Daily Archives: August 1, 2014

Questions about Parables: What Is the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares?

 

The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds, or Tares, is filled with spiritual significance and truth. But, in spite of the clear explanation of the parable that Jesus gave (Matthew 13:36–43), this parable is very often misinterpreted. Many commentaries and sermons have attempted to use this story as an illustration of the condition of the church, noting that there are both true believers (the wheat) and false professors (the weeds) in both the church at large and individual local churches. While this may be true, Jesus distinctly explains that the field is not the church; it is the world (v. 38).

Even if He hadn’t specifically told us the world is the setting of the story, it would still be obvious. The landowner tells the servants not to pull up the weeds in the field, but to leave them until the end of the age. If the field were the church, this command would directly contradict Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18, which tells us how to deal with unrepentant sinners in the church: they are to be put out of the fellowship and treated as unbelievers. Jesus never instructed us to let impenitent sinners remain in our midst until the end of the age. So, Jesus is teaching here about “the kingdom of heaven” (v. 24) in the world.

In the agricultural society of Christ’s time, many farmers depended on the quality of their crops. An enemy sowing weeds would have sabotaged a business. The tares in the parable were likely darnel because that weed, until mature, appears as wheat. Without modern weed killers, what would a wise farmer do in such a dilemma? Instead of tearing out the wheat with the tares, the landowner in this parable wisely waited until the harvest. After harvesting the whole field, the tares could be separated and burned. The wheat would be saved in the barn.

In the explanation of parable, Christ declares that He Himself is the sower. He spreads His redeemed seed, true believers, in the field of the world. Through His grace, these Christians bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–24). Their presence on earth is the reason the “kingdom of heaven” is like the field of the world. When Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17; Mark 3:2), He meant the spiritual realm which exists on earth side by side with the realm of the evil one (1 John 5:19). When the kingdom of heaven comes to its fruition, heaven will be a reality and there will be no “weeds” among the “wheat.” But for now, both good and bad seeds mature in the world.

The enemy in the parable is Satan. In opposition to Jesus Christ, the devil tries to destroy Christ’s work by placing false believers and teachers in the world who lead many astray. One has only to look at the latest televangelist scandal to know the world is filled with professing “Christians” whose ungodly actions bring reproach on the name of Christ. But we are not to pursue such people in an effort to destroy them. For one thing, we don’t know if immature and innocent believers might be injured by our efforts. Further, one has only to look at the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and the reign of “Bloody Mary” in England to see the results of men taking upon themselves the responsibility of separating true believers from false, a task reserved for God alone. Instead of requiring these false believers to be rooted out of the world, and possibly hurting immature believers in the process, Christ allows them to remain until His return. At that time, angels will separate the true from false believers.

In addition, we are not to take it upon ourselves to uproot unbelievers because the difference between true and false believers isn’t always obvious. Tares, especially in the early stages of growth, resemble wheat. Likewise, a false believer may resemble a true believer. In Matthew 7:22, Jesus warned that many profess faith but do not know Him. Thus, each person should examine his own relationship with Christ (2 Corinthians 13:5). First John is an excellent test of salvation.

Jesus Christ will one day establish true righteousness. After He raptures the true church out of this world, God will pour out His righteous wrath on the world. During that tribulation, He will draw others to saving faith in Jesus Christ. At the end of the tribulation, all unbelievers will be judged for their sin and unbelief; then, they will be removed from God’s presence. True followers of Christ will reign with Him. What a glorious hope for the “wheat”![1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about the Bible: What Are the Modern Equivalents of Biblical Weights and Measures?

 

The use of weights and measurements was common in ancient times, just like it is today. The problem is that the words used for various measurements were usually specific to that culture. Today, most people don’t know what a “shekel” is or what is the difference between a “furlong” and a “fathom.” Some Bible translations have replaced the archaic words with modern equivalents or approximations. Other translations simply transliterate the Greek and Hebrew words for the measurements.

Below are several terms and their approximated equivalents in both metric and imperial measurements. Since some ancient terms varied by area, we have differentiated Greek and Hebrew measurements.

Weights:

Hebrew: Talent (3,000 shekels or 60 minas, sometimes translated “100 pounds”) 34.272 kg 75.6 lbs Mina (50 shekels, sometimes translated “pound”) 571.2 g 1.26 lbs Shekel 11.424 g 0.403 oz Pim (2/3 shekel?) 7.616 g 0.258 oz Beca (1/2 shekel) 5.712 g. 201 oz Gerah (1/20 shekel) 0.571 g 0.02 oz

Greek: Litra (30 shekels, sometimes translated “pound”) 0.4 kg 12 oz Talent 40 kg 88 lbs Mina 571.2 g 1.26 lbs

Linear Measurements:

Hebrew: Reed (6 cubits) 2.7 m 8 3/4 ft or 3 yds Cubit (2 spans, sometimes translated “yard,” “half a yard,” or “foot”) 0.5 m 18 in. Span (1/2 cubit or 3 handbreadths) 23 cm 9 in. Handbreadth (1/6 cubit, 1/3 span, or 4 fingers, sometimes translated “3 or 4 inches”) 8 cm 3 in. Finger 1.8 cm 0.73 in.

Ezekiel’s Cubit (found in Ezekiel 40:5): Reed (6 of Ezekiel’s cubits) 3.1 m 10 ft, 2.4 in. Cubit (7 handbreadths) 0.5 m 20.4 in.

Greek: Milion (8 stadia, sometimes translated “mile”) 1.5 km 1,620 yds or 0.9 mi Stadion (1/8 milion or 400 cubits, sometimes translated “mile,” “furlong,” or “race”) 185 m 1/8 mi Kalamos (6 cubits, sometimes translated “rod,” “reed,” or “measuring rod”) 3 m 3 1/3 yds Fathom (4 cubits, sometimes translated “6 feet”) 2 m 2 yds Cubit (sometimes translated “yard,” “half a yard,” or “foot”) 0.5 m 18 in.

Dry Measures:

Hebrew: Kor (10 ephahs, sometimes translated “cor,” “homer,” “sack,” “measures,” “bushels”) 220 L 5.16 bsh or 200 qts Letek (5 ephahs, sometimes translated “half homer” or “half sack”) 110 L 2.68 bsh Ephah / Bath (10 omers, sometimes translated “bushel,” “peck,” “deal, “part,” “measure,” or “6 or 7 pints”) 22 L 3/5 bsh Seah (1/3 ephah, sometimes translated “measure,” “peck,” or “large amount”) 7.3 L 7 qts Omer / Issaron (1/10 ephah, sometimes translated “tenth of a deal” or “six pints”) 2 L 2.09 qts Cab (1/18 ephah, sometimes translated “cab”) 1 L 1 qt

Greek: Koros (10 ephahs, sometimes translated “sack,” “measure,” “bushel,” or “500 quartsbus”) 525 L 14.9 bsh Modios (4 omers, sometimes translated “bushel,” “bowl,” “peck,” “corn-measure,” or “meal-tub”) 9 L 1 pk or 1/4 bsh Saton (1/3 ephah, sometimes translated “measure,” “peck,” or “large amount”) 7.3 L 7 qts Choinix (1/18 ephah, sometimes translated “measure” or “quart”) 1 L 1 qt Xestes (1/2 cab, sometimes translated “pot,” “pitcher,” “kettle,” “copper bowl,” or “vessels of bronze”) 0.5 L 1 1/6 pts

Liquid Measures:

Hebrew: Cor / Homer 208 L 55 gal Bath (1 ephah, sometimes translated “gallon,” “barrel,” or “liquid measure”) 22 L 5.5 gal Hin (1/6 bath, sometimes translated “pints”) 4 L 1 gal (4 qts) Log (1/72 bath, sometimes translated “pint” or “cotulus”) 0.3 L 0.67 pt

Greek: Metretes (10 hins, sometimes translated “firkins” or “gallons”) 39 L 10 gal Batos (1 ephah, sometimes translated “gallon,” “barrel,” or “measure”) 22 L 6 gal Xestes (1/8 hin, sometimes translated “pot,” “pitcher,” “kettle,” “copper bowl,” or “vessel of bronze”) 0.5 L 1 1/6 pts

Coins and Monies: Denarius / Denarion: a day’s wage (“penny” in KJV) Daric / Drachma / Dram: a coin weighing 1/4 oz or 8.5 g Lepta: the smallest Greek copper coin; of unknown weight (translated “mite” in KJV) Kodrantess: the smallest Roman copper coin; of unknown weight (translated “mite” in KJV)[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Angels and Demons: What Is Deliverance Ministry, and Is It Biblical?

 

The generally agreed-upon definition of “deliverance ministry” will usually focus on the casting out of demons or spirits in an attempt to solve problems related to specific demons. For example, a deliverance minister may seek to help someone overcome anger by casting out a spirit of anger. Deliverance ministries also focus on tearing down spiritual strongholds in one’s life, finding inner healing, and claiming the victory in Christ over all enemies. Many refer to soul ties, curses, and the “legal rights” of demons. Biblically, demons or evil spirits are known to be fallen angels that rebelled in heaven with Satan (Revelation 12:4, 9; Isaiah 14:12–20; Ezekiel 28:1–19).

There is certainly quite a bit in Scripture about Satan and his horde of demons. There is little said about deliverance from them, and nothing said about deliverance as a “ministry.” The offices of the church are found in Ephesians 4:11. First were the apostles and prophets, the foundation of the church—with Jesus being the Chief Corner Stone (Ephesians 2:20). Next are listed evangelists, then pastors and teachers. The ability to cast out demons is not listed as a spiritual gift or a ministerial duty.

The Gospels and Acts relate that Jesus and the disciples cast out demons. The teaching portions of the New Testament (Romans through Jude) refer to demonic activity yet do not discuss the method of casting them out, nor are believers exhorted to do so. We are told to put on the armor to stand against spiritual wickedness (Ephesians 6:10–18). We are told to resist the devil (James 4:7) and not give him room in our lives (Ephesians 4:27). However, we are not told how to cast him or his demons out of others, or that we should even consider doing so.

It is interesting that we have no record of Jesus’ instructions to His disciples onhowto cast out demons, with the possible exception of Matthew 12:43–45, where some insight is given. When the disciples discovered that demons were subject to them in the name and authority of Jesus, they were joyful (Luke 10:17; cf. Acts 5:16; 8:7; 16:18; 19:12). But Jesus told the disciples, “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven” (verse 20).

Rather than being given a specific “deliverance ministry,” we have an authority in the powerful name of Jesus. One day, John said to Jesus, “We saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.’ ‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus said. ‘For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us’ ” (Mark 9:38–40). Authority over demons is clearly the power of the Lord at work, whether or not the exorcist has a special ministry of deliverance.

The emphasis in spiritual warfare is highlighted in verses such as 1 John 4:4, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world [the devil].” The victory is ours because of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Believers can overcome their struggles with the past, habits, and addictions, because “everyone born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4). We need prayer, godly counsel, and the support of a good church, but not necessarily a “deliverance minister.”

We are told to “be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.… And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast (1 Peter 5:8–10).

The key to victory in the Christian life is to be filled (controlled and empowered) with the Holy Spirit on a moment-by-moment basis (Ephesians 5:18). The Father knows who are His: “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Romans 8:14). The Holy Spirit will not indwell anyone who is not born again (John 3:3–8; 2 Timothy 2:19; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 3:16), so the first step in spiritual victory is to place our faith in Jesus Christ. Then, rejoice that Jesus is in you and you have His power and His victory[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

GAZA WAR UPDATE, Day #25: Hamas uses ceasefire to capture IDF officer Hadar Goldin, 23. IDF unleashes ferocious attacks on Hamas. Please for Goldin’s rescue & family. Also: Hamas plot for massive terror attack on Rosh Hashana uncovered.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Please pray for Hadar Goldin, 23, IDF officer who was declared missing in Gaza on August 1. (Source: Times of Israel) Please pray for Hadar Goldin, 23, IDF officer who was declared missing in Gaza on August 1. (Source: Times of Israel)

UPDATED: (Denver, Colorado) — It lasted barely 90 minutes.

The ceasefire that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon negotiated with Hamas, and put enormous pressure on Israel to accept, commenced at 8am Friday Israel time. 

Yet around 9:30am,  the whole thing collapsed. Palestinian terrorists attacked and IDF unit. They killed two Israeli soldiers and apparently captured a third, an officer. Almost simultaneously, terrorists began firing rockets and mortars at Israeli forces.

The missing officer is Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin from Kfar Saba. He is 23 years, was born in Great Britain, has three siblings, and is engaged to be married.

Israeli forces immediately fired back at the terrorists. They also initiated the “Hannibal Protocol.” They unleashed a ferocious bombing and artillery campaign against the area where their officer was abducted in…

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FAITH

Samuel at Gilgal

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

Faith is this extraordinary principle which links man to God; faith is this thing that keeps a man from hell and puts him in heaven; it is the connection between this world and the world to come; faith is this mystic astounding thing that can take a man dead in trespasses and sins and make him live as a new being, a new man in Christ Jesus. (Spiritual Depression – Its Causes and its Cures, 1965, p. 227)

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