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The Parable of the Sower

 

 

 

THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER

Jack Marshall

 

 

 

The Parable of the Sower

 

 

Jack Marshall

 

Shakespir Edition

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2016 Grain of Wheat Publishing

 

 

 

 

Shakespir Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author and may be redistributed to others for non-commercial purposes. However, if you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.

 

 

 

 

 

This book is dedicated to Wayne Roberts,

who is truly a “friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24).

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

Chapter One: Parables

Chapter Two: The Numbers in the Parable

Chapter Three: The Seed

Chapter Four: Sowing and Reaping

Chapter Five: Four Ages

Chapter Six: Intervention

Chapter Seven: The Age of Grace

Chapter Eight: The Works of the Law

Chapter Nine: The Law is Spiritual

Chapter Ten: The Age of Fullness

Chapter Eleven: The Kingdom of Power

Chapter Twelve: Resurrection

Chapter Thirteen: The Sign of the Son of Man in Heaven

Bibliography

 

 

Introduction

The Parable of the Sower has long been a favorite of mine. I cannot remember when I was first taken by it, but I know it’s been over twenty years ago. This parable, coupled with the passages from Galatians 6, verses 7 through 10, set the precedent for the principle of sowing and reaping, a principle which is universal in its scope and relevant to everyone on this planet. For this reason, all of my previous studies have included this divine injunction.

Anyone who is familiar with the stories of the Bible knows that it invokes a certain awe and mystery, bordering on fantasy. It is hard for us to imagine the reality of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Solomon, David, and of course, Jesus, their lives marked by a relationship with their Creator that leaves us with wonder. Ah, but there is something very deep in all of us which I believe, stirs a certain faith in our hearts and minds that leads us to believe them, regardless of the fact that we may have never seen a miracle or witnessed anything as great as these men saw.

The very existence of all that we know is a miracle in itself; this planet, our universe beyond, and especially the way we are made. All of this speaks to us of a divine intelligence beyond the scope of our limited capabilities to perceive it. We are truly surrounded by wondrous and mystical things, mysteries if you will, that move us to want to believe. But there are always skeptics and critics and those who oppose the words of scripture, choosing instead to believe in their own self-sufficiency apart from any divine intervention. And this despite the fact that we are failing at every turn and spiraling downward into our own self destruction.

Understand my friend that the next president will not save us from what is happening in our country, nor will our government or any government find the answers they seek, for they are filled with corruption from top to bottom, steeped in pride, greed, and a lust for power that can only end in misery. We are in great need of a baptism of love and power that supersedes all the kingdoms of man.

As is true of all my studies, they are simply my opinions and theories, based on my own years of study. If you have read any of my previous works, then you know that I don’t adhere to the traditional vein of thought, that I am quick to challenge the status quo. This study is no exception. You will find that what I present in this study is unique in its presentation, most likely different from what you may have read before. But again, it’s my own opinion and theory. Perhaps I am wrong. If so, I pray that the Lord will open my eyes to see the truth as it is intended to be.

That being said, I will say as I’ve said in my previous studies that there are mistakes in this presentation, not by intention, but out of ignorance. I am still and always will be learning. It has been difficult to put aside what I have inherited in order to see from a fresh perspective.

 

In His Grace,

Jack Marshall

 

Please note: All Hebrew and Greek definitions are taken from the Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary unless otherwise noted. All Bible passages are taken from the New King James Bible unless otherwise noted.

 

 

 

Matthew 13:3-9 (NKJV)
Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

PARABLES

The word “parables” is defined by the Strong’s Concordance as, “From G3846 (paraballo); a similitude (“parable”), i.e. (symbolic) fictitious narrative (of common life conveying a moral), apothegm or adage.” G3846 reads, “To throw alongside, i.e. (reflexive) to reach a place, or (figurative) to liken.” Consider this explanation from Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament.

 

Parables (παραβολαῖς)

 

From παρά, beside, and βάλλω, to throw. A parable is a form of teaching in which one thing is thrown beside another. Hence its radical idea is comparison. Sir John Cheke renders biword, and the same idea is conveyed by the German Beispiel, a pattern or example ; bei, beside, and the old high German spel, discourse or narration.

 

The word is used with a wide range in scripture, but always involves the idea of comparison:

 

1. Of brief sayings, having an oracular or proverbial character. Thus Peter (Matthew 15:15), referring to the words “If the blind lead the blind,” etc., says, “declare unto us this parable.” Compare Luke 6:39. So of the patched garment (Luke 5:36), and the guest who assumes the highest place at the feast (Luke 14:7, 11). Compare, also, Matthew 24:39; Mark 13:28.

2. Of a proverb. The word for proverb (παροιμία) has the same idea at the root as parable. It is παρά, beside, οἶμος, a way or road. Either a trite, wayside saying (Trench), or a path by the side of the high road (Godet). See Luke 4:23; 1 Samuel 24:13.

3. Of a song or poem, in which an example is set up by way of comparison. See Micah 2:4; Habakkuk 2:6.

4. Of a word or discourse which is enigmatical or obscure until the meaning is developed by application or comparison. It occurs along with the words αἴνιγμα, enigma, and πρόβλημα, a problem, something put forth or proposed (πρό, in front, βάλλω, to throw). See Psalms 49:4 (Sept. 48:4); 78:2 (Sept. 77:2); Proverbs 1:6, where we have παραβολὴν, parable; σκοτεινὸν λόγον, dark saying; and αἰνίγματα, enigmas. Used also of the sayings of Balaam (Numbers 23:7, 18; 24:3, 15).

In this sense Christ uses parables symbolically to expound the mysteries of the kingdom of God; as utterances which conceal from one class what they reveal to another (Matthew 13:11-17), and in which familiar facts of the earthly life are used figuratively to expound truths of the higher life. The un-spiritual do not link these facts of the natural life with those of the supernatural, which are not discerned by them (1 Corinthians 2:14), and therefore they need an interpreter of the relation between the two. Such symbols assume the existence of a law common to the natural and spiritual worlds under which the symbol and the thing symbolized alike work; so that the one does not merely resemble the other superficially, but stands in actual coherence and harmony with it. Christ formulates such a law in connection with the parables of the Talents and the Sower. “To him that hath shall be given. From him that hath not shall be taken away.” That is a law of morals and religion, as of business and agriculture. One must have in order to make. Interest requires capital. Fruit requires not only seed but soil. Spiritual fruitfulness requires an honest and good heart. Similarly, the law of growth as set forth in the parable of the Mustard Seed, is a law common to nature and to the kingdom of God. The great forces in both kingdoms are germinal, enwrapped in small seeds which unfold from within by an inherent power of growth.

5. A parable is also an example or type; furnishing a model or a warning; as the Good Samaritan, the Rich Fool, the Pharisee and the Publican. The element of comparison enters here as between the particular incident imagined or recounted, and all cases of a similar kind.

 

As we can see, a parable is given for the purpose of comparison, as an example or pattern which illustrates the mysteries of the kingdom of God.

Over the years, I have studied many of the parables, usually in conjunction with certain topics which enhance my understanding of the subject at hand. And I will be the first to admit that some parables are much more difficult to understand than others. Why? Perhaps due to the fact that there is usually more to a parable than what first meets the eye. As we will see in this study, the Parable of the Sower is one such parable.

Many times Jesus used the things of nature to illustrate spiritual principles. Maybe that’s why Paul wrote the following.

 

Romans 1:20 (NIV)
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

 

I have said many times that truth hides in plain sight. I really believe this, for as we will see in this study, the Parable of the Sower reveals an understanding that is seen in all of creation, a principle that has been with us since the beginning of time.

 

Mark 4:13 (NKJV)
And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

 

The Parable of the Sower is recorded in Matthew, Chapter 13, Mark, Chapter 4, and Luke, Chapter 8. Once Jesus taught this parable to a great multitude (Mark 4:1), His disciples came to Him privately and asked Him about the parable. Part of His response is seen in Mark 4:13. “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” This tells us that the Parable of the Sower is one of the most important parables to consider, maybe even the most important. Once we see what is presented, we will see the reason why Jesus said this to His disciples.

 

Chapter Two

[]THE NUMBERS IN THE PARABLE

Matthew 13:3-9 (NKJV)
Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

 

The first thing I wish to point out about the Parable of the Sower is the spiritual meaning of the numbers found in its teaching. First, we have four types of ground—the wayside, stony places, thorns, and good ground. Then we have three different increases shown in the “good ground”—hundredfold, sixty, and thirty. Our four types of ground and three crops speak of what is seen on the surface of the soil and above it. Added together, this gives us seven.

The number seven is a remarkable number in scripture, used more than any other number except for the number one. It is used over 700 times in the Bible, 54 in the book of the Revelation. Consider this explanation from Bullinger’s Number in Scripture.

 

We come now to the great number of spiritual perfection. A number which, therefore, occupies so large a place in the works, and especially in the Word of God as being inspired by the Holy Spirit.

 

Also from Bullinger.

 

But now turning to the number Seven, we must first consider the meaning of the word.

In the Hebrew, seven is שֶׁבַע (shevah). It is from the root ‏ שָׁבַע (savah), to be full or satisfied, have enough of. Hence the meaning of the word “seven” is dominated by this root, for on the seventh day God rested from the work of Creation. It was full and complete, and good and perfect. Nothing could be added to it or taken from it without marring it. Hence the word שָׁבַת (Shavath), to cease, desist, rest, and שַׁבָּת Shabbath, Sabbath, or day of rest. This root runs through various languages; e.g., Sanscrit, saptan; Zend., hapta; Greek, επτα (hepta); Latin, septem. All these preserve the “t,” which in the Semitic and Teutonic languages is dropped out; e.g. Gothic, sibun; Germ., sieben; Eng., seven.

 

It is seven, therefore, that stamps with perfection and completeness that in connection with which it is used. Of time, it tells of the Sabbath, and marks off the week of seven days, which, artificial as it may seem to be, is universal and immemorial in its observance amongst all nations and in all times. It tells of that eternal Sabbath-keeping which remains for the people of God in all its everlasting perfection.

 

In the creative works of God, seven completes the colours of the spectrum and rainbow, and satisfies in music the notes of the scale. In each of these the eighth is only a repetition of the first.

 

Another meaning of the root שָׁבַע (Shavagh) is to swear, or make an oath. It is clear from its first occurrence in Genesis 21:31, “They sware both of them,” that this oath was based upon the “seven ewe lambs” (vv 28, 29, 30), which point to the idea of satisfaction or fulness in an oath. It was the security, satisfaction, and fulness of the obligation, or completeness of the bond, which caused the same word to be used for both the number seven and an oath; and hence it is written, “an oath for confirmation is an end of all strife.” Beer-sheba, the well of the oath, is the standing witness of the spiritual perfection of the number seven.

 

As we can see, the number seven represents “spiritual perfection” or completeness. Whenever you see the word “fullness” or “fulfilled,” you are seeing a seven. Consider the following examples.

 

Matthew 5:17-18 (KJV)
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil (7). For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled (7).

 

As shown, the Lord made it clear that He came to “fulfill” the law and the prophets and that not “one jot or one tittle” (smallest detail) would pass from the law, “till all be fulfilled.” These statements show why we find so many sevens in the book of the Revelation.

 

Matthew 13:13-14 (NKJV)
Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled (7), which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive…

 

In the Parable of the Sower itself, we find the Lord speaking of the “prophecy of Isaiah” being fulfilled in the fact that the great multitude He taught was unable to understand His teaching. This prophecy is found in Isaiah, Chapter 6, verses 9 and 10.

The fact that there is a seven in the Parable of the Sower reveals to us that it is spiritually complete, that there is nothing lacking in its presentation. On close examination, we will find that all humanity is represented in this parable. The fact that there are four types of ground presented confirms this. Here’s Bullinger’s explanation of the spiritual meaning of four.

 

We have seen that three signifies Divine perfection.

 

Now the number four is made up of three and one (3+1=4), and it denotes, therefore, and marks that which follows the revelation of God, namely, His creative works. He is known by the things that are seen. Hence the written revelation commences with the words, “In-the-beginning God CREATED.” Creation is therefore the next thing—the fourth thing, and the number four always has reference to all that is created. It is emphatically the number of Creation; of man in his relation to the world as created; while six is the number of man in his opposition to and independence of God. It is the number of things that have a beginning, of things that are made, of material things, and matter itself. It is the number of material completeness. Hence it is the world number, and especially the “city” number.

 

The fourth day saw the material creation finished (for on the fifth and sixth days it was only the furnishing and peopling of the earth with living creatures). The sun, moon, and stars completed the work, and they were to give light upon the earth which had been created, and to rule over the day and over the night (Gen 1:14-19).

 

Four is the number of the great elements—earth, air, fire, and water.

 

Four are the regions of the earth—north, south, east, and west.

 

Four are the divisions of the day—morning, noon, evening, and midnight. Or in our Lord’s words, when He speaks of His coming at evening, midnight, cock-crowing, or in the morning (Mark 13:35). We are never to put off His coming in our minds beyond tomorrow morning.

 

Four are the seasons of the year—spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

 

Four are the great variations of the lunar phases.

 

As shown, four is the number of “material completeness,” aptly called “the world number, and especially the ‘city’ number.” Is it simply a coincidence that the Lord spoke of four types of ground and by it included the entire world?

We then have the number three in this parable, seen in the hundredfold, sixty, and thirty of the “good ground.” Here’s Bullinger’s explanation of the spiritual meaning of three.

 

In this number we have quite a new set of phenomena. We come to the first geometrical figure. Two straight lines cannot possibly enclose any space, or form a plane figure; neither can two plan surfaces form a solid. Three lines are necessary to form a plan figure; and three dimensions of length, breadth, and height, are necessary to form a solid. Hence three is the symbol of the cube—the simplest form of solid figure. As two is the symbol of the square, or plane contents (x2), so three is the symbol of the cube, or solid contents (x3).

 

Three, therefore, stands for that which is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire.

 

All things that are specially complete are stamped with this number three.

 

God’s attributes are three: omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.

 

There are three great divisions completing time—past, present, and future.

 

Three persons, in grammar, express and include all the relationships of mankind.

 

Thought, word, and deed, complete the sum of human capability.

 

Three degrees of comparison complete our knowledge of qualities.

 

The simplest proposition requires three things to complete it; viz., the subject, the predicate, and the copula.

 

Three propositions are necessary to complete the simplest form of argument—the major premiss, the minor, and the conclusion.

 

Three kingdoms embrace our ideas of matter—mineral, vegetable, and animal.

 

When we turn to the Scriptures, this completion becomes Divine, and marks Divine completeness or perfection.

 

Our number three “stands for that which is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire.” While seven speaks of spiritual completeness, three speaks of divine completeness, and the fact that both are contained in this parable exemplifies God’s hand throughout.

Now, if we add the seed with the four types of ground, we have five, the number which stands for grace. Here’s Bullinger’s explanation.

 

Five is four plus one (4+1). We have had hitherto the three major Offices of the Godhead. Now we have a further revelation of a People called out from mankind, redeemed and saved, to walk with God from earth to heaven. Hence, Redemption follows creation. Inasmuch as in consequence of the fall of man creation came under the curse and was “made subject to vanity,” therefore man and creation must be redeemed. Thus we have:

 

1. Father

2. Son

3. Spirit

4. Creation

5. Redemption

 

These are the five great mysteries, and five is therefore the number of GRACE.

If four is the number of the world, then it represents man’s weakness, and helplessness, and vanity, as we have seen.

 

But four plus one (4+1=5) is significant of Divine strength added to and made perfect in that weakness; of omnipotence combined with the impotence of earth; of Divine favour uninfluenced and invincible.

 

Last, but certainly not least, when we add our five with the three of the “good ground,” we have eight. Here’s the spiritual meaning of this number from Bullinger.

 

In Hebrew the number eight is שְׁמוֹנֶה (Sh’moneh), from the root שָׁמֵן (Shah’meyn), “to make fat,” “cover with fat,” “to super-abound.” As a participle it means “one who abounds in strength,” etc. As a noun it is “superabundant fertility,” “oil,” etc. So that as a numeral it is the superabundant number. As seven was so called because the seventh day was the day of completion and rest, so eight, as the eighth day, was over and above this perfect completion, and was indeed the first of a new series, as well as being the eighth. Thus it already represents two numbers in one, the first and eighth.

 

Also from Bullinger.

 

It is 7 plus 1. Hence it is the number specially associated with Resurrection and Regeneration, and the beginning of a new era or order.

 

When the whole earth was covered with the flood, it was Noah “the eighth person” (2 Peter 2:5) who stepped out on to a new earth to commence a new order of things. “Eight souls” (1 Peter 3:20) passed through it with him to the new or regenerated world.

 

Hence, too, circumcision was to be performed on the eighth day (Gen 17:12), because it was the foreshadowing of the true circumcision of the heart, that which was to be “made without hands,” even “the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” (Col 2:11). This is connected with the new creation.

 

Three is the number of “divine completeness.” Four is the “world” number. Five is the number for “grace.” Seven is the number of “spiritual perfection” or “fullness.” Finally, eight represents “resurrection” and “regeneration.” All are contained in the Parable of the Sower, and important to our understanding.

 

1. Seed

2. Wayside

3. Stony Places

4. Thorns

5. Good Ground

6. 100

7. 60

8. 30

Chapter Three

[]THE SEED

Luke 8:11 (NKJV)
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God.”

 

Matthew 13:19 (NKJV)
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom

 

After Jesus had taught the Parable of the Sower to the crowd, His disciples came to Him afterward and asked Him to explain it. Jesus began with the above, clarifying that the “seed is the Word of God.” What is interesting about this statement is that Jesus didn’t mean that the Word is simply like a “seed,” but instead “is” a “seed.” In other words, like a natural seed which contains the instructions of life necessary to bring forth what it is, so too the Word of God contains within itself that which is needed to bring forth the life found inside.

 

John 1:1 (NKJV)
In the beginning was the Word (seed), and the Word (seed) was with God, and the Word (seed) was God.

 

Hebrews 11:3 (NKJV)
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

 

Colossians 1:16 (NKJV)
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

 

All things have a beginning and that beginning “was the Word” or “seed” of God. Once spoken from the mouth of God, it became God and formed both those things which are visible and invisible. Not only does creation reflect a Superior Wisdom in the things we see, it is also apparent in those things we cannot see, in the laws which dictate all visible form.

Our word “Word,” is a collective noun, which means that it incorporates all that God has said or will say. For a long time, I thought of the “Word” of God as just that, those things which God said. In essence, this is true, but recently I realized that thought is the “word” in our mind and can be expressed without saying a thing; we can show by our actions or deeds what we are thinking.

 

Isaiah 55:7-9 (NKJV)
Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

 

Notice how these passages speak of the ways and thoughts of God and man. “Ways” means, “A road (as trodden); figurative a course of life or mode of action.” In other words, our “ways” denote action, those things we do which proceed from the thoughts in our mind.

 

Romans 1:20 (NIV)
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine naturehave been , being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

 

As I mentioned before, truth hides in plain sight, for “God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature,” are “clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” Written into the structure of all that He created is found even further proof of the Superior Wisdom of a Creator that is beyond our mortal comprehension. Though we may be able to break down the processes by which something works, we can’t explain why those processes are there in the first place.

It baffles me how anyone can say that they don’t believe in God, for again, all things have a beginning regardless of how long they have existed. And just because we can’t explain where something began doesn’t negate the fact that it did, somewhere, at some time. No wonder then that Paul said, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” As indicated, those things which became visible did so from the “seed,” the power and Spirit of the living Word.

Now, consider the following brief parable which Jesus spoke shortly after the Parable of the Sower.

 

Mark 4:26-29 (NKJV)
And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed (1) on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade (2) (1), then the head (3) (2), after that the full grain in the head (4) (3). But when the grain ripens (5) (4), immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

 

In keeping with the understanding of the Parable of the Sower, Jesus again refers to the kingdom of God “as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.” Note where I have added the numbers. If we consider the “work” (divine completeness) of the seed above the ground, we have three things—the blade, the head, and the full grain in the head. Following this, we are told that “the grain ripens.” This would be our fourth stage, four being our “number of creation,” showing the evidence of God’s “creative works.”

Once the grain is ripe, it is ready for harvest. When we add the seed to our stages shown, it becomes the fifth thing, our number five testifying of the grace of God that operates in all humankind through the principle of sowing and reaping. So Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man,” any man, “sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Whether “corruption” or “life” (Gal. 6:8), both are indicative of grace, for the corruptible things we reap are continual reminders of that which is eternal (II Cor. 4:18). Consider the following illustration.

Do you see it? What begins as thought in our heart (Matt. 15:19) leads to either words or actions which express what we are thinking. And the same is true of our Creator.

As our illustration shows, thought is the beginning (seed) of the formation of knowledge, but knowledge alone is not enough, it must become understanding. Once understanding is formed, our experience of it leads to the wisdom by which we live. We could then say that the ripened grain or fruit of a tree represents the manifestation of our wisdom within.

 

Matthew 12:33 (NKJV)
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.

 

Matthew 7:16-20 (KJV)
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

 

As we see, the understanding of this brief parable in Mark, Chapter 4, enhances our understanding of the Parable of the Sower. In both, the “seed” which is sown speaks of the “thoughts” and “ways” of our Maker, exemplified by both His Word and actions (deeds). Having been made in His image, we too function in the same way.

 

Chapter Four

[]SOWING AND REAPING

“Behold, a sower went out to sow,” Jesus said (Mark 4:3). And the “seed” which is sown is a divine seed, the “word of the kingdom” (Matt. 13:19), the essence of the “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 13:11). No doubt, the “sower” is the Lord, for it doesn’t matter where or how divine truth comes to us because the source always goes back to the Father (I Cor. 3:6-7).

What should be evident to us in the Parable of the Sower is the fact that a “garden” is implied, for no one scatters seed in a random fashion. Instead, we select a specific area of ground for this purpose. Please consider.

 

Genesis 2:4-8 (KJV)
These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

 

In the beginning, we find that God did not have “a man to till the ground.” We then see the Lord forming man, all humankind, “of the dust of the ground,” in order to have a man to “till the ground.” Immediately following, the Lord plants “a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed.” And what was the reason for this? To “dress it and to keep it.” Our Hebrew definitions show that this means “till” and “attend” to. Now, not for a moment do I believe this is a literal garden. Rather, this “garden” is explained by the Parable of the Sower and speaks of the “seed” of the Word which is “sown” in the hearts of humankind and in which all humankind has been placed.

 

Matthew 4:4 (KJV)
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

 

In agreement, we find the Lord Jesus saying that man shall not live by bread alone (visible sustenance), but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (invisible sustenance). Does this speak of every person? It does, for the word “man” is all-inclusive of everyone.

In the beginning, we find Adam placed into the Garden of Eden. We then see the Lord giving Adam a “commandment” (Gen. 2:16-17), signifying “the word of the kingdom” as illustrated by the “seed” in the Parable of the Sower. As we should know, Adam failed to keep this Word. As a result, He was sent “out of the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken” (Gen. 3:23).

First, there was no man to “till the ground.” Then God forms man and plants a garden. Then He puts man into the garden to till the ground. Then man disobeys and is sent out from the garden. Again, to do what? “Till the ground.” This shows that all of us, regardless of culture or creed, was placed into this divine principle which dictates every movement.

 

Galatians 6:7-9 (NKJV)
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

 

In his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul wrote one of the most important things we will ever read in the Bible. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” He then follows with the twofold injunction of either sowing to our flesh or sowing to the Spirit. Both of these principles are illustrated in Genesis, first with the Garden of Eden, and second, with Adam being sent out from it in order to “till the ground.”

 

Proverbs 4:20-23 (NKJV)
My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

 

As indicated by Proverbs, we are told to give attention to the words and sayings of the Lord and keep them in the midst of our heart. We’re then told to keep our heart “with all diligence.” This agrees with “till the ground,” for the “ground” symbolizes the heart (Matt. 13:19).

Please indulge me for a moment. Let’s return to Genesis 2:5.

 

Genesis 2:4 (KJV)
These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens

 

Note in this passage concerning the “generations,” that we first see “the heavens and the earth” which is then followed by “the earth and the heavens.” In other words, they are reversed, a mirror image if you will. Also notice the phrase “in the day.”

I believe it is safe to say that the “heavens” speak of that which is spiritual while the “earth” refers to that which is natural. Our phrase “in the day” speaks of the “light” of the glory of God as evidenced by His eternal and immutable Word (Gen. 1:3; Rom. 13:12; I Cor. 3:13; I Thess. 5:5, 8; II Peter 3:8).

 

1 Corinthians 15:45-46 (NKJV)
And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being (living soul; KJV).” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.

 

Do you see it? “The spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.” Concerning the “generations,” we have the reverse order. First the “heavens” or spiritual, followed by the “earth” or natural. But “in the day,” God reversed this order, placing the “earth” or natural first, followed by the “heavens” or spiritual afterward (Matt. 6:10). And what does this say to you and me? It reveals to us that God intended for Adam to fall in order for the process of sowing and reaping to accomplish its purpose in us beginning with the flesh. And what was the first injunction of the two in Galatians? “For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption.” And where did our flesh come from? The “dust” or earth. For this reason, Paul wrote, “The first man,” as represented by Adam, “was of the earth, made of dust” (I Cor. 15:47).

 

1 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

 

Paul tells us that “the first man Adam became a living being (living soul), then follows with his explanation that the “natural” comes first. In agreement, Paul also tells us that “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Could it be that the story of Adam and Eve is an illustration of how our Creator formed the “natural man” in everyone? And would the natural man be what is meant by the “soul” of man?

 

Ezekiel 18:4 (KJV)
Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

 

According to this passage, we see that the “soul” of man is something about us that is capable of sinning, and when it does, it dies. Would this be what Paul meant when he said that “he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption?” Would this be what Adam did? I believe it is, for our word “corruption” means, “Decay, i.e. ruin (spontaneous or inflicted, literal or figurative).” It’s taken from the word which means, “To pine or waste; properly to shrivel or wither, i.e. to spoil (by any process) or (genitive) to ruin (especially figurative by moral influences, to deprave).” Is corruption synonymous with death? I believe so, for death can be defined as the temporary nature of all form for all form is destined to pass away, including these human bodies in which we dwell.

Now remember, Adam began in the Garden of Eden, this signifying the principle of sowing to the Spirit and reaping the “everlasting life” that is found in the living Word of God. But after he sinned, he died, and so it was that God sent him out of the Garden of Eden to “till the ground” or sow to his flesh, for “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt. 22:32).

 

Matthew 13:3-4 (NKJV)
Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.

 

Matthew 13:19 (NKJV)
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it,_ *then the wicked _*one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.

 

Most every garden is planted in rows with paths leading through in order to walk into the garden and work the ground around the plants. These “paths” are the “wayside,” the hard-packed earth that is incapable of receiving the seed into the ground. And our parallel is obvious. The wayside represents the “natural man” who is unable to hear “the word of the kingdom” and does not understand it, “then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.” Is it this which is pictured in the story of Adam and Eve? It is, and this brings us to our next chapter.

 

Chapter Five

[]FOUR AGES

There are four types of ground shown in the Parable of the Sower. On the surface, it is easily seen that it represents the condition of one’s heart in regard to the Word of God. But years ago, I realized that something else was contained in this teaching that speaks of humanity on a collective scale.

The four types of ground are the wayside, stony places, thorns, and good ground. And, as we have found, there is a parallel in the wayside that agrees with the story of Adam.

 

Matthew 13:19 (NKJV)
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.

 

Genesis 3:1-6 (NKJV)
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ “ Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

 

In agreement with the wayside, we see the “serpent” or “wicked one” coming to Eve and deceiving her. And where was the woman taken from? The “rib” or bosom of Adam (Gen. 2:21-22). This points to the idea that the woman, like the ground which receives the seed, represents the “heart” of man, the place of his understanding and affection. Note how the serpent states, “Has God indeed said?” Was this not a challenge of the understanding of what God said to Adam? And what was the woman’s response? She showed a lack of understanding, stating, “Nor shall you touch it.” The Lord did not tell Adam this (Gen. 2:16-17).

So, due to misunderstanding, the wicked one snatches away what was sown in Adam’s heart (Eve). And how was it that the serpent was able to do this? Consider.

 

Romans 8:19-21 (NIV)
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

 

Our word “creation” in these passages is translated as “creature” in the King James. The definition is, “Original formation” and refers to our “first man Adam” (I Cor. 15:45). Paul tells us that “the creation,” or Adam, “was subjected to frustration (vanity; KJV), not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it.” In other words, Adam was designed to fall, and that by reason of His Maker! And how was this accomplished? Consider.

 

Genesis 2:21-22 (KJV)
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

 

When God made woman, we are told that He placed Adam into a “deep sleep.” I do not believe this is literal. Rather, it represents how the Lord subjected Adam (as well as you and me) to frustration. The phrase, “deep sleep” is defined as, “A lethargy or (by implication) trance.” This same phrase is used in the following passages.

 

Isaiah 29:10-11 (NKJV)
For the Lord has poured out on you The spirit of deep sleep, And has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, namely, the seers. The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, “Read this, please.” And he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.”

 

As these passages indicate, the “deep sleep” is indicative of our inability to understand His living Word, the realm of unconsciousness. And just as God poured out this “spirit of deep sleep” on the “prophets” and “seers” of Jerusalem (Ariel; Isaiah 29:1), so too did our Creator do the same to Adam and Eve. This resulted in Eve being deceived and Adam disobeying the commandment of God due to the vanity of his flesh. By all intents and purposes, this shows that God used the “deep sleep” to cause Adam and Eve to fall.

Think about it. The traditional view says that Adam fell and God didn’t expect it. But in light of the fact that God is God, does this even make sense? Do we really think that God, whose mind and intelligence brought into being all things, was taken by surprise when Adam and Eve sinned? If Paul tells us that the “natural” is “first,” then how was this accomplished? If Paul tells us that the “creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly” (Rom. 8:20), then wouldn’t this be apparent in our passages in Genesis?

Now, you might ask why it was that God intended for Adam to fall. My answer? Because the process of sowing and reaping is the process of salvation through which all of us pass. Think about it. What began in the beginning of humankind’s creation with the principle of sowing and reaping was later established by the giving of the law to Moses. Then Christ came, not doing away with this law, but fulfilling it, revealing to us that “the law is spiritual” (Rom. 7:14). Each successive step which followed after Genesis reveals a purpose from the beginning, a purpose which is revealed by the planting of the “seed” of His Word which would eventually reach its “fruition.” And this “fruition” is revealed in the last book of the Bible, the book of the Revelation. It shall end as God has determined. His Word will not return to Him void (Isa. 55:11).

 

Romans 5:12-14 (NIV)
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-- for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

 

Paul tells us that “sin entered the world through one man,” which we know is pictured in Adam. But we must be careful to understand that the “one man” is not just speaking of Adam, but of what Adam represented. Please consider.

 

1 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

 

Remember, the “deep sleep” placed Adam in a position where he would be subjected to the vanity of his flesh. And so it is that we too, experience the same, for the “natural man” is unable to receive the things of the Spirit of God. So we read, “And in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” In other words, Adam shows how everyone falls into the realm of sin and death due to their “natural man.”

Our word “natural” in this passage is the same word used in I Corinthians 15:44 in reference to the “natural body” as well as in I Corinthians 15:46 where we read, “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural.”

 

1 Corinthians 15:46-50 (NKJV)
However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.

 

Clearly, Paul is referring to the “first man Adam” (I Cor. 15:45) in all of these passages, showing that all of us are “made of dust” and must bear “the image of the man of dust” before we “bear the image of the heavenly man.”

“Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.” This shows that the kingdom of God is truly spiritual in nature and therefore must be received in spirit. In confirmation, consider the Lord’s words.

 

Luke 17:20-21 (NKJV)
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

 

Now, let’s look once more at our passages from Romans, Chapter 5.

 

Romans 5:12-14 (NIV)
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-- for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

 

Paul speaks of “the time of Adam to the time of Moses” as a time “before the law was given.” Nonetheless, sin, defined as lawlessness (I John 3:4), was still evident in the hearts of humankind which confirms our “natural man” as typified by Adam. Now, Paul also wrote that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), so we read, “Nevertheless, death reigned” during this time. That being said, I believe this stage, as typified by Adam, denotes the collective state of humanity and correlates with the “wayside” in the Parable of the Sower. Since there was no written law until Moses, I would call this period of time or age, the Age of Conscience. Isn’t it true that right and wrong, good and evil, is first experienced within our own being?

If this understanding is correct, then the next time or age began with Moses and Israel. Consider.

 

Matthew 13:20-21 (NKJV)
But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

 

Hebrews 3:7-19 (NKJV)
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ “ Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

 

As Jesus taught, the “stony places” speaks of those who endure only for a while because of the tribulation and persecution that arises “because of the word.” As indicated by our passages in Hebrews, this is exactly what happened after Israel was delivered from Egypt through Moses.

Do the “stony places” speak of the hardness of Israel’s heart during their sojourn in the wilderness? I believe it does. And it was in the wilderness where Israel received the law of God at Mount Sinai (Exodus, Chapter 20; Deuteronomy, Chapter 5), yet fell due to “unbelief.”

Keep in mind that the Parable of the Sower speaks of the “word of the kingdom” (Matt. 13:19). And it is clear in the Old Testament that this word came exclusively through Moses to Israel, denoting the “stony places” of our parable. As both scripture and history show, the law remained with Israel until the time of Christ. For this reason, I call this time or age, the Age of Law.

 

Chapter Six

[]INTERVENTION

As we have begun to discuss in the previous chapter, I see four ages revealed in the Parable of the Sower. We have found that the first age is the Age of Conscience, typified by the story of Adam and Eve and our understanding of how the “natural man” is formed in everyone.

The Age of Conscience was followed by the Age of Law as exemplified by Moses and the children of Israel. And as both the Old and New Testament show, the law remained until the time of Christ.

 

John 1:14-17 (NKJV)
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ “ And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

 

Mark 4:18-19 (NKJV)
Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

 

I call the third age, the Age of Grace. As written in John, Jesus came “full of grace and truth,” and “of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

But now, let’s take a moment to add something to our ages. First, we have the Age of Conscience, but remember, within each age God intervened in special ways in order for His purpose to be accomplished in humankind. In the Age of Conscience, there are two such critical interventions, the first being Noah and the second, Abraham.

Most everyone is familiar with the story of Noah and the flood. As Bullinger mentions concerning the spiritual meaning of eight, “It is 7 plus 1. Hence it is the number specially associated with Resurrection and Regeneration, and the beginning of a new era or order. When the whole earth was covered with the flood, it was Noah ‘the eighth person’ (2 Peter 2:5) who stepped out on to a new earth to commence a new order of things. ‘Eight souls’ (1 Peter 3:20) passed through it with him to the new or regenerated world.”

Our second intervention during the Age of Conscience is the most important and involves Abram, who became Abraham (Gen. 17:5). Why is this so important? Because it was through Abraham that the covenants of God were established. Paul confirms this in Galatians, Chapter 4.

 

Galatians 4:22-26 (NKJV)
For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants : the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar-- for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children-- but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.

 

As our passages from Galatians show, Abraham’s two wives, Sarah and Hagar, were symbolic of the two covenants. The first or Old Covenant speaks of the Law which was given to Moses at Mount Sinai. The second or New Covenant speaks of “Jerusalem above.” Please consider.

 

Hebrews 8:6-13 (NKJV)
But now He (Christ) has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

 

In these passages are clarified both covenants which are symbolized by Abraham’s wives. These are a quote from the prophecy of Jeremiah found in Jeremiah, Chapter 31, verses 31 through 34.

Without a doubt, the Two Covenants are the most important thing that we could consider in scripture, for they are “the hub of the wheel,” the center point of all that God has determined to do on this planet. What is even more fascinating about our Two Covenants is the fact that they are foreshadowed by and exemplify the twofold injunction of the principle of sowing and reaping. Not surprisingly, the New Covenant or “sowing to the Spirit,” is foreshadowed by the Garden of Eden. And as we have learned, the Old Covenant or “sowing to our flesh,” is foreshadowed by Adam being driven out of the Garden of Eden to “till the ground.” (Author’s Note: The tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life found in the Garden of Eden are also symbolic of the Old and New Covenants and our principle of sowing and reaping; keep in mind that Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden AFTER they had partaken of the fruit of the tree of knowledge signifying that the natural man would sow to the flesh and reap corruption).

Now, someone might ask how it is that the Old Covenant typifies sowing to the flesh. Because the law defines the consequences of our actions; it reveals to us what we will reap when we choose to sow to our own flesh or will in disregard to the will of God. In fact, our word “covenant” is synonymous with “testament,” meaning “will.”

When we add our two important interventions to our Age of Conscience, here is what we have.

 

The Age of Conscience

1. Adam to Noah

2. Noah to Abraham

3. Abraham to Moses

 

As we have already mentioned, Moses ushered in the Age of Law. But there is one important intervention included in this age. It is that of David, King of Israel. Why David? Because the promise of kingship in the line of David found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, the son of David. He was promised that He would rule over the house, throne and kingdom of David forever and of “the increase of His government there would be no end” (Luke 1:30-33; Isa. 9:6-9; Matt. 1:1; Rev. 3:7). With this in mind, our list would go as follows.

 

The Age of Conscience

1. Adam to Noah

2. Noah to Abraham

3. Abraham to Moses

The Age of Law

4. Moses to David

5. David to Christ

The Age of Grace

6. Christ to Present

 

When we include our interventions in the first three ages, we arrive at the number six in the Age of Grace. Here’s the spiritual meaning from Bullinger.

 

Six is either 4 plus 2, i.e., man’s world (4) with man’s enmity to God (2) brought in: or it is 5 plus 1, the grace of God made of none effect by man’s addition to it, or perversion, or corruption of it: or it is 7 minus 1, i.e., man’s coming short of spiritual perfection. In any case, therefore, it has to do with man; it is the number of imperfection; the human number; the number of MAN as destitute of God, without God, without Christ.

 

The Hebrew שֵׁשׁ שִׁשָּׁה (shaish) is supposed to be derived from the root שָׁשָׁא (shah-dash), but nothing is known about its origin or signification.

 

At any rate it is certain that man was created on the sixth day, and thus he has the number six impressed upon him. Moreover, six days were appointed to him for his labour; while one day is associated in sovereignty with the Lord God, as His rest.

 

Six, therefore, is the number of labour also, of man’s labour as apart and distinct from God’s rest. True, it marks the completion of Creation as God’s work, and therefore the number is significant of secular completeness.

 

The serpent also was created on the sixth day.

 

The Sixth Commandment relates to the worst sin,—murder.

 

The sixth clause of the Lord’s prayer treats of sin.

 

Six is the number stamped on all that is connected with human labour. We see it stamped upon his measures which he uses in his labour, and on the time during which he labours. And we see this from the very beginning.

 

When we reach the third age, the Age of Grace, we reach the sixth segment of our list. As Bullinger shows, six marks, “Man’s world (4) with man’s enmity to God (2) brought in: or it is 5 plus 1, the grace of God made of none effect by man’s addition to it, or perversion, or corruption of it: or it is 7 minus 1, i.e., man’s coming short of spiritual perfection.”

 

Romans 5:20 (KJV)
But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound…

 

If we consider the third age with our sixth segment, we have nine. Here’s Bullinger’s explanation.

 

The number nine is a most remarkable number in many respects. It is held in great reverence by all who study the occult sciences; and in mathematical science it possesses properties and powers which are found in no other number.*

 

  • Among others may be mentioned (1) that the sum of the digits which form its multiples are themselves always a multiple of nine; e.g., 2 × 9 = 18 (and 1+8=9); 3 × 9 = 27 (and 2+7=9); 4 × 9 = 36 (and 3+6=9); 5 × 9 = 45 (and 4+5=9), etc., etc.; and so with the larger numbers: 52843 × 9 = 475587 (and 4+7+5+5+8+7=36, and 3+6=9). (2) The sum of its multiples through the nine digits = 405, or 9 times 45.

 

It is the last of the digits, and thus marks the end; and is significant of the conclusion of a matter.

 

It is akin to the number six, six being the sum of its factors (3×3=9, and 3+3=6), and is thus significant of the end of man, and the summation of all man’s works. Nine is, therefore, the number of finality and judgment, for judgment is committed unto Jesus as “the Son of man” (John 5:27; Acts 17:31). It marks the completeness, the end and issue of all things as to man—the judgment of man and all his works.

 

Is it just a matter of coincidence that our three ages and six segments are summed up in the number nine which marks “the last of the digits, and thus marks the end; and is significant of the conclusion of a matter?” Would this correlate with Peter’s remarks about the “last days” in Acts 2:17 as well as Paul’s in II Timothy 3:1 and Hebrews 1:2?

Nine is, therefore, the number of finality and judgment,” Bullinger states, so consider the following.

 

John 5:22-23 (KJV)
For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

 

John 16:7-8 (KJV)
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment

 

Do you see it? God has committed all judgment to the Son, and Christ spoke of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who would “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” And no doubt, judgment, as well as grace, is sorely needed in this time in which we live.

If what Peter and John said is true, it would be safe to say that the “last days” are incorporated into this Age of Grace in which we now stand.

 

 

Chapter Seven

[]THE AGE OF GRACE

Mark 4:18-19 (NKJV)
Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

 

As we have found, we are now in the Age of Grace, a time when the Word of God has been sown among “thorns.” And could there be a better description of this age in which we live? Due to the continual increase of population and technology, do we not see that the world and the church has been overcome by “the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things?” Consider the seventh message to the seventh church of Revelation, the church of Laodicea.

 

Revelation 3:14-17 (NKJV)
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…”

 

The seventh message is the final message, a prophecy from the Lord that describes the spiritual lethargy that is evident at this present time. Is our spiritual condition not unmistakable in this message? We say that we are “rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” yet the Lord says we “do not know” that we are “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” In other words, we are deceived and deceiving others.

 

Matthew 24:36-42 (NKJV)
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah *were*, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.

 

There are those who use these passages as proof of a rapture, but look closely at what Jesus said. Concerning the end of the age (Matt. 24:3), Jesus told His disciples that “the coming of the Son of Man” would be like “the days of Noah,” that we would be “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” and that we wouldn’t know “until the flood came” and took us away. When Jesus said that one would be taken and the other left, the one “taken” is carried away by the flood. This is not a literal flood, but a flood of pride and deception (Matt. 24:23-27; Rev. 12:15). Now, in regard to “marrying and given in marriage,” consider the following.

 

Luke 20:34-36 (NKJV)
And Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

 

Do you see it? “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,” agreeing with what Jesus said in Matthew, Chapter 24. Ah, but “those who are counted worthy to attain that age,” the age to come, “and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage.” And not for a moment do I believe that Jesus was speaking literally. Note that Jesus said “sons of God,” being “equal to the angels” and “sons of the resurrection.”

 

Genesis 6:1-8 (NKJV)
Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

 

As we see, these passages are also about the days of Noah, and preceding the Lord’s injunction to “destroy man,” we see the “sons of God” marrying the “daughters of men.” Is there a spiritual inference here that relates to what we are considering? Would this suggest those that are called as “sons” becoming joined to the denominations of our time? I must wonder (see Matthew 24:29; Daniel 12:3).

What is a marriage? Is it not the union of a man and woman who then become husband and wife? And wouldn’t this imply a commitment and responsibility of these “sons” to the denominations they choose? Would this have anything to do with “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots (daughters of men [denominations]) and abominations (Prov. 6:17-19) of the earth,” found in Revelation 17:5 (see Revelation 18:4 and Galatians 4:27)?

 

Romans 5:20-21 (KJV)
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Take a moment to read our preceding passages again. Now, consider Vincent’s treatment of these passages.

 

The law entered (παρεισῆλθεν)

Rev., literally, came in beside, giving the force of παρά beside. Very significant. Now that the parallel between Adam and Christ is closed, the question arises as to the position and office of the law. How did it stand related to Adam and Christ? Paul replies that it came in alongside of the sin. “It was taken up into the divine plan or arrangement, and made an occasion for the abounding of grace in the opening of the new way to justification and life” (Dwight).

 

Might abound (πλεονάσῃ)

Not primarily of the greater consciousness and acknowledgment of sin, but of the increase of actual transgression. The other thought, however, may be included. See 7:7, 8, 9, 11.

 

Did much more abound (ὑπερεπερίσσευσεν)

Lit., abounded over and above. Only here and 2 Corinthians 7:4. Compare ὑπερεπλεόνασε abounded exceedingly, 1 Timothy 1:14; ὑπερπερισσῶς beyond measure, Mark 7:37; ὑπεραυξάνει; groweth exceedingly, 2 Thessalonians 1:3.

 

Note how Vincent explains “might abound,” indicating that it speaks of the literal “increase of actual transgression.” Our passages in Romans, Chapter 5, refer to the law which was given to Moses and Israel in the wilderness. And the scriptures show that from the moment it was given, Israel rebelled, and continued to rebel, her backsliding and sins increasing all the more until the time of Christ.

 

Galatians 4:1-5 (NKJV)
Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

 

By the time of Christ, the Word of God in the form of the law had reached a point where it was no longer effective, made useless by the doctrines and commandments of men (Matt. 15:9). And who was responsible for the law of God at the time of Christ? It was the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees, the religious leaders of the Jews. And in regard to modern Christianity, is the same true today? And no doubt the Roman society of Jesus’ time accurately reflects the modern society of our own.

Sin was rampant, having reached a fullness that God alone could address. And how did He address it? “When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law.” You see my friend, the fullness of God’s wrath was exemplified in the grace of giving His Son. Will it be any less so in the age to come?

What is grace? Some have said “unmerited favor,” but consider the Strong’s definition which is found 155 times in the King James Bible. It reads, “from (chairo); graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude). G5463 reads, “a primary verb; to becheerful, i.e. calmly happy or well-off; impersonal especially as salutation (on meeting or parting), be well.”

Understand that grace is not a license to do as we please, but rather “the divine influence upon the heart,” which enables us to keep the law. It is given to break sin’s power and overcome evil in our hearts and minds.

Grace is not a substitute for the law, nor the law for grace. They are two sides of the same coin. Grace is needed until we truly understand that the law is for our good, that it is the revelation of the righteous nature of our Father. Even as God is holy, so too the law is holy (Rom. 7:12), the expression of God’s character.

Understand dear friend that the law was not given in order for God to declare that “He’s the boss,” that He is in control. Rather, it was given for our well-being. Let me give you an example of what I mean.

Why are there warnings on cigarette packages? Why do we have labels on our food showing how many calories or fat or sugar is in a serving? Why are there warnings on cleaning products about the toxic chemicals contained within? Are these companies trying to push us around with their so-called labeling? Of course not. They’re warning us, letting us know that using these products comes with certain consequences when we use them. And so goes the law. When the Lord declared that we should not steal, murder, or commit adultery, He was instructing and admonishing us, letting us know that there are consequences for these actions. And these consequences are far reaching, not only bringing hurt and condemnation to ourselves, but to others as well.

Take some time to think about all the things we are doing that is bad for us. It is quite puzzling actually, and the strange thing about it is that we continue to do it, not only on an individual level, but a collective one as well. We are so far removed from common sense and reason that our society is plunging deeper and deeper into chaos and confusion.

As an example, consider technology. It’s a double-edged sword, for while many of us enjoy such an amazing array of abundance and convenience, we are also paying a very high price for it. What began with the discovery of electricity, telephones, automobiles, stem cell research, genetics, and so on has cost us greatly as we move forward in these technologies.

Are you aware of GMO, genetically modified organisms? According to several sources on the internet, genetically modified organisms such as plants and livestock are already in our supermarkets. And what is the result of GMO? Food products loaded with more chemicals, health problems such as weight gain and organ disruption, and even links to cancer.

And what about the more obvious dangers in our society such as tobacco? All of us know that smoking causes all manner of health problems from lung cancer to emphysema. And yet, the tobacco companies continue to grow, market, and advertise tobacco products to society at large. Why? Profit. In the light of the well-being of all things, does this even make sense? No wonder Paul wrote that the love of money is the root of all evil (I Tim. 6:10).

Healthcare in America has grown by leaps and bounds; overwhelmed by all of the health problems in our society. Did these problems just suddenly appear? No, they did not. They are the result of many generations before us implementing the root causes of these problems which we know today.

So here is one of the most important understandings in this study. Truth, as defined by the law of God, is only a problem when we resist it, when we choose to disobey it. And such is the “punishment” or “judgment” of God. It is not punishment out of self-interest, but punishment in regard to what is good for us. When we resist the truth to the point of disobedience, we create our own suffering. And we have already cited several examples.

Consider our addiction to cigarettes, alcohol, prescription and illegal drugs, sugar, fast foods, and so on. All of us know that these things are bad for us, yet, despite the truth of it, we still disobey and consume these things. And then many of us, due to our continued disobedience, find ourselves bound by these addictions, our lives often shattered because of it.

Understand that the “judgment” of God is contained in the principle of sowing and reaping, and this principle is the foundation of the law. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). When we choose to sow in disobedience to the laws of God, we will reap the consequences.

Really think about this. At this present time, America is considered the sickest country in the world. As I mentioned before, our healthcare system is overloaded because of the repercussions of those things we continue to do to ourselves; smoking, drinking, drugs; you name it, we are doing it, and the result is cancer, emphysema, COPD, alcoholism, opioid addiction, heroin and meth addiction, diabetes, heart disease, and on and on.

Our sexual promiscuity has led to adultery, divorce, abortion, incest, and the LGBT and its push for transgender bathrooms (Be warned, my friend, pedophilia is next in line, for our children are being exposed to all of this at an alarming rate and it won’t be long before some will seek to “normalize” sex with children).

The insanity of the carnal mind and the deceptive heart is evident (Rom. 8:6-7). Yet, while we continue to bring these things upon ourselves, we stand in our pride and declare that it is not fair, that it shouldn’t be this way. But what do we expect? If we tell our child not to stick their hand in the fire and they do it anyway, will there not be consequences?

What is further disheartening is the fact that we are scrambling to find solutions to these problems, not because we wish for these things to end, but because we wish to continue to do these things without repercussions. We want to continue in our disobedience and yet avoid the suffering it brings. Ah, but this is where “the rubber meets the road” my friend. Truth will stand no matter how much we push against it. And we will not find an end to our suffering until we humble ourselves, acknowledge His truth, and obey it.

So why is our nation and other countries floundering in such chaos? It is largely due to what has been sown in the generations before us. Many of the “seeds” of rebellion and error that were planted generations ago are reaching their “fullness” in this time in which we live. What is seen as a “seed” of disobedience in Genesis is revealed in its “fruition” in Revelation. What began as a “serpent” in Genesis is revealed as a collective “great red dragon” in Revelation. Understand my friend that all of the “doom and gloom” we see in the book of the Revelation is symbolism showing our complete disregard for the law of God and the consequences which follow. When we fail to “repent,” to change our thinking, then the suffering it brings will not end (Rev. 9:20-21; 16:9, 11).

Friend, it is not normal for our country (or any country), to be so fraught with fast food and obesity, domestic violence and abuse, sexual promiscuity, abortion and divorce. It is not normal for so many to be addicted to drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes (most people in this country take antidepressants). It is not normal for us to be so addicted to television, sports, sports figures, movies, famous actors, actresses, musicians, and every kind of entertainment imaginable. It is not normal that human trafficking and slavery still exists. It is not normal for our children to be so enamored by video games, cell phones, texting, and social media. It is not normal that the LGBT movement has gained so much ground in our society. It is not normal for the health care industry to be so overwhelmed by the large number of sicknesses and diseases that are routine in our daily lives. It is not normal that the pharmaceutical giants amass billions of dollars, propagating a plethora of drugs on this country that is astounding in its own right. And it is certainly not normal that we have become so desensitized to all of this that we never give much thought to, or really care about, whether it remains this way or not.

 

1 John 3:8-10 (NKJV)
He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.

 

Never in the history of humankind has there been such a need for grace, both for His church and for the world.

 

 

Chapter Eight

[]THE WORKS OF THE LAW

Take a moment to think about humanity as we know it today. If you watch the news at all, then you know that things are chaotic all across the world. There are wars in various countries. Britain just exited from the European Union. Mass shootings recently took place in Orlando, Florida and Dallas, Texas that has rocked our nation. The current presidential race is rife with contention and perplexity about the state of our nation. The rise of ISIS has created great concern for many countries. And not a day goes by that someone isn’t murdered or some atrocity isn’t committed. Now, imagine all of this without laws, military, police, courts, judges, and attorneys. Imagine a society where none of this existed and we were all left to our own devices, our own way of dealing with the darkness that surrounds us. Would it not be anarchy? Consider the following from Felix Frankfurter, American jurist, 1882-1965.

 

Fragile as reason is and limited as law is as the institutionalized medium of reason, that’s all we have standing between us and the tyranny of mere will and the cruelty of unbridled, undisciplined feeling.

 

Note the following from Sigmund Freud and his lecture, Civilization and Its Discontents, published in 1930.

 

. . . men are not gentle creatures, who want to be loved, who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. As a result, their neighbor is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him. Homo homini lupus  [man is wolf to man]. Who in the face of all his experience of life and of history, will have the courage to dispute this assertion? As a rule this cruel aggressiveness waits for some provocation or puts itself at the service of some other purpose, whose goal might also have been reached by milder measures. In circumstances that are favorable to it, when the mental counter-forces which ordinarily inhibit it are out of action, it also manifests itself spontaneously  and reveals man as a savage beast to whom consideration towards his own kind is something alien. Anyone who calls to mind the atrocities committed during the racial migrations or the invasions of the Huns, or by the people known as Mongols under Jenghiz Khan and Tamerlane, or at the capture of Jerusalem by the pious Crusaders, or even, indeed, the horrors of the recent World War -- anyone who calls these things to mind will have to bow humbly before the truth of this view.

 

Law is defined as “a system of rules that are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior” (Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia). Humanity must have law; it is critical to our existence. And remember, everything has a beginning. So where did our laws come from? One might argue that they began with man, and this might sound true, but when did we decide to implement laws and why? Was it due to our own reactions to those things we deem unacceptable in a society? And who or what determines what is acceptable or not?

Now, someone else might argue that our laws are a result of our own conscience. If this is true, then how did law find its way into our conscience? And again, whose conscience determines whether something is acceptable or not? Who sets the standard which any society follows? As our present reality shows, there are more laws now than ever, many of which have changed many times and are changing again. And why are they changing?

So let’s face it. It is baffling when we try to understand why we are doing so much harm to one another and our planet. No doubt, we are struggling for answers which at best seem elusive to us. Could it be that something higher than ourselves is needed? Could it be that the law of God as recorded in the Bible is more relevant and needful than most of us think?

So what is my point? It’s simple. We need law, but not laws that come from the corrupt minds of men and women whose only interest is power and control. Rather, we need law from a Higher Source and a greater wisdom that not only provides direction, but includes the correction necessary that we might attain its higher essence.

If the Age of Conscience is any example, law is definitely a necessity of our very existence.

 

Genesis 6:5-8 (KJV)
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

 

We have already touched on the story of Noah and the great flood which took place during the Age of Conscience. Consider the first verse of our passages above. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” This, my friend, happened during a time when there was no written law (Rom. 5:13) and man was left to live by means of his own heart and mind. And what was the result? Humanity passed all moral boundaries, so much so that we read, “And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.”

Now, what stands out about this? It’s the fact that it was the Lord who “saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth” and it was the Lord who decided that something must be done. And I cannot help but believe that it will again be the Lord who does something in the days ahead.

At this present time and during this Age of Grace, there are laws in every country and every society, yet we are still pushing the boundaries of reason and morality. Where and when will it end? And where do we turn for a solution?

 

1 John 3:4 (NKJV)
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

 

Most everyone is familiar with the word “sin.” And according to John, the most basic definition is “lawlessness.” But lawlessness in regard to what law? Of course the Bible shows that it would be God’s law which was delivered to Moses and Israel which issued in the Age of Law. Most would readily identify this as the Ten Commandments which Moses received on Mount Sinai, but friend, there was much more to it than that.

The Law of God that was given to Moses included instructions for a tabernacle as well as three major feasts which Israel was to celebrate. There were also many other laws given besides the Ten Commandments, specific laws which addressed man’s behavior with each other as well as how he treated his animals, land and even the food he was to eat. Now, consider the following words of Christ.

 

Matthew 5:17-20 (NKJV)
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

 

Here, Jesus makes it clear that He did not come to “destroy the Law or the Prophets,” but “to fulfill,” to fill it to the full (7). He then states, “Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle (smallest detail) will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” This tells us that the Law was much more than just regulations by which Israel lived. Rather, the law also contained prophetic elements which revealed the purpose of God in His people. Perhaps the best example is found in the Feasts of Israel.

There were three major Feasts of Israel; The Feast of Passover, the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles, and all three were “types,” if you will, of God’s divine purpose. The Feast of Passover consisted of three segments; the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of the Sheaf of First fruits, while the Feast of Pentecost stood alone. The Feast of Tabernacles also consisted of three segments; the Feast Day of trumpets, the Feast Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles itself. Three feasts in seven segments, our three suggesting the “work” of the seed of the living Word and our seven suggesting “fullness.”

Now, in regard to Passover, we read that “even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (I Cor. 5:7). Paul also wrote, “But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits” (I Cor. 15:23). James wrote, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures” (James 1:18). In these passages we find the spiritual fulfillment of the Feast of Passover, including the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of First fruits.

The Feast of Passover was followed by the Feast of Pentecost, and who hasn’t heard about the “Day of Pentecost,” when the disciples of Christ were endued with power in the upper room (Acts 2:1-4)? So it is that the spiritual fulfillment of the natural types took place through Christ and His Apostles. And what does that leave us? The Feast of Tabernacles.

So think about this. Would our Heavenly Father fulfill some of the feasts but not all of them? Of course not! So is it possible that we must go through or are even now going through the spiritual fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles? I believe so, and I also believe that this fulfillment is seen in the book of the Revelation.

What I find fascinating about the Feasts of Israel is that they were considered agricultural feasts, centered around the planting and harvesting of their crops. That being said, is it just coincidence that our universal principle of sowing and reaping is implied?

With all of this in mind, look again at what Jesus said in Matthew, Chapter 5. Not “one jot or one tittle (smallest detail) will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Does this confirm that we may be passing through the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles? And who would be accomplishing this? Would it not be the Lord Himself? Please consider.

 

John 4:34 (NKJV)
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”

 

Hebrews 10:12-13 (NKJV)
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.

 

Revelation 5:1-7 (NKJV)
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

 

When Jesus made the statement about finishing the work of His Father, would it not include that which followed after His resurrection? I believe so, for the “last Adam became a life-giving Spirit” (I Cor. 15:45), and by means of His Spirit He is even now fulfilling the smallest detail of the law until “all is fulfilled.”

John’s vision of the throne of God showed a “scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals,” seven again suggesting “fullness.” And who was found worthy to take “the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne” and to “open the scroll and to loose its seven seals?” Christ, the “Lamb” of God who, “after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.”

It is my opinion that the “scroll” seen in the right hand of God on the throne symbolizes the remaining “work” of the Father which Jesus said He must finish, and this would correlate with the fulfilling of every detail of the law. So it is that the opening of its seals begins in Revelation, Chapter 6, and continues through the end of the book.

 

Revelation 2:26-28 (NKJV)
And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations -- ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.

 

Revelation 3:21 (NKJV)
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

 

According to these passages, Christ is seated at the throne of God. And what is the purpose of a throne? Is it not indicative of a kingdom or government? And doesn’t every government have laws? So wouldn’t the throne of God indicate the government of God by means of His laws?

 

Isaiah 9:6-7 (KJV)
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. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

 

Do not be deceived my friend, it is not man who is ruling, rather it is Christ. And it is Christ who is enforcing the law of God despite our ignorance of or resistance to it. This is why man cannot accomplish what is needed no matter how many governments are formed and how many laws are passed. Only Christ can implement the change that is so badly needed in our mind and hearts.

 

Galatians 2:16 (KJV)
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

 

Friend, Paul made it clear over and over. No man “is justified” or made innocent “by the works of the law.” Why? Because the law is “our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24). Understand that it is not us wielding the law, but Christ. “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31). So what happens once the “tutor” has succeeded in teaching us? “It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher” (Matt. 10:25). Once we are finished with the tutorage of the law, it is enough that we be as the law, to be as Christ in our nature.

 

Romans 4:15 (KJV)
Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

 

As our principle of sowing and reaping shows, the law is twofold. There is that which we do in regard to it (sowing), and there is that which it does in regard to us (reaping). So Paul tells us, “The law worketh wrath.” Our word “worketh” is defined as, “To work fully, i.e. accomplish; by implication to finish, fashion.” This agrees with what Jesus said in Matthew, Chapter 5. And what is it that is fulfilled in the law? The “wrath” of God. Consider.

 

Revelation 15:1 (NKJV)
Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.

 

Revelation 16:1 (NKJV)
Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.”

 

In Revelation, we find “seven angels having the seven last plagues,” seven meaning fulfilled, so we’re told that “the wrath of God is complete” in the seven. Again, this agrees with the Lord’s statement in Matthew, Chapter 5. The King James renders this as “filled up.” Our word “wrath” means, “Passion (as if breathing hard).” And what is God’s passion? Would it be that He is not willing that any should perish (II Peter 3:9)? But understand that God does not change His laws, for unlike the laws of man, they are perfect in their scope and righteous in their requirements.

There are “seven last plagues” which fulfill the “wrath of God.” Our word “plagues” means, “A stroke; by implication a wound; figurative a calamity.” It’s taken from the word which means, “To pound, i.e. (figurative) to inflict with (calamity).” Please consider.

 

Luke 12:47-48 (KJV)
And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

 

When considering the wrath of God, both saint and sinner are seen in these passages, and both saint and sinner will be “beaten” with “stripes.” Our word “stripes” is the same word translated as “plagues” in Revelation 15:1 and in Revelation, Chapter 16.

 

Revelation 16:21 (KJV)
And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

 

This passage follows the seventh or final angel pouring out his vial or bowl “into the air” (Rev. 16:17). We’re then told, “And there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth” (Rev. 16:18). We then find that “great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath” (Rev. 16:19). We then arrive at our passage above and “a great hail out of heaven” and “men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail.”

 

Matthew 24:12-13 (NKJV)
And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

 

In His discourse concerning the end of the age, Jesus made it clear that “lawlessness” would abound and “the love of the many” would “grow cold.” This my friend, is what I believe the “hail” to represent. After all, wouldn’t increased lawlessness not make it extremely difficult for any and everyone who was present during this time? Of course. And wouldn’t the increase of lawlessness also “blaspheme” our Maker, regardless of whether we confess Him or not? And isn’t this an accurate description of our society today? Yes it is. No wonder we are told to endure.

Now, consider this. The “great hail” came “out of heaven” after the seventh angel “poured out his bowl into the air” (Rev. 16:17). This shows that it is a matter of God’s will, again agreeing with the fact that Jesus is fulfilling the smallest detail of the law which works “wrath.”

 

Matthew 24:21 (NKJV)
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

 

Now, consider the “great earthquake” of Revelation 16:18 and how we are told “such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.” Would our phrase concerning the “earthquake” not correlate with “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be? I believe it does. By no means is this literal earthquake, but corresponds with the following.

 

Hebrews 12:25-29 (NKJV)
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.

 

Who is it that “speaks from heaven?” God. And whose “voice” shook the earth during the time of Moses? Our heavenly Father. And isn’t Christ even now at the right hand of God, serving as the “voice” of God to His people? And what does Hebrews tell us? “Yet once more I shake not only the earth (earthquake), but also heaven.” And what is the purpose? “The removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made (created things, both physical and ideological), that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.” And it is apparent that only the kingdom of God “cannot be shaken” during this time.

 

Romans 7:12 (NKJV)
Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

 

Holy, just, good

Holy as God’s revelation of Himself; just (Rev., righteous) in its requirements, which correspond to God’s holiness; good, salutary, because of its end.

 

Let me restate what I said earlier. The foundation of the law is the principle of sowing and reaping. How do we know? Because we reap what we sow, meaning that there are always consequences for those things we say and do. And isn’t that the purpose of law? It is, and so this principle was later expanded on and exemplified by the written law which was delivered to Moses and Israel in the wilderness. This shows that in essence, there has always been law, for as Vincent states, the law is a revelation of God Himself! No wonder “Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He (God) said, ‘See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain’” (Heb. 8:5). Why? Because the law, including the tabernacle and the feasts (see Exodus, Chapters 20-31), was “the copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5), containing within itself the revelation of God to humankind.

Remember, the law is our “tutor” to bring us to Christ, and Paul tells us very clearly, “But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious” (II Cor. 3:7-8)?

Friend, it is my opinion that we have not yet beheld the fullness of “the ministry of the Spirit” in any fashion, for I believe it is reserved until the end of this age and the age to come. So, at this time, the “works of the law,” the “letter” that “kills” is clearly evident (II Cor. 3:6), for sin is and continues to increase at this present time. Ah, but what will follow is the Spirit which “gives life” (II Cor. 3:6).

Chapter Nine

[]THE LAW IS SPIRITUAL

Romans 7:14 (KJV)
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

 

“The law is spiritual.” Really think about what that means. To put it plainly, when we are unable to keep the law, it shows that we are yet “carnal, sold under sin.” It reveals to us that we are in much need of grace until we truly become spiritual. And it goes without saying that we shouldn’t confess otherwise until it’s a fact.

We are almost two thousand years removed from the beginning of the New Testament Church. And if the scripture proves anything, it is the fact that we don’t fully understand its teachings. And this is due to the fact that most, if not all of us, are still carnal, unable to truly discern spiritual things (I Cor. 2:14).

Most of the New Testament was written by Paul the Apostle. But there are also the gospels, written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the letters of Peter and James and Jude. And who were these men? They were the disciples of Christ, those men who walked with Him during His time here on earth. These men became the Apostles, receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the upper room in accordance with the Lord’s promise (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4). And it wasn’t until these men received this power that they went forth preaching the gospel of Christ.

There can be no doubt that the Apostles were spiritual men who understood the spiritual essence of the kingdom of God. Not only did Christ teach them for approximately three and a half years during His ministry, He also returned to them after His resurrection and was seen of them for “forty days,” “speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Who among us can say the same?

To our natural man, all of this seems foolish to us. The idea of Christ having been raised from the dead and then showing Himself alive to a select few baffles the carnal mind. But there can be no doubt of this, for the evidence of those things which Jesus taught are clearly before us.

Now, consider this. Jesus, as well as all of the Apostles, taught from the Old Testament scriptures; there was no New Testament as we have today. Yet, this was sufficient, for the law and the prophets align perfectly with the writings of the New Testament authors. Any confusion between the two is merely a result of our own inability to understand.

May I speak frankly? There are many today who would have us believe that they are spiritual, that they are filled with the Spirit and led by the Spirit. They are quick to say that “God told me” or “the Spirit led me” or that the “Spirit of God” is present in what they are doing. Beware, my friend, for most of this is a mockery, for the scripture is clear; “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (I John 3:9). The one who is truly spiritual “does not sin.” And not only is this true, “he cannot sin, because he has been born of God,” the nature of sin eradicated by the gift of grace through the process of sowing and reaping. No wonder Paul wrote, “He who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ” (I Cor. 2:15-16).

Chapter Ten

[]THE AGE OF FULLNESS

Matthew 13:23 (NKJV)
But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

 

There are many who believe in the end of the world. Then there are those who believe in a rapture. Still others don’t know what to believe. To those who believe in the end of this world, consider this. Would our Creator, who has sustained life on this planet for thousands of years, only do so that He might destroy it in the end? As for those who believe in a rapture, why would God desire righteousness in a people and then remove it from this earth at its most needful hour?

Perhaps I am wrong, but I don’t believe in a rapture or the end of the world. However, I do believe in the end of an age. And according to scripture, the beginning and end of each age is marked by the intervention of our Creator. First, Adam, followed by Moses, then Christ. Of course God intervened as well within these ages for His own reasons, but the fact remains, it is God whose purpose and plan is being reckoned and it will be God who institutes the next phase.

As Matthew 13:23 shows, the “good ground” are those who hear the Word and understand it. This in itself is an amazing thing, especially in light of the confusion that surrounds Christianity today. I will be the first to admit that there is much I don’t understand, but if I have learned anything over the past 39 years, it is this—there is a wisdom in scripture that surpasses that which is seen on the surface, a depth that few know. And the same could be said during the time in which Christ lived.

Despite the fact that we have churches all over this nation, few understand the Word they claim to embrace, and fewer still give much attention to it. We have truly become overwhelmed by the “thorns,” the cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things.

For those who may doubt the efficacy of His Word, consider the prophecies of Jesus in Matthew, Chapter 24, Mark, Chapter 13, and Luke, Chapter 21. When properly understood, they are a perfect picture of where we have evolved to today.

For me, the principle of sowing and reaping has been one of the most remarkable understandings that I have been blessed to consider, thus the reason for this study as well as the others I have published. What is truly amazing about this principle is that it surrounds each and every one of us, hiding in plain sight. Grass and plants and trees, insects and animals and humans, are all still here due to this principle. And when considered in the light of knowledge and understanding, it is apparent that many of the seeds of knowledge which were sown generations ago have found or are finding their fullness in this time in which we live. We are still evolving, still moving forward, still discovering and learning, and our world has changed accordingly. What we take for granted today did not even exist a few hundred years ago.

Despite the wonder of this technological age in which we live, there is still one thing that we are unable to address, that we are unable to change, and that is the human heart. We may try to explain it, justify it, criticize it, or condemn it, but we really don’t understand its inner workings. The fact that we move about in our daily routine processing thousands of thoughts a day is just another thing we take for granted, not realizing our own miraculous makeup.

 

Matthew 24:3-8 (NKJV)
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

 

When the disciples asked Christ about the sign of His coming and the end of the age, we find the beginning of His answer in the passages above. First, deception, followed by “wars and rumors of wars.” Then “nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” Finally, “famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.” And what did the Lord say then? “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

Our word “sorrows” means “A pang or throe, especially of childbirth.” For this reason the New International Version reads, “All these are the beginning of birth pains.” This shows that the tribulation of which Jesus spoke was likened to the conception and eventual birth of a child. This aligns perfectly with our understanding of the Parable of the Sower for the “seed” of the Word of God is destined to produce a “crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matt. 13:23; NIV). No doubt, this is a spiritual fulfillment in the hearts of a people. Consider.

 

Pregnancy is measured in trimesters from the first day of your last menstrual period, totaling 40 weeks. The first trimester of pregnancy is week 1 through week 12, or about 3 months. The second trimester is week 13 to week 27. And the third trimester of pregnancy spans from week 28 to the birth (WebMD).

 

I find it interesting that a pregnancy is approximately nine months or a total of 40 weeks. Remember our spiritual meaning of nine? “It is the last of the digits, and thus marks the end; and is significant of the conclusion of a matter. It is akin to the number six, six being the sum of its factors (3×3=9, and 3+3=6), and is thus significant of the end of man, and the summation of all man’s works. Nine is, therefore, the number of finality or judgment, for judgment is committed unto Jesus as “the Son of man” (John 5:27; Acts 17:31). It marks the completeness, the end and issue of all things as to man—the judgment of man and all his works” (Bullinger).

 

1 Peter 4:17 (NKJV)
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

 

In Peter’s day, he made it clear that the time had come “for judgment to begin at the house of God.” So, could we liken our “sorrows” or “birth pains” to this judgment? I believe so.

Forty also has a significant spiritual meaning. Please consider.

 

Forty has long been universally recognized as an important number, both on account of the frequency of its occurrence, and the uniformity of its association with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement—(not judgment, like the number 9, which stands in connection with the punishment of enemies, but the chastisement of sons, and of a covenant people). It is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8). This is certainly the case where forty relates to a period of evident probation. But where it relates to enlarged dominion, or to renewed or extended rule, then it does so in virtue of its factors 4 and 10, and in harmony with their signification.

 

There are 15 such periods which appear on the surface of the Scriptures, and which may be thus classified:—

 

Forty Years of Probation by Trial
Israel in the wilderness, Deut 8:2-5; Psa 95:10; Acts 13:18 (the third 40 of Moses’ life, 120 years).
Israel from the crucifixion to the destruction of Jerusalem.

Forty Years of Probation by Prosperity in Deliverance and Rest
under Othniel, Judg 3:11, 
under Barak, Judg 5:31, 
under Gideon, Judg 8:28.

Forty Years of Probation by Prosperity in Enlarged Dominion
under David, 2 Sam 5:4, 
under Solomon, 1 Kings 11:42, 
under Jeroboam II. See 2 Kings 12:17, 18, 13:3, 5, 7, 22, 25, 14:12-14, 23, 28, 
under Jehoash, 2 Kings 12:1, 
under Joash, 2 Chron 24:1.

Forty Years of Probation by Humiliation and Servitude
Israel under the Philistines, Judg 13:1. 
Israel in the time of Eli, 1 Sam 4:18. 
Israel under Saul, Acts 13:21.

Forty Years of Probation by Waiting
Moses in Egypt, Acts 7:23. 
Moses in Midian, Acts 7:30

 

FORTY DAYS

 

There are eight of such great periods on the surface of the Bible:

 

Forty days Moses was in the mount to receive the Law, Exo 24:18.

Forty days Moses was in the mount after the sin of the Golden Calf, Deut 9:18, 25.

Forty days of the spies, issuing in the penal sentence of the 40 years, Num 13:26, 14:34.

Forty days of Elijah in Horeb, 1 Kings 19:8.

Forty days of Jonah and Nineveh, Jonah 3:4.

Forty days Ezekiel lay on his right side to symbolize the 40 years of Judah’s transgression.

Forty days Jesus was tempted of the Devil, Matt 4:2.

Forty days Jesus was seen of His disciples, speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, Acts 1:3.

 

It should be apparent by the spiritual meaning of the numbers that the 40 weeks or 9 months of pregnancy align with the “birth pains” or tribulation of which Jesus spoke. It is a time of difficulty and distress, becoming increasingly more so as we approach the birth with the birth itself being the most difficult of all. No wonder Jesus said in Matthew 24, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:24).

It is my opinion that the age to come, what I call the Age of Fullness, will be marked by the birth of the child, but consider this—the 9 months or 40 weeks denote a time of darkness, for a child is formed in the womb of the mother, absent from the light of the world around it (I Thess. 5:2; II Peter 3:10). When contrasted with what Jesus taught in Matthew, Chapter 24, this makes sense. Now, what do we mean by the birth? Consider.

 

Galatians 4:19 (NIV)
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you

 

Do you see it? The “pains of childbirth” relate to the forming of Christ in us.

 

Colossians 1:24-29 (RSV)
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles (nations) are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ. For this I toil, striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires within me.

Here my friend is the “mystery,” “hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints.” It is a divine mystery, a revelation and process which we must pass through in order for Christ to be formed in us.

Our word “Christ” means “anointed,” and speaks of the life that is found in His Spirit alone. And I must say again that I don’t believe that we have seen this in any true fashion. Why? Because it cannot happen until the process is finished, signified by the delivery of the child. It is simply not yet time. In the things of God, there will not be a “premature” birth.

Understand my friend that Christ in us is not just a confession of faith or mental assent. It is not marked by large denominations, Sunday Schools, Wednesday and Sunday services, music, or any such thing. It will be evident in the righteousness of His people and a spiritual demonstration not unlike the days of Christ and the Apostles. Would that which is given at the end be any different from that which began it? I don’t believe so, and it is evident that it will take a great spiritual phenomenon to put an end to the confusion and divisiveness that is Christianity today.

 

1 Corinthians 1:10-13 (NKJV)
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

 

1 Corinthians 3:4-7 (NKJV)
For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.

 

“I am a Baptist.” “I am a Catholic.” “I am a Pentecostal.” Are these not the same type of statements as what Paul discussed above? And didn’t Paul state that we are “carnal” when we have this mindset. Sure we are, for it is evident that we are not all speaking the same thing and there is most definitely division among us. So, when presented with the need for change, how does anyone know where to turn? For me, it would be maddening trying to figure it out (and I went through this myself). Do we not yet understand that there is no room for “self” in the kingdom of God, nor for its doctrines and commandments (Matt. 15:9)? Do we not yet understand that the Spirit of God has not created these divisions which are so obvious among us?

 

Ephesians 4:1-6 (NKJV)
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

 

The key component of our passages above is the “Spirit.” Friend, it is the Spirit we need, not more opinions or doctrines, for without the Spirit of truth, truth is null and void. It is this which is missing from Christendom today, for we have substituted the Spirit for our need to be right (Rev. 3:1), though this too is false.

 

Matthew 24:3-5 (NKJV)
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

 

Matthew 24:9-11 (NKJV)
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

 

Matthew 24:21-27 (NKJV)
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

 

In His discourse concerning the sign of His coming and the end of the age, Jesus made three references in regard to deception, to “false Christ’s and false prophets,” clarifying that the third would be marked by “great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Do these three warnings align with the three trimesters of pregnancy, the third being the worst of all? And what would the “great signs and wonders” be? Could it be the huge ministries which are prominent today including those who claim to be healing sicknesses in the name of the Lord? If these healings were genuine, wouldn’t everyone be drawn to them? So let’s be honest about this. Are they not charlatans who pretend to be spiritual, who are only interested in making great sums of money to prop up their large ministries? And what would be more hypocritical than pretense? What is more discouraging to someone who needs healing to not be healed by these so-called spiritual powerhouses? It is sad that we even allow such a thing to be paraded in our media. We have disgraced the name of Christ.

I am convinced that the “great tribulation” of which Jesus spoke correlates with the pains needed to bring the child to birth.

 

John 16:19-22 (NKJV)
Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’? Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.

 

At this present time, we are not seeing the Lord. For this reason, we “weep and lament,” troubled by the confusion that is Christianity and the wickedness of the increasing lawlessness around us. Ah, but Jesus said our “sorrow will be turned into joy” once the birth pains have brought a “man” (KJV) into the world.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:1-4 (KJV)
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

 

In agreement with the Lord’s words in John, Chapter 16, Paul tells us that “the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” When so many say, “Peace and safety; then sudden destruction” will come them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” But for those who are watching for His appearing, who desire the righteousness of the kingdom of God, that “day” will not overtake us “as a thief.” Understand that the darkness of this hour precedes the light of Christ which is to come and soon, our “heart will rejoice.”

 

Chapter Eleven

[]THE KINGDOM OF POWER

If the understanding of the four ages is correct, then we are moving through the Age of Grace and heading for the Age of Fullness, a time when Christ will truly be manifested in a people. All that has come before Him are but “thieves and robbers,” and His sheep have not heard them (John 10:8). Instead, they are waiting for that which is genuine and sincere, which has not been corrupted by the religious and carnal workings of man’s pride.

I cannot help but believe that there are many others just like me who eventually discovered the vanity of the religious trappings which permeate our society, many who recognize that Christianity has simply become another social gathering without presence or power, without any vindication of the Lord’s blessing upon them. They too see that the churches of this time are, in no way, anything like the church of the New Testament.

Can we even imagine Peter, James, John, or Paul going through such pains as we do to promote their religion to others? Did Peter spend ten days in the upper room preparing just the right sermon to be delivered after they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Did Paul go out of his way to speak everything as politically correct as he possibly could in order not to offend anyone? Did any of these men build great edifices with large steeples and crosses, pews and stained-glass windows? Did any of the Apostles scramble to increase their church and Sunday school numbers, improve their sanctuaries, communicate with their headquarters, plead for offerings, and find just the right entertainment for the upcoming service?

Consider the New Testament Church two thousand years ago.

 

Acts 4:31-35 (KJV)
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

 

As noted, the Apostles gave witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with “great power.” And this great power was evidence of the “great grace” that “was upon them all.” This, my friend, is what is needed.

 

Matthew 6:13 (KJV)
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

 

Matthew 10:1 (KJV)
And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

 

Matthew 24:30 (KJV)
… and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

 

Mark 13:26 (KJV)
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

 

Luke 1:35 (KJV)
… The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee…

 

Luke 4:32 (KJV)
And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

 

Acts 1:8 (KJV)
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

 

It is evident by all of these passages that the kingdom of God is a kingdom of power. Note the promise of the Lord to His disciples concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the upper room. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses.” You see my friend, it takes power to be a witness, but understand that this is NOT the power to speak in tongues, shake, tremble, run, jump, or act in bewildering ways. Rather, it is a power and presence which gives witness of Christ in His people, a power and authority which is undeniable to those who see it. And it is a power that cannot be trusted with those who would misuse it and misrepresent it to the world. It is a power of the gift of grace to walk in the righteousness of the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33).

 

Acts 10:38 (KJV)
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

 

Romans 1:16 (KJV)
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.

 

Romans 13:1 (KJV)
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

 

1 Corinthians 1:24 (KJV)
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

 

1 Corinthians 2:4-5 (KJV)
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

 

Was Paul mistaken in telling us that our “faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God?”

 

1 Corinthians 4:20 (KJV)
For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

 

Again, Paul makes it clear. “The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.”

 

Romans 1:4 (KJV)
And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead

 

How was Christ declared to be the Son of God? “With power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Consider Vincent’s treatment of the phrase, “Resurrection from the dead.”

 

Resurrection from the dead (ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν)

Wrong, since this would require the preposition ἐκ from. Rev., correctly, of the dead. Though this resurrection is here represented as actually realized in one individual only, the phrase, as everywhere in the New Testament, signifies the resurrection of the dead absolutely and generically—of all the dead, as exemplified, included, and involved in the resurrection of Christ. See on Philippians 3:11.

 

Now, with the resurrection of the dead in mind, consider the following.

 

Philippians 3:8-11 (NKJV)
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

 

Consider Vincent’s treatment of the phrase, “Resurrection from the dead.”

 

The resurrection of the dead (τὴν ἐξανάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν).

Rev., more correctly, from the dead. Lit., the resurrection, that, namely, from the dead. Compare Acts 4:2. This compound noun for resurrection is found only here, and expresses the rising from or from among (ἐξ), which is further emphasized by the repetition of the preposition ἐκ (from). The kindred compound verb occurs Mark 12:19; Luke 20:28; Acts 15:5, but in neither passage of raising the dead. The word here does not differ in meaning from ἀνάστασις, commonly used, except that the idea is more vividly conceived as a rising from the earth. See Matthew 22:31; Luke 20:35. The phrase resurrection of or from the dead does not often occur in the Gospels, and resurrection ἐκ from the dead only twice in the New Testament, Acts 4:2; 1 Peter 1:3. For the phrase, see on Luke 16:31. Resurrection of the dead is a generic phrase, denoting the general resurrection of the dead, bad and good. Resurrection from the dead, in the only two passages where it occurs, signifies resurrection unto life. In 1 Peter 1:3, it is applied to Christ.

 

According to Vincent, there is a distinct difference in the “resurrection of the dead” and the “resurrection from the dead.” I agree. The resurrection from the dead “signifies resurrection unto life,” a passing from death to life as John wrote (I John 3:14). This my friend, is something that is accomplished on this earthly plane. And this, my friend, is what brings one into the true power of Christ.

 

Chapter Twelve

[]RESURRECTION

Matthew 13:23 (NKJV)
But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

 

The Age of Fullness will be the age of the “good ground,” a time when some will indeed bear fruit and produce, “some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” But understand that this age will begin at the end of the Age of Grace, for it will be the grace of God that accomplishes this spiritual shift to usher in the Age of Fullness. For this reason Jesus said, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13).

If we examine each of the ages, we find that they are marked by divine intervention, i.e. God Himself came to man, not man to God. Friend, it has always been this way, for man is corrupt and deceived, motivated by pride and arrogance, incapable of seeing that he cannot help himself.

Our Creator has been gracious and longsuffering, bearing with our evil far longer than we deserve. But there is a purpose in it. We are moving toward the Age of Fullness, to a spiritual shift not unlike those that happened before. I am of the opinion that the Age of Grace will end and the Age of Fullness will begin with the resurrection from the dead. No, not a rapture, but a resurrection. No, not everyone, not the many, but a few.

 

Matthew 24:29-31 (KJV)
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

Note that at the end of the age it will be the “elect” or chosen of God who will be gathered together (Mark 13:20), the few as opposed to the many (Matt. 22:14). God has always worked this way. And remember, by the time of the end of the age, the love of many will have grown cold (Matt. 24:12).

When we read that the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, I’m inclined to believe that it is referring to the following fulfillment.

 

Joel 2:31 (KJV)
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.

 

Acts 2:20 (NKJV)
The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

 

Amos 5:16-20 (NKJV)
Therefore the Lord God of hosts, the Lord, says this: “There shall be wailing in all streets, And they shall say in all the highways, ‘Alas! Alas!’ They shall call the farmer to mourning, And skillful lamenters to wailing. In all vineyards there shall be wailing, For I will pass through you,” Says the Lord. Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion, And a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him! Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?

 

Millions today believe in a rapture when the “day of the Lord” comes. But is that what these passages are saying? “Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light.” “Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?”

Also understand that there are “twelve hours” in the “day” (John 11:9), leaving “twelve hours” in the “night,” signifying a period of time and not an instantaneous event. Also realize that while it is “day” on one side of this planet, it is “night” elsewhere, showing that light and darkness coexist. So it is that we must pass through all the “hours” of the day to complete it. Not surprisingly, the number twelve is indicative of “governmental perfection” (Bullinger) or “government by divine appointment” (Vallowe).

The “sun” is indicative of the New Covenant (Rev. 12:1), the “greater light” that rules the “day” (Gen. 1:16; I Thess. 5:5), and signifies the “light” of life which will be “darkened,” in accordance with the words of Amos. The “moon,” the “lesser light” (Gen. 1:16), indicative of the Old Covenant or Law that rules over the “night” of our being, “shall not give her light,” again, in accordance with the words of Amos. The “stars” (Gen. 1:16), which speaks of the “light” of righteousness in His people (Dan. 12:3; Heb. 11:12), “shall fall from heaven,” indicating a spiritual decline from righteousness to unrighteousness, from grace to blasphemy (Rev. 2:5, 9; 3:1, 14-22; 12:4).

Understand that each “day” is marked by “evening and morning,” not morning and evening, the darkness preceding the light (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). For this reason, Peter wrote, “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (II Peter 1:19).

Few realize that there are three “days” of the Lord, if you will, that are not literal days at all, but indicative of the fulfillment of God’s “light” or purpose in the earth (Acts 2:17-21). They are defined by the three segments of the Feast of Tabernacles—the “Day” of Trumpets, the “Day” of Atonement, and the final “Day” of the Feast of Tabernacles, what Peter declared as “the great and awesome day of the Lord” (Acts 2:20).

Now one might ask why these “days” of the Lord would be a time of such spiritual cataclysm, so much so that darkness seems to prevail. My answer? In order to show that, when the light of God prevails, that it will be the work of God and not man. Man will have no room in which to boast.

 

Matthew 24:29-31 (KJV)
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

Look once more at these passages and notice that the “sign of the Son of man in heaven” will not appear until after the darkening of the sun, moon, and the fall of the stars. This tells me that the Law of God (moon), that which Paul declared as spiritual (sun), will be utterly rejected, despised, ridiculed, mocked, and scorned by the world, and perverted and twisted by the religious deceptions of man to the point that most of us will be damned by those who have done so. Is this not where we are today? Is it not obvious that the world is not moved by our “Christian” efforts? Do we really think that the world cannot see that we are divided, confused, and falling under the weight of our own sin and disobedience? Friend, the world does not see a kingdom of power but a “form of godliness” that denies it (II Tim. 3:1-5). And so we are in much need of judgment (I Peter 4:17).

Following the sign of the Son of man in heaven, we are told that “then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.” Why? Because the “day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low” (Isa. 2:12; KJV). As the law becomes spiritual in a people, it will, like Christ, expose those who have resisted for so long, even those who, like the Pharisees, claimed to be “sons of Abraham” (John 8:39), but were instead, of their father, “the devil” (John 8:44).

But understand, all of this is contained within the “birth pains” of which Jesus spoke. All of this was prophesied almost two thousand years ago. And these birth pains are leading us to the Age of Fullness, to a spiritual “birth” in humankind that was determined by our Maker. It will end as God has declared.

 

Luke 20:27-38 (NKJV)
Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second took her as wife, and he died childless. Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no children, and died. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife.” And Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.”

 

Matthew 22:28-29 (KJV)
Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

 

The discourse found in Luke, Chapter 20, above, are also found in Matthew 22, verses 23 through 33, and in Mark, Chapter 12, verses 18 through 27. Note first of all that the Lord’s answer to the Sadducees began with, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” This relates to our previous chapter and sets the context of the understanding of these passages, i.e. that the kingdom of God is in power.

When Jesus answered the Sadducees and spoke of the “sons of this age,” He was referring to the Age of Law in which all of them were present. His reference to “those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead” speaks of the Age of Grace, which was yet to begin with His death and resurrection. Consider.

 

Mark 10:28-31 (NKJV)
Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.” So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

 

The Sadducees were only concerned with fleshly lineage, as evidenced by their story of the “seven brothers.” In direct contrast, Peter tells the Lord, “See, we have left all and followed you.” Jesus replies, “There is no one who has left house or brothers (as in the seven brothers) or sisters or father or mother or wife (as in the seven brothers) or children or lands (fleshly concerns), for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time.” Our phrase “now in this time” again refers to the Age of Law in which Jesus walked, however, even during this time the disciples were blessed “a hundredfold” by the Lord for their sacrifice. Were they not given power to be witnesses alongside Him during their time with Him? Were they not also blessed to see and hear those things which Jesus demonstrated concerning the kingdom of God? Of course! Ah, but as Jesus said, “With persecutions,” so they too were persecuted by the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees, along with Jesus, and again after His departure.

Now, the phrase, “And in the age to come, eternal life,” speaks of what the disciples received in the upper room in the second chapter of the book of Acts, which happened once the Age of Grace was instituted by the Lord. Clearly, this was a resurrection from the dead which Jesus spoke about to the Sadducees in Luke 20:35. What followed after the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts, Chapter 2, testifies of the Lord’s words to His disciples, for they went forth in the power of God as a true testimony of the grace and goodness of the Lord. Further confirmation is found in all of the letters of the Apostles, for even up to this present time we have yet to truly understand what they wrote; we are still struggling to perceive the message of the kingdom of God.

Jesus went on to say that those who attain that age and the resurrection from the dead, “neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” No doubt, the Disciples of Christ went on to become the manifested “sons of God” even as Christ. Paul, as well as John, both confirm this in their letters (Rom. 8:14; Php 2:15, I John 3:1-2).

Now, someone might ask about the phrase, “Nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels,” yet, all but John were killed for their testimony. Do we not understand that even as Jesus, the Apostles laid down their lives as He did? Wouldn’t those who exemplified the Christ in them be as Christ, not having the fear of (physical) death as Paul stipulates in Hebrews 2:15?

As the Parable of the Sower shows, the third age, the Age of Grace in which we stand, would be marked by “thorns,” symbolic of the cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in and choking the Word. What Word? The Word which came through Christ and the Apostles. And when we consider this in light of what has happened since the days of the New Testament Church, it becomes apparent that this is where we are now. Through the past two thousand years, and due to the increase of false Christ’s and false prophets, the power of God has been replaced by the doctrines and traditions of men (Matt. 15:9; Mark 7:7; Titus 1:14), making the Word of God ineffectual (Mark 7:13). And if there is no power, then there is nothing to substantiate our claims and in which to base our faith (I Cor. 2:5).

 

Acts 24:14-15 (NKJV)
But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.

 

1 Corinthians 15:35-38 (NIV)
But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.

 

The word “resurrection” means, “A standing up again,” taken from the word which means, “To stand up.” And as Paul shows, the resurrection is the result of the seed which is sown that stands up again in “a body as He has determined.”

 

1 Corinthians 15:42-44 (NKJV)
So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

 

As noted, the resurrection of the dead is sown in corruption, dishonor, and weakness, to be raised in incorruption, glory and power. “It is sown a natural body” (the law) to be “raised a spiritual body” (the law made spiritual). So the resurrection of the dead will be a resurrection of spirit, an inward transformation by the Spirit of God that will awaken some to righteousness (I Cor. 15:34) and power.

Do you find resurrection hard to believe? Then consider the principle of sowing and reaping which Paul used to describe the resurrection and it will not appear as fanciful as you might think. Just as an apple seed can only produce apples, so too the living Word of our Maker can only produce the life that is contained within it. It will not be otherwise.

 

1 Corinthians 15:51-54 (NKJV)
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed -- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

 

Chapter Thirteen

[]THE SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN

The law is spiritual, therefore it requires a transformation, a rising up out of our carnal mind into the mind of Christ, the mind of the Spirit, for it is clearly evident that we are a disobedient and rebellious people, making excuses for our sins and justifying our religious positions, just as the Pharisees did in Jesus’ time. Coupled with this fact is a world that is spinning headlong into its own destruction, pushing against the boundaries of law and order, seeking to remove any and all restrictions in order to indulge its fleshly excesses.

We are quickly losing our ability to reason with one another, incapable of finding solutions due to our intense pride, ignorance, and our attachments to the things of this world. Now, when I say “ignorance,” I am not speaking of the need for education in our public schools and colleges. Rather, I am speaking of the lack of knowledge regarding our Creator.

 

Hosea 4:1-9 (NIV)
Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites, because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: “. There is only , lying and , stealing and ; , and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying. “But let no man bring a charge, let no man accuse another, for your people are like those who bring charges against a priest. You stumble day and night, and the prophets stumble with you . So I will destroy your mother-- my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. The more the priests increased, the more they sinned against me; they exchanged their Glory for something disgraceful. They feed on the sins of my people and relish their wickedness. And it will be: Like people, like priests. I will punish both of them for their ways and repay them for their deeds.

 

These passages from Hosea aptly describe the passages in Matthew, Chapter 24, and our current condition today. And understand my friend that this is not speaking of the world, but of God’s people.

Ignorance is defined as, “Lacking knowledge or awareness in general, uneducated or unsophisticated” (Google). This describes America to a T, especially those who embrace religion (including Christianity).

Not only are we ignorant, but willfully so, because we “have rejected knowledge” for the sake of our denominations, our positions of religious power, and the money that both bring. We have become much too absorbed in the cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things.

Despite the fact that Christianity is presently the largest religion on earth, we have not made a dent in the chaos of this world. We have failed God and each other. The world is not moved by our doctrines, our reasoning, or our methods of conversion. Why? Because there is no power.

Let’s be raw and honest. According to Wikipedia, there are about 40 major divisions in Christianity, each of whom might have some variation in belief. As a result, there are approximately 40,000 Christian church organizations spread throughout the world. So which one is right, which church should we attend? And add to this all the various religious television and radio programs with their pastors and evangelists, and the choices become overwhelming.

As for the world, when the president of this country stands up and passes a law regarding transgender bathrooms, it’s a clear sign that we have lost our reasoning faculties. If our children can choose whichever bathroom they wish due to their “gender preference,” what’s left of our sanity? Will we start changing all of our laws due to our preferences instead of considering what’s truly right for us and others? If I “prefer” to stay home today instead of going to work, can I get the government of this country to pass a law that says I can stay home and get paid for it, simply because I “prefer” it?

Do we not also understand that the rise of ISIS or ISIL in the Middle East is not due to her doctrines and teachings, but to its spirit of pride and violence?

 

Genesis 6:8-12 (KJV)
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

 

With good reason Jesus referred to the “days of Noah” in His discourse in Matthew, Chapter 24 (Matt. 24:37). And what about the days of Noah? “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Isn’t the same true today? Are we not seeing that the media is filled with stories about mass shootings, terrorist acts, riots, murders, looting, rapes and suicides? And the more we seek to address it, the worse it becomes.

So I emphasize, we are not going to be able to reason our way out of this. Why? Because reason requires knowledge and we are not seeing or hearing. Jesus made this clear in the Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:11-15). We are much too absorbed in the pleasures of this life (II Tim. 3:4).

Now, understand that our inability to reason is not because we are stupid and incapable of understanding. Rather, it is because we have become narrowly focused, unable to think “outside the box.” We have lost our ability to think for ourselves. And the success of most collectives capitalizes on this. Understand that multitudes are buying into the various ideologies of this time because they are not taking time to reason within themselves, else they would not participate in these collectives. And these collectives are part and parcel of the great “flood” which the Bible shows would come (Rev. 12:15).

 

Isaiah 13:6-11 (NKJV)
Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will be limp, Every man’s heart will melt, And they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth; They will be amazed at one another; Their faces will be like flames. Behold, the day of the Lord comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine. “I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

 

Remember, a “day” is not instantaneous but denotes a period of time through which we must pass. In agreement with this thought, we find that the “day of the Lord” “will come as destruction from the Almighty.” We will “be in pain as a woman in childbirth,” agreeing with what Jesus said in Matthew 24:8. Again we see the sun “darkened” and the moon not giving its light, indicative of the lawlessness which is apparent in this present age. And how long will this be? It is not for me to say for the “times and seasons” are in His hand (Acts 1:7; I Thess. 5:1).

 

Matthew 24:29-31 (KJV)
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

John 3:13-15 (NKJV)
No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

 

When Jesus walked this earth, He was called the “Son of Man,” for “when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law” (Gal 4:4). He, like this brethren, was “under the law,” but as Son of God, He showed the law as spiritual in His being.

We too are under the law, for it is evident that we have not yet arrived at the Christ, to the anointing necessary to exhibit the power of God. Once this anointing comes (which I believe is the resurrection), then the “Son of Man” will be “lifted up,” signifying the law made spiritual in a people. It will begin with His “elect,” the few, those whom He chooses (Mark 13:20), and spread to the many. It will be the fulfilling of His New Covenant Promise.

 

Hebrews 8:7-13 (NKJV)
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

 

Zechariah 14:16 (NKJV)
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

 

It is my sincere hope that this study encouraged and enlightened you in your walk with Christ. If so, won’t you please take a moment to leave me a review at your favorite retailer? Thank you!

Jack Marshall

 

 

About the Author:

 

Jack Marshall was born in California in 1957, but raised in Oklahoma, where his experience with Christianity began at the age of 19. After several years of attending various denominational and non-denominational churches, his love for the Bible and desire to understand the scriptures became a vital part of his life. Ordained in his twenties, he spent several years ministering in homes, jails, and churches. Through in-depth study for the past 38 years, Jack has discovered that the message of scripture is truly one of hope, love, and encouragement for the entire world.

 

Connect With Me:

 

Friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrainOfWheatPublishing

Grain of Wheat Publishing Website: http://www.grainofwheatpublishing.org

Favorite me at Shakespir: https://www.Shakespir.com/profile/view/Biblebooks

 

 

Other books by Jack Marshall

 

The Dream – Through the Eyes of Sowing and Reaping

Times and Seasons – An Alternative View of the Day of the Lord

Hell, No! An Alternative View of Hell

The Rapture – Yes or No?

Studies in Revelation – The Beasts of Revelation

 

 

Bibliography

 

Reference:

 

E.W. Bullinger (1837-1913), Number in Scripture: Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance, Public Domain, 1921

Biblical Mathematics, Keys to Scripture Numerics, Evangelist Ed F. Vallowe, 1998

Dr. James Strong (1822-1894), Strong’s Concordance, First Published 1890

Marvin R. Vincent (1834-1922), Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament, First Published 1887

 

Reference (Online):

 

Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, en.wikipedia.org

Felix Frankfurter, American jurist, 1882-1965

Civilization and Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud, 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939

WebMD, www.webmd.com

Google, www.google.com

 

Bible Translations Used:

 

KJV, King James Version, Public Domain, 1611

NKJV, New King James Version, Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Complete Bible 1982

NIV, New International Version, Biblica, Zondervan and Hodder & Stoughton (UK) (licensed commercial rights), 1973 (NT), 1978 (OT)

 

 

 

 


The Parable of the Sower

A parable is given for the purpose of comparison, as an example or pattern which illustrates the mysteries of the kingdom of God. In regard to the Parable of the Sower, Jesus asked His disciples, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” No doubt, these questions suggest that the Parable of the Sower is one of the most important that we could examine. Over the years, I have studied many of the parables, usually in conjunction with certain topics which enhance my understanding of the subject at hand. And I will be the first to admit that some are much more difficult to understand than others. Why? Perhaps due to the fact that there is usually more to a parable than what first meets the eye. As this study shows, the Parable of the Sower is one of these.

  • ISBN: 9781310413124
  • Author: Jack Marshall
  • Published: 2016-07-18 14:20:41
  • Words: 30065
The Parable of the Sower The Parable of the Sower