Joke of the Week
My memory sometimes fails me–I hope I didn’t post this one recently.
An older lady gets pulled over for going 70mph in a 35mph zone.
Older Woman: Is there a problem, Officer?
Officer: Ma’am, you were speeding.
Older Woman: Oh, I see.
Officer: Can I see your license please?
Older Woman: I’d give it to you but I don’t have one.
Officer: Don’t have one?
Older Woman: Lost it, 4 years ago for drunk driving.
Officer: I see…Can I see your vehicle registration papers please?
Older Woman: I can’t do that.
Officer: Why not?
Older Woman: I stole this car.
Officer: Stole it?
Older Woman: Yes, and I killed and hacked up the owner.
Officer: You what?
Older Woman: His body parts are in plastic bags in the trunk if you want
The Officer looks at the woman and slowly backs away to his car and calls
for back up. Within minutes 5 police cars circle the car. A senior officer
slowly approaches the car, clasping his half-drawn gun.
Officer 2: Ma’am, could you step out of your vehicle please? The woman
steps out of her vehicle.
Older woman: Is there a problem sir?
Officer 2: One of my officers told me that you have stolen this car and
murdered the owner.
Older Woman: Murdered the owner?
Officer 2: Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car, please.
The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.
Officer 2: Is this your car, ma’am?
Older Woman: Yes, here are the registration papers. The officer is quite
Officer 2: One of my officers claims that you do not have a driver’s license.
The woman digs into her handbag and pulls out a clutch purse and hands it
to the officer.
The officer examines the license. He looks quite puzzled.
Officer 2: Thank you ma’am, one of my officers told me you didn’t have a
license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered and hacked up the
Older Woman: Bet the liar told you I was going 70 in a 35, too.
Thoughts on Pearl Harbor Day
Today, December 7, is Pearl Harbor Day. On December 7, 1941, aircraft of the Empire of Japan staged a surprise attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A total of 2400 American servicemen and civilians were killed and nearly 1200 were wounded. Eight battleships were sunk or damaged as well as eight other ships. 188 aircraft were destroyed and almost as many damaged. Japanese losses were minimal. The next day the United States declared war on Japan, a war that lasted nearly four years.
Today there will be ceremonies marking the “day that will live in infamy” (President Franklin Roosevelt) in Honolulu and perhaps elsewhere. The few remaining survivors of the attack will be honored, as well they should be.
But there is a lesson from Pearl Harbor that does not relate to World War II. It is the same lesson that the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers teaches: Man knows not his time. None of the men who perished at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, none of the nearly 3000 who perished in the al-Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001, woke up that morning expecting to die before lunch, but they did. I pray every reader of this blog is ready now to meet the Lord. Jesus warned:
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
I urge you to heed the Savior’s words: repent and believe. Cast yourself in faith on Jesus Christ for salvation. Tomorrow is given to no one.
The Letters of Peter: A testimonial
Saluda Press has published two Bible Study Guides, one of them being The Letters of Peter: A Study Guide: Hope and Truth for Troubled Times. I recently received a note from a person using this study guide containing the following testimonial:
“Your Study Guide on I & II Peter, Bob, has been a wonderful help to me personally. It is so well laid out–simple and yet helpful & stretching. Your chapters are a great length–w/lots of effort to restrain your knowledge…& allow me to do my own discovering and thinking. This is the kind of teacher I grow under.”
You can imagine how gratifying it was to receive that note. Why don’t you give yourself the opportunity to discover, think, and grow by studying Peter’s letters in 2017? You can buy this book by going to the top of this page and clicking on Buy My Books. Remember, up till Christmas it’s on sale for $9.95. (You’ll be charged $15.95 but I’ll send a $6.00 rebate check with the book.)
Parables of the Kingdom: Parable of the Tenants: Matt. 21:33-46
- Who does the master of the house represent?
- What does the vineyard represent?
- Who do the tenants represent?
- Who do the servants sent to collect the fruit represent?
- Who does the master’s son represent?
- Who do the “other tenants” of v. 41 represent?
- What does the “miserable death” of v. 41 represent?
Exposition of the Parable
The master of the house, later called the owner of the vineyard, represents God. The vineyard represents the kingdom of heaven. The tenants represent the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day. The servants represent the prophets God sent to Israel, whose positive calling was to gather the fruit of the kingdom, faithful Israelites, by turning the people back to God. The master’s son represents Jesus Christ.
The tenants, that is, the Jewish high priestly family and the scribes and the elders, saw Jesus as a threat to the continued enjoyment of their privileges, honor and rule, and had him executed.
Jesus says that the master—God—will put the wicked tenants to a “miserable death.” History tells us that they suffered that miserable death when a Roman army took Jerusalem in 70 AD and razed the city completely to the ground, temple included. The historian Josephus, a Jew turned Roman collaborator, describes the destruction of the city and the temple. In his description he points out that the priests did not escape slaughter:
While the Temple was ablaze, the attackers plundered it, and countless people who were caught by them were slaughtered. There was no pity for age and no regard was accorded rank; children and old men, laymen and priests, alike were butchered; every class was pursued and crushed in the grip of war, whether they cried out for mercy or offered resistance.
Jesus says the wicked tenants will receive their punishment “when the owner of the vineyard comes” (v. 41). This coming is not the return of Jesus Christ at his Second Coming. The owner of the vineyard is the father of the son who was slain, not the son himself; it is God the Father who would come. Christ’s coming was future when Jesus spoke the parable, but God has now come: the owner of the vineyard came when God executed judgment on the rulers (and residents of Jerusalem, for they too rejected Christ.) The Second Coming of our Lord Jesus remains a future event.
The new tenants are the apostles and officers of Christ’s Church. Now it is they who tend the vineyard, that is, it is they who rule, instruct, and guide the Church. Their duty is to bring forth fruit for God, that is, to bring people into the Church, or kingdom of heaven.
The main point of the parable is this: the Jewish leaders and the people of Jerusalem were to be punished for their unbelief and others would be selected to replace them in the kingdom of heaven. This parable was prophetic, and the prophecy has come to pass. The Christian church, the present manifestation of the kingdom of heaven, is primarily Gentile, as are its officers.
Sadly, the truth taught by the parable has been perverted into anti-semitism in the Christian church. Too many rail at the Jews for rejecting Christ and actually rejoice in the suffering they have undergone as a result. We ought rather to mourn over their unbelief and pray and work for their conversion. The apostle Paul put the case better than anyone in his Letter to the Romans.
First, we see his attitude towards the Jews, his own people:
I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. Romans 9:2-5
Next, we see how we Gentiles should regard our salvation after millennia of idolatry and unbelief:
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Romans 11:17-21
Finally, let us rejoice in the fact that the unbelief of Israel is not permanent. God’s ancient people will turn to him again:
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. Romans 11:25-32
The Parable of the Tenants is the second kingdom parable condemning the rulers of the Jewish people (indeed, all the people of Jerusalem) for their unbelief, the first being the Parable of the Two Sons. In the next kingdom, parable which we will study next week, the Parable of the Wedding Feast, the main point is repeated