THE AXE IS LAID UNTO THE ROOT OF THE TREES

It is commonly thought within Christian Zionism that the Jewish people, as a whole, missed the first coming of the Lord. Therefore, they are excused, and they will seek him and turn to Him just prior to His second coming. There are variations in that view but that’s the gist.

This ideology is foreign to the New Testament.

Notice what the angel Gabriel had to say concerning John the Baptist.

And MANY OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him IN THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIAS, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; TO MAKE READY A PEOPLE PREPARED FOR THE LORD (Luke 1:15-17).

John warned those who did not repent and follow Jesus that they would be cut off as the people of God.

And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also THE AXE IS LAID UNTO THE ROOT OF THE TREES: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and CAST INTO THE FIRE. 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 3:9-11).

The baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire is not a reference to the same blessing, but rather, a contrast between blessing and judgment. Those who would repent would receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Those who would not repent, would receive the baptism of fire, which is God’s wrath.

In the very next verse, after the baptism of fire is mentioned, John says, “Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but HE WILL BURN UP THE CHAFF WITH UNQUENCHABLE FIRE (Matthew 3:12).

Now consider these words in view of Malachi 4

For, behold, THE DAY COMETH, that shall BURN AS AN OVEN ; and all THE PROUD yea, and ALL THAT DO WICKEDLY, shall be STUBBLE: and THE DAY COMETH THAT SHALL BURN THEM UP, saith the LORD of hosts, that IT SHALL LEAVE THEM NEITHER ROOT NOT BRANCH. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb *** FOR ALL ISRAEL,*** with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you ELIJAH THE PROPHET before the coming of THE GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse (Malachi 4:1-6).

These words were spoken to the people of national Israel and not to the Gentiles.

God sent John the Baptist to prepare a people for the Lord from among the nation of Israel. Those who believed and repented were established as God’s people and for them “the Sun of righteousness arose with healing in his wings.” Those who refused to repent were hewed down, for God left neither, root nor branch, of the wicked within Israel. He cut them all off. Only the remnant who repented continued as the people of the Lord.

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