REPENTANCE OF ISRAEL
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
THE MARRIAGE SUPPER PARABLE
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
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
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.
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
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 opened...to 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.