Prophetic Polarities: Hot, Cold, and Lukewarm Part III
rophetic Polarities has been probing the Spiritual phenomena of opposite impulses, with the middle ground between good and evil equivocated with the legendary lukewarm in Christ’s divine allegory:
“…thou art neither cold nor hot: I would [prefer] thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15, 16).
Most believers see this as evidence the LORD wants to encourage fervency in the faith, but this view degrades the admonition, and reduces it to a call foremotional intensity – the very part of our existence which works against us. In fact, the hot, cold, or lukewarm paradigm actually points us to the Spiritualhybrid, described as “lukewarm,” and the vehement response of the LORD indicates that middle ground is the deadliest of threats to each and every one of us.
In this series, I’ve sought to show the prophetic metaphor this analogy contains is consistent throughout the Word of God, in that the pathway from Life to Death (or hot to cold), is the mingling of the two. As most tend to perceive the concept of lukewarm in a liquid context (such as the idea that one’s hot coffee has cooled off and become lukewarm), I find it instructive to note that hot or cold can also be characterized, at least in the physical realm, as air (as opposed to liquid). For instance, most know that when cold air comes downfrom the North, and hot air comes up from the South, the resulting collision frequently generates a violent storm – hardly the picture of a tepid refreshment.
Whether it’s one of those massive tropical depressions that develops into the awesome phenomena we know as a hurricane, or the more focused and localized version seen in a tornado, the sheer power involved is a sight to behold. Thus, we would all do well to replace the image of a lukewarm cup of soothing tea, with the terrifying destructive power of a category 5 superstorm –the direct result of blending hot and cold.
The communicative imagery embodied in a Spiritual “hot” is found in the very beginning of Christ’s excursion into flesh and blood existence, as His prophet John declared:
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matthew 3:11).
Since fire is the epitome of the metaphoric heat, this profound prediction even illustrates the transition from the physical (the water of John), to the celestial (the Spiritual fire which Jesus distributes), as it is self evident the LORD strictly forbade anyone in Israel to physically pass through any incendiary offerings.
“There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination…” (Deuteronomy 18:10).
Unfortunately, Israel consistently disobeyed such imperatives, and turned away from the LORD. In fact, as the special object of the LORD’s long promised salvation, Israel lost their way long before God intervened through the entrance of His Son:
“My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth” (Ezekiel 34:6).
“I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).
It’s also useful to recognize the Gentiles were even more lost than Israel, as they were not chosen by the Lord under the Old Covenant. They were symbolically identified as the child who was not chosen, and described as “vessels of wrath,” which were scheduled for destruction:
“…she conceived, and bare a son. Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God” (Hosea 1:8, 9).
The Gentiles were always part of the Prophetic Polarities, as they existed in contrast to Israel, who was chosen, even as they were not.
“What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory” (Romans 9:22, 23).
The Gentiles (meaning “nations”), are allegorically identified with Death, as they are symbolically seen as separated from God, inhabited by Spiritual darkness, and function as an instrument of physical destruction:
“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….” (Luke 21:24).
“…they shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him” (Matthew 20:19).
Conversely, Israel is allegorized as those who were chosen by God to fulfill the role of kings and priests, through a relationship with Him, in the realm of the Spirit:
“You only have I known of all the families of the earth…and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Amos 3:2, Genesis 12:3).
God elected Israel to be His chosen vessel to the nations [the Gentiles in the text], and to shine His righteousness to the world:
“And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame…I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles” (Isaiah 10:17, 42:6).
But Israel turned away from their election as the chosen of the LORD, became entangled in the ways of the Gentile world, and served other gods; so He sent His Son to rekindle the flame, and to reconfigure the house of Israel into a Spiritual entity. This was allegorized in one of the parables concerning the Fig Tree, clearly a symbol of the LORD’s chosen. In this little understood tale, the owner of the tree, who had been seeking fruit from the tree for a lengthy period, finds his longsuffering patience has come to an end, as he becomes convinced Israel, as a racial entity, will never fulfill their role as His emissary to the nations.
“Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down” (Luke 13:7).
However, the “dresser” of the “vineyard” (clearly an allusion to Jesus Christ), intercedes on behalf of Israel, and says to the Father, please allow me to work with the “Fig Tree” for just one more season, and I will give it new life (read resurrect the “tree”). Then, if it bears fruit, it can continue; but if not, you can still cut it down.
“Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down” (Luke 13:8, 9).
It’s important to recognize this effort to revitalize the “Fig Tree” is because the LORD has decreed that Israel is to be the light to the nations, and that “light”must emanate out of Israel, through what Isaiah termed “the holy one of Israel” (Isaiah 47:4). That righteous Saviour, who is God Himself, is likened to “a flame” (Isaiah 10:7) – a flame which will “baptize” Israel with “fire” (Matthew 3:11).
God, who is the “hot” in Christ’s analogy, has purposed to redeem the Gentiles, who are the “cold,” and He has chosen Israel to be the vessel of his mediation. However physical Israel, which is clearly the “lukewarm,” lacked the “fire” of God, which is delivered by JESUS CHRIST. Thus, those who reject Christ,cannot mediate between hot and cold, as He is the “flame,” which they lack.
In this divinely ordained paradigm, there cannot be a “Church” apart from Israel,as the LORD has already decreed the body which contains His glory, must be Israel. Therefore I rejoice, as a former Gentile, for the work of the “dresser” of the Fig Tree, reconfigured Israel into a Spiritually defined body (the “hot”), even though the physical Fig Tree (the “lukewarm”) was subsequently cut down in 70 AD – at the hands of the Gentiles (the “cold”).
“There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard…and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. And when the time of the fruit drew near [the Father seeking the “fruit” of the Fig Tree], he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive [the light which was to shine to the Gentiles]. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.”
“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” (Matthew 21:33-35, 37, 38).
As “the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35), and God has decreed thatIsrael is “a light to lighten the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32), there can be no entity known as the “Church,” which replaces Israel, nor can any “Church” rotate for pre-eminence with Israel, during a supposed “dispensation.” The simple truth is,the body of Christ is born again Israel. Thus, we find the Apostle Paul, in a point blank statement to the Jews who rejected Christ, clearly stating the prophecy of Israel as the light to the nations, was fulfilled by the Christians – Spiritual Israel.
“Then Paul and Barnabus waxed bold, and said…seeing ye judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:46, 47).
– James Lloyd