Goodnews Christian Ministry
"Yes, certainly with stammering lips and in a foreign language, he will talk to this nation. ---Isaiah 28:11
"This is the way to view all the works of the Most High;
they go in pairs by opposites"
Every prophecy in scripture happens in pairs.
From the beginning Christians have had to deal with the concept of two Jerusalems. One the eternal Jerusalem of God in heaven and the other, its opposite counterpart in Palestine.
We, ourselves, also exist in opposite pairs because, although our body is physical, the soul inside our body which constitutes the reality of who we are, is spiritual. Jesus said that it is the conflict between these two parts which represents the battlefield of Satan. (Mt.26:41).
This same kind of dualism can be seen in scripture's descriptions of the various 'nations' which are destined to gather against Jerusalem.
The spiritual countries amassing against a wicked and unrepentant Jerusalem in the prophecies of Jeremiah are formed by the Christian churches which represent the House of Israel returning from captivity; but an opposite group of nations has also formed against Jerusalem.
This hostile coalition represents the confederacy of Satan and consists of the countries of this world who are opposed to the people of God.
The prophecies show both groups of nations (the spiritual nations of God and the physical nations of Satan) coming down on Jerusalem from the north. So, webbed together, there are spiritual nations and physical nations and spiritual cities and physical cities and all of them are intricately intertwined in the prophecies of scripture.
An even deeper weaving of dual pairs can be seen in the two concepts of 'Israel'. Paul said that the 'Israel of God' was Christianity. (Gal.5:16), but the world looks to the 'Israel of man' as if it were Israel.
When the reborn Israeli nation in Palestine was being formed in 1947 there was an argument in the Jewish legislature whether to call the country 'Israel', or 'Judah'. The population was all Jewish and therefore it was actually 'Judah' that they were re-establishing in Palestine, not Israel.
So by choosing the name 'Israel', they have complicated the dualism; making the works of God go in pairs by opposites in two different ways.
Isaiah predicted beforehand that they would do this when he said: "Listen to this, House of Jacob, you who bear the name Israel and have sprung from the seed of Judah..." (Is.48:1).
The original Israel did not come from the seed of Judah; just the reverse. Judah came from the seed of Israel.
According to biblical chronology, Israel (Jacob) was Judah's father. Judah was Israel's fourth son.
The House of Israel and the House of Jacob are the same house because Israel and Jacob were the same person. God changed Jacob's name to Israel (a name which means 'rebel') when Jacob tried to wrestle a holy angel.
It was Israel, then, that gave rise to his son Judah, not visa versa, but Isaiah's prophecy here has not only ignored this physical descent, it has reversed it.
Not until Jesus was born did the world find out why.
Because Jesus was born a Jew, the spiritual House of Israel which has grown out of Christ has in fact been born out of the stock of Judah, thus fulfilling this perplexing prophecy in spiritual terms.
We are 'Israel' and we have all sprung from the seed of Judah through Jesus Christ.
A final meaning of this prophecy was fulfilled in 1947 when the Jewish legislature chose to name their new nation 'Israel'. This harmonized the prophecy with the warning it intended, bringing the message to modern times and showing in spectacular fashion that everything that happened in 1947 had been predicted long ago in scripture for everyone to see and bear witness to. (Is.48:1-3).
Out of the seed of ancient Judah has appeared on the modern stage, the new nation of Israel.
The dualism God has placed in scripture, therefore, acts just like the repeating melodies in a musical score, each different in arrangement, but all somehow the same. This is because God has caused scripture to be written like an elegant symphony of words and it repeats in the same way, sounding out spiritual echo's that reverberate all across its pages and out into history.
God has arranged scripture so that it speaks to us in patterns.
Patterns are very important because exceptions exist to every rule. Scholars see every issue in terms of these exceptions. That is why their analysis tends always to be equivocal: "Yes, but...". If we were to have to depend on this kind of analysis for an answer to scriptural questions we would never get one. Certainly not one that is didactic.
But scripture is didactic because faith is didactic. There was a finite beginning and there is to be a finite end as well. Sin destroys lives, it destroys families, it destroys cities, it destroys nations and it will soon destroy the earth as well.
But, as the scholars have shown, these didactic realities exist in a vacillating environment. That is why an understanding of the patterns of scripture are extremely important when interpreting the prophecies.
One of the most graphic of all these patterns is Sodom and Gomorrah. Standing as it does a template in the Old Testament for God's wrath in the wake of wicked behavior, this pattern sets the most visible standard we can apply to the modern world as a measure of Armageddon.
It is very significant, then, that a repetition of the kind of behavior that made these two cities so infamous has suddenly been embraced by today's world. Because God has made this particular behavior scripture's template for the fires of the wrath, this development, more than any other sign we have seen in this century, defines the imminent nearness of the violent havoc predicted to precede Christ's return.
Within all of scripture's patterns are subpatterns. This is the same kind of construct that we find in poetry. Poetry, in fact, is an immitation of biblical language, duplicated in secular terms.
Because it touches the freedoms of thought, this kind of language empowers the reader with the ability to see beyond the necessary constrictures of ordinary narrative thinking -- allowing the mind of the reader to explore the farthest horizons of contemplation.
Although poetry is an immitation of biblical language, it usually comes to us without the direction of the hand of God. It may sound like it comes from God because its language replicates biblical language, but it originates outside of God, and therefore can be guided by any other spirit in the cosmos.
The underlying importance of the Bible's poetic patterns is that they were implaced there by the inspiration of God.
Jesus is God's only truth. This is why the poetic language in the Bible is so important to us -- and so far beyond the divinations of Yeats, Frost, Eliot, Keats, Sandburg and the other secular messengers of our age.
The poetic patterns of the Bible are contructed in subpatterns that are almost always arranged in opposites.
For instance a significant biblical poetic pattern involves the seven churches. This is a spiritual designation incorporating all theologies in the faith of Jesus Christ. It is an unseen reality, one which Jesus said 'no can look at and say "here" or "there".
Its sum total cannot be captured in any single theological statement. Therefore understanding it has proved virtually impossible, and that has led to much ill-guided warfare over the centuries.
To explain this concept the Holy Spirit has presented us with contrasting subpatterns which are visible -- all the different individual churches, for instance, the seven lampstands of Moses (the Menorrah), the 'river divided into seven streams', and the seven pillars which form the foundation of God's religion.
The same is true for every other major idea God wants to convey to our minds through scripture. There is the pattern of sin, for instance, and its curse; the pattern of Babylon and the pattern of the peace treaty which brought the world a temporary deferment of the wrath.
There is the pattern of the spread of Christ on earth (from the east to west across the globe)-- the pattern of global victory of the Church (the event called the millenium). There is the pattern of Persia and the eastern king who is destined to come and put an end to the treaty.
The Great Revolt has its own patterns, as does the war which follows it, and the rescue of the House of Israel's rearguard -- the Jews. And finally, there is the Day of God itself and all the events which surround its appearance.
These events are all arranged in patterns in scripture because they repeat throughout its pages as recurring themes like echo's reverberating among the various writers. It is this duplication which gives symmetry to prophecy and harmonizes our understanding across the Bible's diverse books.
All of the major spiritual patterns incorporate within them finite subpatterns structured by the Holy Spirit in opposites for the purpose of contrast and visibility. These opposites apply not only to nations and to cities: scripture says that all the works of God go in pairs by opposites.
Thus we can see the same processes at work even in the Body of Christ. Because Jesus specified His body as food, many Christians see His body now as the communion Host in the Eucharist. But, as we have already shown, the Gospel that Jesus preached is a food from heaven even more important.
One is physical and the other spiritual. One is for this world and the other is for heaven. Virtually all of the contrasting patterns of scripture polarize on these two focal points.
John revealed that while Jesus was present on earth, he could not give the Holy Spirit to us. He had to ascend to the Father and be glorified first. (Jn.7:39). This proves that the Holy Spirit is something that emanates from the glorified nature of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit, then, is the spiritual 'Sonshine' of heaven.
God has, in physical nature, created for us a contrasting opposite, and it's importance to earthly life stands as a stark and ever-present witness to the importance of the Gospel for our heavenly lives. This physical opposite is the sun in the sky.
Using the metaphor of God's solar system, 'sunshine' is not the sun itself, but it is the same substance as the sun. Emanating from the sun, this flowing light has the power to bring the life-giving energy of the sun into every plant and creature on earth so that all can live.
Thus sunlight creates our physical body of flesh by bringing into it the life-giving energy of the sun. What man calls 'food' is actually sunlight. All the groceries we buy are simply packages of sunlight in stored form.
Plants absorb the sunlight, storing it in their fruits and leaves which are then eaten by animals causing the stored energy of sunlight to be passed into them. In this way, sunlight is distributed throughout the living world in a process called the food chain.
In this world, food and sunlight are two parts of the same substance. Without this food -- without eating sunlight -- we could not live on earth.
Therefore, God has glorified a part of the darkness (the sun in the solar system is darkness glorified) to make it into a kind of metaphoric image of Himself -- a pale worldly image of the glorified Son of God. Because, just as sunlight is a product of the sun, the Holy Spirit is the product of the glorified Son of God.
The fact that sunlight must enter inside our body to give us its life echo's our relationship with the Gospel, and it indicates that the Holy Spirit and the Gospel are exactly the same substance. Both emanate from the glorified Christ.
The Spirit, then, is the Gospel. It forms our spiritual body of divine light by feeding us divine light.
John said that God is Word. (Jn.1:1). Since God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all word, the Godhead can only be known on earth in terms of the Gospel of Christ. This is precisely what Jesus said, "It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life." (Jn.6:63).
This, as we have said before, is what makes the Testimony of Jesus -- the four Gospels -- so much greater than all the other words that the holy Bible contains. (Jn.5:39). Those who 'eat' the Gospel of Jesus will live forever.
"I tell you most solemnly, whoever keeps my word will never see death." (Jn.8:51).
In his vision, the prophet Ezekiel warned that most people, even though they were fascinated with Jesus, would fail to actually ingest the Gospel which could save them:
"Son of man, the members of your nation are talking about you on the ramparts and in doorways. They keep saying, 'Come and hear the word that has come from God'. They throng towards you; my people sit down in front of you and listen to your words, but they do not act on them."
"They cannot tell the truth and their hearts are set on dishonest gain. As far as they are concerned, you are like a love song beautifully sung to music. They listen to your words, but no one puts them into practice. When this takes place -- and it is beginning now -- they will learn that there has been a prophet among them." (Ez.33:30-33).
This neglect is the reason why Christ said that the road to heaven is narrow and that few people would find it -- and it demonstrates that the world's dualism even applies to faith.
God has made all creation adhere to a configuration of repeating patterns. That is why Einstein could probe the depths of outer space using earth-bound similarities like elevators and freight trains and find truths of creation in the commonality between them.
We can see a similar kind of reflection linking concepts of 'good' and 'evil' to the processes of 'order' and 'chaos' in the world of nature. Physicists, for instance, in studying the world, have defined a physical creation made up mostly of chaotic elements.
Called fractals, the scientists have divided these elements into three parts. One of these parts is orderly while two others are chaotic. And of the chaos, one part physicists say, is 'manageable', while another is termed 'unmanageable'.
Human nature seems to follow a similar pattern in terms of God in Jesus Christ. Since God made the world to reflect Christ and His purpose here, it would only figure that He would make a physical nature that augmented this vision. That is why we can see divine truths reflected so often in the physical order.
Metaphorically, order always applies to God and chaos to Satan. The three forms of nature actually mirror the formula expressed by Zechariah when he defined the numerical strength of good and evil in humanity on earth. (Zc.13:8).
According to Zechariah, one part of humanity will choose God, while two other parts in their rejection of God are destined to be 'cut off' from Him. Since Zechariah's formula shows us a human creation comprised of one-third for God and two-thirds for Satan, it is not surprising to find a similar ratio existing in physical nature -- with two forms of chaos coexisting with order there as well.
Moreover, in both cases, the part that is chaotic seems to exist in manageable and unmanageable forms. And it is this similarity that allows us to see in fractals an image of the millenium.
This image may seem remote in terms of biblical symbolism, but it points out a basic truth underlying the era of Christianity's world reign. During the millenium God took a chaotic (pagan) environment and made it temporarily obey Christian rule.
The 'narrow road' leading to salvation never changed, but suddenly a great part of human civilization acquiesced to the rule of the Christian Church. Many didn't follow those rules; they continued to live lives that were openly rebellious to the teachings of the Gospel, but the vast majority supported the Church and backed its aims nonetheless (whether they lived it's ways or not).
The millenium, therefore, is very much like the world of nature where chaotic fractals act under the control of God to produce an environment, which on the surface appears harmonious and obedient to God, but underneath that surface is found to be mostly chaotic and random.
That is why we see a litany of Christian governments leading down through history from Rome to the United States of America where leaders and citizens alike have often been immoral themselves in their private lives, but who nevertheless have publicly promoted obedience to Christian principles.
When God changed the rule on earth from pagan to Christian (by locking Satan up in prison), the portion of human nature that was 'manageably chaotic' responded by not resisting the philosophical rules emplaced by God.
The third part of chaos, the unmanageable part, resisted God's authority and refused to comply with Christ's reign on earth at all. This rebellious coalition was left in such a minority, however, because of the alliance of the other two, that it lacked the strength to overthrow Jesus' rule on earth.
And that is precisely what we have seen during the historic term of the millenium. The forces of Satan have tried repeatedly over the centuries to overthrow the Church, but, until recently, these forces have been consistently beaten back by an alliance of civic leaders and church officials.
The Revolt has changed all that. Now, with the greater population in rebellion and Satan himself back in the picture, all chaos is being reunited with its true master. This is changing the balance of rule because it is leaving 'order' once again in the minority.
The "iron scepter" (governmental authority) is passing back to the pagans where it will soon bring forth Gog and Magog.
It is obvious in John's prophecies concerning the millenium that latent evil had to exist somewhere on earth throughout the entire term of God's rule, or Satan would not have been able to rise up at the end of the 'thousand years' in fulfillment of John's vision and lead world forces into a second war against Jesus Christ. (Rv.20:7-8).
It is in such warfare that the Bible says the millenium will come to an end. For evil to resurface on earth at the end of the millenium, it had to exist on earth throughout the millenium.
The successful management of God's opposition is a key factor defining the era of Christian rule on this planet. God accomplished this management by locking Satan in the Abyss. This incarceration divided Satan's forces in half.
Like a type of 'manageable chaos', during the reign on earth of the churches most kings of the world didn't obey Christ personally -- they waged their wars and continued to chase after riches -- but they preached otherwise, positioning themselves and their nations at the foot of the cross.
They allowed no mention of the dragon, nor did they legitimize his works or allow his principles to be discussed openly in their kingdoms the way they do now.
Officially, in those days, God's order prevailed as the ruling philosophy. God created this world entirely for Christ's purpose. Not just in scripture, but in everything He made.
That is why the 'order' and 'chaos' of the physical world mimic the order of God and the chaos of Satan in human nature. God created one to mirror the other. And He made that mirror visible.
Because chaos belongs to Satan, his return from the Abyss will put the part of chaos that is malleable back under his control, and because that return is now in progress, we can see the balance of power among the citizens of Babylon now shifting back to the pagans.
Manageable evil is becoming suddenly unmanageable, and so a reign of violence is sweeping the earth following right in the footsteps of Christ's prediction.
The majority no longer support the Church. Instead, they are now attacking it and degrading its influence in society. Surrounding the wave of violence accompanying this attack, the philosophies and principles of this world (Satan's world) are once more being promoted and encouraged by the world's business, educational and political leaders through all their channels of communication.
Once Satan has achieved full dominion over his forces by reuniting them all, he will use his power and influence to try to completely eradicate Christ's 'order' from the earth. This will bring the Wrath.
As the images follow through, even the physical fractals themselves will begin to come apart the closer to the End we come. Scripture bears witness to this.
It tells us that the seas will become chaotic, the earth will quake and rock off its axis. The stars will fall. Manageable chaos will become unmanageable even in the physical realm.
As far-fetched as these descriptions may seem, they follow the patterns of a nature God Himself has formed -- patterns which seem to have been created in the very images of the specific principles He wanted us to witness.
When God glorified Jesus in heaven, he made Jesus the source of heaven's light -- a light which imparts God's everlasting life into whomever it enters.
The only life that the sun has power to impart is a worldly copy of that life. And the difference between the two is that the life which the sun imparts is short-lived and filled with flaws. Sunlight must be eaten over and over again, and even then, those that eat it soon die anyway.
By contrast, the glorified light of heaven that Jesus brought down to us in the form of his Gospel (the 'Sonlight' of heaven) imparts an everlasting life that never dies. It only has to be eaten once for all time -- by putting the Gospel into practice in our lives. And once completely consumed, it stays in us forever.
Although sunlight is transient and imperfect, it shines in our sky with a brilliance that allows us to begin to comprehend the glorification of Jesus in heaven. God made it that way on purpose. Not as perfection, but as a symbol of perfection.
As the food of heaven, Christ's word feeds an invisible body that God has built around our soul to replace the visible one we now wear. When we obey God's word, we eat it spiritually -- that is how we take His new life into us. (Jn.4:32-35).
This brings us back to the core of all the dualism. The heavenly garment that will encase our soul in heaven must be built out of the food that Jesus brought down to us from heaven, and this is why we must consume the word of God by taking it into our hearts.
The baptism of the Spirit produces within us a spiritual embryo -- our new body in Christ -- which we must nourish by feeding it the food of heaven, so that it can well up inside us to produce eternal life. (Jn.4:14).
If this were not true, grace would not be a variable. The very fact that we can fall from grace shows that we cannot go back to our old behaviors. If we do, the spiritual embryo growing inside our hearts will shrivel up and die.
To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be filled with the Gospel -- to live in its commands.
Jesus died on the cross so that we could die to our mortal flesh which has trapped our soul in sin. (Rom.6:3-7).
And so that our soul would not remain naked after this mortal tent died, he touched us with a new body -- His Spirit -- a heavenly tent for life in the kingdom of God. Coming to us in embryonic form, this new spiritual tent must recieve the nutrition Jesus brought down for it from heaven -- the bread of life.
God gave us this wheat of heaven in the form of his Gospel so that, by eating it, our new bodies are able to grow from embryo to birth in the substance of the new creation, enabling God to transform us from this temporary world to the eternal world of Christ's new kingdom. (Jn.6:57-58).
All the dualism of scripture hinges on this transformation and that is why the idea of transformation lies at the heart of the liturgy of the communion feast of God. Remodeling ourselves into the image of Christ's word is a process which allows us to grow into eternal life. (Mt.7:21-27).
Examples like this emphasize the fact that God speaks to us in all sorts of metaphoric ways -- not just in words, but even in the symbolism of nature -- to show us the truth of Jesus and to encourage us to follow Him to the eternal life He offers.
The Holy Spirit seems to have directed the Church to use this same symbolism in its calendar. The Hebrew calendar was based on the moon -- on reflected light. In the calendar used by Christian's, however, the days are based on the sun -- on the direct source of the solar system's light.
This is why Passover and Easter usually fall in different weeks from one another even though the passion of Christ originally happened in the Passover period.
Metaphorically, the use of a lunar calendar implies a reflected word of God -- a word reinterpreted by the minister's and priest's. Lunar light is reflected light.
By changing to a sun calendar, Christianity implies a word of God free of the yeast of the Pharisees. The pure unreflected light of God.
At the very top of Hebrew theology was Moses, himself only a reflection of the light of God -- and so his light relates to that of the moon.
But at the head of the Christian Church is Jesus Christ, the only Son of God -- a divine Being who was sent down from heaven to give us God's exact words in God's own voice. And the Gospel of Christ is just that.
The calendar structure continues a strong theme found in scripture where sunlight points to Godlight.
Dualism proves the heavenly correlation between the Bible and nature -- the fact that Jesus not only made the creation we now live in, but that he made it in such a way that it would always point to His own ultimate truth. (Rom.1:19-21).
The themes are consistant. That is why the spiritual repetition that reverberates through scripture echo's right out into nature itself.
It is the Holy Spirit's way of showing us that the reason why God made everything in pairs by opposites is so that we could come to a better understanding of a heavenly kingdom which can only be understood by means of such symbolism -- so that we could look at the transient visible and see in it images of an eternal invisible.
We can see this same dual relationship in the chaos at the foundation of matter.
God is order, not chaos. Scripture says that God created "all things by measure, number and weight". (Ws.11:21).
But when the scientists have used their equipment to probe the fundamental structure of this world what they find at the base of existence is chaos, not order. The 'measure, number and weight' is built on a base of chance and operates through the mechanism of probability.
Albert Einstein, when he saw this, refused to believe it. "God does not play dice" he said.
What Einstein did not realize was that this world not only reflects the order of God, it also reflects the contamination of Satan. The order comes from God, but the chaos comes from Satan. The two are intertwined, and since the world belongs to Satan, chaos forms its base.
We live today in the re-creation of a world that was completely destroyed in flood waters because of sin.
God has taken a ruined world (Eden) and rebuilt it -- much like we would a shattered plate which we try to glue back together again. The plate is the order, but all the cracks in it show the wreckage it came from, and the glue is the temporary power that keeps it from going back to its shattered state.
This is exactly what Babylon is. It is an order God formed out of the elements of a crash that left it like the plate above, shattered and broken. It is a temporary replacement of Eden, rebuilt from the chaos of the flood.
God 'parted the waters' of that flood to establish a temporary order here for the sake of our salvation. "By your power you split the sea in two." "He turned the sea into dry land, they crossed the river on foot!" (Ps.74:13, 66:6).
The Bible says that God had to use great power to bring order into this chaotic world -- 'sheer power' is the term Moses used (Ex.13:11-15) -- and when He releases that power, all order in this world will dissolve and disappear.
Once God has found in this world what He is looking for, He will leave it -- taking order with him -- and when He does, the world will return to the chaos and darkness of the death sentence earlier imposed on it because of Satan's rule.
The wrath that accompanies the end of the world is an integral part of this return to chaos.
When order dissolves, everything in this world collapses and falls apart and that itself is the wrath.
Signals of this collapse have been with us from the beginning so that we can see exactly where Satan's rule is leading us. Death, disease, and decay. This is Satan's legacy. On earth, spring always ages into winter.
For winter to return to spring a resurrection out of death must occur.
The entire world exists on signs which show the inevitable collapse of order in the presence of sin.
Using immense power, God has rescued us from Satan's captivity by coming deep into the dragon's own domain and taking control of it for a short period of time. God is holding the waters of chaos apart with great energy so that we can find our way out of Babylon and return to the Jerusalem of heaven.
"By sheer power God brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." (Ex.13:14).
But God cannot hold back the wrath forever. Like the pathway He formed when He held back the two walls of water in the Red Sea, the road leading out of sin's slavery is temporary.
Decay is everywhere, eroding order wherever it appears. Redemption is essential and immediate. That is why Moses tied redemption and this 'strength of God's hand' together. (Ex.13:14-15).
We must leave quickly and at once by the path He showed us. As soon as He deems the journey complete, God will take back His 'sheer power', allowing the waters to crash together again, permitting chaos and darkness once again to envelop the world. And then all that is not of God will be hurled into the burning lake of fire described by John in the Book of Revelation.
Because of Satan, the new life that starts here in order always ends in chaos as the elements gradually return to their original chaotic state.
Every new baby is born with great fanfare in a perpetual renewal of hope, but the only hope is Jesus Christ, and so outside of Christ, no child can last. Ultimately all the fanfare gives way to nursing homes and funerals.
God did not raise us up here to live, but to choose.
The order which springs up here only exists for a short time -- just long enough for us to make that choice -- and then the chaos returns. "Man lasts no longer than grass, no longer than a wild flower he lives, one gust of wind, and he is gone, never to be seen there again." (Ps.103:15-16).
The light of Christ has come into the darkness of this world to show us that there is an escape from death "...the word of our God is forever." (Is.40:8), but we have only a short time to grab onto it before the waters of chaos return and our chance to find it is snuffed out.
We can see this return of chaos with each sickness and with each injury of the flesh. This is God's way of warning us to make our escape from Babylon while there is still time to do it.
And death itself shows us that there are no other options: "Remember the last things and stop hating, remember dissolution and death and live by the commandments." (Sir.28:6-7).
God has allowed us to see the chaos in this world so that we can understand how tenuous our stay here really is, and how immediate our need to follow the path Jesus has marked out for our escape.
"...take care of yourself before you fall ill. Examine yourself before judgment comes, and on the day of visitation you will find yourself acquitted. Humble yourself before you fall ill, and when you sin, repent. "
"Let nothing prevent your discharging a vow in good time, and do not wait till death before setting matters to rights. Bear the wrath of the last days in mind, the time of vengeance when God averts his face." (Sir.18:19-24).
The law of God holds order together and sin pulls it apart. That is why faith is so powerful in this world -- it holds back the wrath -- faith holds back the return of chaos. Yet faith was not given to make this world eternal.
This world belongs to Satan and so its basic nature is intrinsically chaotic. It is not earth, but heaven where Einstein's 'dice' are not played. It is only in God's kingdom where order rules everything.
If scientists were to probe the fundamental structure of heaven, they would find no probability there, no chance -- because in heaven there is no chaos -- no disintegration into death.
There is no decay because order has nothing to decay into.
Everything stays orderly, perfect and eternal forever because decay does not exist there. "On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples, and the shroud enwrapping all nations -- he will destroy Death forever." (Is.25:7-8).
There is a theme in scripture defining this world in terms of iron. This, too, is a part of the dualism of God. All of these references are used metaphorically to describe Israel's captivity -- 'iron furnace', 'iron bars', 'yoke of iron', etc.
God has raised us up on an iron planet so that Jesus could come and show us a kingdom that is its opposite -- one that is completely free and open.
Through an understanding of opposites, God has made it possible for us to comprehend His world even though it now lies hidden from our eyes.
There is no question that this world, like a jail, is made of iron.
The scientists who study the galaxies have discovered that the earliest stars were made of gases (hydrogen and other light elements), but the kind of stars that produce life -- stars like our own sun -- must be created through a series of gigantic stellar explosions -- supernova's -- which build the lighter elements into heavier elements -- into the metals that constitute our world.
By far, the most prevalent of these heavy elements is iron. Iron forms the core of all the planets and is a definitive component of earthly life.
At first glance this metaphor may seem contrived, but it is not. In heaven life is freer than even the gasses of early stars, but in this universe it is restrained to exist only in iron cells.
Scripture, then, simply bears witness to the fact that God has raised us up in a metallic world created from the iron furnace of our own galaxy. "I will break your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze." (Lv.26:19).
When Moses saw Jesus, His feet were standing, not on a floor of bronze, but on a floor of polished crystal. "They saw the God of Israel beneath whose feet there was, it seemed, a sapphire pavement pure as the heavens themselves." (Ex.24:10).
These references exist not so much to prove Christ as to acknowledge His omnipresence throughout all time -- so that we can see an Old Testament, not separate from Him, but made by Him and formed in the images of His own Testimony.
The Bible and the universe are an integrated whole -- all revolving around Jesus who formed them Himself for a single purpose.
Just as He brought the children of Israel out of an Egypt that Moses called a 'furnace of iron', God brought all mankind out of the 'iron furnace' of this solar system -- raising all life up here out of the dust of this earth.
But, like the pavement of sapphire beneath God's feet, our real world is of another kind: "When you raise your eyes to heaven, when you see the sun, the moon, the stars, all the array of heaven, do not be tempted to worship them and serve them."
"The Lord your God has allotted them to all the peoples under heaven, but as for you, God has taken you and brought you out from the furnace of iron, from Egypt, to be a people all his own, as you still are today." (Dt.4:19-20).
The meaning of this prophecy is imbedded in the rescue of Christ. The words allude to our rescue from this universe and our transport by the power of God to another. (Jn.18:36).
While iron may form the core of our earthly bodies, it has nothing to do with our soul or the kingdom of heaven, nor even with the Spirit that comes from God. And that is what the dualism exists to tell us.
There is a very real but invisible world that exists all around us which we cannot see. It is so unlike the material 'iron' world that currently surrounds us that when the prophets describe it, they use terms like Moses did which allude to crystal -- a delicate, beautifully ordered and transparent substance which, when light is shined through it shimmers in a spectacular array of colors.
"The wall was built of diamond, and the city of pure gold, like polished glass. The foundations of the city wall were faced with all kinds of precious stone...diamond, lapis lazuli, turquoise, crystal, agate, ruby, gold quartz, malachite, emerald, sapphire and amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls...and the main street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass." (Rv.21:18-21).
These two completely different worlds existing side by side show that the world in which we live in the flesh is only a small part of the complete creation of God. "Many mysteries remain even greater than these, for we have seen only a few of his works..." (Sir.43:32).
Speaking about this invisible world, Jesus told Nathaniel: "Wait until you see the heavens rolled back before your eyes and the angels of God ascending and descending". (Jn.1:51).
It is God's will that we see very little of His entire creation. "The Lord has not granted to the holy ones to tell of all his marvels which the Almighty Lord has solidly constructed for the universe to stand firm in his glory." (Sir.42:17).
As a result we know very little about our own universe let alone the invisible immensity which lies beyond it -- the existence of which Jesus first revealed to Nathaniel.
The only 'proof' of God's spiritual world is Jesus Christ who acknowledged its existence to us.
Jesus said that God is spirit (Jn.4:24), and that is why no one has ever seen God. Flesh and blood cannot see spirit. Like body and soul, the two are polar opposites. God has made all His works go in inverse pairs like this because we are in exile -- banished from the presence of God by sin.
This is also the reason why we must have faith -- because the most valued things of God are invisible to us in this material world of exile. Paul said that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor.15:50).
This means that the third heaven cannot be entered in the flesh. Not even the second heaven can be entered that way. In fact, even the lowest part of the first heaven -- the iron and gaseous heaven above our heads -- requires rocket ships and space suits even to touch its fringes.
Flesh and blood, therefore, can barely exist even in the material world, showing just how tenuous exiled life is in God's immense creation.
The kingdom of heaven is not only different from the material world, it lies far beyond the first heaven because it exists outside the lower waters.
A 'spiritual' world is something we cannot begin to comprehend using scientific understanding -- especially the spiritual world that God has described to us in scripture -- one with multiple tiers.
It is only the dualism of scripture that brings us fragmentary images of this kind of creation. That is because all we can see here is the yoke of iron which envelops us, and therefore the only worlds we can comprehend in scientific terms are ones formed in similar iron chains.
That is why science fiction always traverses the galaxies of the lowest heaven chronicling the wars of the violent.
Paul said that we must be like people who can see the invisible, because seeing the invisible is the ultimate meaning of faith. "And so we have no eyes for things that are visible, but only for things that are invisible; for visible things last only for a time, but the invisible things are eternal." (2 Cor.4:18).
Our body and soul exist in a combined universe (a place called the lower waters) which God split into two parts because of the exile. This split is the exile itself and it is the reason for all the dualism.
This division is at the heart of God's pairing everything by opposites, and it is the reason for the necessity of baptism. The essential message the Bible brings to us about the division of the universe is that our soul needs to be clothed.
Adam and Eve could not remain naked in the Garden at Eden.
This was God's way of showing us that every human soul needs to be clothed in a body. In order to be whole in the eyes of God, the soul cannot exist without this garment or covering.
In the case of Christ's kingdom, a new spiritual body of God's universe must be united with our soul from this universe. The two must be combined within us in order for our soul to live in heaven. The body we wear now won't work. It doesn't live long enough. It is temporary, like the covenant of Moses upon which it is based.
The covering that God made for Adam and Eve was temporary and it blinded them to the existence of the spiritual world because the flesh God put over them represented a tent of exile.
That same tent is the one we currently wear -- a temporary iron tent meant to drive home the reality that we are in prison somewhere out in the wilderness of creation, and live there now awaiting a sentence of death because of Satan's contamination.
All flesh is short-lived and is doomed to die the moment it is born. Knowing this we can search for an escape. That search is what leads us to Christ.
What we discover when we find Jesus is His promise that He can cut away the temporary and perishing flesh now covering our soul and replace it with a garment (the Holy Spirit) which is eternal -- a garment with the power to transport us out of this dying universe into one that lives forever.
It is precisely this process which Paul described when he said that we die to our body when we are baptised in Christ's death.
When we are touched in his death (through baptism) our soul is set free from the dying flesh of this universe. And with the entrance of the Holy Spirit, a brand new body takes root in us. When we drink in Christ's Gospel we build into strength this new body (God's Spirit) so that we can live forever in God's new kingdom.
Paul proved this when he said, "when we were baptised in the Lord Jesus we were baptised in his death". (Rom.6:3).
"In him you have been circumcised, not by human hand but by the complete stripping of your body of flesh. You have been buried with him when you were baptised; and by baptism, too, you have been raised up with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead." (Col.2:11-12).
What replaces this flesh is the 'wedding garment' -- the Holy Spirit. "My soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in the garments of salvation, he has wrapped me in the cloak of integrity, like a bridegroom wearing his wreath, like a bride adorned in her jewels." (Is.61:10).
We receive this new clothing when we receive the Holy Spirit. This is the baptism of the Spirit. "All baptised in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ." (Gal.3:27).
God's dualism in scripture can also manifest itself in more than one way. It can have several levels to it.
For instance, just as God's first creation, Eden, had a land to the east of it called 'Nod', so Babylon has its own east -- a land called 'Persia'.
The prophecy that the people of God must serve the king of Babylon until the kingdom of Persia comes to power is a key part of scripture's imagery.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the prophets foresaw that the east would one day come to power, crush Babylon and in the process set the people of Israel free from their Babylonian captivity.
This happened over 2500 years ago and is destined to be echoed again in our near future. But a deeper imagery lay hidden by the fact that this would happen in more than one way.
Cyrus was the Persian king who destroyed the power of Babylon and allowed the Jews to leave their captivity in Babylon and return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple. For this reason, Cyrus, himself, is seen by biblical scholars as the essential fulfillment of these prophecies.
However, the underlying focus of scripture is Jesus Christ, not the king of Persia. The east regained its strength much more decisively in the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth.
Those in Judea who went out to rule the world in fulfillment of these prophecies, then, turned out to be Christ's disciples of peace, not the troops of Cyrus.
Thus Jesus turned out to be the spiritual fulfillment of Isaiah's words. Jesus came like the rising sun because he was the brilliant light of God dawning on earth. "Arise, shine out, for your light has come, the glory of the Lord is rising on you, though night still covers the earth and darkness the peoples. Above you the Lord now rises and above you his glory appears." (Is.60:1-2).
Like the rising sun, Jesus came up out of the Middle East to spread his light all across the world, freeing mankind from the bondage of sin. Isaiah's prophecies concerning Cyrus reflect this spreading light of God.
They point not to a literal Persian king and physical freedom, but to Jesus Christ (who has risen up out of the east to set the people of God free from a spiritual Babylon).
Speaking for God, Isaiah wrote, "I am he who says of Cyrus, 'My shepherd -- he will fulfill my whole purpose, saying of Jerusalem, 'Let her be rebuilt', and of the temple, 'Let your foundation be set in place". (Is.44:28).
These were the very decrees Jesus brought to the world. The freedom Jesus offered was spiritual and eternal, but there is also a physical release from Babylon.
First came Cyrus of Persia who freed the Jews from Babylon, and on whose actions Isaiah's words were based. Then Jesus -- the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy; and finally, to complete scripture's echoing theme, one more 'Prince of Persia' is standing in the wings ready to make his appearance as well.
When he arrives he will issue a decree terminating the treaty of peace Jesus made with Babylon.
This will bring the House of Israel's physical captivity in Babylon to an end once and for all. (2 Chron.36:21).
The Rebel, himself, then, is the third major figure involved in the Cyrus prophecy. And because his appearance will mimic that of Christ, the scriptures portray him, too, in terms of light. Not sunlight, though, but much dimmer -- a bright planet.
He is likened in the prophecies to the daystar, Venus -- the bright star-like planet that heralds the dawn in the eastern winter sky. And that is precisely what the final Persian prince will do.
When he appears, his coming will herald the dawn of Christ scheduled to follow right behind him.
In the winter months, Venus was called the 'daystar' because it rose in the east just before the dawn, and therefore it heralded the coming of the day. This is also why the ancient Greeks named Venus in its winter phase, 'phosphorus' -- a name which means 'light-bringer'.
The fact that Venus foreshadows the dawn only in the winter sky, is another demonstration of this planet's metaphoric relationship with the end-times -- with the 'winter' of this world.
All these illustrations show the complex interplay between pairs and opposites that exist in scripture, and they provide a clear indication of just how intricately the Holy Spirit has used the images of nature to inspire the prophets to bear witness about the future through them.
The prophet Joel indicated how this 'dawn' of God would suddenly break on top of the destroyer, shattering his darkness: "Let all the inhabitants of the country tremble, for the day of God is coming, yes it is near. "
"Day of darkness and gloom, day of cloud and blackness. Like the dawn there spreads across the mountains a vast and mighty host, such as has never been before, such as will never be again..." (Joel 2:1-2).
"How did you come to fall from the heavens, Daystar, son of Dawn? How did you come to be thrown to the ground, you who enslaved the nations? You who used to think to yourself, 'I will climb up to the heavens; and higher than the stars of God I will set my throne. "
"I will sit on the Mount of Assembly in the recesses of the north. I will climb to the top of thunderclouds, I will rival the Most High.' What! Now you have fallen to Sheol to the very bottom of the abyss!" (Is.14:12-14.).
Isaiah's words show us that the Rebel's momentary triumph on earth will be like the appearance of Venus in the winter sky just before dawn when darkness is at its greatest.
Like a wintery Venus, the Rebel's appearance will be the sign that signals to everyone that the brilliant Son of God is coming like the dawn just behind him.
"From the beginning I foretold the future and predicted beforehand what is to be. I call a bird of prey from the east, my man of destiny from a far country. I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes -- one from the rising sun who calls on my name." (Is.41:25, 46:10-11).
The interrelationship between the Messiah and the pretender who tries to rival Him at the end of time are shown in numerous biblical passages.
Not only that, but the imageries of scripture show us two rivals, not just one. Venus heralds the dawn by rising immediately ahead of the sun only during the winter months. We can see it in the eastern night sky just before the sun rises.
In summer, however, it does just the opposite. In summer Venus follows the sun. It shines in the western sky just after the sun has set.
This, too is a pattern that was repeated in messianic circumstance. Just like Venus, the daystar of the prophecies, there are two phases to the pretender of scripture. One came like the daystar of summer, just after Christ's crucifixion; and the Great Rebel will come just before he returns.
One hundred years after Jesus was crucified the Jewish rebel, Bar Kokeba (the 'Son of the Star') proclaimed himself messiah of the Jews and led the final Jewish assault on the Roman empire.
Like the descent of Venus in the summer sky, Bar Kokeba followed the setting Son of God. His grandiose efforts sealed the diaspora, terminated Judah as a nation and cost him his own life in the process.
Where Bar Kokeba came after Jesus was crucified, the future false messiah (the Persian Madman scheduled to end history) will come in advance of His return.
And this schedule has been placed in the sky by God so that we can watch it proclaimed day after day and year after year with the rising and setting of the sun.
Babylon has been cut in two by the Gospel of Christ. Part of the world has believed what was preached and converted, but another part refuses to believe.
From the very beginning, mankind has found itself divided into two peoples -- the people of God and the people of this world.
The name 'Hebrew' comes from the word 'Habiru' which means 'outsiders'. This indicates that the people which God chose as His own were never really a part of this world -- they are foreigners here -- rejected by the world from the beginning.
Jesus showed that this division is spiritual, it is not genetic -- but the Jewish presence in the world gives it a genetic appearance.
The Bible's partition of the world into east and west (Persia and Babylon) is the geographic equivalent of this spiritual division, and, as we have already seen, it provides its own set of opposites.
From the beginning, the events of history have revealed an eastern world that has successfully deafened it ears to the message of Christ. In its ability to block the power of the Church, the East represents the seed territory of the Antichrist. He will rise to power there.
Spiritually he rises to power inside every heart that rejects Jesus, and that is the basis for the allegory.
The Bible shows us a God with two sides. One is the New Testament image of a God of mercy -- a mercy that comes from repentance. And the other is the Old Testament image of a God of wrath.
The people of Babylon will renounce their conversion to Christ and wax secular, throwing away their chance for mercy, and decimating the wall that protects them from those whose belief is in the wrath.
In the ongoing political confrontation between east and west then, God has given us a physical image of the great spiritual conflict that is taking place between the forces of God and the forces of this world everywhere on earth -- a spiritual warfare that is raging just as fiercely within our own families as it is internationally.
This spiritual conflict has no boundaries because the war is internal and is being fought within ourselves, but the physical counterpart to this conflict (i.e., its dual image) does have boundaries.
And these physical boundaries will soon define the End.
The East has been held in check only because God has locked Satan in the Abyss and imprisoned his most aggressive angels at the Euphrates river -- two events empowered by Christian faith.
As that faith disintegrates, so will the chains.
Completing scriptures dualism, God has keyed the final events of history around the Euphrates. The protracted fighting which has erupted around this river points to the release (or at least the imminent release) of Satan's angels from their chains.
Suddenly given freedom to act, these eastern angels have a single objective.
Returning from the Abyss, Satan has decreed that his spirit of war be sent into the hearts of everyone who will listen to him, inflaming the citizens of this world and molding them into a readiness to fight.
He has ordered the angels at the Euphrates to mobilize pagan forces everywhere on earth for combat -- an armed struggle, according to scripture, that will revolve around the partition dividing east from west.
With the release of these angels, therefore, one would naturally expect great war clouds to begin swirling around the Euphrates river -- the area which God has prophetically designated as the doorway to the end times.
Because Iraq houses ancient Babylon, it houses the terminal dualism of the last days. In the coming years this ancient site of Hebrew captivity will once again fall to Persian forces.
When it does so it will herald the final desolation the handwriting announced -- foretelling the impending annihilation of global Babylon at the hands of Persian invaders, and with it, the termination of Satan's captivity of the House of Israel once and for all. (Rom.1:19-21).
In so doing it will bring all dualism on earth to an end.
While God has placed images of His truth in the deepest areas of scripture, He has placed Himself only in its veneer.
Those who probe religion deeply go right past God and end up in their own imaginaton. This is the dilemma of theologians.
God has hidden His truths, revealing them only to the simple but hiding them from the learned and clever.
Those who probe the depths of scripture in an attempt to bring it all into mental understanding are able to see truths they never have to obey. They see with their minds, not their hearts.
The simple, however, see no farther than the surface. They see with their hearts, not their minds and so they relate to God like children who simply obey. Deep understanding usually eludes them. Yet these are the ones who inherit all the promises of God.
Those who 'see' but live otherwise, inherit only the burning lake.
This is scripture's greatest paradox. Deep understanding is a 'view', it is not a path. Seeing into the kingdom of God and getting into that kingdom are entirely different from one another.
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