Why They Won’t Be Going…wedding parables pt 11

And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. 

Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:  And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.    And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.  And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.  So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things.

Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.  And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.  ( Luke 14: 15-24)

Jesus had been invited to the home of a Pharisee on the Sabbath. When a guest at the table of the feast heard Jesus mention the Resurrection, it triggered him. The guest excitedly burst out with a beatitude, “Blessed are those who shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God!”. He was speaking for virtually all of the other guests sitting there.

As Pharisees, they clung to the Messianic hope, and anticipated the final Messianic banquet at the end of the age, fully expecting to participate in it and believing that the only other participants would be people of the same Pharisaic outlook. No one else would be sitting there, except pious ‘Tzaddiks’, (Righteous Ones), Kosher observant Jews, conservative in their understanding of scripture, would sit down at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was a given that they all would be there, no question about it.

Jesus told this parable as a warning to just those people, and to all of their many, many modern counterpoints.

The man who prepared the great supper and invited his guests, is obviously an allusion to the  LORD himself, the Host of the Messianic feast, which will occur  after God has destroyed Satan and Death, and after he removes the veil which covers all nations.

The guests which were invited and which returned RSVP’s, refer to those closest to the LORD; those who are exposed to scripture; those who know it, read it, and in some cases expound on it. Everything in their life and upbringing should have inclined them to come to that feast, and to be receptive to the invitation.

They all assume they will be there when the time comes.

The Feast is the marriage supper of the LAMB, the ground of all true joy and happiness. It is the promise given to all of those who prize it, of an eternity of happiness and joy in the presence of the LORD. Nothing compares with it. Jesus purchased it with his own blood.

But there is a gap in time between the initial invitation and the time that the feast commenced. By the time the announcement came that “all things are ready now”.

The point of the lame excuses offered by the guests as to why they wouldn’t be there, is to demonstrate that though they all assumed they would be there, and were sure they would make it, and perhaps even wanted to be there as opposed to not being there…but they didn’t want to be there with all of their heart, soul, and being. They had had other feasts, this to them was just another feast.

When these ‘close friends’ of the King showed such half heartedness about the King’s feast, the King was livid! He was not going to accept a half empty banquet hall, so he sent his servants out to gather in the poor and afflicted, the beggars, blind, lame and halt!

Would they want to be there?  “Are you kidding ? Me invited to the King’s feast??? ” They who were sitting in squalor and darkness, simply couldn’t believe they were actually being invited to the King’s feast! They didn’t know their steak fork from their salad fork, but were amazed at their good fortune and the generosity of the King towards them.

The three-fold Moral of this story is stark and simple;

  • There are some people who are ‘closer’ to God, in the general sense. Born and raised in a Christian or post Christian environment, and to varying degrees, familiar with the Bible stories and the trappings of worship, church, prayer, and concepts such as heaven and hell, and holidays set up around the Judeo Christian calendar of events.

These things were designed to incline them to come to God, to be saved and be participants of the marriage supper of the Lamb. To them there is always the temptation to just assume that they would end up in heaven. If there is a heaven they want to be there, and they assume as ‘good people’ they will get there somehow or other, because God is good.

  • But most of these people will not be going there, in fact, according to this parable. Do they want to go there? Yes! But not with all that is within them. Grace isn’t ‘amazing’ to them, it is a given, a vague expectation. They say, ‘God is Love’, and that his love is unconditional, if they even think about God at all.

How bad do you want to go to heaven? Bad enough to admit you are wrong? Or enough to forgive an enemy or bear reproach or to reject the world?

  • There are others who humanly speaking , are very unlikely to be at the feast, but will in fact have a seat there.Seemingly nothing in their lives would have inclined them to become a Christian, or to receive God’s forgiveness and to believe in the Son who did for them. These are the morally and spiritually blind, lame, maimed and halt. Born in Atheistic homes, or Muslim or Hindu, and on their way to hell.

But when the message of the Grace of God as revealed in Christ came to them, it stunned them! “You mean God would forgive me? A Sinner?”.

This wasn’t just another feast to them, they could hardly believe their own good fortune, being beckoned to attend the King’s feast.

How could God be so good to me? Would they want to attend?  Would they be willing to be there? Even if it meant bearing reproach for Christ, or admitting they are wrong, or forgiving enemies, and forsaking the world?

To them the gospel is the most amazing, happy and blessed news they had ever heard of!

 

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“I will be there, certainly”…wedding parables pt 10

And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them.  When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;  And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.  But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.  And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.(Luke 14:7-15)

Jesus had been invited to a feast at the home of one of the chief Pharisees. Luke tells us that He had been invited so that they might watch him. (Who invites anyone to a feast to catch him in a trap?).  It was the sabbath day, the gift day ordained by God for Israel to have rest from their labors. But on this Sabbath the Pharisees and scribes were working hard to try to entrap the Son of God.

When Jesus healed a man of the dropsy , they were angry. Jesus sharply rebuked them for their externalism, and for their hard heartedness. Does the Law of God make provision for beasts of burden but not for man made in the Image of God?

Jesus then noted how the guests of the feast clamored for the chief seats of honor. What would true spirituality look like? Go to the lowest seat and allow the master of the feast to call you up, in other words, humble yourself and allow God to exalt you.  In fact why not throw your own feast, at your expense, but invite only the least’ the poor, afflicted, lame, blind, and the outcast? None of them could ever repay you, only God would see it and reward you.

What is it that Jesus is doing here? He is dealing with the most “pious” and “devoted” believers in all of the land of Judea, the very Shepherds and leaders of the people of God, and Jesus is trying to show them that they are in no ways fit to lead anyone into the Kingdom of God. Their spiritual condition,  the very opposite of what they imagine it is, these elite spiritual leaders are far from pious, in fact they are in deep spiritual danger and even liable for judgment.

The self seeking that they exhibit is the symptom of the deeper problem, the hard heartedness and lack of love, the externalism which literally inverts scripture. The vicious game of “gotcha” that they were playing with Jesus, trying to catch him at breaking the Law, all indicate that these Shepherds were far from God, perhaps farther than the prostitute ad tax collector that they so despised!

Jesus would bring them to repentance, if at all possible.

At the very point in his teaching when Jesus said, “you will be recompensed at the resurrection…” , one of the guests burst out with a hearty blessing, “Blessed is He that shall eat Bread in the Kingdom of God!”.  He was triggered at the very mention of the resurrection, which comes at the end and is associated with the long anticipated Messianic feast.

He obviously was sure He was going to be there. After all he was a Pharisee, and had dedicated his life to the keeping of all 613 commandments of the LORD. He believed in God, One God, and in heaven and Hell, and the Kingdom to come, and He believed in Angels and in Satan.

This man  kept kosher and would not compromise with Hellenism, or Herodianism, or any of the other compromises people all around Him were making, in his heretical day. And He believed in the Messiah to come, for certain. Of course He was going to the Messianic banquet!

Furthermore He was sure that all of those who would be there, “Eating bread in the Kingdom of God”, with Abraham, Isaac and with Jacob, would share in his faith, outlook and manner of life. The only people there would be people who were just like Him and his friends. there was no question about it, all of them would be there as well, at the great feast of God, in the day when the veil is swallowed up and death is finished and the world will be made right again!

It is in response to the assumption of this man and the other guests sitting around the table that Jesus addressed the Parable of the great Feast…stay tuned

 

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The Messianic Feast…wedding parables pt 9

And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him.  And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy.  And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?  And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;  And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? And they could not answer him again to these things.(Luke 14:1-6)

Jesus is invited to a feast, at the home of a prominent Pharisee. But the invitation is given with the intention to  trap him . They watch Jesus, to see if He would  do anything unlawful on the Sabbath. Who would invite someone to a feast, in order to destroy him?

What is a feast for? Feasts are for Life; Celebration, joy, rest and repast with the ones we love. To turn a feast into a religious trap is a perversion. It completely inverts everything a feast is for, and everything a feast points to.

As Jews, Jesus and the Pharisees were taught to anticipate an ultimate, eschatological feast, the great Messianic banquet at the end of the world.

And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.  He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.  And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.(Isaiah 25:6-9)

This highly anticipated prophetic feast is the ground of all true Joy and blessedness. It is associated with participation of the resurrection, and the new creation, after the Messianic defeat of Leviathan (Satan) the Dragon/Serpent. Notice the repetition of the word “all”.

The LORD’s final feast is for all people, all nations, and He will wipe away the tears of all faces.

This feast held by the Pharisee, was a Sabbath feast as well. The Sabbath was the great gift God gave to Israel, for it was the day of rest, worship and of liberty. Israel had been a slave nation, exploited by Egypt, the humanistic world power, but by the blood of the Lamb and the Angel of the LORD, the Jews had been liberated from bondage and given the gift of the Sabbath.

But when Jesus healed a man suffering with dropsy( extreme swelling), The lawyers and Pharisees were angry.  God gave one commandment regarding the sabbath, but the Pharisees, Scribes and experts in the law had devised more than 1200 sub laws, to regulate the Sabbath day.  In the process they perverted that which God had ordained as a gift, making it an insufferable bondage.

Even a beast is allowed to be released out a ditch on the Sabbath day! How much more a man, a fellow worshipper of God and bearer of the Image of God? They have utterly inverted the meaning of Sabbath in the same way as they had perverted the concept of the feast! As Alfred Eidersheim tells us, the wedding parable of Like 14 was given to serve as a warning of the terrible spiritual state of the Jwish religious establishment,

…how appropriately such a warning of Israel’s spiritual danger, in consequence of their hardness of heart, misrepresentation, and perversion of God’s truth, would come at a Sabbath-meal of the Pharisees, when they lay in wait against Him, and He first challenged their externalising of God’s Day and Law to the subversion of its real meaning, and then rebuked the self-assertion, pride, and utter want of all real love on the part of these leaders of Israel.(Life and Times of Jesus Messiah,book IV chapter 16)

And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them.  When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.  For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.( Luke 14:7-11)

The spirituality of self seeking, self promotion, and exaltation which Jesus encountered at this supper, served as a microcosm of how removed they were from the true piety of the Pharisees and Scribes and experts in the law.

Jesus called for a total shift of priority , a complete repentance of thought, attitude and deed.These religious “experts”  saw their religion as a means to the end of the exaltation of Self, (inviting and honoring those who in turn will invite and honor you, pleasing man and having respect of persons and holding men’s admiration in esteem).

Those who will “sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Prophets” do not regard themselves as having earned their place there in any way, but are rather recipients of a gift of God. They were all brought to the lowest place, only to be elevated by the grace of God himself, “This is our God, we have waited for Him!”.

Those who see this in truth, correspondently live of life of freedom to elevate others, and to esteem others as better than themselves. This is the true spirituality of the Messianic feast, and all (Gentile and Jew) who will partake of it. It consists of a life of received Love, which allows and even compels one to descend to others to elevate them in the name of the God who has elevated you!

Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.  But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:  And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.(Luke 14:12-14)

You will be recompensed, at the resurrection of the Just, ie the Messianic banquet.

More on Luke 14

 

 

 

 

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The Friend of The Groom…marriage parables 8

He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.  He must increase, but I must decrease.He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.  He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.  For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.   The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.( John 3:29-36)

Forty years before the destruction of the second Temple in Jerusalem, in 70 ad, there was an awakening in Judea. A prophet had been raised up, in the character of Elijah, warning of judgment and calling men to repentance, and preparation for the onset of the Kingdom of God. John the Baptist ministered in the harsh Judean wilderness by the side of the Jordan river.

Without Radio, Newspapers or any form of mass communication, virtually all of  Judea flocked out to him, crossing the Jordan river, from west to east, thus reversing the path of Joshua and Israel, only to cross back over again, after hearing the Word of God and many being baptized of John.  The idea of John’s baptism was a new start, going back outside of the promised land (voluntary exile) and after repenting, entering back in again.

John The Baptist was being informed about another preacher, who had begun drawing greater crowds as John’s crowds decreased. His disciples were concerned that the prophet was being eclipsed by this new preacher, but not John.

He referred to the remnant congregation of repentant Jews as ‘the Bride’, drawing on so much imagery from the Prophets.

Who has the Bride? Only the Bridegroom. In Jesus, the Bridegroom has come back to Judea to receive his Bride.

Who was John The Baptist?   He was not the Messiah, the true Groom.

John the Baptist called himself the “friend of the Bridegroom”, i.e. the “Best Man”, whose task was to prepare the Bride for the arrival of the groom.The Joy of the friend of the Bridegroom is to hear the voice of the groom, and to step back and defer to the groom in everything. “He must increase and I must decrease”.

Who ever heard of a “Best Man” at a wedding, wooing the Bride and claiming her as his own?  The bet man goes before the groom, preparing the Bride and the guests for the arrival of the groom.

John tells us, that the groom  “comes down from above..”, therefore He speaks heavenly things , things difficult for earthbound people to receive. Only a heavenly people could resonate with what the Groom has to say, the bride and groom speak their own language, and understand their own terms.

Those receptive to the testimony of Jesus are a remnant in this world of the lie. They constitute the Bride of Christ. By identifying with Jesus, the groom, they are justifying God in what He is saying, because they recognize that Jesus is speaking the Word of God.

Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?  And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. (Matthew 9:14-15)

Here Jesus refers to himself as the Bridegroom. When he was here with his disciples, it was feasting time, but now that he is gone temporarily, we must deny ourselves , until HE returns. The wedding is coming soon enough, the Groom is preparing himself, and so also the true Bride.

I have a friend who is a musician, Paul Clark, who wrote a little poem and set it to music,

One final Word

Do not lose Heart,

He’s coming as you have heard,

Continue in your part…

The Bride Groom knocks,

upon Earth’s door,

He is searching for Hearts,

To be his evermore…

 

 

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Under Every Green Tree…Wedding Parables pt 7

Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts.For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. (Jeremiah 2:19-20)

Jeremiah 2 and 3 continue the same themes as Hosea; Jahweh as the rejected husband, Israel as the promiscuous wife,  in spite of the lovingkindness of her husband.

The Prophesy begins with Jahweh remembering the early days of the relationship, out in the wilderness when Israel trusted and followed Her husband, after he had broken her free of her bonds.

Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. Israel was holiness unto the Lord, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the Lord.  Hear ye the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel:  Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?(Jeremiah 2:3-5)

As perhaps many a jilted spouse has asked themselves plaintively, Jeremiah prophesied God himself asking, “What do they reject about me?” Isaiah even has him asking, “What more could I have done for them?” Obviously this is anthropomorphic language, God knows why his people go astray after other gods and it has more to do with the iniquity and faithlessness of the human heart, than any perceived “flaws” in Him who is perfect.

Much of the problem lies at the feet of the ministry. The Priests, Prophets, Pastors and Shepherds have let the people down, they themselves have apostatized, in spite of their own particular privileges. Such is the case today!

The priests said not, Where is the Lord? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.(Jeremiah 2:8)

Then, as now, the Priests failed to teach the Word, they pursued their own interests, sought to placate and ease the people (Seeker sensitive) and failed to guard the deposit of truth entrusted to them. The worship decayed, corruption entered into it, and in a small matter of time, apostasy and compromise with idolatry began to flourish.

The dissatisfaction with the true doctrine and worship, and the hunger for that which unique or exotic, as well as the tendency for the political leaders to want to make alliances with pagan nations, comes down to this sad truth…the people of Judah had rejected God himself.

Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.  Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord.  For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.( Jeremiah 2:11-13)

They were to remember this and realize it as the cause of their multitudes of recent troubles; invasions by Assyria, Egypt, and ultimately Babylon, the burning of cities, captivity and even exile. They would have to see that all of those troubles, they had brought upon themselves, they were the result of their own defective choices.

Is Israel a servant? is he a homeborn slave? why is he spoiled?  The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant. Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head.  Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, when he led thee by the way?  And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts.(Jeremiah 2:15-19)

Who will be able to wipe away the stain?  How does this bride so shamelessly deny her own adulteries ? What hope is there, when it seems that with this wayward bride, faithlessness is her very nature? Let’s face it, she loves foreign gods,  she always go after what she truly loves.

For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God. How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways;  A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her. Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.(Jeremiah 2:22-25)

But Jahweh would taker her back, even after all of the humiliation and rejection, Jahweh’s heart is yet for his bride. So he cries out after her, (an all of we who are wayward)

Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever.  Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord.  Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:  And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.(Jeremiah 3:12-15)

If she would just admit her iniquity, and her faithlessness and disobedience, the marriage can resume, in fact to is certain that one day soon, the marriage shall resume. The Prophet even pre-records the prayer which the wayward wife shall utter on that day;

Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God. Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.  For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.  We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God. (Jeremiah 3:22-25)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Go Love a Woman…wedding Parables pt 6

Then said the Lord unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.  So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley:  And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee. For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:  Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days. ( Hosea 3)

What does a man do when he is married to a Harlot, who keeps running off , seeking other lovers and their gifts?  Her promiscuity has brought her into bondage and made her into a slave!

In this case God told Hosea the prophet to go and redeem her from the slave market she had sold herself into.

The prophet underwent the humiliation of buying back his own wife,  for a homer and a half of barley.

He takes her home and tells her, ” I am going to shut you up and away from all of your lovers, none of them shall have you, you are for me exclusively, and I will be yours. But first a long period of cloistering until the time comes for us to be together”.

Hosea then explains the meaning in history of this parable which he is acting out with Gomer the harlot.

There would come a day when there would be no more national Israel, no more temple, priesthood, or King, nor would there be sacrifice, or King, or national symbol. Furthermore there would no more be any idols. Israel would be shut away, and scattered among the nations for many, many days.

At the time Hosea prophesied this, there was an Israel, and a temple and Priesthood, offerings, nationhood, national sovereignty, and symbol. It would be the Babylonian captivity that would cure Israel of the external sin of crass idolatry.

But what is idolatry really, but alienation from God himself?

Hosea was predicting a longer captivity, an obliteration of nation, temple, Kings and Priests.For many days… .

Then there would come a turning point. “Afterwards…”. What happens afterward? Afterwards, Israel returns. She returns in a double sense, first she returns back to the land, but ultimately the return is “Teshuvah”, , a return in the sense of repentance. Israel would one day return to the land physically and subsequently she would come back to the True God and to His Messiah.

In the time of the second return, Israel shall again fear the LORD and his goodness.

When will this return be? “In the latter days…”.

We are currently living in the time between the first return (commencing May 1948 till present) and the second return, which will be the complete repentance and conversion of Israel to God.

Between the wars of 70 ad and 120 ad, the Jewish State was besieged by Roman legionaries, one million Jews were slaughtered and the world’s slave markets were absolutely glutted. The Jewish state was obliterated and Jews were scattered across the face of the earth. There was not another Jewish State in existence until May 1948 when the world witnessed a new state, “The Land Of Israel”. A Nation was born in a day and prophetic events were set in place.

But the population of Israel is secular and even Atheistic for the most part. Israel has returned , but she has not yet returned to her God. She does not yet “seek the LORD her God and David her King (The Messiah) , She is still estranged from her God.

What will it take to bring her back to God in repentance? Nothing less than the great tribulation.

In order for Jesus to come back and establish his rule and reign, Israel must come back to the Land of Abraham,Isaac, and Jacob, and of the Prophets. She must acknowledge her offense against God, before Jesus will ever come back to her.

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Hosea; The Heartache of God…wedding parables pt 5

The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.( Hosea 1:1-3)

Some of the Prophets of the Bible spoke for God in sermons, predictions,lamentations and other oral methods of communication. Other Prophets were called to literally live out their burden, their lives were object lessons;Jeremiah had to walk to Babylon and bury his loincloth, Isaiah had to go naked, Ezekiel had to lay on his side for so many days, and to cut his hair and divide it into three piles.

All of this activity portrayed the situation between God and his people, or predicted coming judgments. The lives of the prophets became object lessons.

Perhaps most striking was the call upon Hosea the prophet to marry a harlot Gomer.

Hosea was to lavish her with gifts, luxuries, clothes and special delicacies as any loving husband would do for the woman He loved. But she was a harlot and not a loving wife, so she ran after other lovers and gave them credit for the things Hosea had provided for her.

For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.  Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.  And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand.  I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.  And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them. (Hosea 2:8-12)

This was a perfect, living example of what Israel had done with her God. He had wooed her, delivered her, and loaded her with gifts and privileges,  but in a short time, she would go after the abominable Baal, and giver her worship (affection,intimay) to Baal and Ashteroth,even going so far as o crediting Baal for the good things God had provide her.

Gomer bore the Prophet  two children, whose names were prophetically given,  Jezreel, LoRuhama .  Jezreel was so named because it means “Scattered of the LORD”. The ten tribes of Israel would be scattered soon, and cease to be a nation. Loruhama means “Not my people” because the prophecy of Moses was about to be fulfilled,

They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.(Deuteronomy 32:31)

But Hosea predicted that the names of the children would be changed again, from Jezreel to Ammi, which means “My People” and from LoRuhama to Ruhama which means “Finding mercy”. The children of the harlot will come into adoption and mercy, Israel shall one day be saved.

Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah. Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts;  Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.  And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms.  For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.(Hosea 2:1-5)

Gomer is a total harlot, completely sold out to the pursuit of her lovers.

Israel, the wife of Jahweh, has played the harlot, she pursues her false Gods, and alliances of protection with Pagan nations, and has departed from God.

Much of the church, the espoused “Bride of Christ” is playing the harlot, she seeks ecumenical unity with Antichristian religions such as ISlam, she indulges in Bhuddism, eastern religion, and even the occult! She has been given many blessings and privileges, but she forgets God, and seeks the world. She indulges in politics as well, and allow secularistic teachings and philosophies. This is spiritual adultery.

But the lover of men’s souls doesn’t give up on any of us. He has a program of correction to wean us from our spiritual adultery,

 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.  And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.(Hosea 2:6-7)

He will take away the comforts and gifts which he once lavished us with, and  He will take us out to the wilderness and woo us out there. Hosea literally had to go to a slave market and to redeem his wayward wife there, to take her home again.

And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.  And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the Lord. Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.(Hosea 2:12-14)

The wedding parable of Hosea is being lived out by Israel, who has gone away into Captivity from 70ad until this day, far from God, persecuted, despised , rejected and driven out, and heading for her final conflict and deliverance. But God is in her troubles, He is separating her from all of her false lovers, to reveal himself as he true husband and friend. In the wilderness He will come to her, and speak comfortably to her.

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