What is our Father's Business?
Issue No. 287
In our last study we established that we have come to the prophetic time in history where we are to be about our Father’s business. Of course, as individuals, we have always carried this mandate—ever since Adam. But in the course of history, there is also a specific time frame that will see the culmination point of this “business.”
God’s business is farming. He created the earth to be His farm, and we—His children—are the heirs of that farm, joint-heirs with Christ, who is “heir of the world” (Rom. 4:13).
On this farm is a vineyard. Isaiah 5:1 gives us the title of a song that God wrote: “A Song of My Beloved Concerning His Vineyard.”
It is about how God planted this vineyard in the land of Canaan. Verse 7 says,
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His delightful plant.
He expected this vineyard to produce good fruit, but it did not. It only produced wild grapes that were unfit to eat. For this reason, God plowed it up and allowed it to grow up with “biars and thorns” (vs. 6).
When we study this more closely, we find that this is one of the most important divine parables found in the Scriptures. It explains the primary purpose of creation, which relates directly to the job description of any true believer.
In other words, if we have the desire to be about our Father’s business, then we have to learn some spiritual farming. Our main purpose in life is to bear fruit.
The Caretakers of the Vineyard
The leaders of Israel and Judah were the caretakers of the vineyard. We learn this in Jesus’ parable in Matt. 21:33-43, where we read about the “husbandmen” (KJV) or “vine-growers” (NASB) who refused to render to God the fruits of His vineyard. It is plain from this parable that there were men who were supposed to be the caretakers of God’s vineyard, but who usurped it for their own benefit.
Jesus said that God had sent “servants” to them for a long time in the attempt to obtain fruit from His vineyard, but that the caretakers had beaten them and stoned them to death (Matt. 21:34-36). Finally, He sent His Son, but the caretakers said, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.”
Jesus then asked the chief priests and elders in His audience what they thought the Owner of the vineyard ought to do about this situation.
41 They said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.”
That was the correct answer, of course. Jesus agreed with their verdict, saying in verse 43,
43 Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.
Only then did the Jewish leaders understand that they had judged themselves, for verse 45 says,
45 And when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.
What they did not comprehend, however, was their responsibility toward God as stewards of the Kingdom. They did not know what kind of fruit God required them to produce. They did not know that they themselves were the “plant” in that vineyard. They did not understand that Isaiah 5 applied to them. All they knew for sure was that Jesus was the Heir and that they did not want Him to be that Heir. For this reason, they “threw him out of the vineyard and killed him” (Matt. 21:39). It was not a case of mistaken identity. They did it because they recognized Him as the Messiah but did not want Him to be so.
As usurpers, they understood that He was their prime competitor for authority over the vineyard.
So let us trace this back to the beginning to get a broader view of what God has required from the start.
The Fruitfulness Mandate
In Genesis 1:28 God said, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it.” If they had brought forth children prior to the fall of Adam, their children would have been the fruit that God required. By the law of biogenesis, where life begets “after its kind” (Gen. 1:21), perfect parents would have brought forth perfect children.
However, because of Adam’s sin, their fruitfulness only brought forth mortal, imperfect children. God was not satisfied with quantities of children. He was interested in quality.
So the story of history is really the revelation of the divine plan to bring forth fruit. The Sons of God were trees of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3), bringing forth good fruit. That fruit is the fruit of the Spirit, listed in Gal. 5:22, 23,
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Trees of righteousness will always bring forth good fruit by the law of biogenesis. Jesus recognized this in Matt. 7:16-20,
16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
For this reason, a good tree will manifest the fruit of the Spirit. Bad trees have their own bitter fruit.
The Israel Vineyard
It is plain from Isaiah 5 that when Joshua led Israel into the land of Canaan, and when the Israelites received their land inheritance, God was planting a vineyard. The Israelites themselves were the fruit-bearing trees. But the prophets reveal that something went wrong. Even though God protected the vineyard with a hedge and a tower and “planted it with the choicest vine,” the vineyard produced only “worthless” grapes (Is. 5:2).
Was God inexperienced at farming? Was He a failure? Not at all. Even though His first attempt at farming failed, God was no quitter. After all, He knew that the first attempt would fail. He foretold this to Moses even before Israel set foot in Canaan. In Deut. 31:28, 29 Moses says,
28 Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them. 29 For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands.”
In the previous verse, Moses told them that if they had rebelled against God while he was yet alive, how much more would they rebel against God when he was dead. Hence, it came as no surprise to either Moses or God that Israel would fail to bring forth the fruit of the Kingdom that God required.
But God is patient and will succeed ultimately in His purpose for creation. James 5:7 tells us:
7 Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the Farmer [God] waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it until it gets the early and late rains.
It was always the divine plan to fail in the first attempt to bring forth fruit. But God is up to the challenge. His patience is manifested in the fact that He is persistent and will not give up until He has accomplished His purpose.
In fact, it is only now, after the failure of Israel and Judah, and after thousands of years of the rule of beast nations, that the divine plan is finally about to bear fruit. The fruit began with Jesus Christ, of course, and in the past Age of Pentecost the Holy Spirit has brought about a partial harvest. But now we are about to see the Harvest of the Ages, as the Tabernacles Age is launched at the appropriate time.
Obstacles to Fruitfulness
When Israel conquered Canaan under Joshua, God deliberately allowed some Canaanites to remain, in order to test the hearts of the Israelites. Judges 3 says,
1 Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan; 2 only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it formerly). 3 These nations are: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived in Mount Lebanon [Herman], from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. 4 And they were for testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of the Lord, which He had commanded their fathers through Moses.
As I have written elsewhere, when Israel refused the sword of the Spirit at Sinai by refusing to hear His voice in Exodus 20:18-21, they were left only with a physical sword with which to conquer Canaan. God then used the physical sword as a prophetic type of spiritual warfare.
It was not that God loved bloodshed, but rather that the physical sword prophesied of a greater sword that we would be given when Pentecost was finally fulfilled in Acts 2. This sword is much sharper and more capable of accomplishing the purposes of God than any physical sword (Heb. 4:12).
The warfare against the Canaanites, then, is a type of spiritual warfare to which we are called. That warfare has two purposes: to eradicate the non-fruit-bearing trees in our own personal lives; and secondly, to overcome the evil ones in the world at large.
This does not mean that we are called to kill all non-believers, as some have thought. In fact, the Great Commission in Matt. 28:19, 20 is the form of warfare that we have been given, along with the sword of the Spirit.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
In other words, the sword of the Spirit is now our weapon of choice, and this sword has the power to divide soul and spirit while discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12). By this sword, we “kill” the flesh through baptism, rather than separating men’s heads from their bodies.
So when we contemplate the obstacles to the Kingdom, of which the Canaanite tribes were prophetic types, our mandate today is to utterly destroy those fleshly characteristics within our hearts that would prevent us from bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit. This personal aspect of spiritual warfare is timeless and universal, because everyone has this mandate in every age.
The Historical Fulfillment
Secondly, however, there is a historical fulfillment that is external, geographical, and even political. Israel as a nation was called to become God’s light on a hill, a witness of the Kingdom of God to all nations. Israel was supposed to be the forerunner for all nations, not by war and bloodshed, but by the sword of the Spirit.
As believers, we are citizens of this Kingdom. We are also microcosms of the Kingdom itself. Likewise, we are supposed to be Christians, or “little christs.” Collectively, all of us are the Kingdom. Hence, the Kingdom is made up of individuals, but no individual is the entirety of the Kingdom.
This Kingdom is said to start small and then grow until it fills the whole earth (Dan. 2:35). This is an actual earthly Kingdom originating in heaven and empowered by heaven. The prophets have much to say about this Kingdom.
Israel was supposed to be the Kingdom of God while they were in the land of Canaan. Obviously, they failed, because they did not produce the fruit of the Kingdom that God required. So Isaiah said that God would beat it down, destroy it, plow up the ground, and sow it with briars and thorns.
In other words, He would start fresh after both Israel and Judah had been destroyed. This new start had more than one beginning point, but the main starting point began on the day of Pentecost. This was the day that the restored Kingdom accepted the invitation that Israel had rejected in Exodus 20:18-21. Hence, the 120 disciples in the upper room received the Holy Spirit and its sword which Israel had rejected under Moses.
With this new weapon, they were sent out under the Great Commission to conquer all men and subdue the earth, bringing all things under the feet of Christ. Unfortunately, they soon discovered that Pentecost only gave them an earnest of the Spirit (2 Cor. 5:5). This allowed them to start the work, but they could not finish it apart from the fulness of the Spirit that could come only through the feast of Tabernacles.
Hence, the Church under Pentecost was incapable of completing their call. In time, it became as corrupt as the earlier Church (Acts 7:38) of Israel. Like Israel of old, the Church was content to eradicate many Canaanites, but refused to complete the job. Even as Israel began to intermarry with the Canaanites and to accept their idols and immoral practices, so also the Church adopted pagans into their midst and accommodated their idols. The test that God had arranged for Israel (Judges 3:1) was the same test that He gave to the Church under Pentecost. Both failed the same test, and thus both failed to bring forth the fruit of the Kingdom that God required.
The Fig Tree of Judah
Jesus cursed a fig tree in Matt. 21:19, saying, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” That fig tree represented the nation of Judah. This marked the final moment of truth when it became impossible for Judah to fulfill the fruitfulness mandate. From then on, if any Judahite (“Jew”) wished to bear fruit, he would have to be engrafted into a different tree.
We know, of course, that this fig tree was destined to bring forth more leaves at the end of the age, for Jesus spoke of this in Matt. 24:32. But fig leaves have been the problem since Adam (Gen. 3:7), for they represent a false covering for sin (self-justification).
Nonetheless, Jesus prophesied that the Judah nation would come back to life again and produce more leaves. This occurred in 1948 with the establishment of the Jewish state that is misnamed Israel. Many Christians have been told that this Jewish state is destined to be the capital of the coming Kingdom of Christ and that is will, in effect, bring forth the fruit of the Kingdom.
This is contrary to Jesus curse in Matt. 21:19, and also contradicts Jesus’ verdict in 21:43. The prophet Jeremiah tells us that Jerusalem will be utterly destroyed in such a manner that it can never be repaired or rebuilt (Jer. 19:11). It is certainly not to be the future home of Jesus Christ upon His second coming.
The Succession of Beast Empires
When God first destroyed Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Jeremiah, the prophet spoke of a 70-year captivity (Jer. 25:11). However, later, Daniel was shown that this 70-year captivity was only the Babylonian phase of captivity. In reality, the divine mandate had passed to a succession of beast empires that would continue for thousands of years.
These are described in Daniel 2 as metals on an image. They were a head of gold, arms of silver, belly of bronze, and legs of iron. Later, in Daniel 7, they were described in terms of beasts. Babylon was a lion, Persia was a bear, Greece was a leopard, and Rome was a beast with iron teeth and claws.
The main point for us to see is that God had passed the dominion mandate from Judah to Babylon, and later to Persia, Greece, Rome, and the “little horn” extension of Rome. This took many centuries to accomplish.
Jesus was born during the days of the iron kingdom of Rome. It was not yet time for the dominion mandate to be given to the saints of the Most High (Dan. 7:27). The “little horn” of Religious Rome had not yet arisen, nor had its successor, the second (financial) beast of Rev. 13.
What is important for us to understand is that these beast empires have a divine purpose. Those in authority are held accountable and liable to bring forth the fruits of the Kingdom. When they fail to do this, they are brought into judgment for exercising authority without fulfilling its responsibility before God.
Neither Israel nor Judah proved capable of bringing forth these fruits, so God removed from them the burden of authority and responsibility until such time that they were ready to succeed. Hence, the overall authority of the Kingdom would only be given to the saints of the Most High at the end of the Age, as we approached the Age of Tabernacles.
One might argue that believers have had full authority of the Kingdom since the day of Pentecost. But the authority of the iron kingdom (Rome) still prevailed. The Church was indeed given authority when Imperial Rome fell in 476, but they proved to be the “little horn” of Daniel 7:20, rather than the Kingdom of God.
At the close of the Pentecostal Age (1993), we petitioned the divine court that the overcomers would be given the dominion mandate. All other authorities had been given opportunity to bring forth the fruits of the Kingdom. All had failed. So we petitioned on behalf of the overcomers to receive this mandate.
We won our case, as I have shown elsewhere. Then, like ancient Israel, we had to engage in a lengthy time of spiritual warfare to receive our inheritance. The warfare lasted 13 years until October 7, 2006. Since then, we have watched the slow train wreck of the last beast empire (financial Babylon) as it collapses before us.
Now, as I explained in my previous FFI, we must be about our Father’s business. God is a Farmer, and we are now the caretakers of the vineyard, called to bring forth fruit and render Him the fruits in due season.