(Ver 1.1) What a strange title for a Bible study? What could this possibly mean to us here in this modern world? Who was Saul? What is this spirit of Saul reference? I was recently awakened in the middle of the night at exactly 3 AM and suddenly these words arose up in my spirit saying “Beware the rise of the spirit of Saul”. Then Bible verses came to my memory about this actual historical man named Saul and this Bible lesson is the result of my middle of the night awakening. I believe this message was from God speaking to us all a warning according to His stated works in John 16:13. I believe God was informing us of a coming resurgence of an old spiritual force that persecuted the early church and I believe it will become as “great as” or even greater than what the early church encountered and endured. I believe that it is obvious that this is the increasing trend and movement found within the present unsaved world, all those living in darkness (Eph 2:2).
Modern unsaved people living in the world today are identical to all others that came before them. They are all opening a door to allow the repeat of a pattern of ignorance that causes them to not comprehend the difference between that which is called “good” or that which is called “evil”. In them there is no understanding or acknowledgement of who or what represents the true God of good or who or what represents the false deceiving god of evil (Satan). That which God called evil in His Word is being tremendously magnified and exalted by the unsaved world to be called normal and good and everything that God called “good” is being called evil at the same time (Isa 5:20). Anyone that speaks against what is called evil by God is being persecuted and called a bigoted intolerant hate monger. What a sad condition the world has fallen into and I believe by observation that it is getting worse.
Today Christians that are simply speaking the truth in love warning those that are on the way to hell are being labeled as evil. This must break the heart of God greatly and we will see an example of this in the lesson. If you knew that the highway that you were traveling on had a major bridge on it and that it had just collapsed, would you not try to stop everyone that was about to fall to their death because of the deep drop off? The drivers of the cars on the road at night are about to die because of their ignorance and inability to see the truth. Wouldn’t you warn them? That is what every mature believing Christian is faced with today. We can shut up and be silent or we can cry out and try to save them. It is our choice but any warning given may be ridiculed and laughed at by those being warned because probably most will not believe it.
Jesus gave us many warnings about these end times before His return to the earth. One warning to us was very clear when He said “As it was in the days of Noah and of Lot so shall it also be again in the days right before the coming of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:26-30). I am very sure that this statement describes the exact days that we live in right now. It is by no chance or accident that Jesus (God in the Flesh) chose these two biblical events to describe the times directly before His return (2 Peter 2:5-6). However, that is really not what this Bible lesson message is concerning directly. The message of Noah’s flood and Sodom’s destruction is however an indirect applicable truth to this lesson of warning about the subject of coming persecution. Noah was laughed at and the angels in Sodom were commanded to come out and have sex with the men. How appropriate are these two witnesses of truth?
Introduction to the Spirit of Saul
Let us now get to God’s basic message concerning the “spirit of Saul” warning spoken to me. The main subject of today’s lesson is concerning the theme of persecution. We will be looking at this subject from at least three or four different perspectives. The first perspective is that of the persecutor. The second perspective is that of the Almighty God. The third perspective of persecution will be driven from the one being persecuted and these are Christians. And the final perspective introduced today is that of the enemy Satan..
- The Persecutor’s Perspective
- Almighty God’s Perspective
- The Persecuted Church’s Perspective
- Satan’s Perspective
We will similarly be addressing basic definitions and questions concerning this very important and timely subject. We will also look for scriptural answers in the Bible for why persecution occurs and who is ultimately behind it all. As part of the study we will briefly introduce why God allows persecution to occur and see what His attitude and response was in the past and could be again today since we know God does not change (Malachi 3:6). As a final part of the Christian perspective discussion in today’s lesson we will introduce how a Christian’s expectations should already be preset before this persecution occurs to them. Please don’t be surprise when God warns us that persecution will occur if we are living for God and obeying His Word and boldly declaring His truth in love to the lost and dying world.
2Ti 3:12 Yea, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
God promises us that we will be persecuted if we are living for Him and following after Christ’s example. It would be wise based upon these words to check if you are being persecuted. If you are not I would then check to see if you are following Jesus. In Luke chapter 21 Jesus informs us of the coming end of the age describing wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines that are already occurring and then in verse 12 Jesus said before the end of all these things you will be persecuted. Jesus’ warning to us in the Gospels is just another witness to the message that I heard from God personally.
Bible basics teach us that humans are designed by our creator God as a triune being made in the image of the Almighty God. A human is a freewill spirit being that possesses a soul (a mind, a will and our emotions) that lives in mortal human body (1 Thes 5:23). However, this spirit of Saul warning was not a warning that the natural man Saul written about in the Bible will return to the earth because that would violate scriptures and make God a liar (Heb 9:27). Therefore, we need to learn more about what the message could mean by rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15). We will however, briefly study the life of Saul to learn from it the persecutor’s perspective and I will begin by reading a verse concerning the stoning death of Stephen in the early church description found in Acts 7.
Act 7:58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
Please allow me to provide a very quick overview of the context of this verse so we can better understand this part of the message. The context actually begins back in chapter 6 and it is a story concerning a Christian man named Stephen. He was ministering to people and doing many signs, wonders and miracles the same as Jesus did before him here on the earth. It is important to know that Stephen was not one of the original 12 disciples of Jesus yet he did the same types of miraculous works as Jesus did. I find that fact very important and fascinating as many in the church today teach miracles passed away with the death of the 12 disciples. Oh well? Oh Lord, please help us all to see the truth.
These supernatural miraculous works done by God through Stephen were not well received because of the accompanying message being preached concerning salvation only through faith in Jesus Christ who was recently condemned to death by a similar type of court with made up evidence that Stephen stood before. Men from the synagogue accused Stephen of blasphemy and soon he was on trial before the leadership of the Jewish synagogue. It is during this trial that Stephen gives a great overview of the Old Testament and how it applies to the gospel message of Jesus Christ. However, this message was not well received either. The Jewish leaders refused to listen and stopped up their ears and then took up stones to kill Stephen. Stephen sees a vision of heaven while being stoned of Jesus standing at the right hand of God as they hurl their deadly stones. That brings us now to verse 58 which was just quoted.
This verse 58 is the first time that the name “Saul” is mentioned in the N.T. The Hebrew name Saul occurs approximately 26 times in the book of Acts alone. This N.T. Saul is the exact same Hebrew name as the first king of the O.T. nation of Israel. By the number of mentions in the book of Acts we can easily see that the man Saul was a very prominent figure to learn about and learn from. We learn from reading the N.T. that Saul was a young devout religious man and a very self-righteous zealot man during this time of the birth of the church in the first 8 chapters of Acts. We can learn more about the background of this man named Saul by reading in his writings because he wrote nearly 2/3 of the N.T.:
Php 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
Php 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
Php 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Reading here Saul/Paul claims to be of a very noble stock of the natural nation of Israel. He was circumcised according to Mosaic Law on the 8th day after his birth. He was by no doubt raised in a very strict home that observed all of the Jewish Holy days, laws and Sabbaths. He also must have spent a very significant time in reading the Law of Moses growing up in the strict order to become a Pharisee. I can speculate that Saul must have thought very highly of himself, during this time and he must have been very proud of his learned position of authority. However, if we read in Proverbs 16:18 we see a verse that Saul appears to have possibly ignored. This verse says “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall”.
We can learn while studying his life that Saul spent a great amount of his time persecuting, hunting down, imprisoning and even killing any of those that confessed faith in Jesus Christ. However, was this natural man named Saul the actual main source of the problem of the persecution to the church? Could there have been a greater force of influential power behind this evil man persuading and even controlling his thoughts and actions? I believe according to the future writings of this man named Saul there was certainly a much greater spiritual force that helped influence him to do all this evil to other people on the earth. Let’s read one verse to confirm this reality:
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
What we must glean in the beginning of this lesson is that physical natural people that are persecuting us are not our real problem even though it looks like it on the visible surface. Saul/Paul in this verse teaches us that Christians are not at odds with anyone of the divinely created flesh and blood design order. However, he does reveal very clearly earlier in this chapter that we are at war and he names the enemy here in verse 12 of Ephesians 6 to be hidden unseen spiritual forces and the evil invisible rulers of this present world that rule the kingdom of darkness. This truth will become considerably more important as we continue this lesson to learn how we should react to persecution. This information helps to better comprehend who and what the “spirit of Saul” is referring to in the warning. I am completely convinced that the “spirit of Saul” reference on the rise in our world is a reference to Satan our adversary and all of his demonic followers. Let’s review what we should have just learned in this section:
- People Persecute Other People
- We Will Be Persecuted if We Live Right
- We are at War
- It Appears That Humans are Our Enemies
- But, Our Actual Enemy is Not a Human
- We are at War With Unseen Spiritual Beings
- These Invisible Spiritual Beings Influence Humans To Do Evil
Persecuting the Church Today is still the same as Personally Persecuting Jesus
If the naturally born Hebrew man named Saul was not the real problem being spoken of by the LORD, why would God say “Beware the return of the spirit of Saul” to us? The answer to that question is because as we should have learned that unseen spirit beings are at the root of every seen evil event occurring in the world. I am convinced that the natural man Saul was not who the early church was wresting against based upon what he later wrote in Ephesians 6. However, why would a man do something so evil and suddenly then change and not do it anymore? That is a really good and important question. I believe the answer to that is that the natural man Saul was unmistakably a very deceived man who bought into and believed in so many lies given to him from the real enemy Satan. I believe the natural man Saul was doing what he thought was right in his own blinded mind (2 Cor 4:4) and was performing what he thought was pleasing towards God even though what he was doing against Christians on the earth was very wrong and taken very personally by Jesus. Let’s continue reading additional truth in the book of Acts about the death of Stephen:
Act 7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
These are some of the last recorded words spoken by Stephen the first martyr of the early church to his murderers and they reveal how their wrong actions were being received by the LORD Jesus. Please notice when reading this verse that in Colossians 3:1, Paul teaches us that the LORD Jesus ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven but here in this recorded vision of heaven Jesus is intentionally standing up on his feet observing the wrong being done to his servant Stephen. Wow this verse speaks literal volumes to me. Jesus showed such great love and concern for what is happening to Stephen that He makes the personal choice to stand up from His seated position of rest and authority to welcome Stephen into His spiritual realm presence. I believe that this position of Jesus standing teaches us that Jesus wanted to do more to stop it from occurring but did not again by choice. You might remember that later Paul formerly Saul would teach us “to be absent from the body is to be present with the LORD” (2 Cor 5:8). Therefore, when Stephen was killed, his spirit immediately departed his physical body to be in the presence of Jesus where Jesus was personally standing up to observe and welcome him into heaven.
Since the murder of Stephen there have been countless numbers of other Christ followers that have been killed and have gone to be with the LORD simply because of their beliefs in Jesus. No actual crime was necessary for either Stephen or any other saint to be persecuted with evil acts. We should learn from “how was Stephen persecuted” in order to know what to expect again today. If you read the context of the chapter you will find that leaders gathered false witnesses to accuse Stephen (Acts 6:13-14). These false accusers used the semblance of law and order to justify their evil done to others. They were clearly disobeying their laws by speaking their lies and perjuring themselves before man and God but in their minds they were justified to do so. I recently learned this is taking place in people in Islam. They are taught that it is permitted for them to lie to others in the world in order to promote the greater cause of spreading Islam. This is clearly of demonic influence since the Bible teaches Christians that “all liars will have their part in the lake of fire” (Rev 21:8).
This is what is coming now to Christians here in this world whether you believe it or not. It is already occurring in many nations of the world right now. Terrorists kill many people just because they are Christian. Islamic governments and their extremist religious people of that nation are persecuting, imprisoning, torturing and killing Christians daily. Communist nations also throw into prisons people who are reading their Bibles and being a Christian that walks in love trying to save others from hell. Who could have seen all of this coming? I believe only Jesus and this is why the warning is being given to us today. Let’s please continue reading in the book of Acts:
Act 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Act 8:2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
Act 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
Act 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
The Greek word G4909 that was translated as “consented” in Acts 8:1 is a word that means Saul was “very pleased” by the murder of Stephen. In fact this Greek word implies that Saul took great pleasure in watching Stephen die. The zealot Saul after the death of Stephen then takes out after other Christians to do the same with them. Saul is very intent upon forcing his will and reason upon everyone that is preaching Jesus to be the only way. This is a very common motivation for persecution. The demand is frequently made to Christians to deny the Lord Jesus Christ, convert or die.
Look at Acts 8:3 and notice what begins to happen to the Church of Jesus Christ. Both men and women were taken to prison just for being a professing Christian. Also notice in this chapter the complete removal of basic human rights of privacy by the people committing these evil acts. Acts 8:3 tells us clearly that there was a house to house search for Christians done by Saul. This is exactly what is about to happen and even has started to shine on the horizon here in America. For example, there have been Christian people who refused to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples because of their beliefs in God, Jesus, the TRUTH of the Bible and they have spent time in jail. I believe the house to house search for Christians will also come as the world continues to slip into greater realms of deceived darkness. It already has taken place in other nations.
Act 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
Act 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
Act 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
Act 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Saul continued speaking his great threats of violence directed at and towards all Christians. He began moving out of the city of Jerusalem to other nearby regions. Notice that the persecution taking place was with the authority of the law givers and administrators. Wow, is this not happening now? Law givers and judges in America are making so many decisions that violate the Truth of the Word of God that it is literally shocking to me. Evil now is prevailing by the misguided interpretation of the law and the wrong definition of what is good vs. evil. Watch for laws to continue to come to support this evil behavior. Watch for the removal of basic human rights that have been guaranteed up until this point in time.
Saul was on the road to a city named Damascus in these verses of chapter 9 of Acts to bring about more evil in the name of good. However, things this time didn’t go so well for Saul’s way when the LORD interrupted his journey with a very personal touch and a very strong message of truth. Instantly a great light shown down from heaven and a powerful voice came down clearly saying to Saul alone “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me”. As in the death of Stephen again we can recognize how Jesus was taking personal notice of what was being done to Christians by this natural man named Saul. We can learn a very important lesson from these awesome words of truth. The first thing that we should have just learned from reading these verses is that coming against any Christian for any negative reason is the exact same thing as coming against the risen divine LORD Jesus Christ. The second thing that we should have just learned from this is that Jesus takes these acts of evil personally. Why does Jesus take persecuting a Christian the same as persecuting Him? Saul/Paul clearly writes to us later in the New Testament and informs us in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that “Christians here in this world are the body of Christ”. Natural people who choose to persecute Christians must learn and realize before it is too late that it is not wise to come against Jesus’ body here on the earth. Jesus Christ is a far greater Spiritual Force than the spiritual force that is tricking them to do this evil (1 Jn 4:4). Wow, I do not believe that very many people understand this truth yet.
I will go further and also say that this revealed truth is true regardless of your salvation state, being either saved or unsaved. If you are not a Christian and you are persecuting a Christian mentally, physically, emotionally, legally or verbally you are coming against the greatest spiritual force of power which is much greater than you can possibly imagine. My point is that this same message of warning is true for a Christian that comes against other Christians as it is for an unbeliever to come against a believer. This is still true even though you may believe that you are totally right and they are totally teaching false doctrines that you do not believe in. Let’s review a summary of the major points in this section of the lesson:
- Persecutors believe they are doing “good” in their own minds.
- Persecutors are very pleased when they are victorious over and even cause the death of a Christian.
- Persecutors are deceived people that believe they are good and Christians are evil.
- Persecutors obviously do not believe, know or understand that they are deceived.
- Persecutors will use the law to back their agenda of persecution.
- Persecutors love to force their will and beliefs upon others.
- Persecutors feel justified to do evil because their rule of law is in agreement with them.
- Persecutors will use lies and break laws if there is a greater good for the expansion of their beliefs to occur.
- Persecutor’s goals are the complete removal of all Christian freedoms and privacy and eventually the end of all Christians.
- God takes note and watches all persecution that occurs to the Church.
- God takes all human persecution of the church personally.
- God says to persecutors coming against the church “Why are you persecuting me?”
- A Christian is the Body of Christ on the earth.
- Anyone persecuting a Christian is persecuting the LORD personally.
- A Christian when killed by persecution goes to be with the LORD instantly.
- Christians will be persecuted falsely without doing any evil.
THE CONVERSION OF SAUL THE PERSECUTOR
God showed the evil man Saul some very great mercy by appearing to him on the road to Damascus. Paul the former Saul will forever be grateful for the exceeding great compassion given to him. While I believe it is within God’s power and ability for the Lord Jesus to do this with everyone that persecutes His body, I do not believe that He will and I may try to talk about this later but if not you will have to wait for another opportunity for me to try to explain why the Lord may not come down to save you from every evil doer on the planet personally. We should have learned this truth when reading about the death of Stephen.
Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Act 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
I personally believe from understanding Romans 10:9-10 that Saul became a Christian falling on his knees on the road to Damascus. I hope you understand how you and I became a Christian. To be saved we must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that God raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead after being crucified and buried 3 days and we must then confess Him as our LORD and Saul certainly did both of these while on the road to Damascus. We can confirm this belief simply by reading Acts 9:17 when God sends a disciple named Ananias to Saul for him to receive his sight and to be filled with the Spirit of God. Upon entering the house where Saul was waiting, Ananias calls the man Saul his spiritual brother and this is only possible and true if Saul has already received the Spirit of God being born again on the road to Damascus. Therefore, Saul became exactly what he was fighting against and persecuting and that was very fortunate for him.
1Co 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
God gives us another quick confirmation for what was just taught concerning Saul’s salvation on the road to Damascus written directly from the hand of Paul. Here in this chapter and verse Paul tells us about several others seeing Jesus personally after His resurrection. Then Saul says that he also saw him providing us an incredible revelation that he was then reborn “abnormally” during this encounter. Saul was speaking of his spiritual rebirth (John 3:3) but I do not have the time to explain all of this more fully in this lesson. Please just accept the facts that 1) Jesus appears to Saul, 2) Saul asks who he was, 3) Jesus identifies Himself, and 4) Saul then believes what he heard and acknowledges Him as his LORD and that was the definition of an abnormal spiritual rebirth.
We are extremely blessed to have Saul the former evil persecutor of Christians become a Christ follower. After his salvation, Saul was given such great revelation from Jesus Christ of the Truth. Saul would go on in his life of Christian ministry to write approximately 2/3 of the New Testament. I believe that without Saul’s conversion that we would not have all of the information that we needed for us to be victorious Christians. I know that this salvation of a persecutor seems to be off the mainline subject but I believe it is very important to know as a Christian. Let’s look at some writings of Saul/Paul and learn from him what he thought of this great transformation that he experienced:
1Ti 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
1Ti 1:13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
1Ti 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
1Ti 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
We can learn the most valuable information concerning a persecutor’s perspective by reading the N.T. since Paul was a former persecutor and he writes about it. As we can read in verse 12, Paul is so very thankful. Here is a man that has now realized that he was headed for an eternal existence of pain and suffering in hell but now suddenly has been given the free gift of eternal life, a purpose and a new destiny. I can identify with Saul’s heartfelt change. I know I am also eternally grateful for the free gift of God’s salvation and I know I don’t deserve it and neither did Saul. We are all sinners (Rom 3:23) and deserve hell but God paid the penalty price for our sins (2 Cor 5:21). Thank you Jesus!
Paul lists just a few of his guilty sins in verse 13 that he was personally participating in while persecuting Christians. Let’s go through these to better understand the dramatic change that took place in the heart of Saul. The first sin listed was Saul calling himself a “blasphemer” and this is a Greek word that reveals significant amounts of new information that we should learn from. According to the Strong’s definition of G989 translated as “blasphemer” it means to be scurrilous towards someone. This word scurrilous has the following dictionary definition:
Scurrilous : making or spreading scandalous claims about someone with the intention of damaging their reputation
This is exactly what Saul was doing to the early church. He used the words of his mouth to slander, accuse, condemn and judge the church falsely. But even though Saul thought he was fighting against evil human people that were deceived, Jesus informed Saul that He was blaspheming against God personally. This is pretty amazing information and I pray that it will hopefully cause someone to shut their mouth when speaking against Christians.
However, this Greek word G989 has some deeper more specific meanings for sinning against God with the words coming out of our mouths. Remember what Acts 8:1 and Acts 9:1 said that we looked at earlier? Acts 8:1 used the word that was translated as “consented”. This implies that Saul consented to words of others spoken against Stephen in addition to the actual murder of Stephen. Saul did both of these willingly, physically, emotionally, mentally as well as verbally as both a willing direct instigator and participant and as an indirect accessory that watched others cast the stones. These represent sins of both commission and omission.
Acts 9:1 is much clearer when it informed us that Saul spoke direct “threats” against Jesus and His body and this is a strong example of what blasphemy is defined to be in the Bible. I personally believe that a man or woman on the earth that speaks against a preacher or prophet of God or even just against one of God’s children is risking great consequences and danger if they do not repent like Saul did and change. Jesus will certainly take all of these words personally either now in this world or later at judgment day. Words have power and words have consequences.
The second sin that Paul lists is being a “persecutor” of the church, which is the body of Christ. This Greek word translated as “persecutor” means someone who is in pursuit of another. However, this type of pursuit can not be for the good of the individual(s) being pursued as revealed to us by God in the passages we read about Saul in Acts chapters 7, 8 and 9. Let’s quickly examine some synonyms for the word “persecute”. Persecute is the same as words like “oppress”, “abuse”, “accuse”, “condemn”, “ill-treatment”, “torment”, “torture”, “martyr” and others could be added and we get this idea of truth because these are exactly what Saul did to the Christian members in the early church. It is very important to note that Saul thought that what he was doing was what was right and good in the eyes of God and the government leadership of that day.
The third sin listed by Paul in verse 13 is “injurious” and this again is synonymous with the word persecute. Being injurious was a further explanation for what great evil sin he was guilty of. I believe this word literally means physical injuries were taking place upon men and women in the name of good. However, this word can also mean a verbal assault as well as a physical assault. I am convinced that doing any Christian hurt and harm physically, mentally or emotionally is equivalent to the abuse and persecution of Jesus Christ that the Jews did to Him personally when they crucified Him on the cross in the eyes of God.
If we continue to read past Saul’s list of sins in verse 13 we will observe Saul’s stated appreciation for the Lord’s mercy being provided to him. Saul informs us that he received mercy instead of what he should have been given. Wow, that is the amazing love of God being displayed to a very deceived and evil man.
Did you also notice in this written passage that Saul declared why he was given this great mercy from God? Why was this unthinkable mercy available to Saul even after all he had done? Why was the judgment of the Almighty God not immediately given to Saul? Why instead was mercy given? Paul tells us the answers in verse 13 that God’s mercy was available to him because of his own great “ignorance” of the truth.
This revelation of mercy based upon ignorance reveals so very much to us about God, people who persecute the church and about the Christian people who are being persecuted. According to God’s inspired Holy Word written through Paul, his ignorance and his unbelief were two of the main reasons that the church was then being persecuted and I believe these are the two main reasons the church is still going to be persecuted today.
Even though Saul was a very learned and educated man, he was extremely ignorant of the truth that really mattered. Yet Saul did not know how ignorant he was while he was sinning killing Stephen. Please understand that no one that is ever deceived believes that they are deceived. This is impossible simply because of the existence of their ignorance of the truth. That is everyone’s problem “we simply don’t know what we don’t know yet”. That is the mysterious advantage of the deceiver Satan. Satan uses the weapon of human ignorance to destroy us (Hosea 4:6). Satan can present enough lies with some basic mixed truth to allow a human to think that they are doing good for God when they are actually doing the evil plan that Satan desires them to do. Satan is a revealed master deceiver (Rev 12:9)
Persecutors justify their evil actions in their minds overruling the evidence for clear evil acts with the belief that they are doing a greater good for a higher power of authority. Recently here in North Carolina, USA we have been in the news around the world because our state passed a law that disallowed men from going into women’s restrooms and women from going into men’s restrooms. This law was designed to protect innocent children from predators. Yet, North Carolina has been accused of being biased, prejudiced, intolerant, discriminatory, bigoted and even hate filled towards a select few people who demand the right to go into any restroom that they sexually currently “identify” with. Wow, where has truth gone? Absolute truth, reason and morality have certainly passed highly over the minds of everyone that has been protesting against the law. All of these deceived people are extremely ignorant of God’s truth. We should ask ourselves a simple basic question, if truth is based simply upon how someone thinks and feels today; how and when will truth all change when they think and feel differently tomorrow? Where do we ever draw the line of absolute? It sounds like a constant moving target. If we change the line of truth drawn today that was established then tomorrow it will become even more distant away from the standard of truth tomorrow. I could teach an entire series on this but this is not the subject and I will not go there today.
Saul did such significant evil and justified it because he believed he was knowledgeable, correct and backed by the law. Saul was greatly deceived into believing in their popular religious human traditions. Satan filled the mind of Saul with replacement knowledge that sounded good to him. However, it was still Saul’s ignorance of the actual truth that caused him to carry out the will and plan of Satan. Once Saul came to the saving knowledge of the truth, suddenly the thoughts he had as a persecutor were gone. Wow, that is good news for persecutor’s today. There remains hope for everyone to be saved.
Just as Satan influenced and controlled the unsaved people like Saul nearly two thousand years ago to persecute the church, this is the same warning being given to us today. The spirit of Saul (Satan) is still at work in people today and these deceived people will rise up and begin to persecute the church with increasing enthusiasm before Jesus returns. It has already started and we can clearly learn this from the Spirit of God’s message of warning or we can remain an ostrich Christian and bury our heads in the sand and choose to ignore it pretending it is not happening. I would recommend that we do not ignore it or pretend that it is not happening already.
I personally expect some very negative comments for the truth that I published today. You will receive the same soon if you are speaking the truth to anyone in the world today concerning their life style personal choices. The spirit of Saul is alive and well on the planet.
Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Did you know that God allows people to be ignorant, wrong and to even do evil and sin? This truth has always been an extreme mystery in the minds of many Christians “Why doesn’t God stop all of this evil?” This would take another series of lesson’s to explain this to you today. Therefore, I will leave that to another day also. But we must at least first begin to understand that God does allow evil to occur in the world and is not the one that is causing it to occur and we can simply learn this truth by reading the story of the stoning of Stephen in Acts. Jesus was found standing at the right hand of God observing the evil being done and did nothing to cause it or to stop it. Wow, that boggles the mind of many religious people in the world. I believe that God’s passive observation made it appear to Saul that he was doing what God desires and that He is for them and it temporarily reinforces their wrong behavior. However, the wages of their sin will still overcome them and they will be judged for what they have done on the earth according to the truth found in the Bible. The main point in this paragraph is that God will allow this persecution to continue so we better learn it is coming.
I have talked briefly about the persecutor’s reasoning and justification for persecuting the church as well as the superior divine perspective on the persecution situation to allow it to occur. Now in conclusion I want to speak to the church’s reaction to this coming persecution. What was the reaction to this evil in the early church and what will probably happen in these end times? I believe that the early church’s reaction was both natural and supernatural.
Act 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.
Reread Acts 8:4. God reveals to us all the two fold reaction to the great havoc being perpetrated upon the church. First notice the fact that it did not stop the Gospel from being preached. It did however cause the people to scatter. What does scatter mean? This Greek word is a based upon a farming concept of “sowing” seed. This is a great revelation since it is concerning the “Word” of God being spread to the entire world. Remember when Jesus taught the parable of the Sower in Mark 4? The sower sowed the Word of God. The seed being sown was God’s Word and this is the only thing possible today in the world that can save people and turn them from hell.
The end result of persecution in the early church was a greater spread of the Word of God, an explosion of salvations in many new locations and this is exactly what will happen today in the end of the church age.
The Greek word translated as “preaching” in this verse is a word that means “to announce good news” to someone. What kind of person would still be trying their best to preach the good news of God’s salvation to anyone that was or still is trying to imprison and kill them? The normal human tendency or reaction against persecution is for us to fight back, or to defend oneself or even to run away and hide in a cave to not be found. I have seen people plan and do all of these in this modern world. Which would you do? Wow, that is a very great question to consider. If you are a Christian would you be able to do nothing but be forgiving and loving to the persecutor and turn your other cheek? Consider the warning and then make a good choice now before being faced with it.
- Persecutors believe they are doing what pleases God and their lawgivers.
- Persecutors don’t believe they are sinning.
- Persecutors believe their words spoken against Christians are good.
- Persecutor’s goals are to damage the reputation of God and Christians.
- Persecutors believe causing physical injury to Christians is good.
- Persecutors believe they know the truth and are not ignorant.
- Persecutors believe others are deceived and they are not.
- Persecutors believe there is no God to answer to or Satan influencing them.
- God sees all of the sins of everyone including persecutors.
- A persecutor can be saved and change their evil ways.
- God says speaking against a Christian is equivalent to “blasphemy”.
- God says killing a Christian is the same as nailing Jesus to the cross.
- God will show mercy to any sinner including murderous persecutors.
- God tells us that persecutors are extremely ignorant of the truth.
- A Christian has gained saving knowledge of the truth.
- A Christian was shown great mercy by God and is thankful for it.
- A Christian desires to share this saving knowledge of Jesus with others even though it costs them their own life.
- A real and maturing Christian begins seeing things happening in the world from God’s perspective.
In conclusion I want us to see a future prophecy concerning the coming persecution of the church. Revelation chapter 4 and verse 1 God calls for John to come up to heaven so that he can be shown things that will happen in the future and this includes this prophetic chapter of Revelation 12. Let’s read just verse 12 and 13 concerning our main subject study to learn Satan’s motivating factor for increasing persecution upon the church during the end time.
Rev 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
This chapter in Revelation 12 totally fascinates me. I could spend a long time trying to convince you who the woman in this chapter symbolically represents but I have already tried to do this in another lesson series. I will summarize briefly that lesson series by saying this woman being described can only fit the pattern of the church that is being persecuted by Satan. We learn this easily by the symbolism that she is clothed with at the beginning of the chapter and by the statements within the chapter. For example read verse 11:
Rev 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
This is the immediate preceding contextual verse and it can only apply to those that are in the church. I have heard this verse quoted in many church services and they are applying these words to themselves and their struggles in this life with the devil. It is the Word of God and the Blood of Jesus that were given to us by Jesus in the church to insure us we will overcome Satan. If you have not read the Revelation 12 series of lessons I would strongly recommend that you do so. I do not have the time to repeat every detailed verse.
Let’s go back quickly to verse 12 and review the message from God. This is clearly a warning from God given to the inhabitants of the earth through the apostle John. In this verse Satan has been cast down from heaven after a great spiritual warfare and according to this prophecy he is in a furious way committing murder on the earth. If you look up and study the Greek word that is translated as “wrath” it comes from a root word that can mean to slaughter, kill or sacrifice someone. This sounds a lot like what Saul was doing doesn’t it? This simply confirms what we learned earlier. It was the spirit of Satan influencing and controlling Saul through his ignorance that caused the persecution of the church to begin on the earth.
As it was in the beginning of the church age so shall it also be at the end of the church age. Persecution is the key word found in verse 13 of Revelation 12. Satan in this verse is still persecuting the same woman that he was persecuting using Saul that we read about in Acts. We in the church are not a different woman; we just have newly grown members within the same body of Christ. If you are confused about what I just said I would strongly recommend you read the Bible lesson that I wrote a long time ago about “How the Church Became the Body of Christ”.
During this end-time persecution it will also be Satan using new ignorant people with the exact same spirit behind it all. If you look up the Greek word in verse 13 translated as “persecute” it is G1377 which was also the word spoken to Saul while on the road to Damascus by Jesus “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” God connects the two verses with His word selection and the message is very plain to me that God is speaking of the same subject being done to the same church body.
Today’s lesson was just a basic introduction to the broad subject of “persecution” and the spirit of Saul that is behind it. I believe God awakened me in the night to bring this message of warning to those that would receive it and learn from it. There is a rising of evil on the earth taking place. The enemy’s rage is increasing as the end of the age draws closer. How you react to it may just determine where you spend eternity. A Christian that withdraws and conforms to the world view may be greatly disappointed with their choice. However, standing up for the truth of God’s Word and proclaiming it boldly will certainly cause us to be persecuted. I will conclude today’s Bible message with these words from my Lord Jesus:
Mat 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Mat 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
I wanted to talk more about Satan’s perspective for persecution today but I will try my best (the LORD willing) to cover this part of the topic in the next lesson Part 2.
Thank you for reading and studying the Bible with me. I hope this word of warning given by the Lord Jesus will be taken to heart and it will help you to prepare for what is certainly coming. God bless you all very much and thank you for your prayers for me as I will continue to pray for you also.
If you would like to continue to read the next lesson in this series please click here “PART 2“
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 1 of a brand new advanced Bible study series concerning the seldom mentioned or taught Bible subject entitled “Biblical Division”. I have personally never heard anyone teach on this subject in the church but this is what God is directing me to share today on the internet to all those that are willing to receive the message. However, I will warn everyone upfront like in many of my other Bible studies that this is a very advanced Bible Study series and it is intended primarily for only spiritually mature Christians to attempt to learn from. This lesson series represents a very unconventional spiritual meat topic presentation and it may not easily be chewed (be received) well by many of my milk drinking younger or spiritually new born Christian brothers and sisters in Christ. I do so hope and pray that you understand what I mean.
Biblical division is definitely a brand new topic to most Christians which has rarely been studied, known or understood. Therefore this subject could be potentially judged controversial or even easily offensive and rejected by a non-serious Christian disciple. People in general are usually closed minded to an unknown or a first heard Bible topic never encountered before. For example, men like Martin Luther brought forth radical new teachings that departed from the normal traditional dominate Church doctrines of the 1500’s. His thoughts and views were fundamentally fresh to most and very dissimilar to anything at that time period that was popularly taught and accepted. Martin Luther was a Bible professor in Germany and he condemned the Catholic Church for their corrupt practices of selling indulgences (forgiveness of sins). His writings were viewed as the catalyst for the Protestant church. However, these seemingly new views have been determined to be very sound theological scriptural teachings and they have now been widely adopted to conform more to what Jesus and the early church actually taught. Martin Luther was still branded a heretic by the religious church leadership and excommunicated from their church. We can clearly learn from this example that religious deception in the church can occur even as it did in the popular church of Martin Luther’s day.
Even today, we must know that not everything that is taught by a modern church is always completely accurate. The only way to prove any subject’s truthfulness is to let the Bible and the Holy Spirit on the inside of us; become our final authority. That is exactly what I want you to do today as you read these lessons. Please get your Bible out and then pray and ask God to open the eyes of your understanding to see what He wants you to see. Prove everything that is stated with your own Bible research and personal relationship with Almighty God. Never and I do mean never believe me or anything that I teach or anyone else teaches unless you can see it in the Bible with sufficient evidence and the Holy Spirit on the inside of you confirming that it is true. The Word of God and the Spirit of God will always agree. Please learn to verify everything and assume or accept nothing just because someone teaches it. Don’t be a David Koresh or Jim Jones type of blind faith follower. Let God be your guide and not any man. It could be a matter of life or death.
While this subject of Biblical Division is a new revelation to most of you today it is actually a very old concept that existed with God from the beginning. It is only becoming new to us today because God is revealing something that has seldom been studied much less noticed or mentioned in any modern church. Of course the reason why it has not been mentioned is probably one of two reasons. First, some Bible teachers have not made the subject of division a real priority to search for or search out to discover it in the Bible. Second, some Bible teachers may have seen the subject while reading in the Bible before but did not consider it important enough to spend time on and therefore made no effort to understand what it could mean. Either way the root cause for “Biblical Division” not being taught is human ignorance. No one can teach what they do not yet know and have learned. I hope that this Bible lesson on the internet will spur interest to learn what God has done.
Therefore I ask that each of you judge yourself before continuing to read in these advanced Bible study lessons. I certainly do not want to offend anyone with any spiritual meaty lesson that I publish. But, I do wish to help everyone grow and mature spiritually in the faith of Jesus Christ. Thank you in advance for using your own sound judgment to being led by His Spirit to know how to proceed. Let’s get started with the subject of Biblical Division.
INTRODUCTION TO DIVISION
What is division? Division is defined in one dictionary as the “action of separating something into two or more parts”. In other words division is a deliberate and intentional act of taking one item that represents a whole and complete named entity and changing it by the thoughtful application of power, force and effort into 2 or more separate and distinct disjointed pieces. This would be very much like a baker slicing their whole and complete freshly baked loaf of bread and cutting it into separate and smaller edible slices. Or division could be viewed like the cook taking their whole baked fresh apple pie and cutting and serving it in 8 individual slices for their guests to eat. Therefore we learn from these examples that division always represents the creation of new individual pieces consisting of a reduced size or nature where each is less than the original greater whole portion before it was split. It is also very important to note that each new divided part is of the same substance as before but just in a reduced portion. Do you see and understand this? This is exactly what division represents in the Bible. There is absolutely no difference. Here are four main points that you should have just learned from this basic definition:
- Division of One Substance
- Separation into New Individual Parts
- Reduction of Size from the Original Whole
- All New Parts are of Like Substance
Does this subject of division, separation and reduction have anything to do with anything found in the Bible, you might be asking? That is a very excellent question to consider. But God’s answer to that question will always include “division plays a very main role in the Bible even if we do not yet understand how it fits into God’s overall designed plan”. That answer is very incomplete and just begs us to ask more questions. We will soon discover that the subject of division has a very significant and strategic role while also being potentially hidden within the Bible. However we must learn that the subject of division is covered by God from the beginning book cover to the ending book cover and we just have not always seen it very clearly. I will tell you at the beginning of this lesson that God’s plan from the start of creation was not only to save man but also to divide man. Also know that God will divide other spiritual and natural entities in the Bible that we will discuss later.
Perhaps you may not believe me when I claim that the subject of division plays a very major role throughout the Bible. That is very wise of you to follow what I asked you before to do. Remember I said don’t follow blindly. So I’ll introduce you to this Bible subject using the Bible interpretation law of first mention. Where, is the subject of division first mentioned in the Bible? If you initiate your reading from the very beginning of the Bible you will only need to go forward three verses in order to find the subject. The very first verse containing a directly revealed, intentional and deliberate act of division by God occurs within the recorded creation event of the Day 1 creation of our world and you will find it in Genesis 1:4. This first named division in verse 4 represents a divine sovereign display of His power and His will and it further embodies an act of God’s supreme intelligence, wisdom and ability. Let’s take a quick look at this in case you have never seen this concept being mentioned so early before in the Bible:
Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
These three verses describe Day 1 of the 7 day creation event of our present world. Six days God worked and the seventh day He rested (Gen 2:1-2). How do we define work? Work represents an activity of mental or physical energy or power designed to achieve a specific purpose for a positive end result. This is entirely what God was doing during the Genesis Day 1 description. Did you notice what type of “work” God performed on this given Day 1? God speaks “Light Be” and then “Light was”. At this time of declaration darkness had already covered the earth in verse 2 so we know that God did not create any darkness on this day. We know from Genesis 1:2 that darkness pre-existed Day 1 of the creation work thus stating the need for light’s existence in the earth’s current situation. I need you to pay attention to what I am trying to say because this will become more important later in the series. Darkness existed prior to Day 1 and God uses His power to make the light to shine on the earth in Day 1 to counter the pre-existing presence of darkness.
God then declares in verse 5 the reason for the introduction of light to our planet. God had spoken the light to shine on the earth in order to “divide” the light from the existing darkness. Next in verse 5, God gives each of these division results a new and separate distinct name calling them “day” and “night”. Wow, this could really get very spiritually deep if I was going to attempt to teach all of the given implications found in these verses but I will save it for another lesson later. Remember what we just learned, that the act of “dividing” light from darkness by God and naming the day and night was all called His own work by His own definition. This divine work was the exact same concept as the baker cutting his loaf of bread or pie into new separate pieces. There is no conceptual difference in the type of work being described by God here in Genesis.
What did God accomplish on Day 1? Without the introduction of light on the earth there could have been no concept of time here. In fact until God named Day and Night the earth had no way to measure time. A day (the period of light) consists of 12 hours and a night (the period of darkness) consists of 12 hours which when combined represent one 24 hour period of time also called a day. One day as you should know is a 24 hour period of time corresponding to one rotation of the earth. This represents a single cycle of what God created to occur repeatedly. It is very interesting to note we would have no concept or understanding of God’s work if He had not named the Day and Night and then called it Day 1.
While all of this is what I believe a literal reality, I believe God did this to teach us a greater symbolic spiritual truth. But I do not have the time to go into this. All I need you to do is to grasp that God’s Day 1 work was something that represents a constructive progress step to accomplish God’s plan for a good outcome for us.
Have we not just learned that even God’s “dividing” work can achieve a positive purpose and end-result? Keep this in your mind that this divine work of dividing introduced to us by God here in Genesis 1 is good. Then think of it as being like a parallel when a baker slices their loaf of bread to eat. Isn’t the slice of bread much better than the entire loaf when you just want a sandwich? Can we begin to now learn a little bit about the impact, value and positive purpose of God’s designed work to divide light from darkness from just this one single Day 1 creation reference? Division appears to me to be very important just based upon this limited understanding so far. Ask yourself “Why was it so important for God to divide at the very beginning of His 6 days of creative work?” We will learn more about this as we progress to understand this subject better.
I just want us to begin to realize how much we potentially do not yet know or understand about the subject of division in the Bible. Before I proceed deeper let’s at least examine the Hebrew word that was translated as “divided” in verse 4 of Genesis 1. This word is H914 and it represents a base Hebrew root word that has the following Strong’s definition:
A primitive root; to divide (in various senses literally or figuratively, separate, distinguish, differ, select, etc.): – (make, put) difference, divide (asunder), (make) separate (self, -ation), sever (out), X utterly.
This Hebrew word’s definition is in tremendous harmonious alignment with the English dictionary definition of “division’ that we examined earlier. As you can read, this Hebrew word means “to divide asunder”, “make separate” and I also want you to see the phrase “sever out”. All of these phrases are valid parts of our Bible subject study today even if we don’t yet fully understand them all right now. However, even if we do not yet understand them completely, please do not let them slip from your minds. Let me give you the list of important points from this Hebrew word definition:
- Divide Asunder
- Make Separate
- Sever Out
To conclude this short subject introduction I will tell you that there are actually at the very minimum 5 major named “divisions” that take place within the very first two chapters of the book of Beginnings also called Genesis and we will look at these in greater detail later in the lesson series. What we just need to understand right now is that these divisions took place during God’s work within creation and therefore each of these divisions must have had a positive divine purpose for us to learn from. Let’s review some of the major things that you should have learned about division:
- Division concerns one Substance Being Cut Apart
- After Division Occurs there are New Individual Pieces
- That which was Divided is a Smaller Portion of the Original Whole
- All New Parts are of Like Original Substance
- Division is Work
- God’s Work on Day 1 was to Divide by Speaking
- New Divided Parts can be Named
Since we have covered the basic introductions to division and its definition let’s start building a foundation for the subject now.
BUILDING THE DIVISION FOUNDATION
A foundation represents the part of a building process that all of the other following parts are raised or built upon. A foundation is the underpinning of the structure and the groundwork of the entire rest of the building process. Nothing can be created structurally sound without a very firm foundation and so it is with Bible study subjects. In the first section of the lesson I already gave you basic foundation definitions and those were very important. But, let me stop right here and provide the main foundation Bible verse that these definitions apply to for the entire series of Bible lessons on this subject of Bible division. Let’s turn to the book of Luke and chapter 12 to begin our construction process to read the foundational verse for the subject of Bible division spoken directly from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ:
Luk 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
This is my LORD Jesus speaking to me and He literally makes a very shocking and a very controversial statement here in this verse. We must first understand who is speaking. Jesus was literally God incarnate. He is called by the Hebrew name “Emanuel” which meant “God with us”. Whatever Jesus said were words that God spoke personally and directly to all of mankind. Therefore God was teaching us about one of the key reasons for His personal appearance upon the earth and it is a very outrageous declaration to say the least. He tells us in this verse “to bring peace on earth” was never His appearance objective but rather He had come into this world to divide it. This announcement from the Lord is a potential major conflict to several other Bible verses and this should raise new questions in our minds. For example let’s review some of the potential conflicts:
Luk 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
We should be able to begin to see from this angelic announcement the rising conflict. At the birth of the Lord Jesus in the city of David called Bethlehem the angels appear to shepherds tending their flocks and they bring them the great news of God’s appearance on the earth. As part of this announcement they declare that there should be peace on earth because of His appearance. However, that is definitely not what Jesus said He came to bring. Both verses contain the same Greek word G1515 that is translated as “peace”. So they both are related by God’s word selection. But there is still the problem of an apparent conflict. Let’s read another verse:
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
There are several Bible verses that appear to conflict with the Lord’s statement in Luke, but especially this one verse found in Isaiah 9:6 where Jesus is clearly called the coming “Prince of Peace”. Isaiah informs us of a prophesied future “Prince of Peace” that will come to the earth and this was certainly an important title describing Jesus. However, Jesus who was this Prince of Peace claimed that to bring peace on earth was not His objective at His initial appearance on earth in Luke 12:51. Whoops I just gave you an important clue in that last statement. I hope you did not miss it.
At least 5 times in the New Testament (Rom 15:33, Rom 16:20, Php 4:9, 1 Th 5:23, Heb 13:20) our God is called the “God of Peace”. Wow, how should we even begin to understand how to resolve these statements of God being peace and Him saying I did not come to the earth to bring any peace? How can the Prince of Peace and the God of Peace not appear here physically on the earth to bring us peace? How do we resolve this conflict?
I think I have already given you the clue if you were paying attention for the resolution of the conflict of peace. The answer that will become more prevalent is based upon timing. Everything that occurs in the plan of God has a set time of appearance. At the first coming of Jesus on the earth there can be no hope for any peace based upon the statement made by Him in Luke 12:51. However, that does not mean that He cannot bring peace later to the earth at a future time and I don’t have the space in this lesson to go into any great detail to when this coming peace will occur. But I want us to understand that when Jesus came to the earth the people of the city of Jerusalem were expecting a natural King but they only saw a spiritual King that did not come to rule them at that time on the earth. It was not God’s timing to rule on the earth during His first appearance. This truth of reality teaches us how to learn more about God’s timing for peace and I hope this will help us all to understand how to resolve what Jesus was saying in Luke 12:51 more clearly. Here are the main three points that you should have learned in this foundation:
- Jesus Came to the Earth to Divide
- And Not to Bring Peace
- But No Peace Now Does Not Mean There Can Be No Peace Ever
Luke 12:51 is my foundational Bible division verse concerning the complete subject of Bible division. Jesus very clearly teaches us that to divide was one of the main purposes for His arrival on the earth. We will now continue this lesson by attempting to understand what Jesus said He did not come to do. Jesus said He did not come to bring peace. So what is peace? I think we need to know more about what Jesus said He did not come to bring us. So let’s find out.
WHAT IS PEACE?
As we continue learning we need to understand as much as we can about what Jesus said that He did not come to do during His initial earthly appearance. Jesus informs us very clearly in Luke 12:51 that He did not come to bring peace during this specified time. Therefore, we need to ask the question “What is peace?” Peace in one English dictionary means “cessation from war”. A cessation of war means there is no longer any aggression, no fighting, no conflict, and no longer any hostilities one towards another. Peace can also mean “a place or state without any disturbance”. Some synonyms of peacefulness could be calmness, tranquility, serenity or quietness and Jesus told us that these were not the purpose for His arrival. We can learn what peace represents in order to better comprehend why Jesus came to the earth. It should become apparent that if Jesus did not come to bring us peace then the opposite of peace was His goal. Can we agree? Let’s review the quick list of what peace represented:
- PEACE = No Wars, No Conflicts, No Fighting, No Hostility
- PEACE = Calmness
- PEACE = Tranquility
- PEACE = Quietness
If Jesus did not come to bring peace then I believe very firmly that He must have come to do the opposite. What is the opposite of peace based upon just these 4 definitions? Jesus must have come to bring a war, a storm of agitation or even a raging wave and force of noise to the earth. I believe all of those that I just stated are true. However, we also need to understand that according to Jesus the opposite of peace appears to be the stated purpose of “division”. Division by the definition of the Lord Jesus is the opposite of peace. Once we consider what division represents it becomes very clear that it is truly the antithesis of any state of undisturbed peace. Please keep thinking on these concepts of what peace “is” and “is not” as we continue to learn why Jesus said He appeared on the earth. Based upon the definitions of peace we can begin to see Jesus came to bring us the opposite and these would be:
I’ll say this again; Jesus speaking in Luke clearly claims that one of His chief purposes for being here on the earth was not to bring anyone or anything peace, calm, quiet or tranquility during His first appearance. Then Jesus claims that one of His actual purposes for being here was to “divide” or bring “division” to something or even someone unnamed here on the earth. What exactly was this on the earth that Jesus came to disturb, to bring unrest to, to disquiet it and to interrupt it with a wave of force of noise and power to cause or effect a division to occur?
We have just briefly covered the subject of peace exploring some synonyms and some antonyms in this section of the lesson. But I believe that I introduced you to some new things to consider. We should have learned that God came to disrupt whatever was considered normal here on the earth. We should have learned that God came to divide the status quo and cause what God desired to occur. We know this because we learned division is a positive work of God and God’s work will always bring about positive results with a purpose. So we should have learned God’s appearance was to bring war on the earth and not any peace. Any war is an act of force between enemies against each other. War is a very clear separation by force and power and a strong division between factions and it will always result in a reduction of the former whole. We should be able to see that war fits very well into the definition of “division”.
- Who is Jesus at war with?
- What does Jesus intend to divide with His appearance on the earth?
- What will be the positive result for this division after it has occurred?
Learning how to answer these questions will be what this lesson series will now be focused upon. However we still need to increase our foundational understanding for the subject of division and we will do that by looking at the subject of “disunion”.
WHAT IS DISUNION?
Let’ review the Greek word translated as “division” that was used by God in Luke 12:51. This Greek word was translated as “division” in this verse. This is a very unique Geek word. In fact this Greek word is only found one time in the entire Bible here in Luke 12:51. This Greek word is G1267 and here is the Strong’s definition:
G1267 – From G1266; disunion (of opinion and conduct): – division.
The Greek word G1267 translated as “division” in this verse in Luke 12:51 literally means something has been divided. It also literally means “disunion” (of opinion and conduct). Wow, that is a new amazing and very essential declaration that Jesus is trying to teach us concerning His positive purpose to divide here on the earth. A state of “disunion” is clearly the opposite of a state of “union”. A union is a representation of two or more entities becoming one single entity with unified authority. Therefore disunion is like the one loaf of bread becoming many individual slices of bread that was mentioned earlier. Disunion conforms to what we have learned about division up until this point of the lesson.
Disunion is a word that literally means the breaking up of a federation or union. Disunion comes from a lack of unity and agreement. Whenever even one person in a group is not in full agreement there can result a state of disharmony, discord and conflict. Disagreement is the root cause for much disunion. I wish to introduce you to two new potential reasons for Jesus appearance on the earth to divide using Strong’s definition. First, Jesus was saying I came to divide the opinions or “beliefs” of men on the earth. Second He was further saying that He came to divide the conduct of men here on the earth. Either of these acts of God would bring about a war like state of disunity. That is so very important what I just said. We will definitely be talking about that a lot more in this lesson later. But we need to look more into the subject of “disunions” first.
Let’s talk about the concept of “disunions”. The word “disunion” means to break up something that was a whole or complete named entity into smaller distinct separate pieces. For example the disunion of an earthly sovereign federation will result in the division of that nation into smaller nations. Take for instance the disunion of the U.S.S.R. that took place back in 1991. Do you remember what U.S.S.R. stood for? The U.S.S.R. stood for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The U.S.S.R was one sovereign named union containing states that were broken apart to form the new D.S.S.R = “Disunion of Soviet Socialist Republic”. Of course that was just a joke but what resulted from the disunion were several new separate smaller sovereign states. The united nation of the U.S.S.R. clearly qualified to be a candidate for division and disunion. Down throughout human history there have been many nations, empires and kingdoms that have risen to only become divided, conquered and fall. Nation and kingdom partitioning is a very constant and prevalent example of divisions and disunions. Could this concept be related to something that Jesus was referring to that He came to do? We will soon find out that it is exactly what He came to do but let us look at another prevalent type of natural disunion first.
The natural case of divorce from the divinely created institution of marriage also represents a form of very prevalent natural disharmony, disruption and disunion occurring in our world too frequently. A divorce is the dividing into individual pieces and the separation from God’s defined condition of being in the state that God called a “One Flesh” union (Gen 2:24). Marriage represents the “union” of two individuals (1 male and 1 female) into one new family unit but divorce is the clear antithesis state called disunion. Divorce occurs when the one named married family entity becomes two separated, partitioned and disjointed individuals that can no longer be considered a sovereign family covenant union. If Bob and Sally Jones get a divorce the Jones Household and family has become disjointed in disunity and can no longer even exist. This will always result in two lesser named entities lacking completeness and wholeness.
I have only briefly introduced you to two types of “disunions” and “divisions” so far in this section. One is that of a natural sovereign nation being divided and the other is the concept of a natural sovereign family being divided up by acts of force or power. Both are differing levels of sovereign authority. Both can be divided by force and power. Viewing them to be a positive work is another dilemma since neither sound like positive end results and I would definitely agree with that for now looking only at things from a purely natural perspective. But there are other ways that we need to consider and I will talk about them soon enough.
Let’s continue our Greek word study and move down a level to the root word. The Greek word G1267 that means “disunion” comes from another Greek root word G1266 which means “to partition thoroughly”. This just keeps getting better and better, deeper and deeper and more and more complex doesn’t it? To partition means “to divide something”, “to split apart something” or “to break up something” using a stated or implied wall of separation. Partitioning is an understood act of constructive building through a display of intelligence combined with a force of power to create the divide. This concept of partitioning is further based upon a rule of authority hierarchy. Those which are building the partition are of much greater authority than that which is being affected by the division. What I just said was so important I want you to see it again:
PARTITIONING = an Understood Act of Constructive Building through a Display of Intelligence Combined with the Application of Force or Power to Create A Divide.
For example, a criminal after conviction is divided or partitioned from the mainstream population by a greater force of authority and placed behind a separating barrier which can be named or labeled as partitions or the prison walls of separation. Within our society the greater government authority created these partitioning walls of separation. The separating walls of the prison will keep the prisoners in but also will keep all others in the general population out. We can certainly see some potential positive aspects of division in this example. Therefore, we should learn that division is defined as an act of separating one whole and greater item (the general population) into smaller or lesser items (prisoners and free people). Using my quick example, our population is being separated by an act of law and authority into those that are free and those that are incarcerated. This is just a natural concept that helps us in understanding the spiritual Bible concept more clearly and God’s stated plan of division.
What was Jesus partitioning through His physical appearance here on the earth? What walls were being constructed by His appearance on the earth? I’ll begin to answer these questions in the next section. The information covered in this section should begin to give you some major clues to why Jesus came to earth. Jesus has built a dividing wall partition with His appearance on the earth. Let’s review the list of points we learned in this section:
- Disunion is a Force of Disagreement Dividing Two or More Groups
- Disunion is the Division of a Single Kingdom
- Disunion is like the Division of a Whole Family
- Division is the Separation of Two Entities using a Partition or Wall of Separation
There were other good points made in this section but these are the ones that need to be carried forward into the next section. We will now take a look at God’s plan of division and how it was prophesied to be implemented by the coming Lord of Glory.
GOD’S PLAN OF DISUNION/DIVISION
In the last section I talked about the disunion of a natural nation, empire or a kingdom as well as well as the disunion of a natural family. Both of these types of disunion that were going to be implemented by God’s design and plan in order to protect the righteous from the unrighteous. God came to the earth in the form of a man in order to divide His kingdom and to divide His family. God does this primarily to separate and partition that which was good from that which was judged as evil. I believe this is an excellent time to introduce you to a prophecy that applies directly to what God was doing in Jesus. Please turn to the book of Malachi and read what the LORD says:
Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Mal 3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Mal 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
These are verses prophesying a coming division. Did you see it? These are the works of the LORD that were coming through Christ Jesus. God is going to separate the righteous from the wicked. He is going to make it known (able to discern between) those that serve Him and those that do not. The Hebrew word H996 that was translated “between” in verse 18 reveals to us this story. This word means to make a “distinction” between two or more things. It is a comparative stipulation that is used as a preposition to describe those that are named after the statement. This Hebrew word H996 comes from the root word H995 which means “to separate” mentally. To separate mentally is just another synonymous phrase of division that means God will divide them with a partition of thought so we can understand that there is a difference between them in our minds. The ability to distinguish between good and evil and right and wrong is a mental partitioning process. God actually warns us about this in the Bible:
Isa 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
We can clearly see these happening even in the world today if we observe the actions of people closely. It has become increasingly difficult for people to “discern” between good and evil. The lines have shifted to allow what we use to believe was evil to become good and vice-versa. God is warning all those on the earth that cannot discern between two opposites in this verse. God says you are in trouble if you call good evil or evil good. That is exactly what is transpiring in our world today. It is everywhere on TV, in movies and on the internet. Good is being called evil and evil is clearly being promoted to be good and normal. God is teaching us about one of the walls of separation that will and is dividing us all.
The blurring of distinct lines of good and evil today is the devil’s plan to undo what God has already accomplished in Christ Jesus. Satan wants us to not be able to recognize between good and evil and that is what is happening in this world. Satan would like to get Christians to regress and become passive to accept sin, evil and etc. I still believe that God’s plan will prevail in those that desire to follow Him as Malachi predicts. Real Christians will know what is right and good and what is wrong and evil even if the world does not.
I want to stop here and teach you why things are named by God. God gives things, people and places names to show that they are different. Giving objects and people names are a form of the process of division. When your child is born you name your son or daughter to give them distinction. This new name separates them from the other children and makes them unique. Do you remember what God did in Genesis 1:3-5 on day 1 of creation? God spoke to introduce the light into the world which was then separated from the darkness and after God did this He named the light “day” and the darkness He called “night”. Did you notice that in the verse in Isaiah 5:20 God also mentioned light and darkness? Is that a coincidence? No, it certainly is not. Light represents good and darkness represents evil symbolically throughout the Bible. This is God’s way of connecting the dots for us to learn His plan. God was going to separate good from evil from the very beginning of creation. Can you begin to see this?
This concept is exactly what God was doing here in these Malachi verses also. God says there will be one separate group called the “Righteous” and another group called the “Wicked”. Those are the names of distinction and separation given by divine appointment and purpose. These represent the dividing lines between two groups of beings. This certainly includes mankind but it also must include angelic heavenly beings also.
Wow, I just introduced so much potentially new information to you so fast that I pray that you understood it all. We could go through other prophecies of division but I am trying to keep this lesson as concise as possible to not overwhelm anyone with too much information. I hope to cover this subject in much more detail as the series continues. So please be patient and kind and believe with me that God will say everything that needs to be said in His right timing. Let’s recap what we should have learned from this section quickly.
God is going to build:
- A Mental Wall of Partition for Discernment in People
- A Wall Between the Righteous and the Unrighteous
- A Wall Between the Good and the Evil
- A Wall to Perceive Between Right and Wrong
- A Wall of Separation Between the Light and the Darkness
We could literally talk for many hours on these subjects but I just want you to begin learning the basics for and of division now. I think today I am going to only go into one more introductory topic to help point us to future lessons.
CONFIRMING JESUS’ PURPOSE FOR DIVISION
I have already introduced you to the concept that God came to earth to divide His kingdom and to divide His family but we need further scriptural confirmation to assist in these statements and beliefs. Both a nation and a family dissolution are very clear examples of types of extremely prevalent earthly natural disunions. However, both of these natural examples of disunion have direct application to what Jesus said that He came to do here on the earth believe it or not. Let’s look at a new verse that Jesus spoke about this direct subject of division to help us to confirm the reality of one of God’s primary purposes for sending Jesus into our world was to divide His kingdom and family.
Jesus actually talks about this subject of division much more than many realize. It is very clear to me from learning this subject now that Jesus understood His reason for coming into the world far better than anyone else at that time including Satan and all his angels and demons. We will now turn back to the book of Luke again and read a verse found in close context with our initial foundation division verse found in Luke 12:51. Please, turn back to chapter 11 and begin to read in verse 17:
Luk 11:17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.
Jesus begins the statement with the word “Every”. “Every” is the Greek word G3956 that literally means “every”. I am just being funny with that last statement but that is exactly what the Greek word means. The Greek word G3956 means “every”, “any”, “all” and “the whole”. Therefore, G3956 is an all-inclusive adjective describing the noun “kingdom” that leaves no kingdom out of the statement. Do you understand that? There cannot be any “kingdom” in existence either past, present or future that is omitted from this statement of truth given to us by the Lord Jesus. I cannot say that more plainly and this is such a very important concept to learn. Jesus is not a liar and He would have phrased the statement differently if there were any kingdoms that could be excluded from being mentioned. I do hope you understand what God is saying by His selective use of the word “EVERY”.
So we learn immediately from the mouth of Jesus that “any” or “every” kingdom named or unnamed directly or indirectly will fall if it is divided against itself. Therefore we learn from the Bible what we already know from human history that any kingdom can be divided into two or more smaller pieces and even cease to exist completely. For example the Roman Empire ceased to exist. The Persian Empire has ceased to exist. The Babylonian Empire has ceased to exist, and etc. Today division of nations is still a very prevalent topic with the nation of Israel. Peace talks are dominated with the division of Israel into two nations giving their land to a new nation called Palestine. Satan is using God’s law of division to try to eliminate Israel and you should know that.
Did you know that this statement from Jesus absolutely must include the “Kingdom of God” and the “Kingdom of Heaven”? You probably never thought of that, did you? Does that sound offensive to you for me to imply that the omnipotent God’s kingdom can be divided, fall and possibly cease to exist? Please understand that I did not say it. I just gained that knowledge from what Jesus said because He included these two kingdom references in the statement by selecting and speaking the word “EVERY” in union with the noun “KINGDOM”. Wow, I think there could be a lot of upset religious people not very happy with this lesson after reading that but this statement is still true.
Do you remember that I talked about a whole pie being cut into pieces? Let’s change the pie to a Kingdom and ask if it can be divided in the same way? Jesus is peaking about a whole kingdom pie that will be divided if it is fighting against itself and He tells us that it will become desolate (a dry empty place) if it is experiencing any condition of discord, disharmony or even disagreement. What happens to a pie after it has been cut and divided against itself? It is usually dished out and served and the pie dish has been left an empty dry mess of crumbs. That is what Jesus is describing that will happen to any kingdom that is divided also. There is an old proverb that says “United we stand but divided we fall” and that is an accurate phrasing of what Jesus just taught us about God’s Kingdom.
These truths are precisely the reason that I mentioned the U.S.S.R. previously. The U.S.S.R. was a very good example of a modern kingdom that has been divided against itself. This whole nation was split into several smaller nations even now which are still fighting among themselves. There was even recently reported heavy fighting in the Ukraine and Russia was blamed to be fueling the discord. Note the fact what Jesus said again. Jesus said “Do you think that I came to bring peace? I say No but rather division”. That was my paraphrase of the original key verse statement but it does represent an accurate message of the original. No nation or kingdom that experiences division can or will experience any peace after it has been divided. Now ask yourself what Kingdom is Jesus from? Where did Jesus come down from to enter into the earth? These are basic fundamental questions that you should be able to answer in your sleep. Jesus came down from the Kingdom of God and from the Kingdom of Heaven in order that He might divide them with war and I believe this very firmly.
Now consider the second part of the statement made by Jesus concerning division in Luke 11:17. Jesus declares that a house divided will also fall. This Greek word translated as “house” means a dwelling where a family resides. This is why I talked about the concept of divorce earlier also. A divorce represents the destruction of a sovereign family unit. The result of the family division is a whole entity that no longer exists or we could say a family unit that has been brought to the state of non-existence. This is exactly why Jesus was making this statement in Luke because it concerns His purpose for coming to the earth.
We should be able to find out by close Bible study that Jesus has come down from the Kingdom of Heaven directly from the spiritual family of God to bring about a division to both realities. We can begin to learn this truth simply by reading verses like John 6:50-51 where He describes His flesh as the bread that came down from heaven. In these words are found the concept of the loaf of freshly baked bread that I presented earlier. His body was broken and we must eat of it in order to live. All those that do not eat of this bread will die. That is a very clear division of separation being inferred. There are many other verses but I will help you with one about the family of God next for you to know that God has a family that can be divided.
If you study the Bible by searching for the word “house” you will find more than enough verses that will confirm what we need to know about the existence of God’s spiritual family. For example, in John 14:2 you will find Jesus talking about His Father’s house. He claims there are many mansions in this location. The Greek word in this verse is G3613 and it comes directly from the Greek word G3624 that Jesus spoke of in Luke 11:17 about a house divided. Both words were translated as house and both words mean a literal family dwelling place. I can give many other references but I do not want to take the time in this lesson introduction. Just begin to realize that God has a spiritual family and this family can and has been divided by the plan, will and the work of God through Jesus Christ.
If this is true what Jesus is teaching us then the implication of both of these divisions will dictate God’s need for a new spiritual family and a new spiritual kingdom since both will be brought to the level of non-existence as Jesus has prophesied. I hope you realize that Jesus was a prophet also and spoke what would come to pass in many of His recorded statements in the Gospels. I warned you that this Bible lesson would take us into some really deep waters which may go over the heads of some weaker carnal Christians. If this describes you please just stop reading and go to a different Bible lesson. So let’s review the main points from this section of the lesson. We learned these Bible facts:
- Every Divided Kingdom Will Be Made Desolate
- Every Divided Family Will Fall
- God Has a Kingdom Which Can Be Divided
- God Has a Family that Can Also Fall
All of these Bible facts of Truth point us in the direction for God’s personal appearance on the earth to divide. These help us tremendously to understand a very complex hidden Bible subject.
I hope and pray that you have learned at least a little more on this subject of Biblical Division than you ever knew before. I know there was a lot of new information given but I also know that there is a whole lot more to learn. I would recommend that you go back and at least reread the main points from each section of the lesson. This will help us put the pieces of the division puzzle together correctly. I will be continuing in this series with more confirming scriptures to help us believe in God’s Word. Thank you for taking your time to read and study the Bible with me. I do value your time greatly and I do not wish to waste any of it. If you would care to leave me a comment or question I would appreciate it. Also please share this website with your friends and relatives so everyone can learn more about the Lord and the soon coming King Jesus Christ. God Bless you.
Click now if you would like to continue reading “Part 2“.
(Ver 1.1) Today I am teaching another lesson on the highly controversial subject of “predestination” or “election” as it is also referred to many times. This is Part 4 of what should be a basic Bible study series concerning a very difficult and easily misunderstood Bible subject that is taken to extremes to place deception into the minds and lives of Christians. Satan does this to remove human “freewill” as being a factor for salvation. It further removes human responsibility to getting saved or staying saved. The extreme predestination philosophy allows an anything goes belief for acceptable human behavior without consequences of guilt or punishment. It removes the need for repentance, believing, learning, growing up spiritually and many other factors for a successful Christian life. If you have not read this series form the beginning I would strongly recommend that you go back and start with “Part 1” and then proceed forward to today’s Bible lesson. In doing this you will get a more complete understanding of the entire subject.
In today’s lesson I will begin addressing more specifically two sets of Bible verses that are commonly used by extreme teachers to preach their erroneous doctrine of extreme “predestination”. I received a question from a friend and this will be an answer for everyone to read and benefit from. I was asked about Ephesians 1:3-11 and Romans 8:28-30 and I have to admit that reading these verses in isolation certainly gives us all the appearance of a valid “predestination” theology on the surface. But was this what God did? Did God predestine some to heaven and some to hell without any human participation or determination upon where they wanted to go?
It might surprise you that I agree with a part of the “predestination” theology. The word “predestinate” is certainly a part of the Bible and this means we need to learn about it. Bible “Predestination” simply means a divine plan was put into place by the sovereign mind and will of God and God putting His plan into action has predetermined the outcome result. That is “predestination” in a very limited definition form. Predestination simply means a predetermined outcome was planned by God by placing severe limits upon the possible outcomes. That is what the word means and that is what God is bound to do but taking that definition and teaching what people do today is totally absurd.
I completely agree that God had a plan in place for human salvation long before He did anything to create our world. This plan involved Jesus who was the Almighty God in the flesh coming to the earth as the sacrificial lamb (Rev 13:8). Therefore God predetermined before man even existed that He would come down to the earth in the form of sinful flesh (Rom 8:3) to die for the payment of our sins removing our penalty for them while we were all yet sinners (Romans 5:8). This is the part of the doctrine of “Predestination” that I believe in with my whole heart and I hope and pray that you do also.
I also totally agree that God has omniscient foreknowledge of every event within human history and uses these events to put His plan into effect. However, the problem that arises very quickly is when people take these basic truths and stretch them into realms of beliefs that are not stated in the Bible. For example many people teach that God has predestined some to go to heaven and some to go to hell by His sovereign will and choice. That part of the doctrine of predestination represents a line in the sand that I refuse to cross because it violates God’s written word and makes Him to be a liar and my God is not a liar. I have already taught in three lessons about many things concerning why extreme predestination does not balance or conform to God’s entire precious Holy Word and we will be going into even more verses today because this is absolutely so important and vital for every Christian to understand.
AN INTRODUCTION AGAIN TO SALVATION
I realize that these verses that were given to me from Ephesians and Romans appear to confirm predestination as a legitimate theological doctrine. I’m very sure that these are two of the primary references being used by pastors to teach on the subject of “predestination”. But the extreme teaching and interpretation of these verses is by far not even close to being a correct or accurate representation of who God is or what God says. These extreme teachings are certainly not balanced properly with the rest of the Bible. For example let’s begin talking briefly about how we were saved according to scriptures:
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Here we have some of the most important basics of Christianity and salvation. God declares that we have been saved by God’s Grace but only in conjunction through our faith and we have been also made the children of God by our Faith in Christ Jesus also given only by God’s Grace. Therefore it is only because of our faith and belief in Jesus that has accomplished salvation by God’s Grace. If we have NO faith in Christ and choose NOT to believe in Him then we are not saved nor are we called His children. Knowing this truth is the foundation for the rest of Christianity which causes spiritual growth to continue helping us to see our role, relationship and purpose for being saved in Christ. Therefore I’m going to say something that may blow your mind but according to God’s Word it is the freewill choice of man to believe that determines whether or not we are selected (saved) and not God selecting us that determined our salvation. I’ll probably get a lot of negative comments and may even lose some readers because of that statement but so what I’m not going to change God’s word to fit your theology. It is really so very simple yet this scriptural truth of human faith being the determining factor for our salvation is ignored completely by many extreme “predestination” only preachers. Let’s look at a new verse briefly to learn an additional confirmation of who should be considered the chosen and how they became this:
2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
We should be able to clearly see at first glance that God has chosen us from the beginning. This is a basic predestination verse that teachers like to grab hold of to easily misunderstand the subject. However, this verse is another example of divine and human partnership working together to achieve our salvation. You see there are two direct things mentioned that God does in this verse and these are 1). God has chosen us to (for) salvation and God has done this 2). Through a process called sanctification. Then there are two direct things that we as Christians are said to do and these are 1). Give thanks to God for what He has done and 2). Believe the truth. The key word I want to focus upon is the Greek word G4102 translated as “belief” in this verse. This Greek word literally means to be persuaded of something. It can be translated as “believe” or “belief” or even “faith”. This is a word for humans not God. This Greek word represents what we do. It is a verb action of human response after hearing the Gospel (good news) of what God has done through Jesus Christ. We are required to have faith in order to please God according to Hebrew 11:6. Thus we are given one of the primary reasons for being chosen or selected by God is because of our faith. In other words if you don’t believe or have any faith you will not be selected. Do you understand this? People want to say it was only God’s sovereign choice and His right to choose some and reject others that caused us to be saved or lost but that is foolish thinking based upon poor human reasoning with no scriptural backing for that belief. No, the truth is that we determine whether we will be selected by our faith in Jesus Christ. It is so easy when you finally see it.
I was asked specifically about Romans 8:28-30 and Ephesians 1:3-11. I’ll talk about Romans 8 first in this lesson but everything that is written could apply to Ephesians 1 also. There are at least three mistakes that Bible teachers take upon themselves with their wrong interpretations of these scriptures that cause error to go forth to be taught. First they ignore the context of the verses and that is taking phrases out of their setting to say what they think they want them to say instead of what they actually say. Second there is a common problem of seeing verses from the wrong scriptural point of view to make the verses again say what they want instead of what God actually said being balanced with all other verses on the subject of human FREEWILL. You see context is also much more than just the verses in the surrounding chapter. Context must also include the whole Bible and every scripture that is related to the subject directly or indirectly. God is one author of one book and people taking one statement without the rest will lead us to error. Third there is the problem that occurs when an assumption is drawn based upon no direct facts being given. We must not make assumptions if God does not give us two or three witnesses to our belief.
Let’s go over a quick overview of good interpretation and understanding principles. We need to first learn to read and study the context of the verse within the chapter, the book, and the entire Bible in order to understand any single statement better and more clearly. Next then we need to read the Bible using the correct perspective. Many times we should consider what is written from God’s viewpoint since He is the admitted author of the text. God’s viewpoint is normally from a very spiritual perspective because He is a Spirit. God’s spiritual viewpoint is superior and normally conflicts with the human natural viewpoint (Romans 8:7). We learn this principle from several Bible selections including Romans 8 that we are currently studying but consider another reference found in 1 Samuel 16:7 when God spoke to the prophet and told him not to look on the outward appearance of the man (flesh) because God looks upon his heart (spirit). Wow, that is an awesome bit of knowledge to learn from and apply in our lives and study today.
Now consider the fact that there are other possible verses in the Bible that are directly related to the subject of “predestination”. These verses must also be considered contextual information that should be weighed together. Wouldn’t any or all of these other verses possibly have an impact in determining how we need to believe in the whole subject of predestination? I believe they do. Finally after reading and studying the whole subject we should be able to gather together all the known facts and use these to drive our belief process after we have felt confident that we understand the verses adequately enough to do so. Finally, as part of the drawing conclusions process we must never conclude anything unless we have 2 to 3 factual Bible witnesses of the conclusion from the Bible and I’m going to talk about this next.
For example NOWHERE in the Bible does it say that God predestined men to go to hell and that is a very wrong assumption and belief that many people have created in their minds and have bought into it like it was the truth because they think they were “selected” to go to heaven and therefore nothing they ever did effected them to get saved or nothing they will ever do can or will ever change their status of salvation. What a lie of the devil. If that was actually true then a lot of the N.T. is not necessary. In fact we can take that further and say the Bible as a whole is unnecessary for salvation. No one would need to preach the gospel, no one would need to believe the Gospel, and no one would need to go to church, no one needs to read the Bible and no one would even need to pray because God’s will would always be done regardless of what we do or say or pray. Also there would be no need for there to be any BIBLE commandments from God or instructions or warnings in the Bible for us to not be deceived or to depart from the Lord (Heb 3:12, 1 Tim 4:16, Gal 5:15, 1 Cor 10:12, 1 Cor 15:33, Gal 6:7, Luk 21:8, …. and others).
Let’s talk about the context first of Romans 8. The verses directly prior to these verses asked about speak of praying in tongues also called praying in the Spirit. I know it does not say it directly but that is how God wrote it in order to give man a choice to believe or not believe in speaking and praying in tongues. So let’s read the preceding two verses for direct contextual understanding:
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Rom 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Ok “intercession is mentioned twice and “prayer” is directly mentioned in verse 26. The key to knowing this is not just any kind of prayer is the fact that God is helping us to pray it. Therefore this is a supernatural prayer language because man can only pray a natural type of prayer language without God’s help. Do you understand this? God gives us the ability to pray supernaturally by helping us with the words to speak that cannot be normally uttered with natural human reasoning as He has stated in verse 26. In the Greek language this word means these words cannot be understood r spoken with the normal human articulate speech process. When we pray in the Spirit, God gives us the words and these are usually words not understood by people but rather they are heard by God and known by God for our benefit and this is why God says in verse 28 that He will cause all things to work together for our good. God does this primarily so that Satan does not know what is being prayed and can make an effort to stop it from coming to pass.
The reason I talked about praying in tongues is because the next verses following these statements are now conditional upon people praying in the Spirit in order to be qualified for what is said to happen next. Uh oh that changes everything or at least it should. We could talk a lot about other things written about in chapter 8. For example there is a whole discourse concerning the flesh verses the spirit. Those walking the flesh are not qualifying for the rest of the chapter either. But I know I was asked about the verses concerning “predestination” and that is where I will go next. Let’s jump down to verse 30 to see where the controversy really begins:
Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
This verse begins with “Whom He did predestinate”. Ok, this is pretty compelling if you only read it in isolation that God selected some and therefore must have rejected others by assumed indirection even though it does not say that directly. It is clear that God did select those that this verse was written to in the church but again nowhere does it say that God rejected those that were not in the church. I MEAN NO WHERE! Also there is a Greek word found here that needs our further attention. This Greek word is G2564 and it was translated as “called” twice in this verse. This Greek word means to “bid” or to “call” someone. What exactly does that mean?
Let’s say we go outside our house on the back porch and don’t see our dog. We could “call” the dog and see if he will come to us by yelling his name. The “call” would be an invitation to come and that is exactly what this verse is saying to us. God has invited us to come. What would make the dog not interested in coming to us when we called? It could be the fact that they are occupied with something they value more like a big bone that they are chewing on. Whatever the reason for not coming the dog has the choice of freewill to come or not to come and this is what we must realize is joined within the context of the subject of God “predestining” us. This is where we need to look afresh at this verse from the God spiritual perspective and weigh the context of the rest of the Bible also. I’ll do this with an introduction to a new way to think about predestination.
Why couldn’t God call and invite everyone through a plan of salvation called “to predestine” and offer to them all an invitation to come and be at His big wedding party in heaven? Then why couldn’t God send out all of the invitations to everyone to come to be a part of this party by an act of their choice to attend? But then what if only those people that actually showed up (chose by an act of their freewill) to come to the wedding party would be called those that were “selected”? In other words what if God has predestined everyone to show up for a huge big wedding party but yet not many valued or regarded the invitation as important and therefore did not come and what if this was the reason that caused them to not be selected? Could this possibly be the truth? Wow, I really think it is according to the Words of Jesus in the Bible. Let’s go read some words written in red ink within the distant context of Romans 8 that must be balanced with Romans 8. You should be able to read these verses and see my “what if” story in a parable form given by the Lord Jesus that helps us to learn what I was just trying to teach:
Mat 22:1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
Mat 22:2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
Mat 22:3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
I’ll stop here and make some quick important points. The King in this parable is a representation of God. The Son in this parable is a symbolic representation of the Jesus Christ. The marriage in this parable is a symbolic representation for the New Covenant. His servants in this parable were His prophets and they called to the wedding the children of natural Israel but they would not come to the wedding by an act of their own stupid choice. The Greek word translated as “call” in verse 3 of Matthew 22 is the exact same Greek word found in Romans 8:30 making a direct divine connection to the same subject being spoken of by God. Does this not have anything to do directly with selection or God’s predestination process? Didn’t God call them all to come? Didn’t God desire them to come? Wasn’t it the will of God for them to come? I mean come on and think. God selected them and invited them to come but THEY WOULD NOT. Get it? This is really not rocket science and it is right there in front of our faces. Are we going to believe God or are we going to believe the traditional errors of man?
Mat 22:4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
Mat 22:5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
Mat 22:6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
Mat 22:7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
These verses were written about the natural nation of Israel. The natural nation of Israel was overrun and laid low over and over because of God’s displeasure for their ignorant choices and killing His servants. It is more than clear that this was not the plan of God for their lives. It was more than clear that God sent His servants to invite them to the wedding feast. It is more than clear that it was their own actions that caused them not to come in and be a part of the process. This is called man’s “freewill” and this must be taken into account when teaching anything about “predestination”. Now continue to read the rest of the parable because this is how we were selected:
Mat 22:8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
Mat 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
Mat 22:10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
So God goes forth into the rest of the Gentile world with more prophets and teachers inviting them all to come to the wedding and guess what I came by own freewill choice to believe and now because of my choices I have been selected. Also because I am now selected I now go into the world and preach the Gospel to others so they can also be selected by an act of their own freewill choice and faith in Jesus Christ. Wow this is how God designed it to work. We either believe and are saved or we don’t believe and we are damned by our own freewill choices (Mk 16:16).
Mat 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
Mat 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Mat 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
In this parable there are only two types of people mentioned that are rejected from being at the wedding and these were the one man without a wedding garment and those that chose not to even attend. However, this one man without a wedding garment also represents the man’s own foolish choice to try to come to the wedding without being properly clothed. This verse was symbolically talking about people who call themselves Christians but have not “PUT ON CHRIST” (Gal 3:27). This parable is all symbolism but this story gives us natural realities that apply directly to predestination and election.
I hope that everyone can read this over carefully and see the truths beings presented. This is exactly what I have been attempting to teach about salvation, election and predestination. Everyone is invited but only those that choose to show up to the wedding properly attired get to stay in the party to be called the select or elect ones and all others are left outside trying to get in. Remember the parable of the 10 virgins? This is the exact same reality. All 10 were invited but only 5 were prepared and entered in and the others were left out because of their lack of preparedness. Wow, this teaches us plainly that human FREEWILLL choices have a great determination to who is “selected”. We can choose to not attend the wedding or we can even choose not to dress for the wedding and both of these will cause us to NOT be selected. I don’t know how to teach it more clearly.
Let’s look at another verse to help us with the Bible basics of selection or predestination. I will give you a verse found in the Book of Hebrews that has nothing to do on the surface with this subject of predestination yet it has everything to do with it by indirect subject content and contextual association. God is speaking to Christians in this verse so read the words like they were written to you personally:
Heb 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Here is an additional confirmation that God had a divine plan from the foundation of the world. But, back up and see who it is that has been determined to enter in. Believing is stated to be the determining factor for entering into God’s rest. Those that have not believed do not enter in and those that believe do enter in. The entrance door is God’s Word and believing in God’s word gives us entrance.
I am trying to teach a difficult subject called election or predestination but not the way it is normally taught by many confused people. Becoming God’s elect is based upon a partnership between God’s divine grace and human faith. God is not a respecter of persons as we should know by now but God is most definitely a respecter of faith. The basis of what is taught by many predestination teachers would make God a respecter of persons by selecting some and rejecting others. This would make the Bible a lie and that is a conflicting problem with their philosophy. The only way to balance and resolve the conflict correctly is to understand that any good gift given to men by God is received by their faith. Any good thing ever given to men, done to men or done for men is only received or we could say entered into by individual freewill human faith. This is the way that God designed it to work.
Hebrews 4:3 is just further evidence that proves faith is a necessary part of the plan of God established from the foundation of the world. Read it again and again until you get it and accept it into your heart. Write a big sign and put it up on your wall and it should say “We who believe do enter in….”. What God is plainly saying is that everyone is invited to believe but only those that choose to do it are selected. God has predestined everyone to salvation but only those that have chosen to dress and come into the wedding will be selected and those that do not believe, or have not prepared themselves or have other more important things to do will be shut out when the door closes. That is the truth of God, believe it or not.
Thank you again for reading and studying the Bible with me. I appreciate your time and diligence to read and verify what is written in these lessons. Do not ever buy into a teacher’s words without your own personal verification. Allow the Spirit of God to minister and lead you into all truth. Be blessed and be a blessing to all that you meet every day. I’ll try to do another lesson on Ephesians 1 soon. I hope these word help you to better understand the Bible and your role in being selected.
(ver 1.1) This will be a detailed advanced Bible answer to a very difficult question that I received from someone after they read the Revelation 12 series of lessons found on this website. This is an advanced Bible study designed to be only for spiritually mature Christians. Spiritually mature to me is defined as anyone that has been born again and Spirit filled more than 5 years that has studied the Bible continually during this time to allow spiritual growth of the fruits of the Spirit to occur. You may or may not agree with that definition but this is generally how God has taught me to view it. This Bible lesson will go over some very technical concepts even though I will attempt to describe them as simply as I can. This Bible lesson will introduce some new concepts you have never heard before and thus it will be controversial in nature. I ask you to be the judge of your spiritual maturity. If you feel that you do not qualify to meet the criteria for an advanced Bible study I would recommend that you go study a different Bible lesson on my website. I try to warn new Christians of this at the beginning of many of my advanced Bible lessons so that I do not offend anyone with a meat lesson when they are in need of a milk lesson like Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 3:2.
The root of the reader’s question was “When did Satan fall from heaven?” The reader’s question arose from the specific part of the Revelation 12 lesson that taught us everything after chapter 4 of Revelation is future tense and has not yet occurred. This part of the Revelation 12 teaching was established upon a literal interpretation of God’s statement to John from the voice speaking from heaven in Revelation 4:1. This voice told John to come up to heaven so that he could be shown things that would soon happen after being taken up to heaven. The clear conclusion drawn from this statement is that nothing that is recorded by John after Revelation 4:1 has yet occurred or the voice from heaven would have been made a liar. Since the Bible declares that it is impossible for God to lie, I just choose to believe what He said.
Why was this question asked about when Satan fell? There is a potential conflict brewing with two different verses of the New Testament. First, reading in Revelation 12:9 you can see that Satan is cast down to the earth never to have a place found in heaven again. This would indicate that the casting down of Satan from heaven is a future event and has not transpired based upon Revelation 4:1. But my reader was prompt to point out that in Luke 10:18 Jesus claimed to have seen (translated as beheld a past tense English word) Satan fall from heaven like lightning and this would cause a major conflict with what I taught in the Revelation 12 series if they are speaking of the same event fall. The statement that Jesus makes in Luke appears to indicate that Satan has already been cast down from heaven. So which one is it? Did Satan already fall from heaven as stated by Jesus in the KJV or will Satan’s fall occur in the future as indicated by Revelation 12? Or has Satan already fallen once in the past and then in the tribulation he will fall from heaven again for the last time? There are just so many possibilities and difficult questions to answer and learn about.
IS EVERYTHING AFTER REVELATION 4:1 IN THE FUTURE?
This section will be a review of what God said in the previous lessons on the “True Identity of the Woman in Revelation 12”. If you have read that and do not dispute what I taught then you could skip this section of review. However if you would like to learn some new things concerning this and how we resolve this significant Bible conflict please continue to read. A potential scripture conflict is the reason for the rest of this Bible lesson today. It is impossible for the Bible to be in direct opposition to itself when every verse is interpreted correctly. Therefore, if anyone wants to learn when Satan was thrown down from heaven please continue to read otherwise you can go find another Bible lesson on this website concerning a different subject that you are interested in learning. I hope that you understand the problem and want to learn the resolution. Let’s review the verse in Revelation 4:1 to begin our study to resolve another Bible controversy on whether Revelation 12 is future tense or past tense or both:
Rev 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
The Greek word G3326 which was translated as “hereafter” is also many times translated as “after” or “afterward”. If you are observant you will notice that the verse begins with this word. In this usage it indicates a position of time beyond the current/present timeframe using a logical order of expressed or implied events in their proper arranged sequence. I hope that did not sound too technical. I’ll try to explain. For example if event A occurs first, followed by event B next and these are followed finally by event C, then B would come “after” A and C would be “after” both A and B in their collated sequence. Do you understand the concept of ordered arrangement and sequence? These are God created patterns and models and they represent His intelligent design of our world.
Keep in mind that this same Greek word is used several times in this exact manner to state a preceding event followed by another subsequent stated event like in “after (G3326) 6 days Jesus takes them up” (Mat 17:1). Using this definition that I just gave you it is very plain that at the conclusion of a 6 day event a new event of going up with Jesus is the stated to occur. Now take this information back to what was given to us by God in Revelation 4:1. God’s usage of this word in Revelation 4:1 means after the event where John was taken up to heaven he will be shown more events that will come in the future and this is actually a very important concept for the rest of this lesson. This is not rocket science but people still refuse to believe what God just said. Let me give you the sequence of events given to us in Revelation 4:1:
- After things recorded in the first 3 chapters
- John is taken to heaven
- John is shown the future
- The future is given in ordered logical sequence
There were four ordered steps given by God in this verse. I have concluded in step 4 that the future is given to John by God in sequential order because of the establishment of order from the preceding steps. In other words the revealed future events are simply an extension of the previous steps given. Therefore, nothing in the future could be random, unordered or chaotic when shown to John to write down. Knowing these facts, any attempt to interpret any recorded event of Revelation 5 through 22 as a “past tense” historical event renders God as a liar. Was God incapable of understanding the difference between future tense events and past tense events? I personally do think so and just choose to believe what God says, don’t you?
Now let me quickly get into this point about Revelation 4:1. The apostle John was a prophet of God, yes? Wasn’t John just shown the future before it had occurred? Could this have been given to him by a divine spiritual vision from God? I believe firmly that it was a divine vision of the future. After this vision of the future what would John’s description of these events have been to those that he was speaking to in the natural? Do you understand what I am asking you? John talking about the woman in Revelation 12 would have said “I beheld a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet” and this would have been a past tense statement even though it had not yet occurred. Now do you see it? John the prophet could speak like it had happened even though it was still yet to come. I want you to keep this in mind as we study what Jesus said about seeing Satan fall from heaven like lightning.
The fact that Revelation 4:1 states that the things following are future events causes many Bible teachers great turmoil and confusion simply because they cannot or do not yet understand how some of these recorded events in Revelation can be events that have not already occurred. For example the vast majority of Bible teachers teach that the pregnant woman of Revelation 12 is the historical account of the birth of Jesus. These Bible teachers simply believe that some events like this one in Revelation 12 concerning the pregnant woman were recorded by John “out of sequence” from the stated timeline of reference given to us clearly by God. However, just because someone does not understand how an event can happen in the future does not mean that it will not happen and you need to know that. One natural woman giving birth to a natural male child named Jesus in the Gospels does not mean that this same type of event can not or will not spiritually occur again in the future? I probably just lost a lot of readers making that statement. You see the woman in Revelation 12 is a spiritual woman and not a natural woman as I have already taught you in that lesson series on this chapter. She is symbolic by definition because she is wearing symbolic clothing and standing on a symbolic figure of Satan. This symbolic woman cannot be Mary. This symbolic woman cannot be natural Israel either. I’m not going to teach this again so if you do not understand it go read those lessons and believe what God says.
There are just so many Christian people who are not thinking spiritually in this world. I wish people would quit pretending that they understand the whole Bible because only God knows it all and the rest of us are still learning. Please stop making assumptions in your mind that limit what God is capable of doing. If you did not just comprehend what I said, I will say it again using different words to help everyone realize that I believe firmly that everything after Revelation 4:1 happens in literal chronological order and has not yet occurred because the beginning of the 7 year tribulation period has not yet begun. If you still do not understand what chronological means, it is a word that defines a situation where one event comes after another event and they do not and cannot occur out of the ordered sequence of time.
Here is the problem with many teachers’ interpretation of the book of Revelation. They are viewing things from a narrowed perspective of traditional theological teachings filled with error and not thinking or taking into account the facts provided by God. Also they do not rightly divide between which verses are literal statements and which are symbolic or figurative statements. Further they do not discern correctly between spiritual realities and natural realities. Many Bible teachers must ignore Revelation 4:1 in order to teach an out of sequence series of events. They are very creative in doing this and it often appears legitimate until we read the verse in Revelation 4:1 and actually begin to believe what God literally said. One of the number one rules of correct Bible interpretation will be for us to take the Bible literally when it makes sense to do so. Revelation 4:1 is an example of this type of verse that states a literal truth that needs to be incorporated and balanced with the rest of the book of Revelation.
I will point out that I have heard Bible teachers revert back to the first chapter of Revelation in order to explain how things later in the book occur out of sequence. They use a statement made by Jesus to help justify what they teach about Revelation 12 being out of timed sequence. I will give you this statement by the Lord Jesus to help you better judge this attempt at believing an out of sequence book of Revelation:
Rev 1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
It is clear that Jesus tells John to write these things for us to read. Therefore the entire book of Revelation is a revealing of God’s wisdom from the lips of Jesus Christ. You need to understand that “revelation” in the Greek language means “uncovering” or “to take off the cover”. Therefore God has placed information in this book that is very important to understand the rest of the Bible. But, then Jesus divides these written things into three separate categories of timed events or references of time. These three categories were the things that were “past”, the things that are “present” and the things that shall be hereafter in the “future”. However did you just notice that these three timings were listed by God in the chronological order that they occur and they were not given to us out of sequence? That is the first very important thing that needs to be understood. Jesus is giving us an indirect clue to how things are ordered and arranged in the book of Revelation. Jesus confirms with this statement that the entire book is in chronological order. Then notice that the Greek word for the future events (G3326; hereafter) is the same Greek word used by God in Revelation 4:1 for the same future events. In other words God is very consistent in the definition of this Greek word for “hereafter” in the book of Revelation when it is used in this manner.
I have heard at least one Bible teacher try to take this verse attempting to explain how the book of Revelation contains past, present and future events which is a true statement. However they make an error when then they say these events occur in random order in the book. They misapply this verse to explain why certain chapters appear to have information that they think are not chronological. They claim that since Jesus said this book contains every category of timed information that it may legally display these in any random order. However, that would be an erroneous assumption based upon ignorance and it would still contradict with what God said in Revelation 4:1. Which is true? Is Jesus speaking in Revelation 1:19 true or is the voice coming from heaven in Revelation 4:1 true? I will tell you plainly that both statements are correct and are the truth but they both do not apply to the whole rest of the book. The statement of Jesus is true for the first three chapters of Revelation and the statement of God in Genesis 4 is true for the rest of the book being future tense. This is not that complicated people. Please pray and ask God to open your spiritual eyes so that you can learn the truth.
ASKING JESUS WHEN SATAN FELL
The previous part of the lesson was just the introduction for the answer to the real question. The question asked by the reader was based upon the fact that if the later chapters after chapter 4 of Revelation are future tense “how could Jesus’ state in Luke 10:18 that He saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” be also true? I think I have already given you the answer to this problem but we will verify that answer using the Bible to confirm the truth. Perhaps it would be wise to give you the exact verse in question that appears to contradict with the statement of Revelation 12 to help us understand the apparent predicament:
Luk 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
Here is Jesus making the statement that He personally “beheld” (past tense) Satan falling from heaven. If this is a correct translation then it causes us major problems to determine when this occurred. Since Jesus spoke these words prior to the implementation of the New Covenant it is logical to concluded that this must have occurred somewhere in the Old Testament. I looked and I could not find any verses that said this. But, perhaps you have seen a verse somewhere in the Old Testament that I have not seen. Perhaps you can share it with me so that I might learn if you know of any past recorded Bible event prior to the Gospels where Satan is stated to have fallen from heaven? Do you know of any? I believe that I found O.T. prophecies of this occurring in the future but that is not the same as a historical event. I believe us not finding any verses prior to this statement that Satan has been cast down from heaven makes me think it has not occurred and thus we need to resolve why this verse was translated as past tense like it had already happened.
What my reader was asking was how could Jesus have already seen this event describing that it had previously transpired when Revelation 12 has not yet occurred? This is where we must learn the correct way to study the Bible. God gives us many hidden clues to find truths if we can locate them and use this information to correctly join and fit them together correctly. I’m really not sure if you understand what I just said or not? Everyone wants to see the truth easily without any extended effort and that is not how we find the truth by God’s design. I am going to show you many of the keys to understanding and resolving this conflict. Please, continue reading with an open mind and you will see it also.
Personally I have only found a limited number of scriptures concerning Satan falling from heaven. One prophecy is found in Revelation 12 that points us to this future event occurring during the tribulation. Then you can also find this prophecy of Satan falling in the book of Ezekiel if you read Ezekiel 28:16. I think I will give you this prophecy so that you can review what God says about it:
Eze 28:16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
The covering cherub being referenced in this verse is believed to be Satan. God declares that he will be cast out of the mountain of God. If you do not understand that this is a reference to God’s kingdom in heaven, I’m sorry but I don’t really have the time to try to explain it in depth today. The translators clearly state this to be a future tense statement and I firmly believe this to be very accurate. If you study you will find that the book of Ezekiel was written close to 600 years before Christ’s appearance. Now using Ezekiel’s prophecy we must logically determine that this casting down event has not yet occurred before Ezekiel wrote this book. We are definitely narrowing the scope of time when this event could have possibly occurred. I hope you can agree that Satan could not have fallen or been cast out of heaven prior to the writing of the book of Ezekiel, but still you could have seen something I have not. Let me give you another verse of prophecy concerning Satan’s fall:
Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Here is another verse that is probably mistranslated. Again the translators changed the Hebrew word H5307 to “fallen” a past tense variation of the word. This Hebrew word is defined as “to fall”. That sounds future tense to me. If you read the context of this statement you will find more information about it happening in the future. For example in verse 15 God says “You shall be brought down to hell, the sides of the pit” and this was translated as future tense. Then in verse 24 God makes a statement that is very profound and important to note about what has just been spoken previously through the Prophet Isaiah:
Isa 14:24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:
God tells us clearly these are His thoughts spoken and that these will come to pass. Therefore I am still a firm believer that Satan has not yet been cast out of heaven but will be as established by the Word of God. We could spend a lot more time going through O.T. prophecies but I think I will move on. Let’s go back to Luke 10:18 and look into this verse in some more detail. We need to ask did Jesus really say this had already occurred in the Greek language? Let’s review the Greek word translated as “beheld” to learn its definition in the Strong’s:
From a derivative of G2300 (perhaps by adverb of G3708); to be a spectator of, that is, discern, (literally, figuratively [experience] or intensively [acknowledge]): – behold, consider, look on, perceive, see. Compare G3700.
If you can read and understand the definition it should become evident that this word is normally a present tense view of something that is currently happening right now. The person performing this verb is stated to be a current observer. This Greek word occurs in around 55 verses of the New Testament. In 40 of these verses it is clearly translated in the present tense version of “see”, “seeing”, “seeth”, “beholding”, “looking on”, “behold”, “beholding” and etc. However I will agree that it can also be legally translated as a past tense observation and either way could potentially be correct. But, this determination is also more complicated than this as we will soon learn. What we need to determine is Jesus seeing the event as He is speaking or has He seen the even at some time in the past? Both are technically possible since Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. But just because Jesus has seen the event does not still necessarily mean that it has transpired just like John saw the future in Revelation. Please understand that God is omniscient and has seen everything even before it occurs. God can show a human the future before it occurs and it is in God’s sovereign control to do so. Uh oh, now you can begin to see where I’m going, can’t you? Let’s review another statement that Jesus declared about this potential event:
Joh 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
I believe that there are at least three events that can be confused as one event within prophecies. These three separate events are 1). the rebellion of Satan, 2). the casting out of Satan from heaven and 3). the casting out of Satan from the earth into hell. This statement here in John could be either of the last two. Confusing or combining multiple prophetic events into the same event is a very common cause of error. We can see this in multiple instances. For example the rapture of the church is often confused with the second advent of Christ but these events must also be viewed as separate or confusion will abound.
Here in John 12:31 Jesus is talking about Satan calling him the prince or ruler of this world that will be cast out. This statement does not appear to be translated as past tense and should be regarded as a future tense prophecy. It is not stated directly when Satan is to be cast out from this verse. It also does not state directly where Satan will be cast out from. It could be taken as the world that is being referenced or it could be heaven or even both. I personally believe that this prophecy could be the same prophecy as we have already observed in Ezekiel or it could also be a reference to the prophecy in Isaiah 14:15 where Satan is cast into hell. This is why studying prophecy is so complicated. Let’s look quickly at another verse that is interesting and many teachers attribute this verse to Satan falling from heaven:
Rev 9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
If you do not understand yet that the symbol of “stars” in much of the Bible normally represents the angels in heaven then this is the first thing you need to learn. We know that stars represent angels by reading in Isaiah 14:13, Revelation 1:20 and Revelation 12:4 to name three witnesses to this fact. This verse is describing an angel coming down from heaven at an implied fast rate of speed. However, this angel cannot be Satan because this angel holds the key to the bottomless pit where Satan will be cast later in Revelation 20:3. It is logical to deduce if Satan is thrown into this pit by force later in Revelation that it cannot be him that holds the keys to it coming down from heaven. As I have stated before, I also firmly believe that Revelation is in chronological time order and if Satan falls from heaven in Revelation 9 then it conflicts with him falling from heaven in Revelation 12. I hope you can agree with this basic logic. Let’s review the verse in Revelation 12:9 that would need to become a past tense out of chronological sequence event to potentially be harmonized with the statement of Jesus in Luke if they are speaking of the same event.
Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
My reader made a valid interesting point that Luke 10:18 appear to contradict with what Revelation 4:1 and Revelation 12:9 appear to say. But perhaps we have not considered all of the facts before assuming there is a controversy. You see it is impossible for the Bible to contradict the Bible if both verses are accurately interpreted and accurately translated. Also if Jesus had already seen Satan fall from heaven then it must have happened sometime after the book of Ezekiel and before Jesus was born in the manger. You do understand the existence of verses in the O.T. that state that Satan has access to heaven, don’t you? For example, Satan is clearly seen to be in heaven in the book of Job.
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
Here is a great example that Satan and his angels come to present themselves before God’s throne in heaven. This is a spiritual location and not a physical or natural one. If God allowed Satan to be present in heaven then the final fall of Satan from heaven has not yet occurred. Can you agree with this? If Satan has access to heaven in the Old Testament can we ask if he still has access in the New Testament? Let’s go and read Revelation 12:8 next to see what is stated by God about Satan:
Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Didn’t God just declare that Satan’s place is now no longer found in heaven after this war? That statement literally means that Satan had a place in heaven right up until this war event concluded, doesn’t it? Can we agree that Satan had a right to be in heaven before this statement? Perhaps you don’t see it yet, but that is what God just said. I think we need to read down to verse 10 to help confirm what God just said in this verse 8 statement:
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Please read this verse very carefully and consider what God just said. Notice the phrase “Now is come..”. Then notice that this is being spoken from heaven. This phrase indicates multiple time periods with “past, present and future” implications occurring. God is stating something that use to be that has changed at this stated present time and this will cause something different to occur in the future. Pay particular attention to the last part of the statement. God says “for the accuser of our brethren is cast down which did accuse them before our God day and night”. The accuser of our brethren is Satan. The brethren are those in the church. Now do you see it? This verse said that Satan was in heaven standing before God to accuse Christians, doesn’t it? Uh oh, I thought Jesus said that Satan had been cast down from heaven like lightning? How then could Satan still have access in heaven to accuse Christians before God? A little light bulb should be coming on in your brain right about now. This verse claims that Satan continued to do what he did with Job in the book of Job going before God to accuse God’s righteous ones. If this is true and it is, then it is impossible for the statement of Jesus in Luke 10:18 to be fully interpreted or understood in the way that my reader with the question wanted to understand it. In other words Jesus was telling us of an event that had not occurred even though he had already been given a vision of it occurring. Let me prove to you that Jesus claimed to be a prophet of God:
Mar 6:4 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
Here is Jesus speaking about the people of his own hometown where he was raised. Jesus claims to be a prophet of God and he says no prophet is given any honor by those that knew him. If Jesus is a prophet what is that? How do you define what a prophet is and what they do? I will give you the fast definition. A prophet is called a “seer”. A seer is someone who sees and foretells the future before it occurs. This literally means that Jesus’ statements must be judged correctly to whether they are past, present or future references. Jesus is capable of speaking of the past in many verses. Jesus is also capable of speaking of the present time in many verses and finally Jesus can also speak of things that have not occurred in many verses. I am a firm believer that the statement of Jesus in Luke 10:18 is a future account of an event that has not officially transpired. But you can believe what you like if you disagree.
God is a self-existent being with no stated beginning and no stated ending. God lives inside the dimension of eternity outside of the created dimension of time. The Bible very clearly states that God makes known the end from the beginning (Isa 46:10). If God knows what the future holds then God can and will tell us of it before it occurs as proved by the Bible consistently. Reading Luke 4:24 Jesus claimed to be a prophet. A prophet will always tell us of the future before the future occurs. A prophet is also called God’s seer and voice. A prophet will see things in visions before they literally occur in our reality and write them down for us to learn from. This is exactly what Jesus is saying in this verse:
Joh 13:19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
Did you see what Jesus declared? Jesus teaches us that He will tell us of things to come so that when they occur people will believe in Him. All of the evidence that I have found in the Bible about Satan being cast out of heaven points us to an event that has not occurred. This event will take place after the war in heaven between Michael and his angels and Satan and his angels somewhere directly before the Great Tribulation period described in the book of Revelation. Satan will continue to accuse Christians until this occurs. He will dispute our righteousness because we are imperfect people that have been saved by the divine grace and mercy of God. I thank you for taking the time to read this Bible lesson. I hope and pray that you received some new knowledge that you did not know before on this subject. If you have any questions or comments you are free to leave them with me and I will do my best to get to them all. God Bless you until next time.
(ver 1.1) This is Part 2 in the Isaiah 53 Bible lesson series designed to help discover, learn and understand the prophesied coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this series we will see who Jesus was stated to be, what He was stated to accomplish and how we are to be affected by these prophesied divine works. If you have not read “Part 1” I would recommend that you go and start with the introduction to this subject in order to understand the foundation for the rest of the Chapter. In the first lesson I focused mainly upon verse 1 and gave several verses found in the N.T. to help explain why this chapter is so important for us to understand. We will now continue to go through verse 2 in Isaiah 53 to see what was described for the concealed unnamed individual that was foretold to come. The book of Isaiah was written approximately 700 years before Jesus Christ was physically born on the earth. That gives us a perspective that these written words were a distant prediction and we will soon see additional confirmation within the New Testament that this person being spoken of was definitely Jesus Christ. In the first lesson I believe I clearly showed you that this chapter was used to preach the saving Gospel in the book of Acts even to get a Gentile man from Africa saved and baptized. This man from Africa came to Jerusalem searching for truth and God sent to him a preacher to explain the words of God that he was reading directly from Isaiah 53. That was a very important Bible lesson to help us to begin to see who this chapter was designed to be about and the chapter’s primary subject theme to be salvation of all mankind.
So often people want to read the chapters and verses found in the Old Testament and believe that they can understand all of the words without first understanding the God given words that explain them in the New Testament. That is an example of complete foolish human pride to think that way. Why would God give us a New Testament full of divine revelations, explanations and definitions if they were not all important for us learn from and apply to what was hidden in the Old Testament? Did you know that the Old Testament is quoted in almost one in every 22 verses of the New Testament? That means that God took what was previously written before and brought everyone brand new light to it for us to understand something that no one knew before. I hope that if you learn nothing else from this Bible series that you will learn to study the Old Testament using the vital information revealed within the New Testament. If you are reading the Old Testament in complete isolation then you are exactly like the Ethiopian man who was sitting reading while wondering what the words meant because he needed a New Testament preacher to explain them to him. Wow, I hope and pray that you understood what I just said.
In this Bible lesson today one of my primary goals will be to show how Isaiah 53:2 was fulfilled in the New Testament writings to further demonstrate to us that Jesus was the focused subject of this chapter. One of the other goals of this study will be to teach you how much detail you can derive from just a single O.T. verse. In this series I will be going over what the verses in Isaiah say and then will be reviewing N.T. verses that will show us the hidden Jesus of Isaiah. But before I do this since it has been so long from the first lesson I will do some brief review of the first lesson concerning the message of salvation. In the first lesson I explained to you that these saving works of God recorded in Isaiah 53 were received by men and women using their faith. We also connected faith to believing from Isaiah 53:1. We learn from God’s Word in Roman 10:17 that faith can only come by hearing the Gospel preached by a preacher. Many Christians do not put the puzzle pieces together correctly. God teaches us so much in a distributed manner and we are required to join each of them together correctly to understand how they all work together. For example let me give you the verse that goes along with what I just said and how it was necessary for a preacher to come to the Ethiopian man in Acts for him to receive Christ:
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?
This verse describes precisely how the Ethiopian man in Acts was saved. Did you understand the connection between the three essential elements of preaching, hearing and believing? This was a divinely created design given to us by the wisdom of God almighty for salvation. We must begin to understand this in order to comprehend why people cannot normally read the O.T. in isolation and know what it means. It would be good for you go back and reread Isaiah 53:1 again. God is clearly talking about humans believing the Gospel here in Romans 10 and He tells us that we need to hear a preacher with the Gospel of Jesus in order to believe it. Remember “Who will believe our report?”
This is so important that I believe I need to say it again. You see from this lesson in Acts we learned that reading the Old Testament is not always the answer for our salvation unless the reader comes to understand the words on the pages correctly. How did the Ethiopian man come to understand them? He was told them by a God sent preacher and that required him to hear and believe. That is what faith represents. The Ethiopian had no new words to read and could only believe the report that was told to him about Jesus. That is called believing without any evidence and that is exactly what faith is. You see in Hebrews 11: 6 it clearly says that without faith it is impossible to please Him. How then can a man be saved without having any God pleasing faith? Do you understand the necessity for a preacher now? I hope that you understand that God will usually only explain the O.T. words by teaching them to people through a N.T. preacher. That is the system that was planned by God and we are to follow it. Trying to do it some other way is clearly a pathway to deception.
In the first verse I showed you how it was quoted in the New Testament to bring out a new way of existence for the people on the earth to learn to live by, to follow in and to walk accordingly. This radical new way of existence is revealed to be the human transition or transformation from walking by our sight into a life based upon us walking by faith and believing in God’s Word (2 Cor 5:7). This life of faith is based only upon us believing as it was clearly stated in verse 1 “Who has believed our report?” When a person hears a preacher speak the Word of God, the listener has the immediate opportunity and responsibility to believe it and accept it or doubt it and reject it. Hearing and believing is the essential foundation for possessing faith as I stated earlier. I would also like to emphasize that the Bible in Romans 10:10 teaches us that believing is of the heart (spirit) of man. This makes faith and believing a spiritual reality and not a physical one or even a mental one. Therefore, heart faith in His Word is found present in the spirit of man by God even though that person possesses no physical evidence to prove to others that God exists. Nevertheless God declares that they are saved by believing the report through His Grace (Rom 10:10, Eph 2:8). Faith is a vital lesson to learn in the Bible. I hope that you all have studied the series of lessons on this website about this subject.
We have therefore concluded that Isaiah 53 must contain the basic essential Gospel message that was necessary for every human salvation to occur and I taught that this is the foundation for understanding the rest of the chapter. We still desire to learn more about the descriptions concerning Jesus spoken of in this chapter and how they apply to Him. We additionally want to learn about what was prophesied to transpire as well as how these subjects, relationships and applications of each prophecy apply to us in the church today. How do these ancient words written so long ago affect us in the right here and now? Why are they important to learn? Are they still relevant and rich with any spiritual content for us to grow with? We will soon find out as we continue to study in this series. In the first lesson I primarily focused on the first verse of Isaiah 53. In today’s lesson I will be mainly concentrating on the second verse in the chapter. Let’s read the second verse carefully and see what God says.
Read this verse wisely and observe the very unusual words and descriptions given to us concerning two unnamed or anonymous men. At first glance it almost appears to be a brand new subject entirely from verse 1 but that is only because we do not understand the application and significance. God uses a very unusual way of hiding the truth in plain sight that I call the “anonymous third person” writing style. By referring to Himself using this style of anonymity it appears it could refer to anyone. However I have discovered that the primary focus of the entire Old Testament is the Lord Jesus and that is what this verse is clearly about. Just notice that this second verse of Isaiah 53 is speaking about two uniquely different men (males). One is an observer and the other is the participant of the observation. Those are opposite roles being described. This is the first significant fact to write down and remember from this verse.
As you can read this verse says “He (man 2) will grow up before Him (man 1)” and that is plainly speaking concerning someone who grows and someone who observes the growth. I labeled the second man mentioned the first man and the first man mentioned the second man for a logical reason. There is no reference for the observer as needing any growth so the observer must already be grown and mature. There is direct stated basic logical need for the first mentioned man to grow and mature. Therefore the order of implied age dictates that the observer is older than the one implied younger man that will grow up. Nothing else makes good sense for the correct interpretation of this verse.
Please do not get too distracted by this divine mystery of anonymity because these two men are simply symbolic references for the Spirit of God called the Father in heaven and Jesus the Son who was born on the earth to grow up to be seen by His Father in heaven. I do not have the time to teach the full subject of “The Trinity of God” in this lesson. God is described as being only one God in the Bible but He is also revealed to humans as three separate personalities (1 Jn 5:7). So if you do not understand this or believe it you need to go read and study the Bible lessons on my website about this subject. We need to understand this fact of the Father and Son relationship in Isaiah 53:2. When my son was a growing child I clearly observed his growth and development. That is exactly what is being spoken of in this verse even though it was not directly mentioned. But in order to know this we next need to understand what type of “growth” is being spoken of concerning this coming individual. We will begin to focus on the meaning of growth next. But before we go there also notice that this statement being made by God is very clearly presented to be a future tense event. In other words the verse did not say “He is growing (present tense) or he has grown (past tense) but rather “shall grow” (future tense). That truth comes from just basic observation and represents the nature of prophecy. Before we proceed to the meaning of “grow” let’s take a moment to speak about literal Bible statements versus figurative Bible statements.
There are actually several symbolic or figurative (non-literal) descriptions being used by God in the verse in Isaiah 53:2. Any symbolic statement needs to be correctly interpreted in order to discover their meaning and application to this coming described man 2. Too often people want to make the Bible entirely literal or entirely figurative and both are extremes of error that will cause only confusion. Being able to recognize what is literal and what is a figurative or symbolic statement sounds simple but it is not consistently agreed upon by many Bible teachers much less their Bible students. However this is what God called “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Tim 2:15). Learning how to do this is an essential part of correct Bible study. I wish I had a magic formula for how to do this. But most of the time it is the Holy Spirit inside that will guide us into which is literal and which is figurative. Being open to God’s leading will cause you to see it correctly if you are studying the Bible using your faith. Bible study performed by faith is the only way to please God. This simply means that you read a verse without completely understanding everything immediately but believe that God will show you everything that you need to know about it as you continue to study it. Having confidence and trusting God to show you is part of a “faith study”. Never go into studying any verse thinking that you fully know and understand it all. Be open and ask God to teach you and then expect for Him to do it. God can show you something brand new from any single verse that you have read a thousand times. Believe and expect God to unfold it to you and He will. Let’s start breaking down the second verse in Isaiah 53.
HE SHALL GROW UP BEFORE HIM
We will divide the second verse of Isaiah 53 into at least three or four distinct phrases. I’ll select the initial study phrase as “He shall grow up before him” to be analyzed first. The primary verb in this phrase is “grow up” (H5927). The English dictionary defines “growth” as the process of increasing in physical size. We should be able to understand that any type of growth represents a process of becoming more mature. Therefore the observer in this phrase is seeing the other man developing, increasing and maturing and this will be the visible signs of his growth. We can conclude several different potential meanings and applications from this single statement concerning the normal development, growth or maturing process. There is always the natural human application of a child’s physical development when born into the world. Every new born baby has the potential to grow to be a man or a woman over the course of time by God’s design. Therefore, physical or natural growth is certainly a prime application for this described process found in Isaiah 53:2. There is also the mental application where every human baby must grow and increase in knowledge, understanding and wisdom which none of us are born with automatically from birth. Finally there is the spiritual application which must be applied to a Christian as they gain spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity is covered in other Bible lessons on this website so I will not be getting into that part of the subject fully today. What I want you to understand is that there at least 3 realms of potential maturity present in every human and these were physical, mental and spiritual growths.
The Hebrew word H5927 which was translated as “grow up” literally means “to ascend”. It is very similar to a person climbing a very tall mountain like Mt Everest. This Hebrew word presents to us the image of the initial human status to be a state of lowliness which needs to be increased or raised to a much higher level in altitude, stature, importance or it can also be used for the recognition of increased power, knowledge or ability. Those definitions actually describe Jesus in many distinct ways. What we learn from this one statement is a view into a sensitive subject that is widely debated in the modern church. Was Jesus fully divine or fully human at His birth? And I must begin to tell you clearly that He was both simultaneously to some extent. What many Christians try to teach us is that Jesus was born here on the earth in His full deity power but that is clearly not what the Bible just taught you. If Jesus was God in His full deity power there would be no need for him to ascend higher to grow or increase because this would be impossible for God to do in a full power manifestation. The simple fact that Jesus must grow and increase is evidence to the fact that He was here on the earth in a predominately human capacity in order to fulfill a divine purpose that will be further confirmed as we continue to study this chapter. Are you with me so far?
What we will discover as we continue to study the Bible is that the supreme God of heaven lowered Himself by divine choice to come to the earth in the form of a created human baby to grow in order to become a man that could die for the sins of the entire world. Again it would be impossible to kill Jesus if He was God in His full deity power. I really hope and pray that you can agree with those statements because they are very relevant to understanding the rest of the New Testament. It was only after the death and resurrection of Jesus that He was raised back up into heaven and again exalted to be Supreme (Mat 28:18). This as I have just stated is a highly controversial topic. Whenever God is described to lower Himself from His supreme position of authority to become a human as it was clearly indicated in the fact that He must grow (ascend) people recoil and think God must have misspoken or not meant what He said. There has been so many false teaching and false gospels written by devil inspired men. These writings claim the child Jesus did many miracles of a nature to prove his divinity. That is not what the real Bible says so please do not be easily misled by these lies.
I can see how this information is potentially offensive to many Christians but please bear with me until you see how this part of the prophecy was actually fulfilled in the New Testament. I’ll begin with these verses found in Luke about the very young child Jesus.
Luk 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
Luk 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
Luk 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Here is a partial description of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. We can clearly read in verse 5 concerning the natural human child development process taking place within the body of Mary. The Greek word G1471 that was translated as “great with child” means to swell. That is a self-evident growth statement. Mary is described to now be “great” or “swollen” because of the child inside. This simply means it has been nearly 9 months of development in earth’s time and this child that has come from the union of her physical egg and God’s Word has now grown and developed into a boy child that is about to be delivered in verse 7. Clearly this is an example of the natural human growth process that occurs every day on the earth which was designed and created by God. We must understand that God the Spirit has taken upon Himself human flesh and come to the earth in the form of a developing embryo within the physical womb of Mary (John 1:14). Now please consider the implied meanings of this act of God. This reality would make the developing baby child in her womb a non-speaking human which is totally unable to defend himself. What did I just say? I can see the religious people picking up their stones to throw at me right now. What I just said was that Jesus while in the womb had taken the form of extreme vulnerability and lowliness. If you do not believe me then you are living in a fantasy reality that ignores the millions and millions of abortions that take place on this planet. Truly if any baby child in the womb was able to defend itself there would be no abortions but since they occur so frequently this was the same situation that Jesus found himself to be in. Even after a child’s birth they are unable to take care of themselves and must be fed and cared for. Jesus did not come out of the womb speaking so that is stupid to believe He was fully divine in full power manifestation.
You should be able to understand that before Jesus was born on the earth this child that was definitely God in the flesh was primarily protected by first and foremost the element of surprise since no other human except for Mary and Joseph understood the exact timing of the event even though God had predicted the birth to occur in amazing hidden ways in the Old Testament. Do you remember when Mary delivered the child in Bethlehem? The angels announced the child to shepherds (Luke 2:8). That was the first time that anyone else on the earth during this specific time period found out who had just come into the world. Later the wise men were guided to the house of Joseph and on their journey there they went through Herod first and that caused every child to be killed that was in or near the country around Bethlehem. If Jesus would have remained in Bethlehem he too would have been killed. What we see is divine protection taking place, yet this was certainly not initiated or requested by the little non-speaking child. Do you understand this?
There were also other recorded interventions by God using angels to help the child to be safe on the earth. For example in Matthew 2:13 you will find Joseph having a dream where an angel appears to him and tells him to take the child to Egypt. However, even this intervention just further proves that Jesus was not God on the earth in His full deity power if angels were required to help protect Him. I hope that you are thinking clearly with me about this subject of growth and seeing what is being taught to us in the Word of God. What I am attempting to do is demonstrate how Isaiah 53:2 was fulfilled by Jesus in the Gospels. The first phrase that “He will grow” is clearly being fulfilled here in Luke 2:5-7. Jesus grows physically and that is the basis of one part of the description that is necessary to accomplish that portion of the prophecy. Let’s go see some more applications of the spiritual and mental growth process being described to us in this same chapter of Luke:
Luk 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
As you should be able to see in this verse Jesus is literally described to be in a state of “growth” within the natural physical realm. The first part of the verse describes Jesus as being a literal “child” in the normal development cycle and this certainly has direct application to the physical body of our savior. The Greek word G837 that was translated as “grew” means to “increase”. That is again a transitional passing or ascension from a lesser form to a more advanced or mature form. The Greek word for “child” is G3813 and it means “a half grown or young person”. If you go back to verse 12 in this chapter to compare when the angels tell the shepherds in the field about the birth of Jesus, He is called a “babe” which is a completely different Greek word G1025. This Greek word G1025 means a literal “infant”. What we have just witnessed in less than 40 verses is the physical change of Jesus from conception to becoming a twelve year old boy. This is a big part of the normal child growth process and this was the direct fulfilment of this first phrase of Isaiah 53:2 very precisely.
However, verse 40 also describes Jesus as growing strong in spirit. Have you ever asked yourself how an omnipotent God could grow any stronger in spirit? Uh oh? Obviously this verse contradicts with the modern belief that God was here in His full deity power. Then notice that this verse says that Jesus was being filled with wisdom. How could the omniscient God obtain any more wisdom? Both of these descriptions imply a transitional state from a much lower position of lesser spiritual strength and either no wisdom or less wisdom to a much higher degree of both. This is clearly a statement used to define His intellectual and spiritual ascent from an inferior childish state. There are three Greek words in this verse that you should study. The first Greek word is G837 and it means to increase or enlarge in proportions. That is a very accurate description of what is occurring. The next Greek word is translated as “wax strong” and this word is G2901 and it also means “to increase”. The third Greek word in this description is G4137 and this word means “to fill to overflowing”. All three of these words teach a transitional phase of increasing from the lesser form to a greater full capacity. This is absolutely impossible for a God in His full deity power to accomplish.
What I am teaching you from the Bible is that no one can grow in physical size, spiritual power or intellectual wisdom if they already have ALL physical size, ALL spiritual power and ALL wisdom. This is just a very plain and simple way that God teaches us that Jesus was born as a natural human without His full divine power, knowledge or abilities. So many people want to say God was here on the earth in His full deity power being fully omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent but that belief would contradict so many verses just like this one. We must realize that God chose to become a man just like one of us so that we could be raised to be made like Him. I call this the great exchange where God gives us everything and we get all of the benefits since we have nothing worthy to offer in exchange. What I wanted you to see in this chapter of Luke was that Jesus was fulfilling Isaiah 53:2 by just growing up in this world physically, mentally and spiritually. I’ll give you one more verse that helps us to see how the Lord grows or ascends up to fulfill Isaiah 53:2:
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
I mentioned this verse earlier but it is so important that I felt led to reemphasize God’s message again. Here we observe a statement that confounds religious human comprehension. Why was it necessary for the Lord Jesus to be given ALL power both in heaven and on the earth after His resurrection? We are still talking about God in the flesh here, aren’t we? You see Jesus makes a claim that He did not yet possess ALL of this power before this occurred and that confuses many Christians. But we must consider that either Jesus was a liar or we need to hear and learn about what He just said. Why was it necessary for this power to be given to Him after His resurrection and why didn’t He possess it before the resurrection while He walked the earth in His ministry to natural Israel? I really do not have time to go into this fully. Just notice the implied statement of ascent from a lower position which corresponds to what we read in Isaiah 53:2. It is just very clear to me if Jesus was given all authority on the earth and in heaven that He did not possess it before that time. This would go with so many other verses in the New Testament and I can’t get into them all today. Let’s go the next phrase found in Isaiah 53:2 and see what else God is saying.
AS A TENDER PLANT
In the next phrase of Isaiah 53:2 man 2 is described to be like something that is totally crazy. God called him a “tender plant”. A “tender plant” cannot be literal and must be a description of a purely symbolic nature using a common component found within creation. What is the intended message and purpose from God’s usage of this figurative expression? You should already understand that in any symbolic figurative expressions the object being selected represents attributes that are applied to the subject being described. For example the symbolic great dragon found in Revelation 12 is not literal but displays the attributes of the unseen spiritual being that a human can visually or mentally relate to. I sure hope you understand the concepts of symbolism because you should then be able to ask yourself why Satan was described as a great dragon using a symbol of power for his appearing on the earth and then ask yourself why the omnipotent God was calling himself a “tender plant” for His appearing on the earth. Do you see what God is doing?
Therefore, what are the natural attributes of a “tender plant”? A “tender plant” represents any new growth implying the need to mature. A “tender plant” also represents an object of extreme vulnerability. There are many enemies and forces within nature that can kill a “tender plant”. We should be able to learn from this symbolic information that this coming man was designed to die. We should also learn from this description that this coming man is not here in His full deity power so that He cannot be killed by enemies. Any tender plant can be killed by too much water, not enough water, too much heat or temperatures that are too cold, insects, animals, etc. Usually when God selects a figurative expression of a natural object almost everything applies within the natural having a meaning and an application to the person being described. This is the way God designed creation. He said very clearly that there are things that were created that show us God plainly (Rom 1:20).
This title “tender plant” just cannot be taken literally and must be considered to be a symbolic figurative expression. Can we agree with that? Figurative representations and descriptions are simply symbolic terminologies used to tell a greater hidden or unstated message about the subject being spoken of and knowing this will become essential in order for us to understand their meanings. People use figurative expressions to describe other people almost every day. Take for example the expression “Joe is a real teddy bear”. This expression should not be taken literally but rather it projects an image of Joe of great significance using few words. The expression “teddy bear” can represent someone that is cute, loveable, and easy to hug. This is exactly what God is doing in this expression of Jesus being a “tender plant”.
What does the term a “tender plant”, represent in a figurative language application? The Hebrew word H3126 translated here as “tender plant” is only found in this verse in the entire O.T. Therefore we will not be able to use other verses to help us define this phrase. Since Isaiah 53:2 is the only time that this Hebrew word occurs and it was translated correctly in this form of the word phrase “tender plant” we will need to look at the context first to find the definition and implied meaning. If you look up the definition of the word in Strong’s you should be able to see that this word would also be correctly translated as a “tender shoot” as in a type of brand new plant growth. If you examine the context beginning statement this matches what we observed in the created process of natural growth. God is simply using the new plant shoot symbolism to teach us how Jesus will need to grow and increase in maturity over the course of time.
It is interesting to note that the meaning of this Hebrew word can also mean “a sucker”. The term “sucker” can be applied more than one way. For example in the plant world “a sucker” plant can be used for plant propagation. But this term can also mean a young child and both are correct. Consider the application of propagation because this fascinates me. I can see this as God’s plan. In the process a brand new sucker plant can be generated from the roots of another plant to produce a new plant. I believe that this is exactly what God is doing in Jesus. Keep this in mind as I continue through the verse.
This term “tender plant” informs us that whoever is being spoken of in Isaiah 53 will come into the world like a child that sucks his mother’s breast. This is actually a very accurate description of Jesus from the natural perspective that we have just witnessed in Luke but it also has certain spiritual application. Spiritually speaking Jesus being born into the natural world needed the written Words of God to grow in knowledge, understanding and wisdom as we previously read about Him in Luke 2:40. So Jesus obtained His physical natural growth food (milk) from His mother’s breast as well as His spiritual food (milk) to grow from words previously given to natural Israel through the prophets by His Father. Perhaps you missed what I just said. Remember what Peter writes the church by the inspiration of God in 1 Peter 2:2 asking the church to desire the “sincere milk of the Word” that you may grow thereby? God is teaching us that there was both a physical supply of food (natural milk) and a spiritual supply of food (milk from God’s Word) that caused Jesus to grow in both areas. What we observe from this is an intelligent design scenario that was initiated from God’s original thoughts. God planned this out from the beginning and it was fully carried out by God until it was completed.
AS A ROOT OUT OF DRY GROUND
Man 2 is then described to be a “root” that springs forth from “dry ground”. This is certainly more symbolic descriptions being used by God to convey a much greater set of spiritual truths. Consider what a root and dry ground represents in the natural and then apply this figurative information to the spiritual message being taught about Jesus. Dry ground provides humans a place to live and walk on the earth. However, where there is no rain or water present on or near the ground it is called a desert place. Any desert place is not normally an inhabitable piece of the earth. Since wet ground is the antithesis of dry ground we need to learn the differences between dry ground and watered ground. Water is definitely a factor in this description. This phrase is again God using a natural plant life description to describe the coming Jesus.
Everyone should know that the concept of water is essential for any life to exist here. People need to eat and to drink in order to survive. The presence of pure water is absolutely critical for natural growth. What is God saying in this part of the verses? How can a man like Jesus be compared with a root that comes out of a figurative piece of dry ground? We need to begin to think spiritually and consider the meanings of these phrases by asking some basic questions. What is a root symbolically speaking and how does it relate to the concept of dry ground symbolically? Let’s analyze the meaning of “root” first. The Hebrew word translated as “root” is H8328. It has both a literal and a figurative meaning attached to it. Literally speaking every tree is basically 4 parts. These four parts are three parts above the ground and one main unseen part below ground. That right there should give you a clue to where I’m going next. Clearly Jesus is called the root and that is the unseen part of the tree analogy. A root is the source and supply for life for the other three parts of the tree. Without roots there is no tree. The other three parts are representative of us physically here on the earth. We the people of God are the figurative trunk, branches and limbs and we are dependent upon our food and water source coming from the root in order to live, grow and produce any fruit. Wow, I just said so much in one sentence. You see Jesus clearly told us without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). Jesus further tells us in John 10:10 that He is our source of life. What He was saying was I am the root that supplies all of your life.
Let’s take the root, tree and tender plant analogy introduced by God a bit further. Consider the term “family tree”. A family tree is nothing but a figurative symbolic representation for a family using a known natural entity. We should be able to understand that within any family the “roots” represent those that produced all of the family that came after (trunk and branches). The branches in the family are those that were produced from progressive generations from those family roots. I believe that these are also basic figurative descriptions of what God is teaching us in Isaiah 53:2. Jesus being called the root is informing us of His preeminent existence which produced us and gives us life. Let’s find the fulfillment of Jesus being the root in the New Testament. He is clearly called the root of Jesse in Isaiah 11:10. Later in Romans 15:12 Paul confirms that Jesus is the root of Jesse. Now let me give you another verse in the New Testament that is directly related to the topic that confirms that this root being spoken of is Jesus:
Rev 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
You can clearly read that Jesus is claiming to be both the root of David and the offspring that comes from David. That is a very perplexing dilemma, a major paradox and a very significant puzzle to resolve. From a natural perspective this is entirely impossible but from a spiritual divine perspective this is completely within the capability of an ALL POWERFUL GOD! What we are observing from this information is that Jesus claimed to be the root that produced both of these men Jesse and David as well as He claimed to be a certain branch descendant that came from both of them. You can clearly go and read back in Isaiah 11:1 again where Jesus is called the Branch of Jesse and then later in verse 10 He is called the root of this same man named Jesse. These concepts boggle the minds of carnal people who do not wish to learn about who God is and what He is capable of doing. What God was saying was that He was the creator of Jesse and that He then came from Jesse or through Jesus to be here on the earth. I hope that you are beginning to understand the differences between a root and a branch and how that Jesus could still be both simultaneously. I’ll give you another O.T. verse about a root that you should know about next:
Pro 12:3 A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.
I technically do not have the time to explain this verse entirely. As Christians we have been given the righteousness of Christ. This verse in Proverbs is speaking of the ones that are called righteous and we are those people by the Grace of God. However the primary subject of this last statement is the root that shall not be moved. I think you can see where this must be Jesus again. Only God’s Word will never change and Jesus was this Word.
We next need to understand the association of water or the lack of it if Jesus is declared to be the symbolic root supplier of this symbolic water and He is then described to be growing out of the dry ground that lacked this water supply. What can the water represent within this context? Do you understand the unstated significance of water in this part of the verse? Roots definitely carry water to the rest of the tree or plant. Yet dry ground does not allow or permit plants to grow there. That is just another major predicament of contradiction to solve. Notice that the last part of the phrase “root out of a dry ground” presents a comparison. Jesus being called the root is coming out from a place where they lacked any water. How would we explain this? What could that possibly mean? I think we need to look at the definition of the Hebrew word H6723 translated as “dry” next. This word literally means a parched arid place. This is accurately describing a desert wilderness where water does not exist. This definition confirms the absence of water where Jesus was raised up in. I hope that gives you a bit of a clue to what the water represents.
Symbolically “water” in the Bible widely represents the Word of God. Water also has other symbolic applications which may also apply and be useful for this discussion but I will probably not get into these other symbolic references in this lesson extensively. I thought I would at least mention that others exist. I can give you many verses of the Bible to help us confirm what is being spoken about in this verse in Isaiah. Let me give you a few verses to help confirm that water represents Words from God:
Joh 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Here is a hidden reference to the word of God coming out of the mouths of humans. God’s words in your mouth will produce life for yourself as well as for others that choose to hear it. This verse also has application to speaking in tongues but I’m not going to go there to try to explain that since it will take more time than I want to spend in this lesson. Just understand that words spoken will exit the human mouth coming from the inner spirit and these must be the Words of God in order to produce any life. I have other Bible lessons that address this part of the meaning if you are interested in reading about them. What I wanted to demonstrate from this verse was the symbolic meaning of water to be words. Let’s move on to another verse that helps to explain how life giving water originates from God’s spoken word:
Joh 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
How do we get clean in the natural? Normally we wash with natural water and this process removes the dirt from our body. Jesus is clearly using this natural water washing concept to apply to a spiritual washing parallel process. Jesus was very clearly saying that the words that were coming from His mouth had the power to make them clean. Natural things were designed and created by God to teach us about spiritual things and this is so plain. The Words of God has to be comparable to water for this cleaning process to occur in the unseen spiritual realm. As the Word of God is the type of water that gives us life, I believe that this statement that Jesus just made is also applicable to Jesus being called the “root” that supplies the water for all human life. Did you see it? Jesus said he spoke and out of His belly was flowing rivers of living water to wash his followers. I think the root analogy is one that is very profound and I pray that you are seeing how it still applies to us in the church today. I’ll give you one other verse for this part of the lesson about water:
Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Hopefully you can again see the explanation of becoming clean with God washing us with His Word. The word of God is not literal water but it is certainly called figurative water. Without this Water of the Word of God we would all die spiritually. There would be no possibility of spiritual life without this source of spiritual living water. Now let’s consider what it means to be in a dry ground. We can find a very good explanation of this in the writings of David:
Psa 63:1 A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
Wow, what an awesome verse concerning spiritual water that can come only from God. David is stating his thirst but it is not a lack of natural water. This is just David saying “I need you God and I need your Word” to quench my soul. Did you see it? Physical water can never quench a soul. Only spiritual water from the mouth of God can fulfill this type of thirst. I think we need to observe one more verse to confirm this very important reality:
Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
A man that is meditating on the Word of God is compared to be like a tree that is planted by rivers of life giving water. This type of abundant water supply is what causes this symbolic tree to grow and increase in might and strength. The lack of this type of spiritual water supply is what is being spoken of in Isaiah 53:2 where there is dry ground. This dry ground represents a person that does not mediate on God’s Word. These are types of people that do not value the life that is found from God’s mouth. These were people that were dying of thirst and did nothing to drink from the well of life. Do you remember what Jesus said to the Samarian woman at the well? Jesus said “If you knew who was speaking you would ask of me to give you a drink”. How was Jesus going to do this? He was going to speak to her and tell her the Words of God.
Joh 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
There are literally many applications and lessons that can be taught from the root supply of life giving water to the symbolic plant concept. This verse in John is a prime example of the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:2 where Jesus the root would supply the waters of life to anyone that was a thirst. I do not wish to go into all of these in this lesson but I will mention this one more for reapplication to Jesus being our present day root supply. We all know that Jesus is not physically present on the earth today except in the form of the church body who is the only visible representatives of His outward presence here on the earth. However, the unseen root is still spiritually present because Jesus is on the inside of every true believer and if they are led by the Spirit of God then Jesus can still be seen in manifestation right now. Consider yourself to be God’s plant, His branches that are here to bear fruit for the world to observe. There is a popular saying that is applicable to what you do today and it says “The only Jesus some people will ever know is the one that you show them in your actions, words and daily life”. I think that is an important thought to embrace and remember. I believe that is enough of an introduction to Jesus being described as the root source of water so let’s move on to the last part of the phrase description found in Isaiah 53:2.
HE HATH NO FORM NOR COMELINESS
The last phrase that I will address today is “He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him”. Often in artist paintings of Jesus, He is portrayed as a highly desirable handsome male figure and even has extremely movie star or rock star like characteristics. Many times this type of Jesus is even pictured with a divine halo or a radiant glow that many believe would attract people to Him like moths to a flame. You will discover from reading and studying Isaiah 53:2 that Jesus was not prophesied to come into the world in an attractive looking manner and in fact the opposite of this reality is stated. We will need to read how this was fulfilled in the N.T. and this time it may become more difficult because there is barely any mention of the physical appearance of Jesus in the Gospels that I have found. If you know of any verses that I have not encountered on this subject, I would welcome your comment giving us the verses.
What any serious Bible student must realize is that they can learn at the very least in two different ways from God, we can learn from what is directly stated by God and/or we can also learn from what was never stated by God. Do you understand this advanced concept? If there are no direct references of the physical appearance of the Lord Jesus by God in the Gospels why would this information not possibly be important enough to mention in God’s Word? Before we research the N.T. we will first review the definitions for the phrase keywords found in Isaiah 53:2.
The first Hebrew word is H3303 that was translated as “form” in this verse and this word should have been translated as “beautiful” as it was correctly translated this way to describe Rachael in Genesis 29:17. Rachael is described to be the opposite of what Jesus is said to be. It was Rachael’s outward beauty that attracted her future husband Jacob to her. The first time this Hebrew word was used in Genesis it was used for another beautiful woman named Sarah in Genesis 12:11. You might remember that Sarah was so beautiful that Abraham did not want to tell anyone that she was his wife because he was concerned with being killed so that they could take her from him because of her attractiveness. That is two examples of what this word H3303 means. The Holy Spirit inspired Isaiah to teach us that Jesus did not possess any physical beauty by the inclusion of the Hebrew negative word H3808 that was connected directly to this other Hebrew word meaning beauty. The Hebrew word H3808 is a negative antithesis of the positive beauty and it means “No”, “Not” or “Without” beauty. God was clearly saying that Jesus had no beauty that could be observed using these two Hebrew words.
According to this Hebrew word combination whoever being spoken of in this verse could not called extraordinarily good looking, striking, handsome or even attractive. The absence of beauty does not necessarily mean that Jesus was completely born ugly but at the minimum it meant that He was very ordinary in appearance like most humans and certainly did not possess any looked-for qualities of many popular people today. Take for example Obama. I have heard people tell me that they voted for him because he was so good looking. One was a woman speaking to me about her reasons why she voted for him. Being attracted to someone like Obama because of their looks will get you into serious levels of deception and that is not what God came into the world as. You cannot find anywhere in the Gospels where it says people were attracted to Jesus because of His physical appearance.
The next key word in the verse confirms this with the description of there being no “comeliness” to His appearance. This Hebrew word translated as “comeliness” is H1926 and it literally means “magnificence” or “splendor”. This is shocking information that the supremely magnificent God would humble himself to take on the common form of a plain and ordinary human. When I read this I was so impressed at the humility of God’s character to think this way and to do this. I think this is one of the key factors for why natural Israel missed the coming of their Messiah. They expected a radiant powerful looking King and got a plain nobody from what they thought was from the city of Nazareth. They of course ignored the fact that He was born in the city of David the king as a direct descended from David’s seed but their ignorance of the facts was caused by their own downfall because they did not ask the right questions to find the truth.
Now let’s review the Hebrew word H4758 that was translated as “beauty” in Isaiah 53:2. This word is different than the Hebrew word H3303 that was translated as “form” but should have been translated as “beauty”. This Hebrew word H4758 means “to view”. It confirms that God is speaking of the outward physical appearance of the Lord Jesus. It can also mean “good or pleasant to look at”. However this Hebrew word H4758 is again joined to the Hebrew negative H3808 to change the definition into the opposite again. God is again saying that Jesus was not a movie star type of looker that you wanted to watch. I believe this is very important descriptive terms being given by God and every Christian would benefit from knowing them.
I challenge you to go through the Gospels and read about the life of Jesus on the earth very closely. Notice for the first thirty years of His life there is very little description given about Him. Barely a mention of Him is revealed. Only at His birth and at the age of 12 are we given a brief glimpse of His life. At 12 years old His family left Him at the temple as they were returning home. Technically speaking only His mother and Joseph her husband understood how He came to be on this earth. Every other human on the earth believed Him to be a normal child growing up looking like everyone else. If you go and read about Him in later life when He had returned to His hometown the people were in amazement of Him. Start reading in Matthew 13:54 through the end of the chapter. You will find out that they were impressed with His wisdom but did not believe that He was a prophet sent from God because they had watched Him grow up normally before them. Jesus marveled at their unbelief and was unable to do any miracles among them. You should be able to clearly see how normal that Jesus’ appearance was to these people that knew Him so closely for the longest time.
I want you to fully understand that this final statement in Isaiah 53:2 represents the outward physical appearance of the prophesied growing man 2. This part of the verse literally means “God” was found in their presence using a non-majestic appearance that no one expected Him to use. No one was looking for a Messiah to rule them that looked ordinary at best. As you can read very clearly because of God’s choice to appear on the earth normally like a very ordinary human, the people had no desire to automatically follow Him. Do not misunderstand what I just said. There were great numbers of people following Jesus in the Gospels. But you need to ask the question why were they following? There are no references to it being because of His looks but you can find references for their desire to be healed. Healing was the primary reason for people flocking to Jesus. You can read about this in Matthew 4:23-25 to see why they followed was because of His healing power. Because Jesus healed people the word about Him quickly spread to everyone and this is also important information to understand correctly.
Have you ever asked yourself what would have happened if God appeared like God in a superior state of class and being? The people on earth would have had no choice but to receive Him as their King and Lord and they would have never hung Him on a cross. Do you see the wisdom of God in His actions? God desired to save us, so He chose to become one of us to die for us. We have never yet fully realized or fully comprehended the extreme love of God to do this for us.
I want you to understand the significance of this description and why it is meaningful or even mentioned in the prophecy. This prophecy in Isaiah 53:2 is only different from my birth appearing because of the implied appearance of who this is speaking of. Please understand that the vast majority of the people born on this earth are very normal looking individuals just like this description. Based upon this, I must ask the question “Why is this description of a normal person’s appearance different than mine” and then I must answer that it is not. I certainly do not have the appearance of great magnificence so that people desire to flock to me. There are people like rock stars today that have this ability but that is clearly not who Jesus represented and it is not who you should represent either. No, you begin to finally realize why this was written based upon your new knowledge now to who these words were written about. The supreme God of all splendor, power and amazement would come and appear to be at the best ordinary.
Before I get away from this subject I want to prove that Jesus did not walk around with a glow coming from His appearance. We can learn this simple fact by observing what God wrote about Him in the book of Matthew. Read this verse carefully and notice the detailed description of the appearance change that occurred in this verse:
Mat 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
If you read the context you will find that Jesus took three disciples up on a high mountain. While there Moses and Elijah appeared before them with Jesus. This verse also states that the physical appearance of Jesus was “transfigured”. This Greek word G3339 is the word that we get “metamorphosis” from. Do you understand the concept of “metamorphosis”? This is the process that occurs when an ugly caterpillar is transformed to become a beautiful butterfly. That is exactly the process that is being described about Jesus here in this verse. Jesus was transformed from the very ordinary looking man that He was on the earth into a radiant glowing man that exemplified great splendor having magnificent qualities here in this verse. What this verse does is confirm the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:2 for you. It clearly implies that He was not the way that He was just transformed into.
I have covered a lot of new significant information about Jesus found in Isaiah 53:2. You may have never heard this message or even understood that it existed in the Bible but I hope that you learned to see how it applied to the one that came from heaven to save you. This prophecy is so amazing when you see it clearly. It becomes much more understandable why everyone in the world did not automatically flock to God in the flesh. It also become more understandable why He could be easily killed and lose all of his followers. If you go and read in the book of Revelation you will again see that Jesus appears like He did on the mountain with the three disciples in the presence of Moses and Elijah. Jesus when raised back to heaven was again exalted to His supreme position. But you should know now that this was not the way that He came to us in the world to save us. I thank you all for taking the time to read and study te Bible with me. I appreciate you all very much. In the next lesson in this series we will plan to go through the next verse in sequence to find what is furthered described about Jesus if the Lord chooses to lead me that way. Leave me a comment if you like this lesson. Learn to be a blessing to others and God will make sure you are blessed to do this. God Bless you!
(ver 1.1) 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 these 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 have fallen into fear, speaking wrong words and 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:
G5281: 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 confident 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 G5281 that was translated 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!
(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 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!
If you would like to continue reading in this series of lesson you may continue to “Part 2” now.
Is the Rapture of the Church Really Found in the Bible? The Rapture Found in Old Testament Typology! Part 4
(ver 1.2) This is Part 4 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the timely and important subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”. I know this teaching series has been a little different than what most other Bible teachers’ attempt, but I do not copy or imitate other Bible teachers. I would rather be led by the Spirit of God and teach the subjects with the content, direction and in the order for His purpose and plan. 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. I have been building a firm doctrinal foundation for the Biblical subject of rapture. In doing this I have been moving through the scriptures in what appears to be a random order. However, if you are a spiritually mature Christian you should be able to see that I am taking them in the order that helps us understand how the subject has been distributed throughout the Bible by God. Rarely do we ever find God doing things in His Word in a manner that we expect and I will warn you up front that this lesson will demonstrate that it is no different.
Today God wants me to go in a completely new direction in this lesson series and talk about the subject of rapture hidden within the context of Old Testament typology. What is “Biblical Typology” you might ask immediately? Biblical Typology is simply an actual historical event containing real people doing real things that are recorded in the Old Testament which point us to a coming future New Testament spiritual reality truth. I believe that God through His wise word selection utilized very specific descriptions for many recorded O.T. Bible events and participants which all have direct relevance, application and meaning to what will occur again in a future context. God cleverly designed the Bible in ways so that people would not be able to see the complete truth unless it was spiritually revealed to them. It is important to understand this concept of hidden truth because God uses it throughout the written Word to require everyone to search diligently for Him and His truth. This method of concealing the truth allows everyone the right to not see the truth. This actually explains why many in the church today have not believed in the rapture because they have not searched for it and found it in the Bible.
I believe that this lesson will be one of the most important lessons that you have read on this subject. I can see how it will potentially reveal some new unexpected ways for many people to learn. I will probably teach several original aspects that you have never thought on before, but all that should mean to you is that you need to become a noble Acts 17:11 type of Christian to verify everything that I say using the Spirit of God inside of you and your own personal Bible so that you do not take my word for anything. Are you ready to learn something potentially brand new on the subject of rapture? This will be a very long Bible lesson with a lot of good information in it. I also believe that I need to do a basic introduction to the subjects to help you see where we are going to go in this lesson before we get there. I’ll start by teaching you about hidden spiritual messages found in the natural words of the Bible. I call this the Spiritualization of the Word of God. I will follow this part of the introduction with a brief discussion on “Extremism” and why we need a “Balanced” approach to Bible Study. Then I will introduce you to the subject of Biblical Typology to help you better understand what that is and why it is important for us to learn. In the introduction I will also introduce you to the concept of Rules Based Interpretation and how these are useful to Bible study. Finally in the remainder of the Bible study I will discuss a hidden rapture description given to us by God in the O.T. Let’s get into the Bible study.
THE SPIRITUALIZATION OF SCRIPTURE
Are the stories recorded in the Bible merely the natural thoughts and words of forty different human men? In this part of the introduction I would like to address a major point that will surely be raised by some people who read this lesson without any spiritual eyes to see what it says. Many Bible preachers today, claim that we should not try to spiritualize everything written in the Bible. When they say this, I wonder if they even know who or what their God is and who wrote the Bible. Is their God a mere human or an omnipotent Spirit? When they say things like this they are simply stating that we need to take the Bible literally as a natural historical message and they imply God is like any natural man writing words for all other natural men on the earth. This type of reasoning reduces God to the same type of writer as any ordinary book author. In proclaiming a literal only interpretation of the Bible they are stating that all of the words written on every page of the Bible all have a simplistic plain meaning that is obvious to every reader. These teachers have obviously not read the internet nor tried to understand why there are thousands of different Christian denominations in the world today. The existence of so many meanings and interpretations to the words written in the Bible proves beyond any doubt that the Bible is not plainly understood by anyone.
These types of literal only Bible teachers refuse to explore the Bible message using any allegorical applications, symbolical meanings, typological interpretations or other spiritual importance in order to understand a message from a Spiritual God and His purpose for giving it. Clearly these Bible teachers are narrowly focused on a different version of the truth than what I see revealed by God in the Bible. I can clearly see where both Jesus and the New Testament teach us that the Old Testament is a book full of hidden secrets called “mysteries” (G3466). This Greek word translated as “mystery” occurs in 27 different verses throughout the New Testament. Jesus spoke directly three times in the Gospels about the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God in Matthew 13:11, Mark 4:11, and Luke 8:10. Close to 20 times in the New Testament God records a comment about certain O.T. mysteries and even tells us that many of these secrets have been hidden since the foundation of the world (Rom 16:25, 1 Cor 2:7, 1 Cor 4:1, Eph 3:3-9, Eph 6:19, Col 1:26). Go read these scriptures and learn what they say and then learn to apply them to every part of the O.T. Bible. The Greek word (G3466) translated as “mystery” in these verses means a literal “secret”. What is a secret? A secret is anything that was hidden or kept from your plain obvious view. Since the Bible contains literal readable plain text words in every book, where are these divine secrets hidden in them and how are they hidden? Do you see the important and relevant question that I am asking? Either God lied about the secrets in the Old Testament or we should rather more wisely know that God recorded the secrets in ways that keep them from our self-evident understanding.
In the book of John, Jesus makes a statement about the Old Testament that is mostly ignored by many Bible preachers, teachers and students. Read over this verse very closely and see what the Author of the Bible has to say directly about the words that were written to us in the Old Testament:
Joh 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Jesus told these keepers of the written Holy Words of God that they needed to “search” their scriptures to find Him. How do you define “search”? To search meant for them to investigate, seek to find, pursue, examine, study, inspect, explore, dig deep in order to discover this Jesus. This statement makes finding Jesus conditional in the O.T. Search for Jesus you will find Him and don’t search for Him you will miss the most important reason for the words. Jesus was saying that at least some of these O.T. words were those that were recorded about Him. Have you ever done this search? Does God consider you a doer of the Word of God or just an ignorant hearer only? I have spent many hours doing nothing but looking for my Jesus on all of the pages of the Old Testament. Why because that is what Jesus told me to do. Within every verse that I read in the Old Testament, I devote a significant amount of time probing to find my Lord Jesus in some hidden form. Since Jesus is never mentioned anywhere by direct named reference in the Old Testament how do you seriously think that He can be found there in the words written mostly about somebody else doing something else? If Jesus could be found so easily within the surface text context, He would not have needed to tell these Jews or us that we were required to “search” for Him. Let’s let every word be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses:
Luk 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Here again we have Jesus teaching us that Moses wrote prophetic words about Him. He claims there are specific prophecies that must be fulfilled from these Old Testament verses. I have to admit I have read the books of Moses in the Old Testament and if I did not know these verses were about Jesus I would have missed so much. Do you understand that Moses only wrote the first five books of the Old Testament and a few of the Psalms? Have you ever read these books, chapters and verses? Please show me in these words written down by Moses where Jesus is so plainly and clearly found! If you can find a literal Jesus mentioned anywhere there, then tell where it is found. Some say the “seed of the woman” mentioned in Genesis 3:16 is Jesus, but that is your poor reasoning and an assumption taken to an extreme. Nowhere is the name of Jesus mentioned to be the seed in this verse and you have to ASSUME by your faith or ignorance that it is talking about Him. That is just one popular example of people trying to say that Jesus is found in Moses’ words where there is no direct evidence. What I am asking you is if that type of interpretation is legal, why then is the use of spiritual Biblical Typology also equally legal? Do not misunderstand what I am saying I believe that Jesus is found in these books of the Bible, but I also believe that He is just not found in the literal obvious terms as many expect Him to be and we must utilize valid spiritual interpretation methods and rules in order to find Him.
It is important to notice that Jesus does not declare that everything written in the O.T. is only about Him, but He does conclusively say that He can be found there. So is Jesus a central theme of the O.T. or a needle in the hay stack concept in these books? Do you see what I am asking? Is Jesus an isolated O.T. occurrence or a prevalent central subject? I personally believe that Jesus is the central theme of the entire Bible from cover to cover and therefore He must be found in more than just a single verse in the book of Genesis and the other books of the O.T. Allow me give you the next verse in Luke to help you better understand the previous verse statement:
Luk 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
Did you see it? This verse explains why the disciples did not previously see Jesus in the writings of Moses before this event described in Luke. The reading of the Torah in the temple was a common occurrence and the disciples had heard the words before but never knew what they meant. This is why Jesus had to give them understanding of what was previously written by Moses in order for any of it to be comprehended that any of it was about Him. That literally means Jesus cannot be easily and obviously found by anyone just reading the plain text words without the Spirit of God helping them to understand what it says. Without the Spirit of God giving understanding it will never work out. God is so amazing to how He designed the Words in the Bible! I pray that you are beginning to see the wisdom of God in His Words.
Do you know what the name “Jesus” used in the English N.T. is equivalent to in the Hebrew O.T.? You do understand that Jesus was a natural born Hebrew and that He was given a Hebrew name? The name of Jesus is a transliteration of the Hebrew O.T. name Joshua or Yeshua. The Hebrew word for Jesus in Strong’s is H3091 and it literally means “Jehovah saved”. I believe that Jesus qualifies to possess this name, don’t you? There is a book of Joshua found in the O.T. but this book of the Bible is normally considered to be the story of a real historical man leading the children of Israel into the Promise Land. The name Joshua occurs in 197 verses of the O.T. and few if any of these verses can be considered a direct reference to the coming Jesus of the N.T. Therefore, the name of the N.T. Jesus is not directly found in the O.T. in relation to the N.T. man that said these words were written about Him. How then are we expected to find this N.T. Jesus mentioned there in the O.T. if there are no direct references to Him? That is the million dollar question that these modern Bible teachers do not consider when they try to tell me not to spiritualize the messages found in the O.T.
I have to conclude from this initial information and asking those questions that this means the Jesus of the N.T. can only be found by us using spiritual methods to locate Jesus in O.T. For example we can use spiritual names, titles or descriptions, Christophanies, allegories, typologies or symbolisms to list a few obvious spiritual interpretation methods that need to gain our focused attention when reading the O.T. Bible. These Biblical patterns are clearly established to be legitimate methods of Bible interpretation several times in the New Testament by God’s own revelation. Paul clearly used allegory, typology and even symbolism when describing the revelation that God had given to him about Jesus and of course Paul only had the Old Testament to base all of this new knowledge upon. Clearly spiritual things were concealed in the Old Testament but they have now been revealed in the New Testament for the benefit of the spiritual people of God. I strongly believe that God has concealed Jesus in the Old Testament so that God can reveal Jesus in the New Testament.
Always remember who the author of the Bible is when you are reading it. I personally believe that the entire Bible is the recorded inspired spoken words of a Holy God who is described to be a Spirit (John 4:24). God very clearly tells us that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isa 55:8-9). But does that mean that He does not desire us to know or understand His ways or to think His thoughts? I cannot understand anyone who thinks that God’s desire is to keep them ignorant and in the dark. People who believe that would be projecting a direct slap in the face of the God who clearly said “whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life” (John 8:12). Why would God write you a huge book of divine wisdom if you were not supposed to understand any of it in the direct here and now? I am totally convinced that God’s desire is for us to learn what the Bible actually says and means. I have concluded that we need to learn how to see these natural words written on natural paper pages as really being a spiritual message written to a spiritual people from an all-knowing spiritual God. Come up higher and learn to see the Bible as God sees it.
AVOIDING EXTREMISM IN INTERPRETATION
I will end this part of the introduction with the subject of Biblical Extremism. Biblical extremism is the practice of taking any subject or isolated truth from the Bible to an overstated or exaggerated position of error. I recently spoke to one commenter on my Bible study that clearly was in the realm of extreme error. He disapproved of my teaching that the church is the revealed “Bride of Christ” because he isolated the established truths in the Bible that the Church is the “Body of Christ” taking them to an extreme. In his mind it was impossible for the Church to be both concurrently. I then tried to explain what God had shown to me in the Bible about how the church became the body of Christ by being His covenant bride and this message was rejected. What he was doing was taking one truth to an extreme and ignoring all of the other truths of the Bible becoming unbalanced in his theological view. That is called Biblical Truth Extremism and it is a clear example of error and closed mindedness. I run into this error more than any other that I am confronted with on my website teachings. Let me give you another recent example of the extremism error.
Another preacher man that I was discussing the subject of Divine Grace with recently was so spiritually blind that he did not realize that he had moved into the realm of extremism. He had made an exaggerated statement that Paul constantly was confronted with the “sin question” when teaching on the subject of God’s Divine Grace. In other words he applied his own experience to overemphasize Paul’s recorded Bible experience and thus he moved into the realm of doctrinal extremism and error. What am I saying? I am saying this nameless preacher on the internet instead of admitting that he was wrong claimed that he was right because Paul wrote “one time” in Romans 6 about the confrontation of the sin issue in opposition with the truth of Grace. This man was clearly a modern Grace Bible teacher who has taken the clear Bible truth of Grace and pushed it beyond the level of scriptural balance into the arena of extremism theology and error. I simply caught him in a direct lie and tried to nicely make a correction to his statement and he told me I was wrong. My primary point was that this man had exaggerated the truth to a level so far above the truth that he had changed this great truth of Grace to transform it into a lie. He took one chapter in Romans and said this was a “constantly” reality for Paul. One chapter or one verse does not make a sound Bible truth of doctrine! God clearly says in His Word for us to establish every truth in the mouths of two or three witnesses (Deu 19:15, Mat 18:16, 2 Cor 13:1). This Grace preacher has reduced the subjects of sin and repentance to be non-factors for either salvation or for the human continuance of eternal security. He totally missed what the Bible says in the New Testament on other subjects like repentance, forgiveness, judgment, holiness, and I could go on with others. Actually he has explained away many of these subjects so cleverly that he has deceived others into believing his extreme teaching.
Exalting any single truth or any single reference of the message of truth to be the only truth necessary to understand will always cause a position of error based upon individual unbalanced isolation. So what am I saying? Are we to take the extreme position that all scripture should be plainly and naturally interpreted or are we to take the antithesis extreme position that says all scripture should only be spiritually interpreted in order to be understood? I think neither extreme is valid and we need to become balanced in our theology beliefs somewhere in the middle realizing that God is smart enough to teach us multiple levels of truth both spiritual and natural in any single verse, chapter or book of the Bible. What I try to teach in my lessons is that we need to avoid falling into the ditches of extremism on either the right hand or the left hand when walking down the road of Bible study. Having said all of that let me introduce you to the subject of Biblical Spiritual Typology.
I just want to give you a quick introductory overview of the subject of Biblical Typology since this is one of the central themes in the rest of this lesson on rapture. First, understand that no Old Testament Typology is ever a completed design representation of anything revealed to be eternal or spiritual in the New Testament. Second understand that every hidden spiritual type mentioned in the Old Testament (and there are many of them) is not the actual real spiritual entity that it symbolically represents. Therefore I have just said that any O.T. type is neither the real spiritual entity nor the complete representation of anything spiritually real in the New Testament. Think of Biblical Typology to be like Jesus teaching the people using parables in the Gospels. I believe that these parable teaching concepts that Jesus utilized are completely identical in nature and application to the Biblical Typology concepts also found in the Old Testament. Jesus would stand up and teach the people using natural examples of real physically identifiable objects, people and events saying the Kingdom of Heaven (a spiritual reality) is like this or that and then tell what it was similar to using symbolic figures of speech that could be understood by the people that were listening. Nothing in the parable was the actual real spiritual subject being taught on, but everything in the parable had a symbolic meaning containing parallel characteristics and features that applied to the real spiritual subject and this information teaches us significantly about these spiritual things that are normally not seen by humans.
The concepts of Biblical Typology are often revealed in the terms of natural shadow models. Typology is like a simplified general recognizable shadowed patterned outline for a more complete complex real spiritual detailed image subject. Subjects found in typology are lacking many of the precise details of the actual eternal spiritual subject just like the natural shadow lacks the detail of the natural object producing it. If you can understand natural shadows you can understand Biblical Typology. For example, any physical object standing up on the face of the earth will cast a shadow upon the ground when the light of the sun is in its brightest angled unobstructed view. Analyze the source of objects needed to produce a shadow. First we need a bright light source like the sun. Of course in Biblical symbolism the Sun represents God. You then need a natural object to produce the shadow and this can represent Jesus who became flesh so that people could see God. Then when Jesus walked the face of the earth he would project a shadow on the ground and this is another interesting analogy. We can see that if the shadow represents the Type of Jesus found in the Old Testament that it would be a darkened outline of the more complex three-dimensional image of the Jesus that was standing between the Old Testament Jew and the Light of the fullness of God. Do you understand the pattern being taught? God is Light and without God we would not be able to see Jesus or who He is and this helps explain why the Jews did not recognize their Messiah when He was here.
One of the most interesting aspects about viewing any shadow projected on the ground is that it is always easily recognizable and identifiable to all those that know the original real object intimately but it is not recognizable to those that do not know the original. For example a teacher at the school where my young son attended, created a shadow cut out portrait of his silhouette. This picture contained only the outlined profile of his head, but yet I could look at it and I knew immediately who it was without anyone telling me. Because you didn’t know my son you would only know that it was a young boy, but you would have no clue to the identity or the name of the child by looking at the shadow picture only. What this experience taught me was that anyone that knows the original object that cast the shadow can recognize what or who it was that created it by only looking at the vague incomplete shadowy outline. That is exactly what occurs in the Old Testament Bible Typology arena when people read without knowing the real Jesus of the New Testament first they will just never understand how anyone can say that Jesus is found in these shadow words. It is only because I have come to know this New Covenant Jesus intimately that I can recognize the types that were hidden in the shadows of the Old Covenant. I pray that you are grasping these important concepts of types and shadows in the Old Testament because again God uses this method of concealment in so many selected O.T. examples. Let me define what a “type” represents in the Biblical context to be more precise.
TYPE: A real literal person, place, event or thing found in Old Testament Biblical history divinely designed by the omniscient God to be a prophetic shadow of the good things that Jesus would fulfill in the New Testament.
Can you understand this paraphrased definition for a Biblical “type”? This definition was directed and designed specifically for the one subject of Jesus but there are other spiritual N.T. subjects that are hidden in types found in the O.T. also. Perhaps you are struggling to understand where this is revealed, used or described in the New Testament? I will attempt to give you a couple of examples that will help to confirm this definition if you have some spiritual vision and some spiritual maturity to embrace and receive them. I will not attempt to do a complete teaching on the subject of Biblical Typology here in this introduction so pay close attention to what I do give you and then if you need to ask questions you can do that in a comment. Read this N.T. verse written about Biblical O.T. Typology:
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.
The reason people do not understand this verse is about Biblical Typology is probably because they do not study the definitions of the Greek words selected and used by God. What God reveals in this verse is that what He wrote about the literal historical Adam in the Old Testament was a patterned “type” or “figure” of the coming Jesus that was to be revealed to us in the New Testament. Do you understand this and then do you remember what I have already taught you about typology? Clearly Adam is not Jesus by far. However, Adam still characterizes a basic shadowed incomplete form for the coming Jesus. What God is teaching us is that we should be able to read about Adam and see a pictured incomplete outline of the Lord Jesus. I really do not know how you can read this revelation given to Paul and not see it. It is literally right in front of your eyes. Perhaps we need to look up the definition of the main keyword in the Greek to see it more clearly. I’ll emphasize this one more time that Jesus was not Adam, but rather Adam was a simpler symbolic representation for Jesus lacking many of the finer spiritual details. Examine the Greek word that was translated as “figure” in the Strong’s dictionary and you will see the following definition that is critical to understand:
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.
Learn the key words presented in this definition and apply them to the comparison between Jesus and Adam. God says that Adam was a pattern, type, example and even a figure of the coming future Jesus. What does that say to you? Do you know what a printer’s “type” is in the natural? Maybe you are too modern to understand the old printing “type” press concept created by Guttenberg in 1440. This man revolutionized the older hand written word recording and distribution methods. Guttenberg reinvented what use to be an expensive time consuming laborious method of copying God’s Word into something more useful and cheap to produce. Because of Guttenberg what was rare for man to own soon became common for man to own. Guttenberg took what was out of the reach of every normal person and changed it into something within their reach. Clearly that was a God inspired idea to help man spread His written Word. If you did not know it already, Guttenberg invented the moveable “type” system of printing. Did you notice the repetition of the keyword “type”? Typology is the study of types. Moveable “type” was when the letters could be arranged in a specific configuration, ink applied to them, and then a piece of paper could be pressed on the type pattern to leave a lasting recurring impression that was a duplication of the original type pattern. Wow that process describes a God concept found in the Bible in Typology. This printing process could easily create hundreds and thousands of identical copies all from the originally created pattern.
What we are observing is that Adam is a Biblical Type reference point directing us to the coming Jesus and what He will accomplish and do for us in the spiritual realm. That means what Adam does is a prophecy for what Jesus will do in the spiritual realm. Adam is described to us in the first 4 chapters of Genesis primarily. God very clearly says in Romans 5:14 that you can find Jesus in these words if you are able to see Him. Adam as a pattern for the coming Jesus is by far not the only Typology hidden in Genesis or the rest of the Old Testament. I could take you through the O.T. and show you Jesus found in a type of Noah, in Abraham, in Isaac, in Jacob, in Joseph, in Moses, in Joshua and on and on I could go. In fact I am convinced that you can almost find a type of Jesus in every major story recorded but that will be another advanced subject for a different Bible study series. Let’s look at another N.T. reference to Biblical Typology found in the O.T.:
Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Col 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Read these two verses and observe closely what they are speaking of. These verses begin with a list of O.T. references and concepts concerning Holy days, Sabbaths and new moons. These are all subjects found in the written Laws of Moses. They describe instructions and actions given by the directions of God and performed by the people in obedience. Then notice what Paul writes about them. Paul says these were simply shadows (types) of the things to come in Christ. What we can observe very clearly is new hidden references to Jesus in the O.T. Nowhere in the O.T can you find that these represent anything about Christ yet that is what is revealed by God in these verses. That simply means these stated things were not Christ but rather designed by God to point the people to the Christ. Are you beginning to see the concepts of typology in the Word of God? If you do not yet understand the significance of hidden N.T. references in O.T. Biblical Typology I really do not know how to make it clearer in such a simple introduction to the subject. Let’s get into the subject of finding rapture in O.T. typology and see if this helps you to learn how to apply what you have learned so far and I will try to give you another example of O.T. Bible Typology described in the N.T. in the next section.
UNSTRUCTURED INTERPRETATION VERSUS RULES BASED INTERPRETATION
What I am going to do today is to utilize a little known law of Bible interpretation that I call the Law of First Mention to step back into a past reality to help us to see and learn about a coming future truth. Perhaps you have never heard of the Law of First Mention. I have found through repeated years of Bible study that using this Scriptural Law of Interpretation that God has placed certain specific hidden clues whenever an important subject is first mentioned in His Word. Practically every time a Bible subject is mentioned for the first time I have discovered important hints to understanding the whole subject in the rest of the Bible. Usually this first subject mention is found in the book of Genesis but today my subject that I am searching for occurs first in the book of Exodus. I am going to apply this law of first mention by searching for just one of the specific keywords referenced by God in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and find out where it was initially mentioned by God in the Old Testament to help us see that this is a legitimate Bible study technique. In doing this I believe that I will locate, read and discover what God has hidden about the subject of rapture within recorded Old Testament typology. You might ask me “Seriously, you mean you can do that?” I think people not knowing how to study the Bible is one of the main reasons we have such mass confusion in the church today on subjects like rapture. I always try to teach you how I study the Bible when I give you my lessons. In doing this you gain much more insight than if I only teach what I discovered and not how I arrived at the conclusion.
Let’s stop and think about rules based interpretation of the Bible as opposed to having no structure or rules for the interpretation of the Bible. A no rule based approach could also be called a random approach to Bible study. In the context of Bible study are rules a positive or a negative influence? Randomness is associated with a realm of lacking intelligent design. For example in my picture at the beginning of this paragraph I have a bunch of random rocks which do not display any structure. At the end of this paragraph I have another picture of rocks that clearly are not random but have a designed patterned created by intelligence. Which picture is more like the Bible? Let me ask you about general life situations and see if these can be taken back to Bible study. Are rules of conduct and manners good or bad? If they are good then consider why we might want to learn and follow Bible study rules also? Are rules for driving positive or negative? Would a random approach to driving a car result in more safety or more accidents? I think you can quickly see that randomness is a state of confusion and promotes negative consequences. That is why I believe random Bible study does the same.
Some might ask me “Can’t we just go and read the Bible and see what it says?” I wish that was true but that is not how God wrote the Bible as we discovered when Jesus said you must “search” for Him in the Bible to find Him. Bible study without strict rules would be like us playing a sport without knowing the goal or purpose of the sport or having any specific applicable rules, referees or penalties. If you place no independent reviewable limitations or restrictions upon what is permissible in any sport then suddenly you can do whatever you like to, to whoever you like to, to achieve whatever result you want to see. This type of mentality would result in a“Hunger Games” Bible study approach to winning the truth game and that is what we are observing in the church today. That is why I use very strong rules of Bible interpretation with defined and clearly stated restrictive laws guiding us to what is permissible and what is illegal in determining the meaning. These defined rules can be verified independently of the viewed interpretation to confirm that they are being followed. Without any laws of interpretation there is nothing but disorder, chaos and randomness and where disorder rules any interpretation represents legal truth.
What are these Bible study laws of interpretation that I use? I guess I have touched on most of them in my many other Bible lessons, but there are always new readers that have not read every lesson yet so I need to repeat things constantly to teach everyone new. If you have read these rules already and understand them, please forgive me for being repetitive. Let me give you just an overview of some of these basic laws of interpretation that are good to learn, remember and follow:
- The Law of First Mention. The first time a subject is mentioned in the Bible God gives specific descriptions, clues and even hints to understanding the entire spiritual subject in the N.T. It is noteworthy to mention that sometimes the subject first mentioned is not the same exact English word being sought from the N.T. For example, the sun, moon and stars of Revelation 12:1 is usually thought to be first mentioned in Genesis 37:9, but they are all mentioned before that using other titles and descriptions in Genesis 1:16 and that knowledge changes the definition of their identity dramatically by the discovery and understanding of these concealed clues. What I am saying is that not every first mention is always easy to find.
- The Law of Last Mention. This law is very similar to the Law of First Mention in reverse. The last time a subject is mentioned in the Bible God gives specific descriptions, clues and hints to the conclusion of the spiritual subject in the N.T. For example, the mention of the bride of the Lamb in Revelation 21 and 22 gives us conclusive insight into the spiritual representation of this figure. So while Eve was the first mentioned bride, the last mentioned bride concludes the subject. Since we also already learned that Adam was a type of Jesus, then Eve must be a type of the bride of Jesus. So much to learn but not my subject today.
- The Law of Two or Three Witnesses. Taking any solitary isolated text you can make the Bible say whatever you like, but by God requiring the reader to find at least two different confirming subject texts from two different books of the Bible helps to eliminate the isolation truth error. This single rule of interpretation is one of the most important and widely ignored laws that cause so much of the error in churches.
- The Law of No Private Interpretation. God requires us to leave our feeble opinions out of every Bible interpretation. This literally means that God will interpret His own Words in the Bible. This also means you have to look, search and find these interpretations in order to understand the original verse being studied. Get into the habit of finding God’s commentary on the subjects and leave your weak opinions out of the discussion.
- The Law of Divine Definition. God’s divine definition of every word will always take precedence over man’s definitions. Finding this definition is always the challenge, but it is usually accomplished with keyword searches of the text. For example many times in the Bible God speaks of a coming day of the Lord. This could be an isolated event of one time occurrence or it could also be a time of duration that points us to a 1000 years of duration as defined by 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4. We will definitely see in this lesson that this law will apply to our rapture study as a 1000 year time period.
- The Law of Indirect Antithesis Truth. For every stated direct truth in any verse an implied indirect antithesis truth not stated can be concluded. For example, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 11:31 that if we judge ourselves, we would not be judged. By the law of Indirect Antithesis truth we could say legally “If we do not judge ourselves we will be judged”. Both statements are equally true.
- The Mathematical Law of Transitive Equality. This law of Bible interpretation uses a basic law of Algebra to teach truth. It states if A = B and B = C then A = C. I recently used this law in stating if God = Word (John 1:1) and God = Spirit (John 4:24) then Spirit = Word and Word = Spirit and both = God.
- The Law of Right and Wrong Seeking. God reveals a Bible interpretation law in Matthew 7:7 that whatever we seek will be what we will find. Therefore, know that if we seek error (intentionally or unintentionally) we will always find error. Conversely if we seek truth then we will always find truth. It matters greatly what you are searching for in the Bible. If you seek to prove abortion is legal in the Bible you will find information to justify this belief but that is not the truth. It is the Law of God that by His design you will always find whatever you look for in His word.
- The Law of Truth Dependence. Understand that many truths found in the Word of God are dependent upon the discovery of other greater truths first. For example the symbolic identity of the woman in Revelation 12 is a truth that is dependently based upon first understanding the identities of all of the other dependent symbols that she is described with. No true interpretation of the woman is possible without discovering God’s hierarchal truth structure of the sun, moon and stars first. That is the law of truth dependence.
- The Law of Freewill Choice. God has given to every human the right to be wrong. Thus the Bible was written in a manner that permits every human the right to believe whatever they desire to believe. Not knowing this truth will cause many people to choose poorly their beliefs from the Bible. The Law of Freewill Choice goes hand in hand with the Law of Right and Wrong Seeking.
- The Law of Spiritual Guidance. God says very clearly in His word that His Spirit will guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Ignoring the guidance of the Spirit of God will always result in your own individual private interpretations. Not listening to the Holy Spirit will always result in error.
- The Law of Revelation Knowledge. The Bible presents us with a paradox. God gives us plain text words but then requires us to receive His Spirit in order for Him to reveal them to us so that we can understand them correctly. The natural mind will always be enmity with the Spirit of God and the Bible. A spiritual mind will always be capable of receiving revelation truth from God. Every verse in the Bible can always be taken in two opposing ways; one is a natural view point and the other is a spiritual viewpoint. Which one do you believe is the ultimate truth? You see I have noticed that some preachers can teach sickness from the same verses that someone else preaches healing. How can two people see opposite truths from the same words?
That was just a simple sample introduction to finding and applying structured rules to your Bible study. Lacking any defined structure will consistently result in what I teach to be called the Random Human Chaos Understanding of the Bible. That simply means you can totally miss what God intended for you to know by doing it your own way and ignoring God’s ways. Since I am former computer programmer I understand rules based systems better than most. Every useful system is an entity with a design and every designed entity has rules. If you do not understand that the Bible is a book with design, structure and rules you are very ignorant that man can build something that God did not. That was a long introduction and I could spend a lot of time on the subject of structured versus random Bible study but that is not my primary subject today. So let’s move to rapture now and see what God teaches us about the subject in the O.T.
RAPTURE IN O.T. TYPOLOGY
The primary keyword that I am searching for today in the Old Testament is “trumpet”. If you recall we found the Lord Jesus descending in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 in unison with the sound of a trumpet coming out of heaven. Where, is the word “trumpet” first mentioned in the Bible and what does God reveal with this word’s usage in the context? Do these verses have anything to do with the rapture subject as I suspected? Since I have already done the Bible search, I will simply direct you to go to the book of Exodus and chapter 19. You may recall that the book of Exodus is the recorded story of God’s deliverance of the slave children of Israel from the oppressive nation of Egypt. We should also know from reading in 1 Corinthians 10:11 that this story was given to us by God to be a specific “type” (another typology) pattern for the church to learn from. How do I know that? It is simply because in this verse is found the exact same Greek word (G5179) that was translated as “figure” in the Adam to Jesus type pattern in Romans 5:14. But, here in 1 Corinthians 10:11 this same Greek word has been translated as the English word “examples”. “Examples” is just another synonymous term for “type”. What I am teaching you is that Jesus is not the only spiritual entity concealed within types in the Old Testament. 1 Corinthians 10:11 clearly teaches that natural Israel was a type of the spiritual church that we need to learn from as examples. What is an example? An example can simply be any model of the real. You see an architect might build a scale model of his designed building for the client to approve and this is his usage of an example type for the coming real. That is what God is saying to us that He is doing. However God is not looking for our approval, God is using this example type to teach us.
When taking a test in school some example questions may be given for you to see how to answer correctly. These examples are not the real test but are rather only patterns for the coming real to teach what is expected of you. Do you understand? Any example can also be either positive or negative and we can learn from either type. Some examples teach us what not to do and other examples teach us correct responses. I clearly believe that natural Israel teaches mostly negative examples for us not to follow but that is another subject entirely. Remember the introductory rules of Bible Typology? Natural Israel is not the church but only represents certain patterned characteristics for the church to apply or learn from. Maybe I need to just give you the complete verse and let you look at it for yourself:
1Co 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (NASB)
Let’s verify that the natural O.T. nation of Israel displays certain positive patterns that correspond with the N.T. church. What parallels exist within the written history of the nation of Israel that can be used as typologies for the coming New Testament church? Are there any specific parallels or common patterns with these two separate distinct entities? Let me give you a quick overview of some of the Biblical typologies that I believe are fairly obvious concerning the natural nation of Israel and the spiritual church of Jesus Christ:
- Israel was held in bondage for 430 years in Egypt until the deliverer was sent by God to set them free from their bondage.
- The people of the earth were held in bondage for 4030 years under the domination of the spiritual oppressor Satan until Jesus our spiritual deliverer was sent by God into the world to set us free.
- Moses the natural deliver was preserved from death by God as the evil ruler of Egypt killed every male child of Israel.
- Jesus the Deliverer of the world was preserved from the same type of death being sent by an angel to Egypt as the evil ruler ordered the deaths of every male child in Bethlehem.
- The Passover lamb is killed in Egypt and the blood spread upon the wooden doorpost to guard, protect and deliver the children of Israel from natural death.
- The Passover Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) is killed and His shed blood on the wooden cross delivers God’s children from our eternal spiritual death and destruction.
- The children of Israel after being freed from Egypt and Pharaoh were baptized by God when they went through the red sea and this same red sea eliminated the threat of the pursuing Egyptian army.
- The church of Jesus Christ has been baptized into Christ’s sea of red flowing blood and this flowing blood sea saved us while dooming our enemy Satan.
- The children of Israel were given water from a rock to drink in the wilderness to sustain them.
- The Church of Jesus Christ drinks the living water pouring from the mouth of the Chief Cornerstone Jesus Christ our eternal living spiritual rock.
- The children of Israel ate manna sent down from heaven in the wilderness.
- The Church of Jesus Christ eats the bread of life sent down from heaven which is the Word of God.
- The children of Israel take the Promised Land and possess it overcoming their enemies.
- The Church of Jesus Christ takes the promises of God by faith overcoming their spiritual enemy Satan.
- Moses the deliverer gives the children of Israel the law of commandments on Mt Sinai.
- Jesus Christ the deliverer of the church gives the church the law of the commandment of love.
- God establishes priests in Israel to offer sacrifices to their God.
- The church is comprised of spiritual priests unto God offering sacrifices of praise unto our God.
This is called God’s Biblical Typology using O.T. patterns found in the information given about a real natural people that teach us about a coming spiritual people. We could go into many other parallel patterns found in the Bible about the natural nation of Israel, Moses and Pharaoh representing the church, Jesus and Satan in types. I believe that this was a really good introduction to the subject of how God uses hidden Biblical typology in the Old Testament to teach us what will happen again in the New Testament. I pray that you can see it and receive it because it is essential that you understand what God says in His Word.
Ecc 1:9 That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.
This is what I call the Bible Law of Repeated Design Patterns being revealed. God clearly says what has been in the past is that which shall be again in the yet to come. There is definitely nothing new under the sun! God teaches us that O.T. types are the design patterns for what will occur again in the forthcoming events of the world. This is such an important part of God and the Bible that I cannot emphasize it enough. This law is why I am looking for rapture concepts to be hidden in the recorded types of the O.T. If we cannot find any previous rapture patterns in the O.T. it will not be possible for it to occur again in the N.T. If we can find rapture types hidden in the O.T. then we can be assured of the truth for what will soon reoccur for the church. Let’s continue to study Rapture.
Using Bible search software, do the search of the Bible for the keyword “trumpet”. Please do this to help verify everything that I teach is accurate. If I make any mistake, if I miss something, if I say it wrong, or even if I type it misspelled, tell me nicely and I will make the necessary correction. You should hopefully find the word “trumpet” in verse 13 of Exodus 19. This was the first mention of the keyword “trumpet” that I found in the KJV Bible search and here is what I found that this verse says:
Exo 19:13 There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.
I think the Bible is so awesome. Did you notice the way that God writes this verse in the Bible? God orchestrates a real historical natural event that actually occurred but because of His designed purpose and precise word selection, these words can be taken both literally and spiritually as being both historical and prophetical typology simultaneously. We can use the order of mention and the phrasing to see the implied spiritual future application pattern. For example here in this verse, God says where I am now, no one living on the earth can come up or they will die. That has a lot of hidden meaning in it to me. We live DOWN here in a natural world on the earth apart from God’s throne UP in heaven. How can a natural man ascend into heaven without first experiencing death? It is just not possible for a natural man to visit God’s spiritual location by his own desire, effort, action or will. In fact for a Christian to depart and be with the Lord before the trumpet rapture event they must normally die. We of course have also already learned that there are the exceptions of Enoch and Elijah that did not die before they were taken by God. But those two were just further confirmation rapture patterns that we the living in the church can be taken identically. Let’s continue to move on to the last part of the verse for the beginning of the really good stuff about this hidden rapture pattern.
Right now I really only want to talk about three main subjects found in the last statement where God says the (1) “trumpet” will sound loud and then (2) “they” shall (3) “come up”. Remember according to 1 Corinthians 10:11 who the people called “they” are a “type” of. Then notice what happens first and then what the type of the church is instructed to do. Did you notice that this verse does not say who blows the trumpet? This is a very clever way of making a literal physical event a prophetic event description. Since no one directly is named as the trumpet blower the action can be performed by anyone natural or spiritual. You will also observe the obvious fact that “they” is another generic unnamed pronoun of non-specific assignment. In other words someone will blow a trumpet and then some unnamed people will “come up”. Now I can understand that God is speaking about natural people and natural acts of those people, but the words apply to two realms by explicit use of generalities. Many times what people read in the O.T. as God only speaking to a natural people is really God speaking more broadly to a greater coming people. I’m sure I will have some disagreement with that statement, but sorry I stand by it. Perhaps we need to look up the Hebrew word translated as “trumpet” to see the meaning and the definition from Strong’s. This information may help to confirm if we have found the correct named N.T. association found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 for trumpet in the Greek:
Apparently from H2986; the blast of a horn (from its continuous sound); specifically the signal of the silver trumpets; hence the instrument itself and the festival thus introduced: – jubile, ram’s horn, trumpet.
In this definition we will read a strong matching definition for the Greek word G4536 that was translated into English as “trump” in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Observing the Hebrew definition of the word from Strong’s it means “a blast of a horn as with a continuous sound”. It is also very interesting to see that God uses this trumpet sound to announce certain festivals. Let me help you with another Bible study fact detail. If you search the Hebrew word definitions in Strong you will find the word “trumpet” occurs in 10 different Hebrew words. What does that tell us? God specifically chose this word in the O.T. to be the first mention and that the other words are potentially not connected to this event description. However, I will also tell you that God uses another word in Exodus 19 that is also translated as the English word “trumpet”. For example, in verse 16 of Exodus 19 you will find the Hebrew word H7782 that is also translated as “trumpet”. Why does God use two different Hebrew words for basically the same type of noun object? Why are both words translated as the same English word trumpet? What is the difference between the trumpet in verse 13 and the trumpet in verse 16? Those are all great questions and if you are not asking these types of questions when you study the Bible you are not studying. I believe that God has a purpose for every specific word selected. I believe no word utilized is there by accident or chance. We still have a lot to learn.
It is extremely important to search the O.T. for every occurrence of this Hebrew word translated as trumpet in Exodus 19 to see how God used it for the subject context of the entire O.T. If you do this you will find that this Hebrew word is only selected for use by God in 25 verses of the Old Testament. Almost every other time this Hebrew word is selected by God, it is translated as the English word “Jubilee”. Pay very close attention that a Trumpet blast always begins the festival Jubilee. Do you know what a Jubilee was to the natural nation of Israel? God writes significant things about Jubilee in the Law book of Leviticus. To the natural Jew the time of Jubilee was a highly anticipated event. Uh oh! That sounds like the rapture to me! Jubilee occurred every 50 years by God’s design. During this time of celebration all debts were forgiven and the lands went back to the previous owner in the family. There are two key words found in the descriptions of Jubilee that applies to Biblical typology for the rapture of the church. These two key words are “inheritance” and “redeem”. Both words are predominate themes of the N.T. You may still scratch your head and wonder what could Jubilee, inheritance and redemption have to do with Rapture? That is where I will tell you that it has more to do with rapture than you can possibly imagine right now. Perhaps I’ll get to that part of the discussion later today, but if not I will make an effort to talk about Jubilee in a future Bible lesson on rapture. What I have concluded with this information is that this story given by God in Exodus 19 is the first example of Jubilee for the nation of Israel and you should remember that.
Looking back at Exodus 19:13 did you read it closely searching for the rapture parallels found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17? Notice what God says to Moses who is a typed pattern of the N.T. deliverer, the Lord Jesus Christ; God says that a trumpet will blast long and then the people will come up. Did you notice where Moses was when he was told this statement? Was not Moses up on the mountain with God? I thought God just said no one could touch the mountain or they will die. You should be able to see more typology patterns that fit the rapture event here. Moses being a type of Jesus goes up into heaven alive in Acts 1. Let me stop at those words and explain the typology of the mount for you. The mountain represents the place of God in heaven symbolically. Moses goes up to talk to God and God gives instructions from the location of the symbolic heaven. We could easily get off on another side trip discussion about the symbolism of the mount but I will move on to the “come up” part of the verse.
The Hebrew word translated as “come up” is H5927. If you look up the word’s definition in Strong’s it literally means “to ascend”. Here we have one of the closely described synonymous terms that God taught us to look for in Lesson 1 for the Greek term “harpazo” where it was translated as “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. To ascend up is the stated direct opposite of descending down. To “ascend up” can also be interchanged with the description of being “caught up”, “taken up”, etc. This verse is certainly not a completed match for what we read in 1 Thessalonians but it is a very good initial shadow outline for it. Remember what a type is? It is not the completed picture but rather just the outline of the detailed image casting the shadow giving enough information so that it is recognizable to those that know the original. Here in this single verse are 6 direct and indirect nouns and one verb that corresponded to the rapture information with pretty amazing accuracy. What were these nouns and verb, you might ask? Glad you asked here is a list of these important parallel types:
- God (In charge of the entire event)
- The Mount, the high location of God (a type of heaven)
- The trumpet blast (announcing the beginning of the event)
- Moses (a type of the Lord Jesus the deliverer already up in the clouds in heaven)
- The people (they) alive on the earth (a type of the living church) waiting to go up to be with the Lord
- The wilderness valley (the symbolic location for the church in the world today)
- Ascend Up (The living church rising up to meet God in the clouds)
Here are seven key parallel ingredients to the described rapture event in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and this is just the first mention of the trumpet instrument that brought us to this chapter in Exodus. Do you see how these two separate scriptures were linked together by God? Do you understand why they are linked together? Probably not yet but hopefully very soon you will see it more clearly. Let’s examine the context of this verse more closely to see what else is hidden concerning the coming rapture. In doing this we will go up in the chapter to verse 1. But I will not include all of those verses in this lesson to shorten it slightly. Verse one describes Israel coming out of Egypt and traveling from there for a specific set time of 3 months. They come to the Mountain of Sinai and God wants to meet with Moses on the top of the mountain. I wonder why a mountain? God always does things by plan and purpose and nothing that God does is an accident. Moses goes up on the mountain to hear God speak and the next few verses are primarily God doing the speaking but notice that some or all of these words can be taken concurrently for the now present tense and a future prophetic tense to apply to someone else. What I am saying is that these words spoken by God apply to the natural situation right then with the children of Israel but they also apply to the future repeated events that will not occur for thousands of years from then concerning the church. Let’s begin to examine verse 5 to see what exactly God says:
Exo 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
Here we have God speaking of the natural nation of Israel using terms that are very interesting. God tells them you are in covenant with me! God tells them to keep His commandments and obey His voice! Both of these were stated conditions for the covenant. Then God announces the benefits of the covenant arrangement and for fulfilling the conditions. God says you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all other people. Do you understand fully what was just spoken? God states that you will be my people but all others will not be my people and that is a classic binary division of two opposing antithesis groups. That is very much like the concept that we discovered in the first three lessons on the subject of rapture. Those two groups that we have been learning about were those that are “IN-CHRIST” versus those that were “OUT-CHRIST”; those that were called the sheep versus those that were called the goats; those that were wheat versus those that were tares; those that were wise virgins versus those that were foolish virgins. Can you see the pattern agreement with what was revealed in the N.T.?
Here in this verse we also have a Hebrew word that is very noteworthy to comprehend. This word H5459 means “wealth” as in something shut up in a locker or a vault. This Hebrew word signifies a place or a state of protection for something that is very valuable to keep them from an enemy or a thief. Who do you recall that Jesus said is the thief in the Bible? In John 10:10 Jesus said “the thief (Satan) came to kill, steal and to destroy but I have come that you might have life”. I am not going to spend time explaining every word given by God in this verse. Just note the existence of three important parallels, the covenant, the conditions and the benefits because these are all types that apply to the church today. Let’s move to verse 6 and learn some new important details:
Exo 19:6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
God continues to speak and says to the people that you will not only be my guarded treasure but “You shall be 1) a kingdom of priests and 2) a holy nation. God then tells Moses these are the words that you shall speak to the “children of Israel”. Who are these two mentioned types? We have Israel and we have his children. Who are these children and who is this Israel in Biblical typology? I do not have the time to elaborate on every spiritual application of the information given in the O.T. I will go over a few key details to help to get you thinking in a new spiritual way about this typological information being given. Naturally speaking, we know Jacob’s name was changed to Israel in Genesis 32:28. Here in this verse is the first mention of the name Israel and by the law of first mention God gives us certain clues that we need to learn from to understand the rest of the subject in the Bible. Go read this chapter again and see it for yourself. Then answer these two questions. Where did this name come from and whose name was it before it was given to Jacob? I’ll tell you directly that the Bible says the name Israel came from the angel sent by God up in heaven to wrestle with Jacob. Then I think we need to do some research study to see what this name means in the original Hebrew language. Read the definition from the Strong’s and see how it is defined:
From H8280 and H410; he will rule as God; Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity: – Israel.
I want you to pay close attention to what Dr. Strong believed this name represented. He declared that first this name was a symbolical name given to Jacob. What does that tell you? That simply means the name Israel was not Jacob’s real name but rather belonged to someone else. It also connects us back into the Biblical Typology discussion directly as this name being a spiritual subject that was hidden in the natural O.T. typological references. Did you notice how Strong was led to include the word “typically” in the definition? I do not believe that was an accident. Typically or types is exactly what we are studying. Did you notice what the name means? According to the definition the name Israel means “He will rule as God”. Uh oh? Who can that be? Is that the natural man Jacob that will rule as God or someone else that was prophesied to come from Jacob? Since Jacob obviously died a natural death and has not been raised from the dead from what I have read in the Bible, I do not believe that natural Jacob qualifies to rule as God. Wow, this is going to get very deep here and I might just offend some immature Christians with the truth.
The Hebrew name “Israel” is comprised of two other Hebrew root words. One Hebrew root word is H8280 which means “to prevail” as a ruler prince. To prevail implies this subject has direct opposition and enemies to overcome. To prevail further implies victories and conquests over these enemies. The second Hebrew root word is H410 and this is the most important part of the name. It is a very common O.T. shortened form for the divine name of God. This Hebrew word “el” is used before other divine titles like “El Shaddai” (Almighty God), “El Elyon” (Supreme God) and “El Olam” (Everlasting God) which are all O.T. descriptive divine names for our God. Perhaps you have heard of some of these names? Ok, let’s take a quick review of the information that we have just learned about the name “Israel”:
- The name Israel came down from God in Heaven.
- The name Israel was given to a natural man named Jacob after he prevailed with the angel.
- The name Israel was called a symbolical name by Strong for the man Jacob.
- The name Israel literally means “He will rule as God”.
What we are observing here are some more O.T. Typologies that are pointing us to Jesus using these patterns. Let me help prove to you that the name “Israel” is God’s name that was given to a natural man named Jacob. Did you know I could prove that using the Bible? This is why so many Bible teachers today are so confused about what is written, they do not see what is plainly right in front of their eyes. Let me give you a few verses to help you see what I am trying to teach you:
2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name,
Isa 43:7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
Jer 7:11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.
Jer 7:14 Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.
Jer 32:34 “But they put their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it.
I could give you a few other verses but that is enough witnesses to the truth to establish it firmly in my mind. Can you read? God says 5 times these people are called by My name? What name do you think this is? I know for sure that it is the name “Israel” (He will rule as God) and it can be no other. Do you know how many times “Israel” is found in the O.T.? The name “Israel” is included in 2,228 verses of the O.T. Bible. There is no other name used that many times to describe any people. Jerusalem is found in only 626 verses. Judah is found in 754 verses. Can you think of any names in the O.T. of a natural people that will qualify for who God is calling by His name? Ok, let me help you out by connecting some more of the dots for you. Did you notice that I included Jeremiah 7:11 in my list of confirming verses? I did this on purpose because Jesus tells you directly who it is in Matthew 21:13. Jesus drives out the money changers with a whip from the temple in Jerusalem and He quotes a part of Jeremiah 7:11 to describe the event. Jesus said “My house shall be a house of prayer but you have made it a robber’s den”. What Jesus has just described are the people that are called by His name and this can only be the children of “Israel”. I do not want to spend any more time on this part of the lesson. You either are going to see it or you are going to close your eyes and reject it.
The natural children of Jacob were 12 sons and these were the founding natural fathers of the 12 tribes of natural Israel. Each generation had their own children and this continual cycle of generational propagation continued until Moses is speaking with God here in these verses in Exodus 19. Now is the time where we need to factor into the equation “how does this natural pattern typology information fit with any spiritual application of the greater prophesied truth of God?” Did any of these words just spoken by God in verse 6 even sound just a little bit familiar to you? Please let me list the key factors that were just given again in verse 6:
- The children of Israel (A natural family pattern of many generations descending from 12 brothers)
- A Kingdom of Priests
- A Holy Nation of People
I mean if you have ever read the N.T. you have come across all of these type descriptions even if you did not realize where they were mentioned first in the Bible. I’ll give you a hint, the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to write about all of these types to the church and this is what God reveals to us through His servant Peter:
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
As you should be able to tell, Peter is not directly quoting the entire verse of Exodus 19:6. However Peter writes enough for us to know they are directly connected. If you look at the NASB version of the Bible you will discover this verse is mostly capitalized to indicate that it is a direct quote of Exodus 19:6. However, this verse is really more of a direct commentary explanation by God for what He was talking about and who God was speaking to prophetically in the original statement of Exodus 19:6. I will no doubt have some naysayers try to tell me this verse does not have anything to do with what God said to natural Israel but that is just spiritual blindness that causes people not to have the ability to make the proper connections. Look at what Peter says to the church. He said we are a “chosen generation”. Chosen simply means the “elect”. Uh oh, I thought natural Israel was the only ones ever called God’s elect? Not according to what God just revealed to the church here in the N.T. The Greek term G1085 translated as “generation” directed at the church in this verse simply means a group of related family members, relatives or kin. Did you know that you were in a new family now if you are a Christian? How does that term for the church compare with the typology we just found spoken to the children of natural Israel? I personally see so many parallels and repeated patterns here that it is amazing. The natural nation of Israel originates with one man having 12 natural sons. Does that compare to the church at all? What about Jacob being a type of Jesus Christ? Did Jesus ever have twelve spiritual sons? I’m not talking about natural sons, I am asking about the spiritual offspring. Did you ever wonder why Jesus chose exactly 12 disciples? I mean that has to have been for a very specific reason, do you not agree? Does God do anything casually? I believe Jesus choose twelve disciples to match with the 12 sons of Jacob in the natural.
Biblical typology is such a fascinating subject with so much hidden information that it is really astonishing. Why did Jesus knowing Judas was going to betray Him choose him to be a disciple? Did you know that Judas was also found in hidden O.T. typology? One tribe of natural Israel has been omitted from all mention of the 12 tribes of Israel in Revelation 7. In fact this omitted tribe of Israel has been replaced by just one son from another tribe. I do not have the time to attempt to explain what is happening here in this typology fully. Notice that in Acts 1 that Judas who killed himself was replaced by another. Who was that man that stepped into the vacant Judas position to take his place in the church? I believe that it was one of the spiritual sons of one of the other 11 faithful disciples. I can see every disciple mentioned to be chosen to fulfill a beginning initial role in the new family of God. These 12 men would go into the whole world to bring the Gospel of Jesus to increase and grow the spiritual family of God from every nation on the earth. Why, are Christians called brothers and sisters in the Lord? At least 30 times in his letters to the churches Paul refers to Gentile church members to be his brothers. Since Paul was a naturally born Jew Paul had to be speaking of spiritual kinship and not of the natural. This is simply because we are all spiritual family members in the same spiritual family of God. This spiritual reality simply parallels the natural reality of the nation of Israel who were also all brothers and sisters of the same 12 fathers. Let’s move on in this verse in 1 Peter so that I do not get into too much information.
After “Chosen Generation” Peter then mentions “we are a royal priesthood”. Here is where we get to the direct correlation to Exodus 19:6. Do you remember what God said for Moses to say? God says tell them “You are a Kingdom of Priests”. Royalty has to do with only kingdoms and thus we have more synonymous terms being linked directly together. Did you know that you were a priest in God’s spiritual family in the New Covenant? We do not offer animal sacrifices to God like the priests of natural Israel, but rather we do offer the sacrifice of praise of our lips to God (Heb 13:15). These are just two parallel truth realities that are imperative to learn about as Christians. Finally we get to the one for one relationship being called a “holy nation” the exact same phrase as was mentioned in Exodus 19:6. I want you to do a keyword search for the exact phrase “holy nation” in your Bible search program. This exact phrase only occurs in two verses and these verses are Exodus 19:6 and 1 Peter 2:9. Do you think that is a coincidence, chance occurrence or an accidental happenstance? If you do you are vastly deceived. The Bible linking such a precise phrase together in only two verses is God connecting them together to leave no doubt about what is being communicated about. God is saying very clearly that Exodus 19 is about my Church.
So far we have two very specific links to the church. Do you remember what they were? We have found the church by the law of first mention concerning the “trumpet” reference from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Then we have the keyword matched “Holy Nation” reference from Exodus 19:6 only found repeated in 1 Peter 2:9. Let’s go back to Exodus and continue to study what God says to us. I’m going to skip down to verse 9 in Exodus 19 to move past some less important verses for this lesson discussion:
Exo 19:9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.
Do you remember how many references I said there were concerning “clouds” in the New Testament? In several of those Jesus very specifically said that He would be coming in the clouds. I am not going to list those again but you can review the previous lessons and find the references. What I see in this verse is another connecting reference to a noun from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. The clouds being repeated here in this discourse is not an accident. We now have 7 repeated nouns and 1 repeated verb. I have been working up to this next verse for the entire lesson and here is some very key information for the timing of the rapture event.
Exo 19:10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,
God tells Moses the deliver (a type of Christ Jesus) to sanctify the people. What exactly is that and what does that statement even mean? Let’s begin with the definition of the Hebrew word from the Strong’s dictionary. According to Strong the Hebrew word H6942 means “to be, make, pronounce or observe as clean”. Therefore, sanctification is like a cleaning process. Perhaps you occasionally take a bath or a shower to make your body clean and if you do then you are sanctifying your body. This is really not that complicated but easily missed if we do not learn the application to what this means in the spiritual realm. Wow this is so interesting to me knowing what I know about the word of God and work of Christ Jesus in the New Testament. Are you beginning to see the hidden Jesus Christ in these verses? I could give you many New Testaments verses that apply to what is stated here but I am going to limit myself to only two verses to show how God has sanctified the church through Christ:
1Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Here we have another very key verse of information that ties directly to our rapture subject study. This verse occurs in the chapter immediately following the previous chapter’s rapture event report to the church. Here God brings into the context discussion the subject of sanctification. Paul continuing to write to the church tells them that the God of peace will sanctify them wholly and wholly is defined to include their spirit, soul and body. What did sanctify mean? It meant to cleanse or make clean and this implies they were dirty in these three areas of their lives. The Bible is so awesome when you finally put the pieces of the puzzle together. God is saying I will make you clean but technically does not describe how this will occur. Some try to transfer responsibility of this cleaning as a God only type of work but that leaves out the human freewill right of choice and that would violate so many things found in the Bible so very plainly. Since sanctification is not the primary subject here I am not going to spend the time here to explain it. I simply want you to see the clear links that are being placed plainly in front of you for you to join them together. God is linking rapture to the sanctification part of the discussion and vice versa Let me show you one other very key scripture concerning sanctification and the church:
Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Here we have a verse that does not name the church directly but if you read the context you will find out the church is one of the primary subjects being discussed in this chapter. In verse 25 God says to husbands “Love your wives even as Christ loves the church and gave himself for her and then in verse 26 is the connecting link to the previous statement “that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the word”. I wasn’t going to get into the method of sanctification but I think I just did. What God is saying here is that Jesus has sanctified His bride the church by giving them His precious Holy Word to wash with. Here we have a paradox being presented that many readers will be puzzled with. I recently had one man tell me I was crazy for teaching people that the church was the wife of Christ because we are clearly described to be the body of Christ in many verses of the New Testament. To that man I will ask this simple question. If we the church, are the body of Christ why then is it necessary for Christ to give us a Word bath to cleanse His very own body? Uh oh? Is not the body of Christ already clean having been raised from the dead and exalted into heaven? You see because people do not think when they read the Bible they miss so much of what is being stated. The answer to why the church needs cleansing is found in Exodus 19 and several other verses. If you would like to learn more about this secret you can read my Bible lesson “How the Church became the Body of Christ”.
Let’s continue to look at Exodus 19:10. God says for the people to be cleansed and tells them to wash their clothes today and tomorrow. That was a stated cleaning duration of two days, was it not? Why did God pick exactly two days to tell them to prepare for the trumpet? Wow, we are now getting into the timing of the rapture event without even understanding what God has said to us fully. Approximately how long has it been since Jesus left the earth to go into heaven to wait for His time to return? It has been nearly 2000 years. No one knows for sure the exact time but it is very close to that number. Why is this number 2000 significant and how is it related to the 2 days mentioned in Exodus 19? It simply goes back to what I said earlier about God’s law of divine definition. It is important to interpret spiritual things using spiritual definitions or you will bet lost and confused. Do you remember how I said that God defined a “day” found in 2 Peter 3:8? God defines one day to Him to be equivalent to 1000 years and even 1000 years to be equal to exactly one day. What is needed here is for you to see that God says for His people to get ready by making themselves clean because in two days (2000 years) He was going to sound the trumpet and they were going to “come up”. These are hidden patterns in the Word of God that teach the general timing of the event. It is very scripturally in balance because Jesus said in Matthew 25:13 “Be sober and vigilant because no man knows the day or hour of the coming of the son of man”. But notice that Jesus did not say that we would not be able to discern the general season for the event. In general terms I know that the timing for His return is very soon, but I do not technically know for certain if it is this year or next or the next. Do you know the certainty of the calendar? There is really no way that I know of for us to ascertain the exact duration of time since the beginning of the church age. Therefore, it is foolish for anyone to attempt to set a specific date for this event.
Typology is not a perfect picture of anything spiritual. The chapter has only given us patterned clues for the outline and not the entire complete detailed picture. I’ve spent enough time on this chapter going over many of the specific outline qualities that point us primarily to the event described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. I believe that we have established the start of the proof necessary for the establishment of the pre-tribulation rapture event. We can conclude by typological references from Exodus that after two days of cleaning preparation represents two thousands years of the church age when the trumpet will be sounded and the people will come up. I think we have just established that within O.T typology there is a solid pattern match for a future rapture event being connected to the church. Thank you for taking the time to read this important Bible lesson on rapture. I pray that you gained some new insight from it on the subject of rapture that you did not know before. Until the next Bible lesson in this series, I thank you for sharing this information with everyone that you know! God Bless!
If you like to read the next lesson in the Rapture series please go to “Part 5” now.