John 12:24 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
It was prophesied that Jesus Christ would speak in parables:
Psa. 78:2 "I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:"
Truly so, this was fulfilled but perhaps many people have not realized it:
Mark 4:34 "But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples."
And likely, many people have the notion that Jesus spoke in parables in order for His listeners to understand what He was saying. On the contrary, it is the opposite:
Matt. 13:10 "And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."
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: 12That 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."
While it is very easy to understand the parables and their explanation to the "letter," it is God alone through His words that should explain the great heavenly or "spiritual" message.
John 3:12 "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?"
Jesus spoke of this parable of the "wheat of corn" when Philip and Andrew came to see Him:
John 12:22 "Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
FIRST REFERENCE -- JESUS CHRIST AS THE "SEED"
Very clearly Jesus was comparing Himself to a "corn of wheat." The "corn of wheat" is alive, as Jesus is alive. Jesus had to die in order to "bring forth much fruit" referring to the people who would be saved with His supreme sacrifice of dying on the cross.
For the "corn of wheat" to "fall to the ground" needs spiritual elucidation. Here "ground" symbolizes man and his mortality in:
Gen. 3:19 "…till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
The notion of Jesus' redeeming mankind of their sins is too general. Tracing it, we find God talking to Abraham in the following:
Gen. 17:7 "And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee."
A "covenant" is a promise or TESTAMENT. The promise was not only intended to Abraham but to his offspring as well. Thus, they are God's chosen people! To take the word of God to the "letter," all other nationalities other than the offspring of Abraham, Israelites or the Jews, are excluded from the "covenant." However, God is speaking in parables that people who are not the seeds of Abraham are included, and those literal offspring may even be excluded:
Gal. 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise."
The requisite for the fulfillment of the TESTAMENT is the death of the maker or testator:
Heb. 9:16 "For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator."
The maker of the testament or testator was the Spirit Father God. The covenant has to be fulfilled by His DEATH! This is possible only if "God would manifest Himself in the flesh." Thus,
1 Tim. 3:16 KJV ONLY "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: Godwas manifest in the flesh…"
The Spirit Father God fulfilling His testament is confirmed in:
1 John 3:16 KJV ONLY "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us…"
Therefore one reference to the "corn of wheat" is revealed! By going backward we find the following.
Literally, wheat is made into physical bread. Spiritually, the word of God is the "bread of life."
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…"
God is the Word, and Jesus is the word of God.
John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
Rev. 19:13 "And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God."
Can the speaker be separated from the spoken word and vice versa? Can God be separated from His word? Very clearly Jesus is the Spirit Father God in the flesh!
1 Tim. 3:16 KJV "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…"
Thus, the great message "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground" is brought to light! If "ground symbolizes MAN," who is Jesus before "falling to the ground?" Definitely Jesus, the man (1 Tim. 2:5), is referring to the FATHER!
Therefore the Father God is the "corn of wheat," and "falling to the ground" means taking the form of a MAN. Just as the seed after falling to the ground dies, so God in manifesting Himself in the flesh dies on the cross:
1 John 3:16 KJV "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us…"
"If it die, it bringeth forth much fruit"
The death of Christ on the cross fulfills the testament of salvation, where the "poor in spirit" (Matt. 5:3) receive the INHERITANCE. The inheritance is God Himself:
Psa. 16:5 "The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot."
God with the characteristics of a dove (HOLY SPIRIT) was received by the Disciples and the "poor in spirit" all the time:
Acts 2:1 "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost…"
The "seed that has fallen to the ground and died" results in the following:
1. Reveals the truth to the "poor in spirit:"
1 John 2:27 "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie…"
2. Guides the "poor in spirit" and strengthens them:
John 16:13 "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…"
God's plan of salvation is brought to light. God in the flesh on His death brings forth more "children of God."
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
SECOND REFERENCE --THE WORD OF GOD AS THE "SEED"
Luke 8:11 "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God."
God has this to say on the WORD in its literal form:
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."
God gave His laws and requires the people follow them to the letter.
Exo. 16:28 "And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?" (Many verses)
Strict compliance is required!
James 2:10 "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
Of course God does not expect anyone to succeed following the law. His purpose is for all people to realize their incapability and incompetence to follow them.
Rom. 3:20 "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
Gal. 3:10 "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."
This should impel the people to humble themselves and ask for God's mercy: It is in humbling oneself that God endows FAITH!
Eph. 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."
This is where the "curse of the law" is made manifest:
Gal. 3:11 "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law..."
"Unseen" by many and thinking that it is only upon the death of Christ that this truth could operate, Old Testament saints were redeemed with the "blood of Christ" symbolized by the offering of lamb, goat, ox, etc. This is revealed in Hebrew 11 where the "poor in spirit" were saved by faith.
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."
Here, the "seed" is the "letter" of the word that must "die." As the PHYSICAL Jesus died and in His resurrection acquired a different form, so is the "letter" of the word taking a new "spiritual" form. Example, this very subject of "seed falling to the ground and die."
We find God's chosen were saved by FAITH, not by following the "letter" but the "spirit" in the word. True FAITH from God is followed WORKS, the kind following the "will of God." Example, Abraham's faith is followed by his willingness to follow God's command of offering Isaac. Here are the "poor in spirit" in the Old Testament:
Heb. 11:1 "1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2For by it the elders obtained a good report. 4By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain... 5By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death… 6But without faith it is impossible to please him…7By faith Noah…8By faith Abraham…11Through faith also Sarah herself received strength… 13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off…20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come…22By faith Joseph…23By faith Moses…31By faith the harlot Rahab…32And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33Who through faith …"
With FAITH acquired through spiritual humility, the chosen are endowed with divine knowledge and wisdom as to know, and given strength to follow the "will of God."
Matt. 18:3 "…Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Matt. 11:25 "…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."
Psa. 8:2 "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger."
FAITH is not the kind the Natural Man understands (1 Cor. 2:14) that is equated with sincerity or zealousness.
Rom. 10:2 "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."
The "seed" referring to the "letter of the word" finds it meaning and great significance in:
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."
THIRD REFERENCE -- THE CHOSEN AS "SEEDS"
Matt. 13:38 "The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one."
1. To man, it means physical death
2. To God it means several things. As it relates to the topic, it means "dying" to oneself as Paul said in:
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."
We trace this kind of "death" from creation.
I. UPON CREATION
Upon creation, man was created in the "image of God":
Gen. 1:27 "So God created man in his own image…"
The image of God is JESUS CHRIST:
John 14:9 "Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?"
Col. 1:14 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15Who is the image of the invisible God…"
This is the "spiritual image of Jesus Christ." He is composed of BODY, SOUL, and SPIRIT of the Father:
Matt. 12:18 "Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him…"
This therefore is the "image of man" in diagram upon creation:
Blue represents the BODY that consists of the senses: sight, hearing, tasted, smell, touch, sex, instinct.
Fuchsia represents the SOUL whose attributes are the intellect, emotion, free will, and personality.
Red symbolizes the SPIRIT of God whose attributes are divine wisdom, and spiritual discernment.
II. FALL OF MANKIND
At the FALL, the SPIRIT of God symbolized by the Tree of Life was kept back from man:
Gen. 3:24 "So 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."
Thereafter man is composed only of BODY and SOUL, turning him into a 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."
The position of the components, now represented by circles, indicates the Natural Man's nature of "worldliness" (for the BODY) and "soulishness" (for the SOUL).
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…."
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. 20And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain."
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 "…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…"
Jer. 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
There is no way for the Natural Man to understand the word of God because comprehension is limited only to the intellect and feeling -- faculties incapable of discerning spiritual things.
III. BORN AGAIN
Thus, the need to be "born again" (John 3:3). After a person is "born again," he/she acquires back the SPIRIT of God. Note the position of the circles. Blue representing the BODY for "worldliness" that still dominates the SOUL and the SPIRIT of God in the early stage of being a "baby Christian."
IV. SPIRITUAL GROWTH --- "Dying daily"
Note the change positions of the circles indicating progress of spiritual growth, the result of "dying daily."
"Worldliness" is becoming less and less. "Soulishness" is subsiding. And finally "spirituality" dominates whole being of a real Christian.
Early stageNext stageLast stage
FUCHSIA symbolizes the SOUL, for "soulishness"
BLUE symbolizes the BODY, for "worldliness"
RED symbolizes the SPIRIT, for "spirituality"
1 Cor. 2:15 "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
1 Cor. 2:12 "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. 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."
Very clearly the foregoing kind of "death" refers to the death of the "old human nature" or "soulishness." It is a positive kind of death that is good in the eyes of God.
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."
The "death of the SEED" is manifest in the "fruit" of the Spirit, coupled with the "birth" of more real Christians through the testimony of the "dying SEEDS."
Gal. 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance:"
V. SPIRITUAL PERFECTION
At the physical death of the real Christian he/she is composed only of the SOUL, and the SPIRIT going back to God:
Eccl. 12:7 "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
Spiritual perfection goes with the real Christian's physical death on to Paradise and to the bosom of Abraham:
Luke 23:43 "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
Luke 16:22 "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom…"
This is the spiritual history of mankind in diagrams where we find the different "kinds of death," both unfavorable upon the Fall, and favorable after being truly "born again," as demonstrated through the word.