For a passage explaining the “changing over of the covenant people,” turn to Matt. 8:11-12, “I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
- Israel has always been called God’s son: Hosea 11:1, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” Also see Exod. 4:22-3, “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, “let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’”
- Recall how in Matthew 21 and 22 Old Covenant (OC) Israel had the Kingdom of God (specifically the taking away of it in Matt. 21:43) – and who does it say here in Matt. 8 will be thrown out into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth – these very same OC Israel sons.
- And look how we are always seeing these same connected events – during the same time these sons are being cast out – there are those coming into the kingdom from the east and the west (Gentiles receiving the gospel)
** Let’s go to Luke’s expanded understanding of this Matthew 8 passage:
Luke 13:22-29, “And He said to them, (Jews)…When once the master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open up for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where are you from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘we ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets,’ but He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the Kingdom of God.”
- This is such a powerful passage that thoroughly explains itself for exactly who the audience is who is being spoken to, and also shows that this coming judgment and “thrusting out of the kingdom” was coming very shortly – when they would be seeing those coming from the east/west/north/south (Gentiles) coming in. This was their (OC Israel) “sign” telling them the kingdom was being taken away, and their promised coming judgment fate sealed.
** Look at the significance of this parable:
(Read) Luke 13:6-9 (I like how the NLT expresses this), “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”
- If there was a single parable of the fruit tree that more represented what the Lord said He: had done, and was doing, this “one more time” with OC Israel, then I do not know of it.
Could He have warned them of their imminent danger more strongly? Had He not shown, as we saw back in Isaiah 5, of – What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Yet, look how “one more time” He said He was forbearing with this rebellious people. He was living among them. He was witnessing to the fulfillment of all their OC promises of their Messiah. He was providing the last sign/warning of Jonah to this final generation.
** Let’s bring a few more OT prophecies into perspective:
- Jer. 8:19a – 20, “Why have they provoked me to anger with their carved images and with their foreign idols? The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
- This was speaking of a final end in their future when the summer of God’s blessing was going to end for OC Israel, and look what we are told – they are not saved.
- Amos 7:8-9, “And the Lord said to me, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘A plumb line.’ Then the Lord said, ‘Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass by them; the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.’”
- A plumb line is often used as establishing a line of truth from which to judge. God is telling Amos that this plumb line will be used to judge and utterly destroy these adulterous people. So emphatic is this prophecy that God says He will “never again” come back to them. Echoing God’s promise from long ago from Deut. 32:26 when He said, “…I will dash them to pieces, I will make the memory of them to cease from among men.”
- Amos 8:1-2, vs. 2, “And he said, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘A basket of summer fruit.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass by them.’”
- This was foreshadowing the apocalyptic “typology” coming judgment in 722 BC of the 10 northern tribes by the Assyrian armies, with the fulfilled promise of “the end has come” and “pass by them no more” of the final utter destruction of the remaining OC Israel (Kingdom of Judah), which was to come in AD 70 by the Roman armies.
** Notice how in all of these metaphoric hyperbole language verses we have just looked at, that it is talking about a finality, but not of time itself, but rather, the time of OC Israel – their end time.
Keeping with this understanding of one of the purposes of the two-fold coming of Christ was to judge/purge and “cast out” the disobedient covenant breaking Old Covenant Hebrew sons of the kingdom:
- John the baptizer was said to be the promised Elijah prophesied of more than 400 years earlier by Malachi – whose ministry was to “prepare the way of the Lord,” of which it says the Lord will “purify the sons of Levi”…”before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Mal. 3 & 4; Matt. 11:10; 14 and 17:10-13)
- Jesus came to Israel as their Messiah, but they rejected Him. He told His disciples, as well as many others, that He had come only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and that his disciples were not to go to the Gentiles or Samaritans, but only to go and warn the cities of Israel to “repent for the Kingdom of heaven was at hand.” (Luke 9:20-22; 17:25; Matt. 21:42; Isa. 28:16; 1 Pet. 2:6-8; 1 Cor. 1:23; Matt. 13:10-13, 15:24)
- Jesus said He would be the “sign/warning” to His generation, as Jonah was to the generation in which he lived. (Matt. 12:39-42; Luke 29-32; Jonah 3:1-4)
- Jesus spoke in parables to the OC Israel crowds so that they would not understand Him and turn to Him and repent and accept Him as their Messiah, as their OC judgment had been sealed many hundreds of years ago from all their harlotry and breaking their covenant with God, who was said to have been their husband and in a marriage with them. And now their promised judgments, promised from as far back as Deut. were going to soon be fulfilled upon their generation. (Isa. 6:8-11; 61:1-2)
- Jesus tells the OC leaders and people that the Kingdom of God is going to be removed from them, they were going to be cast out where there is weeping & gnashing of teeth, & their people destroyed miserably, & their city burned up when God sent armies to carry out His justice. (Matt. 21:33-45; 22:1-10; Isa. 5:1-7; Amos 7:8; 8:2; Luke 13:6-9)
- Jesus said that upon that generation before Him, in His time, all the blood from all the righteous shed on the earth from Abel through Zechariah, was going to be judged upon them, as it was them (OC Israel) who killed all the prophets, and that they are said to have had almost filled up the “measure of their father’s guilt” – and their house was going to be left to them desolate! (Matt. 23:31-39; Luke 11:49-51; 13:22-29)
Related full “Study Series” (available upon request if not hyperlinked):
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 5 Being a Hebrew…Audience Relevance”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 5b Hebraic Language Symbolism”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 6 Old Covenant Hebrews in the New Testament Times”]