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The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
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By now the point should have been established that Israel's repentance and acceptance of Christ will come about as a result of their sufferings during an Arab holocaust that is yet to come upon the land.  It has been shown elsewhere by a number of writers that Israel's repentance is a pre-requisite for the full establishment of the Kingdom ( consider the implication of Acts 3:19,20; Rom. 11:15, not to mention the power of many of the types considered in Section 1). What follows in this section tries not to unduly repeat what has been presented elsewhere, but to present some further insight into Israel's repentance.


Much of Scripture is capable of far more than one interpretation;  our Lord's parables are surely supreme in this.   A number of them appear to have some reference specifically to the last days, although this should not be allowed to obscure the powerful simplicity of their more basic messages.   The parable of the marriage supper appears to have an application to the events of both A.D. 70 and our last days - a feature of much New Testament prophecy.

A.D. 70 Application

God's servants (the Old and New Testament prophets - Rev. 2:20;  Acts 2:18;  4:29;  Am. 3:7;  Zech. 1:6) were sent by God " to call them that were bidden to the wedding:  but they would not come" (Matt. 22:3).   The Greek word for " call" being the same translated " bidden" , we have here an example of the interplay between predestination and the calling of God through the Gospel - the word of the prophets/apostles 'called them who were (already) called' in God's purpose.    This class must primarily refer to the Jews.   The refusal to attend the wedding obviously equates with the Jewish rejection of Christ's work.   God pleaded, " I have prepared my dinner" , i.e. the Kingdom (Matt. 22:2).   This corresponds with the Kingdom 'coming nigh' to Israel through the first century preaching of the Gospel (Luke 10:9,11) and the primary fulfilment of the Olivet prophecy in the run up to A.D. 70 (Mark 13:29).

" My oxen and my fattlings are killed, and all things are ready" (Matt. 22:4) relates nicely to our Lord's work ending the animal sacrifices.  

" They made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise" (Matt. 22:5) would imply that there was a period of crazy addiction to materialism among Jewry between the crucifixion and A.D. 70.   This is confirmed by the epistles to the Jewish believers, notably James and Peter;  it also finds a counterpart in our present 'last days'.

" The remnant" , i.e. 'the others', not involved in this materialism, " took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them" (Matt. 22:6).   This found ample fulfilment in the Jewish-led persecution of the Christian preachers in the period A.D. 33-70.   Note that it was the religious leaders of Jewry who inspired this, i.e. " the remnant" who rejected the Gospel for religious rather than material reasons.

The king therefore " sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city" (Matt. 22:7).   The Roman burning of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 must inevitably be seen as a fulfilment of this.   Stephen used the same word when accusing the Jews of being Christ's " betrayers and murderers" (Acts 7:52).   The Romans being described as " his armies" connects with Dan. 9:26, where they are spoken of as " the people of the prince" - Jesus.  

The reader who pays attention to detail will note that there is a difference in the parable between the king, whose armies are " sent forth" , and the Son (Jesus) for whom the wedding was prepared.   Dan. 9:26 teaches that the armies belong to Christ.   This shows how that after Christ's ascension, all power over " the kings of the earth" (Rev. 1:5) has been delegated to Him by God, although ultimately God still holds that power. After the destruction of Jerusalem, the persecuted servants were sent out on a new preaching mission (Matt. 22:8-10), which presumably refers to the increased verve and sense of urgency in the believers (or just the apostles?) preaching to the Gentiles.

The last days

However, there are ample hints that this parable should be given some reference to the burning up of Jerusalem in the last days.   The prophetic " servants" of Matt.22:4 who call Israel to repentance are matched by a singular " servant" in the parallel parable in Luke 14:17.   There can be no doubt that such differences are designed.   We have earlier mentioned that 'Elijah' and his latter-day school of prophets will minister the word to Israel, which would explain the use in the parables of " servant" and " servants" - the group of prophets being led by one particular prophet.

As we would expect from the fact that Jerusalem is finally captured and burnt, the work of 'Elijah' will initially be unsuccessful - only a minority of Israel will respond.   " They all with one consent (s.w. 'agreement') began to make excuse" (s.w. 'reject') sounds like a conscious, national rejection of the message (Luke 14:18).

The servants going forth " at supper time" (Luke 14:17) fits more naturally into the context of a preaching appeal just prior to the second coming than to the first century.   The " supper" , i.e. the Kingdom (Luke 14:15; Matt. 22:2), is prepared, and at " supper time" - 'Kingdom time' - the appeal is made.   " All things are now ready" (Luke 14:17) explains the unmistakeable sense of urgency in the commissions given to the servants to preach.   This again indicates reference to an eleventh hour preaching campaign just prior to the second coming.   The 'decorum of the symbol' suggests that the animals being killed for the meal would necessitate a brief period of invitation immediately prior to the feast, rather than them being on the table for 2,000 years.

Persecuted prophets

The persecution of the prophets connects with the same thing happening in Rev. 11, where the two witnesses make a similar last-minute appeal amidst great opposition.  We have commented earlier how the true prophets within Jerusalem at the time of the Babylonian invasion represented the Elijah ministry - and they too were persecuted.   The servants were " entreated spitefully" (Matt. 22:6), as was our Lord on the cross (Luke 18:32).   The righteous fellowshiping Christ's sufferings during the tribulation period is something we spotted as a major theme in Section 2.   The idea of persecuted servants occurs again in Rev. 11:18;  19:2, both of which passages have an application to latter-day persecution.

" When the king heard thereof" (Matt. 22:7) implies that as soon as Israel's rejection of Christ came to God's notice, " he sent forth his armies...and burned up their city" .   This is similar language to Gen. 6:12;  11:5 and 18:21 concerning God 'noticing' man's wickedness at the time of the flood, Babel and Sodom.   The judgments with which He reacted on those occasions were typical of the second coming.  As Babylon burnt Jerusalem with fire, so it seems certain from many other prophetic references that literal fire will be used by Israel's enemies to inflict her final punishment.   The Arab armies will therefore be those of God and Christ, as were those of Israel's earlier Arab invaders.   They are called 'sanctified' in Joel 3:9 (A.V. mg.), i.e. 'separated unto' God's specific purpose in punishing Israel.

At the time of Jerusalem's burning, there will then be a vigorous preaching campaign by the " servants" , seeing that " they which were bidden were not worthy" (Matt. 22:8) - the Greek implying not enough numerically.   As a result of this preaching, " the wedding was furnished ('filled' - numerically) with guests" (Matt. 22:10).   This indicates that in some ways, God does work to a number.   Whilst there may be reference here to an appeal to Gentiles, the implication is that it will be to Jews in particular.   The servants go " into the streets and lanes of the city" (Luke 14:21), i.e. Jerusalem.   Their appeal being to " the poor...maimed...halt and...blind" is right in line with our previous studies - the righteous remnant will be left in Jerusalem after her capture and burning (Zech. 14:2), although they will probably be literally maimed and blinded (cp. Zech. 14:12?) as a result of the fighting.  It also connects with the righteous remnant being poor at the time of the Lord's firts coming.

The Greek word for " lanes" is from a root meaning 'to deliver' -as if these handicapped people are cowering from the Arabs in 'places of deliverance', absolutely helpless, yet eagerly responding to the Gospel preached by the Elijah ministry.   It may be that as the original Elijah preached without realizing the existence of a righteous remnant within Israel, so his latter-day ministry may be unaware of the remnant's existence until the very end (1 Kings 19:14,18).

The servants are sent " into the highways" (Matt. 22:9), the Greek meaning 'a market square'.   This must be designed to recall the parable of the labourers standing idle in the market place at the 11th. hour (Matt. 20:6,7).   The very short probation of those 11th.-hour workers will match that of the latter-day Jewish remnant.   They were called shortly before the close of work at sunset (the 12th hour), corresponding with banquets beginning at sunset.

Despite the tremendous encouragement which will be given for the Jews to wholeheartedly respond (Luke 14:23), there will be a category among them who act on the servants' appeal, but ultimately are found lacking the wedding garment of Christ's righteousness (Matt. 22:11).   This may teach that some Jews will show  interest in the message, but fail to respond in baptism - the only way to have access to the garment.   It would seem likely that as John, the Elijah prophet of the first century, baptized with water, so the latter-day Elijah will do the same.   Indeed, this being such a hallmark of his work (even during his life he was called " the baptist" , Mark 6:24), it must surely be a major feature of the future Elijah prophet.   It is doubtful if God will change His prerequisites for salvation due to the circumstances of the holocaust.

" In that day (of Israel's repentance) there shall be a fountain the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin" (Zech. 13:1), may hint at mass Jewish baptisms in Jerusalem as there were in the first century  fulfilment of Joel 2:28-31 and other latter-day prophecies.   The remnant " shall call on my name" (Zech. 13:9) - by baptism into it?

The lack of wedding garments may also refer to Jews being baptized from a blinding fear of impending Arab destruction, but failing to have a complete faith in the sin-covering work of Christ.   We each need to seriously take this warning to ourselves.