The Night Cometh

Our Eleventh Hour?

The global events during the past couple of months, and more recently the events of the past couple of weeks in our own nation, make us realize as never before the vulnerable nature of civilization as we’ve known it. Some say that the changes brought about by Covid-19 are permanent and that the world will never be the same. This may indeed be true. Meanwhile, violent clashes between law enforcement officers and protesters across this country have left all of us sobered.

When warning the Jews about the coming destruction of their nation, Jesus told the following story (drawing at least in part from two Old Testament passages that would’ve been familiar to His audience[1]).

The Parable of the Vineyard Owner

Hear another parable: There was a certain land owner who planted a vineyard, placed a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. And he leased it out to tenant farmers, and went into a far country.

And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenant famers so they might receive its fruit. And the farmers took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did the same thing to them.

Finally, he sent unto them his son, saying, “They will reverence my son.”

But when the farmers saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir; come, let’s kill him, and take his inheritance!” And they seized him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him.

Therefore, when the lord of the vineyard comes, what will he do unto those tenant farmers? (They say unto him,) “He will miserably destroy those terrible men, and will let out his vineyard to other farmers, who will render unto him the fruits in their seasons.”

Our Lord Jesus summarized the message of this parable by declaring:

“Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”

Are there any parallels for us to learn from this prophetic message given many centuries ago to the nation of Israel? Yes!

Parallels to ponder:

  • The Jews had been given a vineyard; this was symbolic of their inheritance of the kingdom of God
  • This vineyard had a hedge around it; this may be symbolic of protection and freedom
  • This vineyard had a watchtower; this may also be symbolic of protection from the enemy
  • The vineyard had a winepress; the technology needed to process the fruits from the harvest

The nation of Israel came under the judgement of God for their rejection of the true heir of the vineyard; they knew not the time of their visitation. The peace and prosperity of Jerusalem did not last forever. Only a few decades after Christ walked the dusty streets of this capital city, enemies surrounded and completely destroyed it!

How much time remains for us as western Christians to use the blessings of peace, freedom of travel, and protection from persecution that have been so common in our civilization for many centuries?

Friends, the handwriting for our civilization is on the wall—the eleventh hour of our prosperity and peace appears to be almost past—and midnight is at hand!

And still, the Lord of the Harvest commands us to go and labor now while it is day, “for the night cometh when no man can work.”

Let’s commit to faithfully steward the many blessings God has given us to advance His kingdom before it is forever too late. Peace, technology, protection, and prosperity have all been given to us at such a time as this. Why? To seek first and advance the kingdom of God!

In your costly temples praying, “Let your kingdom come, we pray.” Are but words of idle meaning, if with these we turn away. Boundless wealth to you is given, from His hand who owns it all, and His eye beholds in heaven, what you render back for all!

Church of God awake arise, Christ your Head and Master cries, send the Gospel’s joyful sound, unto earth's remotest bound.

Amen.

—Joel Martin



[1]Psalm 80, Isaiah 5


Category: 
  • “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
  • “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witness of these things.” Luke 24:47, 48
  • “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19
  • “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
  • “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel.” Ephesians 3:6
  • “That they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:21
  • “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’?” Mark 11:17
  • “Ask of me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance.” Psalm 2:8
  • “Behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes.” Revelation 7:9
  • “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
  • “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
  • “As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25
  • “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:10
  • “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.” Psalm 22:27
  • “Truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.” Numbers 14:21
  • “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.” Psalm 96:3, 4
  • “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14
  • “That all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.” 1 Kings 8:60
  • “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations.” Malachi 1:11
  • “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.” Psalm 86:9
  • “For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11
  • "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
  • "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:3, 4
  • "You are worthy. . .; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God." Revelation 5:9, 10