And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?(Luke 18:1-8)
Christians in this world, should constantly be praying for the final day of Vindication, and crying out for the day of the Lord. We should never faint (give up) in doing so, according to Jesus’s parable of the Widow and the unjust Judge. We should be crying out to God for the Kingdom to come, for Christ to return and for the Age of Righteousness to come , just as the widow in the parable cried out relentlessly for justice, until her case was resolved.
Of course the Lord will hear the cry of His people! He will indeed avenge his elect, and when he does, it will happen in a breathtakingly rapid succession! He will avenge them ‘speedily’.
Earlier I referred to an aspect of another parable of Jesus, that of the ten virgins waiting for the wedding. I wanted to illustrate the meaning of the word “Speedily”, as used in Luke 18. The 10 virgins had all previously received an invitation to the wedding. They had dressed themselves and brought lamps to the place where the wedding would take place, and then they waited.
But the time between the invitation to the wedding, and the actual event of the wedding itself was drawn out, it took longer than anyone realized it would. All of the invitees fell asleep.
But once the shout went out, “The Bridegroom is coming, prepare to meet Him!” things happen rapidly, one after another. The virgins are roused and awakened, there is a rush to light the lamps, to enter into the procession going into the hall, be seated, and for the doors of the hall to be shut for the party to begin.
Should a virgin arise from her slumber to find that her oil had gone out, she would have no time to refill, the doors are shutting and it is too late!
This is the meaning of “Behold I come quickly…” or “He will avenge them speedily”, it will not happen soon, for he said that he would come quickly, 2000 years ago! But it will happen rapidly, when it comes. Invitations have been going out for 2000 years, and there has been a waiting period, for the wedding, but very soon things will accelerate.
The context for this very parable in Luke 18 , can shed some light upon this point and on the depth of the parable itself. Jesus told the parable after a discussion with the Pharisees, about the Vindication itself, the coming of the Kingdom, in Luke 17,
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.(Luke 17:20-21)
Like the widow woman of the parable who cried out for vindication, The Pharisees wanted to hear from Jesus when the Kingdom would come. They too were speaking of the ultimate vindication, the setting of all things right, the removal of gentile domination, and the exaltation of Mt Zion above all of the nations. When will it come to us?
But Jesus answered them, declaring that the Kingdom had already come and was standing in front of them.(“Within you…”, ie “In the midst of you”).
Jesus himself is the Divine Vindication, in Him the Kingdom of God has come. But it doesn’t come with outward signs and fanfare at this point, those signs are reserved for the final phase of the vindication.
Jesus here reveals that there would be two phases. The Kingdom has come, and the Kingdom is coming!
The first phase would be a personal and individual vindication. God is currently setting willing individuals back into a right relationship with himself, He is saving men from their sins. Jesus has purchased this salvation, through the sacrifice of His own blood as an offering to God.
All who willingly believe the gospel are being brought back into a right relationship with God, they are redeemed and brought back under the rule (Kingdom) of God. Wherever two or more are gathered in Jesus name, there the Kingdom of God is.
But it is not at this time that He will restore the Kingdom to Israel, and crush the rebellious nations of the world. Rather, “Now is the Acceptable time, and Today is the day of Salvation”.
How long would this season of the first phase of the vindication to last? We don’t know, but we do know that the end of the present phase and the dawn of the final and ultimate ‘vindication’ will closely resemble the ‘days of Noah’ and of ‘Lot”.
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s Wife…
The danger that emerges between the personal coming of the Kingdom, and the final Vindication and judgment of this world, is that of being swallowed up in a soul deadening worldliness, as in Noah’s day, and Lot’s times. Jesus doesn’t mention the violence and perversion that marked the times. Jesus warns of “Eating, drinking, building, planning”, …entertainment, etc..
Lot’s family once knew and worshipped God, with Abraham in the wilderness, but they weren’t ready to leave Sodom when the time came.
Part of the reason for the Parable in Luke 18 is an answer to the question, ‘How do we avoid being “Lot’s Wife” in this godless and soul deadening worldliness’?
I will explain that next…