Shared by: Ming
The metaphor of the feast
Do you remember Matthew 22:1-14?
The story is of God hosting a wedding feast, and invited people to attend the feast of His Son, but it turned out that those who were invited were very busy doing their own lives. Some said they were too busy since they had to go to the fields or trade; and some of them were even worse, they insulted the servants sent by God, that is, the prophets and the apostles, and even killed them.
The parable about the marriage feast told in the Bible is relevant not only to the time of Jesus but also to us who lives in this modern era. In the story, God arranged a wedding banquet and invited people to attend so He could bless them, but many were hesitant to come due to different reasons.
This parable shows that man's attitude towards God has always been negative and bad. In fact, this has been the case throughout the ages; man does not want God.
The Parable of the Vineyard
“Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” (Matthew 21:33-41)
What is the meaning of this parable?
God rented out the vineyard, which is His kingdom and estate, and entrusted it to the tenants of the vineyard, who are the leaders and shepherds of the earth, but the sovereignty still belongs in God's hands.
When the harvest season came, these leaders and shepherds could not pay the bill. So, God sent His servants, the prophets and apostles, who came to speak for God among the people; but the servants of God were persecuted and killed by the leaders and shepherds. These fierce gardeners could not pay the bill, and finally, they killed even the Son of God
In those days Jesus was referring the vineyard’s tenants to the chief priests and Pharisees. In the modern world context, that means pastors and leaders. God has given men free will so that leaders and pastors can operate and manage Godly estates on earth, but when the time comes, they will have to reap their fruit, that is, pay their bills.
What is the real intention of God?
God's intention is to establish a good relationship with people, which He has already made His attitude clear in the Old Testament. It was only the third month after the Israelites left Egypt, and when they arrived at Mt. Sinai, God wanted to establish a relationship with them, so He took the initiative to offer to make a covenant with Israel, and the vow to keep the covenant which is found in Exodus 19:5-6.
“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you[a] will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” (Exodus 19:5-6)
In the Old Testament, the objective relationship (between God and mankind) was sustained by covenant, and that covenant was the Law.
These two analogies are applicable to any generation:
When God showed these two parables to me, my feeling was that many people were very busy and were not willing to go to God's wedding banquet. It is the same situation in this age, where people are facing many temptations and challenges. This world is using all sorts of tricks to attract people to be manipulated and to be subjected to a yoke of slavery. Nowadays, those who do not want to go to the wedding feast are doing so for the sake of earthly properties, assets, careers, romantic relationships, etc.
The parable of the wedding feast shows us that many people despise invitations to God's kingdom feasts, and some even seize God's servants who deliver the good news and abuse them and kill them. Similarly, in the church, true servants of God are betrayed and framed in the midst of persecution, even to this day these things are happening.
In the real world, we are so busy with our own affairs that few of us really put ourselves on the altar to pray and intercede for this nation and for others. Many people in the church system claim to be intercessors, but they only know how to pray, not how to intercede.
To really enter an intercessory prayer ministry is to labor, to have a burden for hours, days, months, or even years; and that burden will be deeply imprinted in your heart until you see the results arrive, and that is the ministry of a real intercessor.
Biblical examples of Intercessor
“And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen these people, and behold, they are stiff-necked people. 10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”’ (Exodus 32:9-10)
A good example in the book of Exodus is Moses.
At Mount Sinai, God took the initiative to establish an intimate covenant relationship with the Israelites. Not even 40 days after the signing of the Mount Sinai covenant, the people of Israel broke the covenant. While Moses met with God on Mount Sinai, Aaron, who was at the bottom of the mountain, compromised and created a golden calf, and then the people of Israel worshiped it, breaking the covenant God signed with them. After that, Moses continued to intercede for the people of Israel. (Exodus 32:11-13, 31-32)
From this incident, we can see God's nature, God will be angry, He will discipline and punish those who make Him furious. The intersection of God's attributes of justice and His compassionate heart penetrates the entire Old Testament.
At that time, God criticized the Israelites, saying that they were " stiff-necked people" and that He wanted to destroy them. If you were in Moses' position, how would you respond? Many people would probably say, "Why don't I take pleasure in those whom God will exterminate?”
However, Moses' reaction was unexpected. Moses knew that the people had committed a great sin, a sin that deserved death, but Moses did not use any excuse to defend this group of people; instead, Moses used a different approach, which is found in Exodus 32:31-32.
“So Moses went back to the LORD and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”’ (Exodus 32:31-32)
Moses was willing to accept the curse of having his name blotted out of the book written by God. This was a very sincere prayer on the part of Moses, who knew that he was innocent, yet he was still willing to pay such a price for the people of Israel.
Let Moses’ intercessory prayer be our example.
Moses was willing to be in the same boat in the matter of the punishment of his countrymen. I am sure there is not one of us who would intercede in this way, for it is not only the laying down of one's life, but the willingness to be removed from the Book of Life, and the willingness to accompany your congregation, which may be going to hell, or out of God’s city.
Moses loved the people more than he loved himself, so he was a true intercessor, a man whom God trusted.
A true intercessor can maneuver and mediate between God and the people. Just like Moses who was maneuvering between an angry God and a stiff-necked people. The entire nation of Israel was delivered from its fate because of Moses' complete obedience and commitment to God.
Moses' wholehearted love for the people of Israel led him to believe that his journey through the wilderness was difficult but joyful and that he developed a deep affection for the people of Israel.
Imitating Moses’ Heart of Parenting
Moses was a shepherd who also had the heart of a parent. Through these verses in Numbers 11:10-15, we can see his heart towards the Israelite people.
Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.” (Num. 11:10~15)
Moses held the people of Israel in his arms and treated them like babies who still drank milk. As a leader, Moses had the heart of a parent. A very important characteristic of parents is that they will never abandon their children; no matter what the circumstances.
Even though the Israelites repeatedly opposed Moses in this wilderness, he still cared for them. If you see your brothers and sisters are as stubborn and rebellious as the Israelites were, and even rise in rebellion, what are you going to do to them?
He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents (Malachi 4:6)
I believe that Malachi was in a time when fathers and mothers were absent, and that is why God said that. It was a new season and time when God began to call fathers and mothers to turn to God and children to turn to God.
What are the characteristics of the heart of a parent:
1. Being a parent means you can't just abandon your children, even if they are imperfect, even if they are precious babies in God's eyes and imperfect in ours.
2. Spiritual parents give the best to their children and accept them unconditionally, even if they are prodigal and have wasted their assets, but you can still accept their repentance.
3. Give unconditionally, cultivate unconditionally, love unconditionally.
4. When there is danger, you are willing to stand up for him; when there is grace, you are willing to share it with him; when there is responsibility, you are willing to share it with him; when there is need, you are willing to give it to him.
● Original Title: 6.3.2 The Light of God and the Seven Spirits
● Source of Article: Latter-day Saint Ministries Pastoral Ministry
● Article Optimization: The End Times Ministry Editorial Department