Apostolic Succession Doctrine
- What is God’s way of continuing the work of the original apostles?
- Who is the sucessor or replacement for Judas Iscariot? Matthias or Paul?
Jul 26, 1996
Audio-visual/question-answer/articles are available at YouTube.
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- With man’s understanding of the word of God, how could the “sun and moon standing still” be explained?
- How many people accept that God’s words are expressed in parable?
- Who can explain the word but God alone through His words?
The folly of human wisdom
Look at the folly of human wisdom! Only recently did the Pope apologize to a group of scientists gathered at a university in Rome . This refers to the preaching, for many centuries, that the sun is moving and the earth is fixed on its foundation.
Psa 102:25 “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.”
Isa 48:13 “Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens...”
How pitiful indeed for renown authorities of the word to be proven phony by science! God reveals inadequacy of human competence, and exposes man’s encroachment on very sacred matters as interpreting His words.
Here is another classic “phenomenon” that many prominent scientists keep on questioning the veracity of the word of God.
Joshua 10:12 “Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel … Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon . 13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies… So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. 14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel .”
However to the chosen, God through His words reveals the spiritual equivalent of the following. The sun symbolizes God, from where the light originates:
Psa 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory…”
Moon symbolizes the chosen, both physical male and female gender. They are considered spiritual female because they are the wife of God or Bride of Christ.
Songs 6:10 “Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon…”
Jer 3:14 “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you…”
Rev 21:9 “…talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.”
The principal characters in the book of Songs are God and His bride, the chosen. Just as the moon does not have light of its own but only reflects the light of the sun, so are the chosen only reflect the spiritual radiance from God. Jesus Christ said:
John 8:12 “… I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
And, to His Disciples He said:
Mat 5:14 “ Ye are the light of the world. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Just as “God never change” (Mal. 3:6) and “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:8), so is the SUN immovable. God is immutable!
In the story, God delivered His chosen people from the Amorites. It was here that Joshua prayed to God to stop the movement of the MOON that it would always be in focus to continue receiving light and heat from the SUN. Later however, the “moon” began to move again and the Israelites saw this.
The victory of Joshua and the Israelites over the Amorites has the following spiritual equivalent. This is the victory of the real Christians over their spiritual enemies:
Eph 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Paul, formerly a member of the sect of the Pharisee, used to persecute our Lord and His Disciples. When our Lord introduced Himself 1 and he recognized Him as his Lord whom he did not know, to Paul that was a great spiritual victory over satanic deceptions, erroneous teachings from Gamaliel (Acts 22:3) and the Scribes, and unsound influence from his fellow Pharisees. Like Joshua, Paul must have prayed to God to “stop the MOON” for the continuous focus of the “light from the Lord” to him, he being symbolized by the MOON.
However as the “moon began to move” again, so did Paul found himself trying to subdue his “enemy” which is his own “old self.”
Rom 7:15 “…for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”
In the Old Testament, we find David subduing Goliath, representing his spiritual enemies. How he wished that great triumph over evil be always with him. However, as the “moon” began its movement light and heat from the “sun” is again hidden. This was when David saw Bathsheba 2, took her as concubine, and even engineered the death of her husband, Uriah 3.
Real Christians feel this in their life – victory over the “flesh” and spiritual enemies (Rev. 12:9). How they also wish the “light from God” to always focus on their life, but as the “moon moves,” so is the fight against the sinful “old human nature.”
HEZEKIAH AND SHADOW TEN DEGREES BACKWARD
Here is one incident in the life of Hezekiah. The “letter” of the word simply tells a story. The “spirit” becomes a “living word” and a “bread of life” to the real believers:
2 Kings 20:1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah… said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die…2 Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying, 3 I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. 4 …Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD. 6 And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria …2Ki 20:7 And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered. 8 And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me…the third day? 9 And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees? 10 And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees. 11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward…”
“Sick unto death”
The ailment of Hezekiah must have referred to the SOUL as David spoke about it. Jesus Christ also emphasized the “spiritual” nature of His words not profiting the BODY:
Psa 41:4 “I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.”
Joh 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
The downfall of Lucifer was pride or “soulishness;” so was King Saul’s extreme envy of David. Therefore the sickness of Hezekiah leads to the death of his soul.
Eze 18:20 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die…”
Is this not PRIDE for Hezekiah to claim the following?
2 Kings 20:3 “I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight.”
Did not Jesus illustrate the pitfall for pride in a Pharisee?
Luk 18:9 “And he spake this parable…which trusted in themselves that they were righteous…10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
Luke 18:14 “ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
Mat 5:20 “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Look! Not even our Lord Jesus accepted He is good, if only to show the example for real spiritual humility.
Luk 18:18 “And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, this is, God.”
Goodness and righteousness should be distinguished as they relate to spirituality and morality. Spirituality pertains to “cleanliness in the inside of the cup and platter,” while morality to “cleanliness on the outside.”
Mat 23:26 “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.”
Hezekiah’s self-righteousness could be compared to that of Job:
Job 33:9 “I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.”
True, God spoke of Job’s righteousness before Satan:
Job 1:1 “There was a man…whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”
Job 1:6 “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?”
But God must be referring to Job’s righteousness’ “cleanliness on the outside of the cup and platter” and never of the “inside.” Otherwise it would contradict Jesus Christ not admitting He is good.
No wonder Job and Hezekiah have the same “literal” kind of disease, that of boils:
Job 2:7 “So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.”
2 Kings 20:7 And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil…”
When God told Hezekiah, “set thine house in order” “…he wept sore.” To God this is REPENTANCE, and not simply remorse. Repentance is spiritual, remorse is emotional. Repentance is total submission to God. Remorse is just being sorry for the sins committed. Thus, God said:
2 Kings 20:5 “I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD. 6 And I will add unto thy days fifteen years …7 And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.
“A lump of figs”
A fig tree symbolizes a chosen of God (Judges 9:10 -11). A “lump of its fruits” represents the fruit of the Spirit:
Gal 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance…”
Truly, the fruit of the Spirit is the antidote to or cure for pride. Hezekiah’s 15 years extension of his life does not necessarily mean the length of time, but the period required to attain spiritual perfection. The significance of the “third day” going up to the house of the Lord is already explained under the section THIRD DAY.
“Shadow of the sun brought ten degrees backward”
God through His words gives the spiritual equivalent of the following: Sun symbolizes God the source of “light.” It is fixed as “God never change,” and “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Psa 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory…”
Earth symbolizes the people. As an inanimate object it has neither ears to listen nor emotion to feel:
Jer 22:29 “ O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.”
Psa 33:8 “Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.”
Hezekiah saw himself like the earth turning on it axis. The shadow refers to the sun’s shade. Before the invention of the clock and hour glass, a pole was erected and its shadow was used as time reference. As the sun pass 12 PM , its shadow on the pole gets longer and light and heat diminish in degree.
Hezekiah wanted the shadow to “turn 10 degrees backward” in order to recover the “intensity of light and heat.” Since the sun symbolizes God, so is the “spiritual light” and “heat from the Holy Spirit.” Since man is symbolized by the earth, Hezekiah wanted himself to be again closely attuned to God.
With the “brightness” of the sun at 12 o’clock noon casting no shadow at all, Hezekiah’s self-righteousness is exposed. He wept and received the blessing of the Lord.
2 Kings 20:10 “And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees. 11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward…”
Hezekiah’s life extended for another 15 years does not necessarily mean the length of time for him to “put his house in order.” Finally, Hezekiah was taken to the kingdom of the Lord. What a lesson this is to real believers who find themselves in the same condition as Hezekiah was!
1 Act 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
Act 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest…”
2 2 Sam 11:2 And it came to pass in an evening tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. 3 And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba… the wife of Uriah the Hittite? 4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her…and she returned unto her house. 5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
3 2 Sa 11:15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.