Author Archives: agapegeek
(ver 1.0) This is now Part 4 in the series of advanced spiritual Bible study lessons on Understanding the Old Testament Book of Job. I have not taught on this subject in a very long time but I received a question that needed to be answered. I believed that there are many that can benefit from this response and I hope that you will receive this message with an open heart and mind. If you have not read the entire series of lessons from the beginning then I would highly recommend that you go back and start with Part 1 since I cannot repeat everything about a subject in every lesson. I have covered a lot of new information in this series that is often ignored or overlooked when studying the Book of Job. Too often Christians study a book, chapter or even a verse of the Old Testament without any consideration for the commentary, definitions and explanations of God given to us in the New Testament and that is a tremendous mistake. God in the New Testament revealed so many hidden concepts and these new revelations will shed a significant amount of light upon the story of Job but only if we understand how they fit into these Old Testament descriptions. For example in one of my last Bible lesson I taught on the subject of Biblical Typology. Typology is such a deep subject that it sometimes goes way beyond the comprehension of many Christians. But, today I believe that I will introduce you to Job as being an Old Testament type for us in the church to learn from. Let’s allow the Spirit of God to teach us through His Word about what the Bible means. This principle of using the Bible to interpret and understand the Bible is what I have been trying to teach people to do in almost every Old Testament Bible study that I have ever published. I hope that many are at least beginning to familiarize themself with how this is achieved and then they will be able to incorporate these ideas into how to study the Bible.
The question that I received about Job was concerning if Job ever possessed any faith in God. Faith is a central theme subject dominating the entire New Testament. But was faith ever a factor for the people of the Old Testament like Job? We know from reading in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is absolutely impossible to even try to please God. We also know from reading in Malachi 3:6 that the Lord God does not vary or change in any way at any time. Therefore we know that if the Lord required faith in the New Testament then the same requirement is necessary in the Old Testament in order to be pleasing to Him or Malachi 3:6 would become a lie. We should be able to recognize from reading in the first chapter of Job that it appears that God is very pleased with His man named Job. In fact if you read verse 8 God declares to Satan that there is no other man like His servant Job on the earth. Therefore, we must conclude that God was very well pleased with Job in chapter 1 and that this means that Job had to have had a measure of faith in God that was pleasing to Him. This is just basic logic established upon reading the New Testament and asking the right questions and then finding the right answers. We have just established a basis for Job’s faith and now in the rest of the lesson we will confirm this reality using other Bible verses found in the Old and New Testaments.
If Job possessed faith this raises the valid new question of how Job could he have fallen into fear, speaking wrong words having no inner peace simultaneously with having this unstated faith that pleased God in chapter 1? If you understand much about the concepts of faith there appears to be a major contradiction between all of these concepts being present within anyone at the same time. That was actually a very wise and excellent question to ask about Job by the commenter. The person that asked this question if Job had any faith certainly understood a lot about the subject of faith and the partners of faith that must be found present in order to be pleasing to God. We will now attempt to explore this new subject of Job’s faith by using more of the New Testament to help us understand what God says about Job and this subject of faith. We will also verify the fact that this faith existed using the Old Testament descriptions found in the book of Job and in other verses where Job is mentioned. Are you ready to learn some more new things about the mysterious story of Job? I will warn you at the beginning that this will be a long lesson on Job and the subject of faith.
DID JOB HAVE FAITH?
We still need to confirm the fact that Job had unstated faith in the Old Testament. But, it might also help us if we begin to realize that the book of Job represents only a short film clip of his entire life movie. Did you understand what I just said? Have you ever considered or studied the implied timing and duration of this short Job story event written down for us by God? Job is reported to be a very mature man that has already had 10 mature children by the time the story begins in chapter 1. How long of time does it normally take to have 10 children and allow them to mature? How old would Job be after this has occurred? We are not technically told but Job could have been at least 25 to 30 years old before he got married and ever started having any children with his wife. It then could have taken up to 20 years to have given birth to these 10 children. If all of Job’s children were now grown the duration of time for the youngest to grow up might have been at least another 20+ years from the time of their birth. All of this would mean that Job could be at least 70 to 80 years old minimum in the beginning of chapter 1. This could make his oldest son close to 40 years old and his youngest son around 20 years old. The first seventy to eighty years of Job’s life is a lot of time that is not being reported on in the Bible by God. What we learn from this quick analysis of Job is that not every detail of the early life was given to us by God. We do know that in Chapter one that Job is successful, prosperous and is very blessed by God. But we do not know how or why Job obtained this blessing from God at first glance from the material being given. This will be why we need to study the Bible in more depth to learn more about the fine details to what pleases God.
We are not technically provided how long of a period of time that the story of Job takes place from chapter 1 to chapter 42. I have heard some say as long as 7 years (84 months) and others only a few weeks or months. Either way the story time period was relatively short compared to the human range of life spans found during the book of Genesis. I personally place the story of Job somewhere after Noah but before Abraham. For Job to occur before the flood would raise the question of how the book survived the flood to be given to us on the earth today to read. Next we find by reading Job that there is no direct mention of God’s covenant with Abraham or the Law of Moses in the book of Job. So this would lead us to believe that Job lived in the time period before Abraham. Using this logic, this would place the story of Job somewhere after chapter 10 of Genesis and before the middle of chapter 11 of Genesis. Many people during this time period of chapter 11 in Genesis lived from 200 to 300 years and even that is a long time compared to just 84 months or 7 years at the most of the story of Job. In fact if you read the end of Job in chapter 42 and verse 16 you will find that after God restored to Job more than he had at the beginning of the story that Job still produced another 10 children and lived another 140 years. Using this information we can say that Job was probably at least 70 to 100 years old when chapter 1 begins. What I am teaching in this part of the introduction is that this book of Job like most of the rest of the Bible is incomplete but God gives us this specific part of the complete story for a purpose to teach us.
We will endeavor to determine the purpose of Job by using the revelations given to us by God in the New Testament. Like I said before, I will always use the New Testament to explain the Old Testament because this was a part of God’s design and I have learned to follow it. Without the New Testament the Old Testament is a very confusing book of historical information as proven by all of the crazy opinions found on the internet to what it all means. To begin this study we need to search the New Testament to find if Job is ever mentioned directly by God. Doing this search, you should find that the man Job is only directly mentioned one time in one verse in the whole New Testament. However this single reference point will begin to open the door for us to see how to understand if Job ever had any faith. I have talked about this verse in the very first lesson briefly but I did not go into it in any detail. What we will soon discover in the New Testament is that Job’s virtue of patience was revealed by God to be the main emphasis (purpose) of the entire book of Job. Let me give you the verse again so that you can review what is stated within God’s critical commentary on the story of Job:
Jas 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
I am not going to attempt to teach everything that this verse says but I will again emphasize that it was only Job’s patience and endurance that was being highlighted by God as the main subjects found in the O.T. book. Have you ever considered why so many pastors today teach only negative things from the book of Job and God only speaks of positive qualities? I mean think about how many funerals quote Job as saying “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord”. Why isn’t this statement ever quoted by the apostles in the New Testament anywhere but yet it is overemphasized by bible teachers in the church constantly? I think those are all excellent questions to think about. Let’s talk about what patience is briefly to help us better understand this new subject. We will do this by asking some very basic questions. Why is patience a virtue? When does a human ever have need of any patience? What exactly is patience? What is the opposite of having patience? If you can begin to answer these questions then you are far ahead of many other Christians. Let’s look up the definition of the Greek translated as “patience” in the Strong’s:
From G5278; cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy: – enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).
The Strong’s dictionary defines the Greek word G5281 which is translated as “patience” to be “cheerful” or “hopeful” endurance. Wow, that is an amazingly important definition for a word that is so neglected and misunderstood by Christians. By the inclusion of the words “cheerful” and “hopeful” within the definition this denotes the characteristic of someone choosing to have a positive attitude in spite of the implied presence of adverse circumstances that are being faced by the person being described. Do you understand this? Being hopeful is not required when you are at a pleasurable event of good circumstances. In other words if you have millions of dollars in the bank you do not need to have any cheerful hope that your bills will be met because they have already been met. Let me give you a quick definition for the word hope. Hope is the expectation or desire for a certain good thing or event to occur. Does that help? We do not need to hope for what we already possess. This is actually a very good quality and relates to having faith tremendously. Let’s briefly move on to the quality of being cheerful next.
Making a willful and purposeful decision to be cheerful is not necessary during a time of great pleasure, prosperity or positive experiences either. Almost everyone can be happy and cheerful during a party celebration. I do not believe that is what is being defined here in this definition of patience. The definition for the word “cheerful” is someone who is noticeably happy and optimistic. Being cheerful, happy and optimistic is easy when everything is going great. However, the presence of choosing to be cheerful within the definition of being patient can only be correctly understood as occurring during a set of very negative circumstances. We can see this by Strong placing the adjective “cheerful” joined with the noun “endurance” which changes the word’s application to a completely different set of negative circumstances and we will discover this as we continue through the lesson.
I hope that you understand what all of this means so far. We will next look at the word endurance but before we go there let’s look at another part of the patience definition that teaches us an additional important concept concerning why patience is necessary. You should have observed that the definition of patience includes a direct companionship with the term “waiting”. To “wait” can be defined as “to stay in a certain place until a very specific anticipated event occurs”. Any time that a person “waits” for something to transpire or to be given to them this means they do not yet have it or can even see it coming. This would mean that there must be a time delay or an extended interval of duration that occurs before what is desired can be proven to exist. I hope that you understood that time is an essential part of the word’s meaning because it was very relevant. Now let’s talk about “endurance”. Notice in the definition of G5281translated as patience is found the term “endurance” and “enduring”. How is endurance a factor with waiting? What is “endurance” and when or why is this quality ever required? Let’s find the definition of endurance in a dictionary:
Endurance: the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way
Endurance is defined to be going through an extended unpleasant situation which again denotes the passage of time through a set of negative circumstances. This is a very good description of the short story of Job, isn’t it? Endurance is only required when someone is in an event of significant length when not quitting or giving up is required to remain in it. For example a runner in any long distance marathon event needs to possess the quality of endurance. No runner in any 100 meter sprint requires endurance because the end of the race is always in the view of the runner. Did you see the difference? In other words hopeful endurance is only necessary if the person participating does not or cannot see the end of the race for a very long elapsed period of time but yet they know the end is coming so they optimistically expect to get through the whole race to finish at the end. Wow, again! Did you know that every Christian after being saved is in an extended endurance race not able to perceive the end of their course? Let me prove this to you using your Bible:
Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
There is an amazingly complex figurative explanation of the newborn Christian life found in this verse. Too many Christians want to take everything in the Bible literally and this verse if taken this way will only confuse the reader. There can be no logical application that God is describing a literal physical race in this verse. Therefore this described race must be taken as a symbolic, figurative or metaphorical account of an unseen spiritual event. Do you understand this? This symbolic description is often missed or ignored by many modern extreme Grace Bible teachers. Let’s determine who the runners are for this race to begin. The key to understanding any verse begins with seeing what is actually stated. There are two plural pronouns given that will point us to who the runners represent. These pronouns are “we” and “us”. Both of these words are statements written by Paul that included himself as one of the runners. The remainder of this runner group has to be the church which he is writing the letter to. Therefore only the church body as a whole can be the target runners. Now let’s determine what makes a person a runner in the race. Since the reason for the race is not directly given to us in this verse I will tell you that being a runner in the race occurs when we are born again. This was inferred by the statement of us laying aside every weight and sin that does beset us. I am a firm believer that repentance is a forerunner to accepting salvation. Repentance occurs when one realizes that they are a sinner and have need of salvation. Normally when this occurs, the person realizes their need to turn away from their sins and this would again match with what was stated here in Hebrews. I really do not have the time to explain this in detail in this lesson. I hope that you can agree with the Spirit of God and we can continue.
Since this verse was written to the church and we are the runners being described we must now determine what kind of race this applies to. Let’s analyze the Greek word translated as “race” to learn what God meant by selecting this word. The Greek word translated as “race” is G73 (AGON). This word from the Strong’s dictionary has the meaning of a contest where people are gathered together to compete. This Greek word is found in only 6 verses that were all written to the church in Paul’s letters. It is only translated as “race” in Hebrews 12:1. In other verses it was translated as “conflict”, “contention” or “fight”. In every case this word designates a human struggle to overcome or win in the contest. In any designated opportunity to win there is always an antithesis opportunity to fail, quit or to be defeated. This is such an important concept that I can’t stop teaching it. If you do not believe that you can ever be deceived then you are already deceived. If you do not believe that you can ever quit your salvation and walk away then you are in serious trouble. Knowing that you are in a conflict is the beginning to overcoming it to win. I think I am getting off topic here so please allow me to move on.
Let’s continue to define the race. In Philippians 1:30 Paul tells the church that they are in the same conflict (race) as he is. Within the context of this statement Paul refers to the persecution that they are enduring for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In 1 Thessalonians 2:2 Paul again speaks of preaching the Gospel in the middle of great violence that was being done against it. What we are observing is a pattern for defining what the contest represents. The contest being described appears to be a Christian life of preaching to others to get them saved while enduring persecution, ridicule and even up to death as many in the early church endured. In preaching the Gospel the Christian will encounter persecution and many evils that are sent to silence them. This gives us a pretty clear definition for what the race represents. This race must be the Christian life of following Jesus’ example to reach the world. I hope that you can agree with this conclusion.
God describes the Christian way of life to be as a long race of endurance that requires the noble quality of patience to get through it. This literally means that we all have the same opportunity to quit or give up before the end of the race is achieved. Consider the fact that every natural race has a starting gun that begins the event and an ending finish line that terminates the event. The race being described here in Hebrews 12:1 begins when the sinner repents, believes and accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior. That is the individual’s starting point to begin to run and the end of that race is certainly not seen or known. The duration of the race is our life span on the earth where we must endure things that try to make us quit preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What God calls every Christian to do is to witness and preach to help get others into the race. This is the ministry that we all share together. So far do you understand God’s description of the Christian life race?
Notice that this race is being witnessed by an audience which observes as the runners run. Then think and consider that these witnesses are not in the race. There is only two possible interpretations for these race witnesses. They can be those that we are trying to get into the race. Or they could also be those that have already finished the race. Now remember that it is the spiritual church which is racing here within this natural world which is bringing the opposition to them. This seems to indicate that those that are bringing the opposition to those of us who are running to win the race are already a part of the field where the competition is occurring and therefore cannot be in the grandstands as witnesses to the event. We can confirm this by observing the stated figurative position of the cheering audience members. The audience is described to be compassed about the event and that is clearly a figurative stadium setting but it is also a circular reference like the shape of our globe. This helps to confirm that the earth is the symbolic stadium and the observers are not here on the earth. These witnesses that encircle the earth’s view cannot be earthly participants or natural observers but rather these must be heavenly witnesses and that will certainly include God, the angels and those that have already finished running their race and gone to be with the Lord. Again the race being described here represents the human events, struggles, challenges within our human life on the earth. The main point that I wanted to get to in this verse is the fact God says we must run life’s race with patience. That simply means that we are running the race with hopeful endurance until the end of the race comes. There are only three exits from this race that can be possible. The first exit is the rapture of the church, the second exit can be the natural death of the runner and the third exit from the race can only be the resignation of the runner from the race. Even when we do not see the end we know the end is coming and that will be when we will receive the prize being spoken of in the N.T. (1 Cor 9:2). I’m not going to go into any more of the details of this race concept in this lesson because I believe that you can get the main points from what has just been described.
I reached this verse in Hebrews 12:1 by searching for the keyword “patience” being used to describe Job in James. Do you remember how we got here so far? The next thing that I want you to understand is that this verse in Hebrews 12:1 is directly preceded by Hebrews chapter 11 which is entirely dominated by the subject of faith listing many of the Old Testament faith heroes. This again is a critical part of the lesson for us to begin to learn the direct association between the subjects of having faith in Chapter 11 which is immediately followed by the subject of patience in chapter 12. The book of Hebrews was not written with chapter and verse separations. Therefore these two subjects flow together in harmony and must be taken to be related topics. We will confirm this truth by using other scriptures, but this is a very important beginning view of these two subjects. Why do I say that? It is because my subject today is about Job and Job is certainly an Old Testament man. Hebrews 11 confirms to us today that faith was a factor for even the men and women named in the Old Testament. God names over 10 individuals and Paul then writes that there are too many others to name them all. What we must conclude from this information is that Job could have had faith. I would suggest that you go and read chapter 11 of Hebrews every chance you get. There is so much information given to us here that it astounds me. I have concluded that while Job’s name is not directly mentioned in Hebrews 11, it can be indirectly associated within the group of unnamed O.T. saints by God’ selection of the word G5281 translated as “patience” that follows having faith in Hebrews 12:1. I would also like to make this point that there is an implied association with those names listed in chapter 11 as Old Testament faith heroes as being the chapter 12 witnesses that have gone on before us. I hope you understand this logic. Let’s examine another verse found in James that goes along with the one that I previously used about Job.
Jas 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Here is a very important verse to apply to Job. It appears that patience is mentioned more than once in the book of James. In this verse is found the exact same Greek word that we previously looked at as being used by God to describe Job. But this time this Greek word is connected directly to the factor of having human faith. This is the first verse that we have looked at that has made this direct connection. It will certainly not be the last verse. What we will discover in this study is that patience is a direct partner to faith and they both must be present or neither is necessary. I would like to introduce you to the keyword that is translated as “trying” in this verse. This Greek word is G1383 and it means “to test”. This would be a very accurate description of what is occurring in the book of Job. Job is being tested and we learn from this verse in James why these tests occur. Also do not erroneously conclude that God is doing the testing because that belief contradicts other New Testament verses that I have already covered. Therefore the tester is Satan as we can clearly see being named in the first chapter of Job. From this verse in James we begin to see why Job endured and survived these tests and this is because of his faith and patience. This is the second verse that helps to establish the faith of Job as being a present factor in the story.
WHO IS JOB ASSOCIATED WITH?
I think this is a good time to learn the associations of Job in the Bible. By seeing who God groups Job with in the Bible it will help us determine if he is qualified to be called a faith man. I think it is fairly obvious that Job is not directly grouped with anyone in the book of Job. There are no other mentioned men of God in this book. In fact if it were not for Job praying for his friends, his friends would be in serious trouble with God. I hope you understand the importance of association. This will become increasingly more important as you study the Bible in depth on many other subjects. In the last section I talked about the Hebrews 11 Faith Hall of Fame list that God gives to us. These were all faith men and women that achieved notoriety by God to an elite level of association. We learn from this list that God does associate like people together. We can use this now to learn who God associated Job with. In order to do this I’m going to give you the preceding verse to the one in James that mentioned Job:
Jas 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
Ok, this verse is really very informative. By God placing this information within the direct context of the next statement, Job is being placed within some very elite company. I personally believe that Job was a prophet of God. I derive that from the fact that I believe Job wrote the book of Job. But I also derive that from this verse that speaks of prophets and their examples of suffering affliction and their patience. That is a very excellent description of the book of Job. Here in this verse is the introduction of Job being an example for the church to follow. God’s usage of the Greek word G5262 teaches us this fact. This Greek word literally means these men were given to us by God as a pattern for us to learn from. That is the classic definition of what a Biblical type is. If Job was a type of man with patience being associated with so many other great prophets that we can read about then we need to learn this in order to understand the book of Job more clearly.
One of the greatest prophets of God was Moses. Moses wrote down the Law of God. He was used by God to deliver the children of God out of Egypt. This is the kind of company that Job is being placed within by this verse statement in James 5:10. Moses was also directly mentioned in the Faith Hall of Fame and that helps to determine where Job potentially belongs by direct association. What we will do is see if we can find further confirmation for this in the Bible. We will do this again by searching for the name of Job to determine if God places him with anyone else by association. We already know that Job is not found anywhere else in the New Testament but we did not previously look for him in the Old Testament and that is our next place to search.
If you did the search you should have found one more reference to Job outside of the book of Job. The name of Job is only mentioned in the Old Testament in the book of Job and in the writings of one major O.T. prophet. You will find the name of Job mentioned in Ezekiel 14 twice. These verses are Ezekiel 14:14 and 14:20. Here in both of these verses Job’s name is directly mentioned in unison with Noah and Daniel. Both of these men were also prophets of God. This information helps us to confirm where Job fits within God’s associations. If you read the context of these two verses you should see that God is speaking to the house of Israel and He tells them to turn from their idols or be destroyed. God clearly calls men like Noah, Daniel and Job to be righteous examples and these are the types of men that will be saved while the others in Israel that do not repent will be destroyed. This is actually essential information to learn from about the story of Job. It gives us such a profound reference point to who God viewed Job to be like that it helps us settle why this book even exists in the Bible. You see Noah was directly mentioned in Hebrews 11:7 as having faith. Daniel was indirectly mentioned in the same chapter as having stopped the mouths of lions in Hebrews 11:33. Therefore we have Job being included with some pretty amazing company that would seem to indicate that Job’s righteousness was also obtained by the same level of faith in God that these other two men possessed. I would recommend that you take the time to go and read Ezekiel 14 to insure that this is what God is saying. I believe that you will be able to see it now that I have pointed you to this information. This information will help confirm the presence of faith in the life of Job but we will continue to find other witnesses to the truth as we study further.
FAITH AND PATIENCE
As we have observed in Hebrews 11 and 12 there appears to be a partnership between faith and patience which is tied together by God’s design. What relationship does faith have with patience? Are there any other direct connections between these two factors given to us in the New Testament? This is where we will begin to get into the subject of why faith is joined to its partner called patience. I can’t teach the entire subject here but I will give you a quick overview of how they are linked together. But first we will continue by reading another verse found within the context of Hebrews 11 and 12 that directly applies to our lesson:
Heb 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
Did you just see what God did? God just made us a faith sandwich placing the meat of faith (Heb. 11) between two slices of patience (Heb 10:36, Heb 12:1). Uh oh, I hope that I didn’t offend anyone with my faith sandwich analogy. Let’s consider the book of Job when reading this N.T. verse. Did Job end up better than when he started? Through all of the hardships that Job experienced in 41 chapters was the end of his life blessed more than the beginning of his life by God? I hope that you will read and see that Job’s end was greater than Job’s younger years and certainly was better than his life during the book of Job. Would it not stand to reason that Job “received the promise” of God in the end? Maybe you do not understand that receiving anything from God requires human faith. I do not have the time to teach or prove this in this lesson so you will need to go and study the subject of faith in my Understanding Bible Faith series. I will definitely tell you that everything that comes from God’s Grace is received by a man’s faith and obedience. This includes salvation, healing, deliverance, God’s blessings and on and on I could go. I’ll say it one more time for those that do not yet understand that nothing positive is received from God without their faith being present. Let me give you another verse that certainly applies to the subject of Job:
Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
God makes a statement here that could be talking about Job directly. Did you see it? There is a direct mention of endurance and this applies to having patience. Now do you see it? The Greek word that was translated as “temptation” is a poor choice of English words by the translators. This Greek word G3986 literally means “an experience of evil”. While this definition could mean a temptation it goes way beyond that to include many other things. This Greek word could apply to any adversity brought against someone by an enemy. Let me ask you this, was Satan Job’s enemy or was Satan Job’s friend? It would very stupid not to call Satan the adversary of Job since he was clearly trying to kill him. Do you know what the Hebrew name “Job” means? This name means “hated”. Who hated Job? If God was pleased with Job then it stands to reason that God’s enemy Satan would hate Job. Therefore Job was hated by Satan. This helps us put into perspective who is responsible for which actions in the book of Job.
Now go back to James 1:12 and go further with what is spoken by God. God says that after a time of endurance through an attack that this person being attacked will receive that which God had promised them. Why does God allow Satan to test His people? It is certainly not for God’s benefit so it must be for our benefit or to provide evidence to Satan that those being tested will be true and faithful. Both factors derive benefits for us in the future. Adversity builds human character. It teaches a person that they can overcome it and be victorious. Isn’t all of this what happened to Job? Job endured such a major attack of Satan that it almost wiped him out and yet God’s blessings still prevailed because why? Do you know what receiving is? I need to do an entire faith lesson on this important faith word. Jesus would frequently tell the sick and diseased to “receive” their miracle. What was Jesus saying to them? Jesus was saying you better take it if you want it because the ball is now in your court. I just used a tennis analogy to help you see how grace and faith works together. God’s grace will serve the promise but it is man’s faith that is required to receive it. If Job was mentioned with Noah and Daniel then he certainly obtained a crown of life that was mentioned in James 1:12. I believe someday soon we will be able to walk and talk with Job and find out what else we did not learn from this book.
All of this initial information that I have just given to you is on the subjects of faith and patience and they teach us that Job had to have had unstated faith at least to some degree that allowed his end of life to be better than his beginning. God very clearly told us that Job had patience in James. Why then would Job need this patience if he had no hope for anything better to come? I want you to chew on that for a while. I’ll give you another N.T. verse that helps us to connect faith and patience together:
2Th 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
We are back to the subject of endurance working with our faith and patience. Here is Paul writing to the church and this verse could very easily be talking about Job’s tribulations equally. Both the early church and Job endured great adversity and troubles within a stated time of duration here in this life. Both of these troubles were certainly brought upon them each by their enemy Satan. Job appears to me to be a O.T. type of the church using Biblical typology. You have probably never heard anyone teach this but it makes very good Biblical sense based upon the comparison of common features. Both of these examples of the early church and the O.T. life of Job persevered and endured through great tribulations, trials and tests. Both certainly needed patience to possess the blessings of God’s promises. But also notice what God says that they both also needed faith. I personally do not believe that God would have included the story of Job in the Bible as a positive role model for the church if this man did not possess any faith. God would have omitted his life story or the end result of Job’s life would have been entirely different than being fully restored apparently victorious over Satan’s attempts to kill, steal and destroy him (John 10:10). All of this evidence that I have presented you so far raises a new question that must be answered, if Job had faith why didn’t God talk about it in the book of Job? The answer to this question can only be found by asking why didn’t God talk about Job’s patience in the book if that was the clear emphasis that was being taught to us in the New Testament? Do you understand that there were hidden Bible subjects in the Old Testament? Let me help to prove this to you:
Gal 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Actually you will find out very soon that God did talk about Job’s faith in great detail in the book of Job but we normally do not understand it or it is easily mistaken for something else since it was never directly referenced by name. This was the same for Job’s patience. God tells us a story of part of Job’s life that demonstrates the qualities of patience being found present but yet never mentions these directly by name either. We will discover that Job’s connections to faith were hidden within other descriptive words found in the book of Job. Did you see what God said in this verse in Galatians? I used this verse in the first lesson of my faith series because it is critical to understand when and where faith originates. Faith is definitely not a brand new N.T. invention. Faith is a divine central theme of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. However God says here in Galatians that the hidden subject of faith was only revealed to us in the church after Jesus had come tot he earth. To be revealed means that the subject of faith was previously hidden from view for natural Israel. Once you learn what faith is then you will begin to see faith or the lack of faith in almost every story found in the Old Testament. I really hope and pray that you are learning this subject because it will be essential in your life.
FINDING JOB’S FAITH IN THE BOOK OF JOB
Reading in the book of Job initially, God appear to give the impression that He is well pleased with His man Job at least in the first chapter. How can God ever be pleased with a man that has no faith? Is that even possible? It is not possible according to the New Testament as I have already alluded to previously. I think I need to give you this verse to confirm that faith is a requirement in order to be pleasing to God:
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Did you see what this verse says? If our faith is required and is not optional in order to be pleasing to God then we need to conclude that Job had to have had the same faith at least initially in the book. However, there is another part of this verse that also applies to the story of Job that must be applied equally. Read the last part of the verse again and see that God says “to those that believe in God’s existence” that He will reward them if they seek after Him diligently. This is another portion of the requirement for having faith that must be met. Did Job believe in God? I believe you can clearly see in the story of Job that he believed in God very strongly. Had Job ever seen God? God says in John 1:18, “no man has ever seen God”. Therefore Job had to believe in God without any evidence of His existence like you and I today. Now ask yourself did Job diligently seek for God? That becomes a little more difficult to see but you can find that in the first chapter that Job was offering sacrifices to God. That sounds like a person that was diligently seeking the face of God to me. Did Job receive any rewards for believing in God and seeking after God? Let’s think about the rewards that Job obtained at the end of the book again. At the end of the book of Job, he is blessed more than at the beginning and let’s review these verses:
Job 42:12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
Job 42:13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.
If God rewarded Job at the end of the book with more than he had at the beginning of the book and this teaches me that faith was found to be present of God’s blessings would not have been received. I do not see how anyone can receive God’s blessings without possessing any faith. If you know of anyone in the Bible that was ever blessed by God without having faith please tell me about them because if you can find me one man or one woman without faith that is blessed by God then you have just made God a liar. Since it is impossible for God to lie, I will stand by my statement with confidence that you cannot find one person present in the Bible without faith that is rewarded by God.
I’m going to go through the first verse of Job to begin to show you God’s hidden descriptions of Job’s faith being present. I hope that after you have studied this section of the lesson with me that you will understand that faith was always present in the life of Job. Please read verse 1 very slowly and carefully not missing any of the words selected by God to describe His righteous man Job:
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
In this first verse Job is described by God using four very flattering positive key descriptive words that were selected by God’s inspired choice. These words will help us to understand God’s perspective and viewpoint of this man and why Job was so pleasing to God. We must understand when reading the Bible that God could have selected any description that was true to use to teach us. But when God selects only four specific words then those words must have a meaning that is needed to be understood. Start by asking the question why were these 4 words selected and why were they used together in a list? Please allow me to identify these key words for you in a list:
- Perfect (H8535)
- Upright (H3477)
- Feared God (H3373)
- Eschewed Evil (H5493)
Those are four qualities that demonstrate God’s pleasure because they prove the implied presence of faith in God. All of these qualities could be used to describe a Christian today that pleased God. These qualities help to establish the fact that Job is a model for the church to follow. Let’s research these words one at time beginning with the first called someone who is “perfect”. That is a very strange word for God to use to describe a human, isn’t it?
To be “perfect” does not mean that someone never makes a mistake or sins. Only God can be perfect and no human has ever achieved this. Therefore to be perfect is not what you think it is using modern definitions. A perfect diamond is one that is defined to be flawless and this cannot be a human since God says “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Since being perfect is unachievable we need to discover what God meant by this word. By looking in Strong’s dictionary for the meaning of the word we should find that to be perfect is a term that means someone is “complete” or “lacking no good quality” in the eyes of God. Was faith a good quality to possess according to Hebrews 11:6? If you answered yes, then faith is part of the complete package that God is looking for in any human. This Hebrew word translated as “perfect” is H8535 and it is not used in very many verses of the O.T. However, I will point you to one key verse that is important to note on what perfect represents to God:
Gen 25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.
Here is a verse that is easily overlooked and ignored because most of us do not read in Hebrew. This verse has the same Hebrew word that was translated as “perfect” in Job 1:1 but this time it is used to describe Jacob as being a “plain” man. I do not believe that people always understand the confusion that translators present them by changing a word’s definition but this is a major problem with correctly understanding the Bible. The main point here is that both Jacob and Job were both described to be “perfect” men and they were connected together by God’s choice of word descriptions. Therefore if you understand how typology works then what one man has the other should also have to some degree of comparison. Why is this important? Well it is important because Jacob was also mentioned by name in Hebrews 11 as having faith. Therefore we can logically conclude that if Jacob had faith and he was called perfect by God then Job had faith because he was also called perfect by God. This is very basic applied logic which surrounds the members in the common set of human called “perfect” defined by God. Let’s continue to the next word description of Job in verse 1.
“Upright” simply means someone that is standing straight up not leaning to the left or to the right. This is a figurative expression that teaches us the condition of Job’s human thoughts within his mind as being level headed or in other words as thinking decently, right, honest, pure and not wavering back and forth from the left or to the right. Being upright expresses Job’s moral compass on the inside that was directing his ways and his actions. Do you recall what God said to the prophet Samuel? When God sent Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel the sons of Jesse came before him one by one. God told Samuel not to look on the outward appearance in 1 Samuel 16:7 because He looks on the heart of the man. What this teaches us is that God declares what is on the inside to be more significant than what we see on the outside of a person. What this teaches us is that Job had to be pleasing to God on the inside in order for him to walk the walk that was pleasing to God on the outside. Again to be a good person outwardly is pleasing to God but yet a good person without any faith on the inside can still never please Him. Also too many Christians today are doing good things without having good and right intentions in their heart. That is a major problem to God. Let me take you to a New Testament verse that mentions the word upright to help define what this word means:
Gal 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
This is going to be a lesson using stated antithesis or opposites. Sometimes to learn what something is you must learn what it is not! Here in Galatians Paul is writing about people that were being the opposite of what Job was in verse 1. These were Christians that were being inconsistent. Paul was speaking of the Jews living like Gentiles but simultaneously wanting the Gentiles to live like Jews. That represents a conflicting mindset of inconsistencies. What Paul was telling us, is that the Gentiles did not need to get circumcised in their flesh in order to be saved like many of the Jews were trying to teach them. Knowing the truth and being consistent applying the truth is what God was trying to say that Job was doing. That according to God’s definition is what being upright is. We should be able to learn how to apply this to what God says about Job. It clearly meant that Job did not try to live like others while requiring them to live like him. That would actually be a good Bible study to do but I will not spend the time today to do that. Perhaps it will help if I give you the Greek word definition for upright here:
From a compound of G3717 and G4228; to be straight footed, that is, (figuratively) to go directly forward: – walk uprightly.
This word literally means to walk a straight line. But, as you can see this word can be applied figuratively to mean moving directly forward as in not wavering from your purpose. To move directly forward means not to move to the left or to the right as I have tried to teach you about the Hebrew word found in Job 1:1. What is the opposite description of walking upright? The opposite would be to walk staggering or swaying from side to side. Do you understand this? Have ever heard the modern expression he walked the line? To walk the line figuratively meant that a person did not change their mind frequently to vary what they do. There is an old Johnny Cash song that is called “Walk the line”. In this song Johnny sings “Because you’re mine, I walk the line”. That only meant that when he sang this song to his wife that he was not cheating on her with other women. It is very much like the figurative phrase “walking the straight and narrow”. Being upright is simply a person that is well balanced not changing their mind frequently between two opposing extremes like between being good today and evil tomorrow. So what does being upright, have to do with if Job had any faith? Well the application of truth will teach us the answer if we go and read the book of James in the New Testament:
Jas 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Jas 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
Did you see what God just said here about faith and wavering? If man does not walk upright or in a straight line then he is wavering from one position to another. God in this chapter calls this a double minded man with more than one thought process taking place simultaneously. I hope and pray that you understood this very quick overview of the subject of walking uprightly. I simply cannot teach every subject encountered in a Bible study in the depth that I would like or it would take me 100 times as many words to teach any subject. What I wanted to show you here in James was the connection of not wavering (called walking upright) to having faith that receives from God. It is still clear to me that since Job did receive a greater blessing from God in the end that he was at the very least back to not wavering like he was at the beginning of the story. Let’s move on to the description of quality 3 called the fear of God next.
THE FEAR OF GOD
The next term that God used to describe Job in verse 1 was that he “feared God” and this is another critical positive human characteristic that is critical for anyone before they can ever possess any faith. No one is going to believe God or even in God if they do not believe in His omnipotent power or if they have any great fear (respect) for His great abilities. What I am going to do is give you another Hebrews 11 example of an Old Testament man that was directly compared to be like Job:
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
We of course understand that Noah had faith, but before Noah could believe God to have this faith it is said that he also had to fear God first. It would have been very stupid for Noah not to fear God but yet this was still his right of free choice. This becomes very self-evident that the fear of God is required before anyone will believe God’s spoken word. This is in fact the number one reason why atheists do not believe in the Bible or in God. Atheists do not possess any fear of the living God that created them and can kill them just as easily. These people are called fools by God and I will concur. Where there is no fear of God their can be no faith in God. The fear of God is a necessary precursor for having faith. Since God describes Job to possess this fear this description qualifies him to possess faith. We could talk about this subject for a long time but that was a quick introduction and we will move on the quality four called “eschewed evil” used to describe Job.
TURN FROM EVIL
The last quality of Job was “eschewed evil”. This Hebrew word translated as “eschewed” literally means to turn away from following after or doing any evil. To turn away from evil is an indicator of a repentant heart that desires to do right and good. Again this word indicates that faith is found present in the life of Job because the N.T. says anything that is not of faith is sin (Rom 14:23). Did you know that the lack of faith was evil? Did you know that having no faith was sin? Many Christians do not have a clue about either of these concepts. Let’s quickly establish that sin is evil in the eyes of the Lord:
1Ki 15:26 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.
Here is a man being given as a negative example for the people of God not to follow and this man sinned before God and God called his actions evil. This Hebrew word translated as “evil” is H7451 and this is the exact same word used in Job 1:1 to describe what Job was not in the eyes of the Lord. Therefore Job lived a life of choosing to steer away from what was sin in the eyes of God. This is really very amazing since the period of Job occurs before there was any written Law of Moses to describe what sin was. Somehow Job was so in tune with the Spirit of God and His ways that he knew what sin was and avoided it. Perhaps we need to connect the dots more clearly between turning from sin and having faith, patience and walking upright before God:
Mat 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
Here is John preaching to the Jews and he tells them directly to produce fruit for repentance. Repentance is simply the human turning from their sins and the fruit is a reference to coming fruits of the spirit that are described by God in Galatians:
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The KJV Bible is not as well stated as some of the other translations. I want you to focus on just two of the nine fruits mentioned. The first is translated as “long-suffering” and this is certainly applicable to what Job went through. This Greek word literally means to be “patient”. It is the opposite of being demanding and wanting everything right now like fast food. Any quality restaurant will serve food far beyond fast food but it requires patience in order to receive it. The second Greek word in this is translated as “faith” and that again is the word that we are exploring in the life of Job. Since we got here by the subject of “eschewing evil” let’s see where this is used in the New Testament:
Act 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
Here is an excellent verse that demonstrates the message that Paul preached to the Gentiles. Paul told them to repent and then to turn to God. This is clearly what Job had already done as a Gentile. There are many other example verses that teach similar concepts for salvation in accordance with repentance occurring first. This simply means that the human heart must be turned away from evil in order to allow the goodness of God to take its place.
These four positive qualities presented to us in verse one of Job were used by God to help us to understand the characteristics that allowed Job to have faith in God to receive the blessing in his early years. Every quality named can be associated with faith directly or indirectly using the New Testament. These same qualities also helped sustain Job during the tough times of Satan’s attacks to propel him to overcome the adversity. Job’s faithfulness and patient endurance during the negative times causes him to be blessed even greater by God at the end of his life. Keep in mind the four qualities being described by God they were 1) being complete, 2) walking upright, 3) fearing God and 4) turning from evil. No one is going to have faith without first having any reverential fear of God! No one is going to fear a God who they do not believe in. No one is going to have faith without turning and departing from doing evil! Sin will always be a moral distraction from receiving the blessings of God. As far as being called upright by God I again believe this to mean that Job was not double minded trying to decide between good and evil. I also believe that Job’s confidence in God was not shaken or swayed just because negative things were occurring. Finally to be called perfect (complete) by God implies that faith had to have been found present or Job would have been lacking the one essential God pleasing quality. It is just so obvious to me by the way that God describes Job in verse 1 that Job was pleasing to God. This absolutely requires faith to be present.
We have explored briefly the association of faith and patience using several verses of the New Testament. I believe that I presented sufficient evidence to confirm when one quality of faith is present the other quality of patience should also be found and vice versa. One without the other makes the other irrelevant. But, working together I believe that faith and patience will cause the blessing of God to be made manifest here in the natural realm. Always remember what patience is and why it is necessary. Patience is only required when you expect better things to come than what you are experiencing right now. This is clearly what Job came to realize. If you can’t see yourself as a type of Job then you have not been a Christian for very long. If you remain in the faith, Satan will come to you eventually to test your faith in God and that is exactly what occurred in the book of Job. When Satan approached the throne of God to accuse Job God said “Have you considered my servant Job?”. This did not mean that God turned Job over to Satan. This only meant that God knew why Satan was present and brought up the subject before Satan could mention it. God is not stupid people; God had placed a hedge of protection around Job to keep Satan from attacking. It was Job’s ignorance that caused the hedge to come down and this was the reason for the initiation of the satanic attack. I really do not have the time to explain all of this in this lesson. I have talked about a lot of this already in previous subject lessons. Let’s change back to the New Testament and end with this verse:
Heb 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Faith and patience will receive the promises of God. The promises of God are found in the Word of God. Every Old Testament positive example given to us by God went through this. There are no examples of people in the Old Testament that did not have major times of tests and trials. This included the greatest prophets of God. Moses was tested in the wilderness. Elijah was tested and asked God to kill him. Noah went through tremendous persecution for preaching about the coming end. David was hunted and had to hide not to be killed. We could name them all but you get the point. All of these examples were like Job who endured but they also had faith in God with corresponding acts of patience to see the deliverance of God’s hand.
Can you see now how faith was indirectly taught by God while never being mentioned by name? This is an extremely clever method used by God of hiding the truth in plain sight in the Old Testament. God teaches us what faith is and how it receives His blessings while never mentioning the concept directly. The wisdom of God is way beyond normal or natural human comprehension. I hope that you learned something new about the positive life examples of Job and how they might help you even today as a type for your walk with God to follow during your test and trial of Satan. We have been given very significant evidence that we should believe in God and believe in His ability to bless us in spite of the negative circumstances being presented to us by Satan. Believe me I know this for sure since I have been going through a time of tests and trials like never before in my life.
I will say in conclusion that Job made certain mistakes at the beginning of the book and certainly in the middle of the book that were corrected by the end of the book in order for God to restore his life back to more than he had at the first. This teaches us that even Christians can open the door for Satan to attack them. These tests and trials will cause you to have to demonstrate faith and patience in order to receive the promise of God that will also cause you to be blessed. I went through some pretty new radical concepts for many people today. I hope and pray that you understood them. If not please go back and reread this lesson so that they are built into your spirit and how you live before God. The book of Job is a great lesson to learn from. However it matters that what you learn is in alignment with the New Testament revelation of the Lord God. Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this please leave me a comment. God Bless!
BIBLE ANSWERS: Understanding Biblical Typology! Does God Use O. T. Typology to Explain Spiritual Things in the New Testament?
(ver 1.1) I received a very disturbing comment from a potentially confused reader concerning the latest Bible study lesson given to me by the Holy Spirit. This lesson was regarding the subject of the Rapture that has been hidden by God within O.T. Typology. While I generally ignore critics, I felt led by the Spirit of God to answer this comment publically in order to potentially help someone else that this person might teach these untruths to. A few of my critics are some of the unsaved people of the world but the majority of them are very carnal Christians that do not understand the spiritual meat found in the Bible. Anyone with a growing level of spiritual maturity should be able to see the truths of the deep spiritual knowledge that God is sharing. I certainly realize that there are still many milk drinking Christians that are not capable of receiving meat. That is why I try to regress into milk subjects occasionally to help everyone grow.
According to this commenter’s beliefs the use of “Typology” is not an established, valid or sound method of Exegesis or Hermeneutics. I would have laughed at their comment if it was not so saddening. There is a major problem occurring within the body of Christ today where people who think more highly of their personal knowledge and abilities come to correct others before attempting to learn what was stated. This is happening constantly on Facebook and on many other internet websites. People that come to teach others without asking ANY questions to the teacher is a display of their human pride in their own knowledge and understanding of every verse in the Bible. People just might discover their ignorance if they would only open up their minds to think and learn to find answers to a few simple questions in order to understand why what was stated was taught. By the nature of this man’s comment I understood that he was un-teachable and I did not reply to him. If they read this article that was their response I would be shocked.
I have said this before but it is worthy of repetition. My favorite non-Bible quote is by Will Rogers when he said “We are all ignorant, just about different things”. That was so profound and accurate that I cannot say it enough. I am a Bible teacher not because I know everything or because I agree and teach what you want me to say. I’m called by God and only accountable to Him and I will be judged for the content of my message according to if I have heard from Him correctly. Therefore I take this responsibility with great concern and respect. I do not publish free Advanced Bible lessons because that is what I wanted to do. If the Spirit of God does not lead me to teach a subject then I am silent on that subject. Why then does anyone judge me or anyone else to correct us using their own limited knowledge (Romans 14:10-13)? Have they appointed themselves to be my judge (1 Cor 6:6)? Of the gifts of the Spirit listed in the New Testament, I do not recall any that are referred as the judge’s anointing. Don’t you realize that the world is watching your arguments and laughing at them? Christian arguments are placing stumbling blocks before those that do not believe but still need to be saved. I personally believe these argument stumbling block people will be judged very severely for not helping others to come into the kingdom. If you do not like my Bible lessons, just go somewhere else and find someone you like. I’m not going to argue with you or debate you on any subject! Let’s let God be true and every man a liar.
Today I am going to teach those that want to know the truth that God believes in O.T. Typology, Types and Shadows and He calls them clear and valid methods for exegesis (aka Bible interpretation). God also believes in symbolism, symbolic representations, parables and metaphorical interpretation. God further believes in allegory, spiritual names and the other methods of sound exegesis that have been placed in the Bible by God’s design. These are just some of the revealed truths found in the New Testament that God used to teach the hidden spiritual message from the Old Testament to Christians in the early church continuing to us today. These methods were clearly taught to Paul by the Holy Spirit and by Paul to the early church through the direction of the Holy Spirit. We in the church today can still benefit from this knowledge by learning to observe it in what God wrote through Paul and the other Apostles. Therefore my commenter must not believe the New Testament since it is founded on these principles. This Bible study will prove beyond any reasonable doubt that God created the method of Typology and that I have done nothing in my Bible lessons but observe their presence. After I learned about these truths in the Bible I believe that it would be totally foolish of me to deny they exist just because someone from seminary says they are not valid. I pray that you will also do the same. In this Bible lesson we will seek the answers to the following questions from the N.T.:
- What is Typology?
- Why is the use of Typology a valid form of correct Bible Interpretation?
- How did God conceal Typology in the Old Testament?
- How is Typology revealed by God in the New Testament?
- Why did God use Typology in the Bible?
I will definitely warn you at the beginning that this Bible lesson will be one of the most advanced complex deep spiritual subjects that is found on my website. The title on my website is “Advanced Bible Study” and this will be one that qualifies for this category of lessons. If you are a brand new Christian or not a very mature spiritual Christians then I really do not recommend that you try to study this subject. I am going to need to go over some very advanced concepts and some very technical definitions. This is just a word of warning of what will come next.
WHAT IS EXEGESIS AND HERMENEUTICS?
Before I begin today in this Bible lesson to teach that Typology is a divinely created reality found and taught to us by God in the New Testament, I would like to go through some foundational basics on the subject. I will go into sufficient detail to what the Bible says on this subject of typology but I first want to show everyone an explanation of what Wikipedia says about the word “exegesis” to help establish the correct understanding and definition of what this potentially unknown theological term represents. This was the complaint of my commenter that typology does not conform to sound exegesis and I believe that there are at least some Christians that actually know very little about what this word means. Don’t allow an unfamiliar word to sway you to one side of belief or the other until you at least find out what it is defined to be:
- The terms exegesis and hermeneutics have been used interchangeably. However, hermeneutics is a more widely defined discipline of interpretation theory: hermeneutics includes the entire framework of the interpretive process, encompassing all forms of communication: written, verbal and nonverbal, while exegesis focuses primarily on the written text
As you can read both words exegesis and hermeneutics deal with Bible interpretation methods. But the most important word in this description that must be observed is the given term “THEORY”. Does God have any theories? I do not believe that He does since He knows everything. Is the Bible a book of theories? Again I do not believe it is simply because the God of infinite knowledge and wisdom is the author. Therefore, if God is not the source of human theories then we need to ask “Why do humans resort to theories?” Let me give you a definition of a theory. A theory should be defined as any subject being discussed which is based entirely upon human ignorance of all of the known true facts of the subject. In other words if we knew and correctly understood all of the true facts of any given subject we would have no need for any further theories or theoretical discussions. Do you understand what I am teaching? A theory is completely derived from the lack of sufficient evidence or proof to support it. A theory is also totally originated from human speculation, rumor, assumption, conjecture and guesswork. All of these are synonyms for what a theory represents. People today often believe theories to be science and that is not accurate. The theory of evolution lacks any sufficient proof for its existence to be taught but yet is widely accepted by ignorant students to be a fact. Just because a subject is widely accepted does not make it a truth. This is the same that is true for man’s theories of exegesis.
Human theories are always based upon inadequate fallible human reasoning and thought which attempts to teach or explain something that is not completely known or understood by the speaker. Therefore according to Wikipedia “exegesis” and “hermeneutics” are both human attempts at theories for interpretation based upon the lack of sufficient known facts to prove or verify their accuracy. That is the primary purpose of the rest of this Bible lesson today. I am here to relieve your ignorance and present you with the God given Bible facts on this very important subject of Typology so that you can depart from your exegesis theories and believe the truth of God. The main point in this part of the lesson is that man’s theories of exegesis are always trumped and overruled by God’s facts every time. I seriously hope that you believe what God says in His Word and will choose to ignore what ignorant men say in order to not be led astray.
What I have been attempting to introduce you to is the fact that human theories of exegesis are only necessary today because people have not yet discovered or do not completely understand ALL of the true facts for the subject of correct Bible interpretation revealed by God in the Bible. God gives us an amazing set of lessons in His word concerning correct Bible interpretation. He defines very specific rules for interpretation. He defines very sound methods for correct Bible interpretation. He even gives us many great examples of each type of interpretation for us to learn from and apply to our study. This will be the focus for the rest of the Bible lesson. But before we do that let’s talk briefly about hermeneutics.
According to Wikipedia, the subject of hermeneutics is a more inclusive discipline for interpretation including the entire framework of the interpretative process. I found that statement to be very oxymoronic and contradictory to their previous statement of it being a theory of human work. This statement of the “entire framework” clearly “assumes” in error that they know and understand the complete process. To state that a discipline includes everything means that they know and understand it all and that is clearly not the case. What is being stated here is the fact that they just said it was a theory and then they changed positions attempting to define it to be all-inclusive and all knowing. There is absolutely no way that is possible. You need to be careful when you read human explanations for what words mean. If there are contradictions then there are problems.
But here is another very interesting point to consider about the subject of Hermeneutics. This word is derived from a pagan Greek name of a mythological god called “Hermes” which was their false messenger god. It would stand to reason from knowing this fact that anything to do with Hermeneutics is potentially a demonically inspired distraction from obtaining the real truth of God in His Word. What did I just say? I said if Hermes was a Satan inspired distraction from the true and living God then “Hermeneutics” could be the same. What we should observer by the review of Hermeneutics and Exegesis is that they are both man’s attempt at creating rules to define how to understand a God that they clearly do not understand. This is one of the main reasons that I avoid any manmade rules and theories of Bible interpretation. I long to only know what God says on the subject of interpretation and I will follow only Him completely and whole heartedly. I could have talked a lot more about those two words but this was a brief overview and certainly not a detailed book discussion of the subjects.
BUILDING THE TYPOLOGY FOUNDATION
We began by exploring the words of exegesis and hermeneutics in order to establish their origins and definitions. We clearly saw them to be theoretical works of men that conform to their own incomplete understanding of the subject of Bible interpretation presented to us in the Bible. Please allow me to do the same type of research for the word “typology” as a comparison. Is Typology based upon human guesswork, reasoning or speculation? Is Typology a manmade theory? We need to answer these in order to see how typology fits into correct Bible study. I believe you will quickly discover as we research this subject that typology is the opposite from what exegesis was defined to be. Both exegesis and typology are based upon rules but the origin of these rules will become apparently different. Let’s start this part of the subject study with a dictionary definition of the word “typology”:
- 1. The study or systematic classification of types that have characteristics or traits in common.
I thought this was an excellent definition. Can you see any differences between this and exegesis with your first review of the word typology? First understand that typology is NOT defined to be a theory. It is not based upon indeterminate human speculation. There is no reference to it being a theoretical effort of work like we saw in the definition of exegesis. Next, I would like to emphasize what this word means. Begin with the initial part of the definition to see that Typology represents a “STUDY” or a “CLASSIFICATION”. Right there this teaches us the fact that it is a clear effort of human labor which is predominately based upon observation. Study implies that someone is attempting to discover, learn and understand the known facts from either God or from any human subject teacher. Bible Study should be defined as the “acquisition of Bible knowledge” and Bible knowledge should be defined as “any established facts of truth found within the Bible context”. Therefore we have no theories involved in true Bible study. Did you understand what I just said? Typology is not a theory, but rather it is a study method and that is extremely insightful. If a person studies the subject of how automobile engines work they are seeking to learn the established facts of these machines and there should be no desire to learn from any speculative theories or opinions from people who have never built one, worked on one, repaired one or learned how they work or can even operate one personally from experience. Did you understand that automotive analogy? What I was attempting to say is that any serious Bible student should not need to learn from any man that teaches on the basis of theories because the true facts can only found in God’s Word.
Let’s shift into a Biblical spiritual discussion about “study” for a moment. What does God teach about the subject of “Study” in the Bible? Are we required to study the Bible? In other words is it necessary to study the Bible to understand it? Is typology a part of God’s study method? If you do not remember the answers to those questions I will show you the key verse that God gives to answer them:
- 2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
According to God “study” is a personal effort of labor. The Greek word that was translated as “workman” in this verse is G2040 and it literally means “a toiler”, “a worker” and “a laborer”. This Greek word comes from a root word that means “to work”. I believe that it is now self-evident that study is a level of extended effort way beyond just reading the text on the pages. Reading has never been studying, but studying does involve reading. God very clearly says here in this verse that if we do not study the Bible that we may fall into a negative state of shame someday. Therefore Bible study is a requirement given from God by N.T. command. This is very good and important information to consider.
I could spend a lot of time talking about study, how to study and how study works and the application to the spiritual man but that is not my main subject here in this lesson. I will briefly teach an overview of spiritual study to help you get started. The human spirit is incapable of any Bible study without the engagement of the human mind’s comprehensive application. Why is this mind and spirit interaction a necessity? It is because of the divinely created triune state of a human. The triune nature of a human is first the visible exterior body layer, the next layer of the human makeup is the invisible interior middle layer called the mind or soul and the final unseen layer is the innermost center of the living being called the spirit or heart. In Matthew 9:4 Jesus said to the people “Why do you think evil in your hearts”. The heart of man is the spirit of man and Jesus was connecting the two interior human realms together to teach how they work in unison. From that statement in Mathew Jesus just revealed that the heart of man can be in one of two states, either evil or good. All humans by nature are evil from the age of accountability which came from the works of their father Adam being passed down to his every descendant. How then do we get the evil out and allow the good to enter to replace it? Romans 12:2 will provide a clue to this answer by God commanding us to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds”. I personally believe this is like computers and the old computer programmer saying that went “Put Garbage In, Get Garbage Out”. In other words what you allow to be placed into your heart through your mind’s eye is what will be produced outwardly. Like I said this is a very deep subject to even try to mention here in a paragraph so please read some of my other lessons or ask questions if you do not understand the nature of a human and how the parts work together.
Now let’s research the term “classification” found within the “typology” definition. According to the dictionary this word means “the act or process of classifying things based upon common qualities or characteristics”. Again we are not concerned with any theories simply because classification is only dealing with the observable facts between two or more objects. What we are witnessing is that classification is a formalized approach to organization. Did you notice God’s inclusion of classification within the verse we just read in 1Timothy 2:15 about study? What does it mean to “rightly divide” the Word of Truth? Rightly dividing is a synonymous work of classification. God is literally saying that we need to organize the truth into proper like groups in order to understand it and that is called typology whether you believe it or not. This means when we study a subject in the Bible we may need to correctly observe the facts and then organize these facts in order to understand any of them. Perhaps, it will help if we first understand the definition for the term “classifying”. This word means “the systematic arrangement in groups or categories according to fixed established criteria”. Again this is a form of division and organization. To organize anything you must divide it up within known like categories. This is exactly what God was saying in 1Timothy 2:15 when he said to rightly divide the word of truth. To rightly divide God’s truth it must be classified into like categories. The antithesis truth to rightly dividing is wrongly dividing and this simply means that people can easily put truths in improper groups or categories of organization. I really hope that you are grasping these deep complex concepts found in God’s Word.
Organization is just a bad word to many people because it involves work again. Clearly we learned from God in 1Timothy 2:15 that work is involved in correct Bible study. This literally teaches us that organization must be a part of the same effort. Therefore if you are a lazy Christian you will never study the Bible. What I have observed from my Bible study is the fact that God is a highly organized being. There is no unorganized chaos found within God or His creation. Look around you and you will observe order everywhere you look. Order and organization do not originate from or appear from disordered chaos. It only stands to reason that if God operates in the realm of order and has created order then His Word must also be organized in some manner that would reflect His own divine qualities. This is one of the main reasons why I believe in Typology so strongly and we are about to learn many other great reasons soon.
What we are doing here is discovering the basics to what typology represents to God and man. Placing like items or objects together is the study of the arrangement, classification, grouping or organization of similar forms, kinds, types, etc. This method of classifying is based upon observing each object’s participation in a well-known and well-defined common set of like features, patterns, characteristics, qualities, abilities, etc. So far knowing these definitions we can make the claim that typology is the study of the “systematic” classification of types that have the same traits or characteristics. Wow, that is still a potential mouth full, isn’t it? Do you really understand what this typology means? Have you ever worked at filing in the days of the old file cabinets? Every old office paper filing system was organized by a defined rules based system to enable organized storage and facilitate the fast retrieval of the filed information. In a large stack of office papers it could take someone days to find the right paper if there was no organization applied to it. But with proper planned organization it is found in a few minutes. This old style manual filing organization was normally done by placing documents in alphabetical order based upon the name of a company or an individual’s last name. A paper filing method was always a “rules based” system of defined storage and retrieval and this is actually directly related to what God has done in the Bible using typology and rightly dividing the Word of Truth. I guess we need to look up the definition of “systematic” next. I know we are going through some really basic technical information in this part of the lesson, but I believe this will help you understand why God uses typology:
Systematic represents anything that is created, performed, established or done according to a defined set of never changing rules, standards and methods. Systematic also represents a repeatable discovery or process by continuing to follow the same rules. In other words a systematic discovery is one that is not accidental or unknown to how it was achieved. Thomas Edison went through a systematic process in discovering the light bulb. Every time that he discovered a light burning filament process that didn’t work that one was thrown out until the one that did work could be repeated consistently. The discovery of the defined process for creating light bulbs created a new systematic process that remained for many, many years of reliable service. If you understand this definition then you need to ask, does God have a plan before He does something? Does God follow any set methods of design before doing something? Does God use any set patterns when creating? Because people are so uninformed, they usually do not know to ask these questions and they certainly do know the answers to these very important questions. Let me repeat the definition of classification because this is just essential:
- The action or process of classifying something according to shared qualities or characteristics.
Like I have tried to say before,” classification” represents the human work of organizing and grouping like objects together based upon observable common features, characteristics, patterns, or any other standard observable qualities of similarity. Is classification a good or an evil system or method of work? Surely you can see that it is all good. Where did classification originate from man or God? I am firm believer that if you can see that classification is good and not evil then it had to have originated from God based upon what God said in James 1:17. Go read that verse and you should see what I mean.
I have talked about this concept of classification in several of my Bible studies on this website. Classifying like objects together is based upon basic mathematical set rules. Every object of a like nature can be grouped together in a common set and can be referenced by the superior group label or title. Each object in the set is unique but they are capable of being organized together because of the common feature being associated together. For example, the mammal classification or set of created beings will have in common certain observable facts that they are all 1) warm blooded 2) vertebrate 3) animals. Therefore any animal that fits this rule based description can be included in the set called mammals. That is what classification represents. Is this too complicated for a Bible study?
Concluding this part of the technical discussion we have learned that typology is the study of the systematic (rules based unchanging well defined methods) of classifying (organizing and grouping together) like or related individual objects (people, places, events and things) sharing common features or common characteristics. What this teaches us is that by learning about one object in the defined set we can apply this knowledge to learn about every other object in the set in some limited degree of defined classification. I might be going over the heads of many of my readers with this technical discussion about how types work but we need to learn this or remain ignorant. We need to learn these are God given facts and that in order to understand many things found in the New Testament correctly it requires us to obtain correct knowledge of the given Old Testament types. God’s use of Typology contains very specific classifications of like subjects, actions, individuals, groups, people, created objects, etc. that help us to understand spiritual things that we have never seen before. Are you beginning to grasp the significance of this subject? Let’s start an introduction to the subject of types found in the Bible.
BEGINNING TO SEE HEAVENLY TYPES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Let me take you into the classification of created man to help you understand that God declared the existence of types all the way back in Genesis 1. In Genesis 1:26 God says “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness…”. Man being the literal image and likeness of Almighty God is a mind blowing concept that is ignored by many Christians. The angels of God could look at created man and immediately see the features and characteristics of God being demonstrated and repeated. Man being made in God’s image is the definition of the word found within types and typology. The created man possessed the common qualities and features of God by God’s design and purpose. This Bible fact makes created man a literal “type” of the God class of beings using these common observable characteristics. I know that is not very religious sounding but it is what the Bible says.
By observing the original created design in man we can perceive the unseen qualities of God and learn about Him in so many ways. I do not have time to go into this subject fully today but I will give a quick overview of it. For example God is described in the Bible to be a triune being. Man was also created as a triune being consisting of three distinct and separate parts that comprise the whole as I mentioned earlier in this lesson. God is described with a mind and man was created with the same likeness of mental capacity with reasoning and thought. God speaks words audibly and man was created after this same pattern as a speaking individual. I hope that you will do more research or even ask questions if you do not understand how that God can be observed in a created being called man. Also do not misunderstand what I was saying about man being in the God class of beings. I was not declaring man to be equal to God so put down your stones. What I am beginning to teach is that spiritual things existed before there were any natural things and these naturally created things came from existing spiritual patterns, types and objects that were found present in the spiritual realm. I could teach this subject for a long time but I will not do a comprehensive inclusion of every characteristic of man as a type of God in the Bible. The primary point from Genesis 1:26 was that God existed eternally before man existed but yet when God created man He placed Himself as the pattern within the man. One of the main points from Genesis 1:26 is the fact that anything with like characteristics represents a type and fits within the typology definition. We will learn a lot more about this from the New Testament as we continue to study so do not yet give up or despair that you are not grasping it fully yet.
I will now go over another O.T. prevalent subject quickly that God revealed to me about the existence of types. This subject is mentioned in many of my other Bible studies because of the importance of this typology revealed by God. If you search the Bible for the name of the city called “Jerusalem” you should find that it occurs in over 700 verses directly. This city is also indirectly labeled and named by many other titles of a symbolic nature and the total verse count is actually much greater than 700. Are all of these verses about the same city here on the earth? You may be surprised to discover that they are not. Have you ever considered that there may have been a heavenly version of this city named Jerusalem before the earthly city was ever conceived by God? I know that I have, especially after reading what God wrote to us in the New Testament. If you go and read in Galatians 4:26 you will find where God declared that there exists a city called “Jerusalem Above” which is a totally different city than the one that is now presently here on the earth. Let me give you two main verses to consider concerning these two different cities both named Jerusalem:
- Gal 4:25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
- Gal 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
There are just not very many Christians that understand this truth because it was a new revelation from God sent to Paul for us to learn from in the last days. This city “Jerusalem Above” is called the spiritual mother of the church and I do not have time to explain that either. Notice in the verse before that God speaks of the earthly city of Jerusalem as a separate physical entity. It is very obvious to me that these two cities named Jerusalem are types of each other. It might not be as obvious to you but I have studied this subject for over 16 years and it becomes very apparent when you dig into it and allow God to open it up to your spiritual understanding. If you need to learn about this city in more depth, it is covered in several other Bible lessons on my website. What God has just revealed to you, is called hidden typology within the Bible. God implies that the earthly city Jerusalem here in the Middle East has been patterned from a city that already existed in the spiritual heaven. This is called typology where two cities are grouped together based upon common features and characteristics. God has just demonstrated a superior classification called “Jerusalem” where exists more than one individual types of the city in the set. Ok, God says for us to let every word be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses and I will give you another N.T. verse about this heavenly spiritual city:
- Heb 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
This is another extremely important verse to learn. It directly teaches us that there is another city in heaven named Jerusalem where the angels of God reside. When were angels created? That is a very difficult question to answer since we are never directly informed of this event in the Bible that I know of. There are several verses that indicate to us that angels were created long before man existed. I do not have time to teach them in this lesson but they are in some of my other Bible lessons on angels and creation. What we are observing is the realization that spiritual things existed before natural things but they can also both exist concurrently at the same time. We are also beginning to understand that some of these natural things have been modeled after the original spiritual things and even named the same. The Jerusalem that is on the earth is certainly not the Jerusalem just mentioned that was found in heaven. But by God calling them by the same name this teaches us the valid existence of typology. Also if you go and read back in Galatians 4:24 you will discover that both of these cities represent covenants with God. That gives them common features causing a likeness that can be grouped or classified together. Wow, I am hoping that you can understand and apply the typology concepts here to this information given to us by God.
What I am trying to say is that both of these cities belong to the classification called “Jerusalem cities”. Therefore we can learn about one of them and this knowledge will teach us many things about the other one and vice versa. If the Jerusalem below had a temple then the city above has the same type of feature. If the Jerusalem below has a high priest then the city above will contain the same type of feature. If the Jerusalem below was the home of a nation of God’s people then the city above will have the same characteristics. We could just go on and on with this subject of Jerusalem for a very long time but that was enough to get you started thinking. I will end this part of the introduction to this O.T. Bible typology discussion by trying to emphasize again that the naturally created things here on the earth will always point us back to the unseen spiritual things that existed before (Rom 1:20). This is what God reveals to us in the New Testament and we will now explore more examples of this divine use of typology in the next section.
DISCOVERING MORE OF GOD’S DUPLICATION OF EXISTING HEAVENLY PATTERNS
I have been going through the introduction of two hidden examples of Old Testament natural patterns that were concealed projections of existing heavenly spiritual patterns. Both the natural and the spiritual shared common features and characteristics allowing them to be legally grouped together within our typology study. This was the nature of typology by definition. As we continue to learn more about what has existed in the spiritual heaven has now been repeated by God here on the earth as types of heaven we will be able to learn about spiritual things that were never conceived within our human minds before. In fact it would be impossible for us to know of the existence of these spiritual things without God giving us the natural things to observe. We will also learn that these natural types on the earth will return back to the spiritual realm as in a full circle. All of this was a hidden concept taught by God in the Bible. Paul obtained the revelation of these truths and God is now making them known to us in the church in these last of the last days. What I want to do is to help confirm what I just introduced you to by using what God says in the Bible about these subjects. What will be doing is confirming that these O.T. things came from existing heavenly spiritual objects. Let’s start with a verse in Acts:
- Act 7:44 Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.
Have you ever considered the information given by God in this verse? God is informing us that Moses had a spiritual vision of heaven in order to see this preexisting pattern that he was to build. God was telling Moses to make the articles of the temple on the earth after the pattern design that was found in heaven. I know this verse can be taken other ways. For example God could have shown Moses what to build and these could have been completely new designs. However that interpretation does not match with what else God says in the N.T. and we must take into account every scripture that is given to us about this subject. If what I said about these earthly temple articles being heavenly patterns is true, this literally teaches us that the design of the temple in heaven was transferred to the earth through Moses and everything that was found here was a man made duplication of the divinely created spiritual realm. Obviously this means that the natural objects were not spiritual object but the resemblance could be seen if you knew both like the angels of God did. I will give you another verse that explains this more clearly next:
- Heb 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
Please read this verse very carefully. There are three key Greek words that need to be defined in order to understand that this is God using Typology to teach the people. The three Greek words are G5262, G4639 and G5179 translated in this verse as “example”, “shadow” and “pattern” respectively. But before we explore these Greek words let’s observe that this verse in Hebrews is a partial quotation of an Old Testament verse from Exodus and go and read it:
- Exo 25:40 “See that you make them after the pattern for them, which was shown to you on the mountain.
God again tells Moses directly that the objects of the temple will be made after the “pattern” that was given to him on the mountain. If you do not understand the concept of patterns in creation you will never correctly understand the Bible. A pattern is a creation technique and/or a device that causes duplicates to occur. A pattern is used to recreate any original work of creation. This is used in manufacturing, the garment creation industry, construction, automotive manufacturing and many other human work efforts. Man did not invent this method of work, God did! Please take a look at the definition for the Hebrew word H8403 translated as “pattern”.
- From H1129; structure; by implication a model, resemblance: – figure, form, likeness, pattern, similitude.
Does any of this definition sound familiar to what we have been covering in this Bible lesson? Take what I taught first in the previous section about Adam being made in the likeness of God. That was a different Hebrew word in Genesis 1:26 but the meanings are very synonymous. Both Hebrew words mean a resemblance or a model from a pattern. Strong even places the word “pattern” as a legal definition and that is what was translated in KJV Bible. Let’s go back to Hebrew 8:5 and look up the three Greek words that I was telling you were important to this subject. The first word is G5262 that was translated as “example”. What is an example? According to the dictionary an example is “a thing characteristic of its kind or illustrating a general rule”. Wow, that is the definition of a type within typology if I ever heard of one. God is teaching you some very profound truths located in the Bible and I pray that you are not letting them slip away from your mind. Again in the Strong’s definition we see concretely the words “likeness”, “model”, “resemblance” and “pattern”. Learn these words and remember them. See how they apply to Adam and God and then we will continue to learn how they apply to other types to come.
The next Greek word that I would like to point out is G4639 which is translated as “shadow” in this verse of Hebrews. This Greek word being included within this verse context is one of the main reasons why many teach that “types and shadows” are synonymous terms referring to the same concept within Typology. What is a shadow? A shadow is usually a place where the light does not fully reach, right? This means a shadow is where there is some level of darkness found to be present. In other words there is something that is blocking the light from being seen directly on that spot. I find that concept extremely informative to why people do not see or understand typology. It also implies that God withheld certain levels of detailed information within typology so that he could reveal them later. When Jesus came into the world in the flesh, He declared himself to be the light of the world (John 9:5). Jesus literally taught many new things that were hidden from the foundation of the world. This was Jesus being a light to the world explaining things that were never revealed before to man. If you have ever seen a television studio you know that it has a lot of lights in it. Bright lights cause shadows and that is not good for TV so they add more bright lights to eliminate the shadows. That is exactly what Jesus was doing taking the shadows of the Old Testament and bringing more light to them. Let’s review the Strong’s definition of this word:
- Apparently a primary word; “shade” or a shadow (literally or figuratively [darkness of error or an adumbration]): – shadow.
This Greek word is defined to be a “shade or a shadow” literally or figuratively and in this case in Hebrews 8:5 it is certainly a figurative usage. The word in this definition that I found the most interesting is probably a word that you have never heard of. Do you know what an “adumbration” is? This word means to “give a sketchy outline of something”. It literally means to provide “a sketchy, imperfect, incomplete or even a faint representation” of something else that is not given directly by reference. In other words it means that you can only know what is being stated if you understand the complete subject but otherwise you will not have a clue what the vague outline is about. This is a good description of a shadow on the ground. Unless you know who or what is casting the shadow the sketchy outline will be useless information to you. An adumbration also means the “vague foreshadowing” of a plan, event or a person. All of this information that we have discovered is completely relevant to the subject of Typology and God’s purpose for using it. Please tell me that you understand these vital concepts? The last Greek word that must be understood for this subject in Hebrew 8:5 is the Greek word G5179:
- From G5180; a die (as struck), that is, (by implication) a stamp or scar; by analogy a shape, that is, a statue, (figuratively) style or resemblance; specifically a sampler (“type”), that is, a model (for imitation) or instance (for warning): – en- (ex-) ample, fashion, figure, form, manner, pattern, print.
This Greek word is also one of the most important found in the verse and is the best description yet of typology. Please observe the concepts given in the definition. Do you know what a “die” is? This device is used in the manufacturing process to create duplicate objects. It is usually made of metal and hollow on the inside where other metal or plastic can be poured into it to harden and become a new identical piece. There are other types of these tools that are also used as stamps to leave an impression of an identical image. This is a common type of tool used in leather work. The idea that the one tool leaves a repeatable image in something represents another description of what Typology is to God as you can observe by continuing to read the rest of the definition. The key word in this definition is the word “TYPE”. It means that you can look at the thing being spoken of as a model of something else that is not normally revealed. Patterns are also found in this definition. We now have three different Greek words to search for in our Bible to learn how God uses them. These are essential elements to understanding Bible Typology. We have just covered the foundational basics for the subject and will now begin to explore the dynamics of some of the other aspects found within the New Testament.
GOD’S DETAILED USAGE OF O.T. TYPES AND SHADOWS IN THE N.T.
I have presented Biblical evidence that the naturally created things on the earth were patterned after unseen heavenly spiritual realities that pre-existed before the natural. We are now going to discover that the next step to this designed process is to see exactly how God has placed in the Old Testament very specific natural patterns, types and shadows that point us again to unseen New Testament spiritual types. God has taken this reality of patterns in a full circle from the spiritual to the natural then back to the spiritual again. What you will begin to discover are some of the reasons that God did this but probably not in total coverage in this Bible lesson. There are literally a great number of very specific natural types and shadows found in the O.T and these were designed to teach the church about the coming complex unseen spiritual truths found in the New Covenant. Without the existence of the natural realm the church would have no comprehension of the spiritual realm. As I have stated God created the natural world as a hidden reflecting window into the spiritual world. God very clearly said in Romans 1:20 that “The invisible things of God even His godhead and power are clearly viewed in the things that He has created so that men are without excuse”. I believe this verse teaches us something so very profound about the existence of typology. I believe God was saying that which has been in the past is that which is seen now and that which is seen now is that which shall be again in the future. If that doesn’t sound familiar you need to read Ecclesiastes to discover what God has said to us about this subject:
- Ecc 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Hopefully you can read and understand that God says there is NOTHING NEW under the sun. Nothing is a very comprehensive word and does not omit anything that can be observed in the natural. What does that teach us? That literally means everything that we see here right now in this world was modeled after what existed previously in the spiritual world. I am totally convinced that this is the concept of types and shadows used by God as repetitious patterns. These patterns found in the Old Testament bring us light to know what is occurring in the spiritual New Covenant. Let’s explore some more of the specific types revealed by God to us in the New Testament that were hidden by God in the Old Testament. I’ll begin this section of the lesson with a verse that is found in Romans 5:
- Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
This is God’s commentary on the creation of Adam in Genesis 1 and 2. In this N.T. explanation God very specifically reveals that Adam was a “TYPE” of the coming Lord Jesus. We can further confirm this truth by observing how God called Jesus the “Last Adam” in 1 Corinthians 15:45. What we are learning here in these two verses is further confirmation that God can use duplicate names like Adam or Jerusalem to establish a valid type set comparison and relationship. This concept was exactly what I taught you previously about the name of the city of Jerusalem. God will often repeat the name of an O.T. reality calling it HEAVENLY, NEW, LAST or by using some other adjective modified form to cause it to be known that it is not the same object as the one mentioned previously but is rather a new type of that one. If you continue to study this subject of typology you will soon discover that God will use a natural named reality found in the Old Testament to teach us about a spiritual reality again and again. The Greek word that was translated as “figure” in this verse in Romans is the repeated key word that was covered in the last section concerning the temple that Moses built in Hebrews 8:5. Do you remember the Greek word G5179 that meant a “die” or a “stamp”? How can Adam be called a stamped pattern of Jesus? By not understanding this word and how to apply it to Jesus will cause you to totally miss the very important message being taught by God concerning the legitimacy of typology. Can we agree to at least try to learn and understand what God wants us to know about this subject?
If you recall from the definition of G5179 it was based upon an engraving process, a printing press process, or even a modern “model” building process. When I was a kid I use to like to build models. I would buy them and then put them together trying to follow the instructions with glue and the finished model would “resemble” a real airplane that could be flown in the Air Force. It was such a great lesson of what is happening in this God example given to us in Romans 5:14. God is saying Adam is not Jesus but the resemblance and characteristics that he possessed clearly point us to Jesus using typology. It is exactly the same as the model airplane is not the greater real airplane but it teaches us and points us to what the real airplane looks like. That is obviously one of the greatest values for the existence of typology in the Bible. God says by us using typology that we can learn about Jesus from reading about a naturally created man named Adam. Wow, I wonder, how this Adam truth of Biblical typology fits into your theoretical rules of correct hermeneutics and exegesis. According to some believers and Bible teachers today God is incorrectly interpreting His own scriptures by using typology. Who among us believes that God knows what He is doing here? I choose to believe this very strongly and that is why you cannot talk me out of it with your manmade exegesis rules.
I can still hear many questioning how this reality is possible that Adam was a type of Jesus. I really do not have time to teach that in depth in this lesson today since that is not the main subject of this study. I will tell you that if Adam had a wife that came out of his side then Jesus will also have a wife that will come out of His side. That is one of the most profound hidden truths concerning the Adam typology. I will tell you that the law of marriage given to natural Israel in Genesis 2:24 is quoted in Ephesians 5 where God is talking about husbands and wives. In this chapter of Ephesians, God clearly reveals the wife of Christ Jesus to be the church. If you do not understand how this typology is possible either, ask questions or go read some more Bible lessons where I talk about this very important subject. I hope that I can challenge you do a study of Adam now with a new set of Jesus spiritual viewers on. God has just concretely confirmed the existence of O.T. types and shadows.
Jesus revealed in John 5:39 that the natural Jews needed to search their scriptures because these were the words that testified concerning Him. Jesus was teaching them that He was the predominate subject of their Holy Law. If they had to search in order to find Him, then He was not found plainly or easily in the surface text of the words written on the pages or scrolls. It was not until God reveals to us in the New Testament how Jesus could be found there that anyone could possibly know that Adam represented a “TYPE” or “PATTERN” of the coming Jesus. This single fact alone teaches the validity of using TYPOLOGY in correct Bible interpretation. Are you receiving this? I’m not done teaching so that is not all that I have to say on this subject but I have already given you very significant Bible evidence that should help you to begin to learn the truth about Typology. Let’s examine another type of Jesus found in the New Testament that confirms the reality of Typology:
- Heb 7:15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
Here we have a new and different Greek word but yet it means the exact same things as the ones that we have looked at previously. All of these Greek words G3665, G5179 and G8403 are very synonymous in their definitions. Here in Hebrews 7:15 God declares that Jesus is a priest “like” Melchisdec. The Greek word G3665 that is translated as “similitude” is the key word from this verse that must be understood. If you read the context of this verse you will discover that God relates the story of Abraham meeting the priest Melchisdec and how he gave to him a tenth of the spoils. What God is doing in this verse is teaching us that Jesus is again a spiritual type of the natural O.T. high priest Melchisdec. In doing this Jesus has become our high priest for the people in the church today. Perhaps we need to review the Strong’s definition for this Greek word in order to comprehend the typology connection completely:
- From G3664; resemblance: – like as, similitude.
This Greek word comes from a root word that means “similar in appearance or character”. Again we see the definition of what typology represents. This is the exact same concept as I gave you concerning the creation of man in Genesis 1:26. Man being made in the likeness and image of God is what God is saying about Jesus being made in the likeness and image of Melchisdec. Do you need me to repeat the definition of typology? Remember that typology was defined to be the systematic classification of similar objects based upon common characteristics. There are a lot more types of Jesus found in the Old Testament than these two witnesses that God just gave to you. What you will discover is that God has left many more types of Jesus for us to discover by teaching us of their existence using the examples of Adam and Melchisdec. I’ll give you one more N.T. example of typology which is more difficult to find but was written to the Hebrews who clearly knew the Law of Moses:
- Heb 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
- Heb 3:2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.
- Heb 3:3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.
- Heb 3:4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.
- Heb 3:5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
- Heb 3:6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Nowhere in these verses does it say specifically that Moses is a type of Jesus by using the 4 key Greek words that we have already found, but yet the description given to us is exactly within the context of the Typology subject discussion. Both men are said to be faithful. Both men are said to be “servants”. Both men are said to be builders of houses. Those few characteristics give them commonality that can be classified together. This is the definition of typology again. Can you see it? Of the two being referred to Jesus is clearly called the greater. This again is the repeated pattern of creation coming full circle. The greater God created the lesser man named Adam and then the greater God became like a lesser man Adam who died and has now been raised up to life again and exalted back into the realm of greatness. I am trying to teach the effectiveness and validity of Typology using as many examples as possible in this limited format lesson. I hope that you can seeing these for what they really are and learn how to apply them to your Bible Study going forward. Let’s talk about another aspect of Moses being a type of Jesus before we leave this part of the study.
If you recall the story of Moses he was chosen by God and deemed to be the “deliverer” of the natural nation of Israel. Again these were all types that pointed us to what Jesus did. Jesus was chosen by God and He was the “deliverer” of the whole world from Satan’s kingdom of darkness. The whole O.T. story of the deliverance of the people of natural Israel from Egypt is an extremely important lesson using Typology of how God brought the N.T. people out of the realm of control from Satan. Natural Israel was captive for 430 years in Egypt and the people of the earth were held captive to Satan for 4030 years. The natural story occurs in Exodus as a type but the greater story of deliverance was given to us by God in the Gospels and then revealed in the letters written to the church. If you still can’t understand these concepts after all of this I am beginning to think that I can’t help you. I would suggest that you go to Ephesians 1:16 and pray the prayer that Paul prayed for the church at Ephesus for God to open the eyes of their spiritual understanding to see the wisdom and revelation of Christ Jesus. If you pray this for yourself I know God will answer it because that is what He did for me.
Always remember that before these N.T. church letters were written there were only the Old Testament scriptures to find Jesus in. Acts 17:11 teaches us about a part of the church that was found by God to be more noble than others. These church members were open to what Paul was preaching but then they used their Old Testament scriptures to verify everything that was spoken was actually written in the Holy Book. The letters written to the church simply taught the people how to find Jesus and explain the many techniques that were used to conceal Him there. I write about this frequently because this is one of the number one problems that I face on my website. The only way that I have figured out how to get people to overcome not seeing the truth is by teaching it frequently over and over. Eventually people will either get tired of me saying the same thing and leave or finally get it into their spirit to believe.
We could talk about typology for a very long time since it is so dominate within the Old Testament. I will not even attempt to give you every possible type found in the Old Testament but I will quickly provide an overview of some that I found very interesting. We have already looked at Adam but the first two sons of Adam were Cain and Abel. Notice the fact that Abel was the younger brother because that will become a pattern within itself in many of the types found in the O.T. Cain’s offering is rejected by God and Abel’s offering is accepted. Cain gets angry and kills his younger brother. Abel is a type of Christ in this story. Christ came to the earth and was killed by Satan on the cross. God certainly accepted the Lamb’s sacrifice that was shed on the cross and God had already rejected Satan’s offerings. The blood of Abel was “like” the blood of Christ. Perhaps you struggle with my conclusions but what I say is based upon scriptures and not my own reasoning. Take a look at this verse and see the typology being mentioned between Jesus and Abel:
- Heb 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Why would God even mention Jesus and Abel in the same verse if they were not in some related classification together? Both were killed and both had their blood poured out on the ground during the commission of the act. God is giving you a clue about how typology works in this verse. God does not tell you everything that the type reveals so that you can still go and read it and discover more. This is called TYPOLOGY people and it is right in front of your face if you will just read it and see what it says.
Let’s consider the O.T. man Isaac next. This was the promised son that God told Abraham would come. However Abraham got impatient and listened to his wife and they had an Ishmael through a maid servant. God specifically told Abraham that this Ishmael was not his heir. Years later the promised son was given and Isaac was born. The maidservant and her son were cast out of the family and God reveals in the New Testament that this is an allegory of a far greater spiritual truth. Remember when I talked about Jerusalem above versus Jerusalem below? These were revealed using a form of typology called allegory. Allegory is simply a real natural story that reveals a hidden spiritual story of greater importance. If you go and read Galatians 4 you will find that Sarah was a type of the city Jerusalem that was above. Hagar was a type of the Jerusalem that now is here on the earth. I’m not going to teach this lesson again here so I do not have to explain it over again. Just try to conceive what God has done in the Bible using typology. The promised son Isaac is a very specific type of the Lord Jesus Christ the promise made to the whole world. When Abraham took his son to sacrifice him a ram was conveniently caught by the horns nearby. The Ram is symbolic of God coming to the earth in the flesh take the place of Isaac. The typology within this story is rich and very deep with spiritual content. Every player in the story of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael and Isaac has a role in the greater spiritual story. God the father is the type of Abraham. Isaac was a type of Jesus Christ. As we have seen the city of Jerusalem in heaven a type of Sarah and the city of Jerusalem in the middle east a type of Hagar. I’m not here to teach this whole allegory, so we will move on.
The subject of typology is found throughout the New Testament but let’s go back to chapter 7 of the book Acts. Earlier I gave you one verse from this chapter that was about Moses being given the heavenly patterns from God on the mountain. The rest of this chapter is also about hidden typologies found within the Old Testament. The man Stephen is speaking to the leaders of the synagogue and Stephen uses much of their law to try to explain why Jesus had to come to the earth. These are clearly all typology comparisons that were inspired by the Holy Spirit to teach them they were not seeing their scriptures correctly. These words are still true today for those that use private exegesis rules that disallow the use of Typology. If Typology is an invalid interpretation method then chapter 7 of Acts is from the devil. Please read this chapter carefully and learn what is being stated. Solomon is being stated by God to be a type of the coming Jesus in verse 47 who builds God a new spiritual house like Solomon did in the Old Testament. Also King David in the preceding verse is used to represent a type of God the Father in heaven. I’m just not going to spend the time to go through this whole chapter. You can do that for yourself.
I hope and pray that you are beginning to understand typology’s significance in the correct interpretation of the Old Testament. I could have told you about many other types of Jesus found in the Old Testament but I gave you enough to prove the reality that it should make you change your perspective to how you read the Old Testament. Learn from early church Bible teachers like Peter, Stephen, Paul and John who write and taught initially from only the Old Testament foundational verses about Jesus. Try to understand how they applied the O.T. scriptures to mean what they were revealed to them by the Spirit of God to mean in the New Testament. When you read the Old Testament if you are not looking for Jesus primarily then you are probably missing the main reason that the words were written. Then when you find a type of Jesus if you are not looking at the other named individuals that interact with the type of Jesus then you are missing another of the main reasons that they were also included in the text. God’s intelligence is way beyond what you can comprehend. God will take words within natural stories and teach you such profound spiritual knowledge and wisdom that it is staggering to the human mind. If you learned anything from this lesson I would enjoy hearing about it. These positive comments will counter the negative comments that will also surely come. God Bless you and if you keep studying the Bible to find the truth, Jesus said that it will be found (John 8:32). Thank you!
(Ver 1.1) This is now Part 6 in the series of Advanced Spiritual Bible Study Lessons concerning the reality of the Rapture of the Church. God has covered a lot of information in this series so far and most of it will not be repeated. Therefore I would recommend that you begin reading the series in Part 1 and continue forward in the series until this lesson. There is just no feasible way to repeat the last 5 lessons on this subject in one lesson so please consider reading them all carefully. In today’s Bible lesson God will take us on another journey through Old Testament scriptures that have no specific or direct mention of the Rapture event by a named reference. However that does not mean that this story is not about the rapture event using divinely inspired typology of named O.T. patterns, types, participants and events. If you are a doubter that believes God has not hidden any concealed information in the Bible for us to search for and discover then you are clearly a deceived person that has had your mind blinded by Satan from seeing the truth that is in plain sight if you desire to find it. No one can force you to see what will be taught to you today. Being a closed minded type of person to this potentially new information will probably cause the information to roll off of your mind like water off of a duck’s back. I pray that you will at least attempt to consider all of the information that is presented to you before you totally reject any of it.
THE RAPTURE IN OLD TESTAMENT TYPOLOGY
Today, we are going to go through some verses buried in the Gospel of Matthew that teach us about the coming rapture concepts. Right there you are probably going to ask “I thought that you said this was an Old Testament Typology Lesson”? “Why then are we reading in Matthew clearly a New Testament book and author?” That is actually a legitimate question but one that is easily answered. Yes the Gospels were written by New Testament church writers named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The time of this writing was obviously well after the death, burial and resurrection of Christ during the beginning of the church age. However, consider the primary subjects given within these texts. The majority of the descriptive acts and accounts within these texts occur prior to the implementation of the New Covenant which occurs at the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is essential to learn that there was no New Covenant made available until Jesus was raised from the dead. If there was no New Covenant then salvation could not be obtained because salvation is based upon believing in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Rom 4:24, Rom 10:9). Not until after Jesus was raised from the dead could anyone, be saved by God’s Grace through faith (Eph 2:8). So while the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John contain the beginning of the New Covenant at the conclusion of the books, the vast majority of the actions take place outside of the New Covenant. I hope that you understand that simple truth.
Within Old Testament Typology too many people want to see great detail, but these are never given in that format. Any Old Testament typology is a dark outlined natural shadow pattern of the brighter spiritual real image that produced the image and is never the real image itself. God designed the Bible with foreshadowed O.T. events that were projections to the coming spiritual real events found in the New Testament. So while the story in Matthew that I will present will have some real actual natural facts, there will be no details given otherwise about the actual timing of the coming future spiritual event being described. In other words this Typology in this Bible lesson will help prove the existence of the rapture but not necessarily if it is a pre-tribulation event or a post-tribulation event. I will address this issue of rapture timing further after we go through the verses to see how the shadows fit the actual described rapture event. I’ll begin the study with the first verse of the seventeenth chapter of Matthew, please read slowly and carefully:
- Mat 17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
Here we have the beginning of a new story initiated by Jesus the key figure of the entire New Testament and the rapture event. I want you to see how this fits the description of the rapture as we have already studied in the series. You should recall that it is Jesus that initiates the rapture event and it is not initiated by any man here on the earth. Then notice that it says “Jesus taketh”. Wow, that is very strong rapture language within typology. Taking people up, is the central theme of action found in this verse and it is initiated by the Lord Jesus. Notice that Jesus only selects a specific number and not every disciple to take with Him up to a high mountain apart from all of the others that were left below. Doesn’t that sound like more hidden rapture shadows? When you read scriptures like these in the Bible you should always stop and ask the basic who, what, when, where and why? For example ask why is Jesus taking them up after 6 days? Why not five, four or three or even two? What does this mean? Why is Jesus only taking 3 of the 12? Why is Jesus going up to a high mountain? If you are not asking God any specific question you will never see any specific answers. I’ll start with the concept of 6 days. Does 6 days match anything given to us in the Bible anywhere? It just so happens that 6 days matches the days of creation found in Genesis 1. This is called the Law of First Mention. Whenever a subject is first revealed in the Bible God places clues within the text to help us understand the references in the other parts of the Bible. God’s creation of our world was exactly 6 days in length. If you have read my other Bible studies you should already know that these 6 days represent the entire human history of man on the planet. I based this conclusion upon scriptures given to us by God in Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8. Let’s review 2 Peter 3:8 for those that have not read it or do not remember it:
- 2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
If you do not know or understand this verse, then God calls you ignorant. Being ignorant is not bad since we are all born in this condition. But ignorance can be easily corrected by learning the truth of God. What God is doing is giving us a New Testament spiritual definition for the word “day”. To a human the term “day” means a 24 hour period of time. But a day to the Lord is now being redefined to be a 1000 year period of human history. This news causes God’s definition to take priority over man’s definition when interpreting spiritual realities found in natural O.T. typologies. I am not going to be able to reteach in this lesson why human history is a 6000 year long period on God’s time clock and how that these 6 days of creation prophetically reveal man’s entire history on the earth in major shadowy steps of progression. I just don’t have that much time. You can begin to learn about these concepts from other Bible lessons that I have posted if you are interested.
One of the most important concepts to understanding and correctly interpreting any natural O.T. typology is to search and find the New Testament definitions of the words being used by God. However, please do not take this rule and misapply it in error. You cannot say that Jesus took Peter, James and John up to a high mountain after 6000 years. No, that is not what is happening. We also cannot take the 6 days of creation and try to make them 1000 year long periods of time. Both of those would be examples of erroneous interpretations. The 6 days in Matthew 17:1 are literal 24 hour periods of time. However these are used to point us into a spiritual reality of 6000 years using God’s definition. Both are true simultaneously. It is very much like the shadow of me on the ground caused by me standing in the sunshine is not me but yet represents me and is true because I’m truly standing casting the shadow. I hope you understand how to apply this information given by God in a natural O.T. story and how it can point us to a coming N.T. real spiritual reality. Let’s return back to the Matthew typology study.
I would like you to consider two key words in the first verse in Matthew again. These Greek words were translated as “taketh” and “apart” in the KJV Bible. Let’s look at the Greek G3880 that is translated as “taketh”. This Greek word literally means to “receive near”. The implied state before this occurred is that they were apart from Jesus but have now been brought close to Jesus. I believe that is exactly a rapture synonymous description. I hope that you are seeing the same things. Now consider the word translated as “apart”. This Greek word is G2398 and it means “one’s own”. It contains the implied meaning of what is being taken close was previously separated from something else or someone else. In this case in Matthew 17:1 Jesus selected 3 to be His own and the other 9 were to be left behind not to participate in the event experience. Wow, I’m telling you that this is very important information. Do you remember what Jesus said to us?
- Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
If not everyone that calls Jesus Lord will be saved this means not everyone that calls Jesus Lord will be raptured. Jesus basically teaches us that 75% of the church could be potentially left behind in the rapture. Let’s just take this and place figures to it. If there are 1 billion professing Christians in the world, this would potentially teach us that only 250 million of them will be taken in the rapture. Of course this is not me making any predictions. Because there are other verses that need to be considered. For example in the parable of the 10 Virgins the number of virgins that enter in with the bridegroom is 50%. So using that figure we could say 500 million of the 1 billion could be taken up in the rapture. The actual number is not important, but what is important is the fact that some are taken and some are left behind separated from the others exactly as what occurs in this type. That is what will occur when the rapture happens. Let’s continue to go through the rest of the Matthew 17 typology.
- Mat 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
The key word found in this verse is the English word translated as “transfigured’. This Greek word G3339 is a word that we get “metamorphosis” from. It means a state of newness that did not exist in the old state. It is like when a caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly. That is exactly what occurred in this verse in the natural but that is also what will occur in the rapture.
- 1Co 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
You see in this New Testament verse God is describing the rapture event and He declares that there will be a change in the human state from death (corruptible) to eternal life (incorruptible). The corruptible man will be completely transformed into a brand new incorruptible man. These are just shadow events in Matthew 17. I could talk a long time about the rest of verse 2 when Jesus appears as the sun, but that would take too long. Let’s continue to verse 3 and see what is revealed next:
- Mat 17:3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
I want you to remember where Jesus is. Jesus has already been transfigured and suddenly on the top of the high mountain “appears” Moses and Elijah. Wow again this is strong hidden rapture typology. Notice that Jesus there alone being viewed by the 3 disciple witnesses and suddenly Moses and Elijah instantly appear with Jesus. If that is not a rapture type I do not know what it is. Moses lived 120 years and then died. If you read the book of Jude you will begin to see a clue to what is being described here in Matthew 17.
- Jud 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
Why would Satan and Michael be in a legal dispute over the possession of the body of a dead man? I mean come on, what does this mean? I personally believe that the body of Moses was taken by God as a type being used to teach what will occur when the rapture occurs. Did you know that a Jubilee year only comes every 50 years of Jewish time? What is a Jubilee year? A jubilee year is when all debts were forgiven and the lands were returned to the original owners who sold them because of their debts that they could not pay. That is a very descriptive type of the human condition. Man had a debt that he could not pay and Jesus came to pay a debt that He didn’t owe. This is the Gospel good news of salvation. Well if you take a Jubilee of 50 and multiply it by the years that Moses lived you get 6000 again. Is that a coincidence? It could be, but I do not believe it is. Also consider the fact that Moses died a natural death (Deu 34:7) and that clearly Elijah did not (2 Kings 2:1). If you recall Elijah the prophet was taken up to heaven by the Lord alive in his physical body and never saw death. So we have Moses representing the dead in Christ and Elijah representing the living in Christ on the earth being taken up on the high mountain in the clouds to appear with Christ. This my friends is very precise typology of the coming rapture event that is a parallel to what we studied in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 being described. The dead in Christ represented by Moses will go up first. Just as Moses was also mentioned first in verse 3. God does everything for a reason even the order of the words in the verse teach us something important. Then Elijah is mentioned and he never died representing the shadow picture of the saved saints in the church still alive during the time of the rapture.
I believe that you can clearly see the rapture being described in this shadow text found in Matthew. The parallels are truly amazing and cannot be a chance occurrence. God has hidden things like this in the Bible, yet many people are not seeing them. The 6 days in this typology represent the 6000 years of human history and then the church is taken up. What we need to address next is when this will occur based upon God’s Word.
RAPTURE TIMING IN THE LIGHT OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS OF DANIEL
Please allow me to address the timing of the rapture using a short explanation for when this must occur according to the Word of God. Consider the 6 days found within the Matthew 17 typology shadow text. Let’s break these 6 days down into three separate but consecutive two day periods within the timeline of human history like God does in the Bible. Did you know that God did this? From Adam to Abraham was approximately 2000 years of human history and this time represents the initial two days of the six. God forms a covenant with one human man and his natural descendants and that initiates a new personal transition of God’s involvement with man. Then from Abraham to Jesus was also approximately another 2000 years of human history and again this was 2 additional days of the six. This Old Covenant through Abraham was God dealing with man in the natural realm and through the law.
We are now up to 4 in the series of six total days. The beginning of the 4th day of human history presents the entrance of Jesus the Messiah (God in the flesh) into the world as the Redeemer. With the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus this begins God’s new plan of salvation for all men through a New Covenant. The New Covenant begins a completely new period of human history through God’s intimate involvement with the individual man in the spirit realm. Knowing these facts literally teaches us that the duration of the church age can only endure the last 2 days of human history or approximately again a 2000 year time period. How long has the church been here on the earth now? We technically do not know for sure the exact length of time which matches the prophecy that Jesus gave to us saying “no man knows the day or the hour” (Mat 24:36). The current calendar year is 2013 AD but how long that is precisely on God’s timeline cannot be calculated exactly or precisely. There is even a debate of the year that Christ was exactly born and when Christ exactly died. What I will tell you is that even though we do not know the exact time, we are certainly at the very least at the last of the very end of the time of the two days (2000 years) of the church age. What I am attempting to say is that when the church age comes to an ends the rapture of the church must take place.
I guess one of the main questions that I will receive is when is the Great Tribulation? Is the Great Tribulation a part of the church age or a part of another age being separated from the church age? Those are excellent questions to consider. The correct Bible answer is not so obviously or easily found. But we will attempt to address these questions next using a very important Old Testament prophecy.
What I want to do in the remainder of this lesson is to introduce you to a new concept hidden in the Bible. In the book of Daniel God gives a detailed prophecy of an exact period of given time within God’s timeline. What we must do is determine if this period is within the 2 days of the New Covenant church age, the 2 days of the Old Covenant age, or the pre-Old Covenant 2 day age. This endeavor sounds like a Sherlock Holmes type of search for the clues to discover the answer and that is exactly what we will do.
This period in Daniel is described to be a time of 70 weeks of years foretelling the coming events concerning the natural nation of Israel and the entrance of Jesus into the world. Seventy weeks of years represents a period of time of exactly 490 years. You can calculate this by multiplying 7 (1 week of years) by 70 weeks and that gives you the 490 years total. Multiplying 490 years times 360 days in the Jewish calendar gives us 176,400 days of their history. Every week of these years has already been fulfilled except for one final week of years that has yet to occur. This final week of 7 years is called the great tribulation. Let’s go back to Daniel and read parts of this important prophecy to help confirm what I have just introduced you to:
- Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Perhaps I need to better explain what a week of years represents to God. A week of years is exactly 7 years just like one calendar week of days is exactly 7 days. Therefore 70 weeks of days would be calculated using the same math as 7 times 70 which equals 490 total days. This is not that complicated but yet it does involve a certain level of basic math and God loves to challenge us with things like this to discover. God uses the concepts of weeks and groups of 7 repeatedly in the Old Testament in various multiples. A Jubilee year occurred after 7 weeks of years (Lev 25:8-10). The Jewish people would count 7 times 7 years = 49 years and then they knew that the next year would be the Jubilee and this was the foreshadowed description of what occurs during the rapture event but I do not have time to explain that today. A Sabbath rest for the land occurred every 7th year (Lev 25:4). Jacob worked 1 week of years for his wife Rachael and then had to work another week of 7 years since he was tricked into taking the older daughter first (Gen 29:20-28). Joseph in Egypt interprets a dream where the end result was two weeks of 7 years each with 1 week of plenty followed by 1 week of famine (Gen 41:29:30). Both of these weeks represented 7 years. A Hebrew man or woman that was sold into slavery was to be freed after 6 years or on the 7th year and this represented 1 week of years’ service (Deu 15:12, Jer 34:14). This picture again fits the pattern of Sabbath rest that is repeated throughout the Bible starting in Genesis 1 and 2. You see I taught you that the 6 days of creation represented 6000 years of human history but there is coming another day called the 7th day that will be an additional 1000 year of rest and rule without Satan on the earth. That would make the creation event and human history on the earth the complete and full week. We could go through other examples of Bible weeks but that is enough for now to make the point of the existence of this pattern in the Bible.
Does a 7 year period of time sound like any futuristic event to come? Let’s go back and look again at Daniel’s 70 weeks of years in more depth. If God declares 70 weeks of years that is like I said a total of 490 years that were prophesied for ONLY natural Israel and for the work to fulfill the coming righteousness as described in verse 24. I want you to know this because that is critical for the correct interpretation of what God is doing here. What I will emphasize more than once in this discussion is that the church age is NOT a part of this 70 week prophecy nor can it be since righteousness has already been given to the church (Rom 3:21-22, Rom 5:17, 2 Cor 5:21, Eph 4:24). Let’ reread verse 24 of Daniel 9 to analyze the words more carefully:
- Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
I would like you to review what is being stated in this verse more clearly. Seventy weeks is the initiation of the verse statement. Seventy is a Hebrew term that means 3 score and 10. What we begin to understand is this is the initiation of a very significant and complex prophecy puzzle or riddle. The Hebrew word that is translated as “determined” is H2852 and this word means to “cut off”. That is obviously not a positive term to apply and I do not have the time to get into that part of the discussion. Next in the verse is where we begin to understand who this prophecy applies to primarily. God says this is written to His people and His holy city. In the Old Testament this is clearly the natural descendants of Abraham and the city of Jerusalem. I could give you scriptures for that if you need them and do not understand it, just ask me for them. The next part of the verse represents the work of Christ. This work of Christ was to finish the transgression of these people and to put an end to sin. This work further goes on to declare reconciliation for iniquity and to bring in everlasting righteousness. Wow those are very important statements concerning what Jesus will do. This verse is about the coming of Jesus into the world to pay the price for ALL the sins of mankind. This statement predicts the accomplished works of Jesus that occurred nearly 2000 years ago.
Do you understand the information being tied together here? We have a total period of time described to be 70 weeks of years that declares the coming righteousness and that is followed immediately by several other verses of prophecy that begin to break this complete period of 70 weeks down into subdivided weeks of years. This is just part of the complex riddle being presented. These are very easy concepts to overlook and not understand. Let’s go read the verse 25 of Daniel 8 of the prophecy and consider this new information next:
- Dan 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
The KJV Bible translation causes the next time period to be a bit confusing using a complex wording of 7 weeks followed by the term three-score and two weeks. This sounds a little complicated at first until we learn that three score is just a period of 60 weeks which needs to be added to 2 weeks to get a sub-total of 62 which then we need to add to 7 weeks where we get 69 total weeks until this time period is accomplished when Messiah the Prince is prophesied to come! Ok, 69 weeks of years is 7 times 69 years which results in 483 years until Messiah’s entrance into the earth into Jerusalem. Several people have done the calculation on the internet so I will not repeat that in this lesson. What they have determined was back when the command to build the walls of Jerusalem was given until the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey was an exact period of 483 years. You can search this out and find it to help you confirm that math.
This new division of 69 weeks from the original 70 weeks teaches us that the 70th week occurs sometime after this stated initial prophecy of when Messiah has come. Do you understand this so far? What we have started to observe is an implied disjointed 70th week. Now consider this information in the next verse:
- Dan 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
What God is telling us is that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) will be killed after 62 weeks. That is a different break down of the time period called the 69 weeks that was previously mentioned in the last verse. What God is revealing is that there will be a 7 week timed event followed by a 62 week timed event and then Messiah will come after the full 69 weeks are fulfilled. Do you understand this? This verse is just a new further description of what occurs during the time that occurs before the end of the 69 weeks but God breaks it down into a further division of 7 (49 years) and 62 (434) weeks. What I believe God is stating is that there will be first 7 weeks of years followed by another 62 weeks of years and then Jesus will be killed on the cross (cut off). Here is a synopsis of what I believe is being stated in these verses so far.
This is how the 70 weeks are broken down:
- The first 7 weeks – This 49 year period of time represents the initiation of the commandment to rebuild the walls of the city of Jerusalem was given until it was fully accomplished in or around 445 BC.
- The next 62 weeks – This period of time represents the completion of the walls of Jerusalem building until Messiah comes riding into the city walls 483 years later.
- The Last Week – The yet to be fulfilled week of years is disjointed from the others because God has halted the O.T. time clock of weeks since Israel rejected their Messiah and killed him on a cross.
Many times people do not see or seek to understand these important clues. This prophecy was hidden by God in such a way that man could not understand it until it was revealed. If you read the end of the book of Daniel in verse 12:4 God says to “Daniel to shut up the book until the time of the end”. That teaches us that this book of the Bible was concealed by God to not be easily understood until such a time as this. Let’s move to the 70th week to help us to see this time as being a separated time from the other 69 weeks more clearly:
- Dan 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Here is an interesting description of a single one week period of years. Obviously this is the 70th week being described since all of the other 69 weeks have been previously covered. This one week period of time is clearly divided into two equal portions. Dividing 7 years by two you get 3.5 years. If you take that into months you will get 7 * 12 = 84 months and dividing that by two you get two periods of 42 months each. Are you following this simple math? This description matches what is prophesied to come in great detail in the book of Revelation chapters 6 through 18. In the book of Revelation God used two different synonymous references for these periods of half 7 years. One reference is called “42 months” in Revelation 11:2 and Revelation 13:5 and then He calls this time period a “time” (year), “times” (2 years) and “half time” (6 months) in Revelation 12:14. Both of these represent the half week year time period being described here in this verse in Daniel 9:27 and also in Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 12:7.
I am convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt that this seventieth week of Daniel represents the 7 years of tribulation revealed in the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation references and further describes many of the events prophesied in the book of Daniel repeatedly. That would be a very extensive Bible study in itself to confirm this but I do not have that kind of time to do that today. If you need to learn more about that you can ask questions or you can do an in-depth study for yourself on this subject. My point in conclusion is that if these seven years in Revelation represent the one final week of years found in the 70 week of years directed at only the natural nation of Israel in Daniel then they cannot be included in the 2000 years of the duration of the church age. In other words they must not nor will they ever overlap each other in simultaneous concurrence. What we are discovering in this study is a restart of God’s time clock that had previously been halted when Jesus was killed at the end of the 69 previous weeks. Knowing this reality literally teaches me that the church must be raptured before the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy can occur since we in the church are not under that covenant. Do you understand this logic? I pray that you understand this because it is essential to learn. You are free to disagree but that is how I view it as God has taught me. So please do not write me a comment telling me God is wrong.
I believe I have gone long enough in this lesson on the soon to occur rapture event. The church age is coming to its rapid conclusion as declared by God’s Word to be exactly two days (2000 years) upon the earth. The internet today allows the Gospel to be preached to the whole world and this was prophesied by Jesus to occur before He returned for us (Mat 24:14). My Bible study blog has been read by people in more than 150 different nations on every inhabited continent. That would be impossible for me to visit those personally and tell them about the soon coming Jesus. However I can give them a message on the internet and that will do the same work if they will believe it. I pray that you understood why I went into the 70 weeks of prophesied years of natural Israel and how these do not overlap with the church years on the earth. We are under God’s Grace during the church age and His righteousness has been extended to anyone that will receive it freely by faith. The age of Grace will be taken away with the church in the rapture. This does not mean that people cannot be saved during the tribulation but it will be much more difficult to receive this salvation. Learning this information has caused me to believe that the church must not be found present during the 70th week called the Great Tribulation in Matthew 24:21, Revelation 2:22 and Revelation 7:14. In the next lesson in this series we may explore more hidden clues concerning this pre-tribulation rapture revelation. I hope and pray that you learned something that you can take away and share with others. The time is drawing rapidly near and the rapture could literally occur at any moment. If you are not ready for this and need to repent and turn to Christ you can find a link at the top of my menu on how to believe and receive salvation. Thank you for reading and studying the Bible today and God will continue to lead you and guide you in new ways to help others come to Christ. God Bless!
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 5 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the timely and very important subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”. If you have not read this entire series from the beginning I would highly recommend that you go and start your study with “Part 1” and then continue in succession until today’s lesson. However if you do not have the time to read every lesson I will inform you that this lesson today will be of great benefit and will be easily understood as a standalone lesson. Many Christians today are asking “Is the Rapture Really Found in the Bible?” I believe the clear signs of the times that we live within today are causing more and more people to ask this question. In this lesson series I have been going through verses that teach us about the rapture subject found both in the New Testament and in Old Testament typology. Many of these verses represent places in the Bible that Christians have not considered being about the subject of rapture. Today’s lesson will certainly be no different. God will present to you some potentially new information today in this lesson that may just open your eyes to a brand new way of searching for His Truth! I hope that you are ready to learn.
Before I get started today I wish to thank you for your time in studying the Bible. To all of my faithful subscribers I greatly appreciate your ability to perceive that what I teach is not from me. The teachings of a man are inconsequential without the anointing and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I take no credit for anything that is on this website. If it was not for the gracious and precious Holy Spirit teaching me I would have had nothing worthwhile to say. Therefore, I give God all the praise and all the glory for anything that has helped anyone. So no matter what, I trust God to confirm everything that is taught here by you using your own Bible and the Holy Spirit that is within you giving witness. Trust no human at any time, no matter how eloquent the words that come from them or their good looking appearance. There is a great deception occurring in the world today. Evil is being called good and good being called evil. I know that no one including myself is perfect and we all make mistakes. Therefore I trust that you will receive my sincere gratitude as I humbly submit to God’s direction.
SEARCHING FOR TRUTH IN THE BIBLE!
The vast majority of Christians today believe in a rapture concept where Jesus literally returns in the clouds to take up His people to be with Him in heaven. This belief is based upon verses like John 14:1-3 where Jesus speaks of His father’s house in heaven and says that He will go and prepare a place for us and then come again to take us there. There are not very many Christians that do not understand this truth and believe it yet the great debate that remains among many churches is concerning the timing of this event. The rapture timing is exactly the subject being addressed in these Bible lessons. In the last lesson I went through a lot of new information that I will not repeat today. I tried to teach the importance of seeing spiritual things even in the O.T. natural stories but I got a few ignorant comments that refused to open their eyes to understand the legitimacy of these methods. These types of people are so focused on the literal obvious messages that they do not want to understand how God has concealed many spiritual truths for us to find in these same words. I tried to emphasize in the last lesson that even Jesus said that He was hidden in the O.T. (John 5:39) and that we were required to go and search to look for Him in those verses. This information must have gone over the heads of a few people who want to see everything easily in the Bible. I do not recall any verse in the Bible that says Bible study is easy, do you know of any? If you do please share it with me so I can learn.
I just mentioned John 5:39 and this is so important to memorize that I am going to emphasize it again. In Matthew 13:11 Jesus declared to His disciples that it was given for them to understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God but then He clearly states that this was not given to everyone else. This is just further confirmation that not everything in the Bible is clearly stated to be understood by everyone. Romans 16:25 says that Paul preached the mystery of the Gospel of Jesus that was hidden from the foundation of the world. That literally means it was not plainly stated in the O.T. and had to be revealed by the Spirit of God. Proverbs 25:2 declares that it is “the glory of God to conceal a thing and the honor of kings to search out a matter”. These are just a few verses of the many that I could include in this message that not everything in the Bible is plainly presented for your automatic understanding. This is so easy for a supremely intelligent God to do. He can speak to us on His level of understanding and we would be clueless to understand it until we learned how. I emphasize this fact in many, many of my Bible lessons because it is so vital for you to come up to a higher spiritual way of thinking. Learning to see the scriptures as God sees them will help you more than anything else that I could teach you today.
BE IT UNTO YOU ACCORDING TO YOUR FAITH
Why any Christian would desire to go through the coming tribulation is a mystery to me but that is what many are choosing to believe and I believe that is what may just happen to them based upon what the N.T. teaches us about faith. Jesus very clearly taught us a valuable lesson in the Gospels when He said “According to your faith, be it unto you” (Mat 9:29). Jesus was telling these blind men in Mathew 9 something directly and He treated them differently than the many other blind men that may have been in the same city. Jesus only healed the blind men that believed and had faith and the others that were in the city were not healed. You could reason that these others that were not healed were simply not present but that is a different part of another lesson and I do not want to get off track in this lesson. Simply understand that the blind men had to believe in order to seek after Jesus and if the others did not do the same they were left out from this benefit. Now go and read Matthew 8:13 where Jesus says to the centurion “go thou way and as thou has believed, be it done unto you”. Jesus spoke very highly of this man’s faith. He then told him clearly that it would be done to him even as he had believed. I think you need to consider these facts carefully.
I think both of those examples that I just presented you are valuable lessons to learn from about the subject of faith. We then need to learn to apply that knowledge to the subject of rapture. If you want to believe and stay in the post tribulation camp, I won’t stop you. I will still try to show you what I see that the Bible says on the subject and that is why we are going to go through a different part of the Bible today to see a different lesson taught by God. What I am trying to say here is that what you believe matters and if it does not matter what you believe then God is in sovereign control and I don’t have to believe in Jesus or Satan. That is a common false teaching to think that man has no determination of his destiny. I believe from the words of Jesus that what you believe could very well be the determining factor if you are taken out on the first call of the rapture or left here. If you don’t believe me, that is fine with me. Please don’t write me any negative comments trying to say something I didn’t say.
Evaluate where your faith is today. What do you believe and why? If you have several scriptures to back your beliefs then you are on a firmer foundation than not having any. That is exactly why I am giving you my scriptures for why I believe the way that I do in a pre-tribulation rapture. I did not determine my beliefs in pre-tribulation rapture first and then seek to find the scriptures to confirm them. That is a false erroneous approach to Bible study. You can find any belief in the Bible that you want to find in some form. This is exactly why there are mid-tribulation believers and post-tribulation believers and most of them have found some scriptures that they believe support their thinking. God purposefully designed the Bible this way to allow us to be wrong and remain in our false beliefs. What God desires is for us to first clear our mind of our prejudices and then to ask the Holy Spirit to show us the truth and only then can we go and seek to find it in His Word allowing Him to direct our paths of search. We cannot do this with any presumptive expectations for what the truth is or this will slant our viewpoint to that preconceived belief. That type of search is a closed minded approach and does not allow God to speak to us in our hearts since our hearts are already set in concrete. We can only determine the actual truth based only upon what God reveals to us in His Word when He speaks to our heart. Notice that I did not say your mind, the voices in your mind can be from the devil. The Spirit of God is in your heart and that is where divine direction will be given. If you do not know how to be led by the Spirit of God I would recommend that you go read that series of lessons to begin to learn.
This section of the lesson I title “Be it unto you according to your Faith”. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God taught according to Romans 10:17. That simply means that you can get faith to change your beliefs by what God presents in this Bible lesson series. If you are open to learning this will allow the Spirit of God to confirm this lesson. I hope and pray that you will at least give God a chance to see what He might say to you today.
THE RAPTURE IN REVELATION 3:10
I was asked to explain the Bible verse found in Revelation 3:10 and I immediately understood that they were asking this question from a rapture subject perspective since that is clearly the hidden message of the verse. I say clearly but what is clear to me may not yet be clear to you! You may still be amazed after you read this lesson how a verse that never mentions the word rapture directly can be such a key and important lesson on the subject.
The first fact that would I like to mention is that you are right the theological term “rapture” does not exist in the English Bible but that does not mean that the concepts surrounding the subject are not taught repeatedly by God in many unique ways. As I have said before the English term “rapture” comes from a Latin word “raptus” which means “a carrying off”. People are normally too narrowly focused on finding the specific word rapture, that they are missing entirely the more important messages about the subject recorded from God. One detail that needs to be understood is that there are at least two completely different ways of teaching any subject. A teacher can state the subject directly by describing it plainly or they can teach it indirectly by what is stated so that the subject must be true in order for the statement being made to also be true. Most modern school textbooks are written in a direct teaching style with ordered increasing levels of associated complexity. However, God’s word is not written in a textbook style and appears to be more random information that needs to be connected by study. God teaches most spiritual subjects indirectly especially in the Old Testament where they are never explained fully until the descriptions are given about them in the New Testament. Direct natural truths as opposed to indirect spiritual truths are found equally in abundance throughout the Bible. For every direct natural lesson on a subject there are usually equal numbers of indirect spiritual lessons that can be found if you know how to search for them. I hope you will learn both of these concepts given in this introduction from this lesson today. Revelation 3:10 is an indirect and unstated spiritual lesson on the pre-tribulation rapture of the church that must be a truth for this statement that was made by Jesus to also be a truth and you will soon learn why I say this. Let’s start by reviewing the verse in question and seeing what was stated by Jesus:
- Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
The KJV Bible translation does a fair job at translating each Greek word into English but yet these English words are often ignored or misapplied to not mean what they are really saying. It is very easy to take an English word and restrict it to a specific narrow thought or application and that may be what is happening in this verse when you read it. Some English words are easily assumed to be fully understood as they actually go much deeper in their definition and meaning when studied. Assuming that you know and understand the truth is probably one of the greatest reasons why God is unable to teach you anything new. So please take no preconceived assumptions into this Bible lesson as you continue to read. There are certain key words given to us in this verse which need to be understood in order for us to comprehend the message being given to us by God. Today we are going to go through at least 5 specific Greek words found in Revelation 3:10 and find their meanings and God’s usage for the words in other parts of the Bible. These words that I will focus on are “all”, “world”, “temptation”, “keep” and “kept”.
I’m going to start with the Greek word translated as “all”. This Greek word G3650 translated as “ALL” literally means the “entirety of the whole”. This Greek word is applied as an adverb in this sentence and is directly used by God as a modifier description for the noun “world”. In this type of presentation it would represent the entire “world”. Let’s go back to an old Bible lesson that I did on the serpent in the garden first mentioned in Genesis 3:1. In that Bible lesson I taught on how that God created laws of mathematical sets and used them in the words that He has written in the Bible. A set is always a related grouping of like objects. If I have a set of automobiles they may differ in manufacturer, color, make, year and model but they are all still unified members of my automobile set. If I wanted to limit the scope of my set of automobiles I could qualify a new description to create a subset of just certain common features or characteristics. For example I could define one sub-set of my “automobiles” to be only “red” automobiles and that makes ALL cars of the red color to be members in that set. Now when I say ALL RED CARS you know I am including every one that qualifies to be a member together in that definition. This is basic mathematical logic based upon established God created principles and yet many Christians may not grasp these important basic concepts and how they apply to the Word of God. What we need to see is that God has just defined a mathematical set in Revelation 3:10 and said “every” noun object in that set called the “world” was included. That literally means there are no “world” members excluded from the statement. However the next problem is how does God define the members in the “world” set and what do these members possess that defines them to be in the common description? I hope I am not going over your heads with these important thoughts but they must be applied correctly to understand who God is speaking about in this verse.
Let’s speak briefly about God’s usage of the Greek word G3650 that was translated as “ALL” in this verse. This Greek word occurs in 99 verses of the Bible. Around 60 times it was translated as “ALL”. In nearly 40 verses, the Greek word was translated as “whole”. “Whole” and “all” are clearly synonyms with the same definition. They both will always include every member that fits the definition. If you would like to do the study and search for this word for yourself in your Bible software to confirm how God consistently uses it to mean every that would be good to do, but I will not do that in this lesson today to keep this lesson a little bit shorter.
The next step to understanding Revelation 3:10, is to learn the Biblical definition of what the “all the world” set represents to God. Jesus very clearly states that an “hour of temptation” will come upon the “entire world” at some unstated future time which was not directly given to us. If the entire world will come into these common temptations we need to learn what the world means and what temptation means so that we can understand how or even if these apply to us in the church. Let’s continue by examining the Greek word G3625 and determine how it was defined in the Greek language. This Greek word which was translated as the English word “world” literally means “the earth”, “the soil” or “the physical land parts of the globe” according to the Strong’s definition. However that does not mean that these physical land parts of the globe will be what is tempted in the prophesied hour. What we are to apply is that God is speaking indirectly about the “inhabitants” of these “land areas” and not specifically about the dry dirt. Therefore it is not the physical land directly being referenced but rather the people living on the land who will be tempted. The implied application for this Greek word (world) is anyone that is alive on the earth or living upon dry land or occupying the livable land mass continents of the planet. Let’s confirm this by observing this phrase in other parts of the N.T.:
- Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Here is an interesting reoccurrence of the phrase “All the world”. Jesus is speaking and He declares the time of the end will come only after the Gospel is preached to “all the world”. Obviously Jesus was not telling us to go preach to the literal soil of the planet. No Jesus was telling us to go into every part of the globe and preach to the people that inhabit that part of the whole. In other words the entire population of the globe will hear the Gospel before the end will come. If we go and read Luke 2:1 you will see another example that it is the people that are the intended definition for the term “all the world”. In this verse the ruler Caesar Augustus declared that “all the world” should be taxed. That sounds very familiar to what is happening with governments today but that is a different subject. We have seen enough examples to understand the description being used is about the people living on the earth and definitely not the literal earth. Let’s stop there and ask ourselves does that term “all the earth” include Christians? Of course we must realize that presently it does. Christians on this planet are no different than non-Christians in that we both live in the same global “world” set of earth dwellers. Remember what I just said because that fact will become very relevant as we continue in this lesson. Let’s now examine the next Greek word G3986 translated as “temptation” in Revelation 3:10 because this is also an essential word to learn and understand:
- From G3985; a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication adversity: – temptation, X try.
This Greek word literally means to prove something or someone. This is usually done by someone performing a trial or test like a scientist proving their theory of supposition performing repeated tests. That is a popular concept within the scientific community but one that is misapplied to God and the truth found in God’s word. Many Christians today believe that God tests people with trials to prove their faithfulness and that belief is contrary to what the Bible actually teaches. Once you learn the truth you will figure out quickly that it is unnecessary for God to test anyone. First consider the well-known fact that the divine God is called omniscient. This is a common characteristic used to describe God and clearly demonstrates His superior nature. Omniscient simply means “ALL KNOWING”. If God literally knows everything as most Theologians and Christians believe it would be totally unnecessary for God to test or prove anyone since He must already know the outcome before the test is presented. Therefore it is extremely ignorant to believe God needs to test us in order to prove our faith in Him. Do you believe this? If you do then you need to apply that information to what Jesus is stating in this verse to determine who is doing the testing to prove these people in the world.
The Bible teaches us who the tester represents but these facts are often ignored by many Christians because Satan would rather you believe in a good God that brings the tests rather than an evil being like himself that you might resist or fight against. Do you already see the initial motivation behind why Satan wants Christians to believe that God is their tester? I think it is obvious because Christians will not be foolish enough to fight against God. The Greek word G3986 translated as “temptation” in Revelation 3:10 comes from the root word G3985 that means “to test”. We need to learn how this word is used by God to teach us that it is not God that is testing people. Let’s read this verse found in the book of James:
- Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
The word translated as “tempted” here is the Greek word G3985. Notice what God declares. God clearly states that He is not the tempter or the tester of humans. The statement is directed at man by God saying “let no man say”. This term for “no man” is found in several statements made by Jesus and is even found in Revelation 3:11 the next verse that we are studying when Jesus says “Let no man take your crown”. It is very clear to me that this term is referring to human earth inhabitants again. We have already stated why this testing is unnecessary based upon God already knowing the outcome. If God does not test or tempt any human then who is sending the temptations, tests and trials in Revelation 3:10 to the whole world? That is a very interesting question and the answer still points us to Satan to be the tempter. Let’s examine some other verses found in the N.T. to confirm that God is not the tempter or tester of man:
- Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Here is a verse found in the Lord’s Prayer used by Jesus to teach His disciples how to pray. Jesus taught them to pray for God to lead them out from temptation and clearly not into them. Is the implied will of God for Christians to be tested or not to be tested? It would seem to say that it is not God’s will for us to be tested based upon the prayer. The implication given to us is that if we need to pray to ask God not to lead us into “temptations” that God is not the one that is initiating the temptation. That is just sound basic logical reasoning. God would not remove something that He was causing. Let’s shift to another verse to help understand the true source of temptations:
- Luk 4:13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
This verse has the same Greek word found in Revelation 3:10. God clearly says that Satan was the source for these temptations here in this verse. Based upon the context given to us these temptations occurred when Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness being on a forty day fast. Clearly Jesus would be considered to be “in the world” occupying the soil in this example and that is key for us understanding Revelation 3:10. I could go over many verses found in the N.T. but I will only give you one more witness to learn from for now:
- 1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Here we have a message written to the church. We are plainly informed that “temptations” may come but then we are indirectly informed that God was not the one that sent them. This is an example of learning from what is stated how to see what is not stated. In this verse God says “I will not allow the temptation to be above what you are able to endure”. That appears to me to say I am a God that places limitations upon the one that is testing you. God would not send the test and then limit the test and finally make a way out of the test as this verse declares. That would be a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of God. This would be dueling personalities with one side of God sending you the test to potentially harm you while the nice side of God limiting the test and placing a way out from it so that you can escape it. That type of reasoning makes no sense to me but many Christians believe in that type of situation everyday. One man that I knew believed that God sent cancer to his wife to test them but they were going to the doctors to try to get out from the test and live. Wow, I seriously tried to help him see that it was not God doing it to his wife but he rejected it. I’m really not sure what happened to his wife.
So far we have looked at the Greek words for “temptation”, “world”, and “all” in in Revelation 3:10 to gain understanding how they apply to the verse. We have learned so far that a “temptation” is a stated trial or test that every human can potentially come into at some time in their life even Christians. We have learned that Satan is the initiator of these tests and trials and that God is the one that leaves us a door out of the test if we want to find it. We have learned the term “world” means earth dweller or inhabitant. So far that definition would include everyone still living here on the planet. Since God used the qualifier “all” before the world noun He clearly states that the entire population will be tested by Satan. Let’s reread the verse again and apply what we have learned so far:
- Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Jesus is the speaker in this verse so that is very important to note. Then we know by reading in context that He is speaking to the church since this statement is found within one of the letters of Revelation written to the churches. Therefore we know the majority of the noun subject participants found in this verse including the speaker and the intended target audience, Satan the tempter of the earth inhabitants and we now desire to understand the verb actions being given to connect them all together. We have already seen where Satan is the tempter and Jesus says that his temptations, tests and trials will come upon the entire population of the earth. Right there is an excellent time to consider that to be a prophecy of future reference. Meaning what Jesus was speaking of had not occurred up until the time of writing. That should raise a meaningful question in your mind, “Why is this stated time of temptation different than previous mentions of temptations given throughout the Bible? I personally believe that the hour of temptation being spoken of is the soon to be described “Great Tribulation” later in the book of Revelation. One of the main reasons that I believe this is because Satan is one of the key subjects in the rest of the book. He is described as the “Great Dragon” and his prophet and anti-Christ servants will be revealed during this time to deceive the whole world’s population.
We then know from the statement of Jesus that He will “Keep” the church from that hour of global tests. How will He do this? In order to understand this we need to learn the definition of the word “keep” next. Let’s look up the definition for the Greek word translated as “Keep”:
- From τηρός teros (a watch; perhaps akin to G2334); to guard (from loss or injury, properly by keeping the eye upon; and thus differing from G5442, which is properly to prevent escaping; and from G2892, which implies a fortress or full military lines of apparatus), that is, to note (a prophecy; figuratively to fulfil a command); by implication to detain (in custody; figuratively to maintain); by extension to withhold (for personal ends; figuratively to keep unmarried): – hold fast, keep (-er), (ob-, pre-, re) serve, watch.
This is obviously a complex word and is compared with several other Greek words that are similar but different. The meaning of the word means to watch or to observe. As you can read this word means to keep your eye upon something or someone. Perhaps it will help us if we analyze how this word was translated in the N.T. This Greek word is found in 68 N.T. verses. In 33 verses it is translated as “keep”. In 12 verses it is translated as “kept”. In 10 verses it was translated as “keepeth”. The other verses in the N.T. it is translated as “observe”, “reserve”, “reserved”, “watched”, “watching”, “preserve” and “hold fast”.
What do all of these translated English words have in common and how do they apply to how they were used by God in the New Testament? We really need to learn this in order to understand what Jesus is going to do to the church before the coming hour of trials. I think it is relevant and important to know that this Greek word is used twice in Revelation 3:10. Once it was translated as “keep” and the other time it was translated as “kept” Let’s examine how it was used for the church and then apply that definition to how it will be used by Jesus. Read the beginning of the verse again and see how God uses it for the church. God says “Because you have kept my words…, I will keep you…”. How do you keep God’s words? That is a very loaded question. To keep God’s word implies they are important to you. That you value them and that you desire to know them and possess them. If further implies that you want to protect them and even make them safe. Let’s examine the steps or process for keeping God’s Words:
- We must desire to know God’s Words
- We must value the Words of God
- We must give the Words of God priority over all other words
- We must make the effort to find God’s Words
- We must take the time to learn God’s Words
- We must extend the effort to understand God’s Words
- We must then place the Words of God into our memories and recall them at all times
- We must then put the Word of God into daily and hourly practice becoming a doer of the Words of God
That was my quick overview of keeping the Word of God. It denotes a process of taking the Word of God from a book and placing into our hearts and minds to exalt it, protect it, guard it, preserve it, etc. Clearly to keep the Word of God represents a transfer from one location to another. What did I just say? Taking God’s word from the pages of a written book and internalizing them is the transfer of divine information from one place to another. Can we agree that this is what this word represents? Now apply that to what Jesus said He would do before the hour of temptation. Jesus basically said “I will keep you (move you out of harm, protecting you, keeping you safe, etc.) before that hour occurs because I value you as my treasure. People will disagree with me that do not wish to see the truth, but there is really not much I can do to help those that do not want any help.
I believe very firmly that this verse is very specific. It is a prophecy of two events occurring in sequence. The first event is the “Keeping” safe of the church body that has kept safe the word of God. The second event that will occur next is the hour of temptation, testing and trial that will occur to everyone on the planet earth. This very clearly says that the church cannot be present upon the earth or this verse would not be accurate anymore. The church’s presence on the earth’s surface during the trial would either cause the first part of the verse to become a lie or the last part of the verse to be a lie and that does not make any sense to me how people could explain it to be something else.
If you go through the New Testament carefully, it might help you to see where the Greek word “keep” is used and how it primarily means to take hold of something to never let it go. I’ll give you an example of this:
- Joh 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and “keepeth” them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
You see even in this verse it says that a man that hears the Bible is not the one that will benefit from it. He must “Keep” it which means grab hold firmly and not let go or let it slip away for God’s Words to be effective. To take hold and not let go sounds very much like a rapture in this Revelation 3:10 description. To rapture or to catch up or catch away is clearly God taking hold of His people and not letting them go. This is what will happen to the church members that have kept God’s Word firmly within their hearts and not let them go. It is a conditional rapture event. Not everyone that called Him Lord will be taken. It is only those that made Him Lord and put His Word on the inside firmly that will be taken up. Can you now see how Revelation 3:10 is describing a rapture event before the time of trial? It is literally impossible for the church to on the planet and not be in the group “all the world” that will be tested. This literally means that since God has “kept” us from this hour that we must be in heaven. Those are the only two choices for our location. Based upon the meaning of the word “kept” as being a transition of state or position, there is really no way for a Christian that loves the Word of God to not be carried away from the pending world disasters. I could literally go on and on about this but that was enough for one Bible lesson. I hope and pray that you have gathered some wisdom on the timing of the rapture event from what was taught to us from God’s Word today. The primary goal of this lesson was to help build your faith in a pre-tribulation rapture event. I at least hope that you were encouraged how to go and search to see more verses like this one today in the Bible. I’m not sure when my next Bible lesson will occur on this subject or any other right now. I would appreciate your prayers if you know how to pray in the spirit as Ephesians 6:18 teaches. I thank you all and I will also remember you in my prayers today. Be Blessed Always.
If you would like to continue reading in this series, please click “Part 6“.
(Ver 1.1) This is Part 2 in a Bible study series on the subject of the Eucharist. This subject is also commonly called receiving “communion” in many church services. Other common terms used to describe the Eucharist are the “Lord’s Supper”, the “Lord’s Table” and it is even mistakenly called the “Last Supper” by some. Other preachers call it the “meal that heals” but that will not be my focus today. I did a Bible lesson a long time ago on this subject and received another question concerning it and this will be a follow-up to that initial lesson with new details that requires your understanding. If you have not read the first lesson in this series, I would suggest that you go back and start with “Part 1” first and then continue with this lesson to get the full impact of the teaching message. Lesson 1 presented a radical new spiritual perspective on the subject of communion and the Eucharist. The primary emphasis of that lesson was for us not to focus on just the natural elements or eating or drinking something physical in an ignorant religious ritualistic way to satisfy or appease the works of the flesh or the views of others around us using peer pressure to get us to participate. We should rather find out what the elements and the actions represent and then learn why we are doing them in order to derive any spiritual benefits from acting in faith to God’s Word. I know there are many that struggle with that belief and these still do not understand how to combine the act of partaking with the reason for doing the act and that is why I am teaching in this manner. People need to learn that doing right things without right motivations, understanding and reasoning will be vain religious attempts to please God with no value or rewards. I’d like to give you a definition from the dictionary of the term Eucharist to begin this lesson:
- Eucharist: The Christian ceremony commemorating the Last Supper, in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed.
As you can read from this definition the Eucharist is said to be a Christian ceremony. Christians perform this ceremony but we will soon discover that this act is also imitated and perverted by the devil in many other false religious types of ceremonies. A ceremony is defined as a formal occasion typically one celebrating a particular event or anniversary. What we learn from this definition is that this is a planned occasion using planned items (bread and wine), planned actions (drinking and eating) and that this event involves willing planned participants that are present. It is also interesting to note that this event is stated to be a ceremony that commemorates the “Last Supper” and that is true and simultaneously not true depending upon your point of view and application. What I will say is that there is a connection between the two even though they are not the same events. I guess I should stop and give you the definition for “commemorate”. This word means “to recall and show respect for something or someone in a ceremony”. That definition actually has great merit to what the rest of this lesson will be focused on. But I do want to still stress that the Eucharist or the communion is not the Last Supper but rather just a recollection or memory celebrating its fulfillment. The “Last Supper” and the “Eucharist” are actually two different suppers within two different covenants as we will discover as we continue to research these subjects in the Bible.
DISCOVERING COMMUNION VERSES
I would like to emphasize that the word “Eucharist” is not technically found in the Bible. It is a theological term used to label an event described in the Bible much like the theological term “rapture” is used to define another stated event described in the Bible. Please do not get caught up or distracted with finding or not finding a theological term and miss the lessons found in the Bible about the term. I will tell you that the English term “Eucharist” has its roots in the Greek word G2169 EUCHARISTIA. This word is used in 15 verses in the N.T. and was usually translated as a form of “thanksgiving” or “giving thanks”. That seems to teach us that Eucharist participation should contain the attitude of “thankfulness” to God. I firmly believe that and I hope that you will take hold of that and plant it within your heart going forward.
There are several ways to find scriptures on this subject and I will go over a few to help you get started. One method of finding verses is to search the Bible for key words of the elements of the event. For example we should be able to find “unleavened”, “bread”, “wine” or even a “cup” that holds the wine. We could also search and try to find the direct word “communion”. However, I want to teach you that the term “communion” is only found in the KJV Bible a limited number of times concerning this same event. This English word “communion” comes from the Greek word G2842 that literally means “partnership”, “participation”, “communication” or “social intercourse”. This Greek word is also translated as “fellowship”. For example in this verse in Acts it was translated as fellowship with a direct connection next to the partaking of bread within the church:
- Act 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
The English term “fellowship” is the Greek word that is also translated as “communion” in other N.T. verses. As you can see this term appears to be separate from the breaking of the bread by the inclusion of the word “and”. However this word is still immediately followed with the partial description of the Eucharist where bread is broken and passed among the church members. God appears to me to be linking these two things together for a reason. Please notice after the description of “breaking of bread” there is an additional connection with “prayers”. I would like you to consider that prayer should be a linked fellowship (communion) with God according to this verse. What I can see being developed in this verse is that taking the bread and wine should be done with the same reverential attitude of fellowship (communion) with God as in our time of prayer. Does prayer have anything to do with being thankful? If you believe like I do that it does then this links us back into the subject of “Eucharist” again. I hope that you can see how God linked these three subjects intimately together. We will arrive at a better description of this “communion” as we continue. Let’s move to another verse found in the New Testament that further helps to confirm what I have just alluded to:
- 1Co 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
Here we find one of the primary reasons why this formal church ceremonial practice is often called “communion”. Here in this verse God associates two different things that are present during the ceremony together with two other things that are not physically present during the ceremony. I’d like you to take note of what this verse is teaching. God is saying when you take the cup of wine (physically present) it is representative of you participating with the shed blood of Christ (not physically present). I emphasize the fact again that I said “representative” because we do not literally drink His blood. I know there are many people who believe that as we drink the juice or wine that it is transformed miraculously into the blood of Christ but that is not what the Bible teaches us as you should have learned this from the first lesson but this will be further confirmed with other witnesses as we continue. Bread is the second element being emphasized by God to be broken and this bread (physically present) was representative of the body of Christ (not physically present). What God is doing is taking naturally seen elements and using them to symbolically teach us about unseen spiritual elements and I seriously hope you comprehend the differences between physical and spiritual realities.
I could do a long lesson on what the specific elements represent today but that is not my primary emphasis. I will introduce the fact that the bread is always stated to be unleavened. Unleavened bread is simply a basic pure wheat cracker. Unleavened bread is considered to be unadulterated bread and not bread that has been corrupted with other additive ingredients. Leaven is a form of bread additive that according to Jesus causes the whole pure substance to become tainted. Jesus taught us a lot on this subject in the Gospels. Jesus warned the disciples to beware of the “leaven” of the Pharisees (Mat 16:6). Jesus explained this leaven to be symbolically a substance of false teachings and hypocrisy. If I had more time I would explain this in more depth and perhaps that will come in a future lesson. The wine is always based on the fruit juice coming from the crushed grape and that is all symbolic of the blood of Jesus coming from the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Grape juice is even called the blood of the fruit in Genesis 49:11 and Deuteronomy 32:14. Both of these are natural elements that symbolize and point us to the greater spiritual truths found in Jesus and if you want to learn more about them you can search your Bible for their keywords and read what they say. If you do not understand any of these verses you are free to ask questions about them.
I want to highlight that in this verse in 1 Corinthians God says that when we eat and drink these two natural physical items (bread and wine) that we are “communing” with two unseen spiritual realities. As I have repeatedly said this communing should be done with an attitude of thankfulness to God for giving to us what we did not deserve to receive. These unseen gifted items clearly represent the resurrected eternal body of Christ and the shed blood poured out from His mortal body (John 3:16). How can we commune with the blood of Jesus by physically drinking literal wine from a cup? How can we commune with the body of Christ by eating a piece of literal bread? You see those are excellent questions to consider and we need to learn that the only way we can do this is by gratefully setting our mind upon His shed blood and His body as we drink and eat. Correct reflection and recollection are the keys for spiritual participation to occur. This is exactly why God instructs the church in Colossians 3:2 to set their minds on things above (blood and body of Jesus) and not on the things down here (bread and wine). Jesus Christ is above in heaven and the bread and wine are literally here on the earth. Which ones do you believe are more important now? This is all critical information to understand. Let’s proceed to another verse in the N.T. concerning communion:
- 1Co 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
Here is a verse that compares the church’s participation with eating and drinking the communion to be the antithesis or opposite of eating from the “table of devils”. What we discover is that the church communion is called us eating from the “Lord’s Table” and that is the first major point to understand. This is another reason why some churches call the Eucharist the “Lord’s Table”. Can we literally sit at the Lord’s Table? Stop and ask yourself where the Lord is right now? Isn’t Jesus the Lord seated in heaven right now? How then can we sit at the Lord’s Table up in heaven to eat and commune with Him? I think you can see what I am doing by asking basic questions that need to be answered.
Anytime we sit at the “Lord’s Table” we are expecting to partake of His meal and food. If we are seated at the Lord’s Table then we are in His presence and that means we are supposed to be communing with Him. If God is a Spirit, is this a natural meal or a spiritual meal? These are obviously symbolic figurative expressions and they are not to be taken literally while we are still physically present on this earth during the church age. In order to fully understand these statements we need to examine the context more closely. Reading in the preceding verses you should find that God was speaking of the natural people of the earth who were sacrificing their eatable offerings to idols. This is a common practice in many foreign religions still today. For example Buddhism still offers food to their statue gods. God is basically synonymizing this eating of sacrificed idol food with eating from the table of spiritual devils. Devils are real beings but they are clearly revealed to be unseen spiritual entities. It is plain to me based upon this information that partaking of communion is the positive antithesis of the negative of eating natural elements sacrificed to devils. This is a fascinating chapter to consider and learn from. God basically says within the context that natural things are not the things that are important. It is the spiritual forces behind the natural things being worshiped that need to raise the level of attention and concern for the participant. This was one of the main points from lesson one and I just tried to show you that there are other witnesses in the Bible to what I taught previously.
Also within the context of this verse is a description of the priests of Israel which ate from the sacrificed items within the temple of Israel. What we are learning from these repeated patterns is that the natural food items are insignificant but the focused attention of the spirit or spirits that they are being offered to is very significant. Have you ever considered partaking of the “communion” or the “Eucharist” to be eating a sacrificial offering to God? I believe after reading this context you should reevaluate your reason for your participation. If it is not for the praise and worship of God then it could be misdirected.
DIRECTIONS OF CORRECTION
We will now shift our focus to a few new subjects and go through scriptures starting with God’s directions of correction written to the church at Corinth. In this letter written to the church we are informed and firmly warned about acts of participating in the breaking of bread and the drinking of the wine that are very direct and to the point. What we will soon observe occurring in this church was the mishandling of an intended righteous action. Any good act or truth can be perverted into error by the human application of unbalanced extremism. What you will find that was occurring in this warning was an example of combined human extremism with their human ignorance bringing God’s condemnation, rebuke and judgment upon their own heads. You should be able to quickly recognize this as you read the verves:
- 1Co 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
- 1Co 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
- 1Co 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
- 1Co 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
- 1Co 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
- 1Co 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
- 1Co 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
- 1Co 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
- 1Co 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
The context here is rich with valuable information. I included several verses that are not usually included because they must not be ignored. For example, the final verse that I gave you was where God writes through Paul “If we judge ourselves, we should not be judged”. These are much ignored statements in the modern extreme Grace message. I rarely hear any modern Grace preachers teach that we need to judge our own thoughts, motivations, spoken words and actions in order not to be judged by God. But, that is clearly the Word from God for us right here and right now! I know this because God speaks of us judging ourselves within the context of us partaking of the communion in church. Clearly these are warnings written to saved church people. Perhaps your church has eliminated communion along with the personal judging and that would be a clear sign to me that you are in the wrong church. Perhaps your church still takes communion but has eliminated the context message of being a self-judge of your own actions. You cannot separate one subject from the other simply because you do not want to view them together. Believe in the whole of scripture or die with the selective part; it is your choice to make.
You can clearly read the context before these scriptures and see that Paul was rebuking the church in Corinth for getting drunk and having a party with the bread and wine in church. They are rebuked and asked “Don’t you have a house to eat and drink in?” In other words God’s communion was not there in church to fill your natural belly to eliminate your physical hunger or thirst. This church was abusing the purpose for the whole ceremony being present. God gives us a prime example of wrong human motivation for participating in communion. This church has clearly misapplied wrong reasons and neglected the purpose for the communion. This plainly proves to us that wrong motivations do not make right actions correct. This again was what I have been attempting to teach in these lessons and God continues to place additional emphasis from His Word to confirm it. Let’s go back and look at the first verse that I gave you and go through them verse by verse.
- 1Co 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
Paul starts out by telling the Corinth church in verse 23 that what he gave to them was what was given to him from the Lord. Paul was not speaking of any literal bread or literal wine. Paul was referring to spiritual things and the revelation of God’s Word that Jesus had personally given to him. If you do not understand that you will soon be lost in the rest of the discussion in the chapter. Let me give you another statement of rebuke written to this church:
- 1Co 14:36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
You can obviously see that Paul told them the Word of God came unto them and did not come through them. This is normally God’s methods. God gives to a teacher His word and tells him or her to go and tell my people what I have said. This pattern is established repeatedly in the Old Testament and this pattern is continued in the New Testament. Not everyone is gifted to teach, not everyone is gifted to preach, not everyone is gifted to prophesy and not everyone is gifted to evangelize. Let’s continue with the rest of the first verse.
There are two basic realms of topic being discussed in this chapter 11 of 1 Corinthians. The first and primary focus is upon spiritual things and the other secondary focus is upon natural things. In order to distinguish which is which you must read, study and rightly divide each and every statement. For example in verse 23 Paul starts out speaking of spiritual things from the Spirit of God and the Word of God and then at the end of the verse he finishes with a natural example of Jesus Christ partaking of the literal unleavened bread at the Passover meal which often called the Last Supper. This is an excellent time to consider a new fact. The Jewish Passover meal was often called the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” (Exo 12:17) and this was the forerunner for the communion/Eucharist in the modern church. You see I do not believe that Christians are called to revert backwards to become Jewish in the natural flesh by observing the description or application of the letter of the O.T. law. Therefore what the Jewish people did to observe the Passover is not for us in the church today. However, I do believe that most of the Jewish feasts and festivals were designed by God to point us to Jesus Christ and therefore we should at least learn about them even if we do not participate in them.
The number one problem that I found with the O.T. Jews observing the Jewish Passover feast was the fact that almost everyone did it blindly without asking God or searching to find out why they were doing it and what it all meant. Don’t get me wrong they did know that they were celebrating God’s deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt when they observed the Passover. But there was so much more than that linked to the ceremony in typology and symbolism than only a natural deliverance from a natural oppressor. Like I have said in many other lessons, God’s O.T. typology points us to Jesus our spiritual deliverer that has freed us from satanic spiritual oppression and captivity. If I had the time to teach the Passover today we would see how Jesus is found in almost every action and every element in some hidden form.
- 1Co 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
You can clearly begin to understand in this statement how the Passover symbol of bread in verse 24 represented Christ’s body that was broken for us. Wow, Jesus makes it very self-evident to me that we need to take a closer look at all of the items found in the Passover supper and see how Jesus can be seen in each of them. That would probably be a good future Bible lesson for me to do work on. I want you to notice in verse 24 the reason Jesus states that we should eat the bread in the church today. Jesus says explicitly that when we eat it we need to “remember” Him and what the bread represents. The emphasis is placed upon the “remembrance” of Christ and not the natural bread eating alone. In other words the greater priority is for our mind to be exercised to intentionally recall what was done for us by the broken body of Jesus. This literally means to place the work of Jesus in the forefront of your mind and your thoughts while eating. What God implies is what I have been repeatedly emphasizing. When there is no mental recollection or reflection of Christ then the eating of the bread is worthless. Do you understand the importance of what we are thinking when we do something in church? What if you were thinking of your schedule tomorrow at work? What if you were thinking of your boyfriend or girlfriend? You could be thinking of a million different things that take away from any benefits of participating in the communion. Jesus basically said it matters what your mind is focused on.
- 1Co 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
Let’s look at verse 25. Here God describes the cup but more importantly was the wine in the cup. Jesus was again informing us that the wine and the cup represent greater spiritual truths. Do you remember what we are talking about here? God is describing the Last Supper again when Jesus takes the cup at the end of the table that was reserved only for the coming prophet and says this is the New Covenant in my shed blood. Wow, that is an awesome bit of information often ignored. You see in the traditional Passover meal there was always one very special cup that was filled with wine but was never touched by anyone participating in the ceremony. The cup is filled with wine and the door of the house is opened to allow the prophet Elijah to come in to take the cup. This cup was a designated symbolic reference for the one that was to come announcing the final deliverance. It was very clear to me that the Jewish people knew that they expected someone to come by this act but yet when He actually arrived on the earth they killed Him not understanding their Passover meanings. I could spend a lot of time on the subject of Passover but yet that is not my goal so I will continue to talk about how these two elements of bread and wine from Passover were passed on to Christians to do a better job at discovering and remembering what they meant.
- 1Co 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
This is what I take away from what I have read so far. Nowhere in the N.T. is the church instructed to participate in the Old Testament Passover meal going forward. This old Passover supper was a meal that pointed the people of Israel to their coming Messiah. Since Jesus has already come, died and was raised from the dead that meal has been fulfilled and the only two parts of that meal that were carried forward into the church was the partaking of the blood and the body of Christ for us to remember what He has already done for us in the past. One meal in the Old Covenant was a forward prophetic symbolic supper and the other meal in the New Covenant is a reversal backward symbolic supper in remembrance of the death that has previously been accomplished by Jesus. This was pretty clearly stated here at the end of verse 26. Supper methods and elements have changed dramatically and a new perspective of looking at them was modified between the old supper to the new supper, but yet the bread and the wine elements remained true and constant and even unchanging symbols for both experiences and these represented the body and the blood of Christ the central figure of each. You may recall that Jesus is described to be the unchanging one that is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8) and this is revealed to us by the same unchanging elements being passed forward from the O.T. to the N.T. even though they are two different meals. Are you learning anything today? I hope that you are.
Look at the first part of verse 26 and refresh your mind to what is being said. The Holy Spirit through Paul writes that we should participate in eating the bread and drinking from the cup but yet God does not give us any indication to the frequency of how often this should occur. I know some churches that do it once a month. Others do it every time they meet together. Therefore, there should be no condemnation for how often it is done as long as it is not ignored and never performed. This is in sharp contrast to the law of God in the O.T. The Passover meal was done on specific days of a specific month during the year only once. This was perpetually performed every year by the Lord’s command. Only after fulfillment was the Passover to cease for the people in the church. Since the Passover was fulfilled by Christ this would indicate that this meal should have ceased for Christians but yet by law those in the Jewish religion are still bound to faithfully perform it annually even this year. I think that is a sad state of lessons to learn from. It teaches us we better learn as much as we can about why we are partaking of the bread and the wine today while we still can. If we do it blindly like the Jewish people in ignorance we might be surprised to discover it was a futile religious act.
- 1Co 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
- 1Co 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
- 1Co 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
- 1Co 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
Because of the length of this lesson, I’m going to quickly go though the other verses that I have given you from verse 27 to 30 because they all go together with what was just taught by God. Verses 27 through 30 are simply ignored by modern extreme grace preachers. In their ignorance they choose to look over a profound warning given only to Christians in church eating and drinking the elements of communion unworthily. I know a sinner could come in to visit the church and partake of the symbolic elements in ignorance and yet I do not believe that is what God is referring to, based upon the context.
We can discover the target audience for this warning by observing the statements being made. For example in verse 30 God says many are sick and weak “among you”. The target audience of “you” must be the church and not the unsaved world since the entire letter was only written for the church’s benefit. True the unsaved sinner might be among the church and even read the letter but God would have reworded the statement differently if it was only written about unsaved people. Keep reading down in the next verse 31 and discover the fact that Paul includes himself in the subject statement with the personal plural pronoun “we”. We represents a combined reference of union between those previously called “you” in verse 30 with the also “me” (the writer) in verse 31. I’m going to say that again for some to grasp, Paul places himself in equivalence with those that were previously being spoken as “you” in verse 30. That fact makes the warning clearly church centered and not unsaved world directed. What Paul says is that if “We” (you and I) judge ourselves we will not be judged and that takes me back to what God said before. Those in the church are given the responsibility for judging what they are doing, what they are thinking, what they are saying, eating, drinking and etc. or God plainly states that they will be judged one way or the other.
What is this judgment being spoken of in verse 31 and what are the consequences for being judged? The answer is clearly stated coming from verses 27 to 30. Many among you (the church) are sick, weak and sleep. Sick and weak are physical deficits from being whole, well and strong. Sleep on the other hand is a symbolic representation for physical natural death. This is very commonly used in the N.T. to differentiate between the “eternal separation” from God described as the “second death” in Revelation 21:8. I do not have the time to teach this fact fully about how when the Christian dies the body stays on the earth in a state of dormancy (aka sleep) in the ground but the living spirit of the saved person is found to be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8). Let’s go back up in the verses to learn how they are connected with verse 31.
In verses 28 we are instructed to “examine” ourselves. In verse 31 we were instructed again to “judge” ourselves. Both verbs (examine and judge) are synonymous commands from God. The Greek term examine (G1381) means to test or to try. To try is a form of the word “trial” where a judge is always present. If you are the one that is “tried”, God is basically saying that it is wisdom if you become your own judge while you can so that He does not have to do it for you later. Go back to verse 27 and see how this trial is laid out before you. In beginning this verse there is the stated crime of participating in the communion ceremony by partaking of the bread and the wine unworthily. This Greek word (G371) translated as “unworthily” literally means someone who does something lacking any respect or reverence for what they are doing. These are the acts of a mocker or even a person that mimics or imitates without the correct attitude of worship. Wow, that is pretty strong if you ask me. God says these types of people were found guilty. Uh oh? Again we see the implied trial being stated. There is a crime being committed and the verdict of guilt being handed down. Who is the judge? There has to be a judge!
What God is doing is sandwiching the consequences for not being our own judge in between the commands to do it or else. This is not rocket science but yet churches and preachers explain it away as being inconsequential and unimportant. However, I will repeat the warning for the slow to learn. Do not eat or drink of the symbolic blood or the body of Christ Jesus without first examining and judging your own past actions, intentions and motivations and then if there is found anything that is not worthy to participate that would be a good time to ask God for forgiveness according to 1 John 1:9. I am not going to debate ignorant Christians that try to teach 1 John 1:9 was not written to Christians and that Christians do not need to do this. If you can read the verse and the context you will see plainly that this is not true. John the writer includes himself in the personal pronoun “our” again being a “you and I’ designation. If John was required to confess his sins before God then you and I are also required to do the same. If you do not believe me that is not my problem. I tried to teach you and you rejected it.
I believe that I have covered many new things that are rarely taught in modern churches. I have tried to teach you about the constant “bread” and “wine” that did not change moving from the Old Testament to the New Testament. I have alluded to the fact that this constant will not change nor ever cease even in the heavenly meal that is to come. I have not addressed this meal yet but these two elements will be found present when we are gathered to partake of them at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. So far I have mentioned three different meals all referred to as a supper in the Bible. All of these are similar but all are completely different with increasing greater spiritual meanings. One old Passover supper pointed us forward to the coming Messiah and the current Lord’s Supper within the New Covenant causes us to reflect backwards to what God did in Jesus Christ. The future Supper to come is an entirely different subject and that will probably not be covered in this lesson series but may in a different new one. I ended this lesson with God’s warning for doing something good and right with wrong reasons and I pray that you have learned this and take it to heart. Thank you for taking the time to read and study the Bible and share what you have learned with your friends to help me spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. God Bless!
Bible Answers: Was the Eye of the Needle in Mark 10:25 a Literal or Figurative description and what does it mean?
(Ver 1.0) I recently received a question about what Jesus meant concerning the “camel” going through the “eye of a needle” spoken about in Mark 10:25. This is a commonly misunderstood verse in the Bible that is often misused and misapplied to mean many things that was not stated. If you read the surrounding verses you might discover that there were two primary subjects being spoken of. One subject was salvation and the other was money or possessions. Jesus actually taught more on the subject of money than practically any other subject found in the Gospels. It is very obvious to me that this makes money a very important subject to learn and understand correctly. It further teaches us if money was discussed in the same context as salvation that we are required to learn how they fit and work together to have any confidence that we are following the words and teachings of Jesus accurately. This is a potentially controversial topic to teach. There are so many strong opinions on this subject of money and they go from one extreme on the far left to the opposite extreme on the far right. This subject will be difficult for some to receive but please do not get offended by anything that I say just because you disagreed. To become offended at your brother for saying something is a childish carnal reaction. If you want to grow spiritually and discuss it in a mature Christian way, I will be happy to hear what you have to say if you have Bible verses that back up what you believe.
There is a significant challenge being presented by God with studying a prolific subject like money. The more abundantly any subject is presented in the Bible the more difficult it becomes to learn completely because every verse on the subject must be balanced with every other verse about the subject in order to come to the correct interpretation of what is being taught as a whole. If you go and do some study you should find that there are over 2000 verses in the Bible that directly or indirectly relate to the subject of money. That is a lot of verses to study and to understand. If you know and understand them all, please feel free to share that with me so that I may learn from you. If not, then please do not condemn what I teach by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Since no one knows or understands every verse on any prolific subject except for God we need to trust God to speak what we need to learn about today and trust He will guide us into more and greater understanding tomorrow. What I have learned from studying this subject is that if we take any single verse on a broad subject like money in Mark 10:25 and study it in isolation it will cause only confusion and misunderstanding because we lack sufficient knowledge to make any correct assessment. We will begin with the primary verse in question and then continue to understand what is being said by Jesus using certain basic Bible interpretation rules:
- Mar 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
The question being answered today was “Is Jesus talking about a literal sewing needle in this verse or one that is figurative representing something else?” I guess that also implies, is Jesus talking about a literal camel in this verse or is the camel a symbolic representation for something else? If one is symbolic the other by direct association must also be symbolic and the antithesis to that truth is if one is literal then the other reference must also be literal. Because the camel is stated to pass through the eye of the needle both objects must interact directly with the other. It is usually wisdom to be consistent in the interpretation of objects of such close proximity in the scriptures especially if they interact with each other. Determining whether or not these objects are literal or figurative will be a difficult question to answer so we need to use the defined rules of Bible interpretation to come to the proper conclusion. We will start with the rule of God’s Selected Word Usage in the other parts of the Bible to determine if God sets any pattern of usage or if God has presented us with any redefinitions for any of the words being questioned. This is actually one of the most significant Bible interpretation rules that is often ignored, not known or not applied. I hope that you at least understand the principle behind why this rule is beneficial. I’m not here today to teach rules for interpretation, but I will always use them whether I tell you about them or not.
GOD’S SELECTED WORD USAGE
The Greek word G4476 translated as “needle” is only used in three verses in the entire N.T. and these all quote this same statement (Mat 19:26, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25). This Greek word literally means a sewing instrument also known as a sewing needle according to the Strong’s dictionary. The Greek word G5168 translated as “eye” is also only found in these three same quoted statements in the same three verses in the N.T. The meaning of the “eye” is literally an opening like an orifice in the human body. Clearly this is a description of a literal natural sewing needle. Therefore, we have no other word usage convention in the N.T. to help us compare God’s selection of the terms to be either literal or figurative. That means we need to move to the next Greek word and learn what it teaches us.
The Greek word G2574 that was translated as “camel” is used in the same exact three quoted verses but this word is also found in three additional N.T. verses where two times (Mat 3:4, Mar 1:6) it is definitely used by God to describe an actual literal created camel. In these two verses John the Baptist is described wearing a coat of “camel’s” hair and since John is literal the camel-hair coat must also be literal by the rule of direct interaction that I mentioned previously. There is only one other verse (Mar 23:24) in the N.T. where this Greek word for camel is used and this time it is clearly selected by Jesus to be a figurative statement where it cannot be taken literally. In this verse Jesus is talking to the scribes and the Pharisees and He tells them “You strain a gnat and swallow a camel”. These were “figures of speech” with deeper meanings that could be understood by the hearer. The gnat and the camel were not to be taken as literal statements where they were literally straining gnats and literally swallowing a whole camel. I do not have time to explain figures of speech but they are found in the Bible in several places by God’s design.
What we have discovered so far is that it is not going to be easy to learn what these words really mean by observing only the usage of the Greek words in the rest of the Bible. There are no definitions for the words given in the rest of the Bible that I found. There were no other occurrences of the words “eye” or “needle” in the New Testament. The Greek word for “camel” could be taken literally or as a figure of speech and that only means the verse in Mark 10:25 is one of the two and we need to continue to study to determine which it is. That was only one rule of Bible interpretation and there are others to follow so let’s go to the next and find how that applies.
Before I apply the next interpretation rule, let’s expand the reader’s question using the implied unstated meaning behind the question. What I have discovered is that the reason for one asking a question is equally as important as the question itself. I understood my reader’s question to imply “If this verse is a literal camel going through a literal needle’s eye, then Jesus was teaching that we shouldn’t become rich, own any possessions or live outside of the realm of absolute poverty”. But was that what Jesus was actually teaching us? I have seen where many believe this to be true and go and live in a commune owning nothing. I have even heard preachers teach that this verse in Mark 10 is a proclamation that having wealth and riches in this world is a direct pathway to hell. I do not know for sure if that was the reason for the question, but that will be the focus for my answer to the question nonetheless. Is having money a negative in the eyes of God? If we own nothing is that a positive thing in the eyes of God? If having money, wealth and possessions in this world is a negative then I believe hell is full of a lot of Old Testament saints that were rich like, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon, Job and I could name others that possessed great wealth in the Bible. If the possession of wealth causes one to be evil, I would begin to ask God, why did you create it? I would then ask an even better question next to God saying “why are the streets of heaven paved in gold”? It would appear to me that the Bible contradicts the teaching that having wealth is an evil by giving us so many examples to the contrary. This is where we need to learn the application of balance. Let’s balance every verse about money in the Bible and not just focus on this one alone in Mark 10. We still need to overcome the apparent contradiction to the presumed statement made by Jesus in Mark 10:25 about a rich man not being able to enter into the Kingdom of God.
STUDYING THE CONTEXT OF MARK 10:25
One of the key Bible interpretation rules is to interpret the verse in question using the surrounding context of the statement. Ignoring the context or taking the verse out of context will usually result in a false meaning of the information given within the verse. This is normally true except when a verse contains information of a universal truth nature. A universal truth is a statement made by God that is true regardless of the context or application. This verse in Mark 10:25 is NOT a divine universal statement of truth and therefore the context is valuable and even essential to understanding the meaning. A context type of study would include what is being described directly around the statement in the chapter and if you want to expand the search to go beyond the chapter context you can also include what was spoken in the entire book about the subjects presented. But context study also includes the search to find the answers for three additional questions which are:
- Who is speaking?
- Who is being spoken to?
- Who is being spoken about?
This verse is a prime example of the necessity for this rule’s application. We cannot read this verse in Mark 10:25 alone and attempt to understand it because it is a small part of a much larger story that is being used to teach a far greater principle. Therefore, we really must consider the surrounding context in order to better understand what is being stated by Jesus in verse 25. It is very similar to what I said in a previous paragraph. The reason for Jesus speaking this statement in Mark 10:25, is equally as important as what was said by Jesus in the statement alone. Without understanding the purpose behind it, you will never understand the statement being made. Please read all of these context verses together starting with verse 17 where the lesson begins:
- Mar 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
- Mar 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
- Mar 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
- Mar 10:20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
- Mar 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
- Mar 10:22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
- Mar 10:23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
- Mar 10:24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
- Mar 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
- Mar 10:26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
I gave you several verses before verse 25 and one after because they all go together in a single lesson. Jesus is the primary speaker with the majority of the spoken words being in red ink. However there are secondary statements being made by a rich man at first and later the disciples of Jesus. Actually it is important to note that the rich man initiates the conversation and that causes Jesus to begin to respond to his question. Therefore the conversation was not initiated by Jesus. It is always important to notice if Jesus initiates something or if it is simply Jesus responding to what another has initiated. One reason for this distinction is to know if Jesus is teaching generally to everyone or if Jesus is teaching directly to just one person. This fact will have direct bearing upon how we view the context. What we have is Jesus as the main speaker answering a question from a solitary rich man not about money but about his salvation. Therefore the lesson within the conversation begins with a personal response to one man and not a general discussion to everyone about how to be saved. Do you understand this? I’ll try to say it again differently; Jesus is speaking to only this one rich man at first with the disciples in observance of the conversation not being direct participants but rather simply observant students of the Master who was giving a lesson to an isolated rich man about his personal salvation.
As you can read in verse 17 the primary subject of this discussion is concerning only salvation. One of the secondary subjects of the conversation that later comes out is about the subject of the rich man’s money in verse 21. We know from reading verse 22, that Jesus was approached by a very wealthy man asking what he could do to inherit eternal life. Jesus names several of the commandments of God in verse 19 and the rich man claims to have followed all of these since his age of accountability in verse 20. Many today would think that obeying God’s law would be enough to be saved but that is not what the New Testament teaches us. In Romans 4:13-14, God says that the promise to be an heir of salvation was not given to any man through the obedience of the law but rather it came by faith in Jesus Christ alone who was doing the speaking in this lesson. In Galatians 2:16 God says “No flesh will be justified by the works of the law”. This knowledge of the law makes the initial answer that Jesus gave to the rich man almost irrelevant. So there must be another reason for Jesus making the statement. Why then does Jesus tell him that he should have obeyed the law if this obedience was not required for New Covenant salvation? Well first we need to remember that the New Covenant was not yet implemented and thus they were still under the jurisdiction and the concluding timeline of the Old Covenant. The Law was the only Words of God available to follow, so that is clearly the emphasis being given at first. However, Jesus was not done talking and continues with some personal spiritual realities on things this rich man would need to fix in order to be saved after the New Covenant was implemented. Not sure if you understood what I just said, but it will become clearer as we go forward.
What I observe here in this lesson to the rich man so far is that Jesus was dealing with his core spiritual heart issues and not just his perceived loyalty to obey God’s commands. Jesus appears to be confirming the existence of the rich man’s pride by offering him a chance to admit to just one law that he has not followed completely in his entire mature life. You see the law was created by God to show man that it was impossible to keep the entire law consistently and by coming to this revelation of the truth teach man the need for a savior. Romans 3:20 teaches us that it is by law that the knowledge of sin was given to man. In Romans 2 Paul talks a lot in this chapter about those under the law attempting to keep the law but then breaking it in some way. Then in Roman 5:20 Paul wrote that the law entered so that the transgression of the law might abound. Not sure if you understood that last statement either that God made through Paul. You see here in the U.S., the 5 largest cities with the strictest and most prolific gun control laws are where the majority of gun murders occur. If you want more deaths by guns to occur God just said you should pass more laws against them and this will cause the violation of the law to increase. Wow, that was good to learn! I wish more of our government would learn that.
This rich man’s claim to have followed the law completely is a virtual impossibility since only Jesus fulfilled the law to the full extent. One problem that Jesus consistently encountered in the Gospels was religious people who believed that they were superior to Him because of their self-righteous good works. These Pharisee types looked at their ability to obey the law as the true way to God. They created manmade traditional rules on top of God’s laws to insure that they never even came close to violating God’s law. However, Jesus would look at them and say that they were like whitewashed tombs that looked pretty on the outside but were full of unclean dead men’s bones on the inside (Mat 23:27). This rich man’s response was much like those of the Pharisee types. Therefore the rich man was clearly in pride not admitting to the truth of his own faults and shortcomings in need of a savior. This is when Jesus begins to dig deeper into the man’s inner heart condition to show him that there were more profound root issues that needed correction in order for him to receive this “eternal life” that he was seeking.
Jesus says to go and sell his possessions and give to the poor and that is when the rich man turns away from his only hope named Jesus in a state of grief. That was the end of that personal conversation with the rich man about his salvation and that is very important to note. Jesus then looking around about at his surroundings said out loud “how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”. This new statement to a totally different audience appears to be the beginning of a major controversy for the disciples of Jesus and it is totally unexpected to them because they did not understand the reason for what had just happened to the rich man. What we must observe is that a significant target audience transition has just occurred. Jesus has just moved from answering a rich man’s personal question on what he needed to do to be saved to teaching a different valuable lesson to His disciples and us in the church. This new lesson is about a greater previously unmentioned subject. What that should potentially mean to us is that the primary subject has moved from a conversation about the salvation of a single natural rich man to a conversation about spiritual internal conditions that were never discussed. Here is a good time for us to ask, why did Jesus ask the rich man to sell his possessions and give to the poor. The reason behind the request is actually again more important than the request itself.
This is where the Bible reader who desires to know the truth needs to become a Sherlock Holmes type of serious Bible student to observe the details to what is really being taught to the church and not to an unsaved rich carnal man. Why were the disciples so astonished at this saying of Jesus in verse 23? Why were His disciples so surprised by this statement about the rich of this world being so hard to save? Think about it. If the disciples were all poor men that had nothing and owned nothing they should be rejoicing because they could now be easily saved on their way to the Kingdom of God, but that was not their reaction at all, was it? Can you read? Can you see what their reaction was? This was clearly the reaction of men that were NOT poor. Being shocked that a rich man is almost impossible to save makes no logical sense for anyone but men with money. I believe if you study the Bible you might agree that these men selected by Jesus were not poor men who owned nothing. In fact, the majority of the disciples described came from successful businesses that were making them money. Many were fishermen like Simon Peter and Andrew who caught and sold fish for money (Mat 4:18). James and John are described to also be fishermen with possessions (Mat 4:21). Clearly fishermen owned large boats, fishing gear, nets, as well as owned houses and worked and made money in the markets. One disciple named Matthew was definitely a tax collector (Mat 9:9) and Luke was described to be a doctor (Col 4:4). None of these disciples were poor men begging for money to exist. That is why they are so very concerned with this statement that Jesus just made. Do you understand this?
Jesus then continues the lesson saying “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to be saved”. Again all of the disciples are flabbergasted and that confirms that they all have money and the statement is making them think about asking if they can even be saved. What I have discovered being taught within the Bible is that the Bible is not opposed to people having money. Jesus was not teaching poverty in this example. Jesus was not even teaching that we need to sell or give away everything in order to be saved. That is very unintelligent religious thinking drawn from wrong conclusions that teach this is found in the Bible. What Jesus was teaching, is that rich people must not trust in their money more than they trust in God. This further says that rich people must not love their money and their possessions more than they love their God. Jesus was making a point to the rich man that he needed to learn to trust in God and His Grace rather than to place all of his confidence in what he had done and what he had obtained. Any rich person who is self-reliant, self-made, and self-sufficient in their own eyes will find it very hard to be saved because they are full of pride in their own abilities. The Bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). The rich man that came to Jesus was asking how to be saved but he was too heavily bound to and by his money and his possessions for him to let go of them to make Jesus his Lord. The rich man therefore does not qualify to receive grace. His money was in effect his god. He was joined to his money and he was unable to part with any of these temporary things of this world simply because he valued them more than he valued the eternal rewards of God and that was the major problem that Jesus was addressing in this personal lesson to the rich man.
Jesus was dealing with a heart issue and not a money issue. What we value will be what we place our trust and confidence in. A man with great wealth has learned that money will buy him practically anything and he has placed a false trust in it. Jesus actually spoke of this in Matthew 6:2 when he said “Where you treasure is there will also be your heart”. Jesus clearly says what a man values in this world is what he will be focused on in his heart. Jesus is not going to share first place in your heart with your money or your possessions. Everyone is going to have to choose between Jesus and money or whatever it is that they value to determine which will be of more lasting worth and benefit and then make only one of these their priority in this life. In the first part of the lesson to the rich man Jesus was trying to get him to see that he needed to change. In the last part of the lesson to the church Jesus was teaching a lesson about how people can still possess money but that this money must not possess them or they will never see the kingdom of God. This lesson being taught goes along with other statements that Jesus made on the subject of money that are parallel examples to what is being taught in Mark 10:25:
- Mat 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
You see when a person becomes a Christian they are required by the design of God in Romans 10:9-10 to make Jesus their personal Lord and Savior. You cannot make Jesus your Savior without also making Him your simultaneous Lord. If Jesus is your Lord then your money or your possessions or whatever cannot be your Lord. Jesus states this very clearly using money in Matthew 6:24. When someone tries to serve two masters they are distracted by the one to not fully serve either. Jesus requires your undivided attention when you make Him your Lord. He is not going to share His Lordship with your business or your money. That was the major problem with the rich man that came to Jesus in Mark 10:25. Jesus was attempting to get a commitment from the rich man to make Jesus His Lord, but the rich man turned away to continue to serve his wealth. Does this make sense to you now?
Jesus was teaching the rich man about his problem without ever stating that he had a problem. When the rich man heard this he should have become humble and asked a few more questions instead of going away without knowing the rest of the truth for the reason to why Jesus asked what He did. What did I say earlier? I said the reason for the statement is as important as the statement itself. This man heard the request but did not desire to know the reason behind the statement. That was one of his greatest failures. It is not offensive to God if you ask Him questions. People are like two year olds to God’s level of thinking. God understands that people are in need of knowledge and understanding to grow. Asking questions is an excellent way to learn more about your situation. Don’t believe me? When the angel of God comes to Mary and tells her that she will have a child, she doesn’t walk away in grief saying, “yea right”. No she was wiser than this rich man and she asked “how shall this be seeing that I have never known a man?’ God was not angry at the question and gave her the straight answer and this was to her benefit because now she understood more about how this was possible to occur. Do you ever ask God questions? I ask God questions very often, it is the easiest way to learn the truth.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT GIVING TO THE POOR?
Now for the potentially controversial part of the lesson. I have already shown briefly what the N.T. says about Jesus’ instructions concerning obeying the law so we should move to the next statement made by Jesus and learn more about this subject. Since the rich man was next instructed by Jesus to release his possessions and then to “give” to the poor it might be helpful if we understood how this relates in order to understand what would have happened to the rich man if he would have been obedient to the request. I will confirm that his disobedience to the request to sell and give denied him his salvation but then I will also say that it would not have been his poverty that saved him. I’ll repeat this again, it was Jesus working on the man’s heart issues that caused the request to sell and give. I know I repeat myself, but these are important facts that need to be understood.
One key to understanding a subject is to find related verses in the Bible that speak about the subject. We did this with the key words “camel”, “eye” and “needle” and found very little to help us, but that is not all of the subjects within the context of the verse in question. We know before Jesus spoke these words about the camel going through the eye of the needle that Jesus asked the rich man to go and sell his possessions and to “give” to the poor”. I tried to teach you that this rich man was not valuing the correct things and placing them in the correct order of priority. He was clearly placing his trust in his money and possessions and that will never please God. Still there is a need to understand what “giving” has to do with God’s proposed solution to change this man’s heart around to learn to trust Him? Wow, that sounds like an awesome thing to learn for every Christian. So let’s get started.
Jesus literally taught many other things in the Gospels about money. Because the rich man did not know these other sayings he walked away from obtaining a blessing and he didn’t even know it. God says in His Word “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). I just taught you that we need to learn to ask God questions if we want to learn more from Him. I really meant that! So let’s ask God the question “what would have happened if the rich man gave away all of his possessions to the poor”? What would be the end result of such obedience? Would this rich man have remained in poverty from then on? Could this rich man never work or earn anymore money ever again? Or should this rich man go to work and then continue to give everything that he made away? In order to begin to learn how to answer these questions in God’s word I believe that we need to learn what God said about giving. I’ll start with a verse that is certainly important and directly related about this subject of giving:
- Act 20:35 “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.‘”
What is being repeated here in this verse? I want you to first observe that this statement says the writer is working hard as an example to those that he was writing to. Therefore we just answered a part of the question about should a Christian continue to work after becoming a Christian! Did you know that the writer of the book of Acts was Luke? Can you see that Luke is one of the Apostles of Jesus that was present when the rich man’s lesson was taking place? Did Luke learn anything from that experience? Apparently he did! Luke is saying that we should help the weak. This word weak means the sick, the diseased, and the feeble which implies those that are poor. Everyone in a weak condition is not able to work and therefore is in need of assistance. Can we agree that this statement applies to the poor?
Then Luke by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost quotes something that Jesus taught him directly. Luke said that Jesus said “It is more blessed to give (to the poor) than to receive (from the poor). I put the poor in the statement because that was the associated meaning based upon context. Do you understand that? Please tell that you do. Why is God asking his disciples to help the poor, the sick and the weak by giving to them? It is primarily because the poor need the help, but God also says whoever gives will be blessed more than those that received. Oh, that doesn’t make any sense does it? How is a rich man the one that is blessed by him giving away all of his money? That is a divine mystery that is being ignored in much of the church body today. What I would like you do to is to start believing that there is a blessing associated with giving to the poor. Now we just need to determine if this blessing is here in this life or is only found in the eternal rewards to come?
I’ll try to answer when this giving blessing occurs by observing more about what Jesus taught us on the subject of giving in the Gospels. However I do need to review an observation of where Jesus placed the emphasis when He told the rich man in Mark 10:21 to go and sell and give. I did not go over the last part of the verse previously. If you go back and read this verse again you will notice that Jesus after telling the rich man to give to the poor Jesus then promised him that he would have treasure in heaven for doing this. That is very self-evident that there is a stated eternal blessing from God that will be given to him if he would have been obedient and given to the poor. Jesus places the emphasis upon eternal rewards and that makes total logical sense to me. An eternity of treasures is far more significant than 100 years of existence on earth with riches. But do not assume too much here. Just because Jesus did not emphasize any earth benefits to the rich man does not mean that they do not exist. That would be foolish presumption to take one verse as the complete truth on the subject of giving to the poor. Therefore we need to study and find additional Bible information in order to come to a balanced conclusion. Can we at least agree that God will bless us also, if He comes to us and asks us to give to the poor? If you understand that God shows no favoritism (Acts 10:34) and what He promised to one is the same that is available to any other in the same circumstances then you should be able to agree with that belief.
Let’s turn to the book of Luke and read a verse that many of you may already be familiar with. Read this verse very carefully and observe that the same Greek word translated for “Give” in Mark 10:21 is used in this verse connecting the lessons together by God’s direct word selection and subject. Then notice what Jesus teaches about giving in this verse. This verse must also apply to the rich man’s giving or God becomes a liar:
- Luk 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
According to Jesus (God in the flesh), If the rich man would have only understood that what he gave to others, God would have caused those gifts to be returned back to him multiplied. This knowledge has the potential to cause the rich to see the giving away of his riches in a much different light. Of course the rich man did not give Jesus the opportunity to teach this part of the lesson about money nor did the rich man ask Jesus any questions about it. Jesus also did not voluntarily offer this information up either since Jesus wanted the rich man to learn faith and trust in God. Not sure if you understood what I just said or not? The rich man trusted in his money to be his supplier and God’s word says “My God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory” (Php 4:19). There is a promised supply by God in the N.T. By the rich man having to learn to look to God instead of his own money this rich man would have learned a more valuable lesson about trusting God and walking by faith. However, it still does not mean that the rich man could never have any money again. I believe that the rich man assumed too much just like many Bible readers today assume too much when they read this lesson. Remember what God says in the Old Testament? Let me remind you:
- Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. (AMP)
God says very clearly when He asks you to do something it is for your good and not to harm, hurt you, ruin you, or even to make life hard for you. Failure to believe or understand this is one of the key reasons why people today will resist God’s instructions. This rich man in Mark 10 was not asked by God to do something that was not going to benefit him in the long run if he would have just been willing and compliant God would have rewarded him greatly for his obedience. If you believe that God is going to take something away from you without knowing the purpose behind the request you are not trusting God’s wisdom, knowledge and plan for your life. It is usually at this point where I emphasize that you need to learn if God is directing you to turn away from anything then there is greater purpose behind that request and if you ask for it God might just show you or you can just trust Him and learn it when it happens which is usually wiser. But, it is also important if Satan is trying to steal anything from you (John 10:10) you need to fight against that and resist him. If you do not know how it works yet, God will ask you to give something up, but Satan will just try to come and take it from you without asking. It is pretty simple to learn which is which. Let’s go back and talk some more about Luke 6:38 and Mark 10:21.
There is a stated law of reciprocity that is placed in effect with God when a human in faith participates voluntarily and willingly with the requests of God. God is not going to ask anyone to give away something without observing the obedience and blessing them in return. We clearly saw this stated in Mark 10:21 when Jesus informed the rich man that there would be treasure in heaven awaiting him for his giving. Then again in Luke 6:38 God says if you give to men, men will give back to you. Reciprocity is also found in the established decree of God called the Law of Sowing and Reaping (Gen 8:22). Sowing is the stated release of a seed from your hand into the ground that is believed to give it back to you multiplied over time. If the rich man would have viewed the release of his money into the poor as a seed sown I believe that it would have been returned back to him multiplies based upon what Luke 6:38 taught us. God states this clearly in Luke 6:38 when He says that others will return to you what you have given away as multiplied. This is a very basic farming concept where any seed planter sows their valuable seeds that are returned back as a greater and more valuable return after time has passed. This multiplication principle is implied in Luke 6:38 in the phrase “good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over”. That certainly makes it sound like giving to others is a benefit and not a liability to me. If you don’t understand the concept of seeds in the Bible I would recommend that you go read that lesson series (Understanding Seeds in the Bible).
We should still understand that in Mark 10 that Jesus was not emphasizing this sowing and reaping part of the lesson simply because He was dealing with the man’s love for his money and possessions. Do you understand the motivation for Jesus telling the rich man to get rid of his possessions and give them away now? Whenever God asks you to give away something it will normally be because it controls you and gets in the way of His relationship with you. After a time of learning that God is more important to pursue many times God will see that you get back what you were asked to give up. This of course is not true if it is drugs, alcohol or some other substance that controlled you and will do harm to you and this is even true for money and possessions if they return to being your gods. I’ve been going longer than I expected in this lesson so let me see if the Holy Spirit will allow me to wrap it up by giving you one more O.T. verse on this subject about giving to the poor:
- Pro 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
If the rich man would have just considered this old fact written by Solomon probably one of the richest men ever in the Bible, I believe that it could have made a tremendous difference in his attitude towards giving to the poor. You see this verse literally says that when we give to the poor the Lord observes it and takes over the responsibility for the debt. Therefore we do not expect the one that we gave something, to give back to us anything in return even in the future. This is simply because God says “I owe the debt” and I believe God is faithful to repay it. If God takes the responsibility for the debt, then we must ask is this repayment now in this life or is this in the next life to come? I believe that we could get correct answers for both beliefs, by saying all of the above. I do not place any limitations upon what God wants to bless me with or when God wants the blessing to arrive. Since I’m not God He can sovereignly do as He pleases. I definitely believe that there are eternal rewards based upon what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:20 when He taught that we should be laying up treasures in heaven where moth and rust will corrupt them. But the counter to that statement was given to us in Luke 6:38 that claims if we give to men that men will give back to us. Luke 6:38 is clearly talking about receiving a return for giving here in this life. I’m not going to teach this part of giving anymore in today’s lesson. I really do not know how many I have offended by even mentioning it. Christians often ignore vast parts of scripture thinking they are not applicable for today. However to those like me that believe in them they still work just fine. I will end this section about giving by saying that there are definitely heavenly rewards laid up for us for everything that we give here on the earth so the eternal benefits will by far outweigh any temporary benefits that we can enjoy for a short time here on this earth. You should always keep your focus on the eternal rather than the carnal temporary, as I try to do.
In conclusion I will say that there are certain Bible teachers who teach that the “eye of the needle” was a figurative type for a city gate designed to be very narrow to limit passage into the city. This was done in Bible days as a safety measure to keep large foreign armies and enemies from invading the city in mass numbers. This narrow gate was like a funnel that kept the inflow and outflow of traffic to a very few with limited size restrictions. It was so narrow that many times a fully loaded camel would not be able to enter it. The merchant or traveler would usually have to unload the camel and squeeze it through the gate and then carry the loads by hand into the city. So many teachers today believe that this was what Jesus was talking about in this verse in Mark 10:25. However, that is still a private interpretation of the verse since it is not mentioned in the Bible anywhere and therefore I do not agree with it. It also mixes one noun Luke 10:25 (eye of the needle) as a figurative object and the other noun (camel) as a literal object and I do not agree with that type of interpretation. I take scriptures literally when I can and then I apply what is stated spiritually based upon what is specified or being taught following the rules of interpretation of which I only mentioned two or three today in this lesson. In conclusion I will give you two more verses to consider:
- 1Co 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
- 1Co 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
We have more directions being given to the church in these passages. God is speaking to the church and telling them not to associate with those that are in the world. Uh oh? That sounds serious to me! Then God lists a few types that fit that description. Read these again and tell if you see the rich man being described? I’ll help you by pointing you to two key words. The first word is “covetous”. This Greek word means a human with a desire for more of something. This type of person has a very difficult time at releasing anything. I believe that description fits the unsaved lost rich man. Since the rich man was unwilling to give away any of his possession that implied that he loved them greatly and possibly desired (coveted) to even have more of them. It was like he was a collector of natural things. Any collector that I have ever observed is never satisfied with their collection. Most collectors are looking for more of the same whether it be coins, stamps or baseball cards. This “covetous” word is a problem if you are wanting more natural possession and not more of God. Again remember that Jesus said you cannot serve two masters. The second Greek word in this sentence describing the rich man is “idolater”. What is an idolater? This is a person that worships a manmade object. Uh oh again for our rich man! It is very clear to me that this rich man placed too much emphasis upon his possessions. They had become his focus and they are clearly manmade objects of temporary status. Do you understand why Jesus asked him to sell them now? I could give you many more Bible verses on this subject but I have gone long enough today.
What I believe about Mark 10:25, is that Jesus was speaking of a literal camel and the literal eye of a needle with a human trying to pass this large beast through it. That would be a nearly impossible task and that was the message being communicated to the church, but not to the rich man since he was not present to hear it. Therefore, we should take this verse literally and see that the salvation of a rich man is a nearly impossible task. However, we also need to balance that message with the fact that it was not the money that caused the problem but rather the love of the money that was at issue. Jesus was clearly motivated by the heart condition of the rich man and tried to show him that the money and possession were his lord. Know that Jesus deals with individual heart conditions differently. Only man looks at the outward and sees a rich man and believes that he should be poor to be saved. God looks at the man’s motivation for being rich and if it is for his love these objects will becomes the area that God will attempt to correct in your life. Each person is unique to God and only God knows what is taking priority over His relationship with you. What God tells me to get rid of will almost always be different than what God will tell you to get rid of. And if you believe that God will never instruct you to get rid of anything then you are either deceived or a perfect person in need of no savior.
Jesus was teaching that it was impossible for anyone here on the earth that was rich to be saved if they did not put aside their love for money to make Him their Lord. While this is impossible for most men to do, we know from reading the Bible that with God all things are possible if we believe (Mat 10:27). So a rich man can be saved if they want to learn how to enter through Jesus who is called the narrow gate in Mat 7:14. Remember what Jesus said there in Matthew 7? Jesus declared there were only two paths to choose from. One narrow way was describing the selection as Jesus to be your Lord. The other choice was a wide gate and a broad path and many there are that will choose it to their destruction (Mat 7:13). Please don’t allow something so temporary like money or possession be the reason for selecting the wrong path as this rich man in this lesson did today. Thank you for your time reading and studying the Bible and until next time may you continue to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
(Ver 1.2) This is now Part 10 in the Bible study series dedicated to understanding God’s spiritual subjects hidden beneath the natural words found in Genesis chapter 3. This is also a continuation of the first lesson in the series relating to the subject, “Genesis 3:1 – Was There a Talking Serpent in the Garden?” I taught on this first subject a long time ago but I was led not to publicly respond to an important question that I received concerning the meaning and application of what God says in Genesis 3:14 and how it relates to what was communicated to us by God in Genesis 3:1. Since I received the same question recently, I felt led to now publish the answer for everyone else to study. If you have not read “Part 1”, the introduction to the identity of the symbolic serpent to discover what the Spirit of God said about Genesis 3:1, I would recommend that you go back and read that lesson first before you continue on with this lesson. Reading the foundational basics will just help to affirm what the Spirit of God says to you today while providing additional context information found in the rest of the chapter. Also by reading this entire Genesis 3 lesson series you should be becoming spiritually aware of how many new subjects are found in this chapter. Not recognizing spiritual content within the natural word description Bible story is one of the greatest reasons why we have such diverse opinions to what the words mean today. That is why I have been teaching this series of lessons on Genesis 3 to help people think in a new spiritual way concerning the very specific words that the Spirit of God has inspired Moses to write in this chapter. This will probably be a long lesson with many new things to learn. I need to go into a level of additional detail in this lesson to help people see that reading Genesis 3 in isolation is a very easy way just to be confused.
WHAT ABOUT GENESIS 3:14?
I am now going to respond to the direct reader question “What about Genesis 3:14”? You see in the past there are has been so many Bible teachers within the Christian body that have taught concerning the existence of a literal talking snake in the garden which tempted Adam and Eve to sin that it is now difficult for anyone to accept any new revelation on the subject. This popular natural way of thinking and teaching promoted the creation of a commonly misunderstood physical interpretation which violates the information given to us by God in the Bible, the natural laws of creation and the mathematical laws of God. People often believe that God created these laws but then they do not believe that God chooses to live by them and I do not agree with that religious philosophy. That type of reasoning promotes a God that says “Do as I say but do not do as I do”. Man being made in the image and the likeness of God clearly must learn to follow and conform to His examples of behavior or we just fail in our own efforts. I believe firmly that man was created to be an imitator of God’s ways. Jesus clearly provided humans an example of this divine lifestyle in the natural when God appeared personally upon this planet. Our Christian belief of following God’s and Jesus’ examples has created the popular modern concept of “WWJD”. When humans are faced with challenging situations and circumstances they should stop and ask “What would Jesus Do”? I believe a Christian should act like Christ, look like Christ and speak like Christ and in doing these point others to Christ. You are free to disagree and not attempt to be like Christ.
This prominent teaching of a literal talking snake is also directly linked into the propagation of the many paintings of a naked man and women in the garden being pictured with a serpent in the tree performing the temptation to eat the forbidden fruit. This has been the prevalent traditional viewpoint of this chapter and people accept it today because it has been so frequently and widely taught. Everyone in the world telling you the same story over and over and us all hearing it told over and over causes people to accept it and believe it more easily, even if it was never true. I have learned this concept by observing what has been happening in the world in the last 50 year with the gay community message. 50 years ago gays were not accepted and even looked negatively upon for their poor choice in lifestyles. But during this time more and more gays have been opening up and “coming out of the closet” to proclaim themselves as being normal. TV and movies began introducing the subject in the 1970’s and now it is mainstream and widely preached. In the last 50 years gays have increasingly proclaimed their normalcy and demanded their acceptance and finally now the majority of the people in the world are buying into these lies to believe them as the truth. However, even if everyone is in full agreement with a belief, that does not change the belief to be a God inspired truth. Truth is only found in the Words of God. But only the Spirit of God can reveal to us His truth in His Word.
This teaching about the literal talking serpent is what I call a tradition of men taught by men based upon a man’s carnal human reasoning rather than the actual Biblical spiritual insight from God. We should become smart enough to see that none of these Bible teachers that teach on the subject of a literal talking snake can provide us with sufficient scriptures to back up their belief. The Bible very clearly says to let every word be established in the mouths of two or three witnesses (Mat 18:16, 2 Cor 13:1). That means we need at least one other reference apart from Genesis 3 where an actual serpent speaks to tempt a human in order to embrace that concept fully. Can you search your Bible and find one for me? God has established specific rules for rightly dividing the Word of Truth and not knowing these rules or choosing to ignore them will result in a chaos random Bible interpretation where any interpretation is truth. We need to become wiser Christians verifying what people teach, applying the correct rules and not accepting blindly anything just because they said it (Acts 17:11). That is what I want you to do with everything that I am going to say today. You analyze it closely with the information found only in the Bible and if you don’t see it like I said it, then that is fine with me, don’t believe it.
What God has shown me is that there was no literal talking snake in the garden. There are two primary reasons why many Christians do not see what is written by God in the Bible and one is that they think totally natural ignoring the spiritual elements of application or two they do not know how to study the Bible from a God spiritual author perspective. I am going to address both of these situations today in this lesson. My goal today is to teach you to think spiritually concerning Genesis 3:14. You may not yet understand that thinking carnally is different than thinking spiritually but if you continue to read with an open mind you should be able to make the transition. Carnally dominated people think that if they cannot see it, touch it, feel it, hear it, smell it or taste it, then they believe that it is not a reality or a state of truth. In thinking this way they believe that spiritual things do not exist or that natural things are superior to spiritual things. Carnal thinkers are totally dominated by the 5 sense realm. Spiritual thinkers are more influenced with the Spirit of God, the Word of God and the unseen spiritual realm. Being spiritually dominated versus being naturally dominated should become your goal today even if you do not understand it yet.
Ask yourself if natural things take precedence and priority over the spiritual things in your life? Maybe I’ll help you, is eating natural food a bigger priority than eating God’s spiritual food from the Bible? God says very clearly that “the unseen spiritual things are literally more important and permanent than anything observable here in this natural universe”. That was my paraphrase of a verse found in 2 Corinthians 4:18. Since all natural things were created by a Spirit (John 4:24) it should be self-evident that the spiritual realm pre-existed everything that is natural and therefore the spiritual realm is greater by definition. What does it mean to be greater? Is the created automobile greater than the manufacturer or is the manufacturer of the automobile superior to the created automobile? If the manufacturer was broken the automobile could not fix it, but if the automobile was broken clearly the manufacturer could certainly repair it. I think you get my point that only the Spirit of God can fix a human to see His superior spiritual ways. Let’s go and begin the study of Genesis 3:14.
ANALYZING GENESIS 3:14 – GOD SPEAKS TO THE SERPENT
I want to begin this part of the Bible lesson by giving you the key Bible verse in question. This Bible verse is easily misunderstood and commonly misapplied. To remedy this problem we will be analyzing the words carefully in three distinct phrases using the Bible to define what the statements mean. Allowing the Bible to render the interpretation will remove our opinions to what we have read discovering what God was speaking about in the verse to begin with. God does not leave us helplessly guessing to what He has written. God places so many clues in plain sight that it is amazing how we do not see them. To correctly determine the verse’s interpretation using God’s methods, I need to give you a list of the basic rules for interpreting and understanding any verse found in the Old Testament. These rules of correct Bible interpretation will take us out of the realm of unstructured random Bible study placing sound organization within the realm of intelligent constraints and these learned laws will provide order and structure to our Bible study methods. I follow these rules whether I tell you about them or not. But by me teaching you how these rules work, you will gain great benefit for how you study the Bible in the future. I will also tell you that these rules of interpretation were given to me by the Spirit of God and I did not learn them from human teachers, so they may not agree with your seminary version of interpretation rules.
As you read this verse please allow the words to be fresh and new ignoring what you have heard about them in the past. I say this because many times people need to remember that everyone was once taught that the earth was flat until some brave people like Columbus and Magellan proved this was clearly not an accurate truth. To allow a round earth truth to become a fresh new normally accepted reality those that believed in the flat earth theory so firmly had to release their corrupted viewpoint in order to see the new. This is what will also need to occur today with what God will teach you in this lesson. It would even be good for you to stop and say a prayer before you start reading God’s Word and ask Him to allow you to see how He sees the words. Only by changing to look at the Bible from God’s point of view can we begin to see the truth from the author’s perspective and not a skewed human viewpoint or opinion. Are you ready to begin?
- Gen 3:14 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
This verse begins with the LORD God speaking directly to the stated serpent. This “serpent” is the same being that was introduced to the reader in verse 1 because God repeats the same Hebrew word H5175 in both verses. This Hebrew word occurs 5 times in this chapter and this mention in verse 14 is the last time God uses the word in this chapter. The other word references are found in Genesis 3:1, 2, 4 and 13. The Hebrew word H5175 by Strong’s definition means a “literal snake”. But is that what this word is really referring to in this chapter? How do we know when to take a word to be literal versus making it a figurative or symbolic representation for something else? That is the answer that we will seek in God’s Word and I hope and pray that you are ready to learn how to do this. I will mention briefly that the only other time this Hebrew word for snake is mentioned in the book of Genesis is when it is found in a prophecy spoken by Jacob about his sons. It would be good for us to stop and take a look at how God used this word there to potentially apply that knowledge to what we are reading in Genesis 3:
- Gen 49:17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.
I must ask you, is this mention of a serpent a literal snake or a figurative representation? Does the son of Jacob named Dan change or transform into a literal serpent? It would be extremely ignorant to think that this is a literal prophetic statement. Why then do people believe the serpent in Genesis 3 which is the exact same Hebrew word must be literal also? It is interesting to note that if we consistently interpret every H5175 word occurrence in Genesis as being symbolic that this would further match the 5 serpent references that are found in the book of Revelation which I believe are equally all symbolic for the same creature. I also find it very interesting that the tribe of Dan is never mentioned in the book of Revelation when the other 11 are clearly named in chapter 7. Just thought I would throw that fact in for you to consider since Dan is prophesied to be a serpent in Genesis 49. Let us look at the definition of this word given to us by Strong:
- From H5172; a snake (from its hiss): – serpent.
In the definition of the Hebrew word H5175, Strong defines it to be a snake and never mentions that this word could be used figuratively and I believe that was an oversight on his part since we clearly saw in Genesis 49 that this word was used this way in relation with the prophecy to describe Dan. Then further notice that this definition includes the sound that a literal snake makes as a “hiss”. I found that part of the definition to be an extreme contradiction to what was just recorded in this chapter 3 of Genesis by God. Nowhere in this chapter is this serpent ever hissing before or after the fall of man. This hissing sound is based upon the Hebrew root word and we will get to that soon but it also corresponds to the modern or present day noise that a literal snake makes and that does not conform to what is witnessed occurring in Genesis 3. This is where too many people try to come up with creative unstated explanations for what they believe must have occurred. These people automatically assume that snakes could talk before the fall but after the fall serpents were reduced to hissing sounds only. I call that a work of fiction based upon imaginative suppositions. Perhaps it will be good to review the first verses of Genesis 3 and learn the sounds the serpent is stated to have made:
- Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
- Gen 3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
- Gen 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
- Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
- Gen 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
This described serpent in Genesis 3 is clearly speaking with extreme intelligent terms using logical and informed reasoning with plainly understandable word statements in verses 1 through 5. Not only can the serpent think clearly and talk perceptively, but this being can hear and understand the women’s responses and communicate back with her on a level that is clearly above her. Believe me I am not saying that the woman was stupid; I believe she is very intelligent but this being must be far above her level of understanding if he is able to deceive her so easily. I want you to go back and notice that the serpent knew what God had said to Adam in verse 1 where there was no mention of a serpent being present during this discussion in chapter 2. How is that even possible? We must conclude from this information that the serpent was either present but not mentioned in Genesis 2 or that the serpent heard about this event from another source that was present and that only included the stated participants God and Adam. Based upon Bible information given about Satan either one of these could have occurred. For example take the story of Job the oldest book of the Bible. In this book Satan appears before God to discuss a human named Job and this story is very relevant to what we need to understand about what is given to us concerning Adam and Eve.
- Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
I want you to notice certain facts given to us about Satan in this verse. The name Satan means “adversary” or “enemy” and this clearly denotes Satan’s position at this time to not be a friend of God. Yet, Satan has just come from the earth in order to have a conversation with God. We therefore know that God and Satan talk and even communicate about human events. This could be the way that Satan found out about Adam’s conversation with God in Genesis 2. However the last part of this verse also applies to Genesis since Satan is walking about the earth even though there is no mention of him being seen by the human man named Job. Since Job knows nothing about Satan what would make you think Adam knew anything about him either? Satan very clearly walks the earth after the fall of man in the book of Job, could this be the way that Satan found out about the conversation in Genesis 2? I believe it could be. Adam was clearly given the task to guard and protect the garden before the fall of man occurred and this had to be guarding it from an external being like Satan since he is the only being that appeared on the scene in chapter 3 to deceive his wife. Since the first 5 verses occur before the fall of man, this proves that Satan had access on the earth before the fall as well as after the fall of man.
What we have just discovered is that Satan has great ability to communicate with beings even with an extreme intelligent being like God the creator and this means him speaking with a man or a woman on the earth is probably more like child’s play than speaking with God where he is clearly the child. Regardless of how Satan knew of the conversation the fact remains that this stated Genesis 3 serpent being had great knowledge of past events with outstanding memory recall abilities and that is very important to understand who you are dealing with. Satan has been here on the earth for at least the last 6000 years and you have been here probably far less than a100 years. Who do you think knows more you are him?
These facts found in Genesis 3:1-5 would appear to me to be a direct contradiction to what God says in the Bible in chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis if this is a literal snake. All the land animals were created on the first part of day 6 of creation before man was created last as the culmination of all of God’s creation. So would that order of creation make the animals supreme to the man because they were first? Or did God leave all of His creation in the hands of the supreme last created beings as I believe occurred? God says that man was created to have dominion which means to rule and have authority over ALL of the animals in Genesis 1:26. I do not see how a lower created being could have been fashioned to be smarter than God’s man made in the image and likeness of God himself. I do not recall any other being that was made to be like God in Genesis 1 or 2. I also recall no other recorded conversation between God and any other created being. Both of those are major problems for those who believe in a literal talking snake that deceives Eve. We are already discovering some very significant inconsistencies in what is being defined and stated versus what is being taught by many preachers and teachers in the church today. This is a very good time to dig deeper into the Hebrew word definition translated as “serpent” to discover what else is contained within this word. This Hebrew word H5175 comes from the Hebrew root word H5172 and that is a very important new word to learn and apply to what is being communicated to us by God here in Genesis 3.
- A primitive root; properly to hiss, that is, whisper a (magic) spell; generally to prognosticate: – X certainly, divine, enchanter, (use) X enchantment, learn by experience, X indeed, diligently observe.
This Hebrew root word contains the meaning of a “prognosticator”. Do you know what that is? That is someone who foretells the future. This is what many would call a fortune teller who speaks words about forthcoming events in your life. Do these still exist today? Are they still talking snakes? Let’s go back and review the conversation that the woman had in the first 5 verses again using this new information. Do you recall what the serpent said to the woman? The serpent begins the conversation with a question to engage her mind. The serpent asked “Did God say?” The serpent’s question in verse 1 includes a stated connection back to what God said in chapter two as previously stated in this lesson. Then when the woman responded to that question in verses 2 and 3 the serpent responds back in verse 4 “No, you shall not surely die”. Didn’t the serpent just attempt to foretell the woman’s future with this statement? I find that fact very significant to know. Then in verse 5 the serpent makes a claim that is beyond comprehension. The serpent claims to know what God knows. How could a created inferior being on the earth even come close to knowing what the creator God knows and how would the created superior man and woman not know the same thing or even other greater truths that God shared in personal conversations with them? Of course many people will counter this information that I just stated with the fact that Jesus claimed the devil was the father of lies (John 8:44) and therefore the serpent was lying in all of these statements. But using that logic just made this serpent the same as the devil and not a literal talking snake, so which one is it? You can’t have it both ways even though some have tried to claim the devil possessed the physical body of a created serpent in order to communicate with the woman and I gave you New Testament evidence that this would be an illegal supernatural temptation for the devil to do it this way. I’m not going to repeat that again. So far we have at least three possible interpretations given for the identity of the serpent by Bible teachers and these are:
- A literal talking snake (A NATURAL ONLY INTERPRETATION)
- The devil possessing a literal snake with the devil doing the speaking (A COMBINED NATURAL WITH SPIRITUAL INTEPRETATION)
- The devil in the spirit realm talking to the mind of Eve (A SPIRITUAL ONLY INTERPRETATION)
So far I believe that the evidence being presented by God in the Bible dictates that the serpent can only be number 3, but number 2 can be easily beleived by many to be the truth also until you put all of the pieces of the puzzle together correctly and see that this is not possible. Number 1 is definitely out of the question but we will explore more of why this is not possible also. What are the facts presented to us so far?
- We know the serpent is smart and possesses great intelligence.
- We know that the serpent had recall of past events even when not stated to be present during the occurrence of them. We know the serpent knew what God had said in previous conversations with Adam.
- We know that the serpent can remember, think and reason.
- We know that the serpent can speak clearly understandable words.
- We know that the serpent predicts the future speaking of events that have not transpired whether they are completely accurate or fictitious is really irrelevant to the facts given.
- We know from verse 1 in Genesis 3 that the serpent is very cunning.
There is at least one recorded conversation between man and God in chapter 2. God’s voice is also described to be walking with man in the garden in Genesis 3:8. This description clearly makes it sound like it was not the first time that this voice of God walked there since Adam and Eve both recognized Him being present. But up until this point in Genesis 3 I want you to see clearly that there have been no recorded conversations between a serpent and God, yet this creature is clearly more informed than the man and the woman to know how to deceive them.
I really hope you have read the entire Genesis 3 series of lessons because I’m not going to repeat them here. I did one lesson on the subject “You shall be as God Knowing Good and Evil” and that was a prophecy of misfortune but yet it would still come to pass. This statement literally contains the implied knowledge that the serpent understood the current status of God. All of this information is a direct contradiction for a literal snake to know how to speak, to know the status of God and His thoughts or to even predict the future of the woman. This is a major problem for a literal only interpretation yet it is explained away because of what people think that Genesis 3:14 says.
Please review the definition for the Hebrew root word H5172 again and see how it was defined. It is stated to be a literal hiss but then it is directly tied into someone whispering a chant or a magic spell. This changes the word’s usage from a literal hiss sound to become a potential figurative or symbolic word application. Do you have any clue yet how Satan communicates to you every day? Did you even know that the serpent is still speaking to people like you and I every day? Doesn’t Satan still come to us using whispered subtle phrases? Aren’t these whispered words of temptation picked up by your mind so that you can hear them as thoughts? Satan will come to your mind and whisper a thought to entice you and many respond to this mental stimulus, even Christians. The reader of this chapter can still ignore all of this information and try to take these initial verse statements of Genesis 3:1-5 and 3:13 and 14 literally. Many people will still try to think that God was speaking to a literal created being that thinks and talks like a man no matter what I teach to the contrary. But if those that want to see what the Bible really says they should begin to weigh the growing evidence for how this serpent was just a symbolic named reference for the hidden spiritual being named Satan who was not yet revealed to man. But we need more Bible verses to confirm which viewpoint is the truth and that is the objective today for us to find. Let’s continue analyzing the phrases in Genesis 3:14 and see the next stated expression.
- “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field;”
Again in this next statement of Genesis 3:14 we can see a common theme reappearing from Genesis 3:1 in that the serpent is similarly compared to the “cattle” a subset of the beasts of the field and then God compares the serpent to the superset of “all the beasts of the field”. We should easily know that a literal serpent is not from the livestock mammal class of beings so that is pretty simple to understand that the serpent does not belong in that set or class of created beings. But again in this verse we see the word ALL being placed in front of the noun set of the “beasts of the field” to qualify the applicable scope of the statement. Since “ANY”, “EVERY” and “ALL” are synonymous terms and they mean none are omitted from the specified set of referenced nouns we know by this statement made by God alone that the specified serpent is not a member of the “beast of the field” superset or class of created beings either. This is not rocket science but people ignore the words on the page to render what they want them to say. God chose these words so it is very important for you not to ignore one word like “all” because it does not conform to what you think it needs to say. Let’s move on to the last controversial statement that was made by God to the serpent and explore this for the remainder of the Bible lesson:
- “On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;”
People still look at this last statement in verse 14 wondering what it means. In fact that is exactly what initiated this entire Bible lesson and why I am attempting to respond to two different commenters. God says in the last part of the verse that the serpent will travel on its belly and eat dust. Here is where people again begin to jump to erroneous assumptions and wrong conclusions misunderstanding and misapplying what was actually stated. Because everyone knows that has seen a literal modern snake at the zoo or in their yard that they slither on the ground on their bellies as the primary way to get around they therefore assume that this is what God was declaring to happen. Thus they believe that God was talking to a literal snake and this is where they become more creative again to imagine or invent some new unstated explanation of what God just said in His Word. I have heard more than one preacher try to claim that the serpent before the curse walked using legs but after the curse his legs were removed and now he had to slither in the dust on its belly. That is the required logic that must have transpired for a literal interpretation. But, that type of belief or reasoning is based upon a form of reverse evolution. Reverse evolution occurs when a higher formed creature returns, regresses, reverts or mutates backwards to a lesser or inferior form of creation. This belief is the stated antithesis of the theory of “evolution” also taught as the “evolving” of lesser beings classes that are raised to a higher state of development class by some unknown miracle. I have a major problem with believing in either of those two theoretical scenarios since there is no written evidence or fossil evidence that either of these theories ever occurred. If there were walking snakes before the fall then there should be some fossil evidence for them found somewhere on the earth. Instead of thinking on these words from a completely natural perspective inventing creative untruths to confirm them, let’s divert our attention away and try to see the words from a new spiritual point of view. We can only counter theories with facts. We therefore need facts from the Bible that trump the reverse evolution belief.
Do you understand what symbolism is in the Bible? I have already tried to explain that the “serpent” was a symbolic reference to a spiritual being named Satan as revealed by God in Revelation. God uses vast amounts of symbolism in the book of Revelation but yet people like to think that God never used symbolism anywhere else in the Bible especially in Genesis. Suddenly people want to think that God changes to do something new in Revelation and uses a novel technique never before used in the Bible. But that is clearly not sound reasoning to think that way. For example, Jesus taught consistently in the Gospels using parables. What is a parable? A parable is a lesson about spiritual things using natural symbolic references to convey the message. Clearly Jesus used natural symbols and I could give you other uses of symbols in the Bible if you do not believe me ask me a question and I will supply you with an introduction to the subject found in the O.T. and even in Genesis.
There is another important concept that is related directly to symbolism found in the Bible called a “figure of speech”. Do you understand what a figure of speech represents? I’ll not go into this in depth but I will attempt to give you a couple of examples of a figure of speech to help affirm the conclusion. If a person today says “You are a pain in my neck”, was he saying something literally or figuratively? I believe you are smart enough to know that this is a figurative description of the person and not a literal one. You can see God using this illustrated type of speaking example in the Bible several times when He says to the natural people of Israel “Wipe them out or they will become thorns in your side” (Num 33:55, Jos 23:13, Jdg 2:3). You see God was not speaking to Israel literally so He must have been declaring a figurative statement that they should have been smart enough to recognize. What is a thorn in your side? That is just an example of someone who causes you physical, mental or emotional harm or causes you to stumble over something that results in physical, mental or emotional harm. In these three Bible examples that I just gave you, God was saying these people will introduce you to their idols and by you worshiping them these people will cause you great negative consequences. That is exactly what God was doing in Genesis 3:14 when speaking to the symbolic serpent. God was not telling the serpent that he just lost his legs; He was saying something else which you do not even yet understand.
RULES FOR O.T. BIBLE INTERPRETATION
How can we find the meaning of these figurative and symbolic words in the Old Testament? How do we understand any verse written in the Old Testament if the Jews could read them all for centuries but never saw any of the words that described Jesus’ coming? These are finally great questions to answer. Please allow me to introduce you to some very basic rules for O.T. Bible interpretation and understanding. Read these rules over and then I’ll explain them and apply them more completely as we continue into the rest of the Bible study:
We can only understand the O.T by:
- First understanding that the Bible is ONE BOOK written by ONE AUTHOR with superior intelligence (2 Tim 3:16)! Therefore, we must not study one part of the Bible trying to understand it while ignoring the other parts of the Bible that reveal it.
- Secondarily understanding that the Bible interprets itself and we need not add our opinion to the mix or we will violate God’s law of correct interpretation found in 2 Peter 1:20.
- Next understanding the revelations, explanation and descriptions of the words, concepts and subjects found in the verses in the New Testament. The Bible is progressive revelation also called the unveiling, the uncovering or the revelation of the truth (Rom 16:25).
- Searching, finding and observing God’s definitions of the words and subjects in the New Testament and other parts of the Bible where they are given (Col 1:26).
- Observing the context of the verses around it.
- Observing God’s usage of the same Hebrew words in the other verses of the O.T.
- Looking up the definitions of the Hebrew words in dictionaries like Strong’s.
That is certainly not an exhaustive list of rules for correct O.T. Bible interpretation but that was enough to help get you started moving in the right direction for studying this part of the Bible. I have just given you a short “to do” list for O.T. Bible study. This is a list of items to consider when desiring to know what you are reading from the Old Testament. These are very specific things that you should not ignore but rather learn, apply and deliberate on while you read the Bible. These are very direct items that are essential for studying to find God’s revealed answers to your questions. These are the basic rules that I follow and I will apply them directly to the rest of this lesson to teach you how you should apply them to what you do. Not understanding them and applying them is the primary reason why many Christians do not know what the words on the pages mean. They simply have not been taught how to resolve the lack of structure for how they study the Bible. I hope that you at least try to use this initial list and see how it changes what you find in the Bible. If you find them to not be useful, then that does not bother me but it might reveal why we believe differently about the same verse. Let’s study the verse here in Genesis 3:14 using these rules and see what develops and changes about what we can see in the verse.
I will say that rule number 1 is a general statement of fact and truth. It is repeated in more detail in rules 2, 3 and 4. The combination of the first four rules is us finding God’s details and interpretations already recorded in the Bible. We do this these through other rules that I may or may not get into fully in this lesson. I just mention this because I know them and you probably do not unless you have read most of my other Bible lessons where I give you descriptions in certain places on how to use them. I’m sorry I just can’t teach everything that I know in every Bible lesson or I would never get a lesson completed.
RULES 1 AND 2: ALLOWING GOD TO INTERPRET HIS WORD
I want to begin with rules 1 and 2 of every sound Bible interpretation. We must allow God the author of the entire Bible to interpret His own words in order to leave our thoughts out of the meanings. God’s mind is superior to my mind and yours. When we introduce the thoughts of our mind into the discussion we introduce an inferior process and way of thinking. I have discovered from many years of Bible study that God is smart enough to interpret His own writings if we can become smart enough to learn how to find them and apply them. That is your number one challenge being issued within the Word of God. Go find the verses that explain the verse that you want to learn about in the Old Testament. That is what we need to do next so let’s go looking for some New Testament explanatory words for what we have read in Genesis 3:14.
RULES 3 & 4: WHAT DOES THE NEW TESTAMENT TEACH ABOUT SERPENTS?
Since someone was questioning if the serpent in Genesis 3 was literal or symbolic we need to ask what does the New Testament say about “serpents” and how should these references be applied to this question concerning Genesis 3? Can you see that I have already answered a portion of this question in the previous lessons in the series? I pointed you to two verses in Revelation (Rev 12:9 & Rev 20:2) where God directly identifies and names the “old serpent” and the “ancient serpent” to be the literal enemy Satan. This was a God inspired definition that was further mentioned within the context of another symbolic name for the same individual called the “dragon” and that truth helps to teach us that the serpent and the dragon are both symbolic titles for Satan. We need to treat both referenced titles of the serpent and the dragon to be equivalent for the literal spiritual being named Satan. There are also other references to a serpent in Revelation and one is found in Revelation 9:19 where God uses this same word to be like something else. This fact teaches us that God is in the practice of using a serpent as symbolism to teach us about spiritual things that we have never observed with our eyes. The next reference that I gave was that of Revelation 12:9 but also in this same chapter God uses the serpent again as symbolism to be associated with a symbolic woman also mentioned in the same chapter. I hope that you have already read my Bible study on Genesis 3:15 called “The Seed of the Woman and the Seed of the Serpent”. If not you really do not understand that Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12 are parallel prophecies of a soon coming future event.
If you continue to read down in Revelation 12 to verse 14 you will see the woman and a serpent being mentioned in the same verse. I’m not going to elaborate on these, just understand that they are both symbolic for someone else. In the very next verse Revelation 12:15 you will find the fifth reference in Revelation to a serpent. In this verse you should be smart enough to see that this serpent is again a symbolic reference and he is stated to spew symbolic water out of his mouth like a flood to cause the woman to be carried away by the flow. I really do not have the time to teach this chapter in full. Just understand that the woman and the serpent are both clear symbols for a greater defined spiritual reality and God is for the woman and against the serpent. We also know that the woman is not named or identified directly but the serpent was and that is what we were searching for to understand Genesis 3:14. This is just very basic information that helps us to confirm that the serpent in Genesis 3:1 through 3:14 was not a literal reference but rather also a symbolic association.
The term “serpent” is only mentioned in 15 verses of the KJV New Testament. Only once can it possibly be considered to be a literal created serpent moving on the ground. Let me give you all of these verses so that you can review them for yourself to learn how God uses the term:
|Matthew 7:10||Symbolic||Referenced by Jesus in a teaching about Father giving the Holy Spirit|
|Matthew 10:16||Symbolic||Referenced by Jesus in a teaching to His disciples about them being wise as a serpent but harmless has doves both symbolic references|
|Matthew 23:33||Symbolic/Figurative Speaking||Jesus speaking the leaders of Israel calling them a generation of vipers.|
|Mark 16:18||Symbolic||Jesus instructing the disciples after His resurrection often called the Great Commission|
|Luke 10:19||Symbolic||Jesus speaking in contextual reference to Satan giving authority to His church to tread on the serpent|
|Luke 11:11||Symbolic||Jesus speaking to the church about the Father in Heaven giving the Holy Spirit|
|John 3:14||Symbolic||Reference to O.T. symbol being placed on a pole by Moses|
|1 Cor 10:9||Symbolic/Literal||Possibly a reference to either or both a symbolic and literal snakes killing Israeli people in the wilderness who disobeyed God|
|2 Cor 11:3||Symbolic||An explanatory reference written about Eve being deceived in her mind by the serpent|
|James 3:7||Literal||Here James is using a reference to taming created animals and creatures but this is a totally different Greek word than all the other references to a serpent. This one is G2062 and is translated as “creeping thing” every other time in the N.T.|
|Rev 9:19||Symbolic||Used by God to describe the 4 angels that kill 1/3 of the human race during the tribulation|
|Rev 12:9||Symbolic||Verse where God identifies Satan to be the serpent of old|
|Rev 12:14||Symbolic||Symbolic connection of the woman and the serpent found in Genesis 3:15|
|Rev 12:15||Symbolic||Symbolic connection of the woman and the serpent in Genesis 3:15|
|Rev 20:2||Symbolic||God again clarifies the identity of the ancient serpent to be Satan|
I just gave you 14 verses containing the direct references to the Greek word G3789 translated as “serpent” and the evidence is very clear to me that the vast majority of the N.T. word usage must be considered as symbolic references to a spiritual being. The only verse that I could possibly leave to be a natural snake was 1 Corinthians 10:19 when God was describing what occurred to the natural people of Israel in the wilderness after they disobeyed God. Every other reference appears to be a symbol for Satan and the enemy of God. I can still see how people could argue about some verses being literal but that is probably because they do not see what is stated. For example the 2 times that Jesus speaks about a father giving his son a serpent when the son asks for a fish is definitely an example of a parable where all named nouns represent a spiritual reality not named. The literal symbol of a snake in these verses is used by Jesus to teach a spiritual lesson. Then consider John 3:14 where the serpent was placed on a pole to bring healing to the people of Israel in the wilderness. This is clearly another symbolic representation for Christ being made sin for the salvation of His people in the New Testament. I do not know how you can ignore all of this evidence? If the New Testament references are 13 out of 14 for the “serpent” being symbolic in the N.T. then this teaches us that we must consider this information and apply it to what we are trying to understand in the Old Testament. God would not have given us so many clear examples if we were supposed to not understand them. So if you did not realize it already, I have just used the first four rules of O.T. Bible interpretation to discover the explanation, definition and identity of the “serpent” in Genesis 3.
I would also like to teach you a basic Bible fact that the O.T. was written in Hebrew and the N.T. was written in Greek. How then do we know that a N.T. Greek word is equivalent to a given O.T. Hebrew word? That is another Bible interpretation rule that needs to be learned and observed. There are generally two ways to solve this language difference problem. The first primary way is to find an O.T. verse that is quoted in the N.T. that contains the word that you are searching for. Since the “serpent” word is not found in this manner we must use plan B. Plan B is finding a verse that speaks about the subjects found in the O.T. even though it is not a direct quote. Since 2 Corinthians 11:3 contains the subjects of Eve and the serpent together we can confirm conclusively that the Greek Word G3789 is equivalent to the Hebrew word H5175. We are now assured by rule definition that these verses found in the N.T. are speaking to us about the same subject given by the author in Genesis 3. That was a very important part of the study that I just gave you. I did not use random chance to connect O.T. words with N.T. words. I used rule based methods that were designed by God and that changes everything.
RULE 5: WHAT IS THE CONTEXT OF GENESIS 3:14?
Let’s move on to rule number five for correct Bible interpretation. This rule involves us observing the context of the verse in question. This would include the speakers, the participants and the intended reader audience. Let’s begin this section of study by observing the next verse 15 following Genesis 3:14 because I believe this is very relevant information. I have already published a Bible study on this subject that you should have previously read but if not we will go back over parts of it very quickly. The statement in verse 15 is a continuation of the statement in verse 14, do you understand this? Therefore whatever God was talking about in verse 14 is still being continued in verse 15. I cannot disconnect the two verses and neither can you if you use wisdom. God is still speaking to the same symbolic serpent but God is now introducing a new important connection for the serpent. I’ll give you the verse so that you can read it again for a mental refresher:
- Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
God introduces us to a woman in verse 15 that He declares to be the serpent’s new forthcoming or prophetical enemy. God says very clearly I will put enmity (hostility or hatred) between you (the serpent) and her (the woman). Right there that new statement should become a mental “turn on the light bulb moment” clue for you that this stated serpent is not a literal physical talking snake. Yes women are not the usual friends with natural snakes but that is clearly not what God is saying in this prophesy. You do realize that this statement was a prophetical statement, don’t you? Eve was the only literal physical woman present during this conversation, therefore you must show me where she ever stepped on the head of this physical snake to bruise her heal or bruise the literal serpent’s head. Since you cannot find a verse that states this occurred, that is a major problem for a physical or literal snake’s existence as being cursed by God in verse 14. A physical serpent’s life span in this day and age is less than 50 years by far. Therefore this event if it was a literal snake must have occurred during a time span of reasonable age less than the life time of the woman in this chapter. Since it was not recorded as a past event we must now reassess if a literal snake makes any logical sense at all anywhere in this chapter.
No God is again speaking purely prophetically and figuratively in verse 15 using natural symbols for a coming spiritual event. The woman is symbolic, the seed is symbolic, the heel is symbolic and therefore the serpent must also be symbolic along with the head of the serpent. If you can find me where any literal woman, heel or seed steps on the head of any literal snake to bruise it then we can all join together into the same belief that this is a literal historic account of literal beings. I believe what we have just confirmed is that verse 15 is symbolic and matches what I previously showed you to be symbolic references in Revelation 12. If the context of Genesis 3:15 is both prophetic and symbolic, then the previous verse 14 references must also be prophetic and symbolic and that changes most everyone’s way of viewing it. This means in verse 14 the serpent is symbolic, the belly of the serpent is symbolic and even the dust is symbolic for some things that you have not yet discovered. Who knows if I have convinced anyone yet, but we are not finished with the study so please continue to read the next important Bible interpretation rule application.
RULE 6: HOW DOES GOD USE THIS PHRASE IN OTHER O.T. VERSES?
Let’s review what else God says about this subject in the Hebrew Old Testament to consider the further usage of the words found in Genesis 3:14. We are interested primarily in what God says about a serpent eating dust so I did a search for these key words and found a verse that you must read and apply to what was stated by God in Genesis 3:14. Obviously God knew that He would have many people that would not understand His selection of the words in Genesis 3:14 so He uses them again to teach us what they mean later in another prophet’s words. Read this verse slowly and carefully and observe it to be a prophecy on the same subject:
- Mic 7:17 They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of thee.
I need you to examine this verse word by word and then if you don’t know the answers to my questions go and read the context of this verse to see who God is speaking to and about. I guess I was going to first ask you who and what this verse is concerning but I better just answer it for you so you learn how to do this. If you go back to Micah 1:1 you will find God informing the prophet Micah concerning the kings of Judah concerning the area of Samaria and the city of Jerusalem. Therefore the rest of this book is written by that direction and must be interpreted in that light. When God writes to them and tells them in chapter 7 verse 17 that they will lick the dust like a serpent, is that literal or is that figuratively speaking terminology? I can see how people will try to make it literal but God is speaking to men using symbolic application. I connected this verse in Micah to Genesis by looking for “serpent” and “dust” together in the same verse. God uses a synonymous reference for eating with the term lick but they are basically equivalent phrasings. I can very clearly eat an ice cream cone by licking it. Let’s pursue another example of God’s usage of this term in another prophet’s writing:
- Isa 65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.
Here is another important verse to consider for us understanding Genesis 3:14. Here is a verse written by the prophet Isaiah literally many hundreds of years after the prophet Moses wrote Genesis and this verse contains the exact same three Hebrew words that Moses used in the Genesis text. These words are H6083 translated as “dust”, H398 translated as “eat” or “meat” and finally H5175 translated as “serpent”. The translators made a slight modification so that the one word “eat” from Genesis 3:14 is not easily recognizable but that is why I searched using the Strong’s numbers and not the English words. Did you read this verse and consider how it applies to Genesis 3:14? Is the verse in Isaiah speaking literally or figuratively? I also want to ask you is this statement a historical past tense description, a present tense right now (at the time of the writing) description or a prophetical future tense based event description? I can potentially hear many different answers to my question but only one answer can be correct. Since this is the prophet Isaiah writing many, many years after Moses wrote Genesis 3:14 and both are speaking of the same thing I cannot agree that this occurred in past history in Genesis 3. No, I see both statements in Genesis 3 and Isaiah 65 to be written about a future coming prophetic event that has not yet occurred. If you do not agree then explain to my when you ever saw a lamb lie down with a lamb and dwell in peace and safety? For that matter when was the last time you saw a wolf eat straw regularly? Then analyze the last part of this verse and tell me when this has occurred in the Bible? God describes that His Holy Mountain will never again be destroyed nor will there be found any hurt or pain present there? I just don’t have the time to explain this verse fully. Please know that this has not yet occurred and will not occur until the end of Revelation the last chapters. Then know that if this verse is a future speaking prophecy it helps us to understand how Genesis 3:14 is concerning the same prophecy.
I want you to understand very clearly that Isaiah 65:2 and Genesis 3:14 are the only two verses in the entire Old Testament (23,145 verses) that contains these three exact Hebrew words together. Do you believe that was a coincidence or a chance occurrence? I really do not believe that. God has placed a design in the Bible using extreme intelligence. He has implement certain rules of interpretation that are being revealed now to help us through the use of computers to find the meanings of what was written thousands of years ago.
Since I have already used Rule 7 in previous discussions of the Hebrew word for “serpent” I will not redo that work in this part of the lesson. I pray that you understand how I applied the definition of the word in Strong’s and the Hebrew root word to the lesson to show how it was used symbolically. I have covered the application of seven Bible rules of interpretation. We have explored New Testament references and definitions and applied them to what was spoken of by God in Genesis 3:14. We have looked at the context of Genesis 3:14 to see that it was both prophetic and symbolic. We have looked for and found other verses in the O.T. to further confirm this was also a prophesy found in Genesis 3:14. What I have attempted to do is to teach you that the words of a verse in Genesis can have a much different intended purpose by God than a literal only interpretation. I have used sound rules to give you a new and different way of seeing the words. I may have not fully explained what the words “upon your belly you shall go and eat dust all the days of your life” mean but I have tried to teach that God does offer a way to learn what they mean by searching the Bible. If you still do not understand we can do more lessons later on this subject of the symbolic serpent if you ask direct questions about what I have presented to you. From everything that I have found so far in the Bible there is only evidence given by God to support a symbolic reference for the serpent in Genesis 3 to be Satan and not a literal talking snake. I thank you for taking the time to read this advanced Bible study lesson and please help others to see what God has said in His Word.
(ver 1.1) This is Part 1 in a lesson series on understanding the prophesied saving work of Jesus predicted to come in Isaiah 53. I recently received a valid important question concerning the prophecies found in Isaiah 53. The basis for the question was who this chapter was about, who are the players and characters being described and is this God pouring out His judgment upon someone and why was it necessary? As part of this question I surmised that this also included the implied question of, “Was all of this prophecy fulfilled and if yes, what was accomplished by the fulfillment of this prophecy?” I will not be attempting to answer every part of all these questions in this single Bible lesson today. In order to understand the deep subjects of any chapter in the Bible we must first regress to understand the very basic subjects that establish the foundation for the deep. Therefore today’s lesson is a teaching of the basic concepts found in Isaiah 53 to lay the foundation for the coming more complex subjects being mentioned. I pray that you understand why I teach in this manner. Paul said “I fed you milk and not with meat because you were not able to bear it” (1 Cor 3:2). God teaches us very clearly that we should not get the cart before the horse and expect the passage to be successful while striving for deeper knowledge and understanding. Therefore I am going to leave the meat parts of this subject to a future lesson in the series and focus upon the more important subjects in today’s lesson.
This chapter of the Old Testament is actually vital to understand as a Christian. God places certain facts here that apply to us today and these help us understand why some people are saved and some are not. In the English King James Version of the Bible there are several Hebrew words that were poorly translated by the translators. These mistranslated Hebrew words cause serious doubts and even confusion when read in isolation ignoring the New Testament explanations and descriptions. Without studying and researching what these original Hebrew words really mean people are left wondering what was actually prophesied by God to occur and who these words were really written about. Also when we find the Hebrew scripture being quoted in the New Testament many of the Greek language translations were done with greater degree of accuracy. Why the translators were not smart enough to be consistent I cannot explain but I have learned that I must find the answers from the New Testament in order to understand the writings of the Old Testament.
There is an essential basic concept found on the pages of the Old Testament that is absolutely crucial to understanding any of it. Every word found on the pages of the Old Testament is completely true from a natural perspective but the spiritual meanings of the words have been hidden from the natural human viewpoint being veiled from their carnal minds. I know of very few Bible teachers that teach or try to explain this spiritual veiled writing technique. I have learned this fact simply because the Holy Spirit taught it to me personally and I did not learn it from any human teacher. That is exactly why I teach this over and over to allow more people to understand the importance of this truth. Every unsaved person will never be able to read the O.T. in isolation and figure out what it is all about. Even carnal baby Christians do not have a clear perspective to what the O.T. was written about. In today’s lesson whatever I say about the chapter of Isaiah 53 will come directly from the New Testament and this is the proper way to understand any verse written in the O.T. In doing this we allow the Holy Spirit to interpret and define the O.T. words that are presented. I am going to focus only on the first verse in this lesson on Isaiah 53. I believe that Isaiah 53:1 contains the key to unlock the rest of the chapter. In other words if you do not understand Isaiah 53:1 completely you will not understand the verses that follow. We will discover this fact by continuing to read and learn what the Holy Spirit has to say about it.
IS ISAIAH 53 EASILY UNDERSTOOD?
What I am going to do to begin this lesson is to turn to a story in the New Testament and go through a good portion of it to help confirm what I have just introduced you to in the first few paragraphs concerning the hidden spiritual information found in the O.T. I want you to ask God to open the spiritual eyes of your understanding and allow you to see what He has to say in His Holy Word! God gives us a very clear example of the O.T. hidden spiritual truth fact in the book of Acts. If you go to Acts chapter 8 you will find this story and I ask that you read it over carefully and consider what was just revealed to you by God and how it applies to your understanding of the same passage:
- Act 8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
- Act 8:27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
- Act 8:28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
- Act 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
- Act 8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
- Act 8:31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
- Act 8:32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
- Act 8:33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
- Act 8:34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
- Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
This God inspired story is pretty awesome. You can clearly see from reading verse 34 that the man did not understand what he was reading. Here is a Gentile man from Ethiopia and he was sitting and reading the book of Isaiah and wondering what these words meant. If you note from the context this man was a seeker of God coming to Jerusalem to worship and that is very important for what happens next and why. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that God rewards those that diligently seek Him and this story is a prime example of that basic truth. The Ethiopian man was struggling greatly with the understanding of the words that he could clearly read on the scroll before him but he still desired earnestly to know their meaning. If you are observant you will find that this man was reading the words found in Isaiah 53. God sent to him a preacher man to help explain the words and this man was named Philip an evangelist of God. Well as you can clearly read in verse 35, Philip preached the hidden Christ in Isaiah 53 and as a result of this explanation this man was saved. We have just learned something very important.
I have personally learned a lot from this story. The primary take away is to understand that Isaiah 53 is predominately about Jesus the Messiah/Christ. The second most important thing to understand from this chapter of Isaiah is the primary theme concerning Jesus pertains to human salvation since the Ethiopian was saved after hearing and understanding just these words. The initial verse that Philip preached from was Isaiah 53:7. This was where the Ethiopian was focused on so Phillip used it to teach the man about Jesus our silent sacrificed lamb. It is important to note that when Acts 8 occurred there was no New Testament to read or share with others. So the early church had to use only the Old Testament to preach and get people saved. Do you understand this? Why couldn’t this Ethiopian man just read the text, figure it out and get saved without anyone preaching and teaching him what the words meant? Did the words on the page suddenly change when someone preached them? I really do not think they did, but something happened to change the man’s perspective who was listening to a new way of seeing them. A wrong thinking within the human mind is the greatest reason why the words are not known to the spirit of the man. Once the mind is opened and cleared to see the words they are passed into the spirit of man to be believed. I’ll definitely be talking more about his as we go forward.
God designed a system based upon divine grace and human faith where salvation is the common desired end result for both. The fact that someone must preach the Gospel and the hearer must believe the Gospel is just a part of God’s design for salvation. There is something about a man speaking with authority and preaching the Gospel with boldness that makes the words on the page come alive to many people that want to know them. This Ethiopian man clearly desired to know them, was open to learning about them and God sent the preacher to open the words up from their concealed original state to be seen through preaching and teaching.
So far we have looked at only one reference of Isaiah 53 found in Acts 8 and have discovered the central theme to be salvation and the theme giver to be Jesus Christ. That is the foundation for the rest of this lesson. I might point out to you that the name “Isaiah” does not appear in the New Testament. However that does not mean his written words are not found there. The problem is that the New Testament was written in the Greek language and the name Isaiah was transliterated from Hebrew into Greek and then into English. The Old Testament was transliterated directly from Hebrew omitting the Greek transition and thus we have two different spellings for the same name. In the KJV New Testament the name “Isaiah” is written as “Esaias”. This Greek word that was changed to “Esaias” is G2268 and it is derived from the Hebrew name H3470 written as “Isaiah” in the English. Just understand that they are both the exact same name. Then learn what the name means in the Hebrew. “Isaiah” literally means “Jah saves”. “Jah” is a short form of the Hebrew “Jehovah” (H3050) a primary name of God in the Old Testament. The name of the prophet designates further hidden confirmation of the book’s main subject content. Isaiah the prophet wrote about God’s plan of salvation for man so we need to learn how this applies and what it entails.
I’m only going to go through the first verse in Isaiah 53 to keep the lesson shorter. Then I will move to the New Testament to understand this verse. What we will be looking for is the New Testament explanations and applications for what Isaiah recorded for God. It is absolutely essential that you understand these words written to the natural nation of Israel are applicable to us and for us in the church. If you do not know this you will discount them as being irrelevant and unimportant. The reason I know they apply to the church is because these verses in Isaiah 53 are quoted in the New Testament repeatedly and explained there. So we will begin reading with verse 1 of Isaiah 53 and then find the references to it in the New Testament:
- Isa 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
Isaiah 53 begins with one of the most incredible O.T. hidden secrets that was only revealed to us in the New Testament writings after Jesus was raised from the dead. Isaiah 53:1 is about the subject of faith. Nowhere in this verse is that subject described, named, or defined and that is the reason very few understand it. Galatians 3:23 describes a principle that faith was revealed (uncovered, made clear, opened for view) by God in the New Testament. In order for any subject to be uncovered for view it had to be previously covered from view. That is further confirmation for what I have taught. However, if you do not understand the subject of faith then you will not understand this verse is about faith. I would strongly suggest that you go and read my lesson series on “Understanding Bible Faith” if you have not read them. This will build a foundation for understanding what is written here in Isaiah 53:1. I will attempt to give you a brief overview of the subject of faith but I cannot repeat the lessons in any detail. What is the number one question being asked here in Isaiah 53:1? God very clearly says “Do you believe the report”? What is a report? A report is a spoken account of a given event by a witness or an expert qualified to speak about it. Remember what we just read about in Acts 8 concerning the Ethiopian man? Didn’t God send the report of a witness to the man from Ethiopia so that he could hear and believe it? Did the Ethiopian believe the report sent by the Lord? Evidently the Ethiopian man was saved because he did believe what was reported to him by Phillip. Wow, that is pretty amazing!
Let’s analyze the last part of the verse, before we move on to the New Testament references. What does it mean if something must be revealed? As I previously stated anything that is revealed must first be concealed. No one on their birthday ever knows for sure what present they have been given until it is opened and revealed to them. What does the arm of the Lord represent in this verse? These are both key determining factors for what I am teaching. God reveals what was previously hidden from plain view was something unexpected. In this case the subject being revealed is connected directly to the “arm of the Lord”. The Hebrew word H2220 that was translated as “arm” can have either a literal or figurative application. God’s “arm” in this verse is a reference to the figurative and not the literal. This figurative Hebrew word will apply to God’s strength and power being revealed. But, since we are limiting the discussion to Jesus and the salvation of man by definition of context discovered from reading the Acts 8 application, we will need to search and find what God says concerning the power of God that has saved men today. Do you recall any verses like this in the New Testament? One comes to my mind very quickly and I ask you to read and learn the reason why I say this:
- Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
I need you to see what God has just plainly stated. The Gospel is defined to be the power of God for our salvation. We also have a direct connection to Isaiah 53:1 with God’s usage of the word “believe”. Since we have previously seen a clear example of Phillip preaching the Isaiah 53 verses to an Ethiopian Gentile man and him being saved from it because he believed the spoken report, we know concretely that Isaiah 53 is the Gospel that contains the power of God for salvation. Therefore God declared Isaiah 53 to be His arm of power that saves if you will see what it says. Let’s move on and look at the direct quotes of Isaiah 53:1.
Isaiah 53:1 is quoted specifically in the New Testament twice. We will look at both of them. I believe to fully understand this verse we must go and discover how God used it in the New Testament, how it was applied and why it was selected. The first occurrence of Isaiah 53:1 is found in the book of John. Jesus is the primary speaker within the context and His words are followed by God’s connection to Isaiah 53:1. Therefore these words of Jesus must contain some very important information directly from the author of the entire book. Read these verses very slowly and carefully:
- Joh 12:35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
- Joh 12:36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
- Joh 12:37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
- Joh 12:38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
These are actually very relevant words to learn. Jesus claims to be the light of the world. But this is a spiritual light and not a physical one. Then Jesus says to them “to believe in the light”. What is God in the flesh saying? He is saying I’m here to fulfill Isaiah 53 and you can see this very clearly reading the context in verses 37 and38 where John also quotes from Isaiah 53:1. What God is doing is teaching us that people have a very significant role to play in the process of salvation. Jesus was God in the flesh walking like every other man before them and they chose not to believe in Him of their own freewill. These Jews were NOT saved because they failed to believe and not because Jesus failed to save them. If you don’t understand this you need to regress to even more basic Bible subjects.
Isaiah asks who has believed the report and Jesus said “Believe in me” and then goes away and hides himself from the people so that they can see what it would be like without Him being found. John tells us that they saw great miracles but still did not believe in Him. That is not good news for them because there are no second chances after death occurs. I do not have time to teach everything that is found in these verses. Just understand the statement that Jesus was sent to fulfill Isaiah 53 and this further confirms the chapter was about Him and His saving work for man to believe in. Let’s move on to read the second critical N.T. reference of Isaiah 53:1 which is found in the book of Romans:
- Rom 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
- Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Here in this chapter’s context is found invaluable information concerning God’s saving power extended to man. God quotes Isaiah 53:1 in verse 16 after He tells how to be saved in verses 9 and 10 of this chapter. How are you saved according to Romans 10:9-10? You must start by believing in Him and this includes believing that God raised Him from the dead. Then you must confess with your mouth Him to be your Lord. This is the basic requirement for salvation and it starts with believing the report since you were not there to witness the resurrection for yourself. That is how faith works, you believe and you say. This is a very basic reality but one that is ignored by many Christians.
It is very interesting to note that Paul quotes 12 different O.T. verses from Deuteronomy, Psalms, Isaiah, Proverbs, Nahum and Joel in this chapter context including the last verse of chapter 9. I find that fact off the charts fascinating and significant to learn. This knowledge helps to prove what I call the law of related distributed truths. I am a firm believer that God has placed many connected clues in the Old Testament being spread out like random seeds in a field as perceived by the casual reader. To put these random verses all together correctly without the Lord’s assistance is like trying to solve a large complex double sided puzzle without any pictures on any of the pieces. If you do not understand the significance of this distributed factual information being combined together as an integrated lesson then I would suggest that you go and read the context of every O.T. quoted verse found here in Romans 10 and then try to figure out for yourself how God did this and why. How is it possible that 12 different verses from several different books of the Old Testament were combined into a single unified subject lesson taught to the church? I wish people would begin to learn the complexity of the Bible instead of ignoring these types of important factual details.
I believe that this information which I have just given to you is confirmation that the entire O.T. contains hidden references about Jesus, the church and salvation and we should quickly begin to realize that Jesus is the central theme of the entire book. God teaches us how that the writings of 5 or 6 different prophets can all be tied together to teach a single cohesive lesson about Jesus and human salvation. I’ll give you a list of the verses so that you can do some more research on your on:
|Romans 9:33||Isaiah 8:14|
|Romans 10:6||Deuteronomy 30:12|
|Romans 10:7||Deuteronomy 30:13|
|Romans 10:8||Deuteronomy 30:14|
|Romans 10:11||Isaiah 28:16|
|Romans 10:13||Joel 2:32|
|Romans 10:15||Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15|
|Romans 10:16||Isaiah 53:1|
|Romans 10:18||Psalm 19:4|
|Romans 10:19||Deuteronomy 32:21|
|Romans 10:20||Isaiah 65:1|
|Romans 10:21||Proverbs 1:24; Isaiah 65:2|
I want you to understand God’s usage of the Isaiah 53:1’s reference in the context of Roman’s 10 more clearly. If you back up and read the end of chapter 9 you will clearly see that Paul was writing about the natural Jews that Jesus was speaking directly to in John 12 and this connection carries forward into chapter 10 with Paul’s statement “I pray that they all will be saved” in verse 1 of chapter 10. Paul then goes into a comparative writing between two diverse types of people; those saved by faith and those that were attempting to save themselves by their individual works of righteousness. Paul as you can observe says these people of natural Israel have rejected the gift of God’s righteousness through faith because they have failed to believe the report. Now let me emphasize two other verses found in Romans 10:
- Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
- Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
These words contain some of the keys to understanding Isaiah 53. We need to learn that God has directed some to preach the Good News Report. This is a required design from God. Jesus came to the earth to preach and teach as well as to save. We have already seen the fact that Isaiah 53:1 was used by John to inform natural Israel that Jesus had brought them light and Jesus said for them to follow the light. Follow the light is just another way to say “Believe”! I have also previously shown you in Acts 8 where Phillip preached Isaiah 53 to get the Ethiopian to believe and get saved. Now we can see Paul using Isaiah 53 and all of these references have to do with the existence of a preacher with a message sent to those that can hear and have faith to believe the report to be saved. We have just achieved 3 witnesses in the New Testament that Isaiah 53 is the GOSPEL of JESUS CHRIST! Gospel literally means good news. What was the good news that Jesus provided to us from Isaiah 53? I guess that is what everyone needs to know next. But let’s focus in on one more verse in Romans 10:13:
- Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Whosoever means me! This is a verse written to me since I am clearly a “whosoever” by qualified application. Whoever calls upon the name of the LORD, will be saved. I want you to review one key word in this verse found in the original Greek language. The Greek word G4982 which is translated as “saved” is the word “SOZO” and I have made mention of this word before. But I want you to learn a new association. We can clearly see the primary subject is salvation and God connects salvation back to the verses found in Isaiah 53:1 by His choice and intelligent design. Therefore we must understand what Isaiah 53 was written about by understanding how God uses it here in the N.T. The Greek word SOZO literally means to be made whole and complete. The antithesis of wholeness is incompleteness. Incompleteness is a state of lack or a deficit in entirety. This word has broad application. This Greek word crosses over into three realms of reality simultaneously. God’s plan of salvation included your spiritual salvation (wholeness), your mental salvation (wholeness) and your physical salvation (wholeness) in one act of His divine saving Grace. This teaches us literally what Isaiah 53 must contain and it MUST include all of these subjects or God does not remain consistent with the N.T. message of salvation. We now should better understand what to be looking for when reading Isaiah 53. We must search and look for the salvation of our spirit, soul and body.
I think this is a good place to end this lesson today. We have learned a lot of good basic information from searching the New Testament and finding God’s explanations for what was written in Isaiah 53. We should now know that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah is God’s power (arm) to save, heal and deliver us. We should also know that Isaiah 53 is only made effective in a human’s life if they choose to hear it proclaimed and believe the report. I thank you for your time reading the Bible and studying God’s Words. Please come back and tell others about what you have learned. God Bless!
(Ver 1.1) Here is a very common question that I received from two different women recently. So I thought I would answer them both in one short Bible lesson. This is a potentially controversial subject. Many men try to dominate women to tell them what to do while ignoring their own inadequacies. I do not want to ever place myself into a position of superiority that comes across that I am better than anyone else. That is why I try to give people balanced answers from the Bible and I do not try to spin the verses into saying something that they do not say. We all need to simply read the Bible and learn to follow what God says regardless of what we think is right or what others are doing around us. However, many Christians will continue to do as they please today simply ignoring the Bible to satisfy their own pleasures. Pride is a negative part of the fallen human nature that motivates Christians to say “Life is all about me”. Christians need to begin to understand that this new life of Christianity is no longer focused on the “me” but should be now directed to focus on Christ and others. Baby Christians are only immature self-centered me types. Mature Christians are able to place the needs of others ahead of their own needs. I’ve just started the answer to this question with the subject of pride and I will end it with the same subject but in the middle I will address why this is such an important part of how and why we dress the way that we do.
For the answer of women’s dress I could go with either of two extremes or I could take a more middle of the road approach and that is what I will suggest that we all do. Let’s talk briefly about the extreme positions of dress first. One extreme is a law based dress code where religions like Islam command women to cover everything except for their eyes. That is a very stupid solution for a very stupid problem. Because men were created to like women undressed men have created rules of law that they think help them to keep themselves more pure. They feel if a woman cannot be seen then she is no longer a temptation for me. That is partially good logic but mostly a wrong approach to solving it. Law based dress is one extreme and I do not agree with it at all. Therefore I will give no rules in this lesson for dressing. The law was introduced by God but law was never given by God to fix the problem; it was only presented to prove to all men that there was a better solution that was needed. No one in history except for Jesus was ever able to keep all of the law. Therefore we need to learn law is not our solution and that it only points us to a new and better way that was coming. Not very many people have learned this truth but I stand by it firmly. Stop passing idiotic laws and find the better new way to live in Christ Jesus.
The other extreme position is anything goes or I should rather say everything goes. The antithesis of covering everything up on a woman is to uncover everything. That is just another extreme example that falls into the identical level of error as the first extreme. Being a male, I cannot begin to understand why any woman would willingly participate in either extreme. I could theorize that a woman who likes to show off her skin could feel like she gained distinction, notoriety, fame or special attention by participating. It is a normal human desire to be wanted and accepted and some people will do very foolish things to achieve it. Modern peer pressure is a major contributing factor for people falling into error. If everyone is doing something wrong it suddenly appears like you are the one that is a fool for not doing it. If you would like to leave a comment and help me understand why someone would follow either of these two extremes from a female perspective I would appreciate hearing your point of view.
To me based upon what I know of the Bible a woman’s choice for wearing less and showing off more skin is her way of telling everyone that “life is all about her” without having any consideration for anyone else on the planet or for God. I think that it screams the more people who are attracted to her, the more popular she feels like she becomes. But that is a very selfish and self-centered approach for the way of dressing. There are probably other ways to look at it and you are still free to tell me why you think either extreme exists today. No matter what we think in this world, there will always be one extreme or the other. One group of women will approach dress based upon the rules of law that attempts to alleviate the temptation factor for human desire. This will gain them acceptance in one group while being labeled religious fanatics by the other group. The other opposite dress extreme will be “I’m very desirable and I’m just here to tempt you”. These women will be labeled whores by the strict law based group and scorned for their ways while being accepted by the loose moral crowd. There is a level of acceptance and rejection in both extremes. But clearly both of these are very wrong motivations for dress. Where is the correct balance between two erroneous extremes?
What we could have learned from these extremes is that what people do reflects their motivations either known or unknown to other people. Most people in the world only look at the outside actions of the person and typically ignore the motivations that caused them to do it. That approach of analysis is very shallow and is the opposite of what God teaches us that He looks at. I think we need to examine motivations more closely for what people do rather than try to judge what they did and this might help us to solve their dress problems. You can read about this concept in the Old Testament:
1Sa 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
Clearly God informs us that the inward parts of the man or woman are more important than the outward perceived portions of that person. That means God cares more about your spiritual conditions like your motives, your desires, your hurts, your feelings, your emotions and your thoughts than He does about your actions or dress. Now, you could jump to the wrong conclusion from that and conclude God does not care how we dress or if we dress and that is just ignorant foolishness. No, what God is saying is if you have right intents on the inside, you will do right actions on the outside. If you have wrong things going on in the inside parts these will manifest on the outside. These truths teach us so much. It also helps us to know bad actions can be solved with right internal corrections. Therefore I’m not going to tell you how to dress so much as I am going to try to change how you think about dressing.
Christians first need to realize that they are a spirit living in a body and not just a body living on the earth. Refocus your attention on spiritual things and the outwards things will automatically take care of themselves. What are your motives for how you dress today? Evaluate your intents first and if it is just for your benefit, pleasure or to draw attention to you, you have the wrong focused incentives. Become the other person sitting in church by you before you put something on to go to church. If the wife of another man sees you in that little apparel will it draw attention to you in a positive way or a negative way? Is what you are wearing to church something that is loving and kind that honors your sister’s feelings and will not bring temptation to her husband? We need to all learn the WWLD approach for dressing. What is that you ask? That is just a variation of WWJD and it says “What Would Love Do?” If I love my Christian family would anyone be offended by this sleeveless or low cut short dress? If you think someone could be offended and you still wear it then you were not motivated to do what Love would do and that is a major problem. Let’s take a look at some Bible verses to help us learn to think differently about dressing:
1Pe 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
1Pe 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
Here is God presenting you a refocused approach to dressing. God through Peter writes directly about women dressing. God very clearly says that your focus should be on the more important internal things and not on the inferior external things. That goes against what most women do, doesn’t it? If you are spending more time on fixing your hair and dressing than you spend in prayer and Bible reading then you are out of balance and lack correct focus. God declares let your attention be upon the hidden man of the heart and that is simply your eternal spirit. God directs us again to refocus our attention on spiritual things rather than emphasizing natural things. If both males and females did this there would be no issues in the world concerning improper dress or behavior. However since the majority of the world is not saved and are not focused internally the external will continue to dominate them and their behavior. That is another interesting point to remember. Before you put something on to wear, ask yourself is this what the people in the unsaved world wear? Then ask yourself am I supposed to follow their example or are they supposed to follow my example? Who is leading who? Who determines your dress standards? Is it Vogue fashion magazine, Sports Illustrated or is it the Bible?
There are two ways to learn how to dress in the Bible and I just gave you one way called the direct instruction. The other way is to learn from indirect instruction. These are verses that do not directly mention how you should dress but still apply to Christian behavior, character and moral values. Take a close look at this next verse and see if you can tell how it applies to dress.
- 1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
What does God claim is not from Him? We know God created our flesh, but according to Him, He did not create the lust that is derived from its existence. Why is there such a great lust problem in the world today? It is primarily because of the great frequency for the display of human flesh. You cannot go anywhere today that someone is not nearly naked either in public or on a billboard selling some product. In this verse who is God saying that you are like if you are showing your flesh or are the one looking at other’s flesh? Is it from God or from the world? I think you can clearly see that is not what God desires. Let’s look at another verse that is also indirectly about dress:
- 2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
You see God says that we have been saved from the world and therefore we should not conform to their ways. If you are participating in the lust of someone’s flesh or you make yourself are the target for this lust then you have not yet escaped the world and still reside in its bondage. Do you think it matters to God how you dress based upon this information? Let me give you another verse that indirectly applies to how we dress that is rarely used to teach on the subject:
- Php 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
How can you be a light to the world if you act and look exactly like they do? Do you think your words take priority over your looks? I believe that it is impossible for your words to be heard if your looks and your actions are the same as theirs? People are just not that stupid. Based upon how you dress, you will either be called a Christian or a hypocrite by the unsaved world. If you say “I’m a Christian” but still do not present them any evidence for being different, then you are just a hypocrite. One unsaved man that talked with me recently said “If I wanted to go to church on Sunday, I’d go to the bars on Saturday night and meet with them all there”. He was claiming that all Christians were hypocrites that put on a false act on Sunday for God but lived like the devil the rest of the week. You need to ask yourself “How does the world dress?” Then make sure that you are NOT dressing like them. Let me confirm this with one more verse from the Bible:
- 2Co 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Here is another verse that is indirectly about how you dress. This verse is very clear but you probably do not understand what it says because you have not researched the Greek word definitions. This verse says for us as Christian believers to not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. What does that mean? A yoke is a common bond together. What do we have in common with non-Christians? Two oxen are yoked together to pull a plow in unison. This means that they both are in a common bondage together so that what one does the other must also do. God informs us not to be bound together with unsaved people in the world because we are not their equal. If Christian music stars look like the world’s rock stars then they are being yoked together in common bondage. The same applies to a Christian’s manner of dress to look like the world’s manner of dress. If you are dressing like Lady Ga Ga or Madonna then you are yoked together with them and that is not good company to be associated with.
What do you think all of this verse means? Let me give you another word that is a key to understanding this verse. It says what “fellowship” has righteousness with unrighteousness? Look this word up and you will see that it means to have “intercourse”. Intercourse is defined as willing participation of a sexual nature. That is a very strong sexual relationship you could be having with the world. This is not speaking physically but rather spiritually when you think like the world does. This Greek word literally means to participate with the world’s ways of thinking. Go back and read the Old Testament prophets and you will see that this is what natural Israel was guilty of again and again. They would become influenced by the world’s idols and then would do what God said not to do. There thoughts were taken away from God’s word to what the people in the world were thinking and they easily fell into sin by doing this. This is verse contains far reaching information and it involves dressing like the world, acting like the world, thinking like the world and I could go on and on. God is telling the church not to look like the people in the world. Let me end this Bible study with one more direct verse on dressing:
- 1Ti 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
- 1Ti 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
There is one term given here that denotes a correct Christian middle of the road approach for dress. God says to women let what you wear consist of “modest” apparel. Uh oh? Even in churches today I see women not following this guideline. What is the opposite of modesty? I believe you understand that it is a state of immodesty. What does being modest or immodest mean and what are the root causes for both? One online dictionary defined “modest” dress to be a state where the person is covered. That definition implies that immodest dress is a state of a person to be uncovered or nude. I think that speaks volumes to how you should dress according to the Bible. I have already touched on motivation as a factor for why people dress appropriately or inappropriately undress for others to view their bodies. One contributing factor for modesty is humility and one contributing factor for immodesty is pride. Women who generally want to show off their bodies to others are very proud of themselves for some unknown satanic reason.
Practically everything that I said today can apply to both men and women. Both need to judge their motivations for how they dress. I primarily addressed the question from a woman’s viewpoint since they were the only ones brave enough to ask the question. I could have spent more time on the contributing lust of the flesh factor for men that drives some women to want this kind of attention but that was not the question. Your humility and your refocused attention to the real you on the inside of your body should help to guide you to the appropriate ways to dress on the outside. Follow the guideline of modest behavior for dress and it will cause you to appear different than the people in the world. Your devoted consideration for “What Would LOVE Do?” will also help you to not become a stumbling block for others of your same sex or a temptation for those of the opposite sex. Setting Godly examples to follow for younger women and girls is what is desperately needed in the world today. The peer pressure today to take your clothes off is everywhere. We are all still here in the world but you can still make the decision to not be like the world. Always be led by the Spirit of God and His written Holy Word. Thank you for your questions and I hope this helped someone to have some new wisdom for a modified way to think about dressing. God Bless!