The following post is a quick survey of the scriptures about vineyards, and winepresses.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Four things are brought together in the prophecy: good tidings, mountains, the feet of the messenger, and the fact that God reigns. The meaning of good tidings was identified by Paul, who applied the scripture to those preaching the Gospel. [Rom. 10:15-16]
Lyn Leahz posted an article on Idealists, Preterists, And Futurists written by dispensationalist Jack Kelley. In the article Kelley expressed his opinions on the comments by James in Acts 15:13-18 on a prophecy found in Amos 9:11, about the tabernacle of David. James applied the prophecy to the church.
Many preachers who support dispensationalism try to discredit the idea that Jesus Christ is reigning in the present age, upon the throne of David. But if Jesus is not the promised king who reigns on the throne of David forever, how could Peter say he is the Messiah? If he is not the king of Israel, how can he be the Christ?
Patrick Fairbairn observed, “There are many passages in the prophets in which the application to them of a strict and historical literalism would not only evacuate their proper meaning, but render them absolutely ridiculous and inconsistent one with another.”
In their interpretations of Isaiah 2:2, the prophecy that the mountain of the Lord’s house will be established at the top of the mountains, above the hills, dispensationalist commentators and expositors are torn between their commitment to their mantra of literalism, and their devotion to the idea that ethnic Jews will dominate other nations in the Millennium. The literal view says the prophecy means that mount Zion and Jerusalem will be literally raised up, by tectonic means. Contrasting with this approach is the interpretation of mountains as nations, which leads to the concept of Jews becoming a kind of master-race.
David wrote, in Psalm 36:6, “Thy righteousness is like the great mountains.” The great mountains of the earth are regions of snow and ice, that remained inaccessible to men until the nineteenth century when adventurers developed mountaineering skills, and began to discover routes to the tops of the high peaks of the European Alps, and other mountains of the world.
The reason David compared God’s righteousness to high mountains must have to do with their altitude, and their metaphorical connection with high and lofty thoughts, such as the prophet Isaiah referred to when he described God’s thoughts as higher than those of man.
Israel’s promised land, described as a land of milk and honey, and the seventh day sabbath, are both types of the rest that Hebrews 3-4 encourages believers to enter. Entering this rest requires belief.
After the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt, they endured 40 years wandering in the wilderness. At the end of that period Joshua addressed them, and he spoke of their promised inheritance as rest. “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.” [Joshua 1:13]
The author of Hebrews contrasts milk and strong meat. The meaning of milk, and strong meat, as symbols representing elementary and advanced kinds of spiritual knowledge, is evident from the context. The milk of God’s word includes the accounts of the lives of men of faith, and the accounts of the history of Israel, the gospel accounts of the ministry of Jesus, and the Acts of the apostles, all the events in the scriptures related in a straightforward manner.
Israel was promised blessings in their land, if the people kept the law. [Leviticus 26:3-5] If they abandoned the law, however, the land would no longer yield her strength to them. [Leviticus 26:18-20]
In many prophecies, the land is described as desolate. Isaiah connected the desolation of the land with understanding and believing the words of the prophets. In response to his question, how long will it be before the people of Israel understand with their heart, and convert, and become healed? Isaiah was told, “until the land be utterly desolate.”
Isaiah wrote about making a highway in the wilderness, and mountains being made low.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Interpreting the encoded message of prophecy correctly reveals the glory of God. In Isaiah’s prophecy the mountains are symbols of the prophecies and promises of scripture. Those who investigate Bible prophecy are a lot like explorers or mountaineers seeking a way through unexplored, rugged country.
In his recent article at Bible Prophecy blog, on The Coming Kingdom (Part 6), Andy Woods discussed the dispensational idea that Christ’s kingdom was offered to Jews, but the offer was postponed when they rejected Christ as their king.
Woods views the kingdom as conditional upon whether or not ethnic Jews believe the gospel, a doctrine that paints Christ as rather powerless, and as a wanna-be potential king whose hopes were disappointed like the runner-up in an American election campaign. But this is not the Jesus the apostles knew. Woods wrote: “The dispensational premillennialist understands that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. However, the kingdom is not a present reality since first-century Israel never satisfied the condition of faith in Christ.”
In the 9th of his 15 arguments against the idea that Christ now reigns upon the throne of David, in this article, George Zeller applies a prophecy of Hosea, that Israel would “abide many days without a king” to ethnic Jews, and so concludes that Christ can not now be reigning on the throne of David. Zeller wrote:
In the first of 15 items in in this article, George Zeller, assistant pastor at The Middletown Bible Church and author of most of the articles on the church’s website, claims that the throne of David cannot be in heaven.
The third of 15 scriptures discussed in this article, apparently by George Zeller, refers to Jeremiah’s prophecy that Jerusalem would remain forever. But that was not true of the earthly city, which was destroyed completely in 70 AD.
Isaiah said the mountain of the Lord’s house would be raised up, and established in the tops of the mountains, above the hills. [Isaiah 2:2] This was fulfilled, when Jesus ascended to heaven, to the throne of God, where he reigns over all.
In a recent post on Throttling Dispensationalism? “mac” responds to my comment in this post, where I mentioned a quotation by James from Amos 9:11, in Acts 15:16. James applied a prophecy addressed to Israel to the New Testament church and identified the tabernacle of David with the church. I and many others view this scripture as a serious problem for dispensationalism. I stated: By quoting this prophecy in Acts 15, James identified the church with the tabernacle of David, which throttles dispensationalism!
In his commentary on Isaiah 30:20, where the English translation reads “yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more,” John Calvin translated: “Thy rain shall no longer be restrained.” Calvin viewed ‘rain’ as better suited to the immediate context in the verse itself, (‘the water of affliction’) than the word ‘teachers.’ Read more…
Dispensationalists tend to discount the application of Old Testament prophecy to the church in the present age. In this they differ from the Reformers, who applied those prophecies to the church. Instead, dispensationalism says, the promises and prophecies apply to the Jews, in a future seven year tribulation, followed by the millennial age, and they claim that the church of the present age was unknown to the prophets. They called the present age of the church a great parenthesis. Dispensationalist author Harry A. Ironside wrote a book that promoted this idea, called The Great Parenthesis the mystery in Daniel’s prophecy. Read more…
Isaiah said, “And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.” [Isaiah 49:11] By various interpreters, the mountains of prophecy are said to be powerful, self-righteous and proud people, kingdoms, obstacles in a road, proud thoughts, or literal mountains. However, I suggest, the mountains of prophecy are in fact none of these, but instead, they represent God’s promises. These promises, and blessings are a way or route that believers can follow, because in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promised a number of blessings to those who follow him. [Matthew 5:1-11] Below are some of the reasons why the mountains represent God’s promises to believers. Read more…