The Life of Our Lord
His life was totally given over to the will of the Father. Human and divine, yet He submitted to the Father God.
Mark 14:36 (NIV) “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Mat 26:39 (NIV) Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
John 5:30 (NIV) By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
Mat 6:10 (NIV) your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
We are but clay yet within we have a treasure which we have received from God that we might serve Him.
2 Cor 4:7 (NIV) But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
Jesus set the pattern for this service and showed how we are to fulfil this prayer. He knew as we must come to know that there is an inevitable mixture of the divine and the human in the church. yet God’s will must prevail.
Mark 14:36 (NIV) “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
The story of the potter tells this clearly.
Jer 18:2-6 (NIV) “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. 5 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
The Disciple’s Walk
There are many scriptures concerning the walk of the believer in the will and calling of the Lord. e.g. Gal.5
The important concept is willingness. When we consider the theme of this study some thought should be given to the idea of mixture. It is God’s way for us that we have His treasure in clay vessels. Consider especially that Jesus said to His disciples that they were to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them with power. It is no different today.
The Parable of the Woman and the Leaven
Mat 13:33 (NIV) He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
There are several possible interpretations of this parable. Consider what follows and decide for yourself on the basis of scripture.
The following are mentioned: a. a kingdom b. leaven. c. a woman. d. three measures of meal.
Suggestion 1. The leaven is the Word of God which fills body,soul and spirit.
Suggestion 2. The leaven is the Holy Spirit.
Suggestion 3. That the leaven is false doctrine.
The soundest way to interpret these parables is to let Scripture interpret Scripture.
Gen 18:2-6 (NIV) Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. 3 He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.” “Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.” 6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of fine flour and knead it and bake some bread.”
Three measures of meal are mentioned here. Adam addresses three men (plural) as Lord (singular.)
Luke 11:5 (NIV) Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
Three loaves given as a result of persisting. Verse 11 associates them with?
Luke 11:11 (NIV) “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
Lev 2:1 (NIV) “‘When someone brings a grain offering to the LORD, his offering is to be of fine flour. He is to pour oil on it, put incense on it
This was the meal or grain offering. There was to be no leaven present.
Lev 2:11 (NIV) “‘Every grain offering you bring to the LORD must be made without yeast,(leaven) for you are not to burn any yeast or honey in an offering made to the LORD by fire.
The three measures of meal point to the pure bread of the Word of God. i.e. the bread of life.
Mark 8:15 (NIV) “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” (this had nothing to do with bread n.b. v16-17.)
Mat 16:6 (NIV) “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Mat 16:12 (NIV) Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Luke 12:1 (NIV) Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
1 Cor 5:6 (NIV) Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?
Gal 5:9 (NIV) “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”
In the feasts of Israel the only leaven allowed was at the feast of Pentecost. These loaves were offered with blood sacrifice. This was God’s recognition of sin in the believer … arrested by faith but not completely and fully eradicated.
Rom 8:22 (NIV) We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Lev 23:17 (NIV) From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD.
The woman took three measures; note that the whole of the Bible is the story of two women … this story reaches its culmination in the book of Revelation. The picture is revealed of the true and the false church.
Rev 12:1 (NIV) A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.
Rev 17:3 (NIV) Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.
This is again the story of the mixture. The church being human, sinful and weak has added much false teaching to the kingdom of God. The purity of the doctrine has been corrupted but fortunately for us all, God’s mercy will set all to rights in the end times.
The Church at Thyatira
(= believed to mean feminine oppressor)
Rev 2:18 (NIV) “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
This is the middle church of the seven. The fourth church. The four speaks of the earth. e.g. four corners of the earth.. This church was indeed an earthly church in which are many who forsake their Lord and become involved with the abominations of Jezebel.
1 Ki 16:31 (NIV) He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him.
1 Ki 21:25-26 (NIV) (There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife. 26 He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.)
2 Ki 9:22 (NIV) When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Jehu?” “How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?”
Some of the things involved are:
i. persecuted the prophets of the Lord.
1 Ki 18:4 (NIV) While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.)
Consider the later persecution of many believers by the Inquisition.
ii. promoted idolatry and the kissing of images.
1 Ki 19:18 (NIV) Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”
This practise of kissing images still continues in many branches of the church even though it is clearly an abomination. Ikons and statues are images!
Deu 4:16 (NIV) so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman,
iii. supported Baal worship
1 Ki 18:19 (NIV) Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
Baal = supporter or husband in Hebrew tongue. Each part of the land had its own form of Baal hence this type of worship was a type of cult adulation. It usually involved a fertility concept with obscene rites and corrupt practises. False prophesy was usual. Self mutilation was often practised. (and still is in some so called Christian groups.) The perpetual flame idea was often found at their altars. Children were passed through the fire to purify them and sometimes this extended to human sacrifice of children and adults. The counterfeit aspect is clearly seen in Baal worship. From this and similar religions came the ideas about burning heretics, self flagellation, eternal flames at altars etc.
iv. caused Israel to forsake the Lord.
1 Ki 19:10-14 (NIV) He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
This happened again in the middle ages. Many of the church leaders were led astray into strange teachings and persecuted any who disagreed with them. The stories found in the writings of Fox bear witness to the cruelty and torture of the innocents by these church fanatics. (Book of Martyrs … Fox.)
v.5 she was a pagan married a Jew
Read study four in this light.
v.6 … called herself a prophetess.
Usurping the ministry of the Lord. With this came false doctrine. The seeds of the false woman who would one day be revealed as the false church of Revelation were beginning to grow. Jesus spoke against this woman’s doctrine.
Rev 2:20 (NIV) Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
The History of the Church
This is the period known as the Dark Ages. From 500 AD to 1500 AD The doctrine of many communions became a mixture of truth and falsehood which persisted down through time even to today. Very few, if any, are free of these tainted teachings. Each and every saint must seek to hold fast to the Word of God and check in its pages the truth of all that the various churches present as being the correct interpretation of its message.
Consider how these teachings have been changed …
a. the virgin Birth — added : Mary the Immaculate
Mat 1:25 (NIV) But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
But that he did have union after this is the clear assumption of the following.
Mat 12:46 (NIV) While Jesus was still talking to the crowd,his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him.
Saying this alludes to cousins or kinfolk is possible, but in the light of Mark 3:31; Luk8:20; John7:5 this exegesis sounds like special pleading in order to make a point. If God the Father had required Mary to remain ever a virgin, it is reasonable to suggest that He would have told Jacob. As He did with every other important instruction. Mary knew she was a sinner and needed a saviour. n.b. Jesus, in the Scriptures, never called her mother.
Luke 1:47 (NIV) and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.
b. Water Baptism — added:.. sprinkling of infants in so called baptism.
c. Communion — added: people the wafer, priest the wine, transubstantiation, only the priest to minister.
d. Word of God — added: Tradition of the church, Church the final word on dogma. The infallibility doctrine.
e. Tongues — added: Latin for services (this has recently been changed but many seek to retain this dogma).
f. Robes of Righteousness — added: Vestments,ornate clothing.
g. Light of the Holy Spirit — added: Lights on altar, candles.
h. Worship in and by the Holy Spirit — added: liturgies, prayer books, set forms
i. The glory of Christ in His church (people) — added: impressive buildings, cathedrals.
j. Ministry of the believer — added: a separate priesthood.
The Overcomer’s Condition
Rev 2:19 (NIV) I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
Not all was lost during those dark days of the church. There were those who displayed the qualities listed in the above verse. These qualities are still present in the church and can be seen as the outstanding virtues of some communions. They grew and were made strong in the days of Thyatiran persecution.
The Overcomer’s Reward
Rev 2:26 (NIV) To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—
This was to involve authority,rule and the morning star.
Some translations say power over the nations. This is not power as in
Acts 1:8 (NIV) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
In Acts the word used is ‘dunamis’. In Rev.2 it is ‘exousia’ the power to rule i.e. privilege and authority.
The word nations could also mean Gentiles. Essentially the meaning is those not of Israel.
Having authority is not the same as having power. This needs to be remembered when considering the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Authority is given to ‘the overcomer’ which is not quite the same as the disciple. Authority extends into the realm where satan has held sway since the fall. This authority gives meaning to:
1 John 4:4 (NIV) You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
The rule is with a rod of iron. This rod is a sceptre, that is the symbol of a ruler. Being of iron it does not bend and points to an authority that is absolute. In Heb 9 the same word is used concerning Aaron’s rod that budded. This points to the priestly function of the overcomer.
Num 17:8 (NIV) The next day Moses entered the Tent of the Testimony and saw that Aaron’s staff, which represented the house of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds.
Again in Micah the horn of iron symbolises power. This whole chapter should be read, as it is prophetic of end times.
Micah 4: 13 “Rise and thresh, O Daughter of Zion, for I will give you horns of iron; I will give you hoofs of bronze and you will break to pieces many nations.” You will devote their ill-gotten gains to the LORD, their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.
The Feast of Pentecost
The feast of fifty days. Number fifty speaks of liberty and freedom and walking in newness of life.
Lev 23:16 (NIV) Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.
This was a time for the offering of new grain. It is the time of adding a new thing to the old. New wine as in Acts2:13. The day of Pentecost when a new thing happened and the church became a mixture of humanity and the Holy Spirit. The vessels of clay were filled with the wine of the Spirit.