Monday, April 17, 2006
THE WOMAN AND THOSE WHO NURSE AT THE BREASTS
One of the major roadblocks before Christians today in coming to the correct interpretation of scripture, is that they have a tendency to attempt to force a totally literal interpretation, when God has not written the Bible to always be understood that way. At other times, Christians attempt to spiritualize when God has written something to be understood literally. It seems many choose to literalize or spiritualize depending upon if the outcome agrees with the doctrines that they have been taught. But in doing this, they are undermining the authority of scripture.
As a practical example, there are those who claim that the prophecy that Elijah must come before the Lord, has not really been fulfilled yet because Elijah didn't come back literally. This despite the 'fact' that God Himself clearly says that this particular prophecy was fulfilled in John the Baptist . This undermines God's Word and shows that they are attempting to lead the scriptures rather than follow them, according to what they have been taught. This is a typical problem in today's Church.
When many theologians see a verse which speaks of Jerusalem, the Temple, Judah, Warfare, Peace, War, Serpents, Valleys, or Mountains, they automatically think of literal cities, wars, mountains, etc., regardless of the context or the declaration in scripture that it's fulfillment is in a spiritual fashion. They are predisposed to believe the way they do because of training, church tradition, or personal inclination. It is often a clash of wills, which is God's, and our own. And without help of the Spirit, there is a mind block to relevant or pertinent scriptures. This is especially true when dealing with Prophesy relating to Israel.
It's the same principle when the word 'Woman' or the word 'Child' is found in scripture. Some immediately think of literal people, when often the truth is something far more relevant. A good example of this is found in Revelation Chapter twelve. There are some (believe it or not) who actually think that the woman who gives birth to the man child is Mary. Others think that it is a literal nation in the middle east. They are predisposed to believe this, not because it is logical or Biblical (considering the context), but because of their predisposition about Israel or the Church. Thus their interpretations have nothing to do with sound Biblical exegesis or hermeneutics.
God often speaks spiritually (symbolically or figuratively) in scripture, and it is up to each of us to learn of this by our careful examination of scripture. In this way are we found approved of God.
2nd Timothy 3:15
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman, that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Then and only then can we come to understand what is really to be taken literally or Spiritually. I'm sure most of us have heard the inherently unsound position that:
"...if the literal sense makes sense, seek no other sense." But with that philosophy, they have negated over half of the prophesies of God's Word and made a great many others absurd. That phrase is nothing more than a cliché used to accommodate personal opinion or interpretation. In other words, it allows them to feel justified in ignoring the figurative, and interpreting scripture in a way that conforms to their worldly ideas about famine, battles, nations, politics, and peoples. It is no different from the days when Jesus spoke to the Church of spiritual things 'in a literal fashion.'
"How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducess?
Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the Doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."
The bread Jesus was talking about was not literal bread, but doctrine.
But why didn't they understand?
It was because they had their hearts and minds set on things of this world, and not on things above. Yet God had something far more important than the literal bread of men in view. He was talking about the doctrines which were a far more dangerous intake than literal bread.
Because we are finite beings, it is our human nature to think this way, but as Children of God, we are of the Spirit of God and should know better than to neglect the Spiritual. For it is the Spirit 'in us' which leads us into the truth of this.
Likewise when some Christians see a verse like, "The Wolf will lie down with the Lamb, and there will be no hurting or destroying in the Lord's Holy Mountain," they immediately start thinking of animals laying together not harming each other, when God is talking spiritually about something far more important. He's talking about the Child of God who at this time has nothing to fear of his natural enemy. He's talking about the lamb not being afraid because the wolf cannot hurt him. And the wolf is not a literal animal, it is Satan and his minions who come as ravening wolves to devour their prey (the lambs).
Nor is the scriptures speaking about a literal baby playing on the hole of an asp (serpent's den), it spiritually illustrating a 'babe' in Christ who has no fear of that old serpent, Satan! These things are Spiritually discerned by a ready mind prepared of the Spirit, and an open Bible. But to those who simply take the position that they should seek no other sense, these things are hid from their eyes. The mistake is in accepting traditional doctrines without studying them 'in the light' of the whole of scripture.
And basically, this is the same mistake made in understanding what God means by the phrase, "the sucking child" (KJV). It does not refer to a literal nursing baby as some theologians suppose, it is symbolic language describing those of the Church. We are the nursing children of God. And the "Woman" who is nursing us, is symbolic of the Church of Christ. A signification of our Mother from Above. Not Literal Israel, or literal Jerusalem in the middle east, but our Spiritual home from above. But don't take my word for it (because you Shouldn't), be the faithful servant of God and search it out in the scriptures to see if these things are so. Let God Himself define His own terms. We should stop listening to teachers who teach from their own minds (what they suppose) instead of from the Word of God. Whether by design or by spiritual ignorance, false teachings are a serious error in the Church. Try or test what is said by any theologian, by the word of God (as the more noble or honest Bereans did - Acts 17:11).
With that in mind, we will go to the scriptures to see if God reveals to us these figures which He uses in prophecy to signify these truths to us. The Congregation or Church in scripture is often symbolized by, or spoken of, as a woman. If we are willing to do as 2nd Timothy 2:15 tells us, we can come to the knowledge of truth in understanding these Prophecies.
For example, we read in:
"But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, Weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck."
Superficial study (as much of the church does today) of this verse would lead one to believe that Jesus was talking about a time when the literal Women of Israel would be happy that they don't have any children. But careful exegesis will show clearly that God was talking about something far more significant to His people than literal women being blessed because they didn't have children (an unbiblical idea). By the Spirit we should know this is not what God was truly illustrating. He's talking about the old Jerusalem, and the New Jerusalem, represented. The Old Testament Congregation, and the New Testament Congregation. The old, represented by Israel who's children (in part) have been cut off, and the new, represented by the spiritual Jerusalem. Israel (those who give suck) was in trouble and on the verge of a great fall. That is why Jesus said, "Behold, your House is left unto you desolate" - Luke 13:32, and that they were to, weep not for Him, but to weep for themselves and for their children (- Luke 23:28). Judgment had come upon the congregation Israel at the cross. Blindness in part had happened to them. The children of the congregation Israel would be blinded until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. Be careful to notice that God prophesies of the paps (breasts) that never gave suck, and the wombs that never bare, at this time being "Blessed!" We have to humbly ask ourselves, just who is this Woman that Jesus refers to as without Child, and now being Blessed? We Don't ignore this or brush it aside as spiritually insignificant, we compare scripture with scripture and search it out to find exactly what Jesus means about the womb that never bare being blessed.
The truth is, this is spoken of in Galatians 4:27, and goes back to the prophesy of Isaiah chapter fifty four, which deals with the 'allegory' or symbolism of Sarah (the free Woman or N.T. Congregation, Israel), verses Hagar (the bondwoman or O.T. Congregation, Israel). Many today look at the term allegory, figurative, or spiritualizing as dirty words, but God doesn't share in their unbiblical opinions.
"For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bond maid, the other by a free Woman.
But he who was of the bond Woman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise.
Which things are an ALLEGORY: for these are the TWO COVENANTS; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to BONDAGE, which is Agar.
For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage With Her Children.
But Jerusalem which is above is FREE, which is the Mother of us all.
For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the Desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the CHILDREN OF PROMISE."
Now we do understand what Jesus meant when He said "Blessed are the Barren"?
Who is the desolate Woman (who don't give suck) in that verse which now is blessed and can rejoice because she has many more Children?
She is the very same Blessed Woman Christ talked about in His prophecy. This verse explains that the desolate (barren) have more Children. They are not literal barren mothers of Jerusalem who now are blessed with children. It is an allegory or Spiritual signification of the Kingdom going to the world. Study it carefully. Galatians says very clearly that these Women are an 'Allegory.' In other words, they symbolized or signified something other than mere literal Women. They are a spiritual picture or illustration. Also note that it is I (not my interpretation) who says that they are to be taken as a spiritual prophesy, it is God who says they were for an allegory. That literal happening of years ago was to point to a spiritual fulfillment in the Church.
And what does Galatians tell us these two Women signify Spiritually?
The two Covenants congregations. One woman, the old Covenant congregation who is in bondage with her children, not set free by Christ. And the other woman symbolizes the New Covenant congregation which is the free Woman, Blessed, and who now has more children because she is by promise. For Old Covenant Israel is blinded with her Children, and the New Covenant Israel has many more Children, by the Seed, Christ.
Though we may look at these verses and see clearly what they signify, many other theologians will not receive these things, no matter how many times God declares it, or in how many different ways He says it. This is because their premillennial or dispensational doctrines preclude these truths. But God is not mocked. His Interpretation of the matter is crystal clear, but received only by the Spirit of God.
"But he who was of the Bond Woman was born after the flesh; but he of the Free Woman was by promise."
The Children of promise is the Elect. In these scriptures we see clearly who these two Women signify, and just who the blessed chosen people are, and who they are not. God's Word says one is in bondage with her children (that is Israel of the flesh). This is who Romans 9:7-8 tells us are not the Israel of God and not the children of God. And the other is the free Woman (the true Israel) who are the Chosen of God and Children of the Promise, made up of Jews and Gentiles together in one body of Christ. This Woman's Children were all made free by Christ.
When Galatians says:
"For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband."
..it is clearly a reference to the free Woman (the Church) and not a literal woman of literal Jerusalem. She is the Blessed that bearest not, but who now has more children than the bond woman. This guides our understanding of why Jesus told Jerusalem not to weep for Him, but for their Children. Because the time would come when they say, Blessed are the barren. That barren is the Woman told to 'rejoice.' Because she is who is now bringing forth the Children of God, rather than those in bondage in Israel. Don't be misled by the 'literal Only crowd' who wear this label on their sleeve as if it was something to be proud of, for they do a great disservice to the Word of God in not searching it out. God is the definer of His word, not men. God's Word interprets God's Word. I don't judge anyone's heart, but they take this literal stance about these verses because they either do not understand the scripture, or they are deliberately ignoring them. One, the other, or both.
These views are typical of the the dispensational and Premillennial ideas, which seeks worldly fulfillments of scripture. A literal King to come and literally free Jerusalem as Christ reigns literally 'on the earth' a thousand years. This view is actually unsupportable by the careful examination of scripture, but is held together by smoke and mirrors by theologians who choose to ignore the passages which prove them in error. Spiritual Jerusalem is already free, and it's from above (as said the scripture), not of this earth. When Christ came down from Heaven and went to the cross, we became the free children of that woman from above. We were made the Children of promise, fulfilling the barren or the paps that never gave suck, who are now Blessed.
Remember the Allegory?
Those scriptures signify that those Paps that never gave suck are the Gentiles or nations who had no children, who are now part of the Israel of God. This New Testament Congregation will bring forth children unto the ends of the earth. Christ was telling the daughters of Jerusalem that judgment will come upon them because they knew not the time of His visitation, and the children of the Promise are the Children of God (Romans 9:8), not the children of the flesh. That means Jewish people and Gentile people alike! They are the free Woman. Jews, Greeks, Gentiles, all who are of Christ, Israel. All who are of the Promise. Study Isaiah chapter fifty four in light of Galatians chapter four to get a little more insight into this. Also:
"Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that Love her: Rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:
That ye may Suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; and ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.
For thus saith the Lord, behold, I will extend PEACE to her like a River, and the Glory of the gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall Ye Suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dangled upon her knees.
As one whom His mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem."
Ask yourself honestly and without prejudice,
is this speaking of a literal Woman nursing a literal child?
Is this literal (i.e., the city) Jerusalem?
Is this a literal baby borne upon her knees?
Is this literal milk she gets nourishment from?
No, obviously it is not. But it is the Woman that gives suck, and the Jerusalem of which all who are of Christ have come into. The Holy City, The Jerusalem from above that Galatians Chapter four talked about. Do you see how the Lord uses spiritual language to portray the Church as 'The Woman,' and the believers in the church as nursing (suckling) children? It cannot be gainsaid or denied. Those of the Church are as sucking or nursing children of the woman. Not a literal city with literal mothers in it who are happy that they don't have kids, but the barren who didn't have kids now happy that they do. As we read in Galatians chapter four. The Jerusalem is from above. The one on earth is now to bondage and under the law! But the Jerusalem represented by the New Covenant Church is Free from the law.
When we get a better understanding of all these different scriptures, by comparing scripture with scripture, we better understand how the congregation is the sucking children. We better understand why the Lord says the sucking child plays on the hole of the asp (serpent) and will not be harmed. We better understand how Israel being the first sucking child was cursed, and the barren then because blessed. God was not talking about a literal Child going in the desert and playing on a serpent's den or hole. God was telling us something infinitely more important than any physical security of a child could be. He's talking about the Children of God and their spiritual security from that serpent Satan. When the children of God are sealed (secured) by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), that is when we are safe and secure from that old serpent, the Devil. The scriptures are saying that the Asp or Snake can't harm the believer. It's not telling of a time when we'll handle literal snakes, or lay on literal Asp dens, make games with a literal Lion, it's speaking of a time when Satan's ability to keep us in bondage and to harm the Child of God, has been destroyed (Hebrews 2:14-15) by the cross of Christ.
Have you ever read Mark chapter sixteen and wondered what it meant when it declared the list of signs that will follow believers? For example, it says that the sign of a Believer will be that, 'they shall take up serpents,' and won't be harmed. It's the same spiritual picture as the prophecy of Children playing on a serpent's hole, or the Lambs laying down with the Lions and not being harmed. They are figures or symbolisms illustrating 'Spiritual truths.' The serpent cannot harm Believers because Satan cannot harm us. Some misguided souls do not understand Mark sixteen and so you have these people running around handling real serpents. Others have attempted to have mark sixteen removed from the very Bible because it is not easily understood. Still others claim that it was true once, but is no longer applicable. All because they do not 'rightly divide' (2nd Timothy 2:15) the Word of truth, or spiritually discern Mark's true meaning. Which is that Satan cannot harm those who believe, and false gospel is the deadly Poison there (Wormwood) that cannot harm them, and Christ is the Physician (Sin=Sickness) wherewith believers go forth healing, etc. All these signs 'unquestionably do' follow those who believers. But not in the worldly way man defines signs. In the way that God defines them in His Holy Word. We must let God define what is literal and what is not literal, because the Bible is not subject to our private interpretation, it is it's own interpreter.
It's marvelous how God ties everything in the Bible to everything else so that it all fits together into one cohesive whole. It all fits together so perfectly that even though you know the perfection of God, you are still amazed at the Glory of God. A gigantic Spiritual picture puzzle with every piece perfectly in place. When we don't have one left that doesn't fit, 'then' we know that we've come to the truth of God's Word.
When Matthew Chapter 24:19 says "And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days", it is speaking of the latter days (not to be confused with the Last Days which are the entire New Testament period) when iniquity will be loosed and abound as false gospels arise to assault the congregations. Those who suck or nurse at the breasts are the children of the congregations. i.e., the Children of the New Testament Woman. It's woe unto them because at this (appointed) time, there is Great Tribulation and much distress as Apostasy rules in the Churches, and those inside deceived. Just as the congregation was in an apostate state when Jesus came the first time and He threw the buyers and sellers out of the Holy Temple, because they had made it a den of thieves and Robbers. Likewise God will judge those who buy and sell (who are marked of the beast) in the Holy Temple again. It's woe unto them. This Woman. Woe unto the congregation of those days.
That you may SUCK, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.
For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of THE GENTILES like a flowing stream: then shall YE suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dangled upon her knees.
Signification direct from God's Word that the congregation is the woman and those in it are they who nurse at the breasts. Not the Jew only, but the Gentiles extended to this woman also. One Body in the New testament Church. All those whom God speaks of that nurse at her breasts are those of the congregation. This is not the tribulation period as some Pre tribulation theorists suppose, this occurs at the time of the cross. This woman signifies those from above, and her Children are all those of the New Testament Church as per the allegory of the free woman and the bond. And as it is a blessing in the New Testament Church age, it will be woe to them in the great tribulation period.
Matthew 24 talks about this time of the Great Tribulation when it will be woe to the woman with child. This is speaking about the time of trial for the Church when false Gospels and false Christs' abound and the love of God grows cold. It's the time near the second advent, when the Churches are being deceived and iniquity abounds as a great forsaking takes place in the congregations. This is woe unto the Woman. And only those who endure this great time of trouble in faithfulness will be Saved.
Interpretations are not what seems right in our own eyes, they are from God. God will tell us who the man child is delivered of the Woman is (Revelation 12). God will tell us who the travailing woman in heaven is, not man. God will tell us who the children who suck the breasts are, not man. Our interpretations should come from God (thus the Bible) and not from the news, or our private interpretations. If it's not supported by the Word of God, then it's not God's interpretation it's man's speculation.
Note that this language of Matthew 24:19 of, "those who give suck," is very similar to the biblical language of, "those who suck the breasts."
Is there is any connection?
They both are focusing on the Church (Those that give suck, the Church. And those who suck the breasts, the Children of the Church). I am well aware of the vast numbers of Christians who look at this verse and assume that it speaks about literal babies and literal mothers in distress in 70 A.d., but that cannot be 'biblically validated.' This woe of Matthew 24 is far greater than any physical hardships of A.D. 70.
This refers to the desolation of the congregations of God by false gospels. i.e., gross Apostasy in spiritual idolatry. This is an infinitely greater woe than any physical problems in a church. It's a matter of the mortal soul of individuals. Those who give suck are the Church commissioned to bring the nourishment of the gospel to the Children. Those who suck the breasts, are those children of the Churches. It's woe unto the Church because there will be such a great delusion there that it would even deceive the very elect (Chosen), if that were possible. Praise God and His Grace that it's not possible! It's woe to the woman because the children go without milk. There is famine in the land. Not a famine of 'literal bread,' but a famine of hearing the word of God . That is the bread and water that is the sustenance of spiritual life. Like the lamentations where the Lord God brings judgment upon Jerusalem because her prophets likewise sinned against him, it is a gross error.
"The tongue of the Sucking Child cleveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young CHILDREN ask Bread, and no man breaketh it unto them. They that did FEED delicately are DESOLATE in the streets: They that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills."
The Abomination of desolation of Matthew and Daniel speaks of a desolation of the Churches by the spirit of Antichrist through false gospels. The man of sin (lawless man) ruling in the Temple as if he was God, silences the true gospel. The faithful Word of God (bread) is hard to be found as those in the Church teach the error of false gospels, which cannot Save. There is famine of bread, and the deadly poison of wormwood is there. Gone is the spiritual Bread and the living waters of life. The Children's tongue cleaving to the roof of their mouth is an illustration of this thirst. The man of sin has taken a seat in the temple replacing the man of God. He is under rule and authority of Satan, and this abomination before God will leave the Temple of God desolate. That's why we are commanded to flee to the mountains when we see this. The Spiritual mountains of Zion, not physical mountains. The Lord's Holy Mountain is the only real place of Peace and safety where believers are secure. In other words, we flee to the Spiritual Kingdom of God, which is truly our 'Mountain Retreat!' Mountains signify Kingdoms in scripture. And the Kingdom of God is our only retreat or place of refuge and safety in this time of woe.
Matthew 24 is saying it's woe unto the Church at this time, because of the false gospels and false Christs' deceiving them. That much is clear 'even' from the context of the passages speaking of trial, tribulation, falsehoods, and gross deceivings. We must be ready to get out. We are told not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, and so when unbelievers take a seat to rule in God's house teaching lies that is an abomination, we are to come out of her. We come out of that Church that has forsaken God that we not be partaker with the fan of sin. That Church will be judged. Woe unto the woman that give suck in those days, because her children go hungry and thirst, and there is no milk (Word of God) in that house. God is the same today, yesterday, and forever, immutable and righteous. The sucking Child is symbolic of those of the Church, and those who give suck of the Church from the slightly different perspective of those in care of those of the Church.
In Matthew chapter 21 when all the Children were crying in the Temple, saying "Hosanna to the Son of David," the chief priests and scribes were not happy, and Jesus declared to them:
"..Yes; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?"
Is Jesus saying, those who suck the breasts began to talk and say Blessed is the Son of David?
No, Jesus is 'equating' those who praise Him to babies, those who suck the breasts. And make no mistake because that Greek word there translated sucklings [thelazo] is the 'exact' same word translated 'those who suck the Breasts.' Scripture interprets scripture.
"Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger."
Is God saying that literally out of those who suck the breasts we will hear words of strength, or is God saying spiritually out of the sucking children's mouths (the Church), are the words of ordained strength that the enemy is stilled? This is the real question. God's Word has deeper Spiritual meaning than just a literal superficial application. No enemy is stilled by a literal sucking baby's babblings. But they have been stilled by the those sucklings which these scriptures refer to. Which are the Children of God. They bring the strength of the gospel with power, which stills the enemy.
..at least the Church of old did, but today as Church after Church is falling and has removed the ancient landmarks or boundaries, things are getting so dry that much of the Church is the enemy.
This methodology in studying the scriptures is applicable not only in discerning who spiritually are the babies or the children who nurse, but are essential in all areas of the study of the word. Sadly, it appears that much of the Church has lost that love of God's Word wherein believers strive to keep it faithfully. Nevertheless, interpretations belong to God, and all these things that I bare witness of are spiritually discerned. We should understand that anyone could declare scripture means whatever they want (and they often do). So if we are going to simply accept what they say as the truth without examining it in light of scripture, we would be ripe for being deceived. Likewise, anyone can say a theological doctrine is false if we're not going to test it by scripture. And that is the difference between those who come to truth (by Grace of God), and those deceived by deceit.
This to a large degree is what is happening in the Church today. People are accepting teachings of theologians, and doctrines they've been spoon fed, that aren't really found in the scriptures, and they are holding on to them like a security blanket. Holding the traditions of men over God's unadulterated Word. They don't realize that our only real security is in faithfully following the Word of God. In fact, God tells us that this is the 'evidence' that we are truly Saved and are not simply kidding ourselves. Keeping God's Word.
1st John 2:4-5
"He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him."
The deceiving of the Church today can be seen from many different angles.
How many times you have testified to scripture explicitly, and professing Christians have either ignored it or twisted it?
How many times have you quoted scripture word for word, and had it called 'just your interpretation?' How many times have you witnessed to scripture, and had someone claim that in the original Hebrew or Greek it can mean something totally different. The fact is, many are blind and they have no problem at all with denying the truth, or even with telling a lie. Where there is no fear of God, there is no conscience. The Bible says that the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7), but fools despise instruction. It's easy to understand then why many can reject and even deny God's Word. They have no love of God, and thus no fear of God. The written Word of God to them is not the 'Precious' Word of the Almighty, but it is deemed something non authoritative, or something which they can manipulate to whatever is right in their own eyes. They won't listen to the truth of the Word, because their Conscience is seared. This is not surprising, knowing the nature of man, it is to be expected.
1st Timothy 4:1
"Now the Spirit speaketh Expressly, that in the latter times some shall Depart from the faith, giving heed to SEDUCING Spirits, and Doctrines of devils;
Speaking LIES in HYPOCRISY; having their CONSCIENCE Seared with a hot Iron;"
To say God did not say something when He has said it, is a lie. To claim that we take things literally and others take things spiritually, and then turn around and take things spiritually when it suits our purpose, is hypocrisy! Having the conscience seared, means to not have it bother us when we set about to deny the Word of God, or to ignore what it says, or to turn to the right hand or the left, in order to get around it, or generally trample it under foot 'as if' it was worthless dirt. i.e., no fear of God.
Psalms chapter 119 is an excellent chapter to read to get some real insight into how gracious God is, and how the 'true' believer always takes God's Word very seriously. Don't look at this chapter or simply mouth the words, but read it. A seared conscience doesn't have the love of God whereby it will earnestly seek to follow God's Word, and not lead it. Wherein it has an earnest desire to 'do' the will of God and not our own.
An analogy might be that if you've ever had a deep serious burn or cut which heals. There is left a scar there. If you touch around that scar, you have feeling. But if you touch that scar, there is a good chance you won't feel anything. Often the tissue has been seared so you no longer have feeling there. And that is what has happened to many of the people in the Church. They have cut their own path for so long that they no longer have the sensitivity or feelings for God. No reverential fear of God. So when they hear the testimony of the Word, they ignore it, change it, or pretended it's not there. And after awhile, they don't even feel guilt for doing so, but self justified. Their conscience has become seared as with a hot iron that they don't really feel the guilt of denying God's Word anymore. When that happens, to be sure, they are in deep trouble and under judgement of God. True believers are troubled by their sin, so they ultimately repent and confess it. These deny their sin, justify it, make rationalizations and excuses for it. And that's the difference between the two. Both may sin, but one has admittance and confession, the other denial and rationalization.
And it is because of these seared consciences and increase in iniquity that it is woe to the Church at this time. The children go without bread as these people in it are lawless, and teaching falsehoods, reviling those who preach faithfully and accurately. And they have no conscience about doing it, because they are deceived into thinking they are serving God. Indeed, God has already told us of these type people. Those with a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof. The Power of the true Christian is the Holy Spirit of God that He bear witness to the truth of the gospel. When false prophets deny the Word, they deny the Spirit. For anyone who denies the word, denies the Power behind the Word.
"But ye shall Receive Power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth."
The true Church is the Pillar and Ground of the truth with Power by being in Christ, Thee Pillar. God gave not only the disciples, but all Christians the Power of the truth to witness of God, and that power is the Spirit of God. To deny what the Word says is a serious offence, as it is to deny God. Because it's not 'our Word,' it's God's Word. We are simply His Messenger. But many calling themselves Christian, have no conscience and deny the word continually. They would much rather argue with God than to receive what He says with humility. They have a form of Godliness, but deny the power thereof (2nd Timothy 3:5).
"and they were astonished at His doctrine: for His Word was with Power."
"Where the Word of a King is, there is Power: and who may say unto Him, what doest Thou?"
"And Balaam said unto Balak, Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say anything? The word that God putteth IN MY MOUTH, that shall I speak."
As Balaam was, so are God's servants His messengers sent with the power of the Word. And when people deny God's Word, they deny the power thereof. They do not understand that where The King's Word is, There is power, that none should question, ignore, or reject that Word.
When something is not 'in' the Word of God, then they cannot be God's interpretation. When you want God's interpretation of the Good Shepherd and the Sheep, you don't recite the the Premillennial creed (if the literal sense, makes sense, seek no other sense), nor do you go to a literal sheep herder in Israel for hands on instruction, you go to the Bible. For the God who wrote it, is He who knows how He wants sheep defined. And it's not by Webster's dictionary, Hebrew archaeology, or dispensationalist theories, scripture can only be interpreted by God. He is the author and so His word is the authority to define it.
Which brings us back to the Woman in travail. If we want this defined Biblically, we don't look for the literal and we don't go to the expectant mothers clinic of Mercy Hospital, we go to God's Word and see how the Lord defines it. If we want the Biblical definition of the Bond 'Woman' and the free 'Woman,' we don't go to Saudi Arabia or the Library of middle eastern servitude, we go to the Word of God for our interpretation. For only God can interpret His own book. In is only in this methodology that we can be assured that we are on the right track. When we get personal opinions and private interpretations from men, all we have is speculation, assumption, and guesswork. To find out what, 'those who give suck' illustrates (not what they seem to mean), we go to the Word of God for answers. Do as righteous Joseph did. Say, 'do not Interpretations belong to God?' Then go to God's Word for that authoritative answer.
Note in your study of matthew 24 that the entire context of the chapter is of the latter days, when iniquity will abound and there will be a great tribulation. This occurs 'immediately' before the Lord's second coming. Those who think this language of literal apocalyptic happenings of murder, famine and world calamity need to study the scriptures more carefully. Then they will find that the world will be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, going along as usual unaware of any signs, as the Lord returns. Only those who know the signs of the Lord's return will see the signs. Those expecting cataclysmic happenings where women who are not pregnant are Blessed, do not understand the signs which God has written in His Word, and makes manifest to us by His Spirit. For the signs are spiritual. Spiritual children, famine, bread, scorpions, locusts, serpents, Women, and those who nurse at the breasts to whom it is a woe to at this time. These are spiritual truths, discerned by the Spirit. The great falling away of the Church, where it is woe to it's children.
May the Lord who is Gracious and compassionate above all, give us the wisdom to discern his Holy truth in the faithful study of His Word.
Copyright ©1993 Tony Warren
. (see article, "Was The Prophesy of Elijah Coming, Fulfilled?" by Tony Warren. http://members.aol.com/twarren11/elijah.html)
. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it."