1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:)
3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Gen 1:)
4But 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. (Mat 4:)
11So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:)
God does not speak in vain words. Whatever He says, He means, and it comes to pass.
In the beginning there was God. And God created everything. And the everything He created was on an earthly level. It was earth, even man (Gen 2:).
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:)
Here we have a second beginning. And again we find words are involved with a beginning. However, instead of the words creating physical, earthy things, the Word is becoming a part of the earthly realm that had already been created. In the above passage two questions have been raised. The first question we're confronted with is, what does it mean: In Him was life? And secondly, what does it mean: He is light?
Life was, at least so we suppose, instituted in the first creation. In fact, according to the teachings of just about every church, the life that was given to Adam, through the soul, is eternal and can't be destroyed. So again I ask, why does this, Whoever it might be, have life? Wouldn't He already have life merely because He was born? Another question we find here is, What does it mean He is the light of the world? Light was created in the beginning of creation, so why the need for light?
5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1:)
Darkness does not comprehend. Because of this we can be sure that the darkness referred to above is not what we experience at midnight. It's a spiritual darkness we're looking at. This understood, we can be quite certain the light that enters the darkness is a Spiritual light as well.
The first of our questions has been answered, but how about the question of life? Again, isn't everyone born of woman given life at conception? Isn't that the popular opinion, at least in the church world?
44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (1Cor 15:)
The first Adam, carnal man, is destined for corruption (Gen 3:19). Because of this corruptibility the second Adam was needed, a source of life that the first Adam was lacking.
Pay special attention to the use of the simile that equates the sowing of seeds to the Holy Spirit. We'll be looking into this concept further on in our study.
10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:)
Something that was sown was not received "by His own." Who are "His own," and what does it mean they didn't receive Him?
The use of the phrase "sons of God" causes a lot of confusion and contention in many, if not most of the traditional churches. We speak of sons of God in surreal or ethereal terms. To accept this concept as expressed throughout the New Testament smacks too much of Humanism and other religions that believe man is, or can become gods. Although this is an important issue that we should make a strong effort to understand, I'll not comment on it here.
14And the Word was made 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 1:)
There can be no question as to who is referred to here, only one person is ever said to be the "Only Begotten Son of God." However I will pose a question that I'll leave unanswered in this study: If a person is "born again," with the same Spirit, that of the Father, then wouldn't that make such a person a "son of God"? If not, then why all the references to our becoming sons of God, and to what degree is a born-again son of God similar to the Only Begotten Son of God? Are you up to the challenge? Or would you rather not delve into matters outside the realm of doctrine?
17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:)
Jesus "declared" the Father. God is an invisible force that can't be defined. Although we can see the effects of God, especially of His emotions, and we have His words, He has been a mystery to us. Jesus came to declare the father. Jesus said His words and His works were not His own, but the Father's. What we saw in Jesus, we would see in the Father if He was flesh and not Spirit (John 4:24).
Jesus is the Word made flesh. He was the incarnation of a Spirit, and He declared the purposes and the will of the Father. To declare means to tell, but even more than this, it means "to unfold, to make visible." That Jesus was God incarnate can't be denied. The question can be raised however: Is Jesus the Word that has been made flesh, or has the Word become flesh through the person of Jesus? To even ask such a question one takes a strong risk of being stoned in most of the traditional churches. However, in my mind, it seems we're supposed to ask questions of God, especially if the answer to such a question will set us and our beliefs on a proper path. Jesus may have reprimanded His disciples for asking a question that seemed obvious to Jesus, but He always answered that question asked, even when the question wasn't voiced.
Jesus was the Word of God. This is not to be disputed, certainly not in this study. However, what I wish to explore here is, not if Jesus is the Word, but if He is the only Word we're to find in the Scripture. Keep this purpose in mind as you read what is to follow as it is the thread that binds the passages together.
35A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Mat 12:)
Words not only have power, they're important to God. In fact God will judge us by the words we choose to use in this brief time of testing on this earth. Consider yourself, are your words sufficient to stand up to the scrutiny of God's examination? Speaking for myself, I'm afraid my inclination toward levity is going to put me in bad stead when my time for judging comes. I'm working on altering this prospect, but I fear I'm falling far short in my efforts.
27But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! (Mat 8:)
27And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. (Mark 1:)
Jesus had dominion over all things. "All power in heaven and on earth are given to me" He said (Mat 28:18). Jesus was capable of possessing such power because He had the mind of God. He didn't try to use His power to show off, or to get His own way, or to get even with anyone. His entire life was devoted to others, and to fulfilling the will of the Father.
17And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. (Luke 10:)
20If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Mat 17:)
Man was created to have dominion over God's creation (Gen 1:26). And when this episode in God's purpose comes to a close, and His full intentions are realized, man will again be given responsibility over the earth (Rev 3:21). However, I think I can state with some certainty that it will not be those who have demonstrated no control over themselves, nor shown concern for others of God's creation that will be sitting on thrones ruling and reigning, but rather those who have abandoned everything and turned their will over to the Lord. It's the overcomers, those who have overcome as Jesus overcame, who will be sitting with Him having dominion and power.
Imagine Peter in his unregenerated state with his ego and his fast mouth wielding the sword of authority over others, or Judas and his dishonest nature. It's here and now we have to learn to deal with our heart, who we are, in order to prove ourselves worthy of such power.
16Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:)
35behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. (John 4:)
60Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:)
62And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:)
Jesus had been talking to those who said they desired to be His disciple, but they wanted to deal with carnal, personal things first. In the parables where Jesus relates the Kingdom of Heaven to working in a field, He says those who have once begun their discipleship are not to look again at the world and what it has to offer. Elsewhere we see that we must leave all, and to devote ourself to the Lord and His mission. We hear preached that Jesus didn't mean what He said when He told His disciples that anyone who begins and turns back is unfit for the Kingdom. We hear that once we set foot in the field, whether we do any laboring or not, God has to take us into His Kingdom and give us the rewards due the greatest and hardest working of the saints.
11If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (1Peter 4:)
The Greek word for oracle is Logios, and as you can see, the word is very similar to the word used when describing Jesus as the "Word made flesh," which is Logos. In both cases the word translates to "utterance, or something said." We're examining words, and how words are associated with God and His purposes.
Peter tells us not to speak unless we speak as oracles of God. Consider how in the Old Testament if a person wanted to hear the Words of God they went to a prophet, or to the Temple. If we associate the place to find the will of God with the Tabernacle, we would say that it's to the Holy of Holies where we would meet with God.
5These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:)
26These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (1John 2:)
10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Heb 8:)
Whereas in times past it was to a prophet we would go to learn the will of the Lord, now we have the same Spirit of God dwelling in us that Jesus was in possession of. It's to our heart we're to go in order to learn the will of God. Of course it takes more than merely consulting our heart, because our heart is desperately wicked, and sin keeps us from a closeness to God (Jer 17:9-10). Because of this we can't trust our heart, but in addition we must learn the Word of God and plant the Word in our heart. Jesus said the Comforter will bring to remembrance what He said. He can't bring to mind something that we are ignorant of. The more we learn, and understand of the Word, the more He will be able to show us (Mat 13:12). For myself I find that I will have a question about a certain subject or verse I read, and I ask the Lord what it means. I don't receive an answer for sometimes years. Then one day I'll read that verse, or another that relates to it, and I have my answer. I couldn't be given the answer to my question until I had learned other vital information that clarified what I wanted to know. It's much like Junior. wanting to know about pi r2 when he hasn't learned his arithmetic.
Our knee-jerk reaction to the question as to who we would consult to learn God's will for us is to ask our pastor. However, who's to know if your pastor is in touch with God or his heart? Consider that there are many thousands of pastors in all churches and all denominations as well as what we call cults. Every one of them believes they are an oracle of God and knows His will, even though all might tell you something different. What we want is God's Words, not words that sound like something God might say.
Something to consider.
If you're well versed in the Word, and you seek to know God's will, His truth, in spite of how it might conflict with your beliefs or desires, then who might you say is the oracle of God?
3Behold, there went out a sower to sow: 4And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. 5And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 6But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. 9And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 10And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. 13And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? 14The sower soweth the word. 15And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. 18And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. (Mark 4:)
This is the famous parable of the sower and the seed. From this parable, and the statements Jesus made in referring to this parable we can learn many things. First we learn that there are various kinds of soil the seeds land on. And the response to the receiving of each of these soils depends on how well the soil was prepared. Some soils were too hard to gain roots, some were too busy with things of this world, some weren't even in the field and essentially received the seeds by mistake. I've ridden by fields of grain where there was growing the same kind of grain as was planted in the field, but these plants were outside the fence. I know those plants, in spite of how productive they might be, will never be harvested. They'll either wither and die in the sun, or the cows will reach through the fence and eat them as they stand. It's not only important that we mature properly, but that we be a part of the purposes of God.
Jesus said He is the sower of the seed, and that the seed itself is the Word. Jesus is the sower, and the seed that's planted is the Word.
Jesus is the sower, and the Word is the seed.
37He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; (Mat 13:)
Jesus is the sower.
20And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. (John 12:)
Have you ever noticed how Jesus had a way of changing the subject and would begin talking about something entirely different than that which He was confronted with? Was Jesus deaf? Or maybe He just couldn't keep His mind on the subject at hand? Or might it be that He was answering the question in such a way we need to understand it and not the way we expected to hear it?
Some Greeks wanted to see Jesus. This is a simple request that requires the simplest of responses. Yet the answer Jesus gave Philip sounds off the wall if there ever was an off-the-wall answer.
[A side note here: The word the Greeks used for "sir" is the very same word used all through the New Testament for Lord. The word has also been translated "master" in the KJ. Although the word is usually capitalized, as if to be a word denoting special honor, in fact in the Greek there is no capital used, even though capital letters are in the Greek alphabet, and they are used to denote such as names and titles.
Just because we see the word "Lord" does not mean a person is showing honor or respect any more than we would be if we called someone sir or mister.]
24Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (John 12:)
This is the answer Jesus gave Philip and the Greeks wanting to see Him. Jesus is prone to talk about agriculture, and He will do so at the drop of a hat it seems. But somehow I think it's not planting and sowing Jesus is referring to here. Earlier we read where Jesus told a parable about sowing and the product of sowing seeds. In that parable He said He was the sower, and the Word was the seed. Here, if we read what Jesus is telling Philip correctly, it appears that Jesus is calling Himself the seed, and that the seed would have to die in order to reproduce. Of course this is true in the natural world, could it also be true in the Spiritual realm as well?
It appears that all through the Bible we find things in the natural being applied to what God is doing in the Spiritual. Jesus confirmed this with His parables. It seems whenever Jesus wanted us to know something about the Kingdom of God, He let us know through the use of a parable, and usually that parable had to do with farming (Mat 13:34).
When a seed is planted, the seed itself opens up and produces a plant exactly like the plant that bore the seed that was planted. If the plant from the seed is inferior, or if it has a small yield, it's considered a failure. For instance if you've ever seen a stalk of wheat at harvest time you've noticed that there are many tiny seeds on the top of the stalk. These are what the Bible calls "corn." The corn we think of that grows many feet tall is not what the Bible is talking about. In fact history tells us this corn (called maize) was something the explores discovered when they came the New World. It might have existed elsewhere, but apparently not in the land of Israel.
Wheat has as many as a hundred seeds in the head of one stalk. In the story of Joseph we see where Pharaoh had a dream of stalks of wheat where there were 7 heads on one stalk. I've yet to see such a thing, but I don't suppose it's impossible.
In one of Jesus' parables he related how an enemy sowed "tares" in a farmer's wheat field. Tares are the darnel plant that looks like wheat until it forms a head. Although the darnel plant itself isn't a problem other than it contaminates the harvest as would any other weed, it attracts a fungus that is poisonous to animals and man. Tares have smaller seeds than the wheat it grows with, and therefore it can be filtered out of the harvest and disposed of.
Jesus said a corn of wheat has to die to reproduce itself. Then He said those who want to produce, to be with him, must follow Him. Where was He about to go? It's to the cross He was soon to be taken where He would die for us. He also said elsewhere we're to take up our cross daily, and here He said anyone who loses his life will save it into eternity.
What Jesus did, He expects us to do. And if we don't go with Him, then we aren't part of His mission.
There is a life in the seed that is a part of, yet separate from the seed itself, just as there is life in us that is distinct from the body that houses it. We see this in the passage viewed earlier where Paul describes the first Adam as a living soul, essentially a vessel of earth (which we're created from), or a field, destined to receive the seed of life Jesus brings to earth with Him.
There had been a field prepared for the seed... but more on that later.
Jesus was the sower of the seed, and the seed is the Word. When we're born again we receive a life that wasn't given to us at our first birth. This life, a life that not only effects us, but it effects those we come in contact with, is the Word. And as we saw in the first part of the Book of John, this Word was God, was with God from the beginning, and that Word became flesh, that is, it grew into a life-producing plant which yielded a hundred fold.
Jesus was the sower, and the Word is the seed, and the Word was God.
The Word was God.
10And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. 11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (Luke 8:)
Jesus was the sower, and the seed is the Word of God, and the Word was God.
Jesus said some people will see, and others won't. Tell me, have you ever met a person who said they don't understand the parables of Jesus, even if they've never read the parables of Jesus?
36But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. 37And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5:)
Those leaders of God's people didn't have God's Word abiding in them. In other words, if we relate this to a parable, the leaders and the priests, those staunch preachers of God's Word, didn't have the life of God flowing through them. They were tares pretending to be the true harvest, and in actuality, they were polluting and holding back the true harvest (Luke 11:52).
9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? 10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. (John 10:)
Jesus was indeed a unique person. Who else can say that when we see them, we see the Father, and the words they speak are not their own, but the Father working and speaking through them? It's absurd to even suppose there might be one such person other than Jesus:
12Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (John 10:)
Well, yeah, sure, the Apostles did the same things Jesus did, and even more. But that's different. And, well, not only the Apostles but Barnabas and Stephen, but still. And, well, maybe those healers during the Latter Rains where the Spirit was falling upon so many people and were healing people, but they didn't have the Father working in them like Jesus did, did they?
16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: (Acts 2:)
Ok, so a few people had God's Spirit poured out on them and they talked funny for a while, and flames jumped around on their heads. But people don't talk in tongues any more, and people don't prophesy or heal like they did a couple thousand years ago. Now when we receive the Holy Spirit nothing happens. No one really does anything special and they can't even tell the difference other than being dripping wet from the baptismal tank. What's the big deal?
20At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:)
Many years ago, long after I was baptized, I had a few weeks where I prophesied. I don't mean I stood up and said "Yea, yea, thus sayeth the Lord." I opened my mouth and words that I had no idea I was going to say came out, words I couldn't have known. The people I prophesied to told me that what I told them came true just as my words had said, or that what I told them about their past was accurate. This experience only lasted a short time in its extreme, but I feel it still happens on occasion, but not as blatantly so. As for healing and speaking in tongues, I've never had that experience, but I know of others who have. God still works through human vessels, and its this hope that causes us to have some confidence that our surgeon will not make a fatal slip when he takes out that faulty kidney.
God in us, Jesus in us, and us in God, and us in Jesus. Can you picture this combination? The way tradition explains such an arrangement it doesn't make sense, so we dismiss it as a mystery that can't be understood. But in fact, if we break away from traditional views, and we see it through God's eyes, it makes perfect sense.
"I and my Father are one." (John 10:30; 14:9)
"What I do is not me, but my Father working through me." (John 14:10)
"What I speak are not my words, but the Words of my Father." (John 8:28)
"Speak as the oracles of God." (1Peter 4:11; Mark 13:11; John 3:34; Mat 10:20)
"Jesus is the head of the body of Christ." (Col 1:18; Eph 5:23)
"What I do, you will do also" (John 14:12)
11And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; [see Rev 4:10; 2:10; 1Peter 5:4; 1Cor 9:25] and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself [see Rev 3:12; 2:17; 22:4]. 13And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood:[Ex 12:22; Rev 7:14] and HIS NAME IS CALLED THE WORD OF GOD. 14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean (Rev 19:8). 15And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: (Rev 19:)
27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. (1Cor 12:)
4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Rom 12:)
17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Col 1:)
In the Book of Revelation there's a lot of symbolism that's overlooked because it's not understood. Of course we know the person on the leading white horse is Jesus. But is it only Jesus?
Jesus is the head of the body of Christ, that is, the Church. We read that the person of Jesus in Revelation has attributes such as many crowns, which would make no sense if we consider just one person. For instance we don't question the concept that the Beast having seven heads and ten crowns means seven areas such as continents, and the ten crowns means ten kings. The Church is made up of kings and priests. Don't these kings wear crowns as well? The One on the white horse speaks in a voice like many waters (Rev 14:2; 1:15; Ezek 43:2; Jer 17:13; 51:13). The "waters" speak of the saints who have the Holy Spirit, who is symbolized by water (Rev 14:10; John 7:38-39; 4:14).
Is the Christ (the "Anointed One") composed of many people? If so or if not, Whoever the one on the leading horse with armies following is called "The Word of God, and He is about to smite the world with the "sword of His mouth." What does the sword represent?
12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb 4: see also Eph 6:17).
20The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. (Rev 1:)
In the Old Testament the word mystery wasn't used, even though the entire episode of their, the OT saints, existence was in fact a mystery in itself. Paul referred to that period of time, the lives they led, as "shadows of things to come" (Col 2:17). Where we see a shadow, we know there's a substance casting that shadow. We like to think we know all the answers, so we don't bother to look for questions. But it's in realizing we have no answers that questions are sought whereby we can learn and grow in the knowledge of the Lord and his Word.
Jesus said this, the Church, is a mystery. He also told His disciples the reason He spoke in parables was to hide the truth of what He was saying (Mat 13:13). But the only thing I've ever heard from any preacher is that He spoke in parables so anybody can understand what He was telling them. Do I see a catch 22 here?
Where there's fire, there's fuel for the fire. Here's something that might add a few lick to the flame of controversy:
16Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. (Isaiah 48:)
19I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. (Isaiah 45:)
It appears as if God is telling us two conflicting stories. Of course this question might be answered by saying that God spoke outright, but Jesus hid His meaning. However, Jesus said He does nothing of Himself but only speaks what the Father tells Him to say.
9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 28:)
In the above passage we have two views, both sounding much the same, but both true though very different. Who would possibly put themself in the last classification, the one where those who place the wrong lines upon the wrong precept fall over backward? Yet its obvious somebody is doing just that. Perhaps it's those with all the answers and no questions that are placing line upon wrong line, so therefore can't understand the parables of Jesus.
7Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:)
Someone will know. The problem is, as history has shown, for every true prophet of God there are maybe hundreds of false prophets telling us what we want to hear. How can we tell the difference between the true and the false prophets of God? I would say part of the explanation to this problem is similar to that of the narrow road verses the broad road to destruction that many find and believe it to be the narrow road to salvation. Look for a lot of people going the same way, or saying the same thing. That might give us a good clue.
1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (John 15:)
This passage of Scripture presents some very important concepts that are all too easy to misunderstand or misapply. Let's examine them carefully so we don't miss the clear picture while believing we are so knowledgeable in the things of the Lord.
I am the true vine. The vine is the part of the "tree" that is attached to the root, which is grounded securely. It's through the vine or the trunk of the tree nourishment is drawn that allows the plant to flourish and produce.
I am the vine, ye are the branches. We are not the vine. It's only through being attached to the vine that we are given life or identity. A lone branch is unable to produce. An exception to this might be the budding of Aaron's rod that budded on its own.
He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: We see here another example of what Jesus was saying when He said we, He and the Father are in one another. We're to be one plant, one producer of fruit. One is not able to perform without the other, each needing the other to be a complete whole.
For without me ye can do nothing. This is true of the vine as well. It's not the trunk of the plant that bears fruit, but the branches. Cut off the branches and the plant withers away and dies. Jesus said a seed that doesn't die lives alone, by itself. This is true of the trunk of the plant as well. One needs the other to exist. A branch on its own can be no more than an ornament for a time until its life forces drain from it (consider the ten virgins).
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. In the parable of the talents one servant didn't produce, so, like the unprepared guest at the wedding to which he had been called, he was cast out. The servants who increased, who produced, were not only brought into the presence of their Lord, but the biggest producers were rewarded with the talent the non-producer was deprived of. Those who have will be given more, and those without will lose what they already have (Mat chapter 25).
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. The Word, like water, which is representative of the Holy Spirit, is a cleansing agent: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" (John 7:37-39. See also John 4:14; Jer 2:13 and Rev 7:16). At baptism (of the Holy Spirit, not that of water which is only an outward, public demonstration of what is supposedly occurring within us) we are cleansed of our past sins and given a fresh new start (Rom 3:25). Then, through the cycle of repentance (which is what John's water baptism is) and confession, we are able to remain clean, thereby adequate for being in the presence of Almighty God. We see this process prefigured in the Day of Atonement feast (Lev 16:). The High Priest makes sacrifice for all the people, eradicating the sins of the past, which enables the people to have a new start on life. Unlike the popular belief, this atonement didn't provide for all future sins, as is apparently the belief of some modern Jews, that is, they believe atonement is for the year to come, not the year that's past. This provides for the assumption that any contract they consent to, any promise they make, is null and void before the ink dries. Jesus said everyone was clean, only their feet, their walk needs to be continually cleaned thereafter. If we neglect this continual cleansing, we are no longer clean.
It's the Word that cleanses us. Not only the Word, but the words spoken by Jesus, the which we derive from our study of the Bible.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: Keep in mind the purpose of the plant in the first place. Jesus came to plant a seed, a seed from which not only one plant will grow, but a full harvest which these two thousand years provide for.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you. Take note of the conditional phrase "If." This tiny word is missed in so many of the doctrines of the churches, even though it's probably one of the most used words in the Bible. When Jesus was instructing those who would carry on His ministry, He continually used this word. I think it behooves us to take the word to heart and realize that we, having been supposedly converted, are not given Carte Blanche (a blank check) that lets us live our own life and still believe we're a vital part of the vine.
Jesus gives us two examples of what can happen to a branch that has been connected to the vine. The first example shows us what will occur if a branch becomes detached from the vine, or if it fails to produce. I've spent a short time in a vineyard, and I've seen how fully back the vinedressers cut the branches of the grape plant. He almost trims it bare, leaving only the very best branches, thus allowing lots of space for the good producing branches to do their full work. It's not the quantity of the fruit they're after, but the quality. Jesus has given us an example of this by the statement that thirty fold producing plants or branches will be allowed to remain on the vine. What of those who produce less than thirty fold? Producing is not enough. Paul speaks of the need to press for the mark of the high calling. I picture this to mean he wants to attain to the hundred fold, not merely be an "also ran" in the race God has set before us.
In order to better understand what's being said here, what is thirty fold, and what is a hundred fold? It would seem to me that a hundred fold is what Jesus attained to. I can't imagine anyone producing more than did Jesus. If this is our fixed point by which to judge ourself, then I would say a third of this is very high indeed. Yet it appears that anything less than a third of what Jesus presented will not be taken into the barn. I would say, like did Paul, that such knowledge as this should give us cause to press for the mark of being a high yield producing branch and not one who feels confident that merely being present on the vine is all that's required. Otherwise I might well find myself having chills of fear when I watch the vinedressers come my way with his pruning knife.
Jesus tells us those branches that fail to produce will be cut off and burned. What does this tell you about Jesus' attitude in regard to the doctrine of "once saved, always saved"? Add to this the many times He uses the words "abide in me," and "endure to the end."
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. It's the glory of God that we are to seek. The reason God is making this effort, creating His Church, is for His own glory (Isaiah 43:7). Whatever doesn't glorify God is not to be a part of the glory to come, His eternity.
31And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same. 32And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side: 33Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick. 34And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers. 35And there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick. 36Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold. 37And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it. (Ex 25:)
The Bible gives us another representation of what God has planned for His Church. The candlestick (more appropriately called a lamp stand, or in the Hebrew the Menorah), is structured in the form of a tree. As in the example of the vine given above, the candlestick has a shaft, similar to a trunk of a tree, and branches attached to the shaft. The shaft feeds the source of light to the branches, and it's the branches that provide the light. Without the branches there is no light, and without the shaft there is no source by which the branches are able to produce the necessary light.
The word for candlestick has an interesting background that is easily missed. The word itself is the feminine form of the same word as "yoke," that is, the yoke used to connect work animals that plow the fields. Here again we have an instrument used in parables that describe our relationship with one another and with Jesus (Mat 11:29-30) also that of the Kingdom of Heaven.
His bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same. Knops are rings that encircle the branches of the menorah, much like a binding would hold two objects together. The bowls holding the wick and the oil for burning are in the shape of an almond blossom fully opened (see Mark 13:33-37).
The bowls made like unto almonds. Almonds are the first plants to produce early in the year. The blossoms of the almond tree are plentiful and pink, easily seen from a distance. The word itself means "to watch for." When the almond tree blooms, it means the harvesting part of the year, the time when the rewards of one's labor, is about to begin. In a like figure, Jesus once saw a fig tree (indicative of the nation of Israel) that had produced leaves, but no fruit. Because the fig tree showed evidence of producing, but did not, it was cursed and ordered to produce no more fruit.
Almonds are also a symbol of authority. It was the branch of an almond tree that God used to determine who had, and who didn't have authority to speak for Him (Num 17:8).
Bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always. In the tabernacle of the congregation without the veil. Within the vail there is no artificial source of light because the glory of God creates His own light (more on this later). In the bridal chamber there are no windows through which light may be emitted, the only source of light is the candlestick.
Notice first of all that this candlestick is not for giving light to those outside the chamber designated as the Church age. It's only for those in the Church, and it only remains for the duration of what we see as the Church age. As the Glory cloud left the Hebrews when they entered the Promised Land, so will the Holy Spirit leave the Church when it enters the era we refer to as the Millennium. Why? The reason for this, though certainly important, is not a topic to be included in this study. I can only say that it's not because the Church has been raptured and is elsewhere, one evidence of this is that the army, the Church, will be with Jesus when He returns before the Millennium.
The olive tree holds an important place in the workings of God. In the 8th chapter of Genesis we read where a dove brought back a branch from an olive tree. We now use this image as a symbol of peace. While the doors of the Temple were made from the fir tree, the final door, the one that stood before the Holy of Holies, was crafted from the wood of the olive tree (1Kings 6:31), a tree that is renown for living even thousands of years.
Paul tells us that the olive tree represents the Church (whereas the fig tree is seen as the nation of Israel as a whole). And that the Church designation, that is, the separated holy ones, was taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles (the whosoever will).
The oil used in the lamp had to be specially prepared and of the finest quality. And it had to burn continually. It couldn't be allowed to grow weak or to falter. The oil used in this lamp is indicative of the Holy Spirit, the source of light both to the world, and especially to the Church. We're to let our light shine at all times, not allowing our nature and selfish desires to enter the picture at any time. We see a perfect example of this very thing in Jesus, our hundred fold example of how we are to be.
In the twenty-second chapter of Luke, the 39th verse we read that Jesus frequented the Mount of Olives, and it is here He demonstrated many of His truths, and where He did much of His private teaching. It was from here He was taken into Heaven, and it is here He will set foot when He returns. Olives hold an important place in the plan of God.
Thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches. Only the purest gold is to be used in this candlestick. Less quality, less prepared gold is not admissible in the making of this, the representative of the Church, the body of Christ (Rev 1:20). Notice that the entire candlestick is made from the very same piece of beaten gold. The shaft is not of higher quality or different from the branches that the shaft feeds the oil of the Holy Spirit through. As Jesus was beaten and abused, so will the disciple of Jesus be treated. Paul tells us it's through much tribulation we will enter the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). No one skates into the Kingdom, nor do they enter by way of an escape rapture. The Church is being trained to fight the battle of the Lord, not to sit out the war on a cloud somewhere in the great unknown.
17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Eph 6:)
The Holy Spirit is the Word. And as we read here, the Holy Spirit is also the sword that the Christian is to carry. Jesus told the disciples to sell what they owned and buy a sword. The disciples thought (which Jesus affirmed) that He was talking about a natural sword. And that He was. But by the fact Peter made use of the sword he carried, and he was rebuked by Jesus, it seems rather apparent that Jesus had something else in mind besides a sword used in carnal warfare.
4I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:)
While Jesus was in the world there was nothing but the shaft of the candlestick, the trunk of the vine. Although the disciples went out in the name of Jesus and performed the very same miracles He was noted for, they were not using the source of God, the Holy Spirit to do these things. It's not just the obvious signs, the miracles, God is desiring of us. He could create an army of Elijahs to do this. It's a people He can live and work through, that He can provide with His Spirit He is after. And this couldn't be accomplished until Jesus relinquished the only source of His Spirit that had yet to be given.
14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Mat 5:)
While Jesus was in the world He was the only source of light available. One light, no matter how powerful, is not able to light the entire world. The sun is bright indeed, but it can only offer light to a part of the world at a time. In the end time, as revealed by John in the last chapters of Revelation, there will be light everywhere. We assume this means that there will be no more sun or moon and that God is going to produce light Himself. And this is true. But it's not the light we see in the daytime God is going to provide, rather it's the light Jesus, and those who earnestly seek to follow and be like Him, that will be providing the light of understanding to the world. We read where there will be those outside the city of light, and they will be weeping and gnashing teeth. This doesn't fit our doctrine so we cast all such understandings into the trash heap of the unknown and the unknowable. But in spite of our playing ignorant, the Word of God is going to be fulfilled, whether we're a part of that fulfilment is up to us.
4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Eph 4:)
Again we see that there is only one, one body, and one Lord. We are not a part of a fragmented society as the church world is today, but we're to venture outside ourselves and seek to be a part of the unity Jesus is working to establish.
16Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17These things I command you, that ye love one another. (John 15:)
We read how there is only one commandment, and that commandment is the culmination of all the Old Testament commandments. That one commandment is that we love God, and that we love one another even more than we love ourselves. If we don't produce this fruit of the Spirit, it's a pretty good sign we are not attached to the vine, and therefore branches on their way to withering.
5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (John 15:)
We've returned to the beginning of our study, and to the purpose of this study, which is to learn who it is that's called the Word made flesh.
15But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luke 8:)
7Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: (Heb 3:)
41And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. (Luke 19:)
46Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. (Acts 13:)
20And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 22And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. (Luke 14:)
For two thousand years God prepared a people, a field if you will, within which to plant the seed of His Spirit. When the time came for the planting, the soil was found to be rock-hard and rejected the seed. In order to complete His plans, God placed His seed in unprepared ground such as along the highways and amidst the weeds outside the prepared field. Now, for another two thousand years, He has allowed these plants to grow and propagate. Most of the seeds that have been planted will not be adequate for harvesting, or will be plants of another kind such as the tares Jesus said would grow up with the true harvest. And some will believe themselves adequate merely because of a ritual they performed or the church they belong to. These will discover that they had not been informed correctly, and will be cast out to suffer the consequences intended for the rest of the world of unbelievers (Luke 12:46).
We have a clear picture of this process both in Paul and his first attempting to preach to his own people the Jews. And again we see this in Jesus who, though He never left the cultivated field (Mat 15:24), remained with those outside the respectability of the hardened Church and its rulers.
Jesus said the Father has a house that Jesus is going to help prepare (John 14:2). This is not a physical house, but a people. This "house" we see in the above verses is in the process of being filled. Who will be admitted into this house, this city?
The word for mansions means "dwelling places." These dwelling places are not for us to live in, quite the contrary. God is preparing a place in His people where He can reside, not the other way around (Rev 21:3,22; 1Cor 3:16,17)..
Before the Shekinah Glory would settle in its resting place behind the Vail, the house within which it was to rest had to be in perfect and completed condition. Jesus is an example of this perfect resting place where God could reside. He is now in the process of creating more such resting places within the body of Christ (1Cor 3:10; Eph 2:10).
19Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. (John 8:)
38I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 39They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. (John 8:)
9And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. (Mat 23:)
The Jews claimed Abraham as their father, therefore detaching themselves from the family of God. Jesus has God as His Father. We're to do the same. Those who have the same father belong to the same family. There may be many in a family who call the man of the house father, but they are not attached to the father by blood. It's those who are of the bloodline that are to be a part of the inheritance that God provides His own. Those who are half-breeds, or are servants in the house, will not be a part of the promise (Rev 21:7).
34Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. (John 4:)
21Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: (John 20:)
18The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:)
5These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. (Mat 10:)
14And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 15Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 16There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. (Acts 5:)
5And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10To another the working of miracles; (1Cor 12:)
29Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? (1Cor 12:)
As the Father sent me, so send I you. Jesus gave us a commission to do far more than merely talk about the Father now and then. We're to be as He was, and to do as He did. Paul asked the question, can all do these things? The obvious answer is, no, everyone can't perform miracles or prophesy. We all have our own distinct gifts that are to be used to benefit both the Church, and the world at large. We're to let our lights shine as did our Lord.
I have been given a unique gift that few people living normal lives could handle. I didn't ask for this gift, nor have I been officially prepared for the gift I've been given. And this gift was not given to me until I was well in my fifties. I don't have the gift of healing. I suspect few of you do. But each of us has been given a gift of helps, of doing for others, of caring for those in need and lending aid to the hurting. We are all given the responsibility to love others above ourselves. If additional gifts are to be given at a later time, they will only come if we fulfill the commandments we've already been given, which is to love one another.
1And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Rev 22:) (See Dan 12:5-6)
This is a unique tree, both in its expanse, and in its presence. We first find this tree in the Garden at the dawn of creation. Now, here again we find such a tree. Is it possible the tree of life is not only a tree in fact, but also a representation of a people who are serving as life and of light to others? Is it unimaginable that these are people who have taken on the life of the Spirit as has Jesus? Couldn't such an explanation answer the other questions that concern the tree, such as the use of its fruits and its leaves? Again, could this tree be another view of the vine Jesus referred to, and the candlestick that represents the Church?
15Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (1John 4:)
34A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:)
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:)
37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Mat 22:)
We've been given a clear description of the Word made flesh. We've been shown, both by word and example how the Word made flesh works and thinks, Jesus is undoubtedly the Word made flesh. I ask again the question I presented at the beginning of this study: is Jesus the only one who is the Word incarnate?
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