Wisdom is Justified by her Children: Matt. 11:19

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, May 8, 2011.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom
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    Why Elijah is not coming again: Matt. 11:19

    Wisdom is Justified by her Children: Matthew 11:19
    A Lesson in Discernment: The same wisdom that recognized the Christ in Jesus,
    likewise, discerned in John the Baptist Elijah already come
    .


    Here is the background text, Matthew 11:2-19. Please see further comments below.

    2. And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples
    3. and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
    4. Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see:
    5. The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the
    dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
    6. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
    7. As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
    8. But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.
    9. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.
    10. For this is he of whom it is written:

    ‘ Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
    Who will prepare Your way before You.’

    11. Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
    12. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
    13. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
    14. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.
    15. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
    16. But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions,
    17. and saying:

    ‘We played the flute for you,
    And you did not dance;
    We mourned to you,
    And you did not lament.’

    18. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’
    19. The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”

    Is Elijah still coming? Consider the following:
    Having heard once again, in a recent sermon, that Elijah is still coming I thought about this very passage in Matthew. There is here a connection that is often overlooked, an application that deals both with Elijah and with the very nature of God's fulfillments.


    A little overview first. Christ, in the passage above, commends John the Baptist and his ministry. He also shows the limitations of the dispensation under which he labored: the Old Covenant. It was in the very nature of John's occupation that he would "work himself out of a job", so to speak. His purpose was to announce the coming of the Messiah. This was foretold in Malachi, the very last of the Old Testament prophets.

    It is interesting that Christ's scenario here contrasts two events; the one with mourning, the other with joyful music and dancing. Some commentators have seen in this references to, respectively, a funeral and a wedding. A few commentators (Godbey's is one I happened to see recently) even go so far as to say that the funeral is that of the Old Covenant, personified as a woman; and the wedding as that of the New Covenant. That does seem appropriate, though perhaps it is reading too much into the text.

    Much more could be written about this passage, but I want to focus on what I believe is all too often overlooked today. Two points:

    1. The "wisdom is justified by her children" metaphor has to do with both Christ and John the Baptist.
    2. There is no need for any other Elijah to come in the future. This passage, in fact, does away with the possibility of that.

    1. The same wisdom that recognizes Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, also recognizes John as Elijah. To recognize the fore-runner, the messenger - John - is to also recognize the Person of his message - Christ.

    John proclaimed loudly, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

    Once Christ came and completed His mission there was no need anymore for that particular messenger, because that message has already been given. The message now is the Gospel. The messengers now in need are Christians. That's us!

    Anyone who has any doubt about Elijah's ministry being completed in John needs only to read Malachi's prophecy concerning him, Malachi 4. Or one can consider the Transfiguration, that dramatic demonstration of the passing of the Old and the visible establishment of the New Covenant, shown by Christ's transcendency of the ministries of both Moses and Elijah: the Law and the Prophets. They faded away - just as did the Law they were associated with - only to be replaced by Christ. Hear the Father's finalizing words: "This is My Son. Hear Him."

    2. No need for a future Elijah.
    Wisdom is justified by her children. We are the children of the God of all wisdom. As such, we have the ability now to recognize the things of God. We need only to fix our attention on the guidance in His Word and the illumination of His Spirit. The reason why there is not more unanimity among Christians in these things, I am convinced, is because we are so prone to lean on tradition and human authority.

    And tradition - at least the tradition of the last two hundred years - has led us to expect another Elijah, superfluous, according to Scripture, to perform a ministry, contrary to Scripture.


    Not recognizing Elijah and Christ are part of the same spiritual problem.
    Another reason why this topic is important is that the church nowadays, to a degree unrecognized, has taken up with the very spirit of the first-century Jews. Those Jews let their Messiah pass through their midst unrecognized because their eyes were fixed on the physical, to the exclusion of the spiritual.

    They waited for a physical Messiah: A powerful and
    beneficent Savior.
    They waited for a physical largesse. The feeding of the 5000 greatly prompted their desires for Him as king - on their terms.
    They waited for a physical deliverance from Rome's galling dominion.
    They waited for a physical salvation, involving an Earthly Kingdom, grandiose worship with visible and magnificent assurances and favor.

    This is what they wanted. But what did they get?

    A Messiah that not only did not deliver them from Rome, actually taught the necessity of going the extra mile with them. One who not only did not deliver Israel from them, but was seemingly unable to save Himself by coming down from the Cross.
    A Messiah who taught the necessity of eating His flesh and drinking His blood.
    A builder of an invisible Temple.
    An inauguration of an invisible Kingdom, one that "comes not with observation".

    Should it be any wonder that they - like many today - did not have the wisdom to recognize Elijah?


    Note: Please ignore the strange formatting of this post. Because I used the automatic setting in converting this from my Xanga site it shows some of the italicized words from the KJV in black, not blue. It is too tedious for me to change all those.
     
    #1 asterisktom, May 8, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2011
  2. Winman

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    I agree with you that when Jesus comes again it may not be what we expect. But this does not prove that Jesus returned in 70 A.D.

    If Jesus returned in 70 A.D. then he failed, because the scriptures say he is returning to DEFEND Jerusalem, not destroy it. It also says he will seek to destroy the nations that come against Jerusalem. That is exactly the opposite of what happened in 70 A.D.

    Zech 12:8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.
    9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

    Zech 14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
    3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

    Zech 14:12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.

    Jesus did not fight against the Romans in 70 A.D. unless he failed. The Roman's flesh did not consume away while they stood on their feet, their eyes did not consume away in their sockets or their tongues in their mouths.

    This actually sounds very much like the effects of an atomic explosion. People in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were literally vaporized while standing on their feet.

    So, yes I agree with you that when John the Baptist and Jesus came people did not recognize them, nevertheless, none of these prophecies were fulfilled in 70 A.D..
     
  3. asterisktom

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    All nations? Will the US send an army? Will Lichtenstein? First of all we need to recognize that "all" here does not mean "all". Lets take a closer look at your verses and see what they really say.
    I see that you left out the very next verse which has a bearing on this. Verse 10:

    10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn."

    I guess it is not surprising that you would stop at first 9, seeing that many modern versions likewise make verse 10 a totally different paragraph. But they do so, not on the basis of textual necessity - it begins with "And", after all - but under constraint to an eschatological paradigm. However this is a continuation of the same event as the verses preceding. Moreover Christ quotes from this passage in Matt. 24:30:

    "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn [lit. "tribes of the land". These are the tribes of Israel], and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

    That "tribes of Israel" is the focus here, and not countries of the world, is shown not only by the Greek phrase ["pasai hai phulai tes ges"] but by the further expansion a little further in this very passage in Zech 12:12-14:

    "12 And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; 14 all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves."
    The next thing I am going to say will be very unsatisfactory for you, I just know it. But this is a basic part of the modern misunderstanding of eschatology. And that is the fact that Scripture speaks often of two Jerusalems. The Jerusalem here that is rescued is actually the spiritual Jerusalem, not the physical one. To read more about these two Jerusalems, especially as they shown in Isaiah 40 to 66 take a look at my series of articles on the spiritual Zion. I have 14 articles so far and have hardly scratched the surface.

    And so, in the same vein, all those other details you mention are also wrong because you don't sufficiently take into account that much of the Bible - especially the prophetical parts - is not to be taken literally.
    But the issue here is not that they were unrecognized, but how they were unrecognized. And what was the reason for their not being recognized. Their eyes were fixed on the literal and physical. The fulfillment came in the form of the spiritual.

    To really understand the eschatological events of Zechariah I suggest that a person should take all nineteen of the "in that day" passages of that book - especially factoring in all NT references and allusions. That particular study helped change my eschatology totally. But it is a hard study, requiring concentration as well as a willingness to be totally wrong in order to get to the truth.
     
    #3 asterisktom, May 9, 2011
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  4. asterisktom

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    Still no answer on this. Not surprising.
     
  5. asterisktom

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    John the Baptist = Elijah

    Bumped this thread because of its relation to the "This just in..." thread on John the Baptist being the only Elijah that will ever come.
     
  6. HankD

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    Thanks for the bump or I would have missed this.

    Tom, just what is there that is compelling about this passage for you to dismiss it as literal?

    Further I see no reference to two Jerusalems in Zechariah 14.
    You have made that assumption because it apparently fits your pretrist venue as you are quick to tell us in relationship to our futurist view along with an oblique condescension (or at least an inuenndo).

    All you seem to have done is deny that it will or could ever happen as literal yet the passage is full of detailed and literal words which "in the plain sense" of the passage (which preterists are want to teach us that we should take such words in the plain meaning when we see them, or at least when directed by preterists permission) give the distinct impression that they are none other than literal happenings.

    I do see a Jerusalem with a Mount of Olives from whence He ascended in His literal body along with a literal historical account and a scriptural promise of a return of like kind presumably to the Mount of Olives:

    Acts 1
    9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
    10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
    11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
    12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.​

    Declaring that His very "feet" will touch down on the Mount:

    Many of us have done as you suggested (concentrated with the willingness to be wrong) and have come to a different conclusion than yourself.

    HankD
     
  7. asterisktom

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    You are welcome.
    Could you rephrase this? Dismiss something as being literal?
    Well, no. When I began to see this I was quite Amill. Seeing two Jerusalems here is not a view unique to Preterism.

    The rest will have to wait. It is 100 degrees and time to head down to the creek.
     
  8. HankD

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    Oops, I meant to say spiritually compelling (lending to allegory or metaphor).

    I was also taken aback a little by your less than yielding view on Zechriah 14. But you are correct in that it is a favorite of futurists in connection with Acts 1:11.

    Hey Tom, have fun at the creek and then cool off with the beverage of your choice.

    At 100 degrees (Farenheit I presume - joke), I would be camped out next to my A/C. But I live in Western WA (West of Cascade Mountains) where 100 degrees doesn't happen too often.

    HankD
     
    #8 HankD, Jun 7, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2011

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