The Queen of the South Will Rise at the Judgment With This Generation and Condemn It

Matthew 12: 42-45

DIG: How do the Ninevites and the Queen of the South condemn the Messiah's generation? A person who is reformed but neglectful of Ha'Shem's presence is prey to even greater evil. How do Isra'el’s leaders exemplify this principle? How is the Son of Man greater than Jonah? Than Solomon? How might the Pharisees have interpreted this?

REFLECT: What more does Messiah want besides a heart swept clean and put in order? Have you filled the spiritual void in your life? How? When? What happens when we are left with our own best thinking? What long-term changes have you seen in your life since you have been plugged into the power of the Holy Spirit?

After hearing Christ’s words of rebuke and judgment for blaspheming the Holy Spirit, some of the Pharisees and Torah-teachers tried to retake the offensive by saying to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You” (Matthew 12:38). That they answered the Lord’s biting denunciation by asking Him a superficially respectful question indicated that they were biting their tongues, as it were, determined to give the impression of civility until the best time to attack Him.

Jesus categorically refused to grant them a sign, but directed them back to two incidents in the TaNaKh. The first incident is the account of the prophet Jonah who was raised from the dead after being swallowed by a whale (see my commentary on Jonah At – Jonah's Prayer). The second incident that Jesus referred to here is the concerns of Solomon. Jesus was greater than Jonah and greater than Solomon. The Queen of the South heard of Solomon and traveled from the ends of the earth to listen to his wisdom. And even though the Chief shepherd had come from heaven, but the Pharisees and Torah-teachers would not listen to Him.672

The Queen of ancient Sheba, the country of Sabeans, was often called the Queen of the South, because her country was in lower Arabia, some 1,200 miles to the southeast of Isra'el. The Sabeans were an extremely prosperous people, having earned their wealth from highly productive agriculture and from the lucrative Mediterranean to India trade routes that passed through their land. Nevertheless, the wealthy and well-known Queen of the South - who was a Gentile, a woman, a pagan, and an Arab – came to visit Solomon, the king of Isra'el, to learn about God’s wisdom from him and to pay him respect (First Kings 10:1-13).

To the people of ancient Palestine, the land of the South seemed to be at the ends of the earth. Joel speaks of it being a nation far away (Joel 3:8b), and Jeremiah referred to it as a distant land (Jeremiah 6:20a). Nonetheless, the Queen and her large entourage made the long and arduous trip across the Arabian Desert to hear the wisdom of Solomon, a man of God. She brought treasure upon treasure to the king, who was already wealthy beyond belief, as a statement of honor and gratitude for the godly wisdom he possessed.

Again, like with the sign of Jonah (see Eo – The Sign of the Prophet Jonah), Yeshua made a comparison to the rebellious Jews who rejected Him. It’s as if He were saying, “That pagan woman brought great treasures to Solomon and sat at his feet to learn from him. But now when I, something greater than Solomon, came here to you, preaching not only wisdom but also salvation from sin and the way of eternal life, you refuse to listen. Consequently, this Gentile woman will rise at the judgment (see my commentary on Revelation Fo – The Great White Throne Judgment) with this self-righteous generation and condemn it (Mattityahu 12:42). That pagan Queen did not have the Torah to guide her, nor did she actually even have an invitation, but she came of her own free will to learn the truth of ADONAI from Solomon. That generation rejected God’s own Son; thus, one day they will stand condemned even by the faith of the Gentile Ninevites and Sabeans.673

To show what their condition on earth would be if they persisted in unbelief, the Savior of Sinners compared them to a person who had found deliverance from a demon. When an evil spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it (Matthew 12:43). After he is delivered, he tried every conceivable natural means to clean up his life and put things in order. But mere “religion” is never enough because he lacked the supernatural power of the Ruach HaKodesh. But he thinks he’s cleaned up when the demon leaves him. Then what happens?

Then the evil spirit says, “I will return to the house I left.” Because there is a spiritual void there, Satan fills it. When the demon arrives, it finds the house unoccupied by any another evil spirit. The fact that the house was swept clean and put in order suggests that he really tried to put his spiritual life back on track. By the power of his own efforts he was temporarily free from that demon, but he did not fill that spiritual void with Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:44). Friend, without the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, you are spiritually incapable of effecting any lasting change. If you have a lamp in your house that’s not plugged in, it doesn’t matter what you do to the lamp - the light won’t come on. And it won’t come on until you put it into its power source. Well, the Ruach is our power source and without Him we are left to our own best thinking, which always comes up short.

Then the demon goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first (Matthew 12:45a). That is how it will be with this wicked generation (Matthew 12:45b). The point of this story is that this is how it will be with that wicked generation. Their light started with the preaching of John the Baptist to prepare them for the Messiah. In that way the nation was swept clean and put in order. But they will end up worse than before. They had to pay tribute to Rome, but at least Rome allowed them to keep their national identity. Jerusalem was standing, the Temple was functioning and they had a semi-autonomous government with the Sanhedrin. But by 70 AD they had no nation, no Temple, about a million had been crucified and they had scattered throughout the nations of the world. The end result was that they were worse off than before.

In 1915 Pastor William Barton started to publish a series articles. Using the archaic language of an ancient storyteller, he wrote his parables under the pen name of Safed the Sage. And for the next fifteen years he shared the wisdom of Safed and his enduring spouse Keturah. It was a genre he enjoyed. By the early 1920s, Safed was said to have a following of at least three million. Turning an ordinary event into an illustration of a spiritual truth was always a keynote of Barton’s ministry.

Now it was The First Day of the Week, and I arose and washed myself and attired myself in Clean Raiment, and went to the House of God. And it came to pass that I sought in the Middle Drawer and I found therein a Clean Shirt that had been sent home from the Laundry. And the bosom thereof shone like polished Alabaster; and the Starch therein was so stiff that one might scarcely open the Buttonholes with a Screwdriver.

And before I could put it on I pulled out Various Pins that the Laundry had placed therein, and there were many Pins in the Shirt.

After I had pulled out Pins enough to hold the Solar System in place, I put the shirt on.

But I had overlooked One Pin.

And I went to Church, and I sat down; and I found that there remained a Pin in the Garment from which I had drawn so many Pins.

And I changed my Position so that the Pin no longer hurt me, and I forgot about it for a reason. But when we had risen to Praise the Lord in Song, and had sat down again, behold the Pin hurt me again, and in quite another portion of mine Anatomy.

And later I found it still Elsewhere.

And when I had returned to my house I removed my Garments and I sought for the Pin and found it, and removed it; and it hurt me no more.

And I said to my soul, Take not overmuch Comfort in the faults thou hast removed; neither be thou self-righteous. Behold, while one Pin remaineth in the Shirt, did not it hurt thee in Twenty Places? Even so is one fault, which thou removest not. Therefore let no one cherish pride until they be perfect; and if the time come when they count themselves perfect, lo this belief is the one remaining Pin. Yea, and it is long like a Hatpin of self-righteousness; and see thou forget not to remove the Pins that remain.674

 

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