holy with the profane is the abomination which causes desolation. Those who do these things are truly the murderers of the apostles and prophets; they are the perverters of all that the Lord would work in the hearts of His people. But in the seeing of the Son and in the suffering for His Name, the holy ones are brought to kingdom-come; and the whores will be delivered into the vengeful hand of He to whom belongs all power and glory.
That Word above all earthly pow’rs,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
– Martin Luther
Part 3 can be read HERE
THE FALLEN SONS
“Because you have said in your heart, ‘I will ascend…'” – Isa 14:13
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God [Heb. “bên ‘ĕlôhîym”] saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose…
…The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
Genesis 6:1-2, 4 (ESV)
We are naive to suppose that the self-made utopian impulse is no temptation to those who have stood in the presence of the Holy One.
For doubtless these sons of God which sinned were once among those of whom it was said during the creation of earth,
On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God [Heb. “bên ‘ĕlôhîym”] shouted for joy?
Job 38:6-7 (ESV)
These who witnessed the creation of the earth and the forming of man, these who saw that God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and these who heard the blessing of the mandate with which God first charged His new human sons, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion…” – some of these heavenly beings apparently followed after the same abomination of Satan in his fivefold rejection of the state of grace: “I will ascend…I will…I will…I will…I will.” (Isa 14) They dawned independence as a king dawns a crown; but the Most High did not coronate them.
This infectious pride of the fall is so abominable to God that the sin of Adam is justly imputed to all his offspring, so that by one man’s disobedience, the many are made sinners (Rom 5:19). And within the heart of those who abide not in the discipline of God’s Law, there arises the same impulse, the mantra of Babylon, constraining them to establish a heavenly kingdom on earth by the might of their own hands and the ingenuity of their own minds. They say, “These gifts are of God, and with them, let us build His kingdom.” Now, some do not even acknowledge God, and the folly of these is most obvious, as they are confessedly their own gods. But many do acknowledge Him; yet it renders their impulse toward the same ends no less grievous – if not more. Those who truly know the power of God ought to only look for a kingdom whose builder and maker is He: which temple is composed of righteous souls; and whose glory is imparted to it by obedience, not by the expectation of men upon the work of their hands. For He has made no special covenant with any nation except the children of His faith.
Since the fall, it is not God’s prescribed will that all men should come together under their own banner of unity. For only in spirit and in truth, by the working of God Himself, does unity not compromise the holy with the profane.
But for those who attempt to build from the ashes of their own existing ruin, the Lord shows only disdain, and eventually disperses them from their project:
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth.
Genesis 11:1-9 (ESV)
THE BABYLONIAN IMPULSE
“Come out of her, My people.” – Rev 18:4
The Babylonian impulse is spiritual fornication. It is the attempt of fallen creatures to divinize apart from the method of the Divinity. It is a denial of the glory which is given to the creature through the creature’s attempt to have it’s own self-perpetuating glory. In this they have been detached from the singular and unique glory of God; a deviant path which can only produce corruption.
This corruption is perhaps most clearly illustrated in the earlier fornication of the sons of god with daughters of men (Gen 6), producing only a wicked offspring of unholy mixture, against which the people of God would have to make war for centuries to come. There is a real power in that witchcraft of Babylon: but it is a power that must feed upon flesh, and eventually can only further itself by the open practice of every form of depravity; until a people are left like the scattered remains of a rotting corpse, and the cancer moves on to its next willing victim.
And the discipline of God, upon both divine rebel and human kind alike for this building of their own kingdom, was that the latter should be ruled over by the former; until such a time as the Lord would reveal His heavenly kingdom in Christ unto a newly adopted people from out of every tribe and tongue and nation. I mentioned before that humanly derived unity is not God’s prescribed will for fallen man; since although His decree in creation was that man under God should subdue the earth and have dominion, man has since by the fall lost many freedoms within that privilege under God’s current prescription for him:
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He divided mankind, He fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. [Heb. “bên ‘ĕlôhîym” – DSS, LXX]. But the LORD’s portion is His people, Jacob His allotted heritage.
Deuteronomy 32:8-9 (ESV)
Notice two things from this scripture:
All nations were called to separate from one another (“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He divided mankind, He fixed the borders of the peoples…”), but it is the church’s calling to separate from the nations, in the midst of the nations, unto God (“But the LORD’s portion is His people, Jacob His allotted heritage.”)
For the Israel of God in all ages is the body of Christ, which in heaven is never divided. God divided the nations upon earth purposefully; and His only intended place for an integrated unity of the nations is within His kingdom, that even fallen men might behold the glory of God by our love one for another. But the impulse of men to build Babylon ever perverts this wondrous goal even within the church, and God gives such a people over to their own devices, that their own towers may fall upon them. This is why all such unions inevitably fail, and the last and greatest of them shall also be crushed at His coming, when His bride from among every tribe and tongue and nation is finally done dancing with such idolatry, that at last for a chaste virgin He may come.
So He set up the nations, whom He had divided, under the rule of the principalities and powers – which still must answer to Him, and whom He also chastens when they step out of their own bounds (we will cover this momentarily). And He began to re-establish His reign over man within the hearts of one obscure people (Jacob), raised up from the miry cesspool of mankind. To these He gave His oracles, and to these He began revealing His covenant. And among these was already a mixed multitude (Ex 12:38), so that no man could boast in his own flesh. The priesthood of the One coming was also prepared for and foreshadowed in the patience of God, as He endured with a hand of discipline the waywardness of these children of Israel, His church in the wilderness.
THE LIGHT TO THE NATIONS
“Of Him shall the nations inquire.” – Isa 11:10
But regarding the nations round about them, He was not entirely silent; and for those whom He longed to graft into the Vine, He was preparing the table of mercy. For though His wrath is rightly kindled against iniquity, rebellion, and sin; still “He delights in steadfast love.” Therefore, His people out of all the world, whom He foreknew from of old, would not be forgotten; and in the hardness of earthly Israel’s heart, He remembered the nations.
In a Psalm it is said of those principalities who ruled over the nations of earth:
God [Heb. “ĕlôhîym”] has taken His place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods [Heb. “ĕlôhîym”] He holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?”
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, “You are gods [Heb. “ĕlôhîym”], sons [Heb. “bên”] of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.” Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit all the nations!
Psalm 82 (ESV)
This council is comprised of heavenly beings [Heb. “bên ĕlôhîym”], but their rule is here seen as unjust by He who both created and placed them in that role. The psalmist’s cry “Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit the nations!” is prophetic of the One coming, whose appearing would spell certain doom to the wicked schemes of those principalities, and in whom all His elect from the nations, who are found written in His book, would be redeemed (Rev 5:9-10). The “divine council” pictured here is not strange to the rest of scripture. In one instance, we even see that the most infamous rebel at times conversed among their ranks…
Now there was a day when the sons of God [Heb. “bên ‘ĕlôhîym”] came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them…
Job 1:6 (ESV)
Also consider what the prophet saw regarding the decree from God that Ahab must die:
And Micaiah said (to Ahab), “Therefore hear the word of the LORD:
I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside Him on His right hand and on His left; and the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the LORD said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And He said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the LORD has declared disaster for you.”
1 Kings 22:19-23
Now the above vision serves to illustrate a wider truth regarding the first coming of Christ. The decree was set: only the means was to be determined. For it is not in the nature of God Himself to lie; but if one insists to trespass His law, He will work even their iniquity toward His end. But regarding Christ; not only was the end decreed, but the means also – and the means was hidden in the scattered and cryptic sayings of the prophets. He has irreversibly confounded the wicked principalities and powers through the blindness of their own arrogance and rage; that by their pride they should deceive themselves into thinking that they could supplant the Holy One of God when He came. Little did they realize what an open shame His death would put them to, and what disarmament His rising would cause them!
For until His incarnation, the Son was not yet explicitly revealed, but only scattered in the words of the prophets, and occasionally appearing in pre-incarnate theophanies. And that He should die without immediately establishing a visible earthly kingdom was not what the “wisdom” of the world, nor its rulers, nor even the leaders of the Jews, had counted upon. Yet this Anointed One was not only decreed to die, but was even decreed to die at their very hands as the yet unnamed Suffering Servant (Isa 53); whom they considered not to be the same man as He who would rule the nations with a rod of iron. As He pointed out multiple times, they were the ones in contradiction with scripture regarding Him – particularly because they thought that His kingdom ought to be of this present world.
As the apostle Paul wrote, “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God [Christ crucified], which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1Cor 2:8). And this same veil of blindness was afterward cast upon the stubborn practitioners of the law without grace “until the fullness of the nations has come in” (Rom 11:25). For the Israel of God is complete when He has gathered His people whom He foreknew of all nations, the elect who obtain salvation (Rom 11:2,7). It may then be of little wonder that Paul, no matter how far his gospel reached, would always say, “I must go…I must go to Spain… I must go further…” As one fluent in the Hebrew scriptures, and now being enlightened of Christ, he would see the nations as each requiring representation at the marriage supper of the Lamb, that the promise of God inheriting all the nations might be fulfilled.
And this He will do. Yes, all who deny Him His right and seek to thwart His work will likewise be denied and their own works thwarted. For He declares the end from the beginning, and “His works were finished from the foundation of the world.” The Book of Life is the book of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth. He has not reacted to man’s rebellion with a secondary plan, as though He took a “calculated risk” in the creation of man. No, in this He had but one plan, one decree, one mind, one means. And in that eternal purpose, He accounted for sin, (for sin is not a created thing, but is an opposing of the creaturely will to the divine will); causing what was meant for evil by the ungodly to result in the showing forth of His wisdom, glory, and power before the eyes of His lowly creatures. He will have His way, and He will take those worthy of His bride’s garments through the onslaught of the very councils of hell when necessary.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
Part 2 can be read HERE
I was impressed by this man’s courage the other day.
“You have sown to the wind: I fear that for decades to come, the whole country will reap the whirlwind.”
– Brett Kavanaugh, SCOTUS appointee, addressing an unduly accusatory Senate Judiciary Committee, Sept 27, 2018
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.
Woe to such a land.
…the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.
Mt 8:20, Lk 9:58
The Lord is our only stay. We have this fantastical image in our minds of Daniel in the lion’s den: where the lions all have smiles on their faces and Daniel is petting their manes. But the man beloved of God whom the Lord ordains to be thrown in with the lions will shortly find that their den is no such place. The lions may well be subdued and have their mouths held shut from truly harming him; but they nonetheless have every intention of ripping at and tearing apart the man of God, and will mercilessly intimidate him day and night. Even in the envelopment of our Lord’s protection, there is every earthly reason to abandon faith and be devoured.
When the Lord our Shepherd prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies, we are no less in their presence. We may eat and rejoice at the bounty of the Lord, yet the ravenous wolves stand across from us, at every moment spitting and shouting curses upon the Food and Drink of which we partake, seeking to shame us from partaking in the table of His sufferings. But the one whom the Lord upholds will not give in to fear.
We shall find no rest in this world of rebellion. We will be afflicted on all sides. Our blessed hope is a heavenly one, and it is one which we yet await. Let our running therefore not be stumbled by vexation with trials, as if a temporary world of tribulation is not worthy to be suffered for His eternity victory.
Rejoice in affliction!
A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and pow’r are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He
Lord Sabaoth, His Name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us;
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That Word above all earthly pow’rs,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him Who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
– Martin Luther