A phrase which had set my mind to explore the meaning is ‘LYING VANITIES’.
The clearest mention of this phrase occurs in Jonah’s prayer after he had been thrown out from the ship to Tarshish; swallowed by a fish; stayed inside the belly of the fish; and finally spewed out by the fish.
Does this phrase have a specific meaning? I believe it has.
I believe that one of the commandments of God in the old testament is found at Leviticus 19:
26 Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.
‘Observing Times’ is with reference to people studying patterns of human existence falling under the influence of the movement of heavenly bodies.
Firstly, one has to have sufficient knowledge of the heavenly bodies; secondly, the movements and the inter se positions of these heavenly bodies will have to be measured accurately. Upon measurement of Time & Space regarding these heavenly bodies, one has to speculate on the effects of these heavenly bodies on human beings and human affairs. Those predictions would be knowledge based.
Then there are those who are possessed by spirits, they also predict human affairs, sometimes with accuracy. The Bible says that those predictions are not prophecies, they are predictions – a mere sporadic foretelling of an event to come in the future, which mostly is within the realm of probabilities.
If one resorts to these forces, (I am not saying that these forces and these predictions are false), they may come to pass, but as human beings when we repose our Faith on such predictions and on the purveyors of such predictions, what we mentally succumb to is
1. We believe that certain things are bound to happen and they would happen anyway.
2. We believe that neither our will nor our actions would change the occurrence of these predictions
3. Through subscription to these beliefs, we repose faith on those people who indulge in those predictions, thereby undermine the power of the Almighty to alter the impossible.
At Jonah chapter 2:8 it is written:
They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
This leads us to the question as to whether we need MERCY at all and if so to what purpose?
MERCY is a jurisdiction which chronologically falls after judgement of conviction. Mercy could be setting aside of the sentence, proroguing the sentence, commutation of sentence, or remission of the sentence.
So why do humans need Mercy?
Remorse is the feeling that envelops a mind for having done something wrong. This feeling doesn’t go away when it involves an issue that is proscribed by spiritual laws and stays as a millstone round his neck. It could be an event which had happened in his days of ignorance, nevertheless, it hangs. To remove that one needs contrition and REPENTANCE.
Mercy shown without Repentance is Grace. If the execution of the sentence after the conviction had been instantaneous, there would have been no Mercy. But Christianity presupposes that the sinner is intimated of his sins and is allowed time for repentance. But till the repentance takes place, every sinner is in a period of Grace, having no idea of his sins, persisting in those sins, which he falsely believes as right. Therefore, everyone is in a period of Grace.
Evangelist Paul, when he was still Saul and ‘breathing out threatenings and slaughter’ against Christians, may call his actions as zealous acts, but was the recipient of Grace. But when he was intimated of his behaviour of ‘kicking against pricks’, he was directed to go to stay in Damascus and for three days what he did and how God told him to wait for Ananias, was the Repentance phase. Thereafter Saul turned a new leaf and preached Christianity. He obtained Grace as an unpunished sinner and once convicted of his sins, he was pardoned/sentence commuted, we cannot know which, it was between Saul and God.
Grace is the period spent as an unpunished sinner, worthy of death yet spared in time.
This Mercy would not be available for a person who observes ‘lying vanities’. The reason being that if there is no repentance there cannot be any Mercy. Cain, when cursed by God, doesn’t repent, yet he asks for commutation of the curse. Cain didn’t forsake Mercy, as he was not observing lying vanities‼️
One should read the Old Testament Saul, the King at I Samuel Ch: 28
When Saul, the King of Israel, didn’t get any answer from God, he consulted a woman who could bring up the dead. After that incident, he couldn’t ask God for His mercy. The reason was Saul couldn’t repent or seek God’s mercy.
Judas, after his betrayal of Jesus, couldn’t obtain the Mercy, as he had used Jesus as a mere miracle performing diviner‼️ What Judas did was observing lying vanities and forsook Mercy.
The typical example would be DR.FAUSTUS. Please commiserate with me for these words of Faustus:
“FAUSTUS: But Faustus’ offence can ne’er be pardoned: the serpent that tempted Eve may be saved, but not Faustus.
hear me with patience, and tremble not at my speeches! Though my heart pant and quiver to remember that I have been a student here these thirty years, O, would I had never seen Wittenberg,never read book! and what wonders I have done, all Germany can
witness, yea, all the world; for which Faustus hath lost both
Germany and the world, yea, heaven itself, heaven, the seat of God, the throne of the blessed, the kingdom of joy; and must remain in hell for ever, hell. O, hell, for ever! Sweet friends,
what shall become of Faustus, being in hell for ever?”
The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
Dr. Faustus through observance of lying vanities couldn’t seek Mercy nor the preceding Repentance‼️
Please read Psalms 31 verse
6: I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.
In the following passage from
Ezekiel 13:23, it is not a coincidence that vanity and divination are juxtaposed!
Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
In a gist, observing Times depletes a man of his will to stand up for something and becomes a stumbling block in seeking mercy or repenting💐💐💐
Posts tagged ‘repentance’
The connection between the proscribed ACT and the state of mind of the person who had committed the ACT is GUILT.
The proscribed Act could have been proscribed by the scriptures, the law or even one’s own conscience. We are making our own laws by choosing to stay with a group which has certain norms, and sooner or later we are engulfed by the norms followed or prescribed by that group. Therefore, to criticize the norms of the particular group- of which we made/ acquiesced ourselves a part of- is not gonna help us. We as free individuals have chosen- even if it had been for want of a better option.
There are religious groups/sects which make its members GUILTY.
Guilty of what? Well, we are not aware of all the laws which are in force at any given point of time. Therefore we have all fallen short of His GRACE by having infringed/ violated those laws. Merely because we are not visited upon by the sanctions prescribed immediately upon commission of the offence/wrong, it does not mean that we are innocent. We remain in the state of undetected wrong-doers/offenders/vow-breakers etc..
The issue is that the moment we commit an offence, we could become aware of our guilt or regret and feel guilty later for any number of reasons. But the ALIENATION of the self occurs only and I REPEAT only after WE HAVE FOUND OURSELVES GUILTY.
The organizations which have descended upon mankind in the guise of purifying the guilty have taken full advantage of the power of guilt:-
GUILT MAKES MEN TO RETREAT(Adam &Eve)
GUILT MAKES MEN HELPLESS(Cain after the murder of his bro Abel)
GUILT MAKES MAN FEEL INFERIOR IN HIS OWN EYES (Moses after committing murder and hiding in the desert0
GUILT MAKES HIM SURRENDER WITHOUT A FIGHT(Saul the king after he met Samuel from the dead)
GUILT MAKES HIM AN EMOTIONAL WRECK( David after the incident of the intimation by the prophet reg murder of Uriah)
GUILT MAKES MAN WILLING TO PART ANYTHING TO GET RELIEF (Zachchaeus(sp.) after he entertained Jesus)
The list is endless, but the point to be made is that prior to their feeling guilty, they never felt so – as they were either ignorant of their sin or were justifying their acts. It is in those weak moments that the sense of guilt rises and engulfs a man’s mind.
The religious groups that take advantage of the guilt have proliferated without number. The problems that we face are attributed to our sins- mostly hidden to our eyes and crystal clear to their eyes. They expound upon our sins and prescribe remedies to those sins- mostly relieving us of our properties and money!!
It is a must that we have to have an idea of sins and have the alacrity to identify them and confess it to God and help ourselves. Cain after killing his brother Abel could not bear the paranoia of death thru others, but when he approached God, God gave him a relief that the person who kills Cain wud be 7 times guiltier. God did not withhold relief even from the first fratricider- not merely a fratricider but one who killed a person who loved God and offered a more excellent sacrifice!!
The alacrity depends on 2 factors one is lack of WILLFULNESS and secondly weakness. If we are not willful we wud approach God upon intimation/realization of our guilt. If we willfully commit sins we delay our own repentance.
JESUS CAME TO THIS WORLD NOT TO ELIMINATE SIN, BUT TO SAVE MANKIND BY BREAKING THE BOND BETWEEN SIN AND GUILT THRU HIS GRACE!
This Grace is like a right and it has to be CLAIMED thru REPENTANCE.
As I have reiterated in my earlier blogs, merely spending time clearing the spiritual mess we create for ourselves is not our purpose. ACTION is our purpose. God makes a promise to King David – u shall not lack a son to rule Israel: God makes a promise to JEHU king of Israel(10 tribes) that his seed shall rule for 4 generations. David was an adulterer/ murderer and Jehu was a Regicider (he killed 2 kings), yet God made promises to them because they were ACTION oriented people and consistently got rid of their guilt thru repentant action.
LET US GET HIS GRACE TO CLEAR OUR GUILT AND TAKE PROMPT ACTION IN ALL MATTERS.
One of the biggest problems MAN faces is the LOSS of INNOCENCE.
If Eve had not been aware of the proscription of the Tree of Knowledge, and still had tasted it, would it have made her guilty? rather would it have made her FEEL guilty?? I think not or at least she’d have had the defence that had she known that eating of the tree were proscribed, she’d not have tasted of it. But she was aware of the command, albeit not directly.
The GUILT makes Adam and Eve REGRESS. They are not able to come forward and meet the LORD. They go HIDING. So the point to be perceived is that Guilt is followed by a certain behaviour of REGRESSION and a sense of NAKEDNESS(Exposure to the outside forces). This is the loss of innocence, Adam and Eve had not only become knowledgeable, but have become AWARE of their CONDITION. They cannot go back. The Rubicon has been crossed.
Let us take the example of Zacchaeus (Luke 19), Jesus Christ said, TODAY I MUST ABIDE AT THY HOUSE. Jesus did not make Zacchaeus feel guilty, but His(Jesus’) mere presence made him realize his state of guilt. A sudden RUSH of awareness of his guilt- that had lain hidden and suppressed in one form or the other for a long time. I take a call on the length of time, as he could return not only the goods and money taken wrongfully, but four-fold. 400% return. It takes 5-6 years to just double yr money in the Indian context as on date, and it must have been a long time since he’d been busy extorting !
The GUILT needs to be cleaned. Everyone at some point is likely to face the situation as Lady Macbeth feels–ALL THE PERFUMES OF ARABIA WILL NOT SWEETEN THIS LITTLE HAND. Lady Macbeth and her husband had been guilty of Regicide, Parricide, etc., maybe we are not socially convicted nor have we committed such foul crimes. Macbeth’s crime was just a step away from his position. He was next only to the king and his crime before being committed wouldn’t have seemed of the dimension it turned out.
We are not any different. We are all guilty and fallen short of the GRACE- it is no mere repetition of the verse from the Bible, but a realization. Herod did not feel the GUILT after having granted the wish (John’s head as a reward to her dance performance) of Salome. Herod must have palliated his conscience by the fact that he was merely keeping the promise made to his niece (daughter of the victim of Herod’s crime)!
But when a prophet meets David and tells him of the murder of URIAH and exposes the sinful crime(as it was a guilt against God and the society), he REPENTS. Therefore, he gets to retain not only Bathsheba, but begets a son, through his victim’s wife. who later becomes his heir (king Solomon) to the throne.
The crux is therefore REPENTANCE. Herod wouldn’t repent, instead would incarcerate John the Baptist. It is that which leads him to finally meet his ignominious end.
Prior to repentance is the most important stage, which is SUBMISSION to the statement of charge brought by the prophet. A prophet is one who aids another contemporary human being to become aware of his guilt, which is not visible to himself.
This blindness to one’s own guilt is caused by our own preoccupations. Now the question is do we abandon our duties and go on a long GUILT trip and make a mess of our lives??
NO, NO and NO. The Bible has examples who have made it (obtained REPENTANCE ) simultaneously and that we shall call the DYNAMIC GUILT-SHEDDING. D V we shall deal with it in our next session