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💐💐💐