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The Virtue of 'Babes' In Christ

- Who are the “babes” and “adults” in the eyes of Christ?

- How many people want the virtue of “babes” so as to be endowed with divine knowledge and wisdom?

- To whom do many people want to be identified with? To the “babes” or “adults?

 

Nov 20, 2005

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The Two Witnesses to the Truth

Posted by: Administrator on April 12, 2003 2:18:13 PM (5614 Reads)

- The testimony of one witness is not sufficient to establish the truth.

- It requires another witness to substantiate the authenticity.

 

"THE TWO WITNESSES TO THE TRUTH"

 

Some verses state the testimony of two or three witnesses is required to testify to the TRUTH.

 

Numb 35:30 "Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die."

 

Deut. 17:6 "At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death."

 

Deut. 19:15 "One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established."

 

The Son Jesus and the Father as Two Witnesses:

 

John 5:31 "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true."

 

John 8:17 "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. 18I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me."

 

According to our Lord Jesus Christ, His true identity requires two witnesses: His own testimony of Himself and the testimony of the Father. Jesus testifying of Himself, said:

 

John 5:31 "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true."

 

This proves that to truly identify Jesus it needs His own testimony and that of the Father also. How many people realize this truth in identifying JESUS as demonstrated in Simon Peter?

 

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

 

The 1st witness is JESUS Himself as seen by Peter and heard Him speak. The 2nd witness is the FATHER revealing the clear identity of the Son. The people at Caesarea Philippi have seen and heard Jesus speak, but they did not recognize Him. This proves Jesus statement in John 5:31.

Matt. 16:13 "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets."

 

Jesus is the word of God (Rev. 19:13). How many people realize that to simply read the word about Jesus, that is not yet His true identification. Like the people at Caesarea Philippi, people taking the "letter of the word" have different perceptions of Jesus:

    1. Some people say, "Jesus is only a man and not God," and the derivative, "Jesus is only a minor or Mighty God for there is an Almighty God."
    2. Still others say, "Jesus is the Father and also the Holy Spirit," and the derivative, "Jesus is also the Father and the Holy Spirit is only a force of God."
    3. Many people say, "Jesus is both God and man and is the 2nd person of the Trinity."

This is a perfect demonstration of the testimony of just one (1) witness. According to Jesus Himself, this is not yet His true identity -- not the TRUTH. The physical Jesus, as 1st witness, is not enough to clearly identify Him. Thus, this warning:

 

2 Cor. 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."

 

We are all witnesses to the fulfillment of this prophecy where people have different recognition of Jesus as the people at Caesarea Philippi. For the clear identification of the physical and spiritual Christ, it needs the "testimony of the 2nd witness." This is the revelation of the Father (Holy Spirit) to Simon Peter in:

 

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

 

Here is one clue proving we have the "testimony of the "two witnesses":

 

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

 

If somebody says, "I know Jesus, but the infinite Father is incapable of clear identification with my finite mind," then his/her identification of Jesus is only the "testimony of the 1st witness." To "see" JESUS as identified by Simon Peter, read:

 

JESUS OF THE ORIGINAL APOSTLES

 

· Who is JESUS in the 1st century -- the JESUS of the Apostles? "JESUS is the TRUTH, the WAY, and the LIFE".

· With the different identities of JESUS being "peddled" today, Christianity has become a "market place" for truths and ways to eternal life.

· How and where can we find, and who can tell us the "teachings of the Apostles about Jesus?"

 

http://www.purechristianity.org/jesusof.htm

 

 

The Two Cherubim

 

The "two cherubims" guard the Ark of the Covenant:

 

Exo. 25:18 "And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold… in the two ends of the mercy seat. 19And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. 20And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. 21And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. 22And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony… "

 

The Ark of the Testimony or Ark of the Covenant:

 

Heb. 9:4 " … the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat…"

 

"Manna" was the bread from heaven given to the Israelites in the wilderness. "Aaron's rod that budded" manifested God's power on several instances. "Tables of the covenant" are the two tables of stones where the Ten Commandments are written with the finger of God (Exo. 3:18, 34:28, Deut. 4:13, 10:4). In brief, the Ark of the Covenant contains the TRUTH, thus, symbolizing the presence of God.

 

The "two cherubims" guarding the Ark of the Covenant symbolize the "two witnesses" to the TRUTH! Jesus said, "I am the truth" (John 14:6), yet declaring at the same time "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true." (John 5:31) Jesus is the Word of God (Rev. 19:13). Clearly the "letter of the word" does not yet present the truth for this is only "one witness." It requires the testimony of the "other witness" to establish the TRUTH. Jesus spoke of the Father as the "other witness" (John 5:32). Therefore, Simon Peter's true recognition of JESUS, declaring, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," should distinguish it from just anybody's similar declaration where God still remains a mystery: "flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

 

Just as the physical Jesus is not yet the revelation of the real Christ, so is the "letter of the word" that He represents is not yet the revelation of the truth in the word. The physical Jesus is only "one witness" to His real identity, just as the "letter of the word" is only "one witness" to the TRUTH. According to Jesus, the "other witness" is the Father (John 5:32). The Father promised Himself to be the inheritance in His testament (Ezek. 44:28) to the priests who are the real believers (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). At the fulfillment of the Testament, true to His promise, the Father gave Himself as inheritance to the Disciples of Christ at Pentecost -- no longer in His frightening form (Exo. 20:18-19) for He took the characteristics of a dove (Acts. 2:1-4). The Father is the Holy Spirit, now witnessing for the TRUTH aside from the "letter of the word!"

 

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

 

John 14:26 "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

 

"Whatsoever I have said unto you" refers to the "letter of the word," as one witness. "Bring all things to your remembrance" refers to the spiritual revelation of the Holy Spirit, as "other witness" on the true message of the word. The "testimony" of the Holy Spirit is actually a presentation of evidence or "demonstration" expunged from the "letter of the word." Now the following is getting clearer:

 

2 Cor. 3:16 "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."

 

The "letter" of the word or the literal meaning refers to the "testimony of the 1st witness" only. That is why it does not yet represent the truth. The "spirit" refers to the "testimony of the 2nd witness" that completes the message for the truth. Here is God's way of revealing the testimony of the 2nd witness:

 

1 Cor. 2:12 "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God… 13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

 

 

ILLUSTRATIONS FOR THE "TESTIMONY OF TWO WITNESSES"

 

Illustration 1 -- "DESTROY THIS TEMPLE"

 

Who have not heard Jesus' saying, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."? The Jews who simply relied on the "testimony of the 1st witness," or the "letter" of the word concluded:

 

John 2:20 "Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?"

 

But Christ's Disciples waited for the "testimony of the 2nd witness," and this was demonstrated at His death and resurrection:

 

John 2:21 "But he spake of the temple of his body. 22When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said."

 

 

Illustration 2 -- "YE SHALL NOT SURELY DIE"

 

God warned Adam and Eve on "eating the fruits of the Tree of knowledge of good and evil."

 

Gen. 2:16 "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

 

 

The Serpent's temptation:

 

Gen 3:4 "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die."

 

Taking the "letter of the word," the serpent or the Devil was telling the "truth!" Adam and Eve did not die "on the day they ate the forbidden fruits." Adam died when he was 930 years old (Gen. 5:5). But God could never tell a lie. It is Satan who is the LIAR who takes the word of God to the "letter."

 

1st Reference: True to what God said, Adam and Eve "died in the day" they ate the forbidden fruits. One day to God is 1,000 years to man, and Adam died 70 years short of "one day."

 

2 Pet. 3:8 "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."

 

2nd Reference: Spiritual death from the separation from the Tree of Life

 

Eve believed the serpent that she would not die (literally) "in the day;" and together with Adam ate the forbidden fruits. However, thereafter they ceased to have access to the Tree of Life and that meant "spiritual death" to them.

 

Gen. 3:22 "And the LORD God said… lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden… 24So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."

 

Have we noticed the Cherubims guarding the Tree of Life? The Tree of Life symbolizes the Holy Spirit, God, and the Truth. Now the more the Two Cherubims in Exo. 25:18-22 and Heb. 9:4-5 point to the Two Witnesses testifying to the TRUTH!

 

 

Illustration 3 -- FASTING

 

Who have not heard Jesus fasting for 40 days and 40 nights? Satan and the Natural Man (1 Cor. 2:14) simply rely on the "testimony of the 1st witness," that is the "letter" of the word / story, and see fasting as literal hunger for bread/sandwich/hamburger. Thus,

 

Matt. 4:3 "… command that these stones be made bread."

 

Jesus said in John 5:31 that the testimony of just 1 witness is not yet true. Jesus revealed the "testimony of the 2nd witness," by saying:

 

Matt. 4:4 "…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

 

Our Lord therefore emphasized the real message of His fasting to mean "hunger for TRUTH in the word." This is the "Living bread!"

 

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

 

Amos 8:11 "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it."

 

In hungering for the TRUTH as God provides it, "eating" and sharing it with thy "neighbor" is SPIRITUAL FASTING!

 

Isa. 58:6 "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free [John 8:32] and that ye break every yoke [Jer. 23:29]? 7Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry [Jer. 15:16], and that thou bring the poor [Matt. 5:3] that are cast out to thy house [Matt. 25:35]? when thou seest the naked [Matt. 25:36], that thou cover him [Isa. 61:10]…?"

 

These are the verses referred to:

 

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

 

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

 

Matt. 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

 

Matt. 25:43 "I was a stranger, and ye took me not in…"

 

Matt. 25:35 "…I was a stranger, and ye took me in."

 

Matt. 25:36 "Naked, and ye clothed me…"

 

Isa. 61:10 "…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…"

 

Jer. 23:29 "Is not my word like …a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?"

 

To follow man's understanding of fasting of not taking literal food, what spiritual benefit would that give? For the person to have something to boast about and exalt with? Did not our Lord say He does not need sacrifices?

 

Matt. 12:7 "But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice…"

 

 

Illustration 4 -- The power of FAITH AS BIG AS A MUSTARD SEED

 

Zacchaeus and the sycamore tree:

 

Luke 17:6 "And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you."

 

What message does the "letter" as 1st witness give? The need for the 2nd witness cannot be overemphasized. The sycamine or sycamore tree symbolizes man as in "By their fruits ye shall know them." (Matt. 7:15-20) In the following, the sycamore tree gives a great message:

 

Luke 19:4 "And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house."

 

The "1st witness" is just the story. The "2nd witness' testimony" gives meaning to the story. Thus, if the sycamore tree symbolizes man, Zacchaeus is on "top of man to see" or recognize Jesus. Jesus told him to come down from the tree, or not to depend on man. The sycamore tree may either refer to another man or to Zacchaeus own personal capability "to see" or recognize Jesus. Jesus coming to Zacchaeus' "house" refers to the truth coming to his life.

 

Since faith is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8), and a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), this is acquired by a person only after being "converted into a little child." Humility is the antidote to pride, which is the cause of the downfall of Lucifer and Eve. Faith as big as a "mustard seed" therefore is not something to boast about to other people for it is only visible to God.

 

The sycamore tree planted in the sea:

 

Literally, a "sycamine tree plucked up by the root, and planted in the sea" is but the testimony of the 1st witness. The 2nd witness testifies to the spiritual message. A person having faith that only God can see have himself "planted in the sea" where sea symbolizes the way of the Lord:

 

Psa. 77:19 "Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known."

 

We have seen this "power of faith" in Christ's Apostles and Disciples! For having faith as big as mustard seeds, they have planted themselves on the "way of the Lord, and followed His footsteps."

 

A fig tree without fruits:

 

Here is another illustration of the "power of faith".

 

Matt. 21:18 "Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 20And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!"

 

To simply rely on the "letter" as one witness, "Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered," Jesus was hungry as in His fasting. Wanting to have something to eat and finding the fig tree full of leaves without fruits, His curse made it withered away. A fig tree symbolizes man:

 

Judges 9:10 "And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us. 11But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees?"

 

Here a fig tree symbolizes a real believer, its roots for TRUTH (Isa. 11:1), the leaves for FAITH, and the fruits for WORKS. Now Jesus reveals the significance of the curse. Is it enough to know the truth and having faith? For "faith" to be complete, it needs "works." "Works" refer to the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) that our Lord wanted "to eat." With this great revelation of the testimony of the TWO WITNESSES, the real message of the following is put to light:

 

James 2:17 "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."

 

Commanding a mountain to go to the sea:

 

Matt. 21:21 "Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done."

 

Relying on human understanding, this parable of the power of faith as big as a mustard seed will lead to God's power of solving problems in life be they financial, emotional, or physical maladies. But as it is written, it is our Lord who should explain everything He says that are in parables:

 

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

 

Mountain symbolizes man in Judges 9:36. Hills symbolize lambs in Psa. 114:4. Truly so, by the power of faith, the chosen of God can command themselves to be "cast into the sea," where "sea" stands for "The way of the Lord, and His path and footsteps are not known." We have seen this in Paul, Peter, John, and the other Apostles.

 

The truth about FAITH:

 

1. Faith is a gift of God:

Eph. 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. "

 

2. Faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit:

Gal. 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith."

 

3. Faith is proportional to spiritual humility

Matt. 11:25 "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."

 

2 Tim. 3:15 "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

 

4.Since FAITH comes from God, it is not to be sported as to boast about it. So it is SMALL as a MUSTARD SEED that only God could see. It is however round and solid indicating authenticity and genuineness. Thus, the POWER that goes with it, MOVING A MOUNTAIN to the SEA.

5. MOUNTAIN to God has its distinct meaning apart from the literal-physical as perceived by the Natural Man (1 Cor. 2:14).

Judges 9:36 "...Thou seest the shadow of the mountains as if they were men."

 

Psa. 114:4 "The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs."

 

6. By virtue of TRUE SPIRITUAL HUMILITY, Peter, Paul, James and the other Apostles must have been gifted with FAITH as big as MUSTARD SEEDS. Therefore, they had the power to move MOUNTAINS that refer to THEMSELVES.

 

7. Again, God's words are beyond the realm of human perception without His explanation of them. If SEA to the Natural Man (1 Cor. 2:14) refers to a large body of water, SEA to God is something else.

 

Psa. 77:19 "Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known."

 

8. Truly so, Paul, Peter, James and the other Apostles were "moved to the sea" by the power of faith, and God was greatly glorified. But all these things are foolishness to the Natural Man.

 

1 Cor. 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. "

 

Is not the foregoing a clear demonstration of how the "two witnesses," referring to the "letter of the word" and the "revelation of the Holy Spirit" on the word benefit the SOUL instead of the BODY?

 

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."

 

God's explanation of His words are "representation or demonstration" revealed from the very word.

 

 

Illustration 5 - Hating relatives to be worthy as a Disciple

 

Luke 14:26 "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

 

To simply rely on the "1st witness," that is the letter of the word, Jesus said this is not yet the truth (John 5:31). How could it be when it directly contravenes the law on love! The need for the "testimony of the 2nd witness" is amply demonstrated. The 2nd witness is the revelation of God through His very words. Thus,

 

Deut. 13:6 "If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul…"

 

How far is the SOUL to refer to relatives using human wisdom! But this explains the meaning of hating, "father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters. " In like manner, to take SOUL literally, how could it be hated when this is to value it being the component that God wants to save? But SOUL refers to its attributes of the INTELLECT and FEELING that God forbids to be used in spiritual matters:

 

1 Cor. 3:18 "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness."

 

Jer. 17:9 " The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

 

"Soulishness" therefore is what is meant by, "hating father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters and own life." And this is what Paul intended when he said:

 

1 Cor. 15:31 "…I die daily."

 

Rom. 6:6 "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."

 

 

Illustration 6 - Jesus' invitation, "Take my yoke"

 

Matt. 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

 

Before this is what we believed. The Natural Man's (1 Cor. 2:14) familiar understanding and heard from preachers is, the heavy burden and yoke refer to financial, emotional, and physical maladies that a person carries, and now wanting to be alleviated. That attracts many people that preachers call "gospel of Jesus Christ." Now this is God's revelation from His words:

 

Since the Word is Jesus Christ (Rev. 19:13), therefore the "letter" corresponds to the "physical Jesus." Before, we were attracted to the "physical Jesus" as we were with the "letter of the word." But Jesus Himself said:

 

John 5:31 "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true."

 

Hence, to know the "real spiritual Jesus" it needs "another witness," according to Him. In like manner to know the REAL message of the Word it needs, "aside from the letter," the revelation of the Father/Holy Spirit on the Word.

 

John 5:32 "There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true."

 

John 8:17 "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. 18I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me."

 

From the words of our Lord therefore, the "letter of the word" that is expressed in parables (Ezek. 20:49, Psa. 78:2) needs "another witness" to reveal the TRUTH; just as it needs the "testimony/revelation of the Father" for Simon Peter to recognize the REAL CHRIST:

 

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

 

So let our Lord guide us with the revelation of His words to get the true message (Mark 4:34). First, since our Lord Jesus showed the Way (John 14:6) by example (1 Pet. 2:21) as model (Rom. 8:29), He must have realized the difficulty of carrying this "heavy burden" when He saw the "cross" before Him! Is not "yoke" a thing carried on the shoulder, as the "cross?"

 

Matt. 26:36 "Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and …began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."

 

After humbling Himself before the Father, He carried the CROSS (yoke) which, to the soldiers was too heavy that they called Simon of Cyrene help Him carry it (Matt. 27:32). In truth however, His "burden is light," as He admonished the women who were following Him. Full of compassion they cried, but Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children." (Matt. 23:28). The heavy CROSS was light to our Lord and He demonstrated it! Who could believe this, but it is true. Thus Christ's invitation:

 

Luke 14:27 "And whosoever doth not bear his CROSS, and come after me, cannot be my disciple."

 

Could the CROSS/yoke refer to "financial, emotional, and physical maladies that a person carries?" God is speaking spiritual things. Now that "yoke" refers to the TRUTH of salvation, how many people want to "carry this heavy burden?" And can we carry it ourselves, with our own human understanding and capability?

 

[To many whose eyes have not been opened, the "heavy TRUTH" is the TESTAMENT of salvation (Gen. 17:7) made by the "one God the Father" (1 Cor. 8:6a) that requires the death of the maker (Heb. 9:16). To "carry" this TRUTH, the "Father God" manifested Himself in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16 KJV only). If Phil. 2:5-8 is "easy to carry" as many people profess, then our Lord need not have offered this invitation. But only "few" realize the "heavy burden of Gen. 17:7 (Testament of the Father) to be fulfilled in His flesh, and at same time showing the example as model (Rom. 8:29). Unknown to many, this "heavy yoke" is the very foundation of LOVE! To KNOW "The Lord our God is one Lord" (Mark 12:29) comes before LOVING Him (Mark 12:30). But the "adults whose eyes are close" presume all these are easy. Learning from our Lord to be "meek and lowly in heart" as "babes," He endows us with divine knowledge and wisdom."]

 

Matt. 11:25 "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."

 

We have accepted the invitation of our Lord and now attesting that, indeed, "the yoke is easy and the burden light" with His guide and help. Who can claim the benefit from the following?

 

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

 

Further proving that the meaning we get for "yoke" is the TRUTH is how Paul spoke of it:

 

Phil. 4:3 "And I entreat thee also, true YOKEFELLOW, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel…whose names are in the book of life."

 

2 Cor. 6:14 "Be ye not unequally YOKED together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? …"

 

"Some people who are aspiring for eternal life on realizing the "heavy TRUTH" just ignore it. This exposes their lack of TRUST in the Lord (1 John 2:27, James 1:5-8). Let us realize that nobody can carry this heavy burden of TRUTH through man's own "LABOUR" or capability:

 

1 Cor. 3:18 "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise."

 

1 Cor. 1:19 "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God…"

 

Clearly recognizing JESUS and God is but one example of this "heavy burden." How about the "will of God" or the great message of His words that God alone can decipher? Can we truly LOVE GOD without Him explaining His words and DEMONSTRATING how to follow them? Can we follow His will without Him GUIDING and GIVING us STRENGTH? Our only role is to humble ourselves like "little children!" (Matt. 18:3) and to be "lowly in heart and meek" as our Lord Jesus conducted Himself before the Father. This is the demonstration He showed for the chosen to follow.

 

Jesus carried His cross, nailed, and died on it. As we carry the TRUTH, we have to be "nailed and crucified" as Jesus was:

 

Gal. 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

 

If Jesus died literally on the cross, we have to "die daily" (1 Cor. 15:31) that the "old man" in us would die with Him:

 

Rom. 6:6 "Knowing this, that our OLD MAN is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."

 

Christ's Apostles realized the impossibility of attaining eternal life:

 

Luke 18:27 "And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? 27And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. 28Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. 29And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, 30Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting."

 

Luke 14:26 -- Jesus went further, saying, "If any man come to me, and HATE not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. "

 

Again, for the Natural Man to understand the "letter of the word" "leaving and hating parents, brethren, wife, children" is really impossible! But God explains this to mean:

 

Deut. 13:6 "If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own SOUL…"

 

To take the "letter of the word" is full of contradictions. But God explains what is to be left and hated is the "SOUL." Again, not the literal soul, but its attributes of "intellectualism (1 Cor. 3:18) and emotionalism (Jer. 17:9)" in spiritual matters where God condemns all these.

 

1 Cor. 3:18 "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise."

 

Jer. 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

 

Now this testimony is heard from the chosen few, "Truly, we have found rest unto our SOULS as promised!

 

 

Illustration 7 -- Trees looking for a king

 

JUDGES 9:8 “The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. 9But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? 10And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us. 11But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? 12Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. 13And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? 14Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. 15And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow…”

 

Has anybody ventured to explain the parable? This proves that the "letter" as 1st witness really cannot testify to the truth, or cannot give the great message of the word. If it needed our Lord explain the word to His Apostles, this truth has not passed away in our time:

 

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

 

The Pastoral System is depicted in the parable about trees looking for a king. Here is the proof that no man can explain the parable of God but Him alone through His words. Man’s effort, time, energy, capability and everything in him is not sufficient to comprehend God’s words without Him revealing the great message. In our case, we simply ask God, and putting our trust in Him, we wait for His explanation. We ask Him, "LORD, TO US AN OLIVE TREE BELONGS TO THE PLANT KINGDOM THAT PRODUCES OIL. TO TAKE YOUR WORD LITERALLY, IT IS FOOLISHNESS FOR THIS TREE TO BE OFFERED THIS POSITION AS KING. WE KNOW YOU ARE SPEAKING A LANGUAGE DIFFERENT FROM OURS. WHAT IS AN OLIVE TREE TO YOU?" As if God is saying, "How do you perceive an olive tree in the following?

 

Olive Tree Refuses to be king (not political but religious leadership). Here is the "testimony of the 2nd witness" or God's revelation about the OLIVE TREE:

 

PSALMS 52:8 "But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever."

 

Does not the "olive tree" refer to a chosen of God who says he/she is in His "household" (Eph. 2:19)? As if God is saying, "Have you noticed that the olive tree is in My house? He must therefore be My chosen. Could My chosen, knowing My will, accept the position of "kingship" among his fellowmen? Remember TREES symbolize people. Certainly, no one among them would accept the position! That is where you find the olive tree refusing the position of “king,” or RULER, or CHIEF, or HEAD, or LEADER, or GUIDE, or DIRECTOR, or TEACHER, or RABBI, or MASTER, or SHEPHERD, or PASTOR who would take My place and appropriate for him the honor and glory that only belong to Me. Not only in the Old Testament books where you find olive trees symbolizing My chosen."

 

ROMANS 11:17 "And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree."

 

"Now you know when I am talking of wild OLIVE TREES, I am referring to the Gentiles who believe in Me and, thus, becoming My chosen too."

 

GALATIANS 3:29 "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

 

"No one among My chosen who has the truth will ever accept the position of ‘king among the trees!’ Thus, the refusal of the olive tree ‘who’ said, ‘Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?”

 

"By this time, you must have known that ‘fatness of the olive tree’ refers to spiritual oil or the Holy Spirit! Were not My chosen anointed with ‘oil’ or Holy Spirit? In what way does ‘fatness or oil in the olive tree honor God and man? You must have been familiar with the fruit(s) of the Holy Spirit that renders honor both to Me and to men:

 

GALATIANS 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..."

 

 

Fig Tree refuses to be king

 

After the olive tree, the trees went to the fig tree and offered the position. The fig tree replied:

 

JUDGES 9:11 "But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees?"

 

In like manner, we ask God what He meant by the fig tree refusing to be king (not political but religious leadership) among the trees. "LORD, TO US A FIG TREE IS A LITERAL TREE THAT PRODUCES SWEET FRUITS. WE ARE NOW WAITING FOR YOUR EXPLANATION OF THE PARABLE." As if God is saying, "Look for yourself if the fig tree in the following refers to a literal tree."

 

HOSEA 9:10 "...I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time..."

 

God referred to His chosen as fig tree. As if God is saying, "The fig tree, like the olive tree, rejected the position. Will My chosen, symbolized here by the fig tree, forsake their sweetness and their good fruit in exchange for the position of ‘king?’ My chosen have the sweetness of My words for their satisfaction and joy."

 

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

 

PSALMS 56:10 “In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.”

 

"Can contentment from the sweetness of My words be traded for the glory of the position as "king"? Whose exclusive possession does honor and glory belong anyway? Do you not know that Lucifer tried to grab that from Me? Don’t ever confuse honor and glory in spiritual matters from honor and glory in political, social, economic, scientific, and other matters. Honor and glory in spiritual matters solely belong to Me! That is why I never allow anyone appropriating the titles: Father and Rabbi [or Teacher or lord or Head or Chief or Leader or Pastor or Master or Shepherd] or any title that distinguishes one from the rest. Remember, to Me My chosen are all ‘brethren.’ Whoever among them whom I endowed with knowledge, and speak for Me, does not go with it the honor and glory. Has any among My Apostles ever appropriated these honorific titles? Did they grab the honor that solely belongs to Me? To My Disciples, Peter, John, and James were looked up as “pillars of the Church.” But to me they are all equal.

 

Gal. 2:9 “And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship...”

 

As a matter of fact, to show their wrong impression on these Apostles I showed them how weak they were as with all of them. Did I not rebuke Peter several times for his spiritual blunder?

 

Matt. 16:23 “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”

 

Did I not rebuke John and James for looking at themselves above the rest, and this even became an offense to their brethren?

 

Mark 10:35 “And James and John…come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. 36And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? 37They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. 38But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask…41And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.”

 

All these are found in the PASTORAL SYSTEM where some people feel above the rest, and the members exalt them. Ever since, God has been warning His people to this erroneous practice. But because of spiritual blindness, the religious people during the time of Christ practiced the system. That is when we find Jesus Christ rebuking their leaders:

 

Matt. 23:2 “Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat…5But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 8But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

 

 

The Vine refuses to be king

 

JUDGES 9:12-13 "Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. And the vine said unto them, should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?"

 

To the Natural Man, a vine simply refers to a literal shrub that produces grapes, from which wine is made after fermentation. We know, however, that God is speaking His SPIRITUAL LANGUAGE. It is only He Who can explain everything about His words. Let us ask Him, "LORD, WHAT IS A VINE TO YOU?" As if God is saying, "Whom do you think I am referring to the vine in the following?"

 

PSALMS 80:8 "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it."

 

"You know that I am referring to My chosen people. Truly so, My chosen people will never accept the position of ‘king.’ In refusing the position, the VINE told the trees:"

 

JUDGES 9:13 "And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?"

 

"Do you know what the vine meant by, ‘the wine which cheereth Me and man?’ When My disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they were mistaken to have taken on new wine.”

 

ACTS 2:13-15 "Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea… be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose…"

 

"The vine could not have given up the WINE or the HOLY SPIRIT for the hollow honor attached to the position of ‘king.’ The ‘wine’ cheereth Me and men. The vine is referring to the fruit(s) in union with the Holy Spirit that delight Me and their fellowmen:"

 

GALATIANS 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..."

 

With God’s explanation of His words, we have seen how the OLIVE, VINE, AND FIG TREES, all symbolizing His chosen people, refused to be "king." Only God is the King, the “Guide, Teacher, Leader, Pastor, and Shepherd.” God’s chosen people with the knowledge endowed to some of them to speak for Him do not take the honor, the respect, the eminence, and distinction that only belong to Him.

 

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

 

 

The Bramble accepted the position of king!

 

JUDGES 9:14-15 "Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow..."

 

To us, the bramble is a literal shrub that does not produce edible fruits. It is more nuisance underbrush among trees that is thrown into the fire. From the foregoing symbolism for the former trees, it is quite easy to know who are alluded to as the BRAMBLE.

 

LUKE 6:43-44 "For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes."

 

Matt. 7:19 “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ was referring to the religious leaders during His time when He spoke of the foregoing parable. How clear is the account of the birth of the Pastoral System.

 

Peter was the initiator in appointing Matthias as a fellow apostle (Acts 1:16-26). This happened before Pentecost when the eleven apostles and the other disciples had not yet received the Holy Spirit. Our Lord, of course, rejected the act for only He is authorized to appoint apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.

 

EPHESIANS 4:11 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;"

 

This blunder of the apostles was confirmed when our Lord Jesus Christ, in His Holy Spirit manifestation, appointed Saul of Tarsus, known as Paul, as the legitimate replacement for Judas Iscariot.

 

Rom. 1:1 “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.”

 

GALATIANS 1:11-12 "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."

 

Paul never considered himself leader or head as to be above among the disciples:

 

1 CORINTHIANS 2:3-5 "And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

 

Where now are the vaunted leadership, authority, control, and hold of the religious leaders over the laity? It is understandable why the OLIVE, VINE, and FIG trees refused the position of "king" offered by the trees. “Kingship” is Nicolaitanism that Jesus Christ hates:

 

Rev. 2:6 “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.”

 

Rev. 2:15 “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.”

 

Nicolaitanism is idolatry for the SOUL. The word NICOLAITANS comes from the ME., Ofr. NICOLAS; L. NICOLAUS; Gr. NIKOLAOS <nike, victory + laos, the people. Thus, victory over the people. (College Edition – Webster’s New World of the English Language)

 

Unwittingly, religious leaders enjoy “victory” over the people in religious matters. With the kind of organizational set-up in religious sects, the leaders cannot help but occupy a position of esteem over the laity, the people. The practice sets a favorable atmosphere for idolizing the leaders of the organization, which the subjects equally enjoy. Unknowingly, both the subject and the object become victims of the sin of idolatry of even higher order. This time, people are the objects of idolatrous worship. God condemned Lucifer, the first to rob Him of this honor and glory.

 

Peter, the apostle, believed to head the church founded by Christ and whose position the leaders of religious sects imagine to assume, warns of the malpractice, which in essence is Nicolaitanism:

 

1 Peter 5:3 “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.”

 

The spiritual Church representing CHRISTIANITY in the 1st century should not be confused with the religious sects that make up CHRISTIANITY TODAY. Jesus Christ gave this revelation in:

 

Rev. 17:5 “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

 

Christianity today evolved over many centuries. The biggest religious sect started it and many denominations follow some of her unscriptural doctrines that God calls “abominations of the earth.”

 

During the time Christ, the line is drawn distinguishing the DISCIPLES OF CHRIST from the RELIGIOUS PEOPLE. It is the BRAMBLE that accepted the position of “king.” Our Lord saw this in the religious leaders, the Scribes and Pharisees, whom the people trusted and looked up (Matt. 23:11). This is the condition imposed by the BRAMBLE in accepting the position of “king:” "If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow." Very clearly this is the kind of trust for the “truth” that we find people have on their religious leaders in every denomination.

 

 

Corruption of the leaders

 

The warning of God to His people who wanted to have a “king” remained unheeded.

 

1 SAMUEL 8:15 "And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants."

 

1 SAMUEL 8:17 "He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants."

 

1 SAMUEL 8:19-20 "Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us..."

 

To the people who have discerned the great message of the parable of the trees, the longing for a “king” of the people to whom the word of God is entrusted, no doubt, refers to the literal application of Tithes. This is Christianity Today exactly the same as our Lord found the Jews purportedly following the Law, but in His eyes was just “religious tradition” (Mark 7:13).

 

The literal application of the law on Tithes is the fuel that runs the engine of the Pastoral System. How many people see that Jesus Christ and His disciples did not follow the law on Tithes literally but spiritually? Yet, Jesus Christ insisted that He did not come to destroy the law. How did Jesus preach the law on Tithes? How many people believing in the Bible see how our Lord followed the law on Tithes? Certainly, it was not literal-physical, but spiritual. Christ stated this emphatically:

 

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."

 

And Paul by divine revelation got the message and wrote:

 

ROMANS 7:14 "For we know that the law is spiritual..."

 

Who quickens or gives life to the word but God (2nd witness), and not man with human perception and judgment?

 

1 CORINTHIANS 2:10-13 "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

 

Jesus Christ, showing the Way, and later followed by the Apostles, never applied the law on Tithes literally-physically. Jesus Christ worked with His hands as a carpenter to earn His living and preached only during Saturdays as the Jews respect the Sabbath:

 

Mark 6:3 "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary...?

 

Paul worked with his hands as a tent-maker (Acts 18:3), and like Jesus Christ only shared the truth on the Sabbath:

 

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

 

True to the warning of God, the "king" or the religious leaders abuse their position. They consider preaching the word of God as a profession. Many of them live in affluence from the toil of the people. Paul the leading apostle said: "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1). Like Jesus Christ, never did Paul collect Tithes from the laity. Rather, he exhorted everybody to work and to live from the fruits of one’s labor.

 

2 THESSALONIANS 3:7-10 "For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us...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...to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."

 

 

"And the Word was God"

 

The "testimony of the two witnesses" for the TRUTH has no end, neither has a beginning. Who can accept the testimony of the "letter" to be true when it is full of contradictions?

 

Example 1 -- "Hate parents, children…"

 

Luke 14:26 "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

 

How could the "letter" be followed without contradicting the decree on love? But the "other witness testifies" that "parents, children…" is not literal but referring to the soul in:

 

Deut. 13:6 " If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul…"

 

Again it is not "literal" hatred for the soul for that is what God will "harvest" in us, but its attributes (feeling and intellect) that lead a person to eternal damnation:

 

Jer. 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

 

1 Cor. 3:18 "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise."

 

Col. 2:8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

 

Example 2 -- How could faithfulness to the spouse not sufficient fulfillment of the commandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery?" The "letter" is only "one witness" to the truth. Following the commandment to the "letter" only "cleanses the outside of the cup."

 

Matt. 23:26 "Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also."

 

Our Lord requires "cleanliness in the inside" at the same time. Who can expound on this but God alone through His words? God is speaking in parables. Here is His word on marriage, the 2nd witness:

 

Jer. 13:14 "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you…"

 

Isa. 54:5 "For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts…"

 

God is the spiritual "husband" and His chosen are the spiritual "wife," with no distinction to gender.

 

Gal. 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek…there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

 

The "letter" serves as the "1st witness" to the truth. According to our Lord in John 5:31, the testimony of only one witness is not yet complete. The 2nd witness for the sin of adultery therefore is the foregoing revelation of God on spiritual marriage. As spiritual "husband," God implants His "seeds" unto the "wife" to bear "children." His "seeds" is the TRUTH in the word (Luke 8:11). The spiritual "children" is the "fruit of the Spirit."

 

Gal. 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance…"

 

Satan is the "other spiritual male" who strives to implant his "seeds" unto the "wife of God." The "seeds of Satan" are the deception and falsehood in the word, through philosophy and human wisdom.

 

Col. 2:8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

 

1 Cor. 1:19 "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God…"

 

Christ saw this in the Scribes and Pharisees who were limited to the "letter" of the law. Counterfeit fruits of "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance" thereupon results from spiritual adultery. Counterfeit fruits are the products of self-discipline, mind conditioning, personal capability (John 15:5), and emotionalism (Jer. 17:9). The criterion for exposing the false prophets and apostles is the kind of fruits or "children" resulting from the kind of "seeds."

 

Matt. 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16Ye shall know them by their fruits."

 

Real "fruits" are the product of the TRUTH in the word testified by "two witnesses." Counterfeit fruits are the product of only "one witness" born out of the "letter" of the word.

 

2 Cor. 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."

 

For more examples of the testimony of "two witnesses," read the article:

 

CLEANLINESS ON THE "OUTSIDE AND INSIDE"

 

· Who can distinguish SPIRITUAL CONVICTION from CONSCIENCE?

· How does our Lord explain INSIDE in rebuking the Scribes and Pharisees for cleaning only the OUTSIDE?

http://www.purechristianity.org/cleanlin.htm

 

 

Illustration 8 -- Washing of feet

 

John 13:4 "He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. 6Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 7Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. 8Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. 9Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. 10Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean..."

 

What does the Natural Man get from this act of our Lord, and now being replicated in churches as ritual, but humility! That is the "testimony of the 1st witness" only. The "testimony of the 2nd witness" is revealed in the following as directed:

 

1 Cor. 2:13 "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

 

Does not "water" symbolize the "word of God" in Eph. 5:26, and also the Holy Spirit in John 7:39?

 

Eph. 5:26 "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word."

 

John 7:3 "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.)"

 

Are not the "feet" the parts that have "direct contact with dust?" Does not "dust" symbolize man (Gen. 18:27)? Are not "worldliness" [Gal. 5:19-21] and "soulishness" (intellectualism [1 Cor. 1:19-21, 1 Cor. 3:18, Col. 2:8] and emotionalism [Jer. 17:9] ) the principal spiritual enemies of man [Rom. 7:15-24]? Here are the verses:

 

Gen. 18:27 "And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes."

 

Gal. 5:19 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

 

1 Cor. 1:19 "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God…"

 

1 Cor. 3:18 "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness."

 

Col. 2:8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

 

Jer. 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

 

Rom. 7:15 "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."

 

From the "testimony of the 2nd witness" can we now clearly understand what our Lord meant when He told His Disciples to "shake off the very dust from the feet when somebody refuses to hear the truth."

 

Mark 6:11 "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."

 

 

Illustration 9 -- Christmas and the birth of our Lord

 

Could there be any other event in the history of mankind where "people would be exchanging gifts one to another?" Who can explain the real significance of this event but the "testimony of the two witnesses?" For details read the article:

 

 

CHRISTMAS AND THE DEATH OF THE TWO WITNESSES

http://www.purechristianity.org/christmas_and_the_two_witnesses.htm

 

 

SYMBOLISMS FOR THE "TWO WITNESSES"

 

Two Cherubim

 

Numbers 7:89 "And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him."

 

Two turtle doves and two young pigeons

 

Num. 6:10 "And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation."

 

Luke 2:24 "And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."

 

Two branches

 

Exo. 37:19 "…fashion of almonds in one branch, a knop and a flower; …like almonds in another branch, a knop and a flower: so throughout the six branches going out of the candlestick."

 

Jer. 23:5 "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. "

 

Zech. 6:12 "…Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:"

 

Two olive trees

 

Psa. 52:8 "But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God…"

 

Zech. 4:3 "And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 6Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."

 

Two candlesticks

 

Rev. 11:3 "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth."

 

Two prophets

 

Rev. 11:10 "And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth."

 

Corn and oil / wine and corn

 

Deut. 14:23 "And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always."

 

Wheat and oil / wine and wheat

 

Numb 18:11 "…I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it. 12All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee."

 

Bread and wine / Body and blood

 

Matt 26:26 " And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28For this is my blood of the new testament…"

 

Flesh and blood

 

John 6:53 "… 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. 54Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him."

 

Old and New Testament

 

The Old Testament deals with Laws, or the "letter of the word." This therefore refers to the "testimony of the "1st witness" only. That is why God said in:

 

Jer. 31:31 "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel… 32Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt…33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

 

Heb. 7:22 "By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament." [Indicating the testimony of the "2nd witness]

 

Heb. 9:5 "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament [2nd witness -- revelation of Holy Spirit], that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament [1st witness -- letter of word], they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. 18Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. 19For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book [representing the "letter" of the word], and all the people, 20Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. 21Moreover he sprinkled with blood [foreshadow of the death of Christ -- as 2nd witness] both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. 22And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."

 

It is in this 2nd covenant that the "letters of the word" are supplemented with "spiritual message." This was revealed to Paul in:

 

Rom. 7:14 "For we know that the law is spiritual…"

 

And to emphasize the inadequacy of the "letter," God further revealed to Paul in:

 

Col. 2:14 "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross."

 

Does not the "2nd witness refer to the Holy Spirit" who reveals the great message of the "letter" of the word, now corresponding to the New Testament? The Old Testament deals only with the "letter of the word" as "1st witness." The New Testament by virtue of the availability of the INHERITANCE, the HOLY SPIRIT, now represents the "2nd witness" and both "witnesses" testify to the TRUTH! Jesus' statement in the following finds relevance:

 

Matt. 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."

 

Matt. 5:18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

 

The Old Testament saints were saved by the offering of blood of animals, a foreshadow of the death of Christ on the cross.

 

Heb. 11:13 "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them…"

 

For details, read:

 

OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT

· How does God through His words distinguish the Old and New Testaments from man’s concept on the two covenants?

· What is God’ explanation through His words of faith and works compared to man’s point of view?

· How does God explain, “The just shall live by faith.”

http://www.purechristianity.org/old_and_new_testament.htm

 

 

Physical Jesus and the Father

 

The PHYSICAL Jesus represents the "letter," so is His personal testimony of Himself which according to Him is not yet the truth. It needs the "testimony of the Father" to reveal the TRUTH!

 

John 8:17 "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. 18I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me."

 

Physical Jesus and the Holy Spirit

 

The PHYSICAL Jesus representing the "letter" further needs the "testimony of the Holy Spirit" to reveal the TRUTH! By divine revelation, the Holy Spirit is the Father with the characteristics of a dove.

 

John 5:31 Jesus said, "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true."

 

John 5:32 "There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true."

 

After the death of Jesus on the cross that fulfills the Testament for salvation, the Holy Spirit was made available to the real believers. Jesus' death on the cross further revealed the identity of the SPIRITUAL Christ with His promise in:

 

Matt. 28:20 "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

 

Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17)!

 

 

TWO CHERUBIMS AT THE MERCY SEAT

 

Exodus 25:18 "And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold… in the two ends of the mercy seat. 19And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. 20And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. 21And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. 22And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment..."

 

The "two cherubim" that are indubitably positioned in the "ARK of God" indicate that no other person or entity could ever testify to the TRUTH. There is no end to the testimonies of these "two witnesses" that John was made to write:

 

John 21:25 "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen."

 

www.purechristianity.org