Restoring God’s Image and Likeness in Man

Jesus’ Primary Mission

The fundamental belief of Christians is that Jesus, the Christ, has come to save man from eternal condemnation! There should be no doubt, that Jesus is the only way back to God. It is also true, that man has lost that relationship by doing what is wrong, and man continues to persist in making bad choices. What, then, made Jesus different from Adam? What did Jesus have that Adam did not have? What is it that a Christian can have, which an unbeliever does not have? The truth is, that Adam had what Jesus had, but Adam, in his will, failed to do what Jesus did. Unfortunately, so does every human being who retains his or her sanity. All human beings are endowed with the “image” and the “likeness” of God; otherwise, they would not be rational human beings, capable of making decisions that are either beneficial or harmful. And what is by far more beneficial than saving a soul? But if the soul or the human life has obliterated or even marred the “image” and “likeness of God” in the person, how will that person recognize the need to be saved? For that reason, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15).

The good news was, and the good news still is, that man can have his godly “image” restored so he or she can make the right choice regarding their own salvation, as well as their conduct in his life here on earth. It is what a person does that determines the end results. Every one should heed the words of Paul, the chosen messenger to all men:

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual (people whose image of God has been restored) should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if any one thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each man will have to bear his own load. Let him who has taught the word share all good things with him who teaches.

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked (influenced), for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from his flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:1-10).

David, the son of Jesse from the tribe of Judah, became the heir of the promise God

made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Eight centuries before David was born, the Lord God revealed to Jacob:

Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as a lioness; who dares rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples (Genesis 49:9-10).

The “until he comes” points to Christ, who did open God to the world. David did hold the key to the coming of the Redeemer King, “So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations” (Matthew 1:17). Jesus told his disciples, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). When Jesus sent out the twelve disciples, He charged them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6). The “Man Jesus” came to Israel! The “Risen and Glorified Jesus” came to the world! Jesus stated, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32).

The “image” or the “likeness of God,” in man, is the ability to choose, to manage, to control man’s own needs, and man’s own passions. It does not matter who or what influences man because man, alone, is held responsible for his or for her choices, as well as for his or her mistakes. Paul and his fellow Jews also faced this problem:

All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to the gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Jesus Christ (Romans 2:12-16).

What Paul was saying is that the Creators (Elohim in the plural, and not Yahweh in the singular) wrote something on the human heart and on the human conscience that enables man to act as a rational, managing human being. From the start, man had the ability to manage the world and everything in it. Man has been endowed with the intelligence to do so, and with the ability to decide what was best for him. The male and the female, who were included in the act of creation in Genesis, chapter one, did not receive any warning:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male  and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food” (Genesis 1:27-29).

Yet, when we come to Genesis, chapter two, Adam and Eve, who were hand-made by Elohim, did receive a warning:

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the LORD commanded the man. saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die” (Genesis 2:15-17).

Genesis One, has no knowledge of the presence of evil, but Genesis Two has an incarnation of Satan in the serpent. Lucifer (the Star of Dawn) and his angels were already kicked out of heaven. Evil was in the world before Adam and Eve were created. This is not fantasy, but the reality! For we live in a world that is the battlefield between good and evil. In our physically oriented world, Lucifer has the upper hand and that is why Lucifer could offer the glory and the kingdoms of this world to Jesus,

“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to Jesus, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me’” (Matthew 4:8-9).

Satan’s offer to Jesus is shocking! For Satan discloses the fact that evil, and not good, is running the affairs of the world. Therefore, man has become Satan’s puppet through whom he embarrasses God. The Apostle Paul faced a similar dilemma with the people who professed to be godly, but disobeyed God’s prescriptions for their lives:

But if you call yourself a Jew and rely upon the law and boast of your relation with God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed in the law, and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth — you then who teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who harbor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? For it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you (Romans 2:17-24).

It is true that man has less fear of God than he should have. But, what has become even more threatening to man’s survival and to man’s redemption is man’s denial of the presence of evil. Like Adam and Eve, man then and now fail to recognize that Satan parades as an “angel of truth” and as a “deceiver.” Satan is not just incarnating a serpent, but Satan is incarnating human beings, even high officials. The Apostle Paul warned against:

For such men are false apostle, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds (II Corinthians 11:13-15).

Jesus, Himself, did not hesitate to tell the leaders to their faces that they had become the children of the devil, and that they were en route to carry out the devil’s business to kill, even the Son of God:

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is not truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).

Paul was not present to warn Adam and Eve, but the Lord (Yahweh) or the Christ was present and still the first couple followed Satan’s deception. Satan did not dare to look Eve in the eyes, so he had a serpent coaxed the woman into disobeying the Lord. He did use some truth to hide his lies:

Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You shall not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:1-5).

Satan, the same architect of evil, has been in the world since the creation of the universe. The Lord informed Isaiah and John, Jesus’ favorite disciple, about Satan’s presence on earth. Both men were given visions of what their “Day Star” or “Son of Dawn” will do the the earth:

How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, Son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God. I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit. Those who see you will stare at you, and ponder over you: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who did not let his prisoners go home?’ All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb; but you are cast out, away from your sepulchre, like a loathed untimely birth, clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword, who go down to the stones of the Pit, like a dead body trodden under foot. You will not be joined with them for burial, because you have destroyed your land, you have slain your people (Isaiah 14:12-20).

Satan’s main objective has always been to obliterate the “image of God” in man and turn creation into a shamble. God’s people stood and God’s people still stand in Satan’s way; therefore, they face the brunt of his fury:

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars, she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. And another portent appeared in heaven; behold a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was not longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!

And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had borne the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river which the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea (Revelation 12).

The same dragon afflicts man and the world. And man continues to hold to the idea that God is behind all the evils because man has sinned, and of course, is sinning. God does not destroy what He created that was good. The Apostle Paul assigned his physical deficiencies and ailments to Satan and not to God, and Jesus specifically blame human bondage on Satan:

And to keep me from being by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will all the more gladly boast of my weakness, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong (II Corinthians 12:7-10).

Jesus had this to say about Satan’s bondage of infirmity:

Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his oxen or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it? And ought not this women, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day” (Luke 13:10-16)?

James, the half-brother to Jesus, was endowed with special insight regarding God’s pure and holy goodness:

Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted of God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grow  brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my brethren. Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures (James 1:12-18).

James was convinced that he could evict the devil from his life. One did not have to play the devil’s game and test God whether God is real. God does not have to prove anything to man; rather, it is man who has to prove that he is a man who can resist the devil and make him flee. Far too many human beings think that a little pleasure in the world will not alienate God. James did not endorse any dual relationship as acceptable.

What causes wars, and what causes fightings among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and you do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is in vain that the scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace; therefore it says “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you (James 4:1-10).

One reason why so many people try to live in two worlds is because they are being taught that God will send them His Spirit. And that God’s Spirit will empower the sinner to break loose from his chains of sin, and be transplanted into God’s kingdom. This is not the way conversion takes place. To help us understand what Christ really does for us to become his followers, we need the Greek text. The text in question is in the Gospel of John I:12. The English reads, “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave “power” to become children of God.” The Greek text does not use “dunamis” (power), but the Greek text uses “exousia” (authorization or permission). Man has been created with far more power than he requires to function! But man has alienated himself from God. Therefore, man requires “authorization or permission” from God’s top Official (Christ) to allow man to return to the fold of God. Christ has signed that permit with “His Name in His Blood” and man can re-enter God’s world by following the instructions and the requirements of Jesu Christ, the One who qualified the permit.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that is was coming, and now it is in the world already. Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world, therefore what they say is of the world, and the world listens to them. We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God abides in him. In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because he first loved us. If any one says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also (I John 4:1-21).

A person with a restored “image of God” goes beyond loving his own kind. Jesus expects his followers to include the enemies in their circle of love. The true followers of Jesus show no partiality in their treatment of friends and foes.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew  5:43-48).

The “image” and the “likeness of God” in man is “inborn,” and it becomes even more active when it is “reborn.” When man is “reborn,” it is as if man has moved into a new body with higher and more noble intentions. The “reborn” man has a new mission that includes the desire to share the “rebirth” of the “image” with others. The “reborn” new person in Christ is not content with oneself, but seeks to apply his rebirth in deeds, rather than in words. Paul and James have demonstrated amply such a need to implant the same desire in their fellow men. First, Paul encouraged the Corinthians:

Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors of Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (II Corinthians 5:17-21).

Second, James urged his people to display action instead of promises. Especially, newly born people learn to do things by practicing what they believe. Unbelievers, in particular, have their eyes on the followers of Christ. And unbelievers form their own opinion on what they see Jesus’ followers do. Christians are on the stage twenty-four hours per day. Therefore:

Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing (James 1:22-25).

Jesus, Himself, had to prove by His deeds who He was. His relationship with God His Father was made visible in His miracles. To have God or Christ locked up in the heart does nothing for the person whose heart is empty. It can only fill itself by what a believer does and what a believer leaves behind. John, the Evangelist, illustrated this point with this incident:

The Jews took up stones again to stone him, Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?” The Jews answered him, “We stone you for no good work but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “It is written in your law. ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and the scripture cannot be broken), do you say to him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me, but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father (John 10:31-38).

It is what man does, which best represents who he really is and whom he really serves. There is an alternative and those who have practiced it like Judas, who betrayed Jesus became outcasts and took their own lives, like Judas who violated the test of loyalty to his Master (Matthew 27:3-10). Loyalty cannot be split! And neither God nor mammon allows it:

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24).

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).

Man is God’s lamp and God’s work in the world. God endowed man with “God’s image” and “God’s likeness” so man can shine for others and show who man is and what man does with his life here on earth. Man is as close to God as he is to the devil. Man needs but look in the mirror and ask himself whose image he represents? Man has been endowed with the ability to know both good and evil (Genesis 3:22). It becomes tragic and devastating when man loses the ability to discern. The leaders in Isaiah’s day had that problem:

Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes, who say, ‘Let him make haste, let him speed his work that we may see it; let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and let it come that we may know it.’ Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!

Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down on the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and smote them, and the mountains quaked; and their corpses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all his anger is not turned away and his hand is stretched out still (Isaiah 5:18-25).

Evil is very powerful. Jesus met a man who housed two thousand demons (Mark 5:1-13). Beware of those “holding the form of religion but denying the power of it” (II Timothy 3:5). Satan’s messengers do have godly likeness because they, like all other human beings, were created in the image of God, but their life styles and their deeds, deny their identity with God. They flee from the true image of God, which is the name of “Jesus.” Paul, who had faced the demons all his life gave this advice:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the sword of God (Ephesians 6:10-17).

Christians share the world with all people in looks, but not in their belief, in their deeds and in their words. Christians too are tenants, just as the unbelievers are.  Christians, particularly, show how they apply themselves to their responsibilities and to their tasks. Christians are expected to show some radically positive results. In a sense, Christ is on vacation in heaven with His Father. Christ left His vineyard in the care of man (human beings). Christ will return and He will expect His share of the harvest. But the tenants have refused to pay their dues. The tenants have disgraced and have killed some of their Lord’s messengers. To free themselves of the legitimate owner, the tenants killed the heir, the “Son.” Jesus’ “Parable of the Tenants” is a projection of what will happen on the day of reckoning. The message is not just for people who believe in Christ and in God, but for everyone who has a share in this world. The Son of God expects the world to be more ready when He returns, as it was when He came the first time. Jesus said:

Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” And Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:

‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. But when they tried to arrest him, they feared the multitudes, because they held him to be a prophet (Matthew 21:33-46).

Both, Israel and then Judah were God’s projects for the world, but they chose to become like other nations. Israel and Judah vanished because of their disassociation with God’s Laws. Judah did experienced a resurrection as a “Priestly Theocracy” and then fell victim to Rome. In another chapter, we shall discuss the “Priestly System” and their failure to prepare for their own Messiah, the Eternal King of the Jews. They chose Caesar to be their king. And they lost the kingdom to Caesar (John 19:15). Peter, on  Pentecost, spoke in the Spirit of the Lord:

Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when the people heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him (Acts 2:36-39).