“And when He had thus spoken, He went before by foot up to Jerusalem. And it came to pass, when He was come nigh to Beth-phage and Bethany at the mount called of Olives, He sent twp of His disciples.”
The fullness of time had come for all thing written to be fulfilled and Jesus, knowing that the time of His glorification was come, set His face to go to Jerusalem. The Lamb of God, who should take away the sin of His people came of His of His own free and unimpeded will, to offer Himself as the sacrifice for sin. No man asked Him to come and no man assisted Him in His travail of the contradiction of sin against Himself. This was the work that He came to complete as He had been assigned of the Father and nothing could prevent Him from glorifying the Father in the completion of this work. That prophet that should come from among the brethren gave testimony in the things that He said and the wonders and signs that He performed in the presence of multitudes of people, that He was the Anointed One who must come and deliver His people. Therefore He came of His power and will to accomplish His purpose and fulfill the Law of God perfectly. The heavens and the earth were to pass away as His Word came to pass.
The Word of God given to the prophets of old spoke not only of the sacrifice and deliverance the Messiah would accomplish for His people but also of the judgment that He would bring against all wickedness. In the day of His mercy to the elect according to grace was the vengeance of the wrath of God. He could not deliver His people without the judgment against sin and he could not execute that judgment except it be complete. He came forth as the Lamb to be slain and bear the wrath of the Righteous Judge for the general assembly of the church of the first born and to conquer the god of this world. And so, after He rebuked His disciples for their carnal reasoning as to which of them was the greatest, He ascended, by foot, from Jericho, nigh unto Beth-phage and Bethany, en route to Jerusalem.
The disciples were made ignorant of the upcoming events. They thought that He was now going to Jerusalem to overthrow the earthly government and establish an earthly kingdom. They assumed that they would be exalted with Him to sit on the throne and judge the twelve tribes of Israel and thus the argument ensued as to who would sit where and have what power and authority. Jesus rebukes them with His example of He “who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man. And being found in the fashion of man, HE HUMBLED HIMSELF, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phl.2:6).
“Beth-phage” (house of green fig)
Two disciples were sent into this city to gather the ass and her colt that should convey the Lord of glory unto the place of His death. This town represents an unripened fig” or a budding fig tree and stood for the coming of His kingdom. He told the disciples that this was the parable of His kingdom when He said, “Now learn the parable of the fig tree; When His branch is yet tender and putteth forth leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh; So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that He is near even at the door” (Matt. 24:32). It is interesting that the Lord told His disciples when they saw the leaves they conclude that summer is come. These are the same leaves that Adam used to try and cover himself with in the garden. Man looks on the outward, tangible and makes judgments based on his understanding. God looks upon the heart and sees the fruit thereof.
Jesus came forth, riding upon the colt, the foal of an ass whereon no man had ever sat, as the King of the daughter of Jerusalem, from the house of the unripened fig tree. He was just and lowly having the salvation of His people with Him as the Messenger had told Mary saying; “thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt.1:21). The Word of God was made manifest as spoken by the prophet Isaiah; “Behold, Yehovah God will come with strength and His arm shall rule for Him; Behold His reward is with Him and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather His lambs with His arm and carry them in His bosom and shall gently lead those that are with the young” (Is. 40:1).
He came not to start a new religious order, to vanquish the earthly establishments or to offer deliverance to anyone. He came having His reward, that seed that should serve Him and be accounted for His generation, with Him, His work of becoming the sin of His people before Him therefore He came to the house of the green fig tree. The tree already existed, the fruit was on the tree and the leaves of the tree were green, that is, alive and well. (cp. Jer. 24:1-10, the good figs are partakers of the New Covenant)
“Bethany” (house of misery)
After entering the city of Jerusalem in the triumphant procession of a King, the Pharisees rebuked Him for this boisterous commotion. “And He answered and said unto them, I tell you that if these (ignorant people who were caused by the Spirit of God to cry out in fulfillment of the prophesy; “Hosanna, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord, peace in heaven and glory in the highest”) should hold their peace (as if they could) the stones would IMMEDIATELY cry out” (Luke 19:40). The Word of God was proclaimed by this multitude of people as they said, “this is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” as He proceeded to the temple and demonstrated the judgment of God against the nation of Israel and the wickedness of man.
Jesus then left the city and retired to Bethany and lodged there. “Now in the morning when He saw a fig tree (in the house of misery Bethany) in the way, He came to it and found NOTHING thereon but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee hence forth for ever, and presently (immediately) the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw, they marveled saying, how soon is the fig tree withered away!” (Matt. 21:17). “And the kings of the earth…standing afar off from the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city for in one hour is thy judgment come” (Rev. 18:10).
This fig tree represented the nation of Israel. There were green leaves like unto the leaves of the other fig tree and by all outward appearances they gave the same presentation (just like the wheat and the tare which no man can discern between), but this one had no fruit. The curse of the Lord against this house of misery was one of desolation without restoration, ever and Jesus testified to the same as He lamented over Jerusalem. The old covenant of the handwriting of ordinances, that ministration of condemnation and death had come to pass.
“To proclaim the acceptable year of Yehovah and the vengeance of our God” (Is. 61:2).
The Anointed Servant of God had come with healing in His wings for His chosen people and the sword of vengeance against the kingdom of darkness. This is the two edged sword that came forth out of the mouth of He that sat upon the white horse (Rev. 10:11), that Word of God that is “quick and powerful sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb.4:12). With one side He would bear the sin of His people and strike the shepherd, scattering the flock, and with the other He would vanquish the foe placing all His enemies under His footstool. At the same time and in the same day, he would pour out His Spirit in judgment and vengeance upon the house of Israel (Ez. 39:29) and pour out His Spirit upon all flesh (Joel 2:28). His same Spirit at the same time would confirm the oath with many as He brought the daily sacrifices and oblations to cease and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make desolate and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (Dan. 9:27) as he offered up that perfect sacrifice for sin in the end of the world (Heb. 9:26).
“The winter was past and the rain was over and gone; the flowers appeared on the earth, the time of singing is come (the jubilee) and the voice of the turtledove (a sign of endearment of the Beloved) is heard in the land. The fig tree put forth Her green figs and the vine the tender grape has aroma; Arise My love, My fair One and come away” (Song 2:11-13). That which was old was faded away as the manifestation of the New covenant, that New Jerusalem the Bride of Christ, His Body, was now revealed. The mystery of God was finished in the days of the voice of the seventh angel as He had declared to His servants the prophets (Rev. 10:7) for the days of vengeance had come when all things written might be fulfilled (Luke 21:22).
“Now will I sing to My well beloved a song of My beloved concerning His vineyard” (Is. 5:1).
The nation of Israel was chosen above all nations of the world that God might set forth the pattern of heavenly things. He separated this people and called them His own as a type of the Israel of our God. His people were neither many nor mighty but He loved them with an everlasting love and nothing can ever separate them from His love. But in the type Adam was also revealed for his inability to love the Lord or keep His commandment. The statutes and ordinances which God gave to Moses were to be life to the man that kept them as he lived in them and yet by the deeds of the law no flesh may be justified in His sight.
Was it a mystery to God that the nation of Israel did not keep His commandments or had He chosen a stiff necked and rebellious people from the beginning? Had the Sovereign of the universe made His plans in accordance with the anticipation that these people would free themselves from their Adamic nature and do what Adam himself could not do? Did he present the Law unto them on a trial basis to see if they could possibly obey His Word and justify themselves? No! The wild grapes came forth from a wild root of the vine, even the choicest vine that he planted.
Moses broke the two tablets of stone before they ever reached the people and he did so because of the corrupt nature of Adam. God never intended that this group of former slaves would right themselves, circumcise their ears to hear His Word and take away the foreskin of their own hearts in order for them to be righteous before the throne of God. He did not offer a way of deliverance from the bondage of the corruption of sin by the keeping of the law, He showed them the deceit and wickedness of the heart by revealing perfection in His Law. Thus, even though He planted the choicest vine and set it in a place properly prepared for it to grow and flourish, it brought forth, after his kind, wild grapes. As a result of this example, God laid it waste and the briers and thorns came and destroyed the house of Israel and the house of Judah. He looked for justice but beheld oppression and for righteousness and beheld a cry of distress. “And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted and the branch thou madest strong for thyself, is burned with fire and cut down. They shall perish at the rebuke of thy countenance” (Ps. 80:15).
“I am the vine, ye the branches” (John 15:5).
Though Israel stood as the choicest vine in all the world, yet the true vine is not of this world. Israel was of the world and brought forth fruit after the splendour and brilliance of this world but the Israel of our God is of that eternal vine who is the Everlasting Father. He is the vine and the husbandman who keeps and cares for the branches. The branches are one with the vine and therefore, being of the Father, they are the sons of God. These sons of God have the Spirit of God dwelling in them and they bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. The digging and pruning of the branches, which is the chastening of the Lord, yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. This is not according to the arm of the flesh or the will of man but according to the immeasurable love of the husbandman for the True Vineyard of His well Beloved.
This is an enclosed garden, well protected from the beasts of the field (what shepherd would permit wild beasts into the pasture of his flock?) and the fowl of the heavens, which are the servants of the evil one (Matt. 13:19). They have found their lodging in the great tree whose leaves reached up to heaven in depiction of the pride and arrogance of Adam as exemplified by the nation of Israel (Luke 13:19).
The enclosed garden is perfumed with a sweet savor before the Lord as the fruit of the Spirit blossom forth. Love, joy peace, patience, gentleness, faith, meekness and temperance are manifested in each of the branches in the appropriate quantities assigned by the Master. This fruit comes forth from that True vine who is righteousness and Truth. He has placed every branch in the proper location on the vine and has decreed the time of their habitation and the limitations thereof. When the time of habitation of the abiding branches is over, He lovingly takes them away as another is manifested, each man in his order. The Master of the vineyard is glorified in the branches as they bring forth the fruit, the evidence of the indwelling Spirit, for this is the will of God. Like the Vine, they finish the work that He has given them to do in perfection and beauty.
“They are not of this world as I am not of this world” (John 17:16).
The world seeks for proofs and tangible testimonies for comfort and assurance. The testimony of Jesus Christ cannot be seen with the natural eye nor felt by the senses of man. His testimony is from faith to faith by the Spirit of Holiness, which bears witness with the children of grace that they are the sons of God. Jesus came to Jerusalem to fulfill the Law and make an end of the week and beggarly elements of this world which natural man strove to obey for righteousness. He also came to manifest the New Covenant in which man shall no more teach his neighbour saying, “Know ye the Lord”. This is not according to Jerusalem which is now where Hagar and her children are still in bondage but according to the heavenly Jerusalem, that Holy city of God.
Jesus came from the city of the moon (Jericho) to the house of the young budding fig tree. He left that which only reflected the glory of God to be glorified of the Father. He came to the place of both ways to ride lowly into that city which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also He was crucified. There He declare the last will and testament of the natural house of Israel, saying; “Thy house is left unto you desolate” (Matt. 23:38) and, upon His resurrection from the dead, He declared His generation, saying; “Behold I and the children whom Yehovah hath given me for signs and for wonders in Israel from Yehovah of Hosts, which dwell in Mount Zion” (Is. 8:18).
The blood of bulls and goats were ineffectual in purging the conscience from sin but the blood of the Lamb of God cleanses His people from all unrighteousness. The oil of the anointing on the head of Aaron and his children could only consecrate them for the work in the tabernacle in the wilderness made of badger skins and wreaking of blood. The Anointing of the Holy Spirit is the sanctification of the priests of God for the work of the ministry of His sanctuary not made with hands. The tabernacle is gone, the ark is forgotten and the temple of old is destroyed but the Temple of our God, His body, stands eternally impregnable by even the gates of hell. He is our fortress, our high walls and our rock. He dwells in His people and they abide in Him and nothing can separate them from each other.
The vineyard of Yehovah has been from the beginning even though it was hid from sight. He planted her in the midst of the evil and perverse generation and tended to her according to His precious love. He never left her nor allowed any to harm her until the time when He brought her forth as a Bride adorned for Her husband. Then those foolish virgins, whose lamps had gone out, were left without the banquet hall for the Bridegroom had come.
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates, even lift up ye everlasting doors and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? Yehovah of hosts, He is the King of glory” (Ps. 24:9).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
September 22, 2013