Difficult Bible Passages IV

 Lorraine Day, M.D.


1.  Why did Jesus curse the fig tree, when figs weren’t in season?

Matthew 21:18-22

Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.

When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked.

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

Mark 11:12-14, 19-25

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it.

When evening came, they went out of the city.

In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!"

"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

The term “cursed” is used only once in the two New Testament records of this incident.  It should be noted that the term “curse” is not used in biblical parlance in the modern sense of profanity. Rather, a “curse” was a pronouncement of judgment upon a person or object (Matt. 25:41).  Christ’s curse of the fig tree was not a purposeless act of intemperance.  It represented a strong object lesson that the disciples needed to learn.

Why would Jesus curse a fig tree that did not have figs on it, especially since the text says that “it was not the season for figs”? 

One skeptic, Louis Cable, responded to the story with this statement: “Now to curse a fig tree for not bearing fruit in March is not unlike kicking a dog because it cannot speak English thereby punishing it for the inability to do the impossible.”

Is it the case that Jesus capriciously, out of anger, cursed the fig tree for not bearing fruit, even though the tree was incapable of producing?  A little more investigation shows that this is not the case.

“The time of the fig is not yet,” says Mark, for it was just before Passover, about six weeks before the fully-formed fig appears.  “The fact that Mark adds these words shows that he knew what he was talking about.  When the fig leaves appear about the end of March, they are accompanied by a crop of small knobs, called taqsh by the Arabs, a sort of fore-runner of the real figs.  These taqsh are eaten by peasants and others when hungry.  They drop off before the real fig is formed.  But if the leaves appear unaccompanied by taqsh, there will be no figs that year. 

“So it was evident to the Lord, when He turned aside to see if there were any of these taqsh on the fig-tree to assuage His hunger for the time being, that the absence of the taqsh meant that there would be no figs when the time of figs came.  For all its fair foliage, it was a fruitless and a hopeless tree.”  (Bruce, Are the New Testament Documents Reliable? [Intervarsity Press; Downers Grove, ILL. Fifth revised edition {1992}, pp. 73-74]

“Even out of season a fig tree in leaf – it must have been in leaf to be seen in the distance (v. 12) – holds forth the promise of fruit.  The normal early season for figs in Israel is June, but the early unripe fruit (Song of Solomon 2:13) begins to show itself even before the spring leaves appear on the branches, often before Passover.

“Jesus expects His people to put forth the fruit of righteousness, and that unproductive branches are thrown in the fire (Mt 7:16-20; 12:33; 13:4-9, 18-23; John 15:1-8)  Thus, the drying-up of the fig tree is an acted-out warning.  In keeping with Proverbs 27:18 (He who tends a fig tree will eat his fruit, and he who serves his master will be honored) Jesus here is teaching his followers what it means to serve their master, God; it means simply to have the kind of trust that comes from God (v.22) and that they will wither away if they don’t.

“Jesus neither acts from anger nor performs arbitrary miracles like a magician; every one of this supernatural acts has spiritual significance.”  (Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary [Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., Clarksville, Maryland, Fifth edition 1996], pp 95-96.)

The Old Testament often uses the fig tree as a symbol of national Israel:

“I will take away their harvest, declares the Lord, There will be no grapes on the vine.  There will be no figs on the tree, AND THEIR LEAVES WILL WITHER.  What I have given them will be taken from them.”  Jeremiah 8:13

“When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your fathers, IT WAS LIKE SEEING THE EARLY FRUIT ON THE FIG TREE. But when they came to Baal Peor, they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved.  Ephraim is blighted, their root is withered, they yield no fruit.  Even if they bear children, I will slay their cherished offspring.”  Hosea 9:10,16

“All your fortresses are like fig trees with their first ripe fruit;’ when they are shaken, the figs fall into the mouth of the eater.”  Nahum 3:12

“Thus, when Jesus approached the leafy fig tree, He had every reason to suspect that something edible would be on it.  However, after inspecting the tree, Mark records that “He found nothing but leaves.”  No taqsh were budding as they should have been if the tree was going to produce edible figs that year.  The tree appeared to be fruitful, but it only had outward signs of bearing fruit (leaves) and in truth offered nothing of value to weary travelers.

“What, then, was the point of such abrupt action against the tree?  When one notices the context of the event, Jesus’ intention seems to become apparent and two fold.  First, in its immediate context, the barren fig tree seems to apply to the pretentious religion of the Pharisees in Jerusalem – the leaders of the Organized Church at the time of Christ.  Following Jesus’ curse upon the fig tree, the text says that Jesus went to Jerusalem and began to drive the money changers out of the temple (Mark 11:15-19).  The activities in the temple that once had been fruitful and wholesome had become empty of value and useless. (Kyle Butt: The Barren Fig Tree, Apologeticspress.org)

Allen Black commented:  “The cursing of the fig tree symbolizes God’s judgment on Israel for not bearing the fruit He wanted from the temple.  It foreshadows the cleansing of the temple and ultimately the prophecy of its destruction.” (The Book of Mark, 1995, Joplin, Mo. College Press)

In a general sense, Jesus often insisted that tress that do not bear good fruit will be cut down (Matthew 7:19; Luke 13:6-9).  The fig tree did not bear fruit, was useless, and deserved to be destroyed: the spiritual application being that any human who does not bear fruit for God will be “destroyed” for his or her failure to produce.  He will be thrown in the “fire” – God’s fiery trials – to reap what He has sown in order to become a “NEW Creature in Christ.”  2 Cor 5:17.

“Behold, I make ALL new.”  Revelation 21:5

Jesus did not become angry and curse the fig tree even though it was incapable of producing fruit.  He cursed the tree because it should have been growing fruit since it had the outward signs of productivity. 

As Jesus said of the Israelites who claimed to be worshipers of the true God,

“You hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you saying,

“These people draw near Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips; but their hearts are far from Me.

“In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”   Matthew 15:7-9

The Israelites – the Organized “Church” in Christ’s time - had a form of religion, without any personal relationship with the Lord.

The same is true of the Organized “Christian Church” today.


2.  Why did Jesus say to Mary Magdalene, “Don’t touch Me” when she saw the resurrected Jesus outside His tomb?

“Mary stood outside the sepulcher weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the sepulcher.

And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou?  She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.

And when she had thus said, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but knew not that it was Jesus.

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou?  Whom seekest thou?  She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him, Sir, if thou have taken Him away, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away.

Jesus said unto her, Mary.  She turned around and saith unto Him,  Rabboni, which is to say, Teacher.

Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not: for I am not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father: and to My God, and your God.  John 20:11-17

The English word touch is a translation of the Greek word hapto or haptomai

(# 680 in Strong’s Concordance).  It means to attach to, or to fasten to

Here is the Matthew account of this episode.

AS they (Mary Magdalene and the other Mary) went to tell His disciples, behold Jesus met them, saying, Rejoice.  And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him.  Matthew 28:9

The English word held is from the Greek word krateo meaning to sieze with strength, or to take hold of  (#2902 in Strong’s Concordance).

What Jesus was really saying to Mary Magdalene in John 20:17 was:

“Do not detain me; for I have not yet ascended to My Father. . .”

He was NOT saying “Don’t touch Me.”  (It’s the uninspired translators changing the Scriptures – again!)

Jesus knew He would be back right away to visit with her and all the rest of His disciples.

3. Why did God say He “hated” Esau?

“Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord; yet I loved Jacob.  And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the jackals of the wilderness.”  Malachi 1:2,3

“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”  Romans 9:13

The first very important truth we must understand is that God has told us: 

“I’m NOT like you.”

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts (higher) than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8,9

God is NOT like “man.”

God does not “hate” like man “hates.” 

God’s “wrath” is nothing like man’s wrath.

God does not love as man loves.

God’s ways are far above “man’s” ways.

God’s Wrath:

God’s wrath is nothing like human anger.  God defines His wrath in the first Chapter of Romans;

“For the wrath of God is revealed, from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness;

“When they knew God they glorified Him not as God, neither were they thankful; but became vain (futile) in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools

And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image like to corruptible man . . .

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their bodies between themselves,

Who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature instead of the Creator, who is blessed for the eons.  Amen.

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections for even their women did exchange the natural use into that which is against nature;

And likewise as the males, leaving the natural use of the females, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness, whisperers.

Backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affections, unforgiving, unmerciful. . .”  Romans 1:18, 21-31

God’s Wrath is nothing more than allowing us to do what we want to do – and reaping the consequences of our sinful deeds.

God does not Love as man loves:

“You have heard it said, Thou shalt love they neighbor, and hate thine enemy, but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. . .

For if you love them that love you, what reward have you?  Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?  Matthew 5:43-46

Love thy neighbor as thyself.  Matthew 22:39

If you love Me, keep My commandments.  John 14:15

And this is My commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you.  John 15:12

But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35, 38-39

“Man’s” love is selfish.  We love those who love us back.

God’s love is unselfish.  He loves the unlovable.  He loves us even when we don’t love Him.  NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.

“I’m not like you,” God says.


The story of Jacob and Esau.

Let’s look at the whole story of Rebecca giving birth to her twins, Jacob and Esau, by Isaac:  (Romans, Chapter 9)

“When Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac:

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand not of works, but of Him that calleth)

The children had not even been born when God chose Jacob over Esau.  They had done nothing good or bad for God to have chosen Jacob over Esau.  God did so to show that He does not operate the same way “man” operates. 

In the world of the time, the oldest (Esau was born first) inherited the birthright.  But God was going to show that Jacob (the younger) would get the birthright, although God did not intend that Jacob would get it by deception.  Rebecca and Jacob deceived both Jacob’s brother Esau and their father, Isaac, because Rebecca and Jacob did not trust God to give the birthright to Jacob in GOD’S way.  They chose to do God’s work their OWN way – which led to nothing but trouble for Jacob his whole life.

It was said unto her (Rebecca): The elder shall serve the younger.

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

(God did not “hate” Esau the way human beings hate one another.  He had chosen Jacob over Esau to prove that He can chose whomever He wants, and that He does not play by “man’s” rules.  He had a lesson to teach everyone involved in this story – and all the rest who have read the story since that time -and in the end both Jacob and Esau were blessed by God.)

What shall we say then?  Is there unrighteousness with God?  God forbid.

For He said to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

“Since I created humanity,” God says, “I own them and I can do with them as I please.”  The Good News is that God always has the BEST interest of ALL His children at heart.

So then it is NOT of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that shows mercy.

It’s NOT a question of what we want (not of him that willeth), and it isn’t a question of what we do (nor of him that runneth) it’s up to GOD – ALONE!

For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.

Therefore He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will, He hardeneth.

God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.  “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these My signs before him.”  Exodus 10:1

GOD hardened Pharaoh’s heart to show God’s great signs and wonders.

Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth He yet find fault?  For who has resisted His will?

If God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, then how can God hold Pharaoh responsible for what he did, since no one can resist the will of God?

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?  Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why have you made me thus?

God created us and owns us, so we really have no right to question what He does with us.  As noted above, the Good News is that God has our BEST interests at heart at all times and “He is the Savior of ALL mankind.”  1 Timothy 4:10

Has not the potter power over the clay, to make of the same lump one vessel for honor, and another for dishonor.”  Romans 9:10-21

When God said He “hated” Esau, He meant that – for a special purpose – He was temporarily choosing Jacob over Esau to prove a point – to prove that God is not bound by the rules of man.

God says, “I’m not like you.”

“My thoughts are higher than your thoughts, and my ways (higher than) your ways.”   Isaiah 55:9

The word “Apollumi.” 

Does it mean “lost – waiting to be found – or does it mean to be destroyed - annihilated?

The Greek word apollumi is correctly translated “lost” in the story of the lost sheep and the lost coin.  The sheep was found alive, and the coin, even though found, never had life.  It was an inanimate object.

So the Greek word apollumi cannot mean to deprive of life in these instances.  Yet when the same word is used to describe the “wicked” the Bible translators use the word “destroy” – implying that the wicked will be annihilated.

The Lord preserveth all them that love Him: but all the wicked will He destroy.”  Psalm 145:20 

Thus, virtually ALL Christian churches teach that the wicked will burn in hell either forever – or as long as they deserve.

And what about the passage in Matthew, Chapter 2?

It states that Herod was seeking to destroy the child (Jesus).  We know Herod wanted the child Jesus dead.  Isn’t that the SAME Greek word apollumi?  If so, then how can the word not mean to kill or be annihilated?

And when they (the wise men) were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

And being warned of God in a dream, they departed into their own country another way.

 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him.

When he arose, he took the young child (Jesus) and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt. . .

Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceeding angry, and sent forth, and slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem and in all the districts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying

In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.  Matthew 2:11-18

Clearly Herod did want to kill the young child, Jesus, and while attempting to do so, killed many other innocent children.  The Greek word used here is apollumi – the same word that is used for the sheep that was lost – NOT dead – and the coin that was lost – an inanimate object that NEVER had life.

So, isn’t it reasonable to assume that when the Bible uses the word apollumi in regard to the wicked that it means that God will annihilate the wicked just like Herod wanted to annihilate the child, Jesus, and, in fact, DID annihilate the other male children in Bethlehem?

But we are forgetting one important fact.

God says, “I’m NOT like you.”

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than you ways, and My thoughts (higher) than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8,9

The shepherd in the story of the lost sheep (the sheep who did NOT die) represents God.  The woman with the lost coin (the object that never had life) represents God.  The One who will “destroy” (apollumi) the wicked is God.

Herod, who wanted to “destroy” Jesus (the word is apollumi), was a human being – a man!

But God says, “I’m NOT like you.  I am NOT like humanity.”

I will NOT execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will NOT turn back to destroy Ephraim, for I am GOD, and NOT man.  Hosea 11:9

When God “destroys” – it is by fiery trials with a goal of making us a New Creature in Christ.  It is NOT annihilation.

When “man” destroys – he annihilates (at least temporarily), because he is unable to “make ALL new” as Christ does.

That’s why God says,

“Vengeance is mine. I will repay.”  (Romans 12:19)

Man’s “vengeance” annihilates – at least temporarily – until God ultimately resurrects the dead – whether in the first, or second, resurrection.

Only the Lord can inflict “vengeance” that will ultimately result in a “new creature in Christ” (2 Cor 5:17) through the “fiery trials” that we bring on ourselves by our wrong decisions, culminating in our reaping what we have sown.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.  1 Peter 4:12

We glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance (patience); and perseverance (produces) character; and character (produces) expectation (mistranslated hope).

And expectation does not disappoint; because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by God’s breath of holiness which is given unto us.  Romans 5:3-5

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature (creation); old things are passed away, behold, ALL things are become new.  2 Corinthians 5:17

“Fiery trials” produce a mature and Godly character!

The word hope denotes uncertainty.  The actual word in the original Scriptures is expectation (not hope) – which removes ALL uncertainty.  What God has promised, we CAN expect to happen – without any doubt.

God refers to His law – the Ten Commandments – as His “fiery” law – because it will ultimately “burn” the sin out of our life.

And this is the blessing wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.

And he said, The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them: He shined forth from mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints: from His right hand went a fiery law for them.  Deuteronomy 33:1,2

God’s fiery law burns the SIN out of our life, it does NOT burn up those who, as yet, do not know God.

When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown in the fiery furnace with their hands bound, the fire did not burn them.  They didn’t even smell of smoke when they were removed from the fire.

Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury (because the three men would not bow down to his pagan image) and the expression on his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was already heated.

And he commanded the mighty men of valour that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

Then these men were bound in their coats, and their legs, and their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Therefore because the king’s commandment was severe and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that cast in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

And these three men fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his advisors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?  They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace, and spake and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither.  Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth from the midst of the fire.

And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was even a hair of their head singed, neither were their garments affected, nor was the smell of fire on them.  Daniel 3:29-27.

The only thing that the fire burned up were the ropes that bound them – the ropes that symbolized bondage to sin.

God’s fiery law burns the SIN out of our life.  It does NOT burn us up.

God is the Potter; We are the clay.

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,

Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear My words.

Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he wrought a work on the (Potter’s) wheel.

And the vessel that he was making of clay was ruined in the hand of the potter: so he (the Potter) made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter: saith the Lord.  Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.  Jeremiah 18:1-6

 Notice that the vessel was ruined while it was IN the potter’s hand.  The potter then crushed it (by fiery trials) in order to make a new vessel.

But He (God) shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge (refine) them as gold and sliver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.  Malachi 3:3

God sits as a Refiner, purging the sin out of our life through our fiery trials, which we must go through in order to be a righteous offering for the Lord.

God’s purging does not annihilate us, it purifies us from sin.

But throughout all the fiery trials, the vessel never left the Potter’s hand, because God makes this promise:

“I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5

We are not “destroyed” by “fire.”  We are SAVED by fire!  We are SAVED by going through fiery trials – which eventually develop in us a character like the character of Jesus Christ.

Every man’s work shall become evident; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire (fiery trials); and the fire shall test every man’s work of what sort it is.

If any man’s work endures which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: But he himself SHALL BE SAVED: yet so as through fire.  1 Corinthians 3:13-15

We are SAVED – NOT annihilated – through FIRE – God’s fiery trials!

When man destroys – his goal is to annihilate.

When God destroys – his ultimate purpose is to make a “new creature in Christ.”

“Behold, I make ALL new.”  Rev. 21:5

From the Physical to the Spiritual

God is transforming us from the “physical” to the “spiritual.”  That doesn’t mean we turn into an angel or a ghost.  It means that He is bringing us to the place where we can interpret what is happening in our life and in the world from a spiritual – rather than a physical – view.

He is teaching us to see things from HIS point of view.  Instead of only understanding the world and our lives through our five senses – sense knowledge - what we can see, hear, touch, taste and smell, God is teaching us to understand things through revelation knowledge – spiritually.

The natural (soulish) unconverted man or woman can only understand his life, the world, and the Bible, using the five senses.  He or she cannot understand spiritual things.  That is why so many religious denominations only understand the Bible – including Revelation – in sense knowledge terms – in literal terms.

The natural man receives NOT the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because spiritual things are spiritually discerned (understood).  1 Corinthians 2:14

In John, Chapter 3, when Nicodemus, a Pharisee – a leader of the “Organized Church” of the time, came to see Jesus (at night, because he didn’t want to be seen talking to Jesus), Jesus said to him:    

Except a man be born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus said unto Jesus, How can a man be born when he is old?  Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

Nicodemus had no concept of Spiritual re-birth, something that cannot be seen with the five senses as a physical birth can.  He could only understand physical things.

Jesus said to Nicodemus, Marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born again (born from above).

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound thereof, but you cannot tell from whence it comes, and whither it goes.  So is everyone who is born of the Spirit (has received God’s breath of holiness – inaccurately translated “Spirit” or “Holy Spirit”).

Jesus was pointing out to Nicodemus that the results of the wind can be seen, but not the wind itself.

When a baby is born physically, one can see it, hear it, touch it, etc.  One can understand the birth using the five senses.  Every human being can understand this.

But when one is born from above – Spiritually – the change in the heart that takes place cannot be seen or perceived with the five senses.  It takes Spiritual perception to understand what is going on.  It cannot be understood with the five senses; it can only be understood spiritually – by revelation knowledge – by God opening our minds and hearts to understand spiritual things.

Nicodemus answered and said unto Jesus, How can these things be? 

Jesus answered and said unto him, Are you a Master of Israel, and you don’t know these things?  John 3:3-10

Like the leaders of the “Organized Church” of today, Nicodemus – a leader of Israel - had no perception of spiritual things.  He only understood with his five senses.

God wants to take us from understanding only by the five senses – man’s way – to understanding HIS way – the spiritual way – so we will have spiritual discernment.

When “man” destroys – he kills and annihilates – the sense knowledge way.

When God destroys – He “crushes” us through fiery trials in order to make us “new creatures in Christ” – Spiritually.  We become “born from above.”

Man lives and acts through his five senses.

God works through the “heart” – spiritually.

When we learn to understand our lives and our world from God’s point of view, we will understand Spiritual things.  This is the process of sanctification.

It can only come by daily fervent Bible study and prayer, alone with the Lord.

4. “In My Father’s house are many mansions”

In the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, and most other versions, John 14:1,2 is translated as follows:

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. . .”

In the margin of my KJV Bible it says (Literal: dwellings).  In the Concordant literal translation, the word abodes is used.

Why would the translators of the KJV use the word mansions instead of rooms or dwellings?  Because the translators were locked in “sense knowledge” terms rather than Spiritual understanding.  They, as most Christians do, look at heaven as a place where we can finally be “rich.”  Many pastors preach sermons about building a mansion of pearl, gold, precious stones, etc.  They practically have the architectural drawings finished.  Christians even talk to each other about what kind of mansion they are going to have in heaven.

But those glorious terms are all figurative - spiritual.  We won’t be living in houses in heaven.  We will be living like Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden before sin – in a Garden – in nature – in Paradise (Eden) Restored. 

We won’t need privacy because we won’t have anything to be private about. 

We won’t be wearing clothes because we will be covered with light – as Adam and Eve were before sin.  We won’t be married – as we are on earth.  We won’t need a house to store our “stuff” because we won’t need any “stuff.”  We won’t be cooking – because all the food will be provided raw from the garden or the tree.  We won’t need the privacy of a bathroom because our bodies will not be “dying” and we won’t have to eliminate waste.  We won’t need shelter from the inclement weather because the weather will always be perfect.

It is carnal man who dreams of having carnal wealth and extravagance in heaven.

The correct translation of John 14:2 is:

“In My Father’s house are many rooms (dwellings, abodes).” 

Or even more correctly:

“In My Father’s house are rooms for the many.”

What does that mean, and what is the basis for that translation?

 Did Jesus die for “many” – or did He die for ALL?

“Even as the Son of man came NOT to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:28

The translation of Matthew 21:28 is clearly wrong.  Jesus did NOT die for “many” (a limited number) – He died for ALL!  The following texts prove that.

“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away (all) the sin of the (whole) world.”  John 1:29

“God is the Saviour of ALL mankind. . .”  1 Timothy 4:10

Every knee shall bow. . .”  Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11

“And every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.”  Philippians 2:11

“The Father loveth the Son, and hath given ALL into His hand.”  John 3:35

ALL that the Father giveth Me SHALL COME to Me: and him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out.

“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of ALL which He hath given Me I should lose NOTHING. . . John 6:37,39

Jesus will bring ALL His sons (children) to glory – not just “many” of them.

“But we see Jesus, who was made a bit inferior to the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor: that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man (ALL mankind).

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are ALL things, and by whom are ALL things, in bringing (the) many sons unto glory. . .” Hebrews 2:9,10

Because Jesus died for ALL – and NOT for just “some” (many)– the original text should read:  

“Even as the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for (the) many.”  Matthew 20:28

Jesus gave His life a ransom for (the) many – meaning that He gave His life for ALL, because there is: Jesus (One person) - - - and then there are the rest of civilization (the many – everyone besides Jesus).

Jesus - (One person) – PLUS – everyone else who has ever been born – (THE MANY). 

Jesus was sinless, so He didn’t need His own death for His own salvation.  He died for ALL the rest of us – who are called “the many” – meaning ALL!

Jesus DIED for ALL – and He will SAVE ALL.

He is “NOT willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9

Therefore, what is being conveyed in our initial text is that there are “rooms” for everyone (THE many) in “My Father’s house.”

“In My Father’s house are rooms (dwellings) for THE many (meaning – ALL).” John 14:2

Because “God is the Saviour of ALL mankind.”  1 Timothy 4:10


5.  “On this rock I will build My church.”  Matt. 16:18

The Catholic church claims that Peter, the disciple, was the first Pope, and was given the authority by Jesus to found what they refer to as the “true” church, based on the following Bible passage:

“He (Jesus) saith unto them (His disciples), But whom do you say that I am?

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (petros = a stone), and upon this rock (petra = a large rock) I will build my ecclesia (mistranslated church) and the gates of the unseen (the grave – NOT “hell”) shall not prevail against it.”  Matthew 16:15-19

The Word “Church” is NOT in the Bible

Let us first dispense with one issue.  The word “church” does not appear in the Bible – even in the New Testament!  The word consistently mistranslated as “church” in Greek is ecclesia.  It does not mean “church.”  It means the “Called ones” or the “Called-out ones.”  It has essentially the same meaning as the “Chosen people” in the Old Testament and the “Elect” in the New Testament.

King James ordered the translators to improperly translate the word ecclesia as “church” for political reasons.  The word ecclesia has no hierarchical implications.  It just means “believers” with no suggestion of buildings, memberships, leaders or any organizational structure.

Next, the word Peter means Stone (even a rolling stone) – not Rock.  Jesus is the Rock.

During the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt through the wilderness, they were accompanied by Jesus, as it states in 1 Corinthians 10:4,

“And they did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”

But even more than Christ being the Rock – the foundation of His ecclesia, His followers - Christ would build His ecclesia on a specific principle – the principle that God would teach us directly.

After Peter declared that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” Jesus said to Peter:

“. . . flesh and blood hath not revealed this to thee, but My Father which is in heaven. . . and upon this Rock (this Principle – the Principle that God – not man – will teach us directly) I will build My ecclesia.”  Mathew 16:17

Jesus was proclaiming that His true followers would be taught directly by God – NOT by man – “flesh and blood.”

What is God's chosen method for imparting truth?  Who is our Teacher?

God's plan at Mt. Sinai was that everyone personally hear the voice of God. The people's plan required God to initiate a complicated system of laws, rituals, and a human priesthood.

"These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him." 1 John 2:26,27

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, without finding fault; and it shall be given him." James 1;5

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams." Acts 2:17

God desired to speak to the people directly. See Ex:19:9

But the people were afraid for God to speak to them. Ex 20:18-21

Having rejected direct communion with God the people remained at a distance and looked for a human intermediary to impart moral direction. But the introduction of a human system to bring about the proper spiritual condition was useless to prevent sinning.

The Creator had offered to every member of the Israelite community the moral benefits of personal communion with God. But this invaluable blessing was rejected by the congregation. In order to preserve some contact with Divinity, the Lord instituted the Levitical priesthood. This priesthood was abolished as ineffective after Christ, through His death, resurrection and ascension, re-established direct teaching through the Holy Spirit.

Where did the people turn when Moses was gone for so long? Ex. 32:1 (Back to the Egyptian pattern of leadership.)

Individuals and groups demonstrate their rejection of direct communion with God by trusting humanity to authenticate truth. Read the tragic story in Exodus, chapter 32. The molding of the "Golden Calf" represents man's efforts to fulfill his responsibilities to God through commitment to a human structure.

Let the Lord summarize for Himself the flaw in the old covenant. In the book of Hebrews, the question is posed:

"For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second." And what is the second or new covenant? Is it abolishing the first covenant (the law)? No, it is putting the law into the hearts and minds of the people.  Hebrews 8:7

"I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts."  Hebrews 8:10

The people did not want to be challenged by direct contact with God, but they feigned allegiance by agreeing to submit to a human leader. But the Lord recognized that their words did not reflect the condition of their hearts. They were a people who drew near with their lips while in spirit they remained at a distance. See Deut 5:25,27-29.

The plan of the people rejected the Divine concept of direct teaching. The people opted instead to place their trust in a human agency and to make that agency responsible for their enlightment. Because of this arrangement the people did not experience the fear of God, and ALL but two of them, Caleb and Joshua, failed to reach the promised land.

How did such a concept of a superior humanity originate? What series of human initiatives set in motion the theory that the congregation is a mob knowing nothing? Where was it first established that spiritual perception was an innately possessed quality of those appointed by human decree? Matt 21:23 "And when He was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto Him as He was teaching, and said, By what authority do you do these things? And who gave you this authority?"

It was the fallacious arrangement of the old covenant that led to Jesus being rejected as the Messiah. The Pharisees, "sitting in Moses' seat," directed the people to refuse the Light that had come down from heaven. The "leaven" of the Pharisees had distorted truth and made it error; yet the people still accepted their words as the very commands of God!

That same "old covenant" is practiced today, and there is no lack of those to covet "to sit in Moses' seat." People still commit their spiritual direction to human channels, and man-made authority is obeyed as the voice of God. In this age, human position and structure are honored as surely as the "Golden Calf." After bowing in respect to human councils, the people feel at liberty "to give themselves to revelry."


The “Rock” on which God would build His ecclesia (His group of true followers) was Christ, and the Principle that Christ (NOT the “Organized Church”) would teach us directly.