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To a world doomed to destruction of its own making, God responds and gives it the hope of a new start, a fresh beginning.  To individuals who likewise destine themselves for destruction, God opens the way for them to be purified and redeemed.  In Isaiah 49:24, this question was asked:  Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives rescued from the fierce?  How many of us, when we see this question, do not relate to it well at all because we live in a civilised part of the world, not a world where on any day a raiding party can come and take away everything you have, as it happened even to king David and his men when the Amalekites took all they had.[1]  This question was asked in a world when warriors and fierce men were cruel and violent, where the weak and the meek stood no chance, because victory depended on the strength of your sword arm.  The natural answer to this question for men living in the days of swords and shields is no.

But God said, “Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.  I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine.  Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your Saviour, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”[2]

The world of Noah’s days doomed itself to a destruction that not one of them could foresee, except God.  God alone saw it, for it is written:  The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the Earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.[3]  No one alive in Noah’s days could have known or understood the fate their wickedness and evil had set them on.  No one, even now, understands the consequences of angels marrying the daughters of men and producing children called Nephilims.

However, just like a good father grieves when he sees his children taking up with bad company and bad habits, so God grieved, for it is written:  The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the Earth, and His heart was filled with pain.[4]  And like all good fathers who cannot just stand by and let their children self destruct, He stepped in to correct them and prevent the awful destiny they had chosen in their ignorance and arrogance.  We read of God’s intervention in Genesis 6-8; an intervention known commonly as Noah’s flood, or the flood of forty days of water that drowned out everything that walked on the Earth so that only the birds and animals in the ark and the fish of the sea survived.  Total destruction of the world as Noah had known it—total destruction. 

We see it as God destroying the world, but we do not see it as God destroying the destruction that awaited men.  Like a good father grounding his children, the children see the father destroying their plans for a good time, but few see the father destroying the destruction that the children had sown for themselves.  God’s destruction has always been aimed at destroying destruction itself.  God does not destroy for the sake of destroying, but rather, destroys in order to destroy the destruction that would truly have destroyed everything.

The church and the children of the kingdom love to see God and know Him as the Redeemer and Saviour, but few have the maturity to understand this, where God said, “See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work.  And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc…”[5]  Men and devils alike destroy for the sake of destruction, not for salvation and redemption, but God destroys in order to destroy destruction that there may be redemption and salvation.

We do not know the world’s population in Noah’s days, but we know that only eight humans survived and every one else was drowned.  Imagine if everyone in Sydney died and only eight survived.  It would appear to be genocide.  Because no one has sought to come to know and understand God, they laugh at what is written:  “Let him who boasts boast about this:  that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on Earth, for in these I delight.”[6]  One could argue, “Where is the kindness of God in wiping out all those people?  Where is the justice in it, after all, God only spoke to Noah?  It is not as if He spoke to everyone.  And where is the righteousness, for after all, did God not make men in the first place?  He should have known better and removed us before He made us.” 

Those who think that way have proved what Solomon wrote to be true:  He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.[7]  You see, God never looks at the consequences of plans and actions in the light of time as we understand time, but rather in the light of eternity.  Eternity—what is eternity?  To us, we say it is forever without even being able to grasp what a lifetime means.  We want to talk of forever, mere mortals, whose life is seventy years by our own strength, want to speak of a period of time that exceeds the largest number a man can think of.

Psalm 90:3-6 gives us not the definition of eternity, but rather the understanding of eternity; what time feels like in eternity.  For Moses said this of God:  You turn men back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.”  For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by…  And Peter who experienced what it was like to be in the presence of the Eternal One Himself in the flesh, expanded on what Moses found, and he wrote for us:  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:  With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.[8]

The passage of time in eternity is as slow as you want it, or as fast as you like it.  It is slow, a day like a thousand years, if you cannot get to where you want to go, if you cannot arrive at your destination.  But it is fast—a thousand years is like a day when you can get to where you want to go.  How can I say this?  Because Jesus gave us this clue about the Father:  “My Father is always at His work to this very day.”[9]  Time passes quickly for a workman who is able to do what he wants to do, but when you cannot do what you set out to do, time passes slowly.  God does not measure time as we measure time, with a mechanical device, but rather, He measures it as a workman measures time.  That is why God said to Isaiah, “Within one year, as a servant bound by contract would count it…”[10]  God is not satisfied in just saying, “Within one year…” but He further said, “as a servant bound by contract would count it…”  It means the passage of that year, the speed of that year passing, is not a mechanical count, but rather, its speed is dependant on the rate at which the work is being fulfilled.  The faster the rate of the contract is fulfilled, the shorter the year; the longer the rate of the contract is fulfilled, the longer the year.

Now, what has this to do with destruction and doom or hope?  The destiny that you plan for yourself, whatever it may be, if it can never be achieved, then that is doom; but if it can be achieved, then there is hope.

You see, whatever the inclination of the hearts of men was in the days of Noah, God found it to be evil because whatever it was that they were planning… could never be.  They were setting for themselves a work, a destination, a problem, that could never be finished, that could never be reached, and that could never be solved.  In their forsaking of God, they wanted to have an existence without God.  It cannot happen— so for them, the destruction they had planned for themselves was the complete futility of all their efforts— so futile that even a day would seem like a thousand years.

The destruction of the world of Noah’s days, by the waters of the flood, destroyed the future plans of men and the torment filled eternity they had planned for themselves where a day would be like a thousand years because of unrelenting failure.  God doomed their plans of self destruction with His destruction so that a few days or a few thousand years later, depending on your perspective, Jesus Christ Himself would go to them, their spirits that is, and preach to them the Good News, as Peter wrote for us: He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.[11]  What was the response to Christ’s preaching from those spirits?  Paul told us:  When He ascended on high, He led captives in His train…[12] 

The flood did not destroy the world as much as it destroyed the destruction that men had destined themselves for, so that Christ could go to them in the right time and set them free from their destruction, that is, from the destruction of their own making to God’s destination for them.  For the time they spent as spirits in prison gave them a sample of the godlessness they had destined for themselves that they may make a better choice if a second chance was given.

Likewise then, God doomed Christ to death on a Roman cross, not to destroy Christ, but to destroy that which stood between God and men— a barrier so impenetrable that even if Adam never sinned but obeyed God, he would still never be anything more than the image and likeness of God, never one in the fullness of the stature of God.  So sin was not the only barrier between men and God, but rather, the very fact that God is Creator and man is creature was the barrier.  It has always been inevitable that if the barrier was ever to be removed so that man could know and understand all there is to know and understand about God, and grow and rise up to the fullness of His stature, then the Creator had to become the Creature and the creature had to become a creator as well.

So when man, Adam, created a disaster through sin, oddly enough, Adam did become like God the Creator, for Adam had created a whole new realm of existence— the realm of the flesh in which sin had been perpetrated.  You see, Satan, in a way, became and fulfilled what a model was meant to fulfil.  Him being the model of Perfection, that is, a model of God in His love of enemies, compassion and mercy, which was why he was full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, adorned with every precious stone, and as God said, “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created…”[13] 

Being a model, he too had to somehow create.  Creating is to bring into existence something that never existed before.  And so he created through his widespread trade and violence a spiritual world where sin was perpetrated.  In a way, he did become like the Holy One— and he created a ‘holiness’, a separation, that unfortunately destroyed perfection.  You see, Satan was the model of Perfection, God’s perfection, because when God is displaying His love of His enemies, mercy and compassion, He is at the greatest of His own beauty, wisdom and complete blamelessness.  A beauty that is exemplified by a cherub adorned with every precious stone in settings and mountings made of gold.

Now God, in making Christ who was without sin to be sin, as a sin offering,[14] at that moment destroyed all barriers, not only the barrier of sin, but worse than the barrier of sin, the barrier of the impenetrable light of His Holiness.  Now, the Creator became the Creature who had become a creator.  Christ, the Sinless One, had become sin that we might be the righteousness of God.[15]  In destroying His Son on that Roman cross, God destroyed forever every barrier between Him and man, so that in Christ, the fullness of God and man can dwell together, forever, inseparable.  The Creator had become like the creature, a sin affected being.  The creature had become like the Creator, now himself a creator, and his very Creator Himself had become victim to the fruit of the creature’s creation—darkness, disaster and doom—so man can take from God light, life and prosperity as a god.  And so through His image and with His Image, God fulfilled these words, “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster.”[16]  And from the death of Christ, life was brought to even spirits held in prison who had died in the flood of Noah’s days.

So then Satan, do you see the hope that God has held out for you?  And even to you, how He seeks to send destruction to all your works so that the fate you have destined for yourself, the unachievable existence of being a model without the original, will be destroyed so that you will not have laboured in vain, but become, in your own words, “like the Most High.”[17]  For if you would keep still and very silent when you are released from your millennium of imprisonment in the Abyss, you would become like the Most High, for God said, “For a long time I have kept silent…”[18]  And in your stillness, would you not also become like the Rock, and prove God wrong when He said, “There is no other Rock, I know not one.”[19]?

So rejoice all you Heavens and all who live in them as well as all who dwell on Earth and beneath the Earth—for God’s wrath brings destruction to destruction itself, for His destroyers are not harbingers of doom but prophets of hope.  The hope of glory— the glory of God that brings to life that which is dead so that it can never be destroyed again.

Rejoice, O doomed one, for the understanding of this will make your one thousand years of imprisonment seem like a day!


 

[1] 1 Samuel 30:3

[2] Isaiah 49:25-26

[3] Genesis 6:5

[4] Genesis 6:6

[5] Isaiah 54:16

[6] Jeremiah 9:24

[7] Ecclesiastes 3:11

[8] 2 Peter 3:8

[9] John 5:17

[10] Isaiah 21:16

[11] 1 Peter 3:18-20

[12] Ephesians 4:8 (Psalm 68:18)

[13] Ezekiel 28:12-15

[14] Romans 8:3

[15] 2 Corinthians 5:21

[16] Isaiah 45:7

[17] Isaiah 14:14

[18] Isaiah 42:14

[19] Isaiah 44:8

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