Blogtext: The very stones will cry out

Two books to read

The teachings of the Word of God go far beyond mere words. For one thing they are always words that must become flesh. We have the word very sure: "The word became flesh and took up its abode among us."  If indeed  the words are not translated into action in the real world of living men and women, then it is mere noise. And if there is one thing the world needs less of, then it is words  given in profuse amounts but without meaning.  "Do not believe that you will be  heard on account of your many words."  The most sobering thought that we could have is that the approach to God begins with a command "Be still and know that I am God". (Psa 46:10 KV21) or "Stop your own strivings and understand that I am God, the one God whom  the heathen world will exalt on all the earth."  (My paraphrase) The entire message of God through the years has always been connected to the real world in which we live. There is no point in being so heavenward oriented that we cease to be of earthly use.

 It comes as no surprise that the teachings of the word of God are connected to the world that God created by His word. Neither should we be surprised to find that the entire created order not only agrees with God's word but actively supports that word. In fact the apostle can make the point that what may be known about God is revealed in his creation. In other words: creation speaks of the same things that are revealed in the word that we have in written form, but there they are contained in the natural phenomena of which we all can have first hand experience. "For since the creation of the world, His (God's) invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made (visible), so we are without excuse." (Rom 1:20)  Hear hear! The invisible, eternal and unchanging reality of God is manifest in creation. In the very temporal and not everlasting things of the earth all the qualities, characteristics and unique divine properties are made knowable. Knowable: not known!

So why do people not know? Because there is a blindness in man resulting from the fall of man. This blindness is less a matter "of not seeing at all," but rather "a seeing too little" and therefore making that which is seen greater than the invisible.  So Paul continues by saying this: "For they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and fourfooted animals and crawling creatures.-- They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever. Amen"

To note: Satan offers man an assurance that 'his eyes will be opened' if only man wilfully denies what God has clearly said and receives this promised new and far better way of seeing. But then who believes a habitual Liar?  Adam did and continues to do so. This  kind of seeing is in fact a blindness because it prevents us from seeing what the apostle knew could be seen in creation: the reality of the uncreated is hiding in the created, the eternal in the temporal. Why is it hiding? Because the natural never is identical to the spiritual but a shadow and a representative symbol of the greater. When my wife brings me a cup of coffee I receive her love and concern in a cup! But the understanding of what the cup means comes neither from the china ware or the coffee or milk but from the action of love putting the things together. Unless I already have a relationship to my wife, the cup of coffee would not bring the same 'message'. So the reading of creation as to its indication of the eternal presupposes that you submit to the creator, "a priori".(From the outset and before all other considerations.)

The Master's mode of teaching

Read through the gospels in one sitting, set aside a day for just that and take note of how Jesus, the supreme rabbi, teacher, master, taught. The greater the spiritual truth, the more likely that he will call upon all of creation as images in his teaching. Wether he speaks of unshakeable faith in God's provision for life or speaks of the ministry of the most spiritual of all, He will use images known to us from the natural world. Even sparrows falling to their death are noted as being in the providence of the Almighty God. Nothing spiritual is ever passed to us without being linked in one way or other to the natural life. Baptism is a funeral of the old Adam. Did you enjoy your funeral?

Take note how right through the life and times of God's people this double source of information is used by the Master himself and by all who spoke on behalf of God.  Prophet and Apostle alike use the created order of things, the very things all could see and understand, yes the earthly images all and constantly around us, in order to teach that which we did not know, that which was hidden from view, that which belongs to the spiritual realm, that which in that manner of speaking is "from above". Although never ever claiming that God and creation are one and the same, creation is a sublime kind of audio-visual textbook for that which is not merely earthly and physical. 

The word housed in the natural will never pass away, the earthly similitude will."Though heaven and earth pass away, my words will never come to an end." So the message contained in the created things will outlast them. It does not diminsh the content that the medium is of temporal standing. All of our languages and all of means of communication are here dressed in that which is temporal and passing. But just as light will penetrate every crack  so the eternal seeps through even the densest materials. Its those whose eyes are opened to the truth of the word that see it.

Everything written beforehand was written for our instruction.

From the Garden of Eden, an ordered planted and well organised (that is the meaning of the persian word paradise) to the city of the saints in the last chapters of the Bible the same thing is true. It was all written for our instruction. Well now, everyone who has battled with the virtually unpronounceable names of Maher-Shalal-Habash and failed the Shibboleth test has found many things in the scriptures hard to read and hard to pronounce and hard to believe. The long ancestry rolls give a headache rather than an understanding. Hundreds of examples could be given of things that defy our modern day minds. And yet scripture maintains a testimony that all was written for our instruction.  All of it..

The texts are filled with references to places even now known, they refer to events within human history and to places that can be visited even now. The connections between the events that are recorded to have happened there often have a most resounding relationship to the  name of the place. Bethel or as the transliteration would better be: "beit-el" means  'the house of god". Bethlehem or "beit-lechem" means the house of bread. And what happened in those places? Well that is another study. This time I want to take you to a larger and even more incredible message. One that answers to the caption: "The stones will cry out"

As the Christ came for the final time to Jerusalem he was met by the cheering crowds and they all in unison lauded him with Hosannas, spreading of their garments on the ground and the waving of palmfronds.. this accolade to one detested by the authorities was irksome to those who could not hear the word of the Lord on account of their self justification. They demanded of The Messiah that he silence this rabble. (Mind you they had no qualms about using the sentiments of that same rabble  a few days later when the same crowd shouted crucify!)  The answer of Jesus is epic: "If these be quiet the very stones would cry out!"  How indeed could they remain silent as he through whom God made the world was stepping on them? How could the flowers of the wayside have kept quiet when he who is fairer than the lillies of the valleys walked next to them? Jerusalem is the central place of attention since time imemorial. It remains so to this day and it has a counterpart on high that one day will come down from above dressed ready for the wedding feast to end all other.

Jerusalem  is the center of a land promised by the living God to his people, the people of faith. This land was selected and chosen from before the beginning of time. The land itself is a part of the eternal message written in hills and valleys, in rivers and desserts, in shady glens and fertile cornfields, in the caves in the hills and the salty sea in the valley. To pay attention to the scriptures concerning the land is of utmost importance because this is where the end of all ages will have its focus. And looking closer you will see some astonishing things. I will try to explain what I have found and how I have interpreted what I found. Oh how conscious I am that this is not a result of my skilful studies but rather the application of my mind to the Spirit of God speaking through the word and the land itself.  Peter once was eagerly answering the question posed by Jesus: "Who do you think that I am?"  Our ever ready boyscout Peter knew the answer: "You are the Messiah, the Son of the God Most high!" The response of Jesus is of immense importance: "Blessed are you! Flesh and blood has not revealed that to you, but my Father who is in heaven!" But you listened, that was the point. So I confess I have listened to the word of God. Listen with me:

The spiritual topography of Israel

Central to this little land is a river running straight through the center of it. At least  through most of it. But there was a time when it ran all the way from Mount Hermon in the snowy north down to the Gulf of Aqaba.  It was then like Egypt is now. The northgoing central nerve of Egypt is the Nile. The exact opposite image was on the other side of the Siniai tract of land. For the river Jordan that is now truncated by the deep ravine of the Dead Sea once flowed straight through this land. "So Lot looked and saw that the valley of the Jordan was well watered everywhere-this was before the Lord destroyed and overturned Sodom and Gomorrah; it was all like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as you go to Zoar at what today is the southern end of the dead Sea."( Genesis 13:7-12) The area was so rich and attractive that Lot, the nephew of Abraham, choose to live there when the pastures and wells that they had been accustomed to for  a while became too small and too few. It was the main caravan route between Egypt and Mesopotamia. (It was the seat of the first full scale demonstration of sexual abberration and social injustice on a city wide level. See: "Behold, this was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, buy she did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and comitted repulsive acts before me: therefore I removed them when I saw it. Hezekiel 16:49)  It was the richest and the worst. Along the river Yarden. But hold it a moment.

Names are important in the scriptures. Each name has significance. The name of the river, that central nerve of the land given to the people of Abraham is frequently presented to us by jewish as well as messianic writers as "Down-water from Dan" Which makes sense in one way because the source at Banyan for the river is within the part of the land given to the tribe of Dan. There are however two catches to that assumptions.

The first is that it is know as Yarden/Jordan at least two generations before Dan was even born. That maybe explained by saying that when Moses wrote the text he referred to the river by the name it had by his time become known by. But that sort of thing does occurs in the scriptures elsewhere and is always designated as such: "this place known as.., formerly called..," 
 is the formula then used. Not so in Genesis 13. See for instance: The house of Joseph spied out Bethel (now the name of the city was formerly Luz) Judges 1:23."
Now although there is the tribe called Dan with a given territory, it is equally clear from scripture that the tribe never actually possessed their inheritance! Judges 1:34, 5:17, 18:1 They failed to posses what God had given, and stole other land without divine right. They fell on an unsuspecting city called Laish and renamed it after themselves so as to end credibility to their theft. Father Jacob on his deathbed had blessed his sons with various strongly worded blessings. The one for Dan reads: "Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a venomous serpent in the way, a fanged snake in the path, that bites the horse's heels, so that his rider falls backwards. Gen 49:16-17. Waters coming down from Dan? Dan like a serpent going along the path? A serpent moves the way a meandering river moves. The waters going down in judgmental fashion? Sin when judged brings what? Death. Hold the thought. 

In later years Dan became one of the centers of idol worship of the northern kingdom under Jeroboam. The tribe however disappears with that kingdom as the city of Samaria fell. And would you believe me if I said that Dan having failed to inherit what God had given also has no place in the future? Look at Revelation 7:4-8  12 tribes are counted but not Dan! Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. In the list given they contribute 12000 to the complete number as Manasseh and Joseph.

I noted that the area was known as "Dan" decades before the tribe of Dan was even in existence. Gen 14:14 says that at "Dan" Abraham had a stop before pursuing his enemies to a place called Hobah north of Damascus. 

Now we know the name Dan is hebrew for "Judge" . "Then Rachel said,"God has judged and vindicated me, he has heard my plea and given me a son through my maid." So she named him  Dan "he judged". Gen 30:6 Does it not seem that the combination of  "Judge and fall" in the name of the river speaks louder than anything else of what happened in the garden of Eden? Adam sinned and fell under the judgment of death, and his course through the land leaves the trail of a serpent. Signified by the river Jordan in its meandering flow down the valley. "Yea though I walk in death's dark vale, yet will I fear none ill."

So back to our consideration of the words of the scriptures and the river of death downstream.

"So Lot looked and saw that the valley of the Jordan was well watered everywhere - this was before the Lord destroyed and overturned Sodom and Gomorrah; it was all like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as you go to Zoar at what today is the southern end of the dead Sea." 

The rivers of the world have one thing in common. All of them have one aspect  that they share with every other river. They have what is known as 'a fall'. That is so self evident that no-one gives it a thought. Of course they must have a fall or they would have to flow uphill and not down hill. I don't know the meaning of all the river names of the world, but I do know that the river Jordan is one that is called what it is: "The fall". The verb in hebrew is  "yara", meaning 'to fall'. And the river Yarden/Jordan is therefore named just that: "The falling..all the way from Dan" Undoubtedly this name is  easily connected in  your mind to that monumental event called 'The fall from Grace' and experienced by our ancestors "Ish and Isha", i e  the male and female, also known under operative names describing their essential qualities. "Adam" because of the word for soil, earth which is "edom" since he was taken from the soil. Eve or "Chavva" since she was the first that bore a living child, she is the mother of the living, the lifegiver, the first mummy and first female human mammal.

They were what there names indicate, just as the river is named for what it is: a falling. Again 'Satan' is not primarily a name but a description of a fundamental characteristic: this time "The opposing one". The one that stood against both God the Almighty and Adam, the male and female made in the image of God. In the same garden of Eden, that place which is now and forever "paradise lost" Adam and Satan met. And the meeting resulted in something that to this day determines much of all human endeavour and slakes human hope again and again. That thing called death.  "In Adam we all died." "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, so death spread to all men because all sinned..death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the manner of Adam, who is a type of Him who is to come." Rom 5:12-14

The central feature in the land is the course of water, from mount Hermon in the far north to the gulf of Aqaba in the far south. It includes the Sea of Galilee, otherwise known as the Lake Kinnereth or the lake Genesareth. The middle name Kinnereth comes from the fact that it is similar in shape to the ancient musical instrument of the Lyre. Incidentally it is also a look alike to the placenta in the womb from which all children are created. We will return to that theme in a moment. It includes the winding, twisting, serpentine river Jordan which for the time being is captured and held hostage to the dead Sea. For the time being only! It was not so before the judgment of God on Sodom and Gomorrah, it will not be so after the coming of the Lord to the Mount of olives. "Every mountain and hill will be laid low and the deep places will rise, every valley shall be lifted up."(Isa 40: 1-8) (Zachariah 14:4-8)But notice this: the central and dominating feature of the land is the same as the central and dominating theme in the Bible! The Fall and its consequences. Book and land agree.

The fall of man and the death of all in sin!  And God's restoration of Adam through the second Adam! In other words the map of Israel is a synopsis of the message of the Bible. Because not only is the river Jordan a central feature but also the Mount Zion, the city of David, in the Jerusalem of the north of Judea. For the prophetic promises of God have their natural geographical centre in Jerusalem, and it was from Jerusalem that the life giving and death conquering flow of life came through the death and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. No clearer is this foretold than in Hezekiel ch 47. From under the altar in the temple a flow of a river runs out and goes east and flows down to the Sea of the Arabah, The dead Sea, and makes that sea so full and rich of life that it is  described as being one continuous fishing camp from Ein Gedi to Ein Eglaim, from the north of the lake to the south. Only puddles of the now super salty lake will remain for future use of their salt deposits.

The Dead sea is a startling image of  Death. But how come? The Lake Kinnereth in the north is incredibly rich in all the minerals needed for humongous fertility. Some crops are harvested five times a year in the galilean basin. The richness is attributed to the mineral-rich runoffs from the Mount Hermon, the melting of the snow and the rains bring the richness into Galilee and through the lake the same waters flow south to their destination i the Dead Sea. "It is more blessed to give  than to receive".  I said above that the lake Kinnereth has the shape of the Lyre and the shape of the placenta.

Through the placenta all nutrients flow into the body of the child in waiting. The life of the child depends on that organ doing its work of supplying needed stuff and filtering out harmful. The umbilical cord pumps the very lifeblood into the baby in its amniotic sac. One day it has done growing there and will be delivered. Alas many babies die at birth. Then the placenta and the umbilical cord end in the stillborn baby. Now look at the map: use your imagination for a moment: Kinnereth is the placenta, Yarden/Jordan is the umbilical cord, but the baby is stillborn: the Dead Sea!  In Adam all of humanity died! Did the killing poison come from the mother? No. Sin was not introduced by woman but by man. 

Geographically this is illustrated by the amazing statements made in Joshua ch 3:14-17. There was a city called Adam on the eastern side of the Jordan where the river Jabbok enters Jordan. Opposing Adam, literally on the opposite bank of what was and is the river of life, is the city of Zarethan. It simply means: the opposite! Not very remarkable, not known for anything else than being opposed to something on the other side. Was Satan opposed to Adam? Yes and between them the life flow from God was cut short! So the priests that stepped into a river in full flow,risking to be swept away by it to a certain death in the overflow waters had to risk their lives to do the will of God. As they stepped out in faith, the waters stopped at Adam! Stood on high where once they had flowed freely. Death suspended.

Consider that this is the condition of mankind and the silent witness of the Land itself. Do the stones not cry out? When God judged Sodom and Gomorrah, the flowing river  Yarden that once was like the river Nile on the other side of Siniai was forced to run into a basin 400 meters below the level of the Mediterranean Sea.  The end of circulation spelled the beginning of death, as it does in those who only receive the good things of the word of God and never appropriate it by faith nor ever pass it on. The land around Lake Galilee fell 100 meters below the Mediterranean. And the river Jordan connects the fall of the whole region to the Dead Sea. Incidentally this rift in the surface of the  earth continues right through into Africa and penetrates far into East Africa, it is there known as the Rift Valley and is said to be a visible feature on earth from Space. So the testimony of the land is to the judgment of God on sin. But did God leave matters there?

Jerusalem, Jerusalem you killer of prophets!

No! He did not leave it at that at all. He set the scene from the times of Abraham that the solution to the Dead Sea and the humanity dead in sin would both come from Jerusalem. At the time of Abraham it was know only as the city of Salem/Shalom.(Gen 14:17-20) Later it was taken by the jebusites before David made it his city. But it was to be known as the city of Shalom, of peace. And where  would the Prince of Peace reunite God and man, as well as man and man and male and female but in Jerusalem? Jerusalem, the ever constant killer of prophets could not do otherwise but again be the slayer of the bearer of the very Word of God. 

The crucifixion and the sacrifice to end all sacrifices was staged in Jerusalem and from the temple a river of life flowed out that makes the Dead Sea alive. (Hez 47:1ff) In Christ the spiritual event has already given all men access to the saving grace of God. The land is still waiting for its restoration. So the condition of the land speaks of what still is true of all but those who have received the Christ as their Saviour and acknowledged Him as their Lord. Mankind is still in the grip of that Dead Sea. But from Jerusalem flows the life that makes the Sea sound again.

East of Jerusalem and Mount Zion is the Mount of Olives, it is higher than the mount Zion. The prophetic vision of Hezekiel is that a river, steadily deepening and flowing stronger by the foot, will go straight east towards the sea of the Arabah which is another name for the Dead Sea. But the Kidron valley with the garden of Gethsemane and other features lies between the two mountains. Can water flow uphill? Well in a manner of speaking the Fall was reversed by the uplifting of the Man of Sorrows. He said: "When I be lifted up I will draw all men to me." 

But the answer is not that the water of life will run uphill, but that the hill will be crushed and broken by the weight of the glory of the Lord. Jesus was taken up out of our sight and out of the realm of physical presence from Mount Olives.(Acts ch 1:9-12) But left with the promise that as he left so he would return. And when he does, the mountain itself will not be able to withstand His glory but break in two. (Zach 14:1-6) One part receding north and another to the south, a mighty avenue will open straight towards the east towards the Dead Sea and all things will also in the topography of Israel be as it was "before the Lord overturned Sodom and Gomorrah." 

Truly, every mountain and hill that was made low will rise again, just as He who was laid low in the grave rose so the very land smitten by death will rise. It will happen, it may happen in our life time.

The events of our present age are unbelieveable unless you have believed in the prophesies of the Old Testament scriptures. The regathering of Israel to the land of promise. The gathering of God's people from the ends of the earth. The gradual assembling of all the nations against Israel and the threat of extermination by those enemy nations. The rapid decline and falling away from faith in the churches that have forsaken God and His word. The predictions made about the general decline of morals and ethics. All these and many other things fall under the prophetic perspective. But so does the reality of the coming restoration of the very land itself. The stones do cry out.

The land and the book carry the same message! To visit the land is to step into the most down to earth sermon you will ever hear or see, and the message is that with which all of heaven rings. It is all there in the land and the scriptures, a message for all to see.

"Behold the days are coming, declares the Lord God when I will send a famine, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for the hearing of the words of the Lord. They will go to and fro to seek the Word of the lord, They will stagger from sea to sea and from the north to the east; but they will not find it."  Amos 8:11-12

"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found."

When the book is forbidden and it will be punishable by death to proclaim Christ, then the land will still preach the message of God: You were lost but may be found.  You were deader than the Dead Sea, but you may be made alive!

Today if you hear His voice don't harden your hearts.

Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster


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