The Beginning of the End – A Burden of the Prophets – 3

I don’t understand what is going on. Who will tell us?

Earthquakes, fires, famines, rulers we never thought would come to power… What is going on?

It’s an age-old question. A king’s messengers may proclaim his threats, but who can the faithful believe? Only a true prophet of the Lord. And many have claimed their own messages falsely. Even now lies live in the deceitful hearts of evil men.

In case you missed the beginning of our Advent series:

https://talkofjesus.com/beginning-end-prophets-1/ ‎
https://talkofjesus.com/beginning-end-prophets-2/ ‎

We have only briefly spoken of the Prophets, so far focusing on Jeremiah in the 7th century before Christ; however now we return to the 8th century B.C. during a specific time at the beginning of the end of Israel and later Judah. Many have only heard of Isaiah, whose prophesies confirm Christ as part of our annual Gospel readings of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, the Messiah.

The prophesies of Amos warn the shaken residents of lands facing destruction around 1750 B.C., including Israel and its neighboring countries.

Amos 1:

The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.


You have heard of it from this same proximity:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. – Luke 2:8 KJV

Only Amos, a keeper of sheep in these same hills lived not only prior to the nativity of Christ, but even before the fall of Israel and Judah.

The LORD gave the prophet Amos powerful words which accurately predicted the fates of Israel and her neighbors.

Yet even as in these last days, only a remnant of the faithful would listen and be saved.

A true Prophet is no popular leader, only a messenger of the LORD

Amos 7:

12 And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”

14 Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs.

15 But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ 16 Now therefore hear the word of the Lord.


The Destruction of Israel

As messenger of the LORD, Amos continues warnings through his unpopular visions [Chapter 9]:

I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said:

“Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake,
and shatter them on the heads of all the people;
and those who are left of them I will kill with the sword;
not one of them shall flee away;
not one of them shall escape…

8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom,
and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground,
except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,”
declares the Lord.
9 “For behold, I will command,
and shake the house of Israel among all the nations
as one shakes with a sieve,
but no pebble shall fall to the earth.
10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword,
who say, ‘Disaster shall not overtake or meet us.’


In the two years preceding the earthquake (around 750 B.C.) Amos warns kings of Israel and Judah of the consequences of their sin. He speaks against their surrounding kingdoms as well. The coming disasters are the judgment of the Lord. It will surely come.

Did it happen?

Look to the timeline of Prophets and you will see that it did. A century before Amos, Elijah and Elisha had challenged evil kings and queens like Ahab and Jezebel of the northern kingdom. By the close of the 7th century B.C. Israel would exist no more. Only Judah would survive; and that, only for a brief time.

Is there no hope?

“The Lord roars from Zion,” we hear not only from Amos, but also the prophet Joel in Judah. The destruction would seem to be both certain and complete.

And yet, the Lord always speaks hope to those who will listen to His true Prophets.

Amos 9:

11 “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old…


A booth is a temporary shelter, rather than the golden palatial place of worship built by Solomon. Here the Lord promises repair after punishment. Yet from the house of David generations will pass, hundreds of years until the promised king is born into a manger in a captive Judea.

Amos 9:

14 I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel,
and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine,
and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.

15 I will plant them on their land,
and they shall never again be uprooted
out of the land that I have given them,”
says the Lord your God.


Amos: His name means “Burden,” and he is called the prophet of righteousness. His home was at Tokea, a small town of Judea about twelve miles south of Jerusalem…

Generations, the voices of many prophets, centuries and even a time of silence would all pass before the coming of the Messiah and hope of Israel.


To be continued..

Until He comes

 

 

 

 

The Beginning of the End – A Burden of the Prophets – 2

The Hope of a Savior King

Previously - Part 1
Jeremiah 23:

5 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

יְהֹוָה צִדְקֵנוּ Yĕhovah tsidqenuw 

Matthew 1:

20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying,

“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).  24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

The Messiah Prophets Predicted

His Name IS Jesus, the Christ and Messiah. Only a remnant of faithful would come to the Messiah and recognize this King of righteousness. Many are called; few are chosen. He came to his own, yet they received him not.

In the seventh and sixth century before Christ idolatry would replace worship of the Lord. The Temple would fall, though prophets warned the people of the error of their ways.

Are we so much less idolatrous?

Do more than a few, a mere remnant, even now remain faithful to God?

In addition to holding out the hope of a Messiah to come, Jeremiah warns against evil leaders and false prophets:

Jeremiah 23:

Their course is evil,
and their might is not right.
11 “Both prophet and priest are ungodly;
even in my house I have found their evil,
declares the Lord.

Lies of evil leaders and false Prophets

Do shepherds of these last days seem ungodly? Do false prophets since Christ yet stir hatred into the evil hearts of violent men?

Will any nation, shepherd, priest or prophet endure the wrath of the LORD when judged apart from the holy, sinless and risen Savior of lost sheep?


Jeremiah 23:16 Thus says the Lord of hosts:

“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”

21 “I did not send the prophets,
yet they ran;
I did not speak to them,
yet they prophesied.

23 “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? 24 Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord. 25 I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’

Power Prevails against False Prophets and Evil Shepherds

Yes, men seeking power will claim gods or prophets of their own desires. Idolatry against the Living God!

Men seeking power will always deny the Lord. Evil men will always lead others toward their own destruction, rejecting the Lord who forgives through Christ’s sacrifice. They do not bow down to to God’s own love for those He made in His own Image, but rather wallow in their own inevitable hopelessness. Vain hopes.

God only will judge. He will lead. And to those called to His love, the Lord will redeem them in love with great grace through His own sacrifice.

True Prophets such as Jeremiah and true kings such as David have spoken the word of the Lord. They have pointed to the truth of the Messiah, truth for those ‘with ears to hear‘ of His great love and mercy.


To be continued…

Next: Amos

The Beginning of the End – A Burden of the Prophets

Prophets – Predictions of Destruction, Redemption and the Messiah

How many Prophets can you name?

Why do some prophets have a book and others do not? Is every prophet of God? Why all the predictions of destruction? These are but a few of the unanswered questions about the prophets.

Major prophets, minor prophets, false prophets, seers, and more… No wonder we seldom hear preaching from their harsh messages of doom.

Yet more important than the messenger would be the message of the LORD.

What is the God trying to tell these people to whom the LORD sent prophets? What is the LORD telling us through the warnings of the prophets?

Is He speaking to me? What messenger can we believe?

What must I do now that we have heard the burden of the prophets?

In this year’s Advent series we will explore an even more important prediction of the prophets: the burden of the end times and coming of the Messiah King.


The Righteous Branch

Jeremiah 23 

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people:

“You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord.

3 Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.

5 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely.

And this is the name by which he will be called:

‘The Lord is our righteousness.’


The short answer 

Returning to our initial memory test of Names:

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel… Let’s see: Ezekiel and then Elisha, but they don’t have books.  (Why not, we wondered?) Then there are a whole bunch with shorter books… Let’s see: Zechariah (or was he a priest?), Micah… Malachi (I remember it, the last one). We are hard-pressed to remember them all, let alone know or understand what they wrote and why they wrote it.

In fact, most books or the minor prophets are short and their message of the LORD directed to specific lands of their day. Yet I caution that the message of the LORD remains applicable in these last days.

Here’s a quick look at the 12 minor and 4 major prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and (oops, I forgot briefly) Ezekiel.

We find references to Elijah, Elisha and many others in several books of the Bible, largely the historical books of Kings and Chronicles. The Old and New Testaments also list those who are false, guiding God’s faithful to discernment of the agendas of evil lying men of every age.

A brief overview of Jeremiah 23

Jeremiah lived in the 7th century B.C. He is called the weeping prophet for good reason. Lamentations looks back to the destruction of Israel (the northern kingdom). Jeremiah and Zephaniah both prophesy the beginning of the end for Judah as well. King Josiah, who was the last king to do good in the sight of the Lord, would die (as do all earthly kings). A succession of evil kings would bring about the end of Judah as well. The Assyrian empire fell, but the ten banished tribes would not return to the land the Lord had promised.

The imagery of the shepherds and the sheep is common to leaders and their followers. 

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” 

Kings, religious leaders, even military or political leaders of families or tribes. Shepherds. We could apply it to a governor or bishop, a president or leader of false religion.

“You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord.

Pretty harsh condemnation of powerless leadership leading their followers like sheep to the slaughter. Has so much changed in these last days? I will repay, says the Lord, the God of Israel.

 


To be continued…

Next: Jeremiah’s Hope

 

 

Feasts: Thanksgiving to God

“These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them. – Leviticus 23:4

Feasts, Fasts & Festivals

Americans view Thanksgiving as a defining national holiday, complete with feasts focused on our  Utopian culture of American families. Yet a stark reality lingers as a less than an alternative truth of family feasts of the American family. In fact, as I pointed out in the preface to this Thanksgiving message for 2017, we focus almost entirely on ourselves rather than God.

Festivals, feasts and celebrations have digressed to a holiday from work. Who do we thank, anyway? Certainly not the Lord. Though these feasts may have originated with God and governments, the LORD loses honor in all lands in our contemporary celebrations of self-accomplishment.

Never-the-less, let’s take a brief Biblical look at the origin of feasts and fasts appointed by the LORD.

 Note: Most information shared from other sources. Check out the several links for additional study.

Feast and Holy Days and Dates 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Purim Adar 14 Mar. 12 Mar. 1 Mar. 21 Mar. 10 Feb. 26
Pesach (Passover) Aviv 14 Apr. 11 Mar. 31 Apr. 20 Apr. 9 Mar. 28
Feast of Firstfruits Aviv ___ (varies) Apr. 16 Apr. 1 Apr. 21 Apr. 12 Apr. 11
Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) Sivan ___ (varies) June 4 §May 31 May 20 §May 20 June 9 §June 9 May 31 §May 29 May 23 §May 17
Rosh haShanah (Feast of Trumpets) Tishri 1 Sep. 21 Sep. 10 Sep. 30 Sep. 19 Sep. 7
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) Tishri 10 Sep. 30 Sep. 19 Oct. 9 Sep. 28 Sep. 16
Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) Tishri 15-22 Oct. 5 Sep. 24 Oct. 14 Oct. 3 Sep. 21
Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication) Kislev 25 Dec. 13 Dec. 3 Dec. 23 Dec. 11 Nov. 29

Feasts of the Lord

חָגַג – to hold a feast, hold a festival, make pilgrimage, keep a pilgrim-feast, celebrate, dance, stagger

Contemporary Jewish Calendars include a mixture of Hebrew Festivals, some which are considered minor festivals, with others of more importance.

Names of Hebrew festivals in other languages vary widely, without a singular reference such as ‘Thanksgiving’ for each.

All preexilic festivals were “holy convocations”

PRE-EXILIC Annual (Hebrew) Festivals
1. Passover, 15th-22d Nican
2. Pentecost, 6th Ciwan) Pilgrimage
3. Tabernacles, 15th-22d Tishri) Festivals
4. Shemini ‘Atsereth, 23d Tishri
5. New Year, Feast of Trumpets, 1st Tishri
6. Atonement, 10th Tishri

Five festivals, in addition to the all-important weekly Sabbath [שַׁבָּת], monthly (28 days) New Moon, Sabbath Year (every 7) and Jubilee Year ( every 50) ALL honor the LORD! The Day of Atonement was the only ‘pre-exilic’ fast.

Faithful worshipers of God included fasting, prayer and preparation for these feasts honoring the LORD. A feast was much more important than a mere family gathering, a feast followed a prescribed honoring of Almighty God.

Leviticus 23:

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts.

Yom Kippur – The Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur (in Hebrew)

More Feasts, Fasts & Festivals

The Hebrew calendar begins with two thanksgivings (holy convocations, rather than festivals) to the LORD.

Both commemorate events when the Lord saved Israel: Passover or Pesach the Lord saves the Hebrew people through Moses from slavery in Egypt. And  Purim celebrates the Lord using Queen Esther during the exile to save the Hebrews from holocaust at the hands of Haman the Persian.

Post-exilic Festivals

After the fall of Jerusalem more than a dozen new celebrations and fasts were added to the Hebrew calendar. The period of the Babylonian captivity marks a complete change, not only in the kinds of festivals instituted from time to time, but also in the manner of celebrating the old.

God, America & Thankfulness

What do Hebrew holidays and a uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving have to do with you?

(After all, most of the world is neither Hebrew or American.)

I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations. – Psalm 57:9

Yes, giving thanks is our most appropriate witness to the Lord.

O, give thanks! you sons and daughters of Jacob. Yadah, yadah יָדָה the unrighteous will hear nothing of your blessings; yet we give thanks, laud and praise to your glorious Name, O Lord of Hosts!

1 Chronicles 16:8  הֹודוּ לַֽיהוָה קִרְאוּ בִשְׁמֹו הֹודִיעוּ בָעַמִּים עֲלִילֹתָֽיו׃

As the Lord has chosen but a remnant of Jacob for eternal redemption. God chooses no nation, but only a faithful remnant of those who believe.

Israel fell. Rome fell. The U.S. spirals down toward destruction as has every earthly nation before us. The Lord will judge each man and woman for our own sin. He has prepared a remnant for His witness, praise and thanksgiving.

εὐχαριστία – thankfulness, the giving of thanks

Our witness is that the Messiah Jesus was, is and is to come – He is God in the flesh, the Spirit and Creator of all things.

He will judge and condemn the evil which surrounds us.

He will redeem those who call upon His Name; therefore give Him thanks for the covering of our sins.

Praise to our Lord Jesus Christ

John 1:

16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

John 3:

God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

See how evil unmasks evil. It cannot remain covered and neither will our sin, unless we are in Christ by his love and mercy and grace.

20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”


Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,
the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy
health and salvation!
All ye who hear,
Now to His temple draw near;
Sing now in glad adoration!

Praise to the Lord! Oh, let all that
is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come
now with praises before Him!

Let the Amen
Sound from His people again;
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

Psalm 103

 

Thanksgiving: We’re a little late and Christmas a little early

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

– 1 Corinthians 15:57

What’s wrong with this picture?

Or this one?

 

We may chuckle at these common images of two typically American holidays, but much more is at stake here than changing traditions.

Looking for thanks.

Watch for the coming ‘blitzchris’ of ads and marketing this week leading with holiday headlines of Thanksgiving and Christmas. From television to social media, mega-marketing messages will be unavoidable and ruthlessly relentless.

Therefore note how seemingly positive good news of these holidays ahead will bombard buyers with joyful messages of celebratory consumerism complete with obligatory ‘thanks’ or ‘giving.’ 

Yet the questions we could ask about Thanksgiving & Christmas should be:

  1. Is anyone thanking God or
  2. Is Christ mentioned in anything about Christmas?

Pyimoth Plantation – First Thanksgiving History

People across the world have been celebrating and giving thanks for thousands of years. In this country, long before English colonists arrived, Native People celebrated many different days of thanksgiving.

The English also had a long tradition of thanksgiving. They declared days of prayer to thank God when something good happened. For example, the English declared a day of thanksgiving in the summer of 1623 when a gentle rain ended a long drought.

Likewise, in the fall of 1621, when their labors were rewarded with a bountiful harvest after a year of sickness and scarcity, the Pilgrims gave thanks to God. They also celebrated their bounty with a tradition called the Harvest Home. In a letter to a friend in England,


“E.W.” (Pilgrim Edward Winslow) wrote the only record of the celebration that survives:

We set the last spring some twenty acres of Indian corn, and sowed some six acres of barley and peas, and according to the manner of the Indians, we manured our ground with herrings or rather shads, which we have in great abundance, and take with great ease at our doors. Our corn did prove well, and God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn, and our barley indifferent good, but our peas not worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sown, they came up very well, and blossomed, but the sun parched them in the blossom; our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a more special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors…

Source

Thanksgiving to God

“God be praised,” thanksgiving expressed in a letter to a friend back in England by the Governor of this new world.

And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty. We have found the Indians very faithful in their covenant of peace with us; very loving and ready to pleasure us: we often go to them, and they come to us; some of us have been fifty miles by land in the country with them; the occasions and relations whereof you shall understand by our general and more full declaration of such things as are worth the noting, yea, it hath pleased God so to possess the Indians with a fear of us, and love unto us…

… They are a people without any religion, or knowledge of any God, yet very trusty, quick of apprehension, ripe-witted, just, the men and women go naked, only a skin about their middles…

… there are grapes, white and red, and very sweet and strong also. Strawberries, gooseberries, raspas, etc. Plums of three sorts, with black and red, being almost as good as a damson: abundance of roses, white, red, and damask: single, but very sweet indeed; the country wanteth only industrious men to employ, for it would grieve your hearts (if as I) you had seen so many miles together by goodly rivers uninhabited, and withal to consider those parts of the world wherein you live, to be even greatly burdened with abundance of people. These things I thought good to let you understand, being the truth of things as near as I could experimentally take knowledge of, and that you might on our behalf give God thanks who hath dealt so favorably with us.

Our supply of men from you came the ninth of November 1621, putting in at Cape Cod, some eight or ten leagues from us, the Indians that dwell thereabout were they who were owners of the corn which we found in caves, for which we have given them full content, and are in great league with them, they sent us word there was a ship near unto them, but thought it to be a Frenchman, and indeed for ourselves, we expected not a friend so soon. But when we perceived that she made for our bay, the governor commanded a great piece to be shot off, to call home such as were abroad at work; whereupon every man, yea, boy that could handle a gun were ready, with full resolution, that if she were an enemy, we would stand in our just defense, not fearing them, but God provided better for us than we supposed; these came all in health unto us, not any being sick by the way (otherwise than seasickness) and so continue at this time, by the blessing of God, the goodwife Ford was delivered of a son the first night she landed, and both of them are very well. When it pleaseth God, we are settled and fitted for the fishing business, and other trading, I doubt not but by the blessing of God, the gain will give content to all; in the mean time, that we have gotten we have sent by this ship, and though it be not much, yet it will witness for us, that we have not been idle, considering the smallness of our number all this summer.


What date?

This solitary letter recording the first Thanksgiving in America, written by the Governor of this Massachusetts colony truly reflects thanksgiving to God. They might have died at sea or could have been killed by their befriended American native neighbors. No, reports Winslow, we thank God.

And when did this now legendary first Thanksgiving take place?

We don’t know for sure why the Wampanoag joined the gathering or exactly what activities went on during those three days. We do know, however, that the celebration occurred sometime between September 21 and November 9, 1621.

Source

So it seems that now in the year of our Lord, 2017, Thanksgiving may be a little late, much overlooked and once more crowded by ‘christmas’ feasting and frenzy.

Next, we will continue with a look a Biblical feasts and fasts with an original intent to praise and thank God.

 

Banquet of the King in the House of Wisdom – 7

A casual quest for wisdom’s banquet

We have explored wisdom in this series for the most part from the Bible’s book of Proverbs.  Solomon’s fame, fortune and riches brought leaders to his court seeking ‘words of wisdom.’ 

I suppose they would ask: What can I learn about the success of this wise King? Perhaps if I could be wise like Solomon I could replicate his riches.

Powerful leaders point uninformed others to places which will keep them in their place. The masses of humanity for the most part have remained uneducated and therefore cared little about wisdom.  Even the faithful have not been told God’s truth. So few have have read the truth recorded in scripture.

A thousand years after David and Solomon the Messiah Jesus came into this world and proclaimed:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ – John 14:6

Just like those who had come to Solomon for wisdom, people often asked Jesus about the Kingdom of Heaven, His Kingdom.

An uncomfortable truth

One day I saw a friend preparing for a great banquet for a wedding of important guests. As guests began to arrive in their tuxedos and gowns I asked a well-dressed guard at the door if I could enter briefly to greet my friend. The attendant guard of the door graciously agreed.

became increasingly uncomfortable as guests arrived, knowing that I had not dressed in the formal attire of arriving guests. We didn’t belong at this celebration for the bride and groom, which was about to begin.

At the time I couldn’t help recalling  the uncomfortable ending of Jesus’ parable about the wedding feast.

Just as the truth of wisdom makes us a little uncomfortable, so do the truths of death, judgment and eternal life.

Until the days of Luther (and Gutenberg) most men could not read the Bible. Women rarely could read at all. Yet even now men and women who claim to seek wisdom fail to read the wisdom of the Bible.

Perhaps a few will make brief inquiry about God in an uncomfortable place, a church. Doesn’t it make us feel like the uninvited wedding guest?

 Matthew 22

2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast…

As pointed out previously in this series:

  • “they would not come.”
  • Other servants invited them again, but the invited guests refused.
    • Some ignored the invitation and went back to work.
    • Others of the chosen killed the messengers!

7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

  • He sent messengers to invite as many as they could find.
  • Other guests filled the wedding hall.

    Now the King enters the festivities. As he looks about the room with joy the King notices a man like me (not appropriately prepared for the great feast).


11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants,

‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness.

The outer darkness of the fool

Are you fearful? Here is the wise and all-powerful King and He judges you unfit for the feast. The King’s servants cast you into eternal darkness.

Solomon and the Bible have had much to say about darkness, which is always contrasted with light and good.

The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know over what they stumble. – Proverbs 4:19

Surely the deep darkness of which Jesus speaks is Hell!

In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Are you invited?

Such a staggering thought that the King of Kings would judge your sin!  (And mine, as well.) Therefore we fear Hell, the place of eternal punishment so much deserved by all.

In fact no reprieve can be bought, which was a catalyst of the Reformation.

Are you an ‘outsider’ who is invited, OR do you just tiptoe in the door of the King to hear His wisdom?

Because no family ties, riches or religious displays will get you into the banquet of the Lord, an invitation is required.

Other wisdom of the Son

Jesus IS the Son of Man and Son of God! Christ came to sinners as a sacrifice for our innumerable sins. Jesus frequently speaks wisdom to the crowds and Apostles, even explaining the meaning of parables.

Have you read the Gospel? Find your invitation to the banquet of the King and embrace His righteous wisdom in this Good News for all.

 

 

 

Banquet of the King in the House of Wisdom – 6

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

Matthew 22:

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying,

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come.


If you have been following our series on wisdom you will already recognize that the banquet prepared for us by the king anticipates words of wisdom from our host. Recall also that many proverbs of wisdom from scripture were given to us by Solomon, King of Israel, son of David.

Before we continue let’s reflect on the King and Son mentioned.

Matthew 1:

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

It is highly significant that the crowds of Jerusalem recognized this worker of miracles and teacher of parables as ‘the son of David. Jesus further frequently as the ‘son of man,’ meaning ‘a son of adam’ or human born in the flesh like you and me.

For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. – Matthew 16:27

Let’s be clear: Jesus’ claim to His place in this parable is Son of the King, Almighty God. He has both prepared the table and invited the guests.

You have read the Law of Moses, witnessed the faith of Abraham and sung the Psalms of David. Though you read the wisdom and Proverbs of Solomon, you deny that the Lord tore away his kingdom, then restored Israel for a time.

Servants of the Son of Man proclaim His message and the King now invites you to His banquet.

Will you accept the invitation of the LORD?


The King ‘sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast’, honored guests who claimed Abraham, followed Moses and were among the chosen; ‘but they would not come.’

A Second Chance

MATTHEW 22:

4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off…

God has prepared the feast of feasts for the Son of glory. Therefore Prophets like Ezekiel, God’s messenger frequently called ‘son of man,’ invited family to repent and come to the feast.

2:3  וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי בֶּן־אָדָם שֹׁולֵחַ אֲנִי אֹֽותְךָ אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־גֹּויִם הַמֹּורְדִים אֲשֶׁר מָרְדוּ־בִי הֵמָּה וַאֲבֹותָם פָּשְׁעוּ בִי עַד־עֶצֶם הַיֹּום הַזֶּֽה׃

Ezekiel and other repentant men begged God’s chosen to also repent of their sins and humbly return to the King of creation. Most refused, yet he LORD shows mercy and compassion for those whom He loves.

To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.  – Daniel 9:9-10

Will your repent and return to your Lord?


Matthew 22:

… the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

Certainly that had been the experience and lament of Daniel when a remnant of Israel survived in Babylon.

A New Invitation

8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy.

Would you be a ‘worthy guest’ of the King?

Would the King ask you, a sinful Samaritan of sorts; a gentile, even a non-Christian?

Hear how the Lord has reached out to many to celebrate the wedding of the Son.

9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’

10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

‘Both bad and good’ certainly includes you and me? Look at the definition of the greek word meaning bad, πονηρός ponēros.

  • pressed and harassed by labours
  • bringing toils, annoyances, perils
  • of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness
  • in a physical sense: diseased or blind
  • in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad

Do any of these describe your present life?

We are invited.

Will you accept the invitation of the King to the Banquet for the Son?


To be continued…