“Now will I sing to my well beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and also looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, 0 inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of lsrael, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant, and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.”

┬áHaving described the Lord’s use of the fig tree to symbolize Israel nationally, we now turn to the Lord’s use of the grapevine to symbolize Israel spiritually. In the above Scriptures the Lord described how He planted a vineyard in a fruitful hill, protected it, cultivated it, planted the choicest vine, made preparation for the harvest, but it brought forth only wild grapes. This is a picture of the Lord’s call to Abraham when He made these seven promises to him:

1) I will make of thee a great nation.

2) I will bless thee.

3) I will make thy name great.

4) Thou shalt be a blessing.

5) I will bless them that bless thee.

6) I will curse him that curseth thee.

7) In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

┬áThe Lord’s choicest protection rested upon Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In Egypt, under Jehovah’s watchful care, Israel grew to be a powerful nation. After the exodus, under the Lord’s personal supervision, direction, and leadership, He gave them laws to govern every human relationship. He gave them the tabernacle and temple services, with every detail described for their worship of Him. Unto them the Lord gave the tabernacle and temple for the place of worship. He adopted them as His own, and called Israel His firstborn son. The Lord blessed them with His personal presence in the Shekinah glory; all the promises of earthly glory and blessing He gave to them. He gave unto Israel the oracles of God, and He chose Israel after the flesh to be the people from whom Christ should come. “WHAT MORE COULD I HAVE DONE?” said the Lord. Then when He looked for grapes Israel brought forth wild grapes.

Because of Israel’s failure to be a spiritual blessing to the people of the world, God said He would withdraw His protective care from her. He said He would scatter her to the ends of the earth and let her lie waste. Through the centuries the fulfillment of the prophecies relative to Israel’s scattering and suffering have been fulfilled in the minutest detail. In Isaiah 5:8-30, God pronounced six woes upon Israel because of six very manifest sins: (1) Because of her selfish covetousness, desolation throughout the land would prevail, vv. 8-10; (2) because of her joyous revelry and consequent disregard for the service of the Lord, they would go into captivity in deepest humiliation, vv. 11-17; (3) because of her servitude to iniquity, vv. 18-19, and (4) because they called evil good and good evil, v. 20, and (5) because of self-complacent conceit, v. 21, and (6) because of drunken exhilaration and merriment, vv. 22, 23, the Lord’s anger would be kindled; His hand would be stretched out against them; the nations from afar would dispossess them and give them captivity and suffering unparalleled.

However, we have a prophecy in John 2:1-10 which promises that the wine at the end of the wedding feast will be better than that which was served at the beginning; or, that in the days of Israel’s restoration her joy and blessing will be greater than ever in days gone by. Now here is one lesson for us Gentiles: In Romans 11:21, we learn that the Gentiles will fare no better than Israel, and we will do well to mark the six sins designated above lest we ourselves should fall short in exactly the same way.

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