|The Good Samaritan ....||Bob Moore|
According to Origen Proverbs 22:21 originally said, "And do thou portray them [the scriptures] in a threefold manner." The three manners he referred to are the historical application, the spiritual application, and the prophetic one. Each issue of Pilgrims Promise will discuss the prophetic meaning of one of the episodes in the Bible. This issue examines the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Jesus answered the question, "Who is my neighbor?" with the following parable. "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 'And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee" (Luke 10:30-35). The parable of the Good Samaritan not only illustrates the general benefits of Christian brotherhood, but it prophesies the recovery of Israel.
Jericho was an ancient Canaanite city, filled with idolatry and pagan perversion. It was the first city Joshua conquered when he led the Hebrews into the promised land. Afterwards, he pronounced a curse on anyone rebuilding it (Joshua 6:26-27). God wanted to protect His people from any possible corruption by the false religion, so He also demanded that every possession in Jericho be either consecrated to His treasury or destroyed. Achan, who found and hid some gold and silver along with a garment, was executed for disobeying the commandment (Joshua 7 :25) Achan was a descendant of Zerah, son of Judah. Generations later, Heil from Bethel, a city in Ephraim and the site of the first capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, rebuilt Jericho, losing both his eldest and youngest sons as a result (1 Kings 16:34). Despite God's warnings the northern kingdom eventually embraced the same idolatry observed in Jericho.
When Jesus spoke of a man leaving Jerusalem to go to Jericho, he could have been referring to Israelites who spiritually abandoned Jerusalem to embrace the religion practiced in ancient Jericho. Jeroboam, the leader of the Israelite rebellion, deliberately placed two golden calves in Israel, one in Dan and the other in Bethel, so his subjects could sacrifice without going to the temple in Jerusalem each year as the Mosaic law required. Because the northern kingdom chose to worship idols instead of God, they were defeated by the Assyrians. Their land was pillaged and their possessions stolen. Many of them died and hosts were wounded. Like the man in the parable, they had fallen among thieves who stripped them not only of their temporal possessions, but the raiment of God's glory, and left them wounded, Israel was exiled to the land from which the ancestors of the Samaritan named in the parable originally came. There they suffered further defeat and humiliation. The root cause of their tribulation was their affection for the false religion. Under its yoke they were led toward death.
The salvation of all sinners, including the exiled tribes of Israel, lies in Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God. He came to the Jews among whom were the priests and Levites, but they rejected him. Although possessing the means for the salvation of the world, they refused to embrace it, let alone minister it to a dying world, Both the priest and the Levite passed by their wounded brother who lay near death. They were unwilling to meet his needs not only because they had no compassion for him, but because they had refused the means to rejuvenate him.
While the Jews as a people rejected Jesus as their Savior, the Gentiles received him. When they did, they obtained power to minister the gospel of salvation to anyone believing the message. Those once dying in sin were born again, regenerated by the power of the Holy Ghost and cleansed by the blood of Christ. Among those the Gentiles called to Christ were descendants of the exiled Israelites. Just as the Samaritan poured oil and wine on the wounds of the Hebrew, the Gentiles poured the Holy Ghost and the blood of the Savior on wounded Israel.
Many invading barbarians who ransacked Rome after its glory were predominately Israelite clans. Because of the message taught them by the church, they not only believed the gospel, but they were incorporated within the nations of Europe. Like the Samaritan who lifted the wounded man upon his beast, the Gentiles lifted the Israelites with their nations and led them to hospitable locations. The remnant of Roman authority, particularly within the church, sheltered them in lands that had been sparsely populated. With their substance they nursed Israel's wounds so they could renew their strength. In so doing they proved themselves better neighbors than Israel's brethren, the Jews.
As the dispersed of Israel recovered their strength, God prospered the nations in which they were housed. Britain gradually became a world power. Britain not only contained descendants of Ephraim, the tribe from which Heil, the re-builder of Jericho, came, but it housed descendants of Zerah, the clan to which Achan was attached. Both Achan and Heil had been wounded by their transgressions at Jericho. The Israelite descendants they represented had been nourished and strengthened by Gentiles represented by the good Samaritan until they were ready to build up the kingdom of God.
Because the Gentiles received their Savior, they will be numbered in the kingdom of God. Because they also ministered the gospel to a remnant of Israel, they will share citizenship in the kingdom promised the descendants of Jacob. While that kingdom eternally abides in the presence of the Father so that the faithful can enjoy eternal life in His presence, it will tangibly appear on earth before Jesus returns. The Savior taught his disciples to pray, "Thy kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10). Both Israelites and Gentiles will join in building it up. These two groups have united in America, a land once publicly dedicated to the furtherance of the kingdom of God. They have inherited the purpose the pilgrims had in coming to America, one of which was to become "as a City upon a Hill." With God's help they will eventually see the establishment of that holy city; for He, who can join and preserve them throughout the centuries, will also complete His purposes in them.