Psalm 2 — The God Who Mocks

We mentioned briefly last week that some scholars believe that Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 were written to be read together. The reason for that is some of the similarities between the two in terms of how God deals with the righteous as contrasted with how God deals with the wicked.

TIES TO PSALM 1
Psalm 1 — The Righteous vs. the Wicked

Psalm 2 — The Wicked world vs. the Righteous Son

 

Psalm 1  – Begins with “How blessed” (v. 1) – True happiness is not being settled in sin.

Psalm 2 Ends with “How blessed” (v. 12) – True happiness is trusting God’s Son.

Psalm 1 — call to “meditate” (v. 2) – true meditation on God’s law
Psalm 2 — “devising” (v. 1) – anti-meditation on exalting self and dethroning God …

Psalm 1 — Righteous meditate on God’s Law both day and night (vs. 2)
Psalm 2 —  The Wicked’s attitude to God’s Law is to break those bonds asunder, and cast away those cords from us

Psalm 1 — Scoffers (v. 1) – The wicked mock God.
Psalm 2 Scoffs (v. 4) – God mocks the wicked.


Psalm 1 — Righteous one is planted by streams of water
Psalm 2 — Righteous One is installed on Mt. Zion, God’s holy mountain

Psalm 1 – “the way of the wicked will perish” (6) – final end of the wicked
Psalm 2 “perish in the way” (v. 12) – final end of the Nation’s wicked leaders who oppose God

Psalm 1 — Wicked blown away like chaff
Psalm 2 — Wicked broken into pieces like pottery

Psalm 1 — True faith expressed in delightful meditation on God’s word
Psalm 2 — True faith expressed in reverent adoration of God’s Son, the living Word

So Psalm 1 -2 give us a strong contrast to the ways of the righteous vis-a-vis the way of the wicked. This is a theme of the righteous vs. the wicked is a theme that is repeated throughout the Psalms and one reason we should be much in the Psalms since the theme of God establishing His people while at the same time unseating the wicked is a comfort to God’s people.

Last week we look at the first strophe of this Psalm and noted the desire of fallen men to cast off God, His Christ, and God’s law. That fallen man remains committed to this program is seen by just a couple quotes,

“We make war against all prevailing ideas of religion, of the state, of country, of patriotism. The idea of God is the keynote of a perverted civilization. It must be destroyed.”

Karl Marx

“Come, Satan, slandered by the small and by kings. God is stupidity and cowardice; God is hypocrisy and falsehood; God is tyranny and poverty; God is evil. Where humanity bows before an altar, humanity, the slaves of kings and priests, will be condemned … I swear, God, with my hand stretched out towards the heavens, that you are nothing more than an executioner of my reason, the scepter of my conscience … God is essentially anticivilized, antiliberal, antihuman.”

Joseph Proudhon

And so as we looked at closely last week the peoples’ rage and imagining of a vain thing. We tried to establish the point that when in vs. 3 the Revolution expresses itself by a resolve to cast God’s cords away and break asunder their bonds that this an expression of a desire to be done with God’s law and His providence. We tried to connect the dots that as courts and legislators seek to overthrow God’s explicit law that these are modern day examples of attempts to break bonds and cast away cords.

This was the first point. “A People’s Rebellion Observed.” This week we move on to consider the second strophe of this Psalm in vs. 4-6 and note “God’s Ridicule Levelled.”

PSALM 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure: “Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion.”

II.) God’s Ridicule Levelled

A.) There is ridicule found in God’s position vis-a-vis the wicked’s raging

Vs. 4-6 moves us from the machinations on earth where we find rage and conspiring by the wicked rulers of the Nations. In first 4 we are transported as it were to God’s heavenly court room and in the face of all this rioting rage to overthrow God and His Messiah and their law we find God remaining seated.

Elsewhere in the Psalms it is said “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered.”

God is not threatened in the least. Per the Psalmist in Psalm 115,

” But our God is in the heavensHe does whatever He pleases.”

There is calm in the face of rebellion. There is nothing for God to be harried about. He does not call a council to map out strategy. No sweat lies upon His brow communicating concern. God merely sits. Sitting on the throne, of course, communicates security and control. The nations rage and God ridicules them by remaining seated.

We would do well to remember this when we see the fomenting of the wicked around us. We see antifa seeking to break asunder God’s bonds. We see Social Justice Warriors seeking to cast away God’s cords. We see a tide rolling in resolved to take a stand against the Lord and His anointed. We even see the Church and clergy marching in the streets supporting a Worldview that is hostile to Biblical Christianity… or maybe we are facing the hostility of friends and family for our Christian stand.

If we find ourselves understandably in turmoil we would do well to find calm in God’s ridicule of all this inasmuch as He remains seated. God is our God for the sake of Christ and He is not threatened in the least by those who threaten either Him or His people.

Luther adds here,

“This is to show that there is not a doubt to be entertained that all these things shall come to pass. And the gracious spirit does it for our comfort and consolation, that we may not faint under temptation but lift up our heads with the most certain hope.”

B.) There is ridicule found in God’s response

Orig: a primitive root; to laugh (in pleasure or detraction); by implication, to play:–deride, have in derision, laugh, make merry, mock(-er), play, rejoice, (laugh to) scorn, be in (make) sport.

Laughter … derision … mocking … scoffing

Psalm 37:13
The Lord laughs at him, For He sees his day is coming.
 
Psalm 59:8
But You, O LORD, laugh at them; You scoff at all the nations.
 
Proverbs 1:26 (Wisdom speaking)

I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes,

By repeating the same idea twice we have a tautology in this verse. Nothing is added in the second statement that isn’t already there in the first statement.

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. 

In Hebrew usage, it is to emphasize the truth of a matter. It is not a great deal different from our Lord saying “Verily, Verily.” By the repetition, there is an emphasis of the certainty of the thing.

J. A. Alexander offers here that this derision/mockery is “the strongest possible expression of contempt.”

This should alter our understanding of God’s character. This contempt of God for the wicked fits into the motif of “God is always angular and will never be made smooth.” God laughs, mocks and scoffs at the wicked.

This is what God delights in doing. Many might see cruelty in such behavior but I see the love of God for His own name and glory. What better response could there be to those who would roll God off His throne and place themselves in His place?

It is simply the case, citing Alexander again, “to God Himself there is something in sin that is not only odious but absurd, something which cannot possibly escape the contempt of higher much less the highest intelligence.”

We see God laughing at the wicked throughout Scripture,

1.) Pharoah decides to kill the Hebrew male issue and God laughs by placing the destroyer of Egypt at Pharoah’s table.


2.) The Philistines capture the Ark of the Covenant and decide to place it in service of Dagon’s temple, only to find first Dagon lying prostrate before the Ark and then subsequent to another effort decapitated and without hands.

3.) The enemies of God kill Christ and God laughs in the Resurrection, Ascension, and judgment coming of Christ in AD 70.God is full of this kind of merriment. The wicked keep Him pealing in laughter. Some would bring a complaint against God’s compassion here insisting that this laughter isn’t very compassionate.

When we consider the issue of compassion and mockery we must keep in mind that compassion is seldom a zero sum game. That is to say that often it is the case that if God were to show compassion to one party He would thereby be showing callousness towards another party.

Compassion thus cannot be considered in a vacuum. Compassion towards a murderer is callousness towards the victim’s family. Compassion for one who is effectively advocating homosexuality as just another life-style is callousness towards those who are being charmed by that argument. Compassion towards egalitarians and feminists who are quite self-conscious about what they are attempting is callousness towards every daughter and every wife who will be hardened and hurt by the culture that the advocates are seeking to build. Just as it is callousness towards every son and every father who will be emasculated and emptied by that same culture. The loathing that is revealed by any mockery reveals a corresponding compassion and love for the opposite of that which is being mocked and lampooned.

 So we would ask,

How is it compassionate to the righteous for God to not mock the wicked? How is it compassionate to God Himself to not break out in laughter against the contrivances of the wicked? Would we really suggest this mocking of God mean or full of animosity?


Note, there is no begging of God here for the wicked to come to His Messiah and surrender their hearts. There is no “softly and tenderly Jesus is calling” here. There is only straight up derision for those who would take a stand against the Lord and His anointed.

Pop Christianity doesn’t like that kind of God. But here we find Him described as such

We should keep in mind here the words of Alexander Maclaren here when we consider the terror in the idea of God mocking His enemies,

“To draw rebels to loyalty which is life is the meaning of all appeals to terror.”

And we would add, though if the rebel refuses life terror will indeed be his lot.

C.) There is ridicule found in God’s Words,

 Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure: “Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion.”

 

 

Conclusion

“What a great measure of faith is necessary in order to truly believe this word: For who could have imagined that God laughed as Christ was suffering and the Jews exalting? So, too, when we are opposed, how often do we still believe that those who oppose us are being derided by God, especially since it seems as if we were being oppressed and trodden under foot both by God and men?

… We should … fortify our hearts and look forward toward the invisible things and into the depths of the Word … I also shall laugh with my God.”

Martin Luther
Commenting on Psalm 2

Application

1.) We can continue to look forward to this day and pray for its hastening.

This day has not yet arrived. The wicked still plot and scheme. We can pray for their defeat.

2.) We can join in God’s laughter and I would say in God’s mocking. That is another sermon in itself but here I will just note that from Elijah’s mocking God’s enemies on Mt. Carmel, to Amos’ mocking of God’s enemies in his book, to Paul mocking his enemies in the book of Galatians we find the saints of God mocking God’s enemies.

3.) We can praise God that by the work of Christ He has made us who were once His enemies, to be His friends and so no longer an object of His mocking.

4.) We can ask God that He might be so kind as to make His enemies His friends by sending the Spirit to convert.

5.) We can continue to advance the necessity of all men everywhere to repent before the day of the Lord arrives.

6.) We can support with our monies and efforts those organizations that are committed to overthrowing the wicked.

 

 

Psalm 2:1-3

I. The Nation’s Rebellion Observed (2:1-3)
 
A. The Psalmist Sees The Nations Rising Up for Revolution (1)

1.) Note the presupposition of the Psalmist

The presupposition of the Psalmist is that it is unnatural for the nations to rage, plot, and conspire against the Lord. The operating assumed premise throughout is that the nations ought to know better. They ought not to take up against the Lord and His anointed. The fact that they have seems to strike the psalmist as a great oddity. Do you hear it in his voice?

Why do the nations rage?

It’s almost as if he is asking, ‘why whatever has gotten into them. Don’t they know better?’ His presupposition is that what is going on here is something that is altogether contrary to nature. What is true of the nations was true of Israel at one time,

“The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”


2. Why do the nations rage?

b.) Note NationS

We’ve spoken many times on the idea of ‘nations’ in Scripture so we won’t take a great deal of time here. Suffice it to say, once again, that throughout the Scripture, it is the nations as nations God deals with.

Dutch American Theologian Geerhardus Vos offered this insight as it relates to God’s dealing with Nations,

“God’s decree is not exclusively concerned with individuals but also comprises nations and establishes the bond between generations. The destiny of a nation is weighed by Him, as is the destiny of a person. There is not the slightest interest, indeed is completely impossible on Reformed grounds, to deny national election or whatever it may be called.”

Geerhardus Vos 
Dogmatic Theology Vol 1. — pg. 111

This reality that God deals with nations clearly prohibits the New World Order agenda of erasing the Nations and turning the world into a vast melting pot. If God elects nations then nations are God’s means whereby he elects persons from those nations. To advocate positions that would destroy nations is to resist God.

As it was the Nations that mocked God and His anointed in Psalm 2 so it was the Nations that Christ commissioned His disciples to gather in Matthew 28 and so it is those Nations which come into the new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24). Everywhere in the Bible, it is nations as nations that are dealt with.

We mention this again only to note that the modern impulse to erase all distinctions from national distinctions to racial distinctions to gender distinctions is an anti-Christ agenda.

c.) disposition of nations

Rage … conspire,
so angry
in an uproar
Rebel

The Hebrew word here is ragash (raw-gash) and means

1. (Qal) to be in a tumult or commotion
2. (TWOT) to conspire, plot

Here what seems to be communicated is that the nations have as their rallying p0int a rage against God that is channeled into a joint effort to conspire and plot Revolution against God and His authority. The way the Psalmist speaks you almost get the sense of a mob scene as the nations are gathered for the purpose of dethroning God and His anointed.

Of course, this has been the motif of fallen man since the fall. He will not have God rule over him. For God’s order fallen man would replace a utopian order. So man rages, plots and conspires against God and His anointed.

We should note here that from this Scripture we can assert that conspiracy theory is true. Fallen man conspires and plots. And we see that testified to throughout Scripture.

I Kings 21 … the conspiracy of Ahab against Naboth
II Samuel 11 … The conspiracy of David against Uriah
Acts 23 …  Paul’s nephew uncovered a plot to assassinate Paul, and his knowledge foiled the attempt
John 11:47-49 … Conspiracy to kill Jesus
Matthew 28 … Conspiracy to lie about what happened to the body of Jesus

And fallen man continues to conspire against God.

Much that we see around us is the consequent of men conspiring against God seeking to implement their order over God’s order? You really don’t think, for example, that Sodomite marriage, or gender blenders, or the flourishing of transhumanism, or the Robots for intimacy craze have at its roots the reality that men are conspiring against God and His anointed?

Conspiracy is one mark of fallen man and the Christian who refuses to entertain conspiracy theory as revisionist explanation for any number of historical events is not wise.

Alexander MacLaren rightly said here,

“the conspiracy of banded rebels… set before us with extraordinary force … all classes and orders are united in revolt, and hurry and eagerness mark their action and throb in their words.”

2. Why do the peoples (Rulers) plot a vain thing?

a.) There is a little humor about this Scripture. Here you have all these rum rulers running around plotting and conniving against God and His anointed and their rule. And all the while they are meeting in secret to cast off God’s rule, God is omniscient. No wonder God holds them in derision and laughs.

That vain thing they plot is the dethroning of God and the enthroning of themselves.

Many have envisioned the soon success of this plotting.

Voltaire offered,

“Before the beginning of the 19th century, Christianity will have disappeared from the earth.”

Some years later, in the same space where Voltaire uttered this prophecy, a depository of Bibles existed.

“Change is always one generation away. So if we can plant the seeds of doubt in our children, religion will go away in a generation, or at least largely go away. And that’s what I think we have an obligation to do.”

Lawerence Krauss

 Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University.

Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock and roll or Christianity.

John Lennon

So the plotting and predictions continue and will continue until the already present p0stmillennial kingdom expands to the point of exposing the fools who plotted in vain.

And this plotting happens in every field.

a.) In the area of Law men like Christopher Columbus Langdell, Roscoe Pound, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Benjamin Cardozo moved the discipline of law away from its Biblical moorings evinced in Puritan Commonwealth documents like “Abstract of the Laws of New England,” towards standards that evinced a humanistic, evolutionary, naturalistic and Statist paradigm. In the late 1800’s Langdell did yeoman’s work moving law training away from a century of Lawyers in America concentrating on what the Constitution said to Darwinian inspired notions of where the law was perceived to be moving (case law training). By Langdell’s work, the Constitution came to be seen to be evolving under the guidance of an imperial judiciary. Legal positivism, being rooted in an evolutionary basis thus was part of the vain plot to overthrow God.

b.) In sociology, the Father of Sociology plotted in vain against God.

August Comte spent his life seeking to abolish Christian worship and the Christian religion and when he was finished he established a new religion and proposed a hierarchy with himself at the top of the food chain and the soul of his deceased mistress as a sort of Queen of Heaven, and not being satisfied with that he created a liturgical humanist calendar by which to mark days and seasons.

c.) In politics

you have a variety of plotting. Ultimately all versions of Marxism, whether Fabianism, Syndicalism, Fascism, National Socialism, Communism, Trotskyism, Cultural Marxism, etc. are all just so many political plottings against the Lord and His anointed. They are ways by which the plotters seek to overthrow God and His order in favor of their utopian order where the State is God.

Having said that, there is good news here also that points to the rest of the Psalm.  All this plotting is in vain. All this energy … all the time spent … all the anxious energy is in vain. The Christ hater spends his life in vain because consciously or unconsciously he has spent his life plotting in vain against the Lord and His anointed.

Well,  this takes us from vs. 1 to vs 2-3 where the Psalmist is a little more detailed in his ponderings.

B. The Psalmist’s details the plotting as (2-3)

1. Against the Lord and His Anointed…

a. The kings of the earth set themselves

b. The rulers take counsel together

First note that this text is taken from a time when the King of the Hebrew people was seen as God’s regent over the earth. So closely was the King identified with the Lord that opposition to the King was opposed to God.

Now, we know that the anointed mentioned here as a higher and fuller meaning than just the King of Israel at this time. We know this because this Psalm is quoted in Acts 4:25-26 and applied directly to Christ. Jesus Christ is the greater King than any of Israel’s Old covenant Kings. He is the one whom the nations and rulers rage and plot against.

He is called the anointed

Because he has been ordained by God the Father,
and anointed with the Holy Spirit, 1
to be
our chief Prophet and Teacher, 2
who has fully revealed to us
the secret counsel and will of God
concerning our redemption; 3
our only High Priest, 4
who by the one sacrifice of his body
has redeemed us, 5
and who continually intercedes for us
before the Father; 6
and our eternal King, 7
who governs us by his Word and Spirit,
and who defends and preserves us
in the redemption obtained for us.

But the focus of this passage is of Jesus Christ as the great King to whom the loyalty of all other Kings must be given.

A great deal of time and energy has been spent on Christ anointed as our high priest and that rightly so. But Jesus Christ is also our great King and as King His command must be adhered to.

Presbyterian A. A. Hodge understood a Kingship of Christ that has been lost in much of the Reformed Church today,

“A Christian has no right to separate his life into two realms… to say the Bible is good for Sunday, but this is a week-day question, or the Scriptures are right in matters of religion, but this is a matter of business or politics. God reigns over all, everywhere. His will is the supreme law. His inspired Word, loyally read will inform us of His will in every relation and act of life, secular as well as religious; and the man is a traitor who refuses to walk therein with scrupulous care. The Kingdom of God includes all sides of human life, and it is a Kingdom of absolute righteousness. You are either a loyal subject, or a traitor. When the King comes, how will He find you doing?”

A.A. Hodge

Indeed, if a candidate for the ministry took Hodge’s words into his ordination service I wonder how many Presbyteries around the country might refuse to ordain him for that conviction?

But, Presbyteries notwithstanding Christ is anointed King and He rules all things as the Lord’s appointed man.

2. Against the Lord and His Anointed they say…

a. “Let us break Their bonds in pieces”
b. “(Let us) cast away Their cords from us”

What else can these bonds and cords be except God’s law?

The Hebrew word for “break” here carries the idea of snapping a chain apart. Here it would have to do with the intent of snapping the chain of God’s purpose or plan as expressed in God’s Law.

H. Rondel Rumburg offers in his work in this Psalm,


“There is no respect for the Anointed King whose truth challenges their desires. They evidence this by rejecting His role for men, by rejecting His role for women, by rejecting His role for nations, by rejection His role for families, by rejecting His role for the unborn, by rejecting His role for the Church, by rejecting His role for justice, by rejecting His role for the ministry, by rejecting His role for the Lord’s Day.”

How bizarre is this mindset? The one who provides breath and life is revolted against in favor of death. The only one who can provide meaning is tossed in favor of irrationality.

This is the culture we live in and these are the times we have been given. We live in a culture enraged against God and His anointed. But we are not to despair. We are to recognize they are involved in vanity. They can no more successfully pull down God than you can pull yourself up while standing in a bucket.

Conclusion

Here is the conclusion of the matter. The more these people are successful in their plotting the more they will fail.

“Just as all truth rests upon the truth that is from God, so the common foundation of all rights and duties lies in the sovereignty of God. When that sovereignty is denied or (what amounts to the same thing) banished to heaven because His kingdom is not of this world, what becomes then of the fountain of authority, of law, of every sacred and dutiful relation in state, society and family? What sanction remains for the distinctions of rank and station in life? What reason can there be that I obey another’s commands, that the one is needy, the other rich? All this is custom, routine, abuse, injustice, oppression. Eliminate God, and it can no longer be denied that all men are, in the revolutionary sense of the words, free and equal. State and society disintegrate, for there is a principle of dissolution at work that does not cease to operate until all further division is frustrated by that indivisible unit, that isolated human being, the individual—a term of the Revolution – naively expressive of its all-destructive character.”

– Guillaume Groen Van Prinsterer
Mentor of Abraham Kuyper

Hell; Then and Now

Go to Hell
To Hell and back
What the Hell?
Give em Hell
Come Hell or high water
We’re proud that our Preacher doesn’t preach  “Hell, fire, and brimstone”
The Road to hell is paved with good intentions
“Hell is other people” — Jean Sartre (No Exit)
Going to hell in a hand-basket
People will say of the soon to be deceased, “They will split hell in half.”
Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn.

So the idea of “Hell” is much in our lexicon but increasingly we as a people don’t believe in Hell.

We know that because in a 2007 Barna survey it was revealed

that only 32 percent of adults see hell as, “an actual place of torment and suffering where people’s souls go after death.”

We know that Hell isn’t in our belief system much because as Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwest Baptist Seminary has said,

“You can traverse the entire United States on any given Sunday morning, and you very probably will not hear a sermon on the judgment of God or eternal punishment. Evangelicals have voted by the silence of their voices that they either do not believe in (the doctrine of hell) or else no longer have the courage and conviction to stand and say anything about it.”

Because Hell is so little spoken of and because it is one of the themes in Scripture, I try, every couple of years to preach at least one sermon on Hell and that in the Summer time because there is an easy to connect corollary.

First, we must note

I) The reality of Hell

A.) The New Testament speaks openly and repeatedly regarding the reality of Hell. It is,

The final abode of those condemned to eternal punishment (Mt. 25:41-46, Rev. 20:11-15)

Described as a place of fire and darkness (Jude 7, 13)

Described as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt. 8:12, 13:42, 50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30)

Described as a place of destruction (II Thes. 1:7-9, II Peter 3:7, I Thes. 5:3)

Described as a place of torment (Rev. 20:10, Luke 16:23)

B.) Jesus Himself repeatedly speaks of Hell

HADES — Abode of the Dead

(1)  Capernaum exalted to heaven, then brought down to hell (hades) Mt 11:23 / Lk 10:15 …two mentions on SAME OCCASION
(2)  Lord says He will build His church: Mt 16:18 …one mention, ONE OCCASION
(3)  Parable of Rich man & Lazerus:  Lk 16:23 …one mention, ONE OCCASION

GEHENNA

(1) Sermon on the mount: Matt 5:29-30,22 and Mark 9:43,45,47… all 6 on the SAME OCCASION reported by both Mark and Matthew…
(2) Warning the Apostles to fear: Mark 10:28 Luke 12:5  two mentions…SAME OCCASION…
(3) Upbraiding the Pharisees:  Matt 23:15, 33 …2 mentions …SAME OCCASION
(4) Warning against offending little ones: Matt 18:9 …one mention, ONE OCCASION

The Greek word for Hell here is significant. Gehenna or the valley of Henna was a deep, narrow slight valley south of Jerusalem. Here the ancient idolatrous Jewish Kings and people would offer up their children in sacrifice to Molech ( 2 Chronicles 28:3 ; 33:6 ; Jeremiah 7:31 ; 19:2-6 ).

Later in time this same valley  became the Jerusalem dump. Here the corpse’s of animals and of criminals, and all kinds of filth, were cast away and consumed by a fire forever stoked and smoldering. The Gehenna dump thus in process of time became the image of the place of everlasting destruction.

This is the word used for the place of the wicked. It is the word used to speak of the Devil’s residence along with his servants. Because of the constant burning fire of the Jerusalem dump we easily understand the connection to everlasting fire as associated with Hell.  However, there might be more observed here about the nature of Hell with the usage of the word Gehenna. The Gehenna in Jerusalem like all city dumps was a place where no order existed nor meaningful relationship between objects exist. Hierarchy was non-existent.  It was a place of utter chaos and destructiveness.

Contrast that with this sanctuary or with your own homes. There is order here. Everything is in the place it is in for a reason. All is in a meaningful relationship with all else. The pews are faced in all one direction. The Cross, in the center, is ever before us. The pulpit is in the center thus communicating the centrality of God’s Word. The acoustics are designed for sound. The Windows for the movement of air. All is in order and all is properly related to everything else. Even our brass Church mouse speaks of meaning as it speaks of the necessity for quiet in God’s house.  (Quiet as a Church Mouse.) So there you have it. As humans we thrive on order, hierarchy, and meaning but a city dump as standing as metaphor for Hell there is no order… there is no natural relationship between objects. There is no meaning in the dump. There you find a once priceless Grandfather clock next to some old tattered sheets next to an old tennis shoe, next to a empty box of Frosted mini flakes, next to used kitty litter. The city dump is meaningless chaos. The city dump is total destructiveness.

In the words of Rushdoony,

“This tells us then something about Heaven and Hell. Heaven is that realm where all people and all things have a meaningful, loving fulfillment, one in another. There is a totality of meaning, a totality of purpose, a totality of fulfillment; whereas in Hell, there is a totality of isolation. There is no community between one person and another. There is a total isolation, so that everyone is his own world, his own universe, his own god.”

Well, what might we say here? We might note that as man constantly flees from God he at the same time integrates downward into the Gehenna dump with the result that he creates cultures of Hell where meaninglessness is prized as meaning. Where order is surrendered in pursuit of chaos. Where hierarchy is given up in favor of equality.

“Hierarchies are celestial. In hell all are equal.”

~Nicolás Gómez Davilla

One thing that is certainly true in a dump is that all the refuse and junk is equal … equally useless.

So, hell in Scripture is a place of endless burning. This stands in contrast in Scripture to heaven which is a place of endless blessing. Hell, like the Gehenna Jerusalem dump is a place of chaos, equality, and meaninglessness. Heaven, to the contrary, is a place of perfect order, eternal hierarchy, and total meaning. Hell is a place of total isolation whereas heaven is a place of complete community.

Here we can find a measuring rod for our family, churches, and communities. Do our community relationships take on the flavor of heaven or do they take on the character of the city dump — everything in isolation, nothing unique, all equally rotten and corrupt?

II.) Church History and Hell

For the Augustinians…….“They who shall enter into the joy of the Lord shall know what is going on outside in the outer darkness. . .The saints’. . . knowledge, which shall be great, shall keep them acquainted. . .with the eternal sufferings of the lost.”

Augustine, The City of God

SECTION 1.“In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned. . .So that they may be urged the more to praise God. . .the saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens. . .to the damned.”

Aquinas
Summa Theologica

“The view of the misery of the damned will double the ardour of the love and gratitude of the saints of heaven.”

The sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever. . .Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell. . . I tell you, yea! Such will be his sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish his bliss.

Jonathan Edwards
[“The Eternity of Hell Torments” (Sermon), April 1739 & Discourses on Various Important Subjects, 1738]

“God shall not pity them but laugh at their calamity. The righteous company in heaven shall rejoice in the execution of God’s judgment, and shall sing while the smoke riseth up for ever.”

Thomas Boston, Scottish preacher, 1732

III.) Hell and the Character of God

A.) Lose the Doctrine of Hell, and you lose the Justice of God

1.)  The denial of the eternality of Hell is another example of putative Christians or unlearned Christians or immature Christians attempting to make God out to be nicer than He makes Himself out to be. It is an attempt to save God from being God. It is sentimentality trying to rescue the alleged mean glowering character of God. It is another example of do gooders, who by doing their good, end up making Christianity crueler then any Devil could. This denial of the eternality of Hell is taken up by those who, at the very least think, “My God would never be that mean.” It is the argument which attempts to make God “reasonable.”

But God is not “reasonable.” At least not by modern man’s standards. This is something the Reformed Evangelist Rolfe Barnard understood. Barnard quotes two Psalms,

Psalm 9:17: “The wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all the nations that forget God”

And in Psalm 7:11, we find these words: “God is angry with the wicked every day.”

Despite everything we hear today, Hell, God’s eternal penitentiary of the damned, is a terrible reality that men need to be faced with these days. I am aware of the fact that the popular “god” of the popular Christianity today is not the God of the Bible. Like a dead trunk, the popular “god” has no eyes to see, no ears to hear, and no arms to punish the ungodly. But the God of the Bible had fire in Sodom. He had a rod of iron for Samaria, for Tyre, for Jerusalem, and for Belshazzar. The God of the Bible dashed to pieces entire nations like a potter’s vessel. However, the modern “god” has no judgment in his hand; according to the popular gospel today, the modern “god” has sheathed the sword, and sits down as an indulgent weakling. His arm which used to visit vengeance upon impenitent sinners, now hangs nerveless and paralyzed–that is the popular “god” of today. I refuse to worship such a “god”–such a “god” is the creation of man’s wishes, but not the true God of the Bible.

Rolfe Barnard

 2.) Denials of Hell do not seem to comprehend that by altering the anchor example of God’s eternal justice (The condemnation to Eternal punishment for those who rebelled against God and His Christ) that the effect is a relativizing of temporal justice and punishment. If the anchor of justice is set loose and diminished in the Cosmic Divine realm the effect is to set adrift any ideas of absolute justice in the temporal realm.  If God’s justice is altered in terms of Hell and / or its duration then justice is the realm of man can be relativized and altered as well. One reason why we see so much injustice around us is that the Church no longer upholds the justice of God, by affirming the doctrine of Hell.
3.) Those who insist upon the conditionality of Hell or deny the eternality of Hell are those who will, in themselves or in their generations, become those who rebel against the whole concept of fixed Justice. When we deny the proper required Justice applied (eternal Hell) against those who commit crimes against God’s character and who do not find forgiveness in Christ, we will, over the course of time, deny the proper required justice against those who commit other lesser crimes. If the required proper punishment is denied, in our thinking, against those who commit the greatest of all crimes (unrepentant rebellion against the Character of God) then the consequence of that will eventually be the denial of justice implemented against all other lesser crimes.

So … getting rid of the eternal character of Hell guarantees the eventual arise of Hell on earth.

  4.) The Holiness of God is infinite and as such rebellion against God’s Holiness requires eternal punishment for those who do not close with Christ. The denial of the eternality of Hell is a denial of the august and majestic character of God. Low views of Hell insure, and in turn cause, low views of God.

The doctrine of Hell is a case where the punishment fits the crime. Any lesser punishment would suggest a lesser crime. The suggestion of a lesser crime would suggest that an offense against the person of God is somehow an offense that shouldn’t have the fullest possible consequences.  The eternality of Hell corresponds to the Majesty of God and His Law.

B.) And here we round off in speaking of Christ.

Christ is the who bore the Hell of God’s elect that that we might know God’s favor. If we deny Hell, we are denying at the same time the monumental importance of Christ’s work. If Hell, is not real … not eternal, then why is Christ dying for sins that merit the punishment of Hell?

A denial of Hell, ends up being a denial of the meritorious finished work of Christ. On the Cross Christ takes my punishment but if there is no eternal punishment why should I be grateful that He took it?

 

 

 

A Satanist Prayer … A Christian Rebuttal

After complaints from several community members that only prayer or religious groups can give the invocation at the Grand Junction City Council meetings, council members decided to allow a satanic invocation at their August 2 meeting.
 

“We beseech all those present to shun primitive hatreds and superstitions, bigotry, prejudice and atavism and instead seek equality and justice and thereby safeguard all world views and treat them equally and with respect. So say we all in the name of reason, in the name of free inquiry and in the name of rebellion against theocracy. Hail Satan.” said Andrew Vodopich with the Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers.

http://www.kjct8.com/content/news/GJ-City-Council-allows-satanic-invocation-at-meeting-438227943.html

 

Notice that the Satanists are Classical liberals. They want to “safeguard all worldviews and treat them equally and with respect.” Here we learn

1.) Egalitarianism is a doctrinal plank which Satanists approve.

2.) Satanists support absolute libertine freedom when they invoke “the name of free inquiry.” “Free inquiry” is the call for absolute freedom. Absolute freedom is to man what freedom is to a goldfish outside its bowl. Absolute freedom is to man what freedom is to a train once off its tracks.

3.) Classical liberalism is Satanic in origin. Satanist are perfectly good with God getting a vote as long as all the other false gods (including Satan) gets a vote as well.

The Satanists pray for all worldviews being treated equally and with respect. However, this is a prayer request as coming from those who have a worldview that allows only their worldview to be treated with respect. This worldview that, “all the Gods should be equal” is a worldview that does not treat equally any other worldview besides their own. Their egalitarian god rises above all competition from any other god. Any God who insists that He-they are God above the Satanist (classical liberal) god is a god that the prayer of the Satanists is not treating with respect.

Another way to say this was framed by a friend of mine,

“It’s as self-contradicting as it can be. They want their world view – in which all world views are treated equally and with respect – to dominate. If their world view dominates, then they can’t say that all world views are equal. Domination negates equality.”

4.) Satanists enshrine reason as an autonomous source of knowing. This is consistent with Satan’s temptation in the garden of Eden. “You shall be as God determining good from evil.” However, their appeal to reason is shipwrecked by the “reasoning” in this prayer.  What good is reason if you are involved in repeated contradiction as we noted above?

5.) The Satanist pray in favor of rebelling against Theocracy. Yet, their belief system has provided the evilest theocracy that man has ever seen. So, the Satanists are for rebelling against theocracy all the while affirming a theocracy that forces all worldviews to be treated as equal.

McAtee contra Wolfe

“If it is the case that fallen, unregenerate man can attain civil righteousness (worthy of praise among men, even from the regenerate) and if regeneration necessarily effects a radical change in the one regenerated, then the principal effect of regeneration cannot be civil righteousness, political, social, or anything related to the basic elements of civil or domestic life. The principal effect must be something else. It must be, then, the restoration of one’s immediate relationship to God, one’s orientation to the spiritual (yet-to-be-visible) kingdom of God, and true worship of God. In short, the principal effect is the adventitious infusing of heavenly gifts and the outward change in religion. The Gospel then is not essentially political, social, or anything earthly other than the true public worship of God.”

Stephen Wolfe

I don’t know Mr. Wolf well at all. He is an acquaintance.  I’ve heard he is a student working on a terminal degree. This quote comes from a piece where Mr. Wolf quotes several theologians demonstrating their belief in Natural Law. Many of those quotes spoke about how the heathen could do “good” works of civil righteousness. The quote above seems to form his conclusion if we stipulate that pagans can do “good.”

We need to keep in mind our Augustine here. Augustine called the so-called good works of the heathen, “splendid vices.” Augustine remains notorious for his insistence that the “virtues,” so-called, of pagans, are not genuine virtues at all. Luther echoed and restored this Augustinian sentiment during the Reformation.

In order for any human action in any area inclusive of civic Righteousness to be considered “righteous” that action must be done for the glory of God. If actions are not done for the glory of God those actions are splendid vices because they are being done for the glory of self. We grant that comparatively on a sliding scale, the pagans can do righteous deeds. Pagans can and do build burn hospitals. Pagans can be philanthropic. Yet any “good” action that an unconverted man or woman can do is not good considered absolutely as according to God’s standards.

So, if Augustine is correct about splendid virtues than Mr. Wolfe is incorrect in suggesting that regeneration does not touch “anything related to the basic elements of civil or domestic life.” The “noble” pagan upon regeneration may do the same types of works in his civil or domestic lives but now they are doing their doing on a different axis. Whereas before their “noble” acts were for their own glory, now their noble acts are for the glory of God. Because of regeneration, this is a monumental shift.

There may be a bit of a false dichotomy going on in the opening quote. It is true that the primary impact of regeneration is “the restoration of one’s immediate relationship to God, one’s orientation to the spiritual (yet-to-be-visible) kingdom of God, and true worship of God,” but because one’s orientation is changed in such a fashion the effect is that one’s orientation to everything from domestic life to civic righteousness to all things earthly is changed as well. This results in all things that are performed by regenerated man to be an expression of public worship of God.  

So, contra Mr. Wolfe, unregenerate man cannot perform civil righteousness per an absolute standard. All the civil righteousness of the unregenerate are just so many splendid vices.

We would also quibble with Mr. Wolfe’s intimation that the Kingdom of God is completely “yet-to-be-visible.” The Kingdom of God is already visible and according to the will of God goes from visible unto visible until such a time that it becomes visible in all of its splendor.

Mr. Wolfe strikes me, with this quote, to be close to a kind of unfortunate dualism as seen in his willingness to suggest that  “the Gospel then is not essentially political, social, or anything earthly other than the true public worship of God.” Now, the key word here is “essentially.” I would be more inclined to say that “the Gospel, in its broadest definition, then is essentially a totalistic claim that calls a man to bring the good news to every area of life including political, social, or anything earthly, especially including public worship.”