The Oppressors Are Among Us: Will You Trust Jesus to Deliver You From the Oppression of Religion & the Oppression of Politics

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the twenty-first chapter of this New Testament book. “And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast into the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had” (Luke 21:1-4).

 

            “And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stojnes and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And they asked him, saying, master, but when shall these things be? And what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?” (Luke 21:5-7).

 

            “And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by” (Luke 21:8-9).

 

            “Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:10-19).

 

            “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:20-28).

 

            “And he spake to them a parable, Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not away” (Luke 21:29-33).

 

            “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any times your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:34-36).

 

            “And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives. And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him” (Luke 21;37-38).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find and encounter Jesus and His disciples in the temple of the LORD once more during this final week of His passion before He would be betrayed by one of His own and would experience suffering at the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders of the people. If and as you read the words found in the previous chapter you will find Jesus drawing nigh unto the city of Jerusalem meek and lowly riding on a colt upon which never a man had ridden. In the previous chapter you will find Jesus entering into the city at the beginning of the week to the tune of His disciples crying out in the streets proclaiming “Hosanna,” and “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD.” What’s more, is that as you read the words found in the previous chapter you will quickly encounter a tremendous expectation that surrounded the entrance of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem—and not only an expectation, but also the desire of the people for Jesus to restore the kingdom unto the people of Israel. At this particular time there was a great and powerful anticipation and expectation within the hearts of the disciples of Jesus as He entered into the city of Jerusalem that He would come to restore the kingdom unto Israel, thus casting off the tyranny and oppression of the Roman Empire. Much like Moses entered into the land of Egypt to bring the deliverance and freedom of God from the Egyptian slavery, bondage and oppression, those which were present during this day and at this time thought Jesus had come to restore the kingdom unto Israel. In all reality this is quite remarkable and interesting when you think about and consider it, for throughout the three and a half years Jesus walked upon the face of the earth He never spoke of, nor did He ever mention the kingdom of Israel, nor even the kingdom being restored unto Israel. What’s more, is that if you take the time to read the four gospel narratives which were written concerning the person of the LORD Jesus Christ you will find that He emphatically proclaimed and spoke of the kingdom of heaven and its direct manifestation and presence within the earth.

 

            It is absolutely impossible to read the four gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with Jesus emphatically stating that the kingdom of heaven was not only at hand, but that the kingdom of heaven was present among them. The more you read the four gospel narratives written by these gospel authors the more you will encounter and come face to face with a kingdom that was entirely and altogether unlike that which David the son of Jesse ruled and reigned over during his generation. It would be during the days of the reign of David king of Israel that the enemies round about the nation of Israel would be subdued, and as the authority and dominion of Israel would be expanded beyond the borders and boundaries of Israel. What makes those days so incredibly unique and powerful when you take the time to think about them is how it would be under the reign and leadership of David as king over Israel that the nations, enemies and adversaries round about Israel would be conquered and subdued. David would spend a considerable amount of time, effort and energy leading the armies of Israel and his mighty men in battles, conflicts and campaigns against the surrounding nations and peoples round about Israel. This must be understood, for when you come to the days of the son of David—Solomon born of Bathsheba—you will find that the days of his reign were entirely and altogether characterized by tremendous peace. In fact, if you read the narrative and account surrounding Solomon you will find that so great were those days of peace, and so great were those days of dominion and authority that Solomon was essentially the king of all kings. Scripture makes it perfectly and abundantly clear the Solomon reigned over all the kings of the earth—and not only that Solomon reigned over all the kings of the earth, but also that the kings of the earth would pay tribute unto him. It would be during the days of Solomon the Temple of the LORD would be built, as well as the kings of the earth submitting themselves under the authority and dominion which was bestowed upon Solomon.

 

            What makes the peace, the dominion, the authority and the government which was upon the shoulders of Solomon so absolutely astonishing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider how it was made possible by the wars, the conflicts, the battles, the struggles, and the bloodshed of his father David. It would be during the days and times of David when the battles and wars would be fought against the neighboring nations and peoples that the authority and dominion of the kingdom of Israel might be manifested in the midst of the earth. The sole reason Solomon was able to reign from a place of peace, rest, dominion and authority—particularly and especially over the kings of the earth—was because of the wars, the conflicts, the battles, and the struggles which David his father had fought and engaged himself in. We must needs recognize and understand that Solomon was able to reign from a place of peace and rest, and was even able to build from a place of peace and rest because of the sacrifices his father and the armies of Israel during that generation made to secure the borders of the nation and kingdom of Israel. It would be during the days of David when not only would the borders of the nation and kingdom of Israel be secure, but their authority and dominion would extend beyond those borders and into the surrounding nations and kingdoms of the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for in Solomon we see a powerful picture of the son of David who not only reigned as king over the nation and people of Israel, but who also ruled and reigned over the kings of the earth. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this and how incredibly powerful it truly is, for it brings us face to face with the absolutely awesome and powerful truth surrounding the days of Solomon and how those days were characterized by a powerful peace and rest.

 

            It is with all of this in mind I feel it is absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the Old Testament books of First Kings, as well as Second Chronicles. If you take the time to read within these two Old Testament books you will encounter tremendous language surrounding Solomon—and not only how Solomon built the Temple of the LORD, and not only how Solomon built a throne for himself, as well as a palace for himself and a house for the daughter of Pharaoh, but also how Solomon ruled and reigned over the kings of the earth. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it can and will help us to understand the expectation and anticipation that surrounded the Lord Jesus Christ when He entered into the city of Jerusalem. Essentially the way Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem was the same way David his father had instructed Bathsheba and the prophet to have him enter. When Solomon entered the city of Jerusalem riding on David’s own donkey he would do so when another son of David had attempted to seize the throne of his father David. It would be during the final days of David’s life while he was still alive that one of his own sons would again attempt to take and lay hold of the throne of his father—an action that would eventually be met with tremendous resistance from Bathsheba, the prophet, Benaiah, and others who would side with the will and purpose of David. What makes this all the more incredible when you think about it is that Solomon would become king over the nation of Israel—of course according to the divine providence of the living and eternal God, but also because of the will, the heart and mind, and the purpose of his father David. Although another one of David’s sons would attempt to lay claim to the throne of Israel according to his own will, plan and purpose, there would be one who would sit upon the throne according to the will, plan, heart, and mind of the father. SITTING UPON THE THRONE BY THE WILL OF THE FATHER! SITTING UPON THE THRONE ACCORDING TO THE HEART OF THE FATHER! It is with this in mind I not only invite you to consider the words which are found in the opening chapter of the Old Testament book of First Kings, but also the words which are found later on in that same Old Testament book, as well as the book of Second Chronicles:

 

            “Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? And he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bare him after Absalom. And he converred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they following Adonijah helped him. But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, and Shimei, and Rei, and the mighty men which belonged to David, were not with Adonijah. And Adonijah slew sheep and oxen and fat cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En-rogel, and called all his brethren the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah the king’s servants: But Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not. Wherefore Nathan spake unto Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon, saying, hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not? Now therefore, come, let me, I pray thee, give thee counsel, that thou mayest save thine own life, and the life of thy son Solomon. Go and get thee in unto king David, and say unto thim, Didst not thou, my lord, O king, swear unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? Why then doth Adonijah reign? Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words. And Bath-Sheba whent in unto the king into the chamber: and the king was very old; and Abishag the Shunammite ministered unto the king. And Bath-sheba bowed, and di obeisance unto the king. And the king said, What wouldest thou? And she said unto him, My lord, thou swarest by the LORD thy God unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne. And now, behold, Adonijah reigneth; and now, my lord the king, thou. Knowest it not: and he hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the sons of the king, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the captain of the host: but Solomon thy servant hath he not called. And hou, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are upon thee, that thou shouldest tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders. And, lo, while she yet talked with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in. And they told the king, saying, Behold Nathan the prophet. And when he was come in before the king, he bowed himself before the king with his face to the ground. And Nathan said, My lord, O king, hasth thou said, Adonijah shall reign oafter me, and he shall sit upon my throne? For he is gone down this day, and hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the king’s sons, and the captains of the host, and Abiathar the priest; and, behold, they eat and drink before him, and say, God save king Adonijah. But me, even me thy servant, and Zadok the priest and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and thy servant Solomon, hath he not called. Is this thing done by my lord the king, and thou hast not shewed it unto thy servant, who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him? Then king David answered and said, Call me Bath-Sheba. And she came into the king’s presence, and stood before the king. And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress, even as I sware unto thee by the LORD God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; even so will I certainly do this day. Then Bath-sheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live forever. And king David said, Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king. The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon: and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon. Then ye shall come up after him, that ye may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah. And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, and said, Amen: the LORD God of my lord the king say so too. As the LORD hath been with my lord the king, even so be he with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord king David. So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Plethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon. And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon. And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them” (1 Kings 1:1-40).

 

            This passage which is quite extensive in its length and scope presents a powerful picture of the second son of Haggith attempting to lay hold of the throne of his father David who was king of the nation and people of Israel. In fact, when you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find it mentioned how Adonijah was the son of Haggith one of David’s wives, and how she had borne him after Absalom. Absalom you will recall stole the hearts of the people away from his father David and attempted to exalt himself as king over the nation and kingdom of Israel. So treacherous and terrible were Absalomon’s actions that it actually forced David his father and a host who were with him to flee from the midst of the city of Jerusalem for an appointed period of time while David waited to see what the LORD would do for and unto him. Of course we know that the rebellion and insurrection of Absalom against the throne of his father David would ultimately be put down as not only would he get caught by his hair in a tree and hang there suspended between heaven and earth, but Joab the captain of the armies of Israel would thrust Absalom through, thus putting him to death. As a direct result of these actions David—although he would mourn over his son Absalom—would eventually return unto the city of Jerusalem, would return unto the throne upon which he sat, and would once more rule in the city of David. This is actually quite astonishing when you think about it, for we know that Absalom attempted to usurp the throne of his father David while he was still alive by stealing the hearts of the people of Israel and seeking to establish himself as king. Now we find his younger brother attempting to do the same thing during the final years and days of David king of Israel. What makes this truly captivating is when you consider—not only what had happened to his brother Absalom when he attempted to seize and lay hold of the throne of Israel, but also how David had decreed and proclaimed that Solomon would reign in his stead as king over Israel, and would sit upon the throne in his stead.

 

            If there is one thing I can’t help but think about and consider when reading these words it’s how Adonijah attempted to exalt himself as king over the nation of Israel, and yet while he did indeed and did in fact attempt to do so he would do so absent two distinct realities which were absolutely crucial to Solomon the son of Bath-sheba becoming king in the stead of David. Upon reading the first and opening chapter of the Old Testament book of First Kings you will find that Adonijah attempted to exalt himself as king over the nation of Israel and rule in the stead of his father David, and yet he would do so absent the heart, mind and will of the father, as well as being absent the anointing upon his life. As you read the words which are found within this portion of Scripture—not only will you find David commanding that Solomon ride upon his own mule and be proclaimed as king over the nation of Israel, but you will also find that Solomon was declared and proclaimed king according to the will, the heart, the mind and the purpose of the father. Adonjiah attempted to exalt himself as king over the nation of Israel based on his own will, his own purpose, his own heart and his own mind, and yet it would not be the heart or mind of his father and the king. Please do not miss and lose sight of this, for there is something truly awesome and powerful when you consider these words, as they bring us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding Solomon and how his entrance into the city of Jerusalem would not be with horses, chariots and horsemen as Adonijah was, but would instead by meek, humble and lowly riding upon David’s own mule. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it will help us to understand how Solomon would be made king—not according to his own aspirations or exaltation, but would be made king based on the will, the heart and the mind of the father.

 

            This reality concerning Solomon being proclaimed and established as king over the nation and kingdom of Israel according to the will, the heart and mind of the father and king of Israel must needs be understood—particularly and especially when we read of Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem. Jesus would indeed ascend up unto the city of Jerusalem riding upon a colt upon which never a man had ridden, and there is not a doubt in my mind that those which were present during those days perhaps thought back to the days of Solomon when David his father would have him enter into the city of Jerusalem meek and lowly riding upon his own mule. Solomon would not enter into Jerusalem riding on a white stallion, nor would he be accompanied by chariots, nor would he be accompanied by horsemen. Instead, Solomon would enter into the city of Jerusalem meek, humble and lowly according to the heart and mind of his father David. In all reality, I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with this, for not only would Solomon’s entrance into the city of Jerusalem be meek and lowly, but even his being ordained and appointed as king over the nation of Israel would have incredible implications and ramifications during those days. Oh it is truly interesting how after Solomon would enter into the city of Jerusalem he would be anointed by Zadok the priest with oil, thus securing him as the next king over the nation and kingdom of Israel. Even more than this we also find Solomon being made to sit upon David’s throne there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. We must needs recognize and pay close attention to this, for it calls and draws our attention to the reality surrounding Solomon’s being made king over the nation of Israel, for not only would he be made king according to the word, will and heart of the father, and not only would he be made king having been anointed with oil by the priest, but he would also be made to sit upon the throne of his father David the king of Israel in the midst of the city of Jerusalem.

 

            It is with all of this in mind I invite you to turn and direct your attention to the following passages of Scripture found in this same Old Testament book of First Kings, as well as the book of Second Chronicles. It is within each of these Old Testament books we find a powerful description concerning Solomon and the days of his reign as king over the nation of Israel. Having already been anointed with oil by Zadok the priest, and having already been made to sit upon the throne of his father David, we find Solomon ruling and reigning over the nation and kingdom of Israel upon the throne of his father David. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it not only helps us understand the expectation surrounding Jesus when He entered into the city of Jerusalem, but also that which was the desire, the heart, the mind and the intention of the people during those days. There is absolutely no doubt the people which were present during those days had a certain expectation and anticipation surrounding Jesus as He entered into the city of Jerusalem, and that Jesus would indeed and would in fact restore the kingdom unto Israel, and that He would cast off the oppression, the tyranny, the rule and the government of Rome and its occupation of Judaea, Jerusalem and Galilee. We have great need to recognize and understand this, for what we find during this final week of Jesus’ passion was anything but restoring the kingdom of Israel unto the people, and casting off the oppression and tyranny of Rome and its occupation during those days. It was indeed true Jesus would enter into the city of Jerusalem meek and lowly riding upon a donkey, and it is true that His doing so would fulfill the prophetic word spoken concerning Him, however, He would not enter into Jerusalem exalting Himself as king over the nation of Israel. Consider now the following words which are found in these two Old Testament books:

 

            “So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom. And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year. And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem. And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycamore trees that are in the vale, for abundance. And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price. And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so far all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means” (1 Kings 10:23-29).

 

            “And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year. And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. And he reigned over all the kings from the river even unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt. And the king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycamore trees that are in the low plains in abundance. And they brought unto Solomon horses out of Egypt, and out of all the lands” (2 Chronicles 9:22-28).

 

            SO KING SOLOMON EXCEEDED ALL THE KINGS OF THE EARTH FOR RICHES AND FOR WISDOM! ALL THE EARTH SOUGHT TO SOLOMON TO HEAR HIS WISDOM, WHICH GOD HAD PUT IN HIS HEART! AND KING SOLOMON PASSED ALL THE KINGS OF THE EARTH IN RICHES AND WISDOM! ALL THE KINGS OF THE EARTH SOUGHT THE PRESENCE OF SOLOMON, TO HEAR HIS WISDOM, THAT GOD HAD PUT IN HIS HEART! AND HE REIGNED OVER ALL THE KINGS FROM THE RIVER EVEN UNTO THE LAND OF THE PHILISTINES, AND TO THE BORDER OF EGYPT!

 

            It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found within these passages, for while in the first chapter of the Old Testament book of First Kings we find Solomon being made king over the nation of Israel according to the will and word of the father, as well as having been anointed with oil by the priest of the LORD, we find in these chapters a powerful picture of the extent of the reign, the dominion, the authority and the government which Solomon enjoyed, and which was bestowed upon him. Within these passages we find and discover how Solomon passed and exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom—and not only how he exceeded them in riches and wisdom, but also how all the kings of the earth submitted themselves and paid obeisance unto him. Scripture is very clear concerning Solomon the son of David and king of Israel, for it reveals how he reigned over all the kings of the earth, and how all the kings of the earth were submissive before and unto him. Oh how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about and consider it, for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding Solomon king of Israel, and how he was not only given reign and rule over the nation and people of Israel, but was also given a reign over the kings and nations of the earth. Pause for a moment and consider how Solomon was indeed made to rule and reign over the people of Israel, but how he was also made to rule and reign over all the nations and peoples of the earth round about Israel and Judah. How truly astonishing this reality truly is, for during the days of Solomon king of Israel the nation and people enjoyed and experienced a tremendous amount of peace and rest from their enemies, their adversaries, and from the nations and peoples round about. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for there is not a doubt in my mind that when Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem He would enter into it in a similar fashion as did Solomon the son of David when he rode upon David’s own mule.

 

            What makes these particular chapters within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke so incredibly powerful and unique when you consider them is how there would be a certain expectation surrounding the person of Jesus when He entered into the city of Jerusalem. Even His own disciples would ask Him during this week—and not only during this week, but also prior to His ascension unto the right hand of His Father who was in heaven—if He had come to restore the kingdom unto the nation and people of Israel. Undoubtedly there was a tremendous expectation and anticipation surrounding the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and that He would restore the kingdom unto the nation and people of Israel. This is quite remarkable when you take the time to think about it, for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely awesome and powerful truth surrounding Jesus’ time in Jerusalem, for not only would He cleanse the Temple of all its merchandise and commerce, but he would also directly confront the scribes, the chief priests, the elders of the people, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the whole religious system and community. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand concerning Jesus’ entrance and time in the city of Jerusalem it’s that not only would there be a cleansing of the Temple, but there would be a direct clash with the religious system and community during those days. What’s more, is that this opposition and animosity from the chief priests, the scribes, and the religious system would be manifested almost as soon as Jesus would enter into the city of Jerusalem, for they would murmur, grumble and complain unto Him because of what his disciples were speaking during those days. When and as Jesus was entering into the city of Jerusalem the religious system sought to silence the disciples of Jesus and the words which they would speak concerning Him, and yet Jesus would respond to them by emphatically declaring that if these held and kept their peace the rocks and the stones would immediately cry out in praise and adoration before and unto Him.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words found within these chapters in the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke and I can’t help but think about and consider how Jesus would enter into the city of Jerusalem, and yet instead of establishing a throne in the midst of the city whereby He might sit upon and reign as king over the people, He instead went into the Temple. I have previously written how the city of Jerusalem was not only the place of the throne of David, thus signifying and representing the dominion, the authority and the government of heaven upon the earth, but how it also represented the Temple of the LORD. It would be the Temple of the LORD that would indeed and would in fact represent the glory of the living and eternal God and His manifest presence in the midst of the earth. It’s truly interesting to think about the fact that one son of David would actually build the Temple during his days and generation, while the other Son of David would enter into the Temple teaching and cleansing it. Scripture makes it absolutely and perfectly clear that Jesus would not only enter into the Temple and bring cleansing to it, but Jesus would also enter into the Temple daily teaching within its courts. There is within this portion and passage of Scripture the emphatic declaration that the people would rise up early in the morning and journey unto the Temple of the LORD for to hear the gracious words which the Lord Jesus would teach and speak unto them. It would be during those days when there would be a great and palpable excitement surrounding the people of Judaea and Jerusalem, and how not only would they come unto the Temple for to hear and listen to Jesus speak and teach, but they also had a powerful sense of excitement, enthusiasm, anticipation and expectation within their hearts and souls.

 

            It’s truly interesting and worth noting that when Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem He did not enter riding on a white stallion accompanied by horses and chariots and followed by footmen and horsemen. When Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem He would enter meek and lowly riding on a colt upon which never a man had ridden. What makes this all the more intriguing when you consider it is that one of Jesus’ first actions during those days was not to establish and set up a throne upon which He would sit, but rather entering into the Temple to bring cleansing to it. Jesus would enter into the Temple and would not only overturn the tables of money, but Jesus would also drive out all the sheep, oxen, cattle, turtledoves, and everything that was bought and sold in the midst of it. Moreover, Jesus would also drive and cast out the money changers and those who were using the Temple—and not only the Temple, but also the sacrifices of God into a business that they might turn a profit unto themselves. Oh how incredible it is to think that during those days there were tax collectors who were essentially extensions of Rome who were oppressing the people by extorting moneys from them that they might not only pay Rome, but might also line their own pockets. There is not a doubt in my mind that so long as Rome received their portion and what it felt was due and owed to those in authority they cared absolutely nothing for the tax collectors and them lining their own pockets with moneys they obtained through false accusation. This is what makes the narrative of Zacchaeus so incredibly powerful, for here was a man who undoubtedly extorted those whom he exacted taxes and moneys from that he might line his own pockets and make himself rich. With this being said, it’s interesting that during those days—not only were their tax collectors who were extorting the people to line their own pockets, but there were also those present within the Temple of the LORD who were doing their own form of extortion as they would turn the sacrifice and offerings of the LORD into a business whereby they might line their own pockets. Oh how astonishing it is that Jesus would enter into the Temple of the LORD and would overturn the tables of money and drive out the money changers and those who bought and sold, and He would enter into the house of Zacchaeus who was a tax collector.

 

            I can’t help but see an incredibly powerful link and connection between Jesus entering into the house of Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector during those days, for it would be there in the house of this publican and chief tax collector that this man would both profess that he would give half of his goods unto the poor, and that he would restore fourfold unto any man whom he extorted by false accusation. It would be through Jesus’ entrance into the house of Zacchaeus that this chief tax collector would experience true transformation within his heart and life, for not only would he give to the poor, but he would also restore four-fold that which he had taken and laid hold of through false accusation. There is a wonderful link and connection between Jesus’ actions in the house of Zacchaeus, for He would essentially bring transformation within the city of Jericho by transforming the life of this chief tax collector. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering how Jesus would enter into the house of Zacchaeus and how Zacchaeus would experience transformation within his heart that would lead him to bring forth fruits meet and worthy of repentance. There is not a doubt in my mind that the city of Jericho experienced a true and powerful sense of transformation, restoration, redemption and reconciliation during those days, as this chief tax collector would begin distributing and ministering unto the poor, as well as restoring unto those whom he had wronged and trespassed against by false accusation. Now we have within the city of Jerusalem Jesus entering into a different house—the house of His Father—and driving out those who were oppressing people in matters of sacrifice and offerings. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that within a matter of a few chapters—not only do we find Jesus entering into the house and bringing salvation unto one who had previously extorted and oppressed the people in matters of taxes, but we also find Jesus entering into the Temple and bringing cleansing to those who would extort people in matters of sacrifice and offerings.

 

            This is truly something worth thinking about and considering, for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that Jesus would enter into the city of Jericho and would bring transformation to the city simply by choosing to enter into the house of a chief tax collector and bringing salvation, identity and redemption into that house. Not long after that Jesus would enter into the city of Jerusalem and would enter into a different house—the house of His Father which was in heaven. It would be there in the house of His Father Jesus would bring a wonderful and powerful sense of cleansing, for He would not overturn the oppression of Rome, but He would indeed overturn the oppression of those who bought and sold in the courts of the Temple. What makes this truly interesting is that Jesus never entered into the world to conquer Rome and to cast off the tranny and oppression of Rome over Judaea, Galilee, and Jerusalem. That which Jesus would do was come establishing a kingdom in the midst of the earth—one that would not be of this world and made with human hands, but one that would come down from heaven and be manifested in the hearts and lives of men. With this being said, it’s worth noting that although Jesus would not cast off the tyranny and oppression of Rome, He would call one tax collector to be a disciple who walked with and followed Him, and would bring salvation into the house of a chief tax collector. Levi who was also called and known as Matthew would leave the receipt of custom where he would have undoubtedly sat and collected taxes from the people that he might walk with and follow Jesus. Zacchaeus would be a chief tax collector in the city of Jericho, and after one encounter with Jesus he would not only vow to give half of his possessions and goods to the poor, but he would also restore four-fold unto those whom he had taken money from by and through false accusation.

 

            As I read the words which are found within these chapters I am absolutely captivated with the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ entered into the city of Jerusalem meek and lowly riding on a donkey upon which never a man had ridden, and His first act in the city would be entering into the Temple and bringing cleansing to it. What we must needs realize and understand concerning this action is that this act of cleansing was not only designed to restore the Temple of the LORD to its original intention as a house of prayer unto all nations, but it was also designed to deliver the people from the oppression of those who would extort money from them in matters pertaining to sacrifice and offerings. There is not a doubt in my mind that in the city of Jericho Jesus delivered the people from the oppression of Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector as this man would not only vow to give half of his goods to the poor, but would also restore four-fold that which he had taken from others by means of false accusation. There would be a further transformation that would take place in the city of Jerusalem—and specifically in the Temple of the LORD—as Jesus would enter into the Temple of the LORD and both overturn the tables of money, as well as drive out those who bought and sold in the court of the house of the LORD. There were those who were oppressing men and women in matters of sacrifice and offering, and it would be Jesus who would enter into the Temple and would completely and utterly drive out this oppression. It is indeed true that Jesus would enter into the Temple and would bring cleansing to it by driving out the money changers and overturning the tables of money, but it was also true that Jesus would bring deliverance by setting the people free from the oppression in matters of sacrifice and offerings. We would like to think that this was simply and solely about commerce and merchandise, and yet the truth of the matter is that it was about so much more than this—namely, Jesus delivering men and women from the oppression of those extort them of money in matters of sacrifice and offerings.

 

            It’s interesting and worth noting that Jesus would deliver men and women in the city of Jericho from the oppression of one who was a chief tax collector and extorted moneys from them through false accusation, and Jesus would deliver men and women in the city of Jerusalem from the oppression of those who were money changers and extorted moneys from men and women in matters of sacrifice and offerings. On the one hand we find oppression taking place in the form of lining the pockets of tax collectors that they might become rich, while on the other hand we find oppression taking place in the form of extorting moneys from those in matters of sacrifice and offerings. What’s more, is that each of these were undoubtedly at this time considered absolutely necessary and vital, for those living at that time needed to pay taxes unto Rome, and those living during these days would have sought to present their offerings and sacrifices before and unto the LORD in the Temple. IN MATTERS OF POLITICS AND RELIGION! Oh it is worth noting that during these days there were those who would oppress men and women in matters of politics and taxes, while there were others who would oppress them in matters of religion and worship. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for while Jesus didn’t come to restore the kingdom unto Israel, He did come to deliver men and women from the oppression of those who would extort them in matters of politics and religion. How incredibly powerful this truly is when you take the time to consider it, for it calls and draws our attention to the undeniable truth that Jesus entered into the city of Jericho and would deliver men and women from the oppression of a chief tax collector, and he would enter into the city of Jerusalem and would deliver men and women from the oppression of money changers.

 

            DELIVERANCE FROM TAX COLLECTORS! DELIVERANCE FROM MONEY CHANGERS! DELIVERANCE IN RELIGION AND DELIVERANCE IN POLITICS! If there is one thing I absolutely love when reading the words found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke it’s that Jesus didn’t merely come and deliver men and women in the city of Jericho from the oppression of a tax collector, but Jesus also came into the city of Jerusalem and delivered men and women from the oppression of money changers. We must not look at and view Jesus’ entrance into and actions in the Temple as solely being about bringing cleansing to it, for when He entered into the Temple and overturned the tables of money and drove out the money changers He was delivering men and women from Galilee, from Judaea, from Jerusalem, and quite possibly from surrounding lands, nations and peoples from the oppression of the money changers. Jesus would undoubtedly enter into the Temple of the LORD and exercise His authority in that place—not only seeking to restore the Temple as house of prayer for all nations, but also bringing deliverance unto those who would enter into the courts of the Temple. Oh you would not think that the Temple of the LORD would and even could be a place of oppression, however, when you read these words you will quickly discover that it was very much a place of oppression. I am sure there were some who thought absolutely nothing of coming unto the Temple with their bags and purses of money knowing that they would pay for and purchase their sacrifices, their gifts and their offerings, however, I would dare say there were a number of men and women who would come to the courts of the house of the LORD and would be oppressed by the money changers as they would extort from them money in matters of sacrifice and offering. There is not a doubt in my mind that there would indeed be those present in the midst of the courts of the LORD who would feel oppressed by the money changers as they would feel forced and pressured to pay money for gifts, sacrifice and offerings. What’s more, is that this reminds me of the actions of Eli’s two sons—Hophni and Phineas—and how they would oppress those who would come unto the house of the LORD there in Shiloh. Not only this, but they would also engage in sexual misconduct and fornication at the house of the LORD as they would sleep with the women who would come to worship the LORD. Consider if you will that which is written and recorded in the Old Testament book of First Samuel concerning these two sons of Belial:

 

            “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD. And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was still seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand; and he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither. Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw. And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force. Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:12-17).

 

            “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? For I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD’s people to transgress. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them” (1 Samuel 2:22-26).

 

            It is these two passages of Scripture that point to and reveal the tremendous transgression and iniquity of the two sons of Eli and how they not only oppressed the people in matters of sacrifice, but also how they oppressed the women by lying with them. I would dare say that if they oppressed the people by taking from the people by force, they also oppressed the women in lying with them by force. I would dare say that it would be there at the door of the tabernacle these two sons of Belial would force themselves upon many women who came unto the Tabernacle of the LORD for to worship the LORD, and in so doing committed great and grievous atrocities in the sight of the LORD. There is not a doubt in my mind that these two sons of Eli would oppress the people of Israel in matters of sacrifice, as well as oppressed the woman by lying with them forcefully, and perhaps even raping them. Now, while there is no such indication in the New Testament gospel narrative of Luke that the money changers oppressed women by lying with them forcefully, we can nonetheless understand and reason that they oppressed the people in matters of sacrifice and offering. Much like the two sons of Eli oppressed the people of Israel who came unto the Tabernacle there in Shiloh to worship the LORD, so also would the money changers oppress the people which came unto the house of the LORD to worship before the LORD with their gifts, their sacrifices and their offerings. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how incredibly challenging it truly is, for it reveals something absolutely wonderful about Jesus. Jesus would indeed enter into the city of Jerusalem meek and lowly riding upon a donkey upon which never a man had ridden, and He would indeed enter into the city of Jerusalem the same way Solomon the son of David had entered the city, and yet what we find Him doing is delivering the people of Judaea, Galilee, and Jerusalem from the oppression of the money changers. Jesus would enter into the Temple of the Lord and would be grieved and angered by what He saw, and as a direct result of this He would not only overturn the tables of money, but would also drive out the money changers with those who bought and sold.

 

            With all of this being said I find it worth noting and mentioning how the LORD Jesus Christ would enter into the city of Jerusalem and would enter into the Temple of the LORD to deliver men and women from the oppression of the money changers, as well as taught in the Temple seeking to deliver men and women from the oppression of the religious leaders and system of that day. You cannot read the gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth that during those days there were individuals from among themselves who were oppressing the people. We would like to focus all our attention and focus on the tyranny and oppression of Rome, and yet the truth of the matter is that there were individuals among themselves who were oppressing them. Not only this, but there were individuals from among themselves who oppressed them in matters of religion, as the people would have to contend with the money changers, the Pharisees, the chief priests, the teachers of the Law, the rulers of the synagogues, the elders of the people, the scribes, and the like. When the people entered into the Temple they had to deal with the oppression of the money changers, and when they walked in the city of Jerusalem they had to deal with the oppression of the religious elite during those days. This isn’t even taking into consideration the oppression that would take place at the hands of the tax collectors and those who exacted moneys from the people to line their own pockets, as well as to make Rome even more powerful and even greater. It is truly something worth thinking about and mentioning that Jesus would enter into the city of Jerusalem and would seek to deliver men and women from the oppression of the money changers who would extort them of money, as well as deliver them from the oppression of the religious elite who would oppress them and place heavy burdens upon their shoulders while seeking to prevent them from entering into the kingdom of heaven.

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the truth that when Jesus entered into the city, and when Jesus entered into the Temple of the LORD He not only sought to cleanse the Temple as many have suggested when they have preached about this passage, but He also sought to restore the house of God to its original design, intention and function. There are countless translations that have as the heading of these passages “Jesus Cleanses the Temple,” and yet I am convinced that Jesus did more than simply cleanse the Temple. Oh it might indeed be true that cleansing is the surface, outward and external manifestation of the actions of Jesus, however, in that process of cleansing He would do something far greater and far more powerful. It would be in this act of cleansing the Temple that Jesus would not only seek to restore the Temple and house of God to its original intention, but would also seek to deliver the people from the oppression of the money changers who would extort moneys from the people. There is not a doubt in my mind that when Jesus entered into the Temple He watched and witnessed as people were being extorted by the money changers. I find it truly wonderful and amazing that although Jesus didn’t come to deliver Israel from the oppression and tyranny of Rome, He did come and He would seek to deliver men and women in matters of religion and politics. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is, for it brings us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that Jesus would deliver men and women from the political system of tax collectors, while also delivering men and women from the religious system of money changers, as well as from the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people, the Pharisees and the like. It is absolutely remarkable to read how Jesus would indeed and would in fact bring deliverance unto those during His day—not only in the political realm in terms of the oppression of tax collectors, but also in the religious realm from the oppression of money changers and the religious system. How truly awesome it is to think about the fact that even though Jesus didn’t come to restore the kingdom unto Israel and deliver the people from the tyranny and oppression of Rome, He would come to establish a kingdom in the earth, and deliver men and women from the oppression of tax collectors, money changers, and the religious elite. This isn’t even to mention Jesus delivering men and women from the various infirmities, diseases, illnesses and sicknesses that was present within their physical bodies.

 

With all of this being said it is also worth noting and pointing out that in the twenty-first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke we find the physician providing us with the words Jesus spoke concerning the coming days—not only the coming days when Rome itself would invade Judaea and surround Jerusalem, as well as when the nations of the earth would experience the judgments and wrath of the living God. Perhaps the words I would like to leave you with when concluding this writing is a powerful invitation for us to live up our heads, for our redemption is drawing near. Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem and salvation, deliverance, redemption, forgiveness, mercy and grace were drawing near and preparing to be manifested in the midst of the earth, and when Jesus spoke of the Last Days and the events that would unfold during those days He instructed His disciples to lift up their heads, for their redemption was drawing near. Oh if there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading these words and considering the days in which we are living in it’s that despite everything that is going on around us our redemption is drawing near. Despite all the unrest, despite all the despair, despite all the turmoil, despite all the confusion, despite all the chaos that is taking place all around us, our redemption is indeed and is in fact drawing near. What’s more, is that we must hear and listen to the words which Jesus spoke during this time, for Jesus instructed His dsiciples to take heed to themselves, lest at any time their hearts became overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life. What’s more, is that Jesus would go on to declare that when we allow our hearts to be caught up with and overcharged by the cares of this life, drunkenness and surfeiting we numb ourselves to the day of the LORD which is quickly and speedily approaching. Not only this, but we also position ourselves in a place where that day can indeed catch us off guard and take us by surprise. Even more than this is the tremendous need we have to watch and to pray always—not only to be ready and prepared for that day when it comes, but also “that [we] may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. Oh that we would indeed be a people who would be watchful and prayerful that we might be ready and prepared when that day comes, and that we might be counted worthy to escape all the judgments destined to come upon the earth, and to stand before the Son of man in glory.

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