Matthew 12:38-50 Part 3

“Except the grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abides alone; but if it die, it brings forth much fruit.  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.”


As Jonah went under for three days and three nights – and rose up to preach repentance to the Gentile nation, so Christ went through the inundation of going down into the earth – to rise up and draw all men unto Himself!

As the resurrection of Jonah from the deep meant the admittance of Nineveh to the grace of God, so the resurrection of Christ meant the admittance of the Gentile nations into the grace of God.

As the entire Gentile city of Nineveh repented at the Words of God as delivered by Jonah, so the entire Gentile world would repent at the preaching of Christ!

Jesus said,


“A generation wicked and adulterous eagerly searches for a sign; and a sign shall not be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” 


The sign of Jonah was that Israel was being cut off as God’s favored nation, and that the Gentiles would replace her as the New Heavens and the New Earth….  God was bringing in the nations and calling them “the New Zion”!  And Jesus was to be the Risen Firstfruits of God’s beloved people – the new Israel.  His resurrection from the heart of the earth was the sign of life from the dead for the people of the world!

Lo, He is a greater Jonah!


“And Ninevite men will stand up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it!  Because they changed their minds to the proclamation of Jonah….” 


The lesser Jonah appears in a Gentile city and preaches, and the whole city repents!  But the Greater Jonah comes to establish the Kingdom, and the favored nation rejects Him!

The sinful Jewish prophet who ran from God’s commission finally submits to preaching the Words of God, and a huge city of pagans rush to fear God and mourn their sin!  And they repent with fasting and in sackcloth and ashes.  But when the perfect Prophet, the Word of God made Flesh, shows up to preach the Word of the Kingdom, the very nation with whom the Word of God had been entrusted despised Him!

When the type walked through the streets of Nineveh preaching God’s Word, the foulest of Gentile pagans turned from their sin!  But when the Archetype preached “repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand,” Israel turned haughty, and they were contemptuous of Him.

When the “lesser” Jonah preached, the people who were not His people, and who knew of no Covenant, obeyed.  But when the “greater” Jonah preached, the people who had received the Covenant through Abraham scorned Him and considered Him despicable!

So Jesus says that on the Day of Judgment in which every man will render an account for every idle word, the words and deeds of the men of Nineveh will be a condemnation on this generation of Jews!

And then Jesus gives these Scribes another example, verse forty-two – another comparative example – between pagan, Gentile acceptance and the hostility of this adulterous generation of Jews.  And this comparison, too, gives us prophetic foreshadowings of the coming inclusion of the Gentiles into the Covenant.  And it’s clear from the text that Jesus sees King Solomon as a type of Christ, for He says, “Lo, a greater Solomon is here!”

Here is the verse again: 


“Queen of the South will be raised up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and, lo, a greater Solomon is here.”


Now, I’ve done some reading in the Hebrew text, and dug around a bit in the history books, and what I’ve come up with is this:  It seems that this “Queen of the South” terminology stems from the last chapters of the prophecy of Daniel where the angel of God is describing the Medo-Persian wars which would occur during and after the Jews were released from captivity in about 516 B.C.  The angel speaks of a great king of the North and a greater King of the South who battle for years for dominance over the area – and over the world.

And it looks as if this king of the South was in the Arabian Peninsula.  And the center of his reign was in what we now know as the country of Yemen, down on the coast of the Peninsula – on the southern end.  This ancient people, barbarians, but very highly developed as a society, were once called Sabateans.  And the country was Saba, or Seba.  Now, the only proper name that I could find in the early records of Scripture belonged to the son of Abraham’s second son by his second wife Keturah.  I don’t know this for sure, but it seems as if the Sabateans of Arabia – now known as Saudi Arabia – might come from the non-covenantal branch of Abraham’s family.  And it’s not so far-fetched to make that connection if you remember that Abraham’s father, Tehra, and his whole ancestry, were from Ur of the Chaldees, which was in the fork of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers – about where Basra, Iraq is located now, just north of Kuwait.

But be that as it may, the “Queen of the South” terminology comes from this area of the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula called Seba.  She has popularly become known as the “Queen of Sheba.”

Nothing was known of this area until about a hundred and twenty-five years ago when an archeologist went in under false pretense and came out with some ancient documents which explained the history of the area and its people.  And it seems that great wealth accumulated there because of the richness of the soil, its peculiar ability to produce spices and incense, and its propensity for trade with the whole world.  And by the time of Solomon it was known for its huge treasures of gold and jewels and gems.

As I said, the country was barbarian in its culture, but it had a highly developed astral religion, and its primary god was the moon.  Its people loved to explore the deep questions of life; and especially the formulation of, and the solving of, riddles!  Ancient kings used to send riddles to one another in order to expose the lack of wisdom of their adversaries!  In mythology, the oracles of the gods were sent to people in enigmatic riddles so that only the wisest of humans could understand.

As an example one of the most well known riddles in literature comes from Egyptian mythology.  The mythological Sphinx asked, “What animal is that which goes on four feet in the morning, on two at midday, and on three in the evening?”  According to the myth only Oedipus could answer.  And he said, “Man, because he goes on all fours as a child, on two feet as a young man, and with a staff in old age.”

But anyway, this seems to have been a great love of the wealth-laden Sabateans of South Arabia.  And it looks to have been a special gift of the Queen of Saba who lived in the same generation as Solomon.  Apparently, she had heard about the young nation of Israel, and she knew of its God, Yahveh.  And she had been well-informed of the blessings and glory that this God had bestowed upon the nation – and especially upon its king, Solomon.  In fact, he was known all over the world for his great wisdom!

But this pagan, Gentile queen traveled hundreds of miles (end of the earth) with a huge entourage to see Solomon and to test him with hard questions and riddles.  And the Scripture says, First Kings chapter ten, and Second Chronicles chapter nine, that Solomon answered every one of her questions and held nothing back from her.  And she blessed the God of Solomon in that He loved Israel so much that he placed this man Solomon over it as its king.

Solomon showed her the king’s house and his entrance into the temple of Yahveh; and she marveled at his court and his table of food and his attendants and their clothing – and how happy and obedient they all were!  And she told Solomon that the reports about him were only half true, that his wisdom and glory far surpassed anything she had heard.  And she gave Solomon what amounts to about one hundred million dollars worth of gold; and spices and incense such as had not been seen in Israel.  And Solomon gave her all that she requested from Israel.

Now, the point of all this is that this Gentile queen recognized that Solomon had received all of his wisdom and glory from Yahveh, and that Israel was blessed by God by having him as their king.

But when Jesus Christ, God’s Anointed King – the Greater Solomon, arrived in Israel as its King, the Covenant people of God despised and hated Him, and they did not recognize Him as sent from God; and they did not bless God for having sent Him!  They didn’t bring Him gifts of gold and incense as the magician/astrologers did – and as the Queen of Sheba did; they tried to kill Him!  And they didn’t marvel at His wisdom as coming from God, and they didn’t glorify Yahveh for sending them such a One as this!  And when they tested Him and received His answers, they didn’t bow down before Him as the wisest of all – like the Queen of Sheba did!

And for that, the words and deeds of the Queen of Sheba will condemn the Jews when every idle word is to be accounted for in the Day of Judgment! (verse forty-two)  You see, the Queen of Sheba is an early indication that the Kingdom would go to the Gentiles, and that they would receive it and its King; for this early type of Christ, King Solomon, prefigures the public glory that Christ and His Father would receive from the Kingdoms of the earth.  And this all incensed the Jews, for it all stands as testimony against them.

Speaking of cutting off the Jewish nation, I remember when I was writing this sermon, I turned on the TV at lunch and flipped the channels over to Pat Robertson’s program – sometimes he has some very informative guests – and he was introducing a gentleman from Israel who heads up a very large group of Jews who are dedicated, in this generation, to building a new temple on top of the temple mount in Jerusalem.  Of course there are two Islamic mosques on the temple mount right now, so they’ll have to be torn down.

And the new temple would be strictly according to Biblical specifications, and it would look very nearly the same as Solomon’s temple.  And the Old Covenant ceremonial and sacrificial system would be re-instituted, exactly the way it was commanded to Moses.  I reiterate – it is their full intent to get this done right away!

Now, you may remember some years back that there was an incident on the temple mount when a rather large number of Palestinians were killed and wounded.  The Palestinians had gathered in large numbers for some reason that never was explained on the news, and they had begun to demonstrate and throw rocks and destroy property (as they have done so many times in the last three years).  And some Jews – up above them on the temple mount – began firing on them!  And, as we now know, with deadly accuracy!

Well, come to find out – from this guy on Robertson’s show – the Palestinians had gathered because they were incensed over the fact that the group that this man on the show represented was pulling the cornerstone of the new temple – a block of stone that probably weighed several tons – up the side of the temple mount!  I mean – these people were acting like “this is already a foregone conclusion,” that the mosques are coming down and the temple, in all its glory and splendor, is about to be rebuilt!  And that the sacrifices being reinstituted is only a matter of a short period of time!

And, of course, this was all fascinating to me.  But I got so sick to my stomach when Pat Robertson, a professing Christian minister, began to bless this man and his group and promise to pray for him and promise him the support of the Christian Church everywhere!  I mean, the two men wanted the same thing for the Jewish nation!  Both of them wanted the Old Testament Temple to be rebuilt!  Judaism, which became apostate from God, wants to go back to its original religion!

But the whole of St. John’s message to the Jewish Christians in Revelation is that God’s people must not seek to reform Israel, with its new religion of Judaism, but must abandon her to her fate to God’s judgment!  The apostles spent much of their time during the Last Days summoning God’s people to a religious separation from her! – exiting her!  The Jews had “tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the Age to come” – the Age brought in by Christ’s redemptive act – and had fallen away.  And it would be “impossible to renew them again to repentance.” (Hebrews six, verses four through eight)

Judaistic religion can’t be revivified; it is impossible to have the Covenant without Christ!  There can be no turning back to something which never existed, for even the fathers under the Old Covenant worshipped Christ through the signs and seals of the Old Covenant!  And now that the “Age to Come” has arrived, salvation is in Christ.  And only destruction and judgment waits for those who identify with the demon-possessed whore of Babylon. 


“Come out of her!” says the angel in chapter eighteen of Revelation, “come out of her, My people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues, for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities….”


So joining forces with Jews in the goal of re-establishing the unbelief of Judaism is simply committing adultery with the most prolific harlot in the history of mankind.  We so need to pray for the Church, and to require its repentance.  The Church is seeing the results of this alliance with Judaism in the last two decades!  Because how can men and women expect to avoid lawlessness of divorce and adultery in their marriages when they’re being led into spiritual adultery with Judaism by their leaders!  Adultery with the body flows out of the adultery of faith!  If men and women are joining forces – in the same goals – with the very same people whom God cut away from His Covenant, the demonic, Christ-rejecting Jews, how would they ever expect God to graciously keep them from soiling their own marriage beds?  As Paul makes very clear to us in Romans chapter one, sexual perversity (which is any sexual activity outside the marriage of a man and a woman) sexual perversity flows directly out of idolatry, which is adultery from God’s covenant.  Sexual perversity is now rampant in our culture – even in the Church!

And then Jesus continues to heap coals upon their heads, in verses forty-three through forty-five, when He informs them of the coming exponential proliferation of demonic activity in Israel!  Remember that verse twenty-two, where Jesus casts out the demon from the man who was deaf, blind and dumb, is still a part of this context!  And He now says to these Scribes,


“Now when the unclean spirit is gone out from the man, it passes through waterless places seeking a place of rest and does not find it.  Then it says, ‘I will go back in my house whence I came out.’  And having come, it finds it standing empty, having been swept clean and set in order.  Then it goes and takes with itself seven other spirits more evil than itself, and upon entering, it takes up dwelling there; and the last state of that man, it is worse than the first.  So it will be also with this evil generation.”


Jesus here uses the casting out of the demon from the man to describe what is about to happen to the nation of Israel!  The demon is cast out, and it goes out into the place of demon infestation – the desert, waterless, wastelands – in order to find “pause,” that is, to find where it’s easy to satisfy its vile and unclean desires.  And upon finding that it’s not so easy, it decides to come back.  But, in the meantime, the house is swept clean and set in order!  In other words, the nation of Israel is swept of God’s people – the remnant of the house of Israel (they’ve left at the command of Jesus).  And finding it empty, and easy to multiply its demoniacal activity, it brings with it seven other demons more evil than itself!  And Jesus makes it clear that this is exactly what is to happen to Israel, for He says, “So it will be also with this evil generation.”  So with the nation cleansed of God’s people, the demon is free to come back and inhabit the new wastelands.  This generation of Jews is the new abode of the demon and its friends!

And in the ninth chapter of John’s Revelation, John sees the result of what Jesus has here pronounced on Israel.


“And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the well of the Abyss was given to him.  And he opened the well of the Abyss; and smoke went up out of the well like the smoke of a burning furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the well.  And out of the smoke came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.”


Israel would become glutted with demons from the Abyss.  It had been “swept clean” by Christ’s preaching, and the preaching of the apostles; now it would become


“a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.”  (Revelation eighteen, verse two)


And that entire generation of Jews did become increasingly demon possessed; and, Josephus, who was there, describes the situation as one of maniacal bedlam! – the loss of all ability to reason, the frenzied mobs attacking one another, the deluded multitudes following after the most transparently false prophets, the crazed and desperate chase after food, the mass murders, executions, and suicides, the fathers slaughtering their own families and the mothers eating their own children.  The demons swarmed throughout the land!  And Josephus continues, and I quote:


“Zealots ransacked houses with their insatiable hunger for loot; they murdered men and violated women for sport; they drank their spoils with blood, and from mere satiety they shamelessly gave themselves up to effeminate practices, plaiting their hair and putting on women’s clothes, drenching themselves with perfumes and painting their eyelids to make themselves attractive.  They copied not merely the dress, but also the passions of women, devising in their excess of licentiousness unlawful pleasures in which they wallowed as in a brothel.  Thus they entirely polluted the city with their foul practices.  Yet though they wore women’s faces, their hands were murderous.  They would approach with mincing steps, then suddenly become fighting men, and, whipping out their swords from under their dyed cloaks, they would run through every passerby.”


What a picture of a seven-fold, exponential proliferation of demoniacal activity after God’s people separated – turned – from the wicked and adulterous generation.

I think we’ve said enough about this for now.  But be forewarned!  God will not be mocked!  Either there is life in Christ Jesus – both here and in eternity, or there is death and abandonment – both here and in eternity.  The further we go in the text of the Gospel, the more apparent it is that God both blesses and curses – in history!  And Jesus said that if you aren’t following after Him, you’re against Him.

But make your election (baptism) sure.  “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do you.  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfection (completion).  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  (Colossians three, twelve through seventeen)

Next Lord’s Day, the family of Jesus.