Chapter 3


    All things must obey God; therefore, the history of the world conforms to His will and demonstrates the work of God.  The history recorded in the Bible is an open letter written to us from God, but much of the spiritual message of that history is hidden in plain sight, as in a riddle.

    Scholars, commentators and translators give us the interpretation according to what they think  the Bible means, but when it comes to the usage of key words which would reveal the spiritual meaning, most people's understanding is worldly. Translators frequently alter the literal Word. Their explanation?--"This is an idiom.  It says this, but what it means is that."

    The spiritual meaning of an idiom is quite different from the worldly.  So, when men paraphrase or give the Word other than literal, they remove the spiritual message of the Word in favor of the worldly.  But God means what He says and He doesn't need men to correct His mistakes.

    This chapter is about discerning the spiritual meaning of the Word, rather than the worldly.

    Jesus spoke to the people in parables then He gave the meaning by interpreting the idiomatic usage of His words.  The sower is the Son of Man; the seed is the Word, etc.  Understanding the spiritual meaning of the key words of a story unlocks the message.  The true meaning of idioms is the only clue we need to unravel the riddle.

    How do we find the figurative use of words in the Bible?  In many places it tells us plainly.  Therefore, the simplest way to find the spiritual meaning is to believe what it says: 

    "He is a chosen vessel, to bear my name."  "I am like a vessel that perishes." "Every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor."  "If purged from vain babblings and errors, a man shall be a vessel unto honor." People are referred to as vessels, as if they were containers; the spiritual idiom is plainly given. 

    "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people."  Peter calls these things a generation.  The priesthood of Aaron was replaced by the priesthood of Jesus; the two covenants are the two generations of His Word. 

    "If a man's wife goes from him and becomes another's, shall not that land be greatly polluted?"  The land is equated to a wife.

    A witness is called a stone or a rock, and a stone called a witness so commonly in the Bible that the words are almost interchangeable: "This stone shall be a witness to us."  "If these hold their peace, the stones would cry out."  When Simon testified that Jesus was the Christ, Jesus called him a rock.  And Jesus, the chief witness, is called the Rock of Israel and the Chief Corner Stone. 

    "Offer the gift Moses commanded for a testimony to them."  Is the gift Moses commanded our testimony?

    "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise, that is the fruit of lips confessing His name; with such sacrifices as doing good and communicating, God is well pleased."  It is clear that fruit refers to words and sacrifices are such things as praising God and doing good.  Compare this with Psalm 50:14. 

    "Golden vials full of incense, which are the prayers of saints."  Is the meaning of incense, our prayers? 

    "I will give you pastors which will feed you with knowledge and understanding."  Is knowledge our food? 

    "Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues, they have used deceit; the poison of asps, under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." Cursing and deceit are called poison and those with such poison in their mouths are called serpents.  And, since the unsaved are dead, their bodies are called sepulchers. 

    Imagination is to the Word of God, as chaff to wheat, (Jer 23:28).  Molten images are the idols of our own understanding, (Hosea 13:2). 

    Another way we are given the spiritual meaning of the Word is by comparison. Two statements are coupled together, or one follows the other; it is comparison by juxtaposition.  This is a basic of Hebrew poetry and the structure of the proverb.

    The comparison might be for contrast, or it might be a reiteration--the same comment given in two different ways--or it can be one statement given half in plain talk and half in figurative: 

    "Jehoram made high places and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication."  If we know that worshiping on the high places was being unfaithful to the Lord, then this statement is a reiteration; making high places causes fornication, which is to serve other than the Lord. 

    "I will pour water on him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit on thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring."  This is the same statement, first told in the figure, then in plain talk. 

    "The balances of deceit are abomination to the Lord; but a perfect stone is His delight."  A perfect witness doesn't deceive.  Compare this with Ezekiel 13:10-11; those who seduce the people (with doctrines) are equated to great hail stones. 

    "A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; with the increase of his lips shall he be filled."  This proverb speaks of your words as your increase and your fruit.  We might also deduce that words are our food.  Consider that Jesus is called our Bread and also called the Word. 

    "Eat such things as are set before you; heal the sick, and say the Kingdom of God is come near you."  The second half of the sentence explains the meaning of the first half.  Preaching the Kingdom does heal the sick and this work is what God sets before you to eat.  As Jesus said, His food was to do the will of the Father.

    Jesus spoke in proverbs almost constantly.  His disciples recognized this and made that comment at the last supper about Him speaking plainly instead of in proverbs, (John 16:29).


    "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord; the prayers of the upright, His delight."  This is a standard proverb.  The wicked are contrasted with the upright.  Notice that, in the second statement, prayer has been substituted for the word sacrifice.  The writer did not change horses in the middle of the stream; our prayers are being called sacrifices and, therefore, equated. 

    "The serpent will bite without enchantment; and the master of the tongue." The master of the tongue is compared to a serpent.  Lies and false doctrine are the poison which comes from the mouths of serpents, (Jer 8:17-19), (Psalm 58:4). 

    These comparisons are not only in poetry and proverbs, but throughout the narrative also: 

    The centurion (a Gentile) demonstrated his faith and Jesus granted that it should be as he believed, (Matt 8).  But, positioned in between, is the sermon about the children of the Kingdom being expelled for their lack of faith and their salvation going to the Gentiles.  The meaning of the miracle is explained in the middle of the event itself. 

    "I led you out of Egypt; I have spoken to you by the prophets," (Hosea 12).  God's Word, by the prophets, led the children out of Egypt.  Next, Hosea says, Jacob fled to Syria, Israel served for a wife, he kept sheep.  Then he switches back again to Israel being brought out of Egypt by a prophet.  He didn't change the subject in the middle; Hosea is making a comparison between Jacob's shepherding the sheep for a wife, and the Lord's shepherding the children out of Egypt.  Remember that Jacob is Israel and Israel is the Prince of God.

     The sons of Aaron offered strange fire and were slain by the fire of the Lord, (Lev 16).  Then Moses gave commandments about the priesthood, at the end of which, he speaks of putting off the priest's garments.

    The law was added because of transgressions (Gal 3:19), and that law is fire which consumes, as it did the sons of Aaron.  Remember that all the priests were sons of Aaron, (spiritually), including Annas and Caiaphas, etc.  And strange fire is doctrine of our own imagination, for which Jesus chastised the Jews.

    So there is a figure here of the law added for transgression and the putting off of the priesthood of the Old Covenant. Commandments about changing the priesthood were added because they would offer strange doctrine.  You might notice that Aaron's other sons didn't eat the sin offering after that incident with the strange fire, (Lev 10:17), and they haven't eaten the sin offering (receiving their Messiah) to this day. 

    The treatment of women, or wives, in the Bible seems peculiar and unfair until you discern the

 spiritual meaning and realize women are being used as a figure:    "Wives, be subject to your husbands; church subject to Christ; and He is savior of the body."  Christ and the church are compared to the husband and wife; as the church is the body of Christ, so your wife is your body, (Eph 5:22-23).

    Is your body your wife?  "Men, love your wives as your own body; he that loves his wife loves himself."  "No man hates his own flesh; as the Lord, the church; so we are His flesh," (Eph 5:28-30).

    After these statements, Paul points out that there is a great mystery in this--in this figure about the wife being compared to the body--but then explains he was referring to Christ and the church, (Eph 5:32).

    In first Corinthians, chapters seven through eleven, Paul talks about the things of this world, then switches to things of marriage; then idols, food and drink, and back again to wives; the body and lusts, then fornication; then the head of man is Christ, the head of woman is man, the head of Christ is God; and the woman is of the man.

    Paul is not scatter-brained.  He is not changing the subject back and forth as if he can't make up his mind what to talk about. He is discussing the same subject throughout, only he switches back and forth from plain talk to the figure he is using as example.

    Your body is your wife in the sense that a captain is married to his ship, or like a king is married to his kingdom.  And you are to keep your flesh in subjection the same as the church should be in subjection to Christ.  So the figurative use of women in the Bible is not really talking about women at all, but we obey in the figure.  It might be interesting here to turn to Exodus 21:3 and look up the literal Hebrew words. 

    The grandest example of these juxta-comparisons is the two covenants of the Bible--the old in a figure, the new in plain talk--discussed in Chapter 2. 

    To whom has, more will be given; the more you understand the spiritual usage of idioms, the more the message of the text unfolds and phrases that seemed peculiar begin to make sense: 

    Jesus healed ten men, then He told them to go, show themselves to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded.  They left, but one turned back to Jesus, praising God.  Jesus asked, "Weren't ten healed? Where are the nine?"

    If you are thinking worldly, that question might puzzle you since He told them to go.  But to praise God is the true meaning of the gift Moses commanded and Jesus is the true priest.  So only one obeyed the spiritual meaning and turned back to the true priest, giving the gift Moses commanded.

 Therefore, "Where are the nine?"

     Here is the same lesson as Aaron's sons offering strange fire, but in a different figure:

    When Aaron saw, (saw spiritually, it doesn't say, "saw it") he told the people to break the gold off their ears, (Exodus 32). The Word of God is pure gold, tried in the fire; that gold is meant for your ears, to sink in and be understood.  But the people took the gold from their ears and Aaron remolded it into the image of a beast of flesh, which they preferred.

    We are all obligated to wage the good warfare, but Moses, from the mount, heard singing instead of war.  They would twist the meaning of the Word of God to suit the desires of the flesh and serve the creature rather than the Creator.

    When Moses asked Aaron why he did this, he said, "You know the people, that they are set on mischief."  Moses understood his answer and left off chastising Aaron to punish the people. Don't forget that Aaron, also, was a prophet--the making of the calf a prophetic act, indicating what the people would do with their gold (the Word of God) in later days.

    Compare this with Chapter 10 of Jeremiah, "The workmen engrave clever doctrines of silver and gold, but the gold of God is truth."

    Here is this same lesson again, in another figure:

    The people joined themselves with Midian and ate the sacrifices of the dead (doctrine of the dead is strange fire), their inventions, (Psalm 106:28-29) (Num 25). Then vengeance was taken on Midian, before the death of Moses, (a figure of the death of the law), and before the promised land (a figure of the Kingdom of the Lord on earth).    But, juxta-positioned in between the violation and the vengeance, Moses gave laws again--laws of transgression including the figure of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God and added the law of a maiden with a vow, (Num 30).

    The people were the maiden with a vow.  They would swear an oath to keep the law--a covenant of marriage.  According to that law, if the husband or father allows the oath, but releases her from the oath on a later day, he takes her guilt on himself--as Jesus would take sin on Himself.

    So, because they would pervert the law with their own imagination rather than keep their oath, it was written into the statutes. They wouldn't keep the law; why else would they have to kill their messiah? Therefore, Jesus said, "None of you keep the law; why do you kill me?"--a proverb.

    They were given statutes that were not good by which they should not live, (Eze 20:25). Compare this with Leviticus 4:13. Translators tend to alter this because it doesn't make sense to them, but what it says literally is, if "they have done any of the commandments of the Lord which should not be done," and then, in 4:20, "the priest shall make atonement." 

    These figures are clues to understand the Word and should be kept in mind throughout the reading of the scriptures.    Jesus, in His parables, told us plainly that the seed is the Word.  But when we leave that parable and read elsewhere, we tend to forget and take "seed" in the worldly sense.  Apply the figure elsewhere and see what you get:

    "Whoever is born of God doesn't sin for His seed remains in him," (1 John 3:9). "He shall give the rain of thy seed," (Isaiah 30:23).  Seed here can only refer to His words.

    If the Word is the grain that makes our bread: "Sow in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground; until He come and rain righteousness on you," (Hosea 10:12).

    The seed is sown in the ground of your heart and in the world, just as Jesus told two parables; in the one, the seed is the Word in your heart; in the other it is people containing the Word, planted in the world. The Kingdom is among you and within you.

    "You've plowed wickedness and reaped iniquity; you've eaten the fruit of lies; because you've trusted in thy way, in thy mighty men," (Hosea 10:13).

    Aren't the mighty men those great leaders who sow doctrines of diverse seed which we love to hear--offering strange fire to draw away disciples after themselves? 

    "The soul of blessing shall be made fat; and he that waters will be watered himself."  "He that tills his land shall be satisfied with bread; but he that follows vain, void of understanding."  "The lips of the righteous feed many; but fools die for want of heart," (Pro 12:11, 10:21, 11:25).

    "I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread or water, but of hearing the words of the Lord," (Amos 8:11).

    "As the rain and snow come down from heaven and returns not, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall my Word be that goes forth out of my mouth; it will not return to me void, but it will accomplish that which I please, and it will prosper where I send it," (Isaiah 55:10-11), (Deu 32:2).

    The Word of God is the seed that serves Him.  "A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation," (Psalm 22:30).  This verse doesn't say "posterity" will serve Him, as almost all of the modern translations render it.  Though it may mean posterity in the worldly sense, it says, "seed."

    Any farmer can tell you that when seed is planted in the field, it grows until the heads of grain get ripe for harvest.  And then, if the angels come and reap the world, that is a generation, (James 5:7).

    It is the seed that is accounted a generation.  The covenant of Aaron's priesthood is one generation, and the covenant of Christ's priesthood is the new generation--the generation of His Word. Therefore, if He is sacrificed on the cross, Isaiah asks, "Who shall declare His generation?"

 (Isa 53:8).  The only thing that can be declared is words.    Jesus told us plainly that by, "this generation," He was referring to His words. "This generation will not pass away until all is fulfilled; heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away," (Matt 24:33-35), (Luke 21:31-32).

    So, if there are two covenants, there are two generations.  Jesus sent out His disciples to reap the first, saying that the harvest was ripe.  But at the same time, they were planting the seed of the New Covenant.  The plowman overtook the reaper, (Amos 9:13).

    And the great battle in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, when the wicked are destroyed from the earth, is called the harvest, (Joel 3:9-16). 

    All the words and all the deeds done in the Bible have a spiritual meaning, especially the miracles of Jesus.  Jesus was not a circus act and He didn't perform miracles just to impress people. Besides His preaching, He exampled the way to us, therefore the message is in the works.

    If He does the works of the Father, believe the works; the works bear witness, (John 5:36, 10:25, 10:37-38).  As His life was an example, everything He did was a message, but my favorite is the first of miracles:

    There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee; if a couple of Jews got married two thousand years ago, that means nothing to us, unless we are talking about the marriage of the Lamb of God.  Jesus was there and His disciples; I should hope they would be there.

    And the wine failed.  "Failed" is the correct translation of the Greek and, since we know that no one was saved by the law, "failed" is the correct spiritual meaning as well.  His mother told Him they had no wine and He replied that His time had not yet come.  That response clearly indicates He was not speaking in the worldly sense. She told the servants to do whatever He said; since she was referring to the Lord Himself, that is good advice for all of us servants.

    And there were stone vessels there, after the purification of the Jews; His witnesses are the stone vessels whose testimony purifies us.  He commanded they be filled with water (Spirit); and they drew out wine--a New Covenant drawn out of His witnesses, filled with the Holy Spirit; and the servants know from whence it was. Then was that remarkable comment about the New Wine being better than the Old Covenant.

    Keep in mind that, if there are two wines, there are two covenants and, therefore, two brides; then compare this to the marriage of Jacob (Jacob is Israel):

    Jacob went to the land of his brethren and shepherded sheep for a wife; Jesus is the true shepherd who led the flocks of Israel in the wilderness.

    Jacob loved Rachel but he didn't love Leah because she had weak eyes; the veil remains on the heart of the bride of the first covenant to this day whenever the Old Testament is read.  They can't see the true meaning; Leah still has weak eyes, (2 Cor 3:14).

    Jacob received both wives and then served another period of time to pay for the second. Likewise, after the cross, the Lord has been shepherding us in the wilderness of the nations.    Then Jacob served again for the flocks. And who of the flocks did He choose?  The speckled and ringstreaked, those spotted by the world, He chose us sinners as His own. 

    These examples are not isolated instances nor are they the exception.  All the Word of God is about events in the worldly sense, but with a spiritual message hidden within.  It is a characteristic of scripture.

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