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JESUS SPOKE TO THE CROWDS IN PARABLES



Notice – This paper was rewritten on 12-3-13. 


The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven have been revealed to man.  It began to happen when Jesus spoke the gospel message to the crowds in parables and then He explained the meaning of those parables to His disciples (Matthew, chapter 13). 

Jesus was going about from village to village preaching the gospel of the kingdom of heaven but He only spoke to the crowds in parables.  Matthew wrote, “All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable.” (Verse 34) 

Mark says that, "He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples" (Mark 4:34). 

He was explaining the spiritual meaning of His parables to His disciples when they were apart from the crowds.  The crowds never heard Him do that.  All they heard was earthly copies of the spiritual message. 

His disciples must have wondered why He spoke to the crowds in parables because, scripture says, “the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" (Matthew 13:10)  “Jesus answered them, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.” 

Jesus said the crowd only heard parables because, “while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand”. 

The crowds will only hear in parables because, their hearts have become dull, their ears can scarcely hear and they have closed their eyes.  They refuse to come near to hear Jesus as He explains His parables to His disciples and, as a result, the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are not being revealed to them.  

The crowds came by the thousands to hear Jesus speaking the gospel message.  Some would come to believe that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God but few of them would be willing to pay the cost of discipleship.  

Of that cost Jesus once told the crowd, "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:27) 

When Jesus told them that one had to carry his own cross and come after Him Jesus was speaking in a parable but the crowds could not understand the meaning. 

Some of those in the crowds, even among the Jewish rulers, would come to believe in Him but they were not willing to confess Him. 

John writes, “Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.”  (John 12:42-43) 

Only those believers who were willing to risk everything to confess Him and follow Him became His disciples.  They would come to know that being rejected by unbelievers and having to endure the affliction that would come from them was a part of carrying a spiritual cross. 

His disciples have been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven but it will not happen all at once.  Most will only know the basics of gospel obedience when they become disciples but they will know enough to be saved. 

His disciples must keep listening to Him as He explains His parables and they will grow in their knowledge of the kingdom of heaven.  We will never know all of those mysteries in this life but we must keep listening to Him.  

Man lost eternal life when Adam sinned but God's plan would provide a way to bring man back to God and into the kingdom of heaven.  How He would do that was hidden in mysteries that were not revealed until Jesus came to earth speaking in parables. 

The good news of the kingdom of heaven includes the revelation of the plan of salvation to man.  Jesus is telling us how God is doing that in His parables.  We must hear Him when He explains His parables to His disciples if we wish to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.  

Jesus promised His disciples that, after His departure, the Holy Spirit would come to them and guide them into all truth (John 16:13).  

While on earth, Jesus had revealed some things about the mystery of the kingdom to them but it would all be revealed to the inspired men in that first century.  It has been revealed to us in their writings.  

Everything that we need is written in scripture. As Peter says, “- His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3)

After Matthew recorded how Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables to fulfill what Isaiah had prophesied, he referred to another prophecy that was being fulfilled.  He was fulfilling something that the Psalmist foretold, saying, “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN PARABLES; I WILL UTTER THINGS HIDDEN SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD." (Matthew 13:35)  

Matthew was referring to Psalms, chapter 78.  The Psalmist began that chapter by saying, "Listen, O my people, to my instruction; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.  I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us".  The Psalmist then repeated what their fathers had told them and it was the old Hebrew salvation story.  

Christ is speaking to us through the Psalmist.  We need to remember that the scriptures are God’s word and Christ is the Word.  John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)  John then tells us that all things came into being through Him.  He later tells us how the Word became flesh and dwelled among us.

Christ was the Word of God that became flesh and He is the Creator.  The Father spoke through Him and He did all of His creation work through Him.  When the Spirit spoke through the prophets, the Spirit of Christ who would later become Jesus Christ on earth was actually speaking through them to foretell what was to come. 

Peter spoke of our salvation and how the prophets spoke of the grace to come.  They were “seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” (1 Peter 1:11)  

His Spirit speaks to us through the prophet Hosea and He says, “I have also spoken to the prophets, And I gave numerous visions, And through the prophets I gave parables.” (Hosea 12:10) 

When the Psalmist said, “I will open my mouth in a parable”, Christ was the one speaking.  The Spirit of Christ is speaking through the Psalmist and He began by saying that He would open His mouth in a parable and speak dark saying of old, things their fathers had told them.  

That was prophecy of how He would later come speaking in parables but He also said that He would open His mouth in a parable and speak dark sayings of old which the fathers had told them.  

When we listen to the Spirit of Christ retell what their fathers told them, we hear Him retell that old Hebrew story of how God saved His people out of slavery and brought them through the wilderness to lead them to their land.

He says that story must be told to the generation to come.  He was speaking to us, the spiritual generation to come.  He is telling us the earthly salvation story of that Hebrew nation that the fathers had retold to them and He says that He is speaking it in a parable.  

How could that be true?  We know that old story is not fiction.  It really happened.  How could that old Hebrew story be a parable? 

It can't be a parable as we think of parables because our definition of a parable says the earthly story is a fictional story and that old Hebrew story is a true story.  Our definition of a parable says the story is fiction but God is not required to use our definitions.  Can God not also cause a true story to come about as an earthly copy of the spiritual? 

Did He cause that old Hebrew story to happen as it did as a true story copy for our instruction?  Was He working in the lives of Abraham’s earthly descendants to bring about the old covenant story of how they were saved out of slavery in Egypt to be brought to their land as an earthly copy of how God’s spiritual people are being saved out of slavery to sin on this earth to be brought to their spiritual land? 

We heard John tell us about Christ being the Word and the Creator but Paul also tells us about His creation work.  Paul tells us His creation work causes things to happen in people’s lives.  

He says that Christ is the image of the invisible God the Firstborn of all creation, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)  

All things have been created through Him and for Him and that work includes rulers, authorities and kings.  As Paul says in another place, "there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God."  (Romans 13:1)  

The Creator places all rulers and kings into their positions of power as a part of His creation works.  Every ruler since Adam was selected by Christ and that includes the Pharaoh who ruled over Egypt in the days of Moses.  

It sounds like the Creator may have made that earthly story happen like it did when He brought those rulers into power and then caused them to make the choices that they made.  Did His creation work include causing that old Hebrew salvation story to come about for our instruction?  

Was He working to create that story when He placed Pharaoh into power and later hardened his heart to cause him to delay letting God’s people go free until God’s power had been displayed with great signs and wonders in the land of Egypt?  They had become slaves in Egypt but God would send Moses to bring them out of slavery and to lead them to their land.  

We can see how God was causing that old story to happen as it did when we hear Paul quote Moses and say, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.  (Romans 9:17).  

If the scripture said those words to Pharaoh, then it was Christ speaking to Pharaoh because He was the Word.  Christ is the Creator who put Pharaoh into his position and then He directed his actions to make that old story happen as it did. 

Paul said that Christ did it to show His power and that His name might be proclaimed throughout the earth.  Did Christ make that earthly story happen to foretell how the gospel’s power to save would later be proclaimed throughout the world in the name of Jesus Christ in our new covenant salvation story?  

His gospel message is of His power to save and it is to be proclaimed in His name through all the earth.  It is the gospel that Paul preached and he said that he was not ashamed of that gospel because, "it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek"  (Romans 1:16).   

When He caused Pharaoh’s heart to be hardened so that His signs and wonders would be displayed, was He foretelling how He would come proclaiming the gospel message of salvation in His name and show His power in signs and wonders as He went about preaching the gospel?  

We can see how His name would be declared throughout the whole earth when Jesus told the apostles that, “repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem." (Luke 24:46-47)  

We are to preach the gospel of salvation that includes repentance for forgiveness of sins and we are to proclaim it in His name to all nations.  It sounds like that salvation message was foretold in the old Hebrew story and God made it happen for our instruction. 

Paul seems to be saying that when he referred back to that old story and wrote, “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.”  (1 Corinthians 10:1-5) 

A few verses later Paul tells us, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.  Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”  

Are we listening?  The Spirit of Christ is speaking through Paul.  Paul does not say that the things that happened to them just happen to work out the way they did.  If those things happened as an example, did not God cause that story to happen and did He not have it written for our instruction? 

If He was causing that old Hebrew story to happen as it did for our instruction then it sounds like those people had no choice.  It sounds like Pharaoh had no choice if God raised him up and put him into power and then repeatedly hardened his heart to bring that old story as a copy. 

Based on what we read in other scripture we know that can’t be true.  Peter says that God is “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)  

The Lord also spoke through Ezekiel to say, “As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, `I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?' (Ezekiel 33:11)  

If the scriptures say that God does not wish for any to perish but that all should repent, then we make that choice for ourselves.  If God was the one making the choice for us and if He means what He said (He always means what He says), and He does not wish that anyone would perish but that all would come to repentance, then God would cause everyone to repent so that no one would perish.  

We know that is not the case.  He allows us to make the choice and His wish is that we will make the right choice.  Whatever choice we make, however, He will have foreseen us make it. 

God foreknew what choice we would make because He is not limited in time.  He is in all time now and He was in all time from the beginning of time. 

David spoke of how God foreknew him when he wrote, “O LORD, You have searched me and known me.  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.  You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.  Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.” (Psalms 139:1-4)

God knew what David would say before he said it but He also knew David’s whole like before he was born because David will later say, “My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”  (Verses 15-16) 

Every day of David’s life had already been recorded in God’s book before David was born because God had already foreseen him and based on what He foresaw He was making his life to work out for David’s best interest.

We can see that when we hear Paul say, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:28-19).

We can now understand how Pharaoh had chosen his own destiny.  Just as God had foreseen and recorded every day of David’s life before he was born God foresaw Pharaoh as one who would choose not to obey Him and He selected Pharaoh to become a vessel meant for destruction.  

Just as He created earthly stories to teach spiritual truths about the kingdom of heaven when He walked on earth, Christ did the same thing when He brought Pharaoh up and hardened his heart to bring about that old earthly story as a copy for our instruction.  He created fictional stories when He spoke while in the flesh to teach the same message that He spoke through that old Hebrew true story.  

Let’s look in more detail at that old story and see how it may be a copy of our story.  After the last plague (The death of the firstborn of Egypt), Pharaoh allowed the Israelites to depart.  God, however, did not lead them directly toward their land of promise.  God led them around for a day or two in the wilderness of Egypt and down to the edge of the Red Sea.  Why would God do that?  

God told Moses that Pharaoh would see them wandering aimlessly and God would harden his heart, again, and he would chase after them (Exodus 14:3-4).  Pharaoh and his army chased after Israel and caught up with them at the sea. 

God’s people were trapped between the Egyptians and the Red Sea with seemingly no way of escape.  The only way out would be if the LORD intervened and saved His people.  He did exactly that when He displayed His power by parting the sea so that His people could go through the sea on dry ground.  

Moses stretched out his hand and the sea parted and he led God’s people through the sea.  When the Egyptian army pursued after them, Moses stretched out his hand over the sea from the other side and the waters returned to their place.  The entire Egyptian army was drowned in the sea. 

God caused that event to happen when He hardened Pharaoh’s heart one last time.  Pharaoh had already let God’s people go after the sign of the death of the firstborn but God hardened his heart again and caused him to change his mind and gather his army and go after the Israelites. 

Why would God harden Pharaoh’s heart and cause that event to happen when His people have already been told they could go free?  God made it happen for a reason.  Was it just to punish the Egyptians?  

All of the Egyptian’s firstborn had already died during that last Passover night.  Much or most of their livestock had died and their crops had been destroyed.  Israel had also plundered the Egyptians of their wealth before they left.  Was there another reason for God to choose to destroy the Egyptian army?  

When Gods people saw the Egyptians coming after them they cried out to Moses and to God.  Moses told them, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.  "The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent."  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.” (Exodus 14:13-15) 

God told Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea and part it so that the sons of Israel could go through.  He told Moses, "As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.” (Exodus 14:17)

How was God honored by the destruction of Pharaoh and all his army?  Was it done to show an earthly copy of how He is being honored when we are brought out of slavery to sin?   

When God’s people went through the sea, their Egyptian slave masters tried to overtake them to bring them back into slavery but they were washed away in the sea.  Not one of them remained (Exodus 14:28).  

We can see the spiritual parallel when we hear what Jesus told the Jews about their spiritual slavery.  He said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.  "The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.  "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34-36)

We were all in slavery to sin because we are all sinners but if we have heard and followed Jesus He will make us free. 

We can see how it happened with Paul when he saw Jesus on the road and became a believer.  He was told to, “get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do." (Acts 9:6) 

He was later told, “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” (Acts 22:16)  

Paul was seeing the salvation of the LORD which He accomplished for him that day when he obeyed God and went forward into the sea.  His slave master was washed away in the sea. 

At first glance, it appears that our sins are our slave masters but the scriptures are really saying something else.  Paul tells us what happens when we come through the waters of baptism in Romans, chapter 6. 

He says that all of those who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into His death and if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin(Romans 6:5-6).  

Our slave master is our worldly body of sin.  If we have heard and believed and obeyed the gospel message and repented of having lived for that body of sin and followed Jesus through the sea of baptism we will have been set free from slavery when that body is done away with in the sea.   

If we have truly repented of having lived a life of sin for that old slave master and become united with Him in the likeness of His death "certainly" we will be in the likeness of His resurrection.  

Our old body of sin will have been washed away in the sea when we follow Jesus through those waters, just as Israel’s slave masters were left behind in that old sea.  The new body that comes up out of the sea will belong to Jesus and it will have become a part of His church body on earth.  

God’s Spirit dwells in Christ’s body, therefore, it dwells in us if our body is His body.  

Paul says that we are in the Spirit, “- -if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.  If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” (Romans 8:9-10)

Only after the old slave master body of sin has been crucified with Christ and has been washed away in the sea can we be born again of the Spirit of God.  We will have been born, again of water and Spirit.  

Remember, Jesus told Nicodemus, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)  God’s people are being led to their land of promise in the kingdom of God.  We can’t get there unless we follow Jesus through the sea so that we can be set free from slavery first. 

Our new body will come up free from sin because Jesus has redeemed us with His blood.  We have been called to serve our new master, the one who paid the price for our sins.  

Christ spoke through Moses to tell them to go forward into the sea.  He tells His disciples to, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16)  We are to tell them to go forward into the sea.  

Peter showed his love for Jesus when he obeyed Him and preached that gospel message on the Day of Pentecost.  Many of those who heard him believed his message and cried out and asked what should they do?  

Peter told them to, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38

Those who received his message and believed were baptized and they were added to the church.  They heard Jesus explain His parable and they obeyed and were baptized for the remission of their sins.  They heard Him tell them to go forward into the sea and they would be saved from slavery to sin.  

If we are obedient to His command just as Peter was obedient on the Day of Pentecost, we will tell the lost how they are in slavery to sin but if they will only repent and follow Jesus through the sea and have their slave masters washed away, Jesus will bring them out of the land of slavery.  

After Moses led them through the sea and the Egyptians were drowned in the sea, scripture records that when the Israelites saw what God had done and they saw the bodies of the Egyptians dead on the shore, they were believers.  

Moses said that, “When Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses.” (Exodus 14:31)  

Just as they were a nation of saved believers after their slave masters were washed away, we are also a nation of saved believers after we have been brought through those waters of baptism and our slave masters have been washed away.  

We will have been saved out of slavery to be led to our Promised Land but we will not yet have received that land. 

For that earthly nation, most of them will never receive that land because they were afraid to fight for it.  They wanted to return to a life of slavery, instead.  

Are many of God’s new covenant people longing to return to a life of slavery to sin?  Was Christ not telling us that when He opened His mouth in a parable and spoke that old Hebrew story through the Psalmist (Psalms, chapter 78)? 

They were to tell that story to the generation to come so they would not be like their fathers and be rebellious toward God.  We are the generation to come and Jesus is telling that story to us.  We need to study that old story because it was created for our instruction.  

Jesus continues to explain the meaning of that old Hebrew story when we hear Him speak through the Hebrew writer.  The Hebrew writer spoke of that Israelite nation in the wilderness and how they refused to hear God’s voice and they hardened their hearts and provoked Him (Hebrews 3:8).  

We heard Paul retell that old Hebrew salvation story and say how the things that happened to them happened as an example and they were written for our instruction.  He spoke of those who were displeasing to God and how they were struck down in the wilderness. He said that we should watch out if think that we stand and take heed lest we fall.        

The Hebrew writer is telling us the same thing in chapter 3.  He tells us to, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.”

The writer continues the comparison in chapter 4 and he tells us not to harden our hearts like they did or we will not be allowed to enter our rest.  He says, “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.”  

We must not only listen to His parable story, we must have open hearts to hear Him explain its meaning to His disciples.  When we pass through the sea, our slave masters will have been washed away but our journey will only have just begun.  We will not receive that land until we have finished our wilderness travels (This world is our spiritual wilderness), having faithfully followed Jesus.  

If we are being warned, that means it can happen to us but we do have a choice.  We can just listen to that old earthly story and not hear Him as He explains its meaning to His disciples or we can stay and listen to Him explain what it means.    

In that old Hebrew story, of the men in God’s army, only Joshua and Caleb continued in His word and only Joshua and Caleb wanted to keep fighting for that land.  Therefore, they were the only ones of God's army who would be allowed to enter the Promised Land.  God, however, told them that their children would also enter.  

In Deuteronomy, chapter 1, Moses recounts to the next generation what had happened when their fathers had refused to obey God and fight for that land.  Forty years had passed and the rebels had all died in the wilderness.  

Moses repeated God’s promise of how none would enter except Joshua and Caleb but he adds,  “Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it”.  

Their little ones would enter that land because they had no knowledge of good or evil.  Only those little ones who do not know good from evil and those faithful soldiers in God’s army will enter into and take possession of that land.  

The Psalmist said that story was a parable.  Paul said what happened to the people of that story happened as an example and God had it written for our instruction.  Christ is the one speaking through Paul just as He spoke through the Psalmist.  He tells us that the old Hebrew story happened as an example for us.  He says those things happened as examples and they were written for our instruction. 

Christ only speaks to the crowds in parables but He reveals the true meaning of that story to His disciples. His disciples will take the time to hear Him and they will believe Him.  

We need to hear Jesus as He explains the meaning of His parables in the New Testament scriptures.  Only then can we understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.  

As He speaks through Paul, He tells the church in Colossi how the mystery had been hidden in past generations but God has now made the mystery known to His saints, saying, “God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”  (Colossians 1:27).  

If we have washed away our old slave-master body in the sea, our new resurrected bodies will have become a part of Christ’s body, the church.  His Spirit dwells in that body.  The mystery is how Christ is in us and we have the hope of glory.  The Gentiles are now fellow heirs in Christ Jesus.  We must be in Christ and His Spirit must be in us if we are to live with Him in glory. 

We are fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel when we obey the gospel message given in the Great Commission.  Remember, Jesus tells us to, go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  Those who believe and are baptized will be saved and those who do not believe will be condemned (Mark 16:15-16).  

Paul tells us how
obedience to that command saves us.  He tells us that if anyone is in Christ he is a new creature; old things have passed away and the new things have come to us (2 Corinthians 5:17).  

He then tells us, "Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” 

Paul then tells us how we can only be reconciled to God through Christ because He became sin on our behalf so that we could become the righteousness of God in Him.  We can only be reconciled to God in Christ Jesus and we must be baptized into Christ to become sons of God and heirs with Christ for that to happen. 

Paul tells us about that when he says, "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ" (Galatians 3:26-27).  

He says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.”

Included in the revelations of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven is how God is reconciling man to Himself through Christ.  No one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).  

We must believe Him when He tells us that we must obey the gospel and become clothed with Him in baptism.  When we become clothed with Christ in baptism we will have met God’s covenant requirement of circumcision of the flesh. 

Remember, God told Abraham, "This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.  "And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.” (Genesis 17:10-11) 

He told him, “thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.” (Verse 13)  God also told Abraham that any male that was not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, “that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant." (Verse 14) 

Circumcision of the flesh for Abraham and his earthly descendants was a sign of true circumcision of the flesh that God requires.  God’s true circumcision requirement is spiritual circumcision of our earthly flesh through a circumcised heart. 

Paul was speaking of that circumcision for Abraham’s spiritual descendants when he wrote, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.  But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” (Romans 2:28-29)

We must keep God’s everlasting covenant and be circumcised, “with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”  (Colossians 2:11-12) 

Our new covenant is the only everlasting covenant. We must meet God’s everlasting covenant requirement of circumcision of our body of flesh.  It happens when we repent of having lived for that earthly body and make the commitment to do away with it in the sea. 

That old body of flesh must be removed in baptism so that we can be raised up with Christ.  Paul tells us, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”  (Colossians 3:1-2)    

If we have met God’s everlasting covenant requirement of circumcision of the flesh we have become born again children of God by faith in Christ but we must continue to carry our cross and wholeheartedly follow Jesus through our spiritual wilderness if we are to receive our land.  

Jesus is telling us to not be like the fathers who provoked Him and were struck down in their wilderness.  Jesus is telling us the story and we need to believe Jesus because it is those who believe in Jesus who, "shall not perish, but have eternal life".  

What if one of those Israelite elders had told his people that they could be set free from slavery without having to go through the sea as Moses had commanded them to do? 

I doubt that the LORD would have been pleased with any elder or leader who would tell his people that they could go around the sea without having to go through it and still be brought out of the land of slavery.  God’s message through Moses was to, “Tell the sons of Israel to go forward".  

We should listen to our teachers and preachers but we must be careful to hear Jesus.  We must be sure to check out what they say with the scriptures.  We are truly saved by faith in Jesus and, therefore, we must believe that He means what He says.  

We must be careful what we tell others.  We must tell others what Jesus told us to tell them because those who teach others will be judged more closely than others (James 3:1).  We must not change His message because it was a difficult task for Jesus to stretch out His hands on the cross to provide that pathway for us to pass through the sea.   

Understanding the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven requires that we listen to and believe Jesus as He explains the meaning of His parables to His disciples. That old story is a copy of our story but everything necessary for salvation has been clearly revealed in the New Testament scriptures.  We sometimes, however, have trouble understanding the word spoken so He created the same message in the earthly copy.  

His disciples will hear Jesus tell them that they must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Him.  They must not be like that old Hebrew nation and look back and long for the flesh pots that they had in the land of slavery.  

I am not from one of the schools of theology.  I am a retired engineer and have been a Christian most of my life.  It has only been within the last few years that I have come to realize how God caused that old covenant story to happen as an earthly copy of our spiritual story.  

He wrote in parables in the Old Testament scriptures what He would say in direct statements in the New Testament scriptures.  If we are confused with the direct statements of the New Testament, we need to study the old parables.  They were true stories that God caused to happen for our instruction. 

We need to study them anyway, so that we can know that, "JESUS IS LORD".  We must truly believe what our LORD Jesus is telling us and not be like those who only heard in parables “so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN”.  

You will notice that I have used the New American Standard translation for the copied scriptures in this book. You may wish to also read the same scriptures from the translation that you normally use.

Johnny Rogers 8/26/02

Revised 12/3/13


Image of the cross is from FreeFoto.com

Link For cross - http://www.freefoto.com/preview/05-08-10?ffid=
05-08-10&k=Cross+at+Sunset

 

 

"Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973,
1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org )