The Vineyard and the Apostasy
Sep 13, 2010
God's purpose for creation and (more specifically) for His Kingdom is that it would produce the fruits of the Spirit, which are the characteristics of Christ.
To this end, Isaiah wrote a prophetic song in chapter 5,
A Song of My Beloved Concerning His Vineyard
My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill.
And He dug it all around, removed its stones,
And planted it with the choicest vine.
And He built a tower in the middle of it,
And hewed out a wine vat in it;
Then He expected it to produce good grapes,
But it produced only worthless ones.
Here the Kingdom is pictured as God's Vineyard, as if God was a farmer producing grapes to put the "new wine" on His Communion Table. The problem is that the Vineyard-Kingdom in his day "produced only worthless ones," that is, sour grapes. The "fruit" of that Kingdom was unfit for God's Table.
Joshua had "planted" this Vineyard when he brought the Israelites into the land of Canaan. Joshua was a type of Christ ("Yeshua"), but that Kingdom was founded under the Old Covenant. It failed to bring forth the fruits of the Kingdom that could meet God's perfect standard.
Jesus told a parable in Matthew 21, using Isaiah's song as the basis of His teaching.
(33) Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it to vine-growers, and went on a journey. (34) And when the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce. (35) And the vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third.
It is obvious that the religious leaders of the day were the "vine-growers" who were responsible to produce the fruits of the Kingdom. The "slaves" were the prophets sent to receive the fruits of the Kingdom. The prophets were beaten, killed, and stoned. Finally, in verses 37-39, the "Son" was sent, but they killed Him as well in order to "seize His inheritance." In other words, they wanted to usurp the Kingdom for themselves.
The verdict is given later, after Jesus allowed them to judge themselves.
(43) Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation bringing forth the fruit of it.
In verse 45, the Pharisees understood that He was referring to them. The kingdom would be taken from the Jewish religious leaders and be given to "a nation" [ethnos] that would actually render to God the fruits of the vineyard. Furthermore, this "nation" is not the same as the Jewish nation. It is a new ethnos, established by the New Covenant.
The Bible expresses the same truth using different imagery. Paul speaks of this in terms of the "fruit" produced by Hagar and Sarah. Hagar, the Old Covenant, does not produce the quality of fruit (Ishmael) that God requires for Sonship. Ishmael was prophesied to be a violent man who would attempt to establish the Kingdom by force and carnal means (Gen. 16:12). Only Isaac, the son of Sarah, the New Covenant, would be able to fulfill the requirement of God.
Hence, if we merge these two prophecies, we can say that the Kingdom of God would be taken from Ishmael and given to Isaac. It would be taken from the Old Jerusalem and given to the New Jerusalem.
So Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 2:3,
(3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, (4) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
The great "apostasy" is the reversion from the New Covenant back to the Old Covenant. The "man of lawlessness" has to be revealed, or exposed. He is the "son of destruction" (or perdition), a term applied specifically to Judas in John 17:12.
Many Christians do not understand Paul's statement here, because they do not know the basic conflict in the New Testament. They do not know that it is a re-play of the story of David and Absalom, who usurped the throne with the help of Ahithophel, David's counselor and friend. In the New Testament story, David was Jesus, the chief priests were Absalom, and Judas played the role of Ahithophel.
The chief priests usurped the place of Christ in His temple and set themselves up as if they were God. In other words, they seized Jesus' inheritance (Matt. 21:38). His inheritance was the Throne of His father, David. The Church generally recognizes that Paul was speaking of Antichrist in 2 Thess. 2:3, 4, but they do not realize that the Jewish usurpers were the Antichrist. If they had connected the story of David with the New Testament story of Jesus, they might come to understand this, but that connection is seldom, if ever, taught.
When Darby began to teach Dispensationalism in the 1850's, and when this teaching was popularized by C. I. Scofield in the early 1900's, the great apostasy began to sweep over the Church. They taught that in the Age to come, Hagar-Jerusalem would be given the inheritance once again, the Jewish usurpers of Christ's throne were "chosen" to rule the world under Christ, and that the Old Covenant would stage a come-back, replacing the New Covenant. Sacrifices would resume in a physical temple in Jerusalem.
They did not understand that when David returned, Absalom was killed. Absalom did not rule in David's kingdom after His "second coming." Absalom was the Anti-David who had usurped the throne. He was not "chosen" to rule, even if he had waited for David to die, because Solomon was the "chosen one." In fact, Absalom knew that he was NOT chosen, and this was why he took matters into his own hands and usurped David's throne.
The great apostasy is now upon us, because much of the Church, like Judas, has betrayed Jesus Christ by siding with Absalom. I speak specifically of Christian Zionism and so-called "Messianic Christianity." The only difference between now and the first coming of Christ is that the first time He came of Judah to secure His Throne rights, while the second time He comes of Joseph-Ephraim to secure His Birthright. Hence, He comes with His robe "dipped in blood" (Rev. 19:13 and Gen. 37:31).
The Jewish usurpers of the Throne have now usurped the Birthright of Joseph as well in order to obtain the full inheritance. For this reason they took the name Israel for their state in 1948, forIsrael was the Birthright name given to the sons of Joseph in Gen. 48:16.
These truths are simple, yet almost unknown. We need to know the nature of the "apostasy," if we want to avoid the mistake that Judas made.
In fact, Paul uses the term "apostasy" as a play on words. The word was translated in the KJV as "falling away," but it actually means "to cast aside." The word apostasia is the feminine Greek word for "forsaking, withdrawing, leaving." Its neuter form is apostasion, "divorce."
Hence, when the Church enters this "apostasy," they are casting out Christ, even as Judas forsook Christ by betraying Him. The Church ought instead to be casting out the bondwoman and her son. This play on words is unique with Paul in his choice of words. It is as if Abraham had cast out Sarah and her son, Isaac, instead of Hagar and Ishmael. The apostasy thus reverses and destroys the prophetic pattern set forth by Abraham, David, and Jesus Himself.
Dr. Stephen Jones