PureChristianity.Org

Random Article

Lord of the Sabbath

- What really is the significance of Sabbath that God gave it as an “eternal sign” for His chosen people?

- God imposes death penalty for its violation, like the man caught gathering sticks on the Sabbath. How is the penal provision executed?

- What did Jesus mean in saying, “I am the Lord of the Sabbath?”

 

Mar 19, 2002

HTML Online Editor Sample

Audio-visual/question-answer/articles are available at YouTube. 

Click the logo to go to the YouTube channel:


 

Articles

Main Articles
Browse in : All > Topics > Main Articles

God vs. Man's Explanation of the Lord's Prayer

Posted by: Administrator on October 02, 1997 12:35:28 PM (5861 Reads)

- Who is our "Father?" Where is the kingdom of God?

- What kind of "daily bread" do we ask the Father?

- What is our debt? Who are our debtors?

 

  GOD vs. MAN’S EXPLANATION OF THE LORD’S PRAYER

Our Lord taught His disciples how to pray. This is popularly known as the Lord’s or Apostles’ Prayer:

 

Matthew 6:9 "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

 

How do religious leaders expound on this prayer? Many of them teach the people to pray it literally. Thus, it is memorized and recited repeatedly, especially in time of needs, danger, etc. Some teach it as some sort of a formula, after which a spontaneous prayer is said. In both instances, the literal meaning of the Prayer is what is in mind.

 

How can God explain His words when He is a Spirit? It is written, "And the Word was God" (John 1:1); and Jesus Christ is the "Word of God." (Revelation 19:13) It is made clear therefore that God and Jesus Christ "is" represented by the words. These are the written words in the Holy Bible. What is unfortunate is, while many people are all sincere in their desire to please and to be with God, they are not, however, one in their understanding of what they read in the Sacred Book. The cause is human perception and interpretation of the word of God.

 

With the truth that God is represented by the words, He can therefore explain His own words through the very written words in the Bible. Again, this should not be on man’s terms, but by the direction of God, through His words. Thus, the proper way to read the Holy Bible is expressed in:

 

Isaiah 28:10 "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:"

 

Reading the Holy Bible therefore, is not by the book or by chapter or verse by verse as is commonly done. Otherwise, we simply get the CONTEXT of the story. God is talking more than and beyond the story. God is speaking in PARABLES:

 

Ezekiel 20:49 "Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?"

 

Psalms 78:2 "I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:"

 

Mark 4:34 "But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples."

 

While many people think the reason why God speaks in parables is in order to simplify the message; on the contrary, it is the opposite:

 

Matthew 13:15 "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."

 

Romans 11:8 "(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day."

 

Is the Prayer taught to the Disciples expressed in parables? Or, did Christ speak plainly? Our Lord must be speaking "in tongues" when He said:

 

John 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."

 

True to what is written, our Lord really spoke in "parable" or "spirit." Let us now consider how God through His words explain the Lord’s/Apostles’ Prayer:

 

 

"OUR FATHER, HALLOWED BE THY NAME"

 

How easy for anyone to say "Our Father." Our Lord however rebuked the religious people under the leadership of the Scribes and Pharisees who called God "our Father" when they did not know Him!

 

John 8:54 "Jesus answered...it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him..."

 

Who is the Father? Our Lord spoke of Him in:

 

Matthew 23:9 "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven."

 

Our Lord is referring to God, as Paul wrote in:

 

1 Corinthians 8:6 "But to us there is but one God, the Father...and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him."

 

Truly so, according to our Lord Jesus Christ, "to know Him is to recognize the Father also."

 

John 8:19 "Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also."

 

Professing to "know Jesus" and pretending to "recognize the Father" is, perhaps, the height of spiritual hypocrisy.

 

"Our Father" is an expression of clear recogntion of God. In fact, this is the essence of the First Commandment -- an introduction of God of Himself. It is not just the simple knowledge that God delivered the Israelites from slavey in Egypt.

 

Exodus 20:2 "I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

 

Recogntion of God, as the First Commandment, is the first step for the rest of the commandments. This is revealed by our Lord in:

 

Mark 12:28 "And one of the scribes came...asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God ...this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."

 

Just as "knowing God" is the FIRST COMMANDMENT of the TEN, so is recognition of "the Lord our God is one Lord" is the PREREQUISTIE to the TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS. Take note of this: belief in one God is not enough:

 

James 2:19 "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble."

 

Perhaps the great message of what our Lord told the religious people can now ring the bell in our time:

 

John 8:19 "Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also."

 

John 8:54 "Jesus answered...it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him..."

 

For not knowing the Father, they could not His children; thus, Jesus told His listeners:

 

John 8:44 "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."

 

Can we still say "God is a mystery" without feeling some "guilt" of not knowing God, which is the FIRST and PREREQUISITE to the Commandments? By what right do we have to call God "our Father" when we do not recognize Him? Could we be His children? Is there a child who does not know his father? Man justifies this with philosophy. Does not God have the right to say, "I never knew you, get out of my sight!"?

 

If God is the only One deserving the title of "FATHER," this must be the highest of respect. Coupled with it is the title "RABBI."

 

Matthew 23:8 "But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren."

 

Perhaps no one in the Christian world will ever accept the title of Rabbi for that solely belongs to Christ. "Unseen" by many is the meaning. Rabbi means Master (or Leader, Chief, Teacher, Shepherd, Guide, Director, Pastor). In spiritual matters, all the Disciples of Christ were simply "BRETHREN." Peter, John, and James were perceived to be the pillars of the church (Gal. 2:9). Our Lord never sanctioned that honor, for in these apostles was seen the sharp rebuke of our Lord, not otherwise given to the others (Matthew 16:13, Mark 10:35-38). Does not our Lord seem to rectify the wrong perception on them? It is from this lesson that James wrote:

 

James 2:9 "But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors."

 

Only God’s name is to be revered and exalted. Could any of Christ’s apostles appropriate the honorific titles?

 

Psalms 111:9 "He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name."

 

Does not God feel jealous for appropriating the titles that solely belong to Him? Does idolatry involve only the senses? Higher in scope than idolatry for the senses is intellectual and emotional which involve persons. To emphasize this characteristic of God, this is what is written:

 

Exodus 34:14 "...for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:"

 

 

"WHICH ART IN HEAVEN, THY KINGDOM COME"

 

Using human understanding with the LITERAL LANGUAGE, where do people imagine God to be in the following?

 

Psalms 14:2 "The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men..."

 

Psalms 103:11 "For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him."

 

Proverbs 25:3 "The heaven for height, and the earth for depth..."

 

Jeremiah 31:37 "Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath..."

 

Perhaps no man will say heaven is not above. This is how man is lost in reading the Holy Bible using human intelligence. God is using His unique SPIRITUAL LANGUAGE that, without His explanation, there is no way for any man to understand His words.

 

The Pharisees who were zealous following the "letter" of Law asked our Lord where heaven or the kingdom of God could be found:

 

Luke 17:20 "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there!..."

 

Truly our Lord is speaking "spiritual things" with His SPIRITUAL LANGUAGE. God and Jesus Christ "is" speaking in PARABLES. This is heaven or the kingdom of God in the language of God:

 

Romans 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."

 

Heaven is not a place, but a state! No wonder our Lord told His inquirers "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation." What use is a "place" called heaven to God and His Chosen when they will not have physical bodies anymore? God’s chosen people will have the glorified body of Christ at His resurrection when He APPEAR the second time:

 

Philippians 3:21 "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body..."

 

1 John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

 

Hebrews 9:28 "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time..."

 

How many people think of God "in heaven," not the place, but of "the righteousness, and peace, and joy" that He alone has and can dispense? This must be the aspiration for the Prayer. If it were a place, then it is simply the "comfort and ease," which is lower in form of celestial and ethereal bliss.

 

Perhaps now it can be understood what Christ told His listeners that heaven could really be in the real believers, while still in their physical bodies. This is the shadow of reality when God has finally fulfilled His plan of having an eternal companions with chosen few.

 

 

"THY WILL BE DONE"

 

What is the "will of God?" How do we know the "will of God?" Who is God? Where is God? Can the person saying the Prayer have answers to the questions without "recognizing God?" Can God be identified and recognized under the three (3) major doctrines contrived by man?

 

1. THE ARIAN DOCTRINE (Advocated by Arius, 265-356 A.D.)

 

The doctrine teaches that Jesus Christ is only a man and never a God. These are the supporting verses (plus many more):

 

Numbers 23:19 "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man..."

 

1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"

 

A variation to this doctrine is the teaching that Jesus is only a mighty or "minor" God, with the following supporting verses (plus many more):

 

Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a child is born... The mighty God..."

 

The Almighty or Supreme God is the Father whom Jesus recognized in:

 

John 14:28 "... I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.")

 

2. THE TRINITARIAN DOCTRINE (Championed by Athanasius, 295-373 A.D.)

 

The doctrine teaches that God is composed of three divine persons. Each person is a God, but one person is not the other two persons. The three persons are co-equal in everything. Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity. He is a man (1 Timothy 2:5, plus many more verses).

 

He is also God (plus many more verses):

 

John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

 

John 1:14 "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

 

1 John 5:20 "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true...even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life."

 

3. THE ONENESS DOCTRINE (Taught by Sabellius, 199-217 A.D.)

 

The doctrine teaches that Jesus Christ is the Father (plus many more verses):

 

John 10:30 "I and my Father are one."

 

Jesus is also the Holy Spirit (plus many more verses):

 

2 Corinthians 3:17 "Now the Lord is that Spirit..."

 

The name of God is Jesus Christ. A variation to the doctrine is the perception that Jesus is the Father, and the Holy Spirit is only a force of God. This was sanctioned by Emperor Heraclius in 638 A.D.

 

FACTS:

 

All three major doctrines teach and profess that JESUS CHRIST is the Savior. Each doctrine is amply supported by Bible verses; yet differences among them cannot be reconciled.

 

 

DOCTRINE OF THE APOSTLES:

 

Galatians 1:8 "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."

 

Warning that "another Jesus" would be introduced after them:

 

2 Corinthians 11:4 "For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."

 

THE TRUTH:

 

God and Jesus Christ "is" represented by the Word (John 1:1, Rev. 19:13). God and Jesus will never contradict "Himself." Therefore, any conclusion on the identity of God that contradicts what is written could not have come from Him. True recognition of Jesus Christ follows the clear recognition of the Father:

 

John 8:19 "...Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also."

 

 

CONTRADICTIONS TO WHAT IS WRITTEN:

 

1. ARIAN DOCTRINE - If Jesus Christ is only a man and not God, why did He accept worship, before and after His death and resurrection, when only God deserves worship (Matthew 4:10; Revelation 22:9)? What more, is not the "Word" God in John 1:1? The "Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." Is this not Jesus Christ?

 

2. TRINITARIAN DOCTRINE - where is the clear recognition of ONE GOD when each divine person is a God deserving worship, and one person is not the other two persons? If the three persons of God are met in heaven who are distinct from each other, where is the claim of belief in ONE GOD?

 

God’s chosen people both in the Old and New Testaments "Know the Lord and God." (Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:11)

 

Jesus Christ rebuked the religious people for not recognizing the God that they were worshipping. (John 8:54-55)

 

3. ONENESS DOCTRINE - while this doctrine portrays God as Jesus who is the Lamb of God, how does this "Jesus" speak in comparison with the real JESUS?

 

Revelation 13:11 "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon."

 

This is the "language" of the real Jesus:

 

John 6:63 "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit..."

 

Mark 4:34 "But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples."

 

This doctrine disavows the great SPIRITUAL MESSAGE of the words of God. Like the two other doctrines, it cannot wean itself from the "letter" of the word. Proof is the current topic. Does the doctrine "sees" the same great message?

 

QUESTIONS:  

 

1. Who is JESUS of the apostles? (Refer to the article: JESUS OF THE ORIGINAL APOSTLES)

 

2. Who is the God of Abraham? Who is the God of Paul? What is His name? (Refer to the article: GOD OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT)

 

If the questions cannot be clearly answered, how can the person praying know the "will of God?" Jesus, showing the Way, told His disciples:

 

John 4:31 "...his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me..."

 

Examples of "will of God:" Is it the "will of God" that any on earth be called "Father" in spiritual matters (Matthew 23:9)? Is it the "will of God" to be called "Rabbi" which means Master (or Teacher, Leader, Chief, Director, Shepherd, Guide, Pastor) (Matthew 23:8,10)? Is it the "will of God" to try to acquire spiritual knowledge and wisdom from other people and from personal efforts and capability?

 </p>

James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."

 

(Plus many more examples as revealed after clearly recognizing God.)

 

 

"Thy will be done" "ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN"

 

Following man’s perception of the prayer, does it mean that there is need to ask God for His "will to be done" in heaven? Why? Will there still be spiritual rebellion in heaven after God has taken His chosen, who, by then will have been purified as gold? That is not in line with what is written.

 

What is "heaven and earth" spiritually speaking? Jesus gives the clue in the following:

 

John 3:12 "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?"

 

"Earth" refers to the physical, while "heaven" to spiritual. Christ spoke of both "earthly and heavenly" things to His disciples. In what sense therefore is the "will of God be done" in this respect? Jesus showed the example, that is why He said, "I am the way." Paul wrote he followed the Way that he enjoins the believers to follow him:

 

1 Corinthians 11:1 "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ."

 

What examples did Jesus and Paul show "doing the will" of the Father on "earth?" Jesus Christ lived as a human being. Saul of Tarsus was a Pharisee, a Natural Man. That is Paul before he recognized his Lord.

 

1 Corinthians 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

 

Jesus was a "spiritual man." Paul after recognizing his Lord on his way to Damascus, became also a "spiritual man (Christlikeness) ." Thus, the right to say:

 

1 Corinthians 2:16 "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."

 

Jesus and Paul as human beings had both PHYSICAL LIFE and SPIRITUAL LIFE. The former life refers to the "earth;" while the latter refers to "heaven." Truly so, we find how the "will of the Father was done" in both the PHYSICAL and SPIRITUAL life of Jesus as model. This was followed by Paul.

 

In the SPIRITUAL LIFE of Jesus, He fully depended on the Father. This is the "will of the Father" in "heaven."

 

John 5:30 "I can of mine own self do nothing... because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father ..."

 

John 5:19 "...Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do..."

 

Paul followed the example. He did not depend on anybody for spiritual wisdom but from Christ. He did not depend on Peter, John, or James, for this is the "will of the Father" in "heaven." The prayer is the "will of the Father be done" in acquiring spiritual knowledge and wisdom. How many people have truly desired the "will of the Father be done" in the following?

 

James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."

 

Knowledge is the key to know the "will of the Father." That is why God exhort us to love spiritual knowledge:

 

Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: ..."

 

In the PHYSICAL LIFE of Jesus, He worked as a carpenter (Mark 6:3). Nowhere in the Bible can we find Jesus asking the Father for His material-physical needs. He showed the example of working for His living. This is the "will of the Father" on "earth," referring to His PHYSICAL LIFE.

 

Paul, following that example, worked as a tent maker (Acts 18:3). He made full use of his intellect and physical strength to provide for his material needs. Thus, proudly saying:

 

Acts 20:33 "I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. 34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me."

 

Socio-political-economic-scientific knowledge and undertakings pertaining to PHYSICAL LIFE are perfectly in line with the truth if they do not contradict what is written. This is the "will of the Father" on "earth." Both Jesus and Paul never asked the Father for their material-physical needs. This is the truth:

 

2 Thessalonians 3:8 "Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:"

 

2 Thessalonians 3:10 "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread."

 

Proverbs 6:6 "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest."

 

To summarize, therefore, the "will of the Father on earth" is to use to the fullest extent the human intelligence and physical strength that God has given us before we ask Him (Matthew 6:8). This is self-respect in action -- to promote our material-physical-financial well being. Many people misconstrue the real purpose of the word of God. Jesus made it plain that the "flesh profits nothing from the word of God."

 

John 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 "will of the Father" on "earth" is to take charge and be responsible to our PHYSICAL well-being. "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" is the balanced PHYSICAL and SPIRITUAL life while still in our earthly body. That is the example shown by Jesus Christ and followed by Paul.

 

 

"GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD"

 

After God has revealed that we have to look and work for our material-financial-physical needs, what kind of "bread" do we ask Him to provide us daily? God is speaking "spiritual things." The "bread" is revealed in the following:

 

Jeremiah 15:16 "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts."

 

Matthew 4:3-4 "And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

 

The "daily bread" is the food for the soul! It is the word of God that serves as spiritual food. This is what John the apostle learned as he was exiled in the island of Patmos:

 

Revelation 10:8 "And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open... 9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. 10 And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter."

 

What is this book that is "spiritually edible?" What is contained in this book that tastes sweet as honey?

 

Psalms 119:103 "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"

 

God is answering all questions! The "spiritually edible book" is the Holy Bible that contains the words of God! Just as literal food is for physical life, so is spiritual food for spiritual life:

 

John 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."

 

What is "sweet as honey" in the word of God?

 

Jeremiah 15:16 "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart..."

 

They are the great spiritual message! Perhaps we taste this right now as we learned the magnificent message of the Lord’s/Apostles’ Prayer.

 

On the other hand, the "bitter" part of the word of God is chastening as applied in our life:

 

Hebrews 12:5-7 "... My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10... for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness..."

 

God revealed that the "daily bread" is the word of God. The words are found in the Holy Bible. These are the "spiritual food" for the SOUL. This jibes perfectly with what our Lord told His disciples:

 

John 6:47 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48 I am that bread of life. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh...52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him."

 

Christ was speaking in parables. His listeners did not understand Him. How about the people today, do they understand what our Lord is saying? What is the "flesh" to eat and the "blood" to drink? Is not Jesus Christ the Word of God (Revelation 19:13)? That must be the "flesh!" What is the "blood" to drink? Is not Jesus Christ the One Who shed His blood on the cross for the fulfillment of the Testament? Is not the Holy Spirit made available after His death and resurrection? The "flesh" is the literal word. The "blood" is the Holy Spirit that gives "life" to the words of God. The SPIRITUAL WORD is the food for the soul!

 

John 7:39 "(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"

 

Truly so, the Disciples received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Similarly, people today will receive the same Spirit that will "teach" them everything in the word of God. Can anybody explain the words of God which are in PARABLES? Could Peter, John, Paul, or other apostles do it?

 

John 16:13 "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth..."

 

2 Corinthians 3:17 "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

 

This is the "flesh" with the "blood" -- the literal word quickened or given life by the Spirit, becoming the great spiritual message in the word of God..

 

Now it is made clear which "book" is referred to in the following:

 

Revelation 5:1 "And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book...sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."

 

Only Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, can break the seals and open the book. Only Jesus Christ can explain the great message of the words of God in the Holy Bible.

 

2 Corinthians 3:17 "Now the Lord is that Spirit..."

 

How easy for anyone to say, "Can I not open the Holy Bible and read the contents thereof? With the intellect that God gave me, can I not understand what is written therein? Do not my religious leaders understand, and can they not explain the contents of the Holy Bible who studied it for many years?" That is what people are tempted to say. No wonder people do not agree on their understanding of what is written in the Holy Bible. Christianity is divided into 1001 denominations, each claiming the TRUTH.

 

Only God can provide us for our "spiritual bread" which is the word of God. Can any man take the place of God/Christ? This is what we pray for, "Lord, give us this day our daily bread."

 

 

"AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS, AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS"

 

Perhaps this will answer the question of the kind of forgiveness we ask and the debt we owe to God:

 

Romans 3:10 "...There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

 

Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

 

Now, what kind of debt do we forgive our debtors? Money? Even the Scribes and Pharisees or any unbeliever can do that. Let us remember that the PRAYER was taught by our Lord to His disciples. Suppose no one owes us anything, be it material or otherwise?

 

God’s forgiveness of our "debts" is a sign of His love. In like manner, this should be the "kind of debt" that will benefit our "debtor." We receive the love of God, so we share our love to our "debtor." One would say, "Yes, I will give alms to the poor, clothe the naked, etc."

 

 

THE EARLY CHRISTIANS DID NOT CONDUCT CIVIC AND CHARITABLE WORKS

 

Modern Christianity interprets the following literally:

 

Mathew 25:33 "And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 "For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me."

 

This is the inspiration for the many charitable works of religious organizations and their individual members today. Funds are raised for the distribution of material goods, and the supply of basic needs to victims of calamities such as earthquakes, floods, typhoons, fire, and the like. This is also the basis for the establishment of orphanages, hospitals, and schools, and care for the aged and unwed mothers. They are unquestionably sublime undertakings. Distinction, however, must be made between spiritual and socio-civic matters. The Bible deals with spiritual matters. No wonder, nowhere in the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John nor in the Acts of the Apostles can we find Jesus Christ and His apostles ever doing these things literally-physically.

 

There was even a prophecy for the Messiah providing freedom to the prisoners:

 

Isaiah 42:7 "To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."

 

No account is recorded in the Bible where our Lord during His entire ministry set free a single physical prisoner. But let us remember that this prophecy of "setting free the prisoners" must be fulfilled, and this is one sign for the "love of Christ." This was fulfilled, not physically but spiritually. Our Lord explained it in the following:

 

John 8:32 "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

 

The Jews did not understand the spiritual language of our Lord. They could not admit that they were in bondage to any man. They professed that they were the children of Abraham, knowing that the children of Abraham were free. They were indeed ignorant, spiritually blind and spiritually deaf, not knowing that being children of Abraham means spiritual descendants:

 

Galatians 3:7 "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham."

 

The Jews did not know that right there in the book of Isaiah, the spiritual meaning of his prophecy about freedom was manifested:

 

Isaiah 49:9 "That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. 10 They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them."

 

1. "Say to the prisoners" does not refer to the physical but to the spiritual prisoners. They are the people bound by falsehood and misrepresentation -- for it is only the truth that can set them free.

 

2. "Go forth to them that are in darkness" does not refer to people who are deprived of the physical light of the sun, or the moon, or the stars, or the light invented by man. God is referring to those who are in the spiritual darkness, those who cannot see the spiritual light. The spiritual light is Jesus Christ (John 8:12), and Jesus Christ is the truth (John 14:6) and the Word (Revelation 19:13).

 

3. "Feed in the ways" refers to spiritual feeding with the living bread as discussed.

 

4. "Pasture for the sheep" points to Jesus Christ shepherding the spiritual sheep -- the real Christians. But Christ is the Word and the Spirit. It is the Word of God that is spiritually shepherding the real Christians.

 

5. The spiritual sheep will never get hungry, for they will be fed with the living bread and with the spiritual springs of water.

 

 

TAKING STRANGERS IN

 

"I was a stranger and ye took me in." Strangers are the people outside the "household of God" (Ephesians 2:19). To take the "stranger in" is to welcome the people who do not yet belong to the family of God (not the religious sect). That is what our Lord and His apostles did during their time -- taking spiritual strangers in the household of the Lord, in the family of God, the spiritual church.

 

Spiritual strangers are the lost sheep that our Lord, represented by the truth, is looking for (Luke 15:3-7). Not just anybody can be a spiritual stranger. They are the people "whose names are written in the book of life since the foundation of the world,"(Revelation 13:8, 17:8) who are only waiting for the truth to come. Upon hearing the truth, that is the invitation of the people at the right hand of the King, the stranger comes to the "house" and there he is united with the "other children of the Father." Let us remember that not all who hear the truth accept it.

 

Strangers could not have referred to literal strangers, for as Jesus said, "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit." Modern Christianity may be thinking of them as the aged, the unwed mothers, and the orphans who need physical help. Let not the thought and feeling twist the spiritual message of the word. Man may be thinking of help for the physical well-being of his fellowmen. This must also be done, but properly distinguished as socio-civic work profiting the body. God is more concerned with the spiritual well-being of the chosen. Did not God put premium on the soul over the body?

 

Matthew 10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

 

Of course, there is nothing wrong with civic and charitable works. They are good. But let us not confuse what is good in the eyes of men with what is acceptable to God according to His word. We must be able to distinguish between God’s standard and man’s standard of goodness and righteousness. (The distinction is found in the article CLEANLINESS ON THE "OUTSIDE" AND "INSIDE.")

 

 

CLOTHING THE NAKED

 

God gives us the clue on who the spiritually naked are. Man realized his spiritual nakedness right in the garden of Eden upon the fall. He became aware of the loss of his salvation. From then on, man needed the garment of salvation (For details, read the article THE SIN OF EVE):

 

Isaiah 61:10 "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness..."

 

It is only the people at the right hand of the King (Matthew 10:33), the spiritual sheep, who have this kind of clothes. This is the spiritual garment that can be given to the spiritually naked. What is this spiritual robe or garment that can cover spiritual nakedness?

 

Galatians 3:27 "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."

 

Romans 13:14 "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh..."

 

How far is the literal from the spiritual! Here, Jesus Christ is referred to as the spiritual garment. "While it is easy to profess to have Jesus Christ as the spiritual clothes or garment for the spiritually naked, not everybody can share the TRUTH. Jesus Christ is the truth (John 14:6). Spiritual garment, therefore, is the truth which covers man’s spiritual nakedness. Who can honestly profess membership in the pure and perfect Christianity of the apostles who are the "spiritual foundation?" Who can claim to have clothed the naked when the King comes to separate the sheep from the goats?

 

 

"I WAS SICK AND YE VISITED ME"

 

We have seen the difference between the literal and the spiritual meaning of the word. The physically sick is a person suffering from physical ailment like fever, tuberculosis, cancer, aids, and all sorts of diseases. Physical disease may lead to physical death of the body.

 

The spiritually sick may be physically healthy, but suffering from spiritual malady.

 

Psalms 41:4 "I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee."

 

We must remember that it is the people at the right hand of the King, the real Christians, to whom this is addressed. They must be very healthy spiritually. Can people on the left hand, the spiritual goats, who are themselves spiritually sick, be able to "visit the sick?"

 

Spiritual diseases lead to spiritual death of the soul. Have we heard this before? Here is what God says in:

 

Ezekiel 18:20 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die..."

 

What kind of death is the death of the soul?

 

Revelation 2:11 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death."

 

Revelation 21:8 "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

 

Man conceived religion with its sets of virtuous norms purportedly leading to God. The Almighty stooping down to this level, through James, expressed its purity as:

 

James 1:27 "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

 

Every religion of the world -- Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, among others -- adopt this practice of "visiting the fatherless and the widows" as a major doctrine. But look how the Natural Man is again caught flatfooted in this regard. For the physical, it does not need the Holy Spirit’s guidance to know the story and understand the literal message of the word. But for the spiritual, it needs the divine revelation of God.

 

Who are the spiritual "fatherless" or orphans? Who are the spiritual "widows?" Who are the spiritual women, the spiritual wives? Who are the spiritual husbands?

 

The "fatherless" or the spiritual orphans are revealed by our Lord, not explained by any man. With man’s fall into sin, his love for lies, falsehoods, deceptions, and hatred made him a spiritual son of the devil.

 

John 8:44 "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."

 

The "death" therefore of these evil characteristics of the spiritual father, Satan, makes one a spiritual orphan or "fatherless."

 

The spiritual widow is likewise revealed through the word of God. The husband symbolizes God and Jesus Christ, while the wife represents the Church.

 

Ephesians 5:22 "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church... 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."

 

Christ is married to the Church. Man, therefore, is supposed to be spiritually married to Christ. But there is an evil usurper to this role -- the devil. The Word of God makes it clear when a man is married to Christ or to the devil. It is when the devil "dies" in the life of a man, now the spiritual wife, that "she" becomes a spiritual widow. The word of God in James 1:27 is now made clearer as to who the "widows" and the "fatherless" are.

 

Can we now see the good works of the men at the right hand of the King, the spiritual sheep, to the "fatherless and the widows?" The spiritual orphans and widows truly need spiritual care. They must be spiritually fed and be given spiritual garments, and they must be taken as spiritual strangers.

 

Can the Natural Man still insist that the word of God is simply literal? Does man have the courage to resist the spiritual word and have his socio-civic work credited as spiritual deeds? We keep on repeating, these activities are not bad. They are good and they must be done. But distinction should be made between socio-civic-political-scientific and spiritual works. "The word of God is spirit, and the laws are spiritual."

 

We must remember that it is the people at the right hand of the King, the real Christians, to whom this is addressed. The people at the right hand, the spiritual sheep, must be very healthy spiritually. Can people on the left hand, the spiritual goats, who are themselves spiritually sick be able to "visit the sick?"

 

 

"I WAS IN PRISON AND YE CAME UNTO ME"

 

"Visiting the sick" equally applies to visiting the prisoners. We have seen the spiritual prisoners. They are those who are bound by falsehood and deception. Spiritual prisoners are freed only by the truth:

 

John 8:32 "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

 

Again our Lord referred to the people at the right hand of the king, the real Christians, who would do this work of visiting and comforting the prisoners. Can people who are themselves imprisoned by falsehood be able to visit and comfort the spiritual prisoners?

 

To sum up, "to forgive our debtors" is to "love our neighbor." "Love of neighbor" in effect is EVANGELISM! Real spiritual EVANGELISM is preceded by (1) RECOGNITION OF GOD and (2) LOVE OF GOD.

 

The Lord’s or Apostles’ Prayer, in effect, summarizes the Ten Commandments and the Two Great Commandments:

 

Mark 12:28 "And one of the scribes came, and.. asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart... this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."

 

 

"AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION..."

 

To take the word of God literally, it is God Who appears to be the tempter! This is one proof that the Devil is using the LITERAL LANGUAGE to deceive.

 

Revelation 12:9 "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

 

The Prayer calls for deliverance from temptation. It is a spiritual battle that God should always be on our side in order to win. "And the Word was God." "Jesus Christ is the Word of God." We fight temptation and win over the enemy through the word of God:

 

Ephesians 6:10 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:"

 

 

Finally, "FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM..."

 

With the PRAYER understood, accepted, and applied, it is fitting to join the multitude in heaven praising God:

 

Revelation 19:1 "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: AMEN."

 

- END -