The Kingdom, the Seed and the Church (8)

October 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

…continuing from (7)

  

Matthew 14 is comprised of 4 events;

  • The death of John the Baptist,
  • Jesus feeding the 5000,
  • Jesus walking on the water and
  • The sick touching the hem of His garment to be healed.

 

The death of John the Baptist and in particular the way he died is significant.  “So John was beheaded in the prison”.[1]  In the book of Revelation we find saints dying in the same way as John the Baptist, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands…”.[2] 

 

The book of Revelation is the book of symbols, types, and figures.

If we read it literally, we shall find ourselves in a complex maize of reality versus symbolism.  Before one attempts to read this book, a thorough knowledge of the OT and NT is needed coupled with the relevant insight.

To be beheaded speaks of the old way of thinking that has been removed – as our heads symbolize our thinking.  To be beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God, tells us these saints were not thinking according to the sinful nature (the beast), but that their minds have been renewed.[3]  As John the Baptist was the last Prophet of the OT and the harbinger of the new dispensation, his death speaks of the beheading of the mindsets – the Law of Moses.[4]

 

Having a renewed mind is a prerequisite for any person who wants to follow Christ Jesus up the mountain[5] and be fed with the Bread of Life[6].

 

As Paul so aptly wrote, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things”,[7] and in another place, “fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise”[8].

 

When we decide to follow the Way, learn the Truth, and live the Life of the Kingdom, we cannot afford to look back at the old.  It is not possible to walk forward while looking back.  As the Apostle Paul put it, Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended (taken hold); but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead”.[9]

 

The “one thing” consists of two actions:

  1. Forgetting those things of the past and
  2. Reaching to the things that are ahead.  It speaks of our thoughts and actions.

 

During their years in the desert, the Israelites struggled with the very same thing.  They always murmured and longed for the Egyptian food.[10]  That behaviour kept the first generation from entering the Promised Land.  In the same manner, God requires of us to think on the things above, as fleshly (beastly) thoughts and corresponding actions will keep us from our full inheritance in Christ.[11]

 

When the devil tempted Jesus to change the stones into bread, Jesus rebuked him with the following words, “It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God”.[12] 

The natural part of man (the body) is in need of natural food but to sustain the spirit, spiritual food is essential.

 

A balanced spiritual diet for every child of God consists of milk, bread, meat and fruit.

 

  • Milk is primarily given to babies.  Babies cannot feed themselves but need others in the family to feed them the word of God.

 

  • And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.  I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able”.[13]
  • “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.”[14]
  • “…as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby…”[15]

 

  • Bread is a more solid food.  When a baby grows, it will soon come to need food with more substance.  Bread is a symbol of the spoken word of God as well as the body of Christ.  He is the living bread and His words are spirit and life.

 

  • “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst”.[16]
  • “The bread which we break, does it not mean [that in eating it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the body of Christ”?[17]

 

  • Meat is solid food, meant for the mature in Christ.  It represents not only the wisdom of God but also doing the will of God.

 

  • Jesus saith unto them, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work”.[18]
  • “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able”.[19]
  • “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age (mature), even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil”.[20]

 

  • All balanced diets include a variety of fruit.  It is rich in minerals and vitamins.  We are nourished with the fruit of the spirit from fellow brothers and sisters. Without the fruit our spiritual immune system will be weak and depression, heaviness, and bitterness will be the result.

 

  • “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law”.[21]

 

When Jesus walked on the water in Matthew 14:25, he defied the natural law of gravity.  There is a spiritual law, which is as strong as the law of gravity.  It is called the law of sin and death[22].  It pulls us downward, to do the things we do not want to do and handicaps us when we desire to do the things pleasing to God.

 

Romans 7:15-25 (NIV)

I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

 

For an airplane to lift itself from the ground and fly it needs to work with a “higher” law.  This law is called the law of aerodynamics.  It enables any aircraft to supersede the law of gravity and move through the air from one place to another.  Likewise, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus frees us from the law of sin and death.[23]

 

The Bible teaches us in Romans 8 how to make use of this law.

It begins, once again, with our thinking followed by our corresponding actions which will either help us to walk on the water of faith and in the Spirit or let us drown in the works of the flesh.  In Matthew 14 we find the same pattern;  First, decapitate the old thoughts and deeds (John the Baptist), think and meditate (eat) on the new spiritual food and then do the actions (walking on the water).  Slowly, you will take off in the spirit and before you know, walking in the Spirit will be as effortless as Jesus walking on the water.  “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh”.[24] 

 

The Old Testament High Priest wore a garment made to specific detail.  On the hem of his garment, “you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem, and bells of gold between them all around”.[25]

 

  • Blue always portrays the heavenly (spiritual) realm,
  • purple signifies royalty and authority and,
  • red speaks of redemption, deliverance, and forgiveness.
  • The pomegranates symbolize fruitfulness and joyfulness.
  • There were “tinkling” golden bells to “announce” the one with heavenly authority, who brings forgiveness, healing, deliverance, and cause fruitfulness and joy to the people.

 

No wonder the people of Israel came from all over to touch this High Priest’s[26] hem.

In the last three verses of Matthew 14 we are told that “when the people had knowledge of Him” they came to touch the hem of His garment and were healed.  In fact, the Gospels speaks of three different scenarios where people touched the hem of His garment and were healed.[27]

 

As we follow the path of Matthew 14 or Romans 8, life, healing and deliverance will be ours!

Some Christians always need prayer for healing and deliverance, while others follow the Lord up the mountain – drink the milk of the Word, eat the from the Bread of Life and begin to walk in the Spirit.  Joy, fruitfulness, healing and deliverance is a spontaneous result of this higher (heavenly) kind of life.

 

 To be continued…

 


 

 

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[1] Matthew 14:10 (NLT)

[2] Revelation 20:4 (KJV)

[3] Romans 12:2

[4] Matthew 11:10-13; Luke 16:16

[5] Going up a mountain always speak of a higher spiritual realm, closer to God’s presence. Exodus 19:3; Deuteronomy 34:1; 2Kings 2:16; Psalm 48:1, 87:1; Luke 6:12; Revelation 21:10

[6] John 6:33, 51

[7] Colossians 3:2

[8] Philippians 4:8

[9] Philippians 3:13 (NKJV)

[10] Numbers 11:4-6

[11] Romans 8:5-8; Galatians 5:19-21

[12] Matthew 4:4

[13] 1Corinthians 3:1-2 (NKJV)

[14] Hebrews 5:13 (KJV)

[15] 1Peter 2:2 (KJV)

[16] John 6:33, 35 (KJV)

[17] 1Corinthians 10:16 (KJV)

[18] John 4:34 (KJV)

[19] 1Corinthians 3:2

[20] Hebrews 5:13-14 (KJV)

[21] Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

[22] Romans 8:2

[23] Romans 8:2 (KJV)

[24] Galatians 5:16 (KJV)

[25] Exodus 28:33-34

[26] Hebrews 5:1-10

[27] Matthew 9:20, 14:36; Mark 6:56

About Edgar Phillips
Husband, Dad, Ordained Minister and Missionary who loves God, Pastoral & Functional Therapist, Imago Professional Facilitator, EFT practitioner.

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