Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #11 of Genesis, chapter 9 and we are going to read Genesis 9:20:
And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
In our last study, we looked at the word “husbandman” and we saw that it is a word that identifies with God. We are told in John 15:1:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
We also saw in James, chapter 5 that God likens Himself to a husbandman that waited for the early and Latter Rain and until that was accomplished, He had long patience. He would not pour out His wrath and we saw how it relates to God’s salvation program of “times and seasons” until the coming of the Lord on Judgment Day. The Lord came in judgment on May 21, 2011 at the end of the Great Tribulation, which also means it was the end of the Latter Rain. Until the Husbandman received the early and latter rains, He was longsuffering and patient.
God explained the reason for this, in 2Peter 3:15:
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…
This tells us that as long as God’s salvation program was in effect, the Lord would be patient while the elect were being saved as the “precious fruit of the earth” throughout the church age; then came the grand climax of the great multitude during the second part of the Great Tribulation period. The Latter Rain had completed its task by May 21, 2011 and at that point the patience of God ran out. His longsuffering posture toward the inhabitants of the earth ended and He began to punish the wicked of the earth.
This is all in view with Noah becoming a husbandman. It goes on to tell us in verse 20 that he planted a vineyard. This also relates to the seasons of rain, but God does use the figure of a vineyard in a very interesting way regarding corporate entities that represent His kingdom to the people of the world. The first official corporate body that represented the kingdom of God was national Israel. When God finished with national Israel at the time Christ went to the cross and the veil of the temple was rent in twain. God immediately established a new relationship with another corporate entity, the New Testament churches and congregations and they became the outward representation of the kingdom of God on earth. When people looked at the church they were seeing the representatives of God’s kingdom. The churches had the Bible and that is where people could go to learn about God and even to become saved, if it was God’s good pleasure to save them. There was strong identification of the churches with God and the kingdom of heaven and this continued until the year 1988AD. Then God ended the church age.
So, these two corporate bodies had outward identification with the kingdom of God. They were a visible and external representation, but we have to make a distinction between the corporate church seen on street corners and the eternal and invisible church comprised only of God’ elect. The invisible church is made up of all those that have truly become saved and God also refers to these as “Jerusalem above.” The external church was comprised of both saved and unsaved (wheat and tares) individuals for the 1,955 years of its existence until the end of the church age. Then God commanded His people to come out, leaving only the unsaved or tares to populate the world’s churches and that is where we find ourselves today. Both are typified by vineyards. It says in Matthew 21:33-34:
Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen…
By the way, we can look at these “husbandmen” (plural) in the same way we look at pastors as shepherds and, yet, we know there is the Good Shepherd. We can look at the husbandman (singular) as God and there were the husbandmen (plural) that were the caretakers or ministers of the Gospel on earth. Again, it says in Matthew 21:34-41:
And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
We know, without question, that this vineyard pictures national Israel because they were the ones that slew the Son. They turned over the Lord Jesus Christ to the Romans to be crucified. We also know that God rent the veil of the temple and miserably destroyed those wicked husbandmen after they killed His Son, but God did not destroy the vineyard. The vineyard continued to operate and it was turned over to “other husbandmen,” as it says in verse 41. God let out his vineyard to other husbandmen that would render Him the fruits in their seasons. There was another season to come and that was the season of the firstfruits when the “early rain” would fall during the church age. The vineyard was given to the new Testament churches and it would be their turn to bring forth fruit. So, we see that the first vineyard was national Israel.
The second vineyard is found in the Isaiah, chapter 5 where God tells us of the vineyard of the New Testament churches and what will happen to the vineyard that was let out to other husbandmen after the Son was slain. It is in keeping with the way God has written the Bible, as God has hidden truth in His Word and that is why the Bible is likened to a parable: “And without a parable, he did not speak.” A parable serves to hide truth and all Scriptures hides truth, in one way or another. It can be a directly spoken parable like Christ would speak or in seemingly simple statements like John 3, verse 16, “For God so loved the world…” Many people think they understand that seemingly plain statement, but they end up far from truth that leads to “another gospel.” But in all Scripture, God has hidden truth and that is why the Bible says, “Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.” One way God has camouflaged things and made it difficult for people to understand which vineyard He is speaking about is to reverse the order in which He speaks of them in both the Old and New Testament. For instance, in the Book of Isaiah we would expect to read about the vineyard of national Israel and in the New Testament Book of Matthew we would expect to read about the vineyard of the New Testament church and, yet, they are reversed. In Matthew, we read about national Israel. They slew the Son, so it cannot be anyone but Israel. The vineyard was turned over to other husbandmen, which would only fit the transition to the New Testament churches. In Isaiah, chapter 5 we read of a vineyard that is describing the New Testament churches and congregations. The Book of Isaiah has much to say about the New Testament, like it does in Isaiah, chapter 58 where God tells us about His holy day, the Sabbath, and it has application to the Sunday Sabbath. It says of the vineyard that is the New Testament church, in Isaiah 5:1-6:
Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved 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 he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O 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.
The early rain fell upon the vineyard of the New Testament corporate church throughout the church age, but then came the Great Tribulation when judgment began at the house of God and for 2,300 evening mornings there was a famine of rain. Then in September 1994 the Latter Rain began, but it fell only outside the churches and not a single drop fell within any congregation anywhere in the world. God said, “I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.” Again, the clouds are related to the commandments of God, as we saw in Numbers, chapter 9. It is God’s holy Word, the Bible, that brought the rain. The churches and congregations had Bibles in their pulpits and in their pews, but God commanded the cloud not to produce rain. The Latter Rain would not come into the Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Catholic, Baptist churches or any other corporate church because God came to visit them and He found their sinful condition and brought judgment against them. There are a lot of other Scriptures that tell us what took place when God came to visit them – He gave them space to repent of their high places, but they repented not. We read in Revelation, chapter 2 that God cast them into a bed of great tribulation.
This is what this passage in Isaiah 5 is speaking of when it indicates that the vineyard would lose its hedge of protection and it would lose its wall (salvation) and it would be trodden under foot by the enemies of God for forty-two months, which represents the duration of the Great Tribulation period of 23 years. There would be no rain of any kind within the congregations and there was no salvation taking place from May 21, 1988 all the way through May 21, 2011. During the last 6,100 days of the Great Tribulation God was saving mightily outside of the churches. He saved the great multitude that no man could number, but He did not save a single soul within the churches. That was a big reason God had commanded His people to depart out of the midst and flee to the mountains. The child of God obeyed and they brought out their families because it was only outside the churches that the rain was falling. On May 21, 2011, what had been true regarding no rain in the congregations became true for the entire world. The Latter Rain was complete on that date and God had no further period of rain in His salvation program. We can see this in Joel 2:23:
Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in JEHOVAH your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately….
The word “moderately” is the word “righteously,” and that is speaking of the rain of the Old Testament that produced the fruit of Christ as He entered in to the world and fulfilled the Father’s will in going to the cross to provide a demonstration of the atoning work He had done from the foundation of the world. Then it goes on to say in Joel 2:23:
… and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
The former rain is the “early rain” and it is the rain that fell during the church age. Then came the Latter Rain during the last part of the Great Tribulation. We read of the former, righteous rain, the early rain and the Latter Rain. Again, the Latter Rain ends the periods of rain and there are no further periods of rain. The Latter Rain identifies with the Great Tribulation, which was locked in to that exact 23-year period or exactly 8,400 days. Now we are living in those days (plural) after that tribulation and we are now in the Day of Judgment when there are no more rains. The spiritual condition that was upon the New Testament churches throughout the 23-year Great Tribulation now applies to the entire world.
Going back to Isaiah, chapter 5, it says in Isaiah 5:6-7:
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 JEHOVAH of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
Here, we read that the vineyard is not an actual vineyard, but it is the “men of Judah,” or the house of Israel and the house of Israel is made up of people. God’s vineyard is comprised of people, corporately. We know the corporate church is in view in Isaiah, chapter 5 for two main reasons: 1) the husbandmen that operated this vineyard did not slay the Son; and 2) this vineyard was not turned over to another entity. The reason is that God would no longer deal with corporate bodies. God did organize and have a relationship with national Israel and God did organize and have a relationship with the New Testament churches until the end of the church age. But the church age came to an end when God took away their hedge and broke down their walls. They were trodden under foot and they had no rain. All this language refers only to the New Testament churches and not to national Israel. This final vineyard is destroyed and ceases to function and God began to work with individuals after the church age ended. He worked with individuals outside of the churches. The Gospel came via the electronic medium and people heard it on radio in their cars and homes and on the internet. They were reached with the Word of God. They were told not to go to the outward corporate church bodies any longer.
God is done with the churches and we are never to return. If some were to go back to the New Testament churches today, they may as well go back to the first corporate body, the Jewish synagogue system. Someone might say, “Well, why would I do that? God is finished with the Jewish synagogues.” Likewise, God is finished with the New Testament churches, so why would anyone want to go back to the churches? When God ends a corporate relationship, like He did with Israel of old, He never returns. And now He is done with the New Testament churches of the world and He will never return. They are no longer His representatives. They are no more His representative than the rabbi at a synagogue. The pastor, priest, elder or deacon are also no longer God’s representatives. It says in Ezekiel 34:1-2:
And the word of JEHOVAH came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord JEHOVAH unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
That was their responsibility, but they failed. Therefore, God says in Ezekiel 34:9-10:
Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of JEHOVAH; Thus saith the Lord JEHOVAH; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
Do you see how God has caused them to cease from feeding the flock? Maybe some people get confused because the people in the churches and their pastors are using the Bible and they talk about Jesus and they turn to this Bible verse and that Bible verse, but we should not be confused about this one thing: they are going contrary to the Word of God by operating as a church. God has ended His relationship with the churches and they are no longer His representatives. They no longer have a commission to feed the flock. They are operating under their own thinking and they no more represent the kingdom of God than the Buddhists or Muslims do. The New Testament church age is over and the churches are finished. God’s people are to have nothing to do with them or with any other organized religious system, whether it be the synagogue system or any churches. We may gather together independently, without any overseeing authority. We can have fellowship with one another as we worship God individually. God deals with us one-to-one outside of the churches, but we are no longer to be affiliated with a corporate entity.