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No Sign, But the Sign of Jonah

Posted by: Administrator on May 28, 1998 11:04:06 AM (6264 Reads)

- Why were the Scribes and Pharisees still asking Jesus for "signs from heaven" when they were witnesses to His great miracles?

- Why did our Lord call them "adulterous generation" when they were known zealous followers of the Ten Commandments?"

- If the "sign of Jonah" is simply the three days and three nights of our Lord in the tomb, thereafter His resurrection, why do people who know this "sign" cannot agree on many things about God and His words, just as the religious people were divided at that time?

 

NO SIGN, BUT THE SIGN OF JONAH

 

Jesus Christ performed many miracles before the eyes of many people. He raised Lazarus from the dead. He opened the eyes of the blind, opened the ears of the deaf, made the lame walk, and delivered the devil-possessed. The Scribes and Pharisees were witnesses to these great miracles. What is inconceivable is why did they still ask our Lord for signs from heaven. He told them:

 

Matthew 12:38 "Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees…saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here."

 

Perhaps many people think that the message was only for the Scribes and Pharisees who did not believe that our Lord died and later resurrected from the dead. This is all that many people see in the three days and three nights of Jonah in the belly of the whale corresponding to the three days and three nights of our Lord lying in the tomb. What really is the great message of the "sign of the prophet Jonah" that serves as spiritual food?

 

 

BLIND SCRIBES AND PHARISEES

 

Literally-physically, it is written that our Lord performed great miracles before the eyes of many people. The Scribes and Pharisees were among the witnesses for they kept on stalking our Lord trying to find fault with Him. The Scribes were the teachers of the law (word of God) while the Pharisees were their zealous followers. Why did these religious leaders, who were considered role models for righteousness and piety, not see the miracles? Our Lord called them "blind guides leading the blind (Matthew 23)." Of course they were not literally-physically blind. This is one proof that our Lord was speaking "spiritual things."

 

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."

 

 

SIGNS OF JONAH

 

FIRST SIGN – Recognition by the people. Jonah was sent by God to preach in the wicked city of Nineveh . Jesus Christ, typified by Jonah, was sent by the Father to this sinful world. Those who recognized Jonah repented; so with the people who recognized our Lord Jesus Christ. How many people truly recognized Jesus Christ during His time? Today?

 

Here is a prophecy in the Old Testament regarding the Messiah:

 

DEUTERONOMY 18:15 "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me ; unto him ye shall hearken."

 

The prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ:

 

ACTS 3:22-23 "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me ; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you."

 

What did God mean by the prophet’s description of "like unto me?" In His description and role, the Jews failed to recognize Jesus Christ. Instead of believing, they crucified Him on the cross. Only Christ’s disciples recognized Him, and repented.

 

What is the first sign of the prophet Jonah that the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and many of the Jews did not see? What significance is the description of the Prophet’s "like unto me " has with Jesus Christ that the people at that time did not discern? What relationship does " like unto me " have with Jesus’ statement " I and my Father are one ?" Does this first sign still apply in our time? It should be remembered that God is alive, and He is represented by His words (John 1:1). Jesus Christ is alive and He is the Word of God (Revelation 19:13 ). It is written there is only ONE GOD:

 

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

 

It is also written there is only ONE LORD:

 

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

 

Human understanding dictates that the FATHER is distinct from JESUS CHRIST. So therefore, GOD must also be distinct from the LORD. When our Lord was asked by a Scribe as to which is the first commandment of all, our Lord answered the following:

 

Mark 12:28 -29 "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:"

 

What did Jesus Christ mean by "The Lord our God is one Lord?" What did Jesus mean when He said, "I and my Father are one?" After Jesus gave the "first commandment of all" to the inquiring Scribe, He continued saying:

 

Mark 12:30 -31 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: 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."

 

It is quite explicit that "To know the One Lord and one God" is a PREREQUISITE to the Two Great Commandments. In essence, the sequence enumerated by our Lord follows:

 

First, KNOW the "One Lord and one God."

 

Second, LOVE that "One Lord and one God."

 

Third, LOVE thy neighbor

 

Definitely the Scribes and Pharisees could not have followed the sequence for they did not recognize the "One Lord and one God." How about relating oneself to the situation asking the question: "Do I really know the ‘One Lord and one God’?"

 

Many people believe that they are not like the Jews who rejected Jesus as the messenger of God promised in the Old Testament. But, do many people today comprehend what our Lord said " like unto me " is actually related to what He said, "I and my Father are one (John 10:30 )?"

 

Who is the Father? Is He not the only God (1 Corinthians 8:6a)? Who is Jesus Christ? Is He not the only Lord (1 Corinthians 8:6b)? Is the only God and the only Lord separate being/s? What did Jesus mean in the following, before citing the commandments of LOVE?

 

Mark 12:29 "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel ; The Lord our God is one Lord:"

 

Mark 12:30 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength : 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."

 

To know Jesus Christ, the only Lord, should follow true recognition of the only God.

 

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."

 

Then our Lord rebuked the religious people under the leadership of the Scribes and Pharisees for NOT RECOGNIZING THE FATHER!

 

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…"

 

How many people today, like the Jews, do not also recognize the Father? Have we not heard people say, "God is a mystery incapable of clear recognition?" Who is God and Who is the Father?

 

Here is something to ponder on the relationship between the Father and Jesus Christ, for that is one sign of the prophet Jonah. (For the identity of Jesus Christ and the Father, read the article JESUS OF THE ORIGINAL APOSTLES.)

 

The SECOND SIGN of the prophet Jonah was his being seen running away from his assignment.

 

Jonah 1:3 "But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD."

 

If Jonah typifies our Lord, how many people see the same thing in Jesus Christ when He was in the garden of Gethsemane ?

 

Luke 22:41 "And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me …"

 

Is this not a perception that our Lord was trying to back out from His assignment just as Jonah tried to flee to Tarshish? Do people see this sign of Jonah in the Son of man? However when Jonah saw that God really wanted to use him, he prayed:

 

Jonah 2:9 "But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD."

 

Very clearly typed by Jonah, our Lord said:

 

Luke 22:41 "And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father…nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done ."

 

The THIRD SIGN of the prophet Jonah is the great storm and rampaging water that threatened the ship where Jonah was riding.

 

Jonah 1:4 "But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken."

 

Did the Jews see this sign in Jesus Christ? Do people today discern the sign? God is speaking spiritual things. He explains His words by His own words as they are written. If "sea" to people refers to the large body of salt water, God has this to say of the "spiritual sea."

 

Isaiah 57:20 "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest…"

 

Revelation 17:15 "And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest,…are peoples, and multitudes…"

 

Jonah was appalled at the rampaging water. Jesus was equally aghast at the people that represent the spiritual sea. How did the people receive Him? He was received with contempt, and vitriolic language was leveled against Him:

 

John 10:20 "And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?"

 

When Jesus was "cast out into the spiritual sea," this is what was heard from the people:

 

Luke 23:20 "Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. 21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him."

 

Just as the angry sea wanted "to kill" Jonah, so did the angry people to our Lord. There could be no big waves in the sea without wind. One reference to the "wind" is the great temptation of renouncing the truth.

 

Proverbs 25:23 "The north wind driveth away rain…"

 

The "north wind" is noted for its furor. Rain symbolizes the doctrine of God, the truth:

 

Deuteronomy 32:2 "My doctrine shall drop as the rain…"

 

Just as the wind generated big waves in the sea that engulfed Jonah, so did false doctrines caused hatred for our Lord among the people. Great "storm" did come in the life of our Lord. Evil forces entered the hearts and minds of the people that threatened to engulf Him.

 

Mark 15:9 "But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. 11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them."

 

The rampaging water and strong wind threatening to break the ship were perfect incidents relating to the life of our Lord. Just as the water and wind calmed down after Jonah was thrown into the sea, so was the crowd pacified after Jesus was handed to them for crucifixion.

 

The FOURTH SIGN of the prophet Jonah is the three days and three nights in the belly of the whale:

 

Matthew 12:40 "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

 

Jonah’s three days and three nights in the belly of the whale brought him to Nineveh . There, Jonah preached the gospel of repentance. Christ’s three days and three nights in the tomb precede His resurrection for His "new assignment." Our Lord before ascending up to heaven told His disciples:

 

Matthew 28:20 "… and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

 

How could our Lord be "with His disciples till the end of the world," when literally-physically He went up to heaven? Who was/is/will be with the disciples? Is He not the Holy Spirit? Here, our Lord revealed Who really is:

 

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

 

And it is getting clearer Who the subject of the sentence is in the following:

 

Acts 20:28 "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God , which he hath purchased with his own blood ."

 

Can human comprehension capable of recognizing the Messiah? Peter recognized Jesus "not with flesh and blood" but by the revelation of the Father (Matthew 16:15 -17). How many people recognize Him to be the Holy Spirit? Who is the Father? Our Lord said:

 

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."

 

Paul received the revelation when he recognized only ONE GOD:

 

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

 

Paul also recognized only ONE LORD:

 

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

 

The revelation of Peter and Paul jibes perfectly well with what our Lord told a Scribe who asked Him about "the first commandment of all."

 

Mark 12:29 "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel ; The Lord our God is one Lord:"

 

The Sign of the Prophet Jonah actually is the true recognition of Jesus Christ. Jonah's three days and three nights in the belly of the whale started the journey that brought salvation to the chosen people of Nineveh . In like manner, Jesus' three days and three nights in the "heart of the earth" marked the beginning of salvation to the few who will believe Him. The sinful Nineveh corresponds to the sinful world.

 

 

"THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE HEART OF THE EARTH"

 

The earth symbolizes man himself:

 

Jeremiah 22:29 "O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD."

 

Without the sign, which is the real recognition of the Messiah, Jesus Christ would not have settled in the heart of the real believers. His rebuked to the religious people who did not recognize Him proved this:

 

John 8:19 "…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…"

 

Recognition of the "One Lord and one God" is a PREREQUISITE to "love of God" which in turn should precede "love of fellowmen." How can one follow the Great Commandments without the essential requirement?

 

 

STRANGE LANGUAGE

 

Jesus Christ was speaking a stranger language. When He told the Jews "destroy this temple and in three days I would raise it up again, they ridiculed Him. No one, including His apostles, understood what He was talking about. Jesus Christ is the Word of God (Revelation 19:13 ). Therefore, just as Jesus Christ can only be recognized by the "revelation of the Father," so are His words understood only by divine revelation (Mark 4:34 ).

 

When Jonah went to Nineveh , many people recognized him. They listened to him and repented from their sins. Jesus Christ came into the world. The people who recognize Him understand His words, for He is the Word (Revelation 19:13 ). Real repentance only comes from clear comprehension of God’s words.

 

The religious leaders during the time of our Lord did not recognize Him; so were His words became an offense to them. He called them "blind guides leading the blind." He told His disciples:

 

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. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear."

 

Jesus was speaking "spiritual things." He was speaking in tongue. Today it is very easy for people believing in the Bible to say, "the three days and three nights of Jonah in the belly of the whale corresponds to the three days and three nights of our Lord in the tomb." Yet, they cannot agree as to Who Jesus Christ really is! Who is Jesus Christ to many people? Whose "body" was placed in the tomb?

  1. To some, Jesus is only a man and never a God. A variation to this belief is Jesus is only a Minor God, for there is an Almighty God.
  2. To others, Jesus is the Father and the Holy Spirit. They however could not see clearly the great spiritual message of His words.
  3. To many, Jesus is only the third person of God.

Many peoples’ recognition of Jesus is limited to the "historical and physical Jesus." The apostles recognized the "spiritual Jesus" by divine revelation:

 

Matthew 16:15 "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 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."

 

John 6:44 "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…"

 

1 Corinthians 12:3 "… and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost ."

 

Matthew 11:27 "… neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."

 

Jesus Christ said:

 

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

 

Jesus Christ giving the PREREQUISITE to "loving God", said:

 

Mark 12:29 "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel ; The Lord our God is one Lord:"

 

Who is the "one Lord and one God?" The Scribes and Pharisees missed Him! That is the question relevant to the great message of the Sign of Jonah in our time. (For a detailed discussion on the subject read the articles: JESUS OF THE ORIGINAL APOSTLES and THE GOD OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT.)

 

 

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

 

When certain Scribes and Pharisees asked our Lord for signs from heaven, He told them:

 

Matthew 12:38 "Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees…saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it , but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

 

Why did our Lord say "there shall no sign be given to it" when all along He was performing great miracles? This is aside from the fact that the Scribes and Pharisees were asking for signs when all along they must have been witnesses to His great deeds.

 

And why did our Lord call them "adulterous generation’ when the Scribes and Pharisees were zealous adherents to the Ten Commandments, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" being one of them?

 

What is the "secret" behind the miracles and the seemingly inconsistent statement of Jesus Christ? This is one proof that, indeed, our Lord was speaking "spiritual things" (John 6:63), which can only be spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14 ).

 

 

"ADULTEROUS GENERATION"

 

The Natural Man is limited to the intellect and feeling in comprehending the words of God. However, words of God can only be spiritually discerned:

 

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 ."

 

The Natural Man is limited only to the understanding of PHYSICAL adultery. No wonder the Scribes and Pharisees took pride in following the law. However, our Lord told them that they only clean the "outside" but the "inside" remains unclean (Matthew 23:25 -26). Our Lord therefore was speaking of SPIRITUAL adultery when He said, "This adulterous generation."

 

Spiritually, there are only two "men": God and Satan . All the people are spiritual "women." That is where we find the "spiritual battle" between the two, fighting for the spiritual "woman": This is gleaned from the following:

 

Jeremiah 3:14 "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you…"

 

Isaiah 54:5 "For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name…"

 

The "seeds" of God are His words (Luke 8:11 ). "Strange seeds" are words other than the truth. Our Lord did not find truth in the Scribes and Pharisees; thus, His rebuke of "this adulterous generation."

 

 

"THE FLESH PROFITETH NOTHING"

 

1. Can people accept that "the flesh" is the body of man that does not profit from the word of God? In the beginning, it is mentioned that both "Christians" and non-Christians are one in expecting miracles benefiting the body from their respective "God," and god, gods, goddess, or goddesses. Who can accept the truth that "the flesh profiteth nothing" from the Word of God? The spiritual word of God will now separate the real Christians from the rest of the people. People will now be classified into SPIRITUAL and NATURAL men.

 

2. What is the truth about the great and spectacular physical miracles performed by Christ? By the God of Abraham, Moses and the prophets of the Old Testament? "The word is spirit (John 6:63)." "The laws (words) are spiritual (Romans 7:14 )." What happened literally-physically as great and spectacular miracles had their spiritual equivalent. Thus,

 

 

MIRACLES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

 

1. The physical deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt has the equivalent of the spiritual deliverance of God's chosen from the spiritual slavery of Satan in this world.

 

2. The physical parting of the Red Sea allowing the Israelites to pass on dry ground, symbolizes the chosen’s successful "passing through people and overcoming oneself".  "Sea" symbolizes people.

 

Revelation 17:15 "And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest… are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."

 

Psalms 18:16 "… he drew me out of many waters."

 

It is the people, their teachings, philosophy, and religious traditions, and their influence, that prevent the chosen people of God from escaping from the spiritual bondage of falsehood.

 

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

 

3. The Manna from heaven corresponds to the "Bread of Life." Jesus Christ spoke of this in:

 

John 6:51 " 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, which I will give for the life of the world. 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.

 

The "bread of life" refers to the Word of God, which Jesus told Satan is the real food.

 

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…"

 

Satan could only understand literal-physical things.

 

Matthew 4:3 "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."

 

Jesus was speaking "spiritual things." The Word of God that gives "life" is the "spirit" or the spiritual word; and not the "letter" of the law or the literal word.

 

2 Corinthians 3:6 "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

 

4. The bitter water at Marah was turned into "sweet" water after a tree was cast into it. The "tree," as explained by the Word of God itself, refers to the cross of Christ:

 

ACTS 5:30 "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a TREE."

 

1 PETER 2:24 "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the TREE, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness..."

 

Water here has a different significance. "Sweet water" refers to the HOLY SPIRIT who was made available after the death of Christ on a "tree."

 

John 7:37-39 "…Jesus stood…saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 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.)"

 

The spiritual Manna and the spiritual sweet water are what will sustain the chosen people of God today in their journey in the spiritual wilderness. These two are what make up the SPIRITUAL WORD. The Holy Spirit should be distinguished from FEELINGS or EMOTION of which many people are confused with. The Israelites, after their deliverance from slavery, were able to distinguish the sweet from the bitter water. Today, real Christians also can differentiate real spirituality from sheer emotionalism. The Word of God blended with emotionalism will not sustain the real believers in their spiritual journey, as the Israelites could not have survived on Manna and "bitter" water. It is the SPIRITUAL WORD, out of the spiritual Manna with the spiritual sweet water, that can nourish the chosen people of God to eternal life -- the spiritual Promised Land.

 

 

CHRIST'S PROMISE FOR GREATER MIRACLES

 

John 14:12 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

 

How many people believe in the fulfillment of this promise? "Greater works than these shall he do!" Are there people who can see its realization? In whom is this promise fulfilled? How is it executed?

 

If modern "apostles of Christ" can only open the eyes of the blind, open the ears of the deaf, and make the lame walk, and it is doubtful whether they have already raised a dead man, Jesus Christ has failed in His promise! His promise is "greater works than these." Have people realized this?

 

 

MIRACLES OF THE ORIGINAL APOSTLES

 

One may ask, did Jesus fulfill His promise of "greater miracles" to His original apostles. Did they perform "greater works" than Jesus, as promised? The Book of Acts records that they only duplicated the works of Jesus. They also opened the eyes of the blind, opened the ears of the deaf, made the lame walked, and raised some people from the dead. Where then was the promise of "greater works" for the original apostles?

 

But Jesus cannot tell a lie. The careful observer, actually the Spiritual Man, must have realized that the Acts of the Apostles is a part of the Holy Bible, just as the acts of Jesus Christ are a part of the Word of God. Jesus said, "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit." The Natural Man sees the words of Jesus Christ as pertaining only to the red-letter words of the Bible. He cannot comprehend that the words of Jesus comprise the whole Bible, including the Acts of the Apostles!

 

2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God…"

 

2 Peter 1:21 "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

 

Paul saw the right perspective when he said, "For we know that the laws are spiritual (Romans 7:14 )." Again, one may think that these refer only to the commandments of God. "The words of Jesus Christ, and the laws" should be viewed as the Word of God that are contained in the Holy Bible. When Jesus said, "the words are spirit," this should include the Acts of the Apostles, which form part of the Holy Scriptures. The spiritual nature of the Word is clearly portrayed in the acts of Christ's chosen apostles that do not form part of the Word.

 

 

THE GREAT SPIRITUAL MIRACLES

 

The "miracles" of modern apostles duplicating only the work done by Jesus Christ and the original apostles cannot be considered fulfillment of the promise. The promise is "greater works than these." This has been missed by CHRISTIANITY TODAY. Modern Christians missed the message of CHRISTIANITY YESTERDAY. CHRISTIANITY YESTERDAY is what is found in the Holy Bible, literally written, and literally understood by many so-called Christians today. Many people missed the great message of Jesus Christ: "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit (John 6:63)'" and confirmed by Paul, "For we know that the laws are spiritual (Romans 7:14 )."

 

Why is it that the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and others who rejected Jesus seemed not to have noticed His great miracles? Why were they still asking Him for signs from heaven? Is this not an indication that the spiritual message in the physical miracles of Christ were not discerned by them? They failed to get the message:

 

Mark 4:11 "And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."

 

The spiritual nature of the acts of the original apostles; like the acts of Jesus Christ, being part of the Holy Bible, remain imperceptible to many people:

 

Acts 28:26 "…Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."

 

Jesus Christ is never remiss in His promise. Real Christians must be able to "do greater works than the literal-physical miracles" found in the Bible that were performed by Jesus and His original apostles.

 

In the perception of many people, it is the BODY that was benefited by these miracles. Without the spiritual significance of these miracles, Jesus Christ would have contradicted Himself because He valued the SOUL more than the BODY when He said:

 

MATTHEW 20:28 "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."

 

More so, our Lord said, "The flesh profiteth nothing from the word (John 6:63)." Which is hoped to have eternal life: the physical body "formed out of the ground and return to dust" or the invisible soul? Which did Satan want to benefit when he saw Jesus hungry, after fasting 40 days and 40 nights in the desert - the soul or the body - when he told Him to turn the stones into bread? What is the language of the Devil? What is the language of God?

 

The real Christians, as promised, will do "greater works" than the literal-physical miracles of Jesus and His original apostles. If a blind man were made to choose between seeing the things of the world, and "seeing" the spiritual light leading him to the truth, which would he choose? Which is greater of the two? If a deaf were made to choose between hearing the songs of birds, and to hear the voice of the Shepherd and understand it that he could follow Him, which would he choose? Which is greater of the two? If the lame were made to choose between walking on concrete road, and to walk on the spiritual Way leading to eternal life, which would he choose? Which is greater of the two? If a man were made to choose between physical life, which could terminate anytime and the mortal body returning to dust, and the eternal life of the soul, which would he choose?

 

 

THE GREATER MIRACLES OF TRUE CHRISTIANS

 

Jesus Christ fed four thousand men, with seven loaves of bread and a few fishes (Mark 8:1-9); and five thousand men, excluding women and children, on another occasion with five loaves of bread and two fishes (Mark 6:34 -44). If a real Christian with the "living Manna from heaven" and the "sweet water from the Rock," making up the Spiritual Word, and shares this with thousands or even millions of spiritually hungry people, which is greater of the two? Perhaps this article may be cited as an example of the "spiritual loaves of bread and several fishes" being shared by a real Christian who was so blessed to find this Bread of Life from above!

 

Jesus opened the physical eyes of the blind; the real Christians, by the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit, open the spiritual eyes of those who wish eternal life by recognizing God and Jesus Christ. Jesus opened the physical ears of the deaf; the real Christians open the spiritual ears of the "lost sheep" that they could understand the voice of the Shepherd. It is through these "greater works" that the beneficiaries acquire "the mind of Christ."

 

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 made the paralytic walk; the real Christians, after "opening the spiritual eyes of the blind" and "opening the spiritual ears of the deaf" who are lost from the Way, enable them "to walk" leading to life everlasting. Jesus raised some dead persons; the real Christians, by the power of the Word and the Holy Spiritmaking up the Spiritual Word, make the spiritually dead rise up again, to live a spiritual life. If Jesus was able to walk on the physical water, His real followers today can walk on the spiritual water. Water symbolizes people. They can walk "over and above the people's" general belief, and remain unaffected by their practices and influence. Water includes the real Christian’s own self. Thus, not only can he walk "above the people," but "above himself" as well. This simply means overcoming the sinful nature of man. It is through these "greater works" that the real people of God realize the great message of:

 

2 Corinthians 3:6 "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament ; not of the letter , but of the spirit : for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. "

 

When Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth in me...greater works than these shall he do," He could not have meant it literally-physically without contradicting Himself, for He said:

 

MATTHEW 10:24 "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord."

 

JOHN 13:16 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him."

 

How could the apostles sent by the SPIRITUAL CHRIST be greater than He? Who can now discern the great spiritual miracles of the real believers, by the power of the spiritual word, leading to eternal life? Who are still "looking for signs from heaven" that clearly point to physical miracles?

 

Jesus Christ was aware of the nature of man when He spoke of this promise of "greater works." He was actually underscoring the spiritual. But man did not get the message!

 

 

THE COUNTERFEIT MIRACLES

 

Who prefer to see physical miracles? Who perform physical miracles? Without the application of the Spiritual Language of God in His Word, man is bound to follow the "letter of the law." As Jesus was rejected by the Jews, so is the Spiritual Word, representing the SPIRITUAL CHRIST, equally abhorrent to Christianity Today. Like Eve getting hooked on the literal language of the Serpent, so is modern Christianity a captive of the same language. Thus, many people are greatly attracted to physical miracles. In the beginning, it was pointed out that both God and Satan are performing miracles. The miracles of Satan, however, are inferior to those of God.

 

Exodus 7:8 "And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 9 When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Show a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. 10 And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt , they also did in like manner with their enchantments. 12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods."

 

Satan failed to trap Jesus Christ with his physical language when he tempted Him after fasting for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert. However, Satan is succeeding today as prophesied.

 

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."

 

Who perform physical miracles today? Who prefer to see physical miracles? Without the application of the Spiritual Language of God, man is bound to follow the "letters of the law." As Jesus was rejected by the Jews, so the spiritual word representing Him is never accepted today. Like Eve ensnared by the literal language of the Serpent, so is the "church" representing Christianity Today equally deceived. The proof is the attraction of physical miracles to the people.

 

It was pointed out that both God and Satan are capable of performing miracles. The miracles of Satan, however, are inferior to the miracles of God. Satan, using the very word of God, succeeds in deceiving the unwary. Who can believe this? Let the Word prove the truth. Jesus Christ gave the sweeping statement:

 

Mark 16:17 "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

 

Does not Christianity Today understand and apply this literally-physically? In prayer meetings, do we not see widespread physical "speaking in tongues" or the bubbling of words, thought to be foreign languages not learned? Do we not witness spectacular physical miracles being performed in the name of Jesus Christ? Do we not see the literal casting out of evil spirit, restoring back some persons to sanity? Nobody can deny these great wonders being performed in modern Christianity. And these are all done in the name of Jesus Christ.

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But are these the fulfillment of the promise of "greater works?" What is greater than the bubbling of unintelligible words and syllables? Is not to speak the Word of God too strange for many to understand, by the revelation of the spiritual language of God, not far greater? This article is an example of a "new tongue" too difficult for many to comprehend.

 

What greater work than bringing back a mentally deranged person to sanity under the guise of casting out evil spirits is there than to bring people to spiritual lucidity? Are people considered rational in the eyes of God when they cannot understand what He tells them? Does not God see the opposite in the people who claim wisdom, when they cannot understand "spiritual things?"

 

But the great majority of the people are taken in by the spectacular physical wonders. The performers themselves believe that these come from heaven, and that they are the instruments of God. The observers and the beneficiaries of the "miracles" are captives of the great deception.

 

Revelation 13:13 "And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do…"

 

The real FIRE is the Holy Spirit. But this, the deceiving fire, is the counterfeit which refers to the power of the beast. How much do the performers of these physical "miracles," in the Name of Jesus Christ, truly recognize the "One Lord and one God?" Does it not come from their very lips that "God is a mystery incapable of clear recognition?" Is not the following warning of Jesus Christ very appropriate under the circumstances?

 

Matthew 7:21 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

 

What is the focus of Christ's retort to these people? Is it not their real recognition of Him? Who is Jesus Christ to these people? That is why, according to Him, He will simply say, "I never knew you." If Jesus Christ disowns these people, in whose power do they perform miracles?

 

2 Thessalonians 2:9 "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved."

 

Why will Jesus say to them, "ye that work iniquity?" What is iniquity in the eyes of Jesus Christ? Is it the same as man's standard of iniquity?

 

Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

 

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