Days of vengeance part 2
Luke 21:21-22 says: “let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains… For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.”
The “camp of the saints” was compassed by “armies,” and this began in the first century. They were armies of false teachers; some of them claimed that the resurrection had already occurred!
2 Timothy 2:17-19
And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
The “armies” that have made the church desolate, and caused countless divisions, and tens of thousands of denominations and sects, offer competing interpretations of the gospel, and of eschatology, and all of scripture.
Luke 21:20-22 and related prophecies apply to the heavenly Jerusalem; the holy city of the saints has become desolate. This is the city Jesus meant, not the earthly city.
At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus read the scriptures on the sabbath day in the town of Nazareth where he grew up, and he quoted from Isaiah 61:1-2. But he stopped in the midst of verse 2, and left the rest out. The part he read was:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.
He said the above words had been fulfilled in their ears. Here is Luke’s account.
And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
What about the rest of the prophecy? It was yet to be fulfilled. And the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-4 clearly does not apply to the earthly Jerusalem. For them, Jesus gave a completely different message:
But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.
Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.
For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
Nothing about “liberty to the captives” or “comfort for those that mourn” here. These words apply to the people of the earthly city; Isaiah 61:1-4 applies to the heavenly one. It includes the reference to the “day of vengeance of our God.”
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
The “day of vengeance of our God” in verse 2 corresponds to the “days of vengeance” that Jesus spoke of in Luke 21:20-22. The things Isaiah spoke of do not apply to the earthly Jerusalem; “to comfort all that mourn,” and “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;” are the kinds of things that apply to the church, which has become desolate, not to the Jews of Jerusalem in 70 AD, for the simple reason that most of those Jews died in the siege of Jerusalem, or were enslaved, and so they were not comforted. They did not put on “a garment of praise,” nor were they anointed with “oil of joy.” Those things have never applied to ethnic Jews; they are promises to the saints, and the heavenly Jerusalem.
The promises in Isaiah’s prophecy apply to the church, when it has become desolate. The prophecies about the desolation of Jerusalem in Daniel 9 also apply to the heavenly city. Daniel 9:26 says the city is threatened by a flood. How could the earthly Jerusalem be threatened by a flood? But the heavenly city, represented by the woman in Revelation 12, has been engulfed in “a flood from the mouth of the serpent.” John wrote:
And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
The flood includes all sorts of flawed interpretations of prophecy, including preterism and dispensationalism.
Daniel 9:27 says something is to be “poured out” on the desolator. This is the “vengeance of our God” mentioned in Isaiah 61:2.
Preterism, and the doctrine of Hymenaeus and Philetus, that is condemned in the New Testament, are no doubt included among the things that cause desolation of the holy city. Paul said of the latter, that it would “eat as doth a canker,” or gangrene, a smelly sore, that often requires amputation of the affected limb. The rise of hyper-preterism seems to fulfill Paul’s prediction.
Isaiah 61:4 speaks of “building the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.” It is similar to the prophecy that James quoted in Acts 15, and applied to the church. That prophecy was also about building up ruins, those of the tabernacle of David.
Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
In the church age Christ is building the tabernacles of the saints. The heavenly city is a city “whose builder and maker is God.” [Hebrews 11:10]
Related post: The days of vengeance.