Tuesday, October 09, 2001

Parable of the Vinyard -- revisited

For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that was a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And behold, he found members of Modern Pentecostal Churches and large Vineyard
Churches and Word of Faith Churches, and behold, some were disciples of Peter Wagner, and others of Loren Cunningham and of Rick Joyner*, yea some had been to Toronto, and others to Pensacola.
And when he had agreed with the labourers for a shilling a day, they said unto the householder, 'Surely, we shall bring in the whole of this great harvest from thy vineyard, for we have the strategy and thou hast given us apostolic authority and prophetic vision*
And he said unto them, 'Good on ya, mate', and sent them into his vineyard
And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing in the marketplace idle: some were Roman Catholics fathers and nuns and some Anglican vicars, and others from tradition churches; and he saith unto them, 'Why stand ye here all the day idle?'
They, answering, saith unto him,'Behold, we are satisfied with the way things are, and want to just carry on with our religious observances'.
And he breathed on them, and said, 'Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you.'
And they went their way rejoicing that they had a part in the great harvest
Again he went out about the sixth hour, and behold, he found Orthodox rabbies standing and discussing Torah, and he saith unto them, 'Why stand ye here all the day idle?'
They answered him, saying, 'We are waiting for Messiah to come'.
He said unto them, 'Behold, I am come.' And immediately, their eyes were open, and they, likewise, went rejoicing into the Vineyard.
And the ninth hour, he went again and behold, he found homeless street children, and drug addicts, pimps, prostitutes and men of the Mafia, and behold, among them were also Neo Nazis, and Fundamentalist Jihad warriors, even one who grieved for he had missed his flight to the World Trade Centre.
And he saith unto them, 'Why stand ye here all the day idle?'
They answered, saying, 'We are the poor and the downtrodden and have been robbed of our inheritance by the imperialistic western establishment.'
He said unto them, 'Behold, I am your inheritance'. Then, their eyes were opened, and they went rejoicing into the Vineyard.
And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing. Behold, these were pedophiles, and traffickers in child prostitution; also with them were former ministers of great churches and television ministries who had fallen into deep sin and had become a stumbling block to many by their fall; yea many others also, who
ought to have had a millstone tied around their neck and thrown into the depths of the sea, but instead were standing idle in the market place.
And he saith unto them, 'Why stand ye here all the day idle?'
They say unto him, 'Because no man will hire us. Behold, we are despised even by the worst of sinners. Surely we are not worthy to even look upon, let alone work in any man's vineyard.'
But as the householder looked upon them with compassion, they began to weep.
He said unto them, 'Behold your sins are forgiven. Go ye also into the vineyard, and sin no more.'
And when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, 'Call the labourers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.'
And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a shilling.
And when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received every man a shilling. And when they received it, they murmured against the householder, saying, 'These last, that were the worst of sinners, and have spent but one hour, thou hast made equal unto us, who are the trailblazers and missionary statesmen who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat with our intercession and strategic level spiritual warfare, yea, we have both planted and watered but they only came for the harvest.'
But he answered and said to one of them, 'Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a shilling? Take up that which is thine, and go thy way; it is my will to give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? or is thine eye evil, because I am good?'

Sunday, September 16, 2001

The Blessings of Ishmael

This is something I felt impressed some time ago, and may now be a timely word, in midst of the current intense pressure to hate the enemies of Israel and of the western world.
We know, from the following passage that we are to bless the descendants of Abraham, if we are to be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV):

Now the LORD had said to Abram:
"Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

We've always assumed that that applies to Israel, which primarily, it does. But there's another angle as well, which I believed we've missed. To an extant, the promise to Abraham also includes Ishmael (the Arab nations), as the following scriptures indicate. The following passages don't pronounce as profound a blessing on Ishmael as on Isaac, but if you want to look at the other side of the coin: What about the rest of us? On what other nation on earth has God pronounced any blessing at all at it's very beginning? The only blessing we have is the privilage of becoming spiritual sons and daughters of Abraham by faith (not that it isn't the greatest blessing, by far). But read the following for yourself, and see if you don't think it behooves us to honour the children of Ishmael?
God's word to Hagar as she fled from Sarah, while pregnant with Ishmael (Gen 16:9-12 NKJV):

The Angel of the LORD said to her, "Return to your
mistress, and submit yourself under her hand." Then
the Angel of the LORD said to her, "I will multiply
your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not
be counted for multitude." And the Angel of the LORD
said to her:
"Behold, you are with child,
And you shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the LORD has heard your affliction.
He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren."

God's word to Abraham regarding Ishmael when promising the birth of Isaac (Gen17:18-21 NKJV):

And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live
before You!" Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall
bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac;
I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting
covenant, and with his descendants after him. AND AS
MAKE HIM A GREAT NATION. But My covenant I will establish
with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time
next year."

God's word to Abraham when instructing him to send Ishmael away (Gen 21:12-13 NKJV):

But God said to Abraham, "Do not let it be displeasing
in your sight because of the lad or because of your
bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to
her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.

God's word to Hagar regarding Ishmael, after leaving Abraham's household (Gen 21:17-18 NKJV):

And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of
God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her,
"What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard
the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the
lad and hold him with your hand, for I WILL MAKE HIM

...Not just one blessing, but four!
Even if the children of Ishmael have not been honouring the children of Israel, as commanded, what is our response? If our two elder brothers, both of whom we are to honour, get into a fight, what do we do? Does honouring one mean we must dishonour the other? That can be a bit of a dilemma. The world says, "My friend's enemy is my enemy," and then joins one side against the other. In the kingdom of God, of course, Jesus told us to love our enemies. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:6), may mean to pray for peace between the two sons of Abraham, which can only come through the Prince of Peace.
Now, what if, in the mean time, one of those two sons drives a jet plane into your office building...?