From the Parable of the Persistent Widow
to Isaiah’s Prophecies About That Time
As a preamble to this post, I would like to remind readers that much of what is about to come chronologically in the gospel accounts has already been covered in some of the very first posts in this blog in the series entitled “Olivet Discourse” which covers the speech Jesus gave on the Mount of Olives and strongly related passages: Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 17, 19, 21 Therefore, I will refer you there, rather than cover the same ground twice.
The Parable of the Persistent Widow Edit
Luke 18:1-8 - 1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
The parable of the persistent widow immediately follows the context of Luke 17 and its parallels to the Olivet Discourse. There is no disconnect between chapters 17 and 18 in terms of time and location in the context, only the artificial divide of the chapter. Therefore it is my conclusion that this parable relates directly to that context and therefore the destruction of Jerusalem. Certainly there is useful personal application a modern student of the Bible can draw, but our focus is what it meant in the context of the fall of Judaism and the establishment of the church.
In the parable, Jesus speaks of the persistence of prayer to God and makes the comparison between a widow constantly petitioning an unjust judge verses Christians petitioning God who is Just. The conclusion Jesus asserts is that God will avenge the enemies of the church (the elect) which cry day and night about the persecution they face at the hands of the Jews. The timing again is important here. Jesus says that God will avenge them "speedily". This word tachos is the same word found in Acts 25:4 and Romans 16:20 and again in Revelation 1:1 and 22:6 where it is translated "shortly". It's not a word that denotes manner but timing.
Jesus ends the parable once again speaking of the coming of the Son of man. Contextually this is exactly the same coming as Luke 17.
The Rich Young RulerEdit
Matt. 19:16-30 16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. 27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. 30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
Mark 10:17-31 17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? 27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. 28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. 29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
Luke 18:18-30 18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. 20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. 21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. 22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. 24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? 27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. 28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. 29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, 30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
Jesus uses terms like “in the regeneration” and “in the world to come”. The regeneration, when Christ will make ALL things new (Acts 3:19; Romans 6:3-5; Eph. 5:26; 2 Pet. 3; Rev. 21:1, 5) is the coming transition between the Jewish system and the Christian system. In the regeneration, Christ will sit on His throne. This is the Christian dispensation not the end of the kosmos because at the end of the kosmos, Christ will abdicate His throne back to the Father (1 Cor. 15:24). Keep in mind also that the word “world” in Mark and Luke is aion which is better translated as “age” because aion is a chronological term. As in articles, it is important to understand this because Heaven is outside of time and cannot be referred to chronologically.
This premise shall be sustained in the points below.
The Rule of the ApostlesEdit
In the coming age when Christ sits on His throne, the Apostles will also be given 12 thrones to rule. This is not a literal throne (especially since at least a third of the Apostles would be dead and probably more by this time). The throne is a symbol of authority, which authority they had over the church as recorded throughout Acts by inspired teaching and writings and by their ability to pass on the Holy Spirit to others, an ability only Apostles had. This is akin to the 12 foundations of the walls of the city of God in Revelation 21:14. Jesus was the chief cornerstone, the bedrock on which the church was founded, but the Apostles and the authority delegated to them by our King, constituted the next foundational layer on which the rest of the church was built. With the death of John, the last Apostle, that authority rests solely in the New Testament, which is still our law, our authority today. Thus, in that capacity, the Apostles still rule the church today.
Family and Property Lost Will be Regained MoreEdit
It is important to note that in Heaven, there will be no earthly ties of family (Matt. 22:30; Mark 12:25) and no land to own (Heaven is a spiritual realm, there is no physical quantity there). That Jesus promises to replace and increase family and property in the age to come cements the idea that He is not speaking of Heaven. The point of this is that after Jewish persecution is ended, Christians will be free to live and prosper in a way they were not under the Jewish persecution.
Another interesting connection here is to the book of Job. In that book, God allowed Satan to persecute Job. Satan took away Job’s property and family (except his wife) and even Job’s health, but did not kill Job. After the persecution of Job ended, God blessed Job with more of all that had been taken from him. In this connection, the Jews again are Satan, faithful Christians are Job, and the results are the same. Again the Bible demonstrates its divine harmony and interconnectedness.
The ruler asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answers the question first to him then to the disciples. Specifically, Jesus says that they would receive or inherit eternal life in the age to come. Thus, eternal life would be inherited while these disciples still lived on Earth. We have eternal life now as Christians.
Crucifixion Week – Prophecy of Jerusalem’s FallEdit
Luke 19:39-44 39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. 41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
In this scene, Jesus is riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and his followers are hailing Him as the Messiah. The Pharisees object and Jesus responds by telling them of Jerusalem’s fall, a fall that would come upon them and their children by the hand of their enemies because they did not pay attention to prophecies of old that foretold that fall.
Parable of the Wicked HusbandmenEdit
Matt. 21:28-22:14 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. 29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. 31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him. 33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 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. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 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. 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 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. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
Mark 12:1-12 1 And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. 2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. 4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. 5 And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. 6 Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. 7 But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be our's. 8 And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. 9 What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. 10 And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: 11 This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 12 And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.
Luke 20:9-19 9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. 10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. 11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. 12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. 13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. 14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. 15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? 16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. 17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? 18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.
In this account, the owner of the vineyard is God the Father. The vineyard is the “Kingdom of God/Christ/Heaven kingdom of God”. The husbandmen are the Jews. The servants the husbandmen injured and later killed are the prophets. The son is, of course, Jesus. In this parable, the Jews sought to kill Jesus thinking they would receive the inheritance as they desired the inheritance to be (a physical one). Instead, God destroyed them.
What is important to understand, though, is what happens as a result of the death of the owner’s son. Matthew gives the most detailed version of the effect. God would destroy the husbandmen and take the kingdom (not as the church) from them and give it to another nation (the church) to bring forth fruit (converts – believers). Again, this cannot be talking about the end of the kosmos because this implies work before and after the judgment of the husbandmen, it implies fruit in the form of converts, which won’t happen in Heaven. This is a parable of the destruction of the Jews and the rise of the church.
- It is important to note that John is missing many of these parables concerning the destruction of the Jews and Jerusalem. Again, this is because John’s gospel account was written after the fall of Jerusalem with a view to proving the deity of Christ against the Gnostic heresy and the Jews were no longer relevant.
Parable of the Wedding FeastEdit
Matthew 22:1-14 1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
What a rich parable! So much information contained in such a small story.
A. The actors:
- The king – God the Father
- The king’s son – Christ
- The servants – the Apostles
- Them that were first invited to the wedding – the Jews
- Them that were in the highways – Gentiles
B. The setting is God throwing a marriage feast (wedding reception) for His Son, Christ, who is now married to His bride (the church). The Apostles were sent first to the Jews, some few accepted, but many did not. We see here pictured that most of those who rejected the invitation were focused on physical things of the world (their farm or merchandise), but some persecuted and even murdered the Apostles (and other Christian preachers). God’s response was to gather His army (the Romans) and destroy the city of those He had first invited, namely Jerusalem. He also told his servants (Apostles) to go to the highways (the rest of the world, the Gentiles) and invite them and many responded so that the feast was full (Matt. 25:1-13; Revelation 19:9; 21-22).
One new invite (Gentile Christian) shows up without a coat (robe of white – he didn’t prepare and wasn’t faithful, or in other words, though he responded to the invitation, he did not follow all of God’s instructions after initial obedience) and God casts him out of the reception into outer darkness (not Hell) where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (see the last part of Matt. 25).
Prince of the World Cast OutEdit
John 12:20-36 20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. 27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. 28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. 29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. 30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. 31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die. 34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man? 35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
Serving/following Christ allows the servant to be where Christ is. This echoes what Jesus told the Apostles in John 14. Where Christ would be is the church, ruling it as King. Jesus said in John 14:2-3, 23 “...I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.” and “...If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” Jesus had to go away in order to send the Holy Spirit and let the Holy Spirit do His work. Jesus promised to return. Once He returned, His servants could be with Him in the place He returned to (not Heaven but the church).
Jesus said “Now is the judgment of this kosmos”, “now shall the prince of this kosmos be cast out.” The timing is unmistakable. This judgment was upon them, not some future date. Furthermore, it is tied to the “lifting up” of Christ (on the cross). The kosmos, then in this context is the figurative kosmos (sun, moon, stars), the Jewish system. The prince of that system is Satan and once again Satan, The Adversary, is tied to the Jews. The judgment against Jerusalem and the Jews was upon them and that generation and that generations immediate offspring would be subject to it.
The Light of the WorldEdit
Jesus is the light of the world as the Word made flesh. Those who followed Him by obeying His teachings would be considered children of light, or in other words, those who had knowledge. Later Paul would write that the imminent events of the destruction of Jerusalem would not overtake the Christians unawares because they were children of light, they had knowledge and understood the warning signs (1 Thess. 5:1-11). Children of darkness in this context and in Paul’s letter were the Jews who would suffer destruction because they did not heed Jesus warnings such as in John 12.
Isaiah Again Prophesying About Jesus’s Time (not the end of the universe)Edit
John 12:37-50 37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: 38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? 39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. 42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. 44 Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. 45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. 46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
A very powerful, yet possibly confusing passage for the cursory reader.
- A. Isaiah’s prophecies came from Isaiah 53:1 and Isaiah 26:11 and 42:19-20. These prophecies were all about “the last days”, the end of the Jewish system, the coming of the church.
- B. Jesus continues the thought concerning light and darkness and ties it to the prophecies of Isaiah and the judgment in the last day. The last day, as I have written throughout this wiki, has nothing to do with the end of the kosmos and everything to do with the last days of Judaism.
- C. Jesus not judging/judging might be confusing at first glance, but it’s not difficult to clear up. Jesus did not come this time to judge the world. In the flesh as the son of Mary sent to be crucified for the sins of everyone, Jesus came as a savior, not a physical conqueror such as the Jews wanted. In this context, Jesus is not judge, but savior. However, when He returned (John 14, Olivet Discourse, Revelation, etc.) He would bring judgment according to His word. This judgment, ultimately, came from His Father, which Jesus does explain thoroughly as recorded in John 14-17. It has to do with which coming Jesus is referring to, coming in the flesh, or coming in the clouds of power with His angels (the Roman army).
In Truth and Love.