5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
That ovation was a beautiful and cheering incident -- like a gleam of sunshine in the midst of a cloudy day. Its occurrence at this time was an arrangement of divine wisdom. We are not told what its object was as regards Christ himself. It was probably of the same character as that of the angel's visit in the garden of Gethsemane. He was on the eve of a terrible ordeal of suffering. He knew it was coming, and was exercised by the prospect. Did he not need "strengthening?"
In the garden of Gethsemane, the angel "strengthened" him. It is probable that the triumphal entry into Jerusalem at this time would have a similar effect. We must not forget the testimony that he was "touched with the feeling of our infirmity." It would tone him up for the last bitter cup to have a foretaste of the glorious future, when the whole nation would receive him with blessing, and when the whole earth would bow suppliant and adoring at his feet.
Its occurrence was perfectly natural when Jesus provided the opportunity. For over three years, the work of Christ, though it excited the jealousy and hatred of the priestly classes, had filled the popular mind with increasing admiration. The crowd accompanying him on this occasion, shared the feeling to the fullest extent. They had just seen the miracle of the curing of the blind, coming after a long series of wonderful deeds. They had been witnesses of, and gloried in, his righteous oppositions to the leaders. Their ranks were swelled by the arrival of many from Jerusalem, who had come to the feast, and who, hearing of the resurrection of Lazarus, were anxious to see Lazarus as well as Jesus. It was whispered by many,
"Is not this the Messiah?"
When, therefore, Jesus mounted an animal to make the foretold entry into Jerusalem, the associations of such an event almost provoked demonstration on his behalf. It had several times happened in Israel's history that a new reign had been inaugurated by a royal progress in this particular form -- mounted on an ass. The ass is a different animal in the East from what it is in the West, and holds a different position in popular regard from what it does in England. The spectacle, therefore, of Jesus so mounted and riding towards Jerusalem, was suggestive of ideas in harmony with the popular impression that the kingdom of God was immediately to appear.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 48
21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
NEVER worry. Worry has sent more people to asylums and hospitals than anything else.
Worry is stupid, juvenile, faithless, nonproductive, round-and round-in-a circle thinking. If something calls for concern, be concerned. But be concerned in a constructive, productive way.
Think in a straight line-from problem to solution. Or if there is no solution, to acceptance. If there is no solution, there is always prayer: though that should be the first resort, not the last.
God can make anything happen or not happen. If He doesn't choose to, then it is not to be; or we have not prayed long enough, or sincerely enough. Or we have something to learn that denying our prayers helps to teach us. Everything related to God's affairs and God's people has a good purpose.
Folly frets and worries and rebels. Wisdom knows there is a reason, and accepts, and adjusts, and is thankful, whether God gives, or takes away.
TWO things are essential for true marriage: total devotion of both to God, and total devotion to each other. These things guarantee its success. All else is tragic failure.
Bro Growcott - Search Me O God
22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
SUMMARY - SECTION FROM NAZARETH REVISITED ON PRAYER
1. Have the heart prepared by habitual meditation
2. Right thoughts - right words - psalms and the Lord's prayer show the acceptable thoughts and words.
3. Persevere in requests 'Pray without ceasing' (1 THESS 5;17)
4. The father gives good things according to his wisdom when he is repeatedly petitioned. (Matt 7;7)
5. Yahweh will not hear those who have iniquity in their heart. (Psa 66:18)
6. '... he heareth the prayer of the righteous. (Prov 15:29, )
24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
The enlightened are acquainted with too many cases of mesmeric cure to attach to these cases the significance which the faith-healers recognise in them. The exercise of natural power in the modification of physiological conditions is a totally different thing from the healing power of the Spirit of God, used by God's messengers in attestation of the authenticity of his messages.
If the faith-healers are divine, let them open the eyes of the born-blind, and raise the dead. Above all, let them speak according to the law and the testimony.
28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
On what principle? On the principle supplied in the answer they had given -- that the man who did what was required of him was the right doer, even if in the first instance he made great show in the contrary direction.
The publicans and the harlots by their profession were such as refused to perform the commands of righteousness: but as a matter of fact, they "repented at the preaching of John the Baptist," whom the Scribes and Pharisees rejected. These Scribes and Pharisees made a great show of willingness to submit to the divine requirements, but as a matter of fact, while promising obedience, they did not yield it, and their long prayers and religious performances did not make up for their disobedience. They were in the position of the son, who said, "I go, sir," but went not.
The parable has a valuable modern application. There is much talk of the lips: much piety. Where is the doing of what God has commanded? There is very little of it. No wonder. The state of things is so corrupt that the very theology of the people almost kills incentive to righteous action. They are taught that they can do nothing to please God; that all that is needful is to believe that Christ died for them. "Only believe," that is enough, say they. As for doing, they are to "cast their deadly doing down -- down at Jesus' feet" Jesus "did it all, long, long ago." As for them, they are "miserable sinners," who constantly do the things they ought not to do, and leave undone the things they ought to do.
In clear and dignified contradiction to this demoralising travesty of the apostolic doctrine of justification by faith, stands the words of Jesus: "He that doeth the will of my Father, the same is my mother and sister and brother," -- a doctrine he could not have placed in a clearer light than by this parable of the son who was approved even after rebelliousness of speech, because he did the things that were required of him. How reasonable and beautiful is the doctrine.
Action is the very essence of character. If a man's actions are always evil, of what acceptance with God or man can the finest speeches find? They are as a fine cloak over a grinning skeleton. The man who talks finely and acts badly is not inaccurately known in all the world as a hypocrite, and a knave whose basenesses are rendered all the more hideous for being tricked out in the garb of a fine wordy profession.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 32
38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
"The end of all things hath approached."-Peter.
The leasehold occupants of God's kingdom were a rebellious tenantry.
He sent many servants to them, called "prophets," to persuade them to render him His dues; but they beat one, killed another, and stoned others. At last he sent his Son Jesus to them. When they saw him, they said among themselves, This is the Heir of the vineyard we have rented of Yahweh! Let us kill him, and retain it for ourselves!
This was the counsel; so
"they captured him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him"
-they cut off the anointed Prince Royal in order to secure for themselves the ruling of the kingdom of God. But their conspiracy was doomed to a miserable defeat. They had determined to break asunder the bands of the Spirit and his Son, and to cast their cords from them; but that incarnated Spirit in the heavens laughed at, and derided them!-Psal. 2: 1-4.
When the Eternal Spirit in the Son was speaking the parable he turned to his hearers, and asked them, what the Lord of the vineyard would do to those husbandmen WHEN HE CAME?
This question in Matt. 21:40, indicates a coming of the Lord at the destruction of the power of the rulers who put him to death. The bystanders replied, that when he came,
"He would miserably destroy those wicked men, and let out his vineyard to other husbandmen."
In this they gave sentence against themselves; and Jesus ratified it, saying,
"Therefore, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you (Chief Priests and Pharisees) and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall upon this stone (quoted from Psal. 118:22) shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
In this parable, "the vineyard," "the inheritance," and "the kingdom of God," are all phrases expressive of one and the same thing; and that thing was then in the possession of the Chief Priests and Pharisees. They knew that Jesus of Nazareth, as Son of David, was the true and rightful heir of the land and government; and they knew also that if he got possession of the kingdom he would send them "empty away." Hence, they put him to death to perpetuate themselves in place and power. But Jesus said, that the kingdom should be taken from them; and that this should be done at his coming for that purpose.
Now in what way this was to be accomplished, is exhibited in the second parable before us. The kingdom of God was not to be taken from the chief Priests and Sanhedrim of Judah, as soon as they should kill the Heir Apparent. The parable in Matt. 12:4-10, shows that there was to be
1. A slaying of oxen and fatlings, and a making ready of all things;
2. A sending forth of servants to certain bidden guests to invite them to come to the nuptials of the King's Son;
3. A persecution of those servants unto death;
4. The destruction of the murderers and their city.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, July 1859
40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
This was the order of things. The oxen and fatlings were slain in the sacrifice of Him who was typified by them; and "all things" were made "ready" in converting his slain body into Holy Spirit after its resurrection, by its reception into glory at "the right hand of Power;" and the anointing of the apostles on Pentecost.
After this servants were sent forth "to the rulers, and elders, and scribes, to Annas the High Priest and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the High Priests"-Acts 4:5. These servants were the Twelve Apostles, who boldly declared to them the resurrection of the Heir whom they had killed, and testified, that he was The Stone of Israel, "who," said they,
"has been set at naught by you builders, but which is become the Chief of the corner;"
and announced salvation to them by his name. Several times the message came to them, but without avail. They entreated them spitefully, and finally slew them.
The work of inviting the Jews and their rulers to the nuptials of the King's Son, consumed many years subsequent to the ascension. From the commencement of the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom by Jesus to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, was a period of forty years.
The founding of the Mosaic Kosmos occupied forty years; at least it was that length of time from Moses' presentation of himself to Israel as their Saviour from Egypt to his death; so it was forty years from the public appearance of the Prophet like unto Moses to the same people, to the death, or abolition of the Mosaic Institutions.
This was done according to the parable verified by history, by
"the King sending forth his armies, and destroying those murderers, and burning up their city."
This accomplished, and the prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled. The burning up of the city and temple was of necessity the burning up of the Mosaic World, or kosmos. Yahweh had chosen "the place of the Daily," Mount Moriah, as the place of his name; so that to burn up the temple, and to prevent its restoration, was to destroy the office and power of the Aaronic Priesthood and to take away the kingdom of God from Israel.
The coming of the Little Horn of the Goat's army against Jerusalem to destroy it and the temple, and so to take away the Daily Sacrifice, was the coming of the Anointed Prince Royal to take away the Kingdom of God from the Chief Priests and Pharisees.
...In the text referred to, Jesus says,
"When the Lord, therefore, of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?" "They answered unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men"-"he will take from them the Kingdom of God."
This was what he would, and did, do to the ungodly and cruel rulers of Judah belonging to the forty-second generation from Abraham. In some sense, therefore, the Anointed Prince Royal of Judah came at the time of the Stone falling upon the Mosaic Commonwealth, and grinding it to powder.
But, upon what principle was the coming of the people of the Prince Royal against the city and temple, the coming of the Prince Royal himself? Upon the universally established principle of law, that qui facit per alios, facit per se; or, he who works through others, works by himself. The Prince Royal is the Lord of the Holy Land, and the sovereign proprietor of Jerusalem, which is therefore styled
"the City of the Great King."
He told the murderers of himself and servants, that that same Lord and King would "send his armies," and "come" himself against them and their stronghold. The Roman armies were the military embodiment of the power of Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews, for the destruction of the Mosaic Commonwealth: so that where the Roman Power was, there was the Anointed Prince Royal of Judah, whether he were visible to mortal eyes, or not.
He worked by the Roman army, and came in their coming; but as to his visible personal presence, there is no testimony of eye-witnesses extant to prove it, though of his invisible personal presence at the seige, the testimony is ample and sufficient.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, July 1859
41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
The Parable of the Vineyard
It condenses Israel's history into a single view. God forming them into a nation is set forth under the figure of a man planting a vineyard. The man who plants a vineyard for himself does so that he may have pleasure from it. It is not merely that the vineyard may exist. The human view is that a nation exists for itself, and that its end is served if it prosper and is happy. But here is another and a higher view -- one that does not appeal to patriotic sympathies, but which is nevertheless the true one, conformity or non-conformity to which will ultimately determine all questions of national well-being.
"God, in whose hand thy breath is, thou hast not glorified:" this was Daniel's complaint against Belshazzar. It is the true indictment against all nations, and is the cause of the judgment that is coming on all nations. Israel was especially formed for the purpose and pleasure of God. "This people have I formed for myself" (Isaiah xliii. 21), "that they might be unto me for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory" before all people of the earth (Jer. xiii. 11).
The planting of a vine is a frequent figure of Israel's national incorporation. It was not used for the first time when Jesus spoke this parable. So early as in David, we read "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt. Thou hast cast out the heathen and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land" (Psa. lxxx. 8). In Isaiah, it is the theme of a song, "Now will I sing to my well-beloved, a song of my well-beloved, touching his vineyard. My beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill, and he fenced it and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine.... The vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the House of Israel" (Is. v. 7).
For God's pleasure, and the well-being of the men composing it, this national vineyard existed. Had it answered its end, nothing but the purest prosperity would have attended it. God was "waiting over them to do them good." Moses put it thus plainly to them: "It shall come to pass if ye hearken to these judgments and keep and do them, that the Lord thy God ... will love thee and bless thee and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb and the fruit of thy land, thy corn and thy wine and thine oil, the increase of thy kine and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you or among your cattle.... What doth the Lord thy God require of thee but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him and to serve the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul?" (Deut. vii. 12-14; x. 12).
Having planted the vineyard, the proprietor sent messengers to receive of the fruit. That is, God raised up prophets in the midst of Israel, to bring them to the obedience which he required, and to that service and praise in which he delighted. With what result everyone acquainted with Israel's history knows. There is no sadder chapter in the whole story of human confusion upon earth than this -- that a nation, divinely founded, constituted, and guided, should, in all their generations, have turned against and killed the messengers divinely sent to them to keep them in the right way.
It is a fact which painfully appears in the detail of Israel's history, and is thus concisely and graphically summarised at the close of the Divine record: "The chief of the priests and the people transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen, and polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by His messengers, rising up betimes and sending, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people till there was no remedy" (2 Chron. xxxvi. 14-16). This is, in fact, the state of things parabolically exhibited in this story of the vineyard.
Israel's long career of insubordination culminated in the rejection and crucifixion of the Son of God himself. Judgment was not long delayed after this. The account of public events during a.d. 30 -- 70 (vulgar era), written by Josephus, is the historic illustration of the process of that "miserable destruction" which, in fulfilment of the words of Jesus, slowly came on them as the result of their disobedience. The vineyard, by that process, was taken from the order of "husbandmen" then in possession.
Of that vineyard, Jesus is here exhibited as "the heir." He has not since that time come into possession, but he must do so as the heir. He indicates such an event in sanctioning the statement that it will be "given unto others." The Gospel of the Kingdom enables us to recognise in those "others," the Lord Jesus and his brethren in the day of his glory at his return, as he says, "When the son of man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory" (Matt. xxv. 31).
Nazareth Revisited Ch 32
43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
Inherit the kingdom
All God has done from the beginning has been the preparation of the kingdom to be entered by the saints at his appearing. Christ illustrates this in all the parables which represent the kingdom as having a present relation to the affairs of men and a present operation among them.
He speaks of it as a mustard seed planted, as leaven hid; as a net submerged in the waters; as a marriage feast for which invitations have been issued; as a vineyard let out to husbandmen, and so on (Matt. 13:13, 33, 47; 22:2; 21:33).
If it be asked how he could speak of a kingdom not yet established as a something existing all the while, it has to be remarked that although never yet established in the form in which the saints will be invited to inherit it, it has in point of fact existed since the day that God organized Israel into a kingdom by the hand of Moses (Psa. 114:1-2; Exod. 19:6).
The kingdom of God is the kingdom of Israel (Acts 1:5; 2 Chron. 13:8; 9:8). Jesus told the twelve disciples that it was their Father's good pleasure to give them the kingdom (Luke 12:32), and when they inherit it, how do we find them enthroned?
"Sitting on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30).
The kingdom of God is the kingdom of Christ, and (Eph. 5:5) the kingdom of Christ is the kingdom of David (Luke 1:32; Isaiah 9:6; Jer. 23:5). Consequently, we are enabled to understand what Christ meant when he said to the rulers of the kingdom of David 1,800 years ago:
"The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Matt. 21:43).
Now because of these things, it is by no means so unnatural as it would otherwise appear for the Apocalypse to represent the kingdom as contemporary with the events that were to transpire among men during the absence of Christ. Christ's own existence supplied this element of coincidence. The person of Christ as the son of David and the Son of God was the kingdom in a nutshell, so to speak. He was the power and essence of the kingdom. This kingdom is his power spread out. While this power is unspread out, the kingdom may be considered as bound up in him, as recognized by the people on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem when they sang
"Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Mark 11:10).
Though withdrawn from the earth, he has had to do with all that has been going on in the earth. He did not abandon the earth to itself. In fulfilment of his promise (John 15:26) he sent the Spirit upon the apostles, and through them, conducted a great work in the midst of Israel.
He established an encampment among them in the order of things founded by the apostles. This encampment became a potent fact in relation to the affairs of men. It was brought to bear on all the habitable in the divine message and invitation it heralded everywhere. It became what dealers in phrases call the raison d'etre of European politics in their divine regulation.
It was the representative of the kingdom of David in relation to the Gentile powers. It was the representative of the kingdom as a coming institution--as a foregone conclusion: not a contingency--not a potentiality, but a certainty, and therefore to be spoken of as all divine purposes are spoken of, in the language of accomplished fact.
It was therefore exhibited first in order in the vision of "things which must be hereafter"--first as a fact in a certain form, supplying the starting point of the vision of what would transpire during the times of the Gentiles, and second, as the upshot of all the events that would so transpire.
It was the enigmatic illustration of the fact that the purpose of God is the first and last in the affairs of men, and the explanation of the course of those affairs, and the termination of that course in the proposed age of glory. It proclaimed heraldically that that purpose hinges on the kingdom of David. In relation to the times of the Gentiles, the kingdom of David was first and last; and God has regulated those times with reference to the exigencies of that kingdom.
The Gentiles exalt their horn over the land of Israel--not by their own prowess, but by divine permission and arrangement because of Israel's sins.
When they have accomplished the whole work of God upon Israel; the kingdom of David will re-appear. Therefore, it is in harmony with the fitness of things that the kingdom of David should be the beginning of the vision shown to John in Patmos, and the end thereof in the establishment of the Holy City as the Ruler of all the earth.
Thirteen lectures on the apocalypse