part 2 of 14
I find this to be a most fascinating and complicated word. It intertwines many aspects of the end times in this creation passage. We see that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (not evil itself, just the knowledge of it) is in the "midst" of the garden. Midst as we see can means in the middle, or somewhere inside the garden. It doesn't necessarily have to be in the middle. Now let's skip forward a few thousand years and see what we find:
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:)
There's a great deal said in these few verses. And speaking of just a few verses, I would like to point out something that seems to be missed by all the commentators I've ever heard or read (there's a great many I haven't read so that leaves a lot of possibilities I've missed). We're looking at two very important periods of time in God's creation plan, the beginning and the completion. For the beginning we have essentially two chapters devoted to the very beginning of creation, and only one for the creation of mankind, which the world seems to be all about. That's interesting enough in itself. But isn't it odd that, after thousands of years, billions of people, the death of God's only begotten Son, 2,000 years of the church age, and a thousand years of David's Millennial Kingdom - that there would be just one short chapter devoted to Eternity, the culmination of everything creation is about? Is this in fact what we've been given? Or is there a possibility that God has given us a very detailed account of Eternity throughout His Word, and we're just too blinded by our own concepts to see it?
The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Healing of the nations? Healing? What nations? What's to be healed in eternity? Isn't everyone going to be happy and healthy in eternity? In Heaven? Then what's this all about do you think? Give it thought. Don't pass this over and pretend the words aren't there. God said them. They must have meaning.
The Nelson's Reference Bible seems confused by this passage as described elsewhere. But the Amplified Bible provides us with an interesting possibility or clarification that might actually have merit. It adds the word "And restoration" of the nations. That's a logical extension. However, it doesn't explain what the nations are doing in Eternity, nor why they need healed. The word "Healed" means to "cure, attend, medical." This causes me to think of the nations needing help through Eternity. But help with what? Cured of what? And just as importantly, cured and attended to by whom? According to the passage we just read it will be those "trees" attached to the river of life, whoever or whatever they might be.
The word for healed has the added concept of "Household." Could that be? Yes, it could. In Luke 12:42 and Matthew 24:45 we find this word translated as household. Does this add anything to our study? Not that I can see, however I do find it provocative.
Does any of this peak your interest and curiosity? Does it add an element of significance to those passages dismissed in previous readings? I surely hope so.
In 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
Passages like this are easy to skip over without even bothering to read them because they seem to make no sense to us, and they have no apparent meaning. We assume it's some kind of code God uses to talk to Himself, not to be understood by us normal humans. Let's pretend like God is actually talking to us and see if we can't decipher what He's saying.
First we have this familiar phrase: the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits. We have two objects here that were present from the first part of creation. We have the tree of life, and we have fruit that is produced by the tree of life. Remember this, I'm going to test you on it later. Fruit, as we will see (and as we already know) is something the Christian is to produce. Is this a coincidence do you think? We produce fruit, and the tree of life produces fruit. Surely there's no connection.
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life. In the Garden of Eden there was a river that proceeded out of the garden and watered the world in four directions. Here again we have a river flowing, not from the garden, but from God's throne. It's an interesting coincidence that God says a river flows from His throne here that sounds almost exactly like the Garden of Eden, His original creation. We run into a problem when we try to consider both as being the same in that we know the Garden of Eden is here on earth, and God's throne, where God dwells (lives) is way up there in the clouds somewhere. God lives in Heaven where His throne is. God lives in a great mansion in the sky, perhaps the same mansion Jesus said He's going to build for the saints, His bride. This we know for sure. Don't we?
1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Rev 21:)
Isn't this strange language? Have you ever heard of a city, especially a city the size of the moon, dressed like a bride? And isn't it strange that the city isn't going to Heaven, but coming down from Heaven? Now, I'm sure you've read this before. Did you try to make sense of it? Did you ask the Lord what He's talking about? Or did you do like most people do and just skim over it like it was the instructions on an aspirin bottle?
This is in the 21st chapter of Revelation. This is where God is describing His eternal Heaven where He, and we will dwell forever. This is the culmination of God's plans, both for Himself and for us. Surely you're going to give it more attention than is given to it from behind the pulpits. Have you noticed that Revelation, especially these last two chapters, is rarely mentioned or referred to from the pulpit? Why is that? Have you ever wondered why?
I wondered about this, and so I did some research on it. It was at this place in this study that I set aside everything and did a study of why theologians dismiss the Book of Revelation (except the Tribulation that they treat like a Science Fiction novel, intended for the world, but not for themselves). I became angry with what I found and wrote the study CONFUSION in response to that research. It is at this point that I now return to the study of Fig Leaves:
4Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel. (Num 35:34)
What does God mean when He says He dwells (lives) in Heaven? Where God lives is where we're going to live for eternity. Isn't that right? But God says here He lives in Israel. Do you think perhaps He might have gotten His home address wrong?
1In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel. 2In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion. (Psalm 76:)
First we have Moses saying God lives in Israel, and now David says He lives in Zion. We know God appeared in a cloud (the Shekinah Glory of God) and in the Tabernacle in the wilderness. But could it be that God did more than just make His presence known, but actually changed His residence from Heaven to that tiny 10x10 cubits room? Surely God wouldn't want to live in a little tent when He had all Heaven to dwell in. Do you think we'll all fit with Him in that tent do you think?
17At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jer 3:17)
Again we have God's throne, which we know to be in Heaven, in the wrong place. Is Jeremiah confused as well? Why are all these people getting their directions mixed up do you suppose?
Also we have Jeremiah talking about the nations again. Maybe he's referring to the Millennium. During that period I can see nations of the world. But in eternity? We'll be floating around on clouds and exploring our great golden mansion, won't we?
1Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: (Isaiah 66:1)
Isaiah seems to know where God lives. Finally someone who has God's true address. I get claustrophobia in small rooms, especially when millions of people are sharing that room with me. How about you?
4The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: (Psalm 11:4)
This is odd. Just a moment ago we read where David said God lives in Zion. Now he says God's throne is in Heaven. Make up your mind David.
34But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: (Mat 5:34)
If there's anyone who should know where God lives, it's Jesus. Here Jesus says God's throne is in Heaven. Yet Jeremiah said God's throne is Jerusalem. Are there mistakes in the Bible do you suppose? Did God make mistakes when He told the prophets what to say? Or do you think there might be a hint of a possibility that Jerusalem and Heaven are the same place? Watch your answer, it gets even more confusing down the road a piece.
Is it any wonder why the preachers leave this part of the Bible alone? Doesn't it make you want to run back to the safe shelter of church doctrine where all answers are spoon fed to you and you don't have to think about such things as these? I get that feeling sometimes. But the feeling doesn't last long because I prefer to know the truth rather than just have a bunch of answers to spout out, even though those answers don't make a lick of sense.
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life. I know, you've seen this before. But I got off on one of my wild tangents, taking you to places you didn't want to go, and we missed covering this topic. There's a lot to cover here, so chances are we'll have to return to it again.
I began to look at trees, the last part of this verse, and the trees took me to Heaven. I'll try to stay here on earth this time where the trees are. We see this tree as a singular, literal tree that puts out literal fruit. In the Garden of Eden where there was only one man and one woman this tree would have been easy to access. We think the tree the two first humans partook of as an apple tree. What kind of fruit do you suppose the Tree of Life had to offer? I suspect it didn't look too good because Adam and Eve could have eaten all they wanted of this tree, but never took a nibble. They longed for the fruit they couldn't have. And the serpent gave them the excuse they were searching for that allowed them to chomp on the forbidden fruit.
Today we have in the churches the very same situation. We have two fruits presented to us. One of those fruits says we must abandon everything, take up our cross and follow Jesus through persecution if we want to follow Him past the cross to paradise. That fruit doesn't sound so good, so we leave it alone. Because the words are in the Bible, expressed over and over in different ways (unlike the last books of Revelation hidden in a corner of the Bible) the words are read in the churches, then explained away by examples and rhetoric in the sermon.
Then on the other hand, or in this case, the other tree, we have the forbidden fruit that says we can do anything we want and God doesn't care. We can eat all we want of it and we'll still make it in to Heaven because God can't go back on His Word (that He never spoke, by the way). Somewhere I've heard these words before. Let's see now, where did I hear these words? Don't rush me, it'll come to me. Oh yes, I remember now: "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:" I knew I'd heard these words somewhere. Where do you hear them today?
But back to the trees. See? You did it again. You got me sidetracked with your silly questions.
TREE - H6086 - ates From H6095; a tree (from its firmness); hence wood (plural sticks): - + carpenter, gallows, helve, + pine, plank, staff, stalk, stick, stock, timber, tree, wood.
From the Hebrew definition I'm unable to find an esoteric (hidden, special knowledge - I hate that word it's been so overused by those who like to show off) meaning that I can make something of. So we'll move on:
3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalm 1:)
How about that? It seems like every time we see a tree we see fruit and leaves as well. I wonder if there's any significance?
Here David is talking about the "man" who is godly, stays away from sinners, and "meditates on the law day and night."
Staying away from sinners might be easy enough, but meditating on the Bible day and night? Is that possible? Consider for yourself: a person who begins an exercise program may hate that program, the ritual of it and the demands of it, in the beginning. But as the muscles tone, and the breathing becomes easier, and the body becomes lean and taut and flowing with energy, they begin to love the exercise and crave more of it. This principle applies to whatever we dedicate ourselves to. We humans are created obsessive-compulsive. Some people don't put that aspect of themselves to practice, so they don't realize it's there. But those of us who do apply ourselves, who are obsessive, discover we have to watch what we apply ourselves to, good and bad, because it can take us over.
Reading the Bible is no different. Realize that David speaks over and over again about his love of God's law. We in this day and age hate the idea of having to obey a law, so we deny that we have to follow God's laws any more. And we love our "grace" from the law. We also love our grace from having to read the Bible at all and still receive all the blessing those like David will receive, those who followed the law to the letter. Hmmm. Anyway, when David spoke of loving and meditating on the law, he didn't mean the books such as the Gospels, the book of Revelation, the prophets or even the Psalms and the Proverbs of Solomon. These didn't exist in his time. All that was available to him were the five books of the law that were written by Moses (supposedly). David loved God's LAW! What do we love?
Yes, we can love to meditate on the Word of God day and night. And if that meditation is done with the leadership of the Holy Spirit, delving into the deep understandings of God's Word (and I don't mean "esoteric meaning," how I hate that word), learning all...let me correct that, learning a little bit of God's true message to us rather than what is told to us in fairy tales and legends, the joy of study becomes that much greater.
David loved to dwell on the law, which is all he had to dwell on. I for one do not particularly care to dwell on the books of Moses, but I do love to research and meditate on the rest of the Bible (like we're doing here). I assume that anyone reading what I'm writing here is either quite interested in seeing what I might have found, or they're looking for some "esoteric" (how I hate that word) meanings in the Bible, or they've got nothing better to do, or they're just plain masochistic. I assume the former of the four. David, I expect, has been shown some things by the Lord Himself in the books of the law that has not been shown to me. Perhaps there is a wealth of information in those five books that escape all of us because we don't see them as the Words of God but rather as commandments that either don't effect us (animal sacrifice for one) or which we don't care to follow, so we avoid looking at them.
In the books of Moses there are two things that have a special interest to them, and I try to learn all I can about them. In them, I believe, which is supported by Scripture, is the key to the full purposes of God, and the plan He has laid our for our understanding why we're here. Those two "things" are the Tabernacle and the Shekinah Glory. Maybe this is what David was dwelling on, I don't know. I just hope some day to find out.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. This tree, as we can see, is not a tree but a person. I don't think there will be anyone to argue that point. This person who, as I interpret David's meaning, is righteous, dwelling on the Word of God and seeking His presence and obeying His commandments (as described elsewhere) is planted by "rivers" (plural) of water. A tree by a river draws its water from the river. It can be planted in the driest of deserts, but the roots that are planted in the river will cause the tree to flourish. And when the tree flourishes it produces good fruit, and it produces healthy leaves. And it appears from what we've seen that healthy leaves from the tree of life supplies health to the "nations" whoever they might be, in eternity.
Water speaks to us of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in order to be born again we must be born of water and the blood. In other places Jesus said those who are converted will have rivers of living waters (John 7:38; 4:10-14) flowing up inside them (paraphrased). There was, and will be a river flowing from the Garden of Eden, which will be the location (as it now is, or used to be, in physical symbolism) the throne of God, His "Temple." Does any of this cause you to have second thoughts on the meaning of trees, fruit, leaves and water?
15Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Rev 7:)
Notice that we have those who serve God "Day and night." Does this remind you of anything? Lots of people say (and sing) that they serve God, yet we can tell very easily they haven't the slightest interest in nor intent to serve God. Yet these same people think they will be right up there with those who are now serving God day and night, and will be doing so forever. Do you think God will want people with Him who haven't been with Him here on earth? Those who've only given lip service? See Mat 7:22 and the surrounding verses for what they're more likely to hear from the Lord.
Jesus will lead those who serve Him to living fountains of water. We've seen that water is indicative of the Holy Spirit:
25These 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:)
9As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. (John 15:)
23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. (John 14:)
It seems like every time Jesus spoke about eternal life and having the Father dwell in us (through the Holy Spirit) He gives a condition. He says if you abide in my love; If you obey my commandments. Somehow the word if has slipped out of the Bibles of almost every Christian, and certainly the Bibles used in the pulpits. I must confess, If is a slippery word, and sometimes I wish it would slip out of my Bible. But somehow I got hold of a Bible that just won't let go of that slippery word.
Jesus also says over and over again that if we want to follow him, to be His disciple, to see everlasting life, we have to follow His commandments. "Ah Ha!" we say. "That's my out. Jesus never gave any commandments except maybe to love one another. I love, so therefore I'm following His commandments. Well, I don't love everybody, but I don't hate nobody, kinda', so I guess I'm ok. Besides, Jesus died so I don't have to do anything anymore. All I got to do is go to church when it's not raining, sometimes, and I'm in like Flynn."
Have I captured the common view as you see it? Let's see if Jesus believes the commandments are no more. He said:
17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18For 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. 19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:)
Jesus said "think not," and so what do we rebellious humans do? we think just the opposite of what Jesus told us to think. Jesus said "Do not teach," so what do we teach? Why of course we teach what He said not to teach. Jesus said not to break even the least of the commandments, so what do we teach? We teach that Jesus died so we can break all the commandments we want because He did away with the commandments. What was it the serpent said in the garden?
24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Mat 16:)
38And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. (Mat 10:)
1To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 3:)
How much clearer does it have to be? What does Jesus have to do to get us to listen to what He's telling us? die on a cross?
We're told there's no more commandments because Jesus died to do away with the commandments. It's interesting that we have several accounts of a man coming to Jesus and asking the very same question we ask, that is, about the commandments and what we have to do to go to Heaven. Let's see what Jesus told the man:
17And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
Isn't this the question we ask? Don't we want to know what it takes to gain eternal life? Here's the answer according to Jesus, the One who has made it possible for us Gentiles to see eternal life:
18And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. (Mark 10:)
Here Jesus is essentially quoting a few of the commandments the law of Moses contained, that is, the five commandments that effect our relationship with one another. I take it that the other five, that effect our relationship to God is a given. This man said he's been following all those commandments, yet he realized there was more to getting to Heaven than just following the commandments. So Jesus took the man to the final step. He said:
One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. (Mark 10:)
Jesus made it near impossible for this rich man to get to Heaven, the place he wanted to go. Jesus told the man just the opposite of what the churches teach. We're told we can have all the riches we want, that we don't have to obey any commandments, and we'll be given everything we want, plus what this man was hoping for.
In this dialogue we're told that Jesus loved this man. We're told that Jesus loves everybody. But other than His disciples, as far as I can recall, we're not told that Jesus loved a person (other than Mary and Martha), and certainly not a ruler who happens to be in the vicinity and not one of His followers. If our theologians had written this passage of Scripture it would read something like this: "Well, I'll tell you son. In a short while you and all your fellow Jews are going to kill me, and because you do kill me all your sins, past and future, will be forgiven and all the commandments you follow will be done away with. So you just make sure you don't die for a while, hang in there, and you can keep your wealth, and you can stop resisting sin, and you'll be taken immediately to Heaven where you'll live forever. All you'll have to do is be baptized in the right way, according to the right doctrines, and belong to the right church. That's what you have to do in order to spend eternity in Heaven."
Does it sound like I'm being sacrilegious when you read what I just wrote? It does to me, and I feel like washing my keyboard with soap and water. But the fact is, this and worse is what's being preached from the pulpits. And I don't see any preacher washing his mouth out with soap.
Anyway, back to the study. I told you in the beginning that the study of the creation of mankind is a long and complicated one that would take us through the entire Bible. So far we're not even half way through the context of the Genesis account. So expect a lot more pages to be added to this study before we're through.
I said I'm bringing you back to the study. But first, since we're talking about trees and water at this time, let me take you on another side trip:
In the Book of Revelation John said he saw an image that we find to be Jesus, described in an unusual way:
12And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. (Rev 1:)
Midst of the seven candlesticks. The candlesticks we have learned are the Churches (Rev 1:20). And water we find is the Holy Spirit. And we see that this person is Jesus standing amidst the Churches:
And his voice as the sound of many waters. Jesus has a voice that is made up of many waters. We know that the Body of Christ is composed of Christians, that is, the Church. And the body is made up of various parts. Is it possible that part of that body is the Lord's voice?
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...... 17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:)
11But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. (Mark 13:)
38And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. (Mark 1:)
21Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. (John 20:)
What do you think? Is it possible that we, the Christian are the "many waters" spoken of here? But wait! There's more!
1And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. 2And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 5And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. (Rev 14:)
I almost get the feeling the Scriptures are alluding to the wise virgins waiting with their lamps (Mat 25:1-10). What do you think?
5And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Rev 19:)
Notice two things in particular in this passage: One, the bride gets herself ready (I again think of the virgins waiting their Lord, the five foolish virgins waiting for someone else to prepare them, learning too late it doesn't work that way); and two, the voices were like mighty thunderings. Interesting, no?
1Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: 2And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. (Ezek 43:)
12Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the LORD hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon. 13O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness. (Jer 51:)
Does this sound like Babylon in Revelation? Remember it, there's more coming up.
5He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding. 16When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; (Jer 15:)
7Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. 8For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. 9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. 11As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool. 12A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. 13O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters. 14Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. 15Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now. 16As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee. 17Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil. 18Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction. (Jer 17:)
We're told by many of the churches that the Lord will have to come and rescue us before He pours out His judgement upon the earth. I myself do not see this. In fact I see the only rescue is to be one of the very few who stay just as attached to the Vine as possible, allowing the Holy Spirit to make me into as close a similitude of Jesus as I will allow Him to. I need to keep my roots in the water of truth, the Fountain of Living Water, especially when the heat of the Tribulation comes upon the world.
13When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, (Rev 10:)
Notice here the waters are in Heaven. Remember earlier we saw the possibility that Heaven is here on earth? Something to consider.
2Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. 13For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. (Jer 2:)
The people in the churches have begun to rely on old, dirty water that's draining out of the cracks. Water has to keep flowing if it is to remain pure. And to keep the water flowing we must keep our roots in the river, and stay attached to the vine, the source of Spiritual life.
10How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! 11Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. 12A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. 13Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, 14Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: 15A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. 16Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits. (SOS 4:)
This "Love Story" is full of imagery that makes no sense if not seen as a message to the Church. Here we have the bride, the sister, the garden and a well of living waters. Give it thought. Read the story while in tune with the Holy Spirit. There's a lot to learn here, but it won't be understood unless it's associated with the Garden of Eden and the Book of Revelation.
2Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. 3The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters. 4The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. (Psalm 29:)
1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (Psalm 23:)
15Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. 16He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. 17He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. (Psalm 18:)
1And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters.......14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. 15And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. (Rev 17:)
We have a tendency to try and force a single interpretation on a word or a phrase. This can't always be done. The above is a good example. David's "waters" are his enemies. The waters the whore sits on is considered to be the unsaved world, and the earth Israel. Is this so? Usually the "seas" refer to the unsaved, but not necessarily every time. The waters of Revelation might also include the backslidden and unrepentant Church. I can't say, it hasn't been fully revealed to me yet just what is meant by the seas here.
34Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein. (Psalm 39:)
1And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. (Rev 13:)
11And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. (Rev 13:)
And again we have the sea and the earth. The first Beast is commonly assumed to be someone from the unsaved world ("the sea") and the small beast someone from the Jewish community, or some consider him to be the Pope. I'm not convinced of either of those theories. I'm not disputing this, it just might be so. But to me none of this is important. In fact very little that is presented here is what I'm concerned with. It's not in the understanding or recognizing what is going to happen that's important unless we expect to be caught up in it. The popular church concept of the day gets around this problem by imagining that Jesus will come pick them up on a cloud and they won't have to deal with any of this. Although I do see clouds in Revelation, those I see do not come pick anybody up. They might throw thunderbolts at the world, but they don't rescue.
Our rescue, if it is to come, is to remain firmly attached to the Vine and continue producing much Spiritual fruit so we aren't pruned off making way for the productive branches to have more room to do their producing. Gardeners, you know just what I mean.
18Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand. 19My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch. 20My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand. (Job 29:)
In this passage Job is recounting his past glory when God was supplying him with everything, including prestige, honor and wealth. Note he uses the expression "My root was spread out by the waters" indicating his source was from the richness of God's provision. This is the same example we have in the Psalms and elsewhere.
What I want to draw your attention to here is the vivid consistency throughout the Bible. We've covered a great many of the books of the Bible, and we've seen how God has used the same patterns throughout. In fact, the New Testament that seems to be so different, especially as expressed by some theologians and commentators, are in fact nothing more than a fulfillment, and quotes of, and an explanation of the Old Testament.
The Bible is a deep well of information. If we just stay on the surface of God's Word we will be fulfilled with all we need to know. That is, we will have all that's necessary to live as a Christian, but no more. And when remaining on the surface, we are in danger of losing interest in the Word of God and are likely to fall prey to those who claim to have the truth but are actually themselves deceived, therefor deceiving others.
5Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out. (Prov 20:)
If we look for the deep things of God, then God will lead us to where we will find Him. "Seek and ye shall find, ask and it shall be given to you." We have to ask, and we have to seek. We can't sit still and expect to follow the Lord. Nor can we expect to go our own way, that is to try and prove some preconceived doctrine we find comfortable, and expect to find truth. This is the route most people travel, that is they either do nothing and expect to learn, thereby falling for false doctrine: Or they try to force the Bible to say what they want it to say.
We have been jumping from place to place as if the Bible was a checker game. In my own thinking this would not be the way to study. It's not my way. My mind is quite orderly and I like to know where I'm going all the time. The Lord doesn't let me work my own way. God said, as we have seen in Isaiah, that He has written His instructions to us line upon line, here a little, there a little. God has to connect the dots, we can't. If we connect the dots we come up with a monstrosity of a picture. The picture may look right in our eyes because it appears to say what we want it to say. A two year old's drawing of mamma looks exactly like his mother to him. He sees her as a basketball head with straws sticking out in all directions. We are children in our understanding. When we think we're wiser than we really are, we get ourself (and all who listen to us spout our self-proclaimed wisdom) in trouble. Paul said:
6Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (2Cor 2:)
We're looking for the deep things of God. Actually I can't say that. Such talk is the way of the churches who proclaim in their Articles of Faith "We Believe." This does in fact force people to think they believe whatever they're told to believe, but such faith (Faith Statements) is not saving faith by any stretch of the imagination. I can only say that I'm looking for the deep things of God, and I hope you who are reading this are as well.
Back to many waters:
17And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. 18And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. (Gen 7:)
1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Gen 1:)
Have you noticed the use of the word "waters" in the plural rather than singular? If the water covered the entire earth, both in the beginning before there was land; and during the deluge (Noah); then why not just say "water"? What's the answer? I don't know. But I find it interesting and I think somewhere, in deeper waters than I have been taken, there is a mystery to be unraveled.
I believe it's important to be aware of all the questions, whether they appear important or not. If I have voiced the question, then I'll be open to the answer when it presents itself. If I pay no attention to the question, or think I already have the answer, then the true answer will have no place to rest itself, and will likely be rejected off hand.
While on this subject, a tangent to a tangent, I would like to take us on yet another tangent. We will return to this study of water in a moment:
1Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. 2Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. 3And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. 4Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. 5Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. 6And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. 7Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. 8Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. 9And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. 10And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. 11But the miry places thereof and the marshes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. 12And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine. (Ezek 47:)
Doesn't this sound very much like the last books of Revelation? And if you think about it, can't you imagine yourself in the Garden of Eden? Here we have waters at different levels. Water, we know, indicates the Holy Spirit. I'm not trying to force this interpretation on this passage, but the likelihood is strong that this is what Ezekiel was experiencing. I also think of an understanding of the Word similar to the water described here. If we stay in ankle deep water we'll think that's all there is. Any deeper is considered a mystery and beyond us. Ezekiel went so far he found the water couldn't be crossed over and he couldn't touch the bottom. He was totally dependent upon the water supporting him. He was in the faith realm, the realm we try our best to stay out of.
Am I making something out of nothing here? Maybe. But in my mind it fits.
17For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Rev 7:)
Jesus Himself will lead those who are granted the privilege of making it into the Kingdom. Earlier I said (in the introduction), and hope I convinced you (or at least caused you to wonder) that we're in the partial realm of the Kingdom now. If this is true, and I think there's evidence to back this up, then we are being led by the Lord along waters now. If the waters are the Holy Spirit, we have the Holy Spirit here with us now leading the Christian to the truth of the Word, and the perfecting of the saints. And didn't Jesus say He would be with us too? Doesn't this mean He is guiding us beside waters even now?
Am I fantasizing again? Or do you think I might be on to something?
1And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: (Rev 17:)
14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. 15And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. (Rev 17:)
Great whore that sitteth upon many waters. We looked at these verses earlier, but in a somewhat different context. We saw that the waters the whore sits on could be the nations, but I think it's more likely the waters are the saints in possession of the Holy Spirit. Notice the term "many waters." Didn't we see where the Bible has used this term many times and in many places to indicate the saints who follow Jesus?
We think of someone sitting on something or someone as holding them down, not letting them do what they want to do. Is this the meaning here? I can't find evidence of such a meaning, but it's a concept worth looking into, don't you think?
They that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. Notice the order here. We discovered earlier that being called is not a sign of being a true Christian. We also saw that being chosen is not a particular guarantee of being one of God's people either, and we have Judas, who Jesus even said He chose, to give solid evidence to this fact. At the end of this list we have the "faithful." I think this is the key word we need to keep in mind. The 11 Apostles proved themselves faithful to the end, as did many of the early Christians. They didn't just give lip service, they endured to the end, which is a requirement to be a true disciple and to walk with the Lord. (Mat 10:20)
7Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. 8For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. (Jer 17:)
7He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Rev 2:)
14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (Rev 22:)
We're back to the end of Revelation. And we see the tree of life again. But we have something added worth our consideration. Take note and see if you catch it:
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life. Those who do His commandments will have access to the tree of life. We know this can't mean obey His commandments in eternity because only those who have proven themselves will be in eternity. This must mean those who do His commandments now, wouldn't you think? Are you doing His commandments now? Or have you been taught there are no commandments to follow?
Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. Without are such people? Really? In eternity? How can that be? And outside of what?
The outside of what is easy enough to answer because we just looked at the verse that tells us what. It's the city where the tree of life is. Those who are overcomers can enter the city. And it appears there will be people around who will not be able to enter the city. It appears these people are saved all right, but I suspect they're not going to be too happy. Consider this verse along with what we have read so far:
23And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. (Rev 21:)
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:)
16And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. 18And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 20In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD'S house shall be like the bowls before the altar. 21Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts. (Zech 14:)
I don't think anyone who is familiar with eschatology at all will argue that this passage from Zechariah is referring to the end times. But even without it, don't you get a rather eerie feeling about what eternity is going to be like? Do you see anyone floating over clouds or lounging around their own private mansion as is so commonly believed?
Here's two more verses I want you to pay close heed to. If you don't catch the drift of them right off I suggest you reread this section again until you do. I think you'll find it rather important (I'm known for my understatements):
5And 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. (Gen 2:)
22And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. (Gen 3:)
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