II Corinthians 4:5-7
"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
Lesson 11: 30, 60, 100-FOLD CITIZENS
"Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: and it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred." Mark 4:3-8
"And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel ." Numbers 13:30-32
"After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know My breach of promise. I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against Me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die." Numbers 14:34-35
Good morning, friends; and truly a good morning it can be for you who hear the Word of God!
In our last talk we dwelled on the power of God to accomplish more than one thing at a time. I showed you how God was able to so direct the course of life for His people that it became more than mere history: it became even detailed prophecy, not only for His Own people, but for the world at large. The error of our spiritual leaders, even up to the present moment, is the selfsame error as was committed by the Israel people of ages bygone. The Prophet-psalmist bewailed the hardness of the heart of his people, as you will find recorded in Psalms 78:41 wherein he said, "They turned their back upon God and limited the Holy One of Israel." That is what Christendom has done right up to the present moment.
If human beings are able to set up a stage and so direct a play that in drama a story is told, should not God Almighty be equal to the same achievement? Are we not told that an angel of God went before the Israel people in their wilderness trek (Ex. 14:19, 23:23, 32:34), and how eventually they were led into the land of promise? Can you not see how their strenuous toil under the hard taskmasters in Egypt and in bondage to Pharaoh was a symbol, or a stage play – if you please – to set before us the picture of all of humankind, struggling in this world in abject bondage to Lucifer, who is the prince of this world (Jn. 12:31, 14:30)?
And then, after the blood of the Passover lamb had been shed and put upon the doorposts of their own dwellings, an angel of God led them out of Egypt into the wilderness and directly to the mount of God, where the Law was received. Very shortly thereafter, God ordered them to go in to possess the Promised Land, but the people had sent in spies to learn more about the country and maybe the strategy to be used in taking it over. These spies brought back a bad report, so the hearts of the people were discouraged, and they refused to go in to take over the land. Can you not see how this is a beautiful portrayal of the person of this world who accepts the atoning blood shed on Calvary's Cross by Him Whom the greatest Prophet that ever lived declared to be the Lamb of God?
Through this drama wrought by God, we see how the one who has accepted the Passover Lamb of God shortly is given to understand the "Law," or that which is expected of him in order to remain within the pleasurable Will of God. Almost immediately thereafter, the order comes from God to go in to possess the land of promise. But Christendom of today is the same as Israel of old: they see giants they have to battle, and they are afraid that they cannot overcome them; so, they decide they are not going in to take over the kingdom which God promised them.
What happened to ancient Israel when they refused to obey God's order to go in to take over the land? Judgment descended upon them, and they were required to trek 40 weary years in the wilderness until all but two of them had died, except for those who were accounted as children when they left Egypt. That wilderness is a type of this world of testing for the Christian after he has accepted the atoning blood of God's Lamb, Who was sacrificed for the people upon the Cross of Calvary over 19 centuries ago. This is that which I have been sharing with you, trying to show you the glories and the joys and the wonders of the kingdom of God here upon earth now, for whomsoever will hear the call of God to go into possess that kingdom. But we, like that ancient seed of Jacob, see the "giants" which scare us stiff, and we decide that it would be a hopeless battle.
But what said the Spirit of God to Moses in those days? He said, "Is My hand shortened that I cannot deliver" (Num. 11:23)? And in the clearest of words He told them that if they would have gone in, His angel would have gone before them to fully deliver, not through the power of the Israel army, but through the very power of God Almighty (Ex. 23:20-23,27-28, 33:2; Deut. 9:3, 31:3). But I repeat, Christendom has entered into the selfsame sin of limiting the Holy One of Israel, and so we have failed to enter into the joys of the kingdom of God here and now. But we see by the drama wrought by God, that the children of ancient Israel, at the close of 40 years (which is the period of testing), did go in to possess the land.
What is the meaning of those 40 years? When we study the language of God, which is the language of numbers, we find that man stands in the place of one, a nation in the place of ten, and the world in the place of 100. Therefore, as Israel was a nation, it becomes a 10-to-1 relationship, which means that the 40 years are reduced to 4, prophetically speaking. And clearly did God say that a day would be for a year, and a year would be for a day (Num. 14:33-34). So, on the basis of God's time clock, which shows only one day for our 1,000 years (II Pet. 3:8; Ps. 90:4), that meant 4,000 years until the seed of Abraham would enter into the kingdom. Add 4,000 years to the time of Abraham, and it takes us into the very days in which we live, showing that in these days God is going to lead His people into the glories of the kingdom here upon earth, while another number is going to be taken into the spiritual kingdom.
Now we will briefly come back to where we left off last time, which was in the 4th chapter of the Gospel of St. Mark. I showed you then how the Lord spoke 8 parables while He sat in the ship close to the seashore. He sent the multitudes away, but His close and intimate followers were asked to get into the boat and cross over unto the other side (Mk. 4:35-36). Do you suppose that man is able to enact a stage-play to tell a story, but that the Lord Jesus Christ was not able to do the same, even in a greater way? In Colossians 2:9 we are told by the inspired Apostle of God, when he was speaking about Jesus the Nazarene, that "...in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." If then, we accept that word of the holy Apostle, then we recognize that Jesus the Nazarene, as the Son of God, was able to wield the power of God and therefore, enact in a play, so to speak, great truths and prophecy to cover the entire sweep of the Christian era, as well as eons into the future. And that He did!
Briefly let us look at one of His parables: that of the sower who went forth to sow the seed (Mk. 4:3-8,14-20). Some fell among stones, on rocky ground; other among the thorns, some by the wayside, while some seed fell into good ground and brought forth 30-fold, some 60-fold, while others 100-fold. Here we see Him setting before us, parabolically, the sad fact that the truth is not received by very many; so much of the seed falling by the wayside, on stony ground, among the thorns and under unfavorable conditions; but some seed fell into good ground and became divided into three categories: 30-fold, 60-fold, and 100-fold. Precisely what did our Lord mean by the 30-fold, the 60-fold and the 100-fold?
I think it is commonly explained by our spiritual leaders that some Christians do little good work, some do more good work, while others do a great deal of good works. But if you will look to His words in the 15th verse of Mark's 4th chapter, you will find the Lord saying, speaking of Satan, that he comes and "takes away the word that was sown in their hearts." Therefore, when the seed is sown into the human heart, the fruit is brought forth out of the heart. Therefore, we have three classes of Christians in the world today: the 30, the 60 and the 100-fold.
Quickly let us jump back to the Israel people as they left Egypt behind them, and they traveled 30 days in the wilderness before they received the manna from heaven (Ex. 16:1,14-15). Think of these numbers and come to understand that God Almighty was behind all of this, wherefore, naturally the story He tells us must agree in detail. Therefore, the 30 days in the wilderness without the grace of God poured down upon them corresponds to the 30-fold. Then we are told that they received the manna from God and traveled another 30 days in the wilderness, arriving at the foot of the mount on the 60th day (Ex. 19:1-2). In His parable, the Lord showed us the same truth by the 60-fold. Then we read how after they arrived at the foot of the mount, Moses, the man of God, went up into the top of the mount and there abode with God 40 days (Ex. 24:15-18). Add the 40 days to the 60 days it took to the foot of the mount, and we have 100, which again compares to the 100-fold that the good seed brought forth in some human hearts. There in the story of ancient Israel, we see the three stages or groups: the first being the 30 days from deliverance out of Egypt, then came down upon them the grace of God, or the manna from heaven, constituting them, by comparison, the 60-fold, which took them to the foot of the mount where they received the Law. While the third group is symbolized by Moses on the mountaintop with God on the 100th day, answering to the 100-fold in the parable by our Lord.
Again I remind you how the Lord Jesus portrayed in His stageplay, if you please, the selfsame truth. The 30-fold and the 60-fold were represented by the multitudes on the seashore: some of them received a few of His words which seemed right and good, and were woven into their lives to make them better men and women of tomorrow. A still smaller portion of them received His declaration that He was the living bread of God Which came down from heaven unto the people, that whosoever should eat thereof would live forever (Jn. 6:47-51). That constituted them the 60-fold, comparable to the Israel people who received the manna of God after 30 days were spent. But still a smaller number, and a very much smaller number, who were His intimate followers, were asked to get into the ship and cross over unto the other side. They represent to us the 100-fold, of which He spoke in His parable of the sower.
Observe clearly how it was only the very small and select group that were asked to cross over to other side, while the multitudes representing the 30 and the 60-fold were sent away. That shows that they are to remain here on earth. The same truth He voiced in other words such as, "Not everyone who says `Lord, Lord' to Me shall enter into the kingdom of God" (Matt. 7:21). And again He said, "Many are the called, but few are the chosen" (Matt. 22:14). Yet, wishfully-thinking Christendom of today has been taught to believe that all of them are the called, and all of them are the chosen for the heavenly Kingdom. What a sad awakening awaits our Christendom – a Christendom which has been fed on "the tares sown by the enemy while men slept."
Again the same truth is shown us by the Israel people when they went to enter the land of promise under Joshua. One group of them remained on the east side of Jordan, while the other group passed over Jordan and entered on the western side (Num. 32:1-5,19,29-32). This Jordan divides between the east and the west, which symbolically bespeaks earth-life in contrast to the spirit-life; it is the earthly kingdom versus the heavenly kingdom.
Fail not to observe how those who remained on the east side did not get there until the rest of them were ready to cross over into the west side, or the spiritual kingdom. This again shows us by type how the joys and the riches and the goodness of the earthly kingdom will not be realized by man until approximately the same time as the more devout followers are called to pass over unto the other side. That delay in entering into the joys of that land was entirely their own fault. The land was there, and they could have entered into it shortly after they left Mount Sinai where the Law had been received. But because of the hardness of their hearts, they wandered 40 years in the wilderness until most of them had died, and the younger children were willing to follow Joshua and obey his orders. That shows us that in these last days, those who are willing to hear the Word of God have here on earth a kingdom of joy and abundance awaiting them and almost begging them to take possession.
That is the great joy I have: to bring you these glad tidings of wonderful things awaiting you right here and now, commencing immediately, instead of enduring a long life of grief and trouble and strenuous labors, hoping for a golden tomorrow in an unknown land, largely founded in wishful thinking. God is a loving Heavenly Father Who has prepared in abundance for His children. Yet He, like a good normal earthly parent, will withhold His greater bounties from those who pay no attention to His Word. To such He grants only a "subsistence allowance."
Remember Israel of old: God through Moses told them to "go in to possess the land." But the people rebelled, having been discouraged by the TEN viewers (spies) gone 40 days. As a result they had to suffer 40 years in the wilderness, where also they died....
THAT is also your lot, UNLESS you wake up in time. During the entire testing time (40) in the wilderness of our Gentile (10) era, Christendom has been consistently discouraged from "going in to possess the kingdom," being convinced that they – like Israel of old – had to DIE in this "wilderness" (but with fingers crossed for pie in the sky)!
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