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Monday, March 23, 2020

Parable of the Dragnet -- Part 2

For Part 1, go to my website: www.sandrakingministries.com

        Jesus says that “the Kingdom of Heaven is like a large net thrown into the sea. It collected every kind of fish, and when it was full, they dragged it ashore, sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but threw out the worthless ones.” Matthew 13:47-48

Separation of fish began in the Older Testament. God made a distinction in the Law about what He considers clean and unclean fish. The Older Testament always ties into the New Testament. In the Law, God is distinguishing between earthly (natural) fish that are edible from those that are not. Jesus takes the natural into the spiritual because He is spiritual.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Clean and Unclean Fish According to the Law – Leviticus 11:9

        “This is what you may eat from all that is in the water: You may eat everything in the water that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or streams. But these are abhorrent to you: everything in the seas or streams that does not have fins and scales among all the swarming things and other living creatures in the water. They are to remain abhorrent to you….”    Vv9-12  In the Law, God had restrictions upon what the Israelites were to consume. He had clean and unclean animals, aquatic animals, birds, flying insects, swarming creatures. God distinguishes between the clean and the unclean. God is teaching His people about clean and unclean, holy and unholy, so they will receive the fullness of His blessing. In the New Testament, God distinguishes between the righteous (clean) and the wicked (unclean). It is not what we eat that concerns the Lord in the New Testament, but how we walk. Are we walking in the righteousness of God in Christ? God wants to us to differentiate between the holy and the profane and between truth and false doctrine.

 Peter in the New Testament had a vision of clean and unclean in Acts 10:11-47.  In God’s vision to Peter, the sky opened and “an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” V11-14 Peter was a Jew who obeyed the Law. He did not want to disobey it. God came to him a second time and said, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” God was using the clean and unclean of the Law to speak a spiritual truth to Peter. God tells Peter that he is to no longer consider what God has cleansed as unholy. Peter did not understand what God was saying to him at first. Everyone who believes in Jesus are considered clean to God. They have been cleansed by the water and blood that flowed from Jesus’ side.  Peter was somewhat confused by this. It was when he got to the house of Cornelius that Peter understood the vision. He knew that God did not show partiality “but in every nation the person who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all_-- (both Jew and Gentile). Israel as well as the Gentiles must receive God’s Son Jesus in order to be declared clean in God’s eyes.

The dragnet is the final parable of the seven in Matthew 13. The fishnet and catch of fish represent the final judgment. Hebrews 9:27-28

“Do you understand these things?” Jesus asks His disciples – Matthew 13:51

        It was important to Jesus that His disciples understand what He was teaching them in the parables. They answered, “yes.”  It is important to Jesus that His disciples understand and know the Truth. Jesus told His disciples in John 15:15 and Matthew 13:16-17 that they are blessed because they see (understand) and hear the truth. “For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people (Older Testament saints) longed to see the things you see but didn’t see them, to hear the things you hear but didn’t hear them.” In John 15: 15, Jesus tells His disciples, “I have called you friends because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father.”  A friend learns who we are and love us. Those who love Jesus and learn of Him are His friends. 

The Storehouse of Truth  (The Head of the Household)

        Jesus is the storehouse of Truth and the Head of God’s House. He is the Truth – the Word of God – brought to life. After His disciples said they understood, Jesus told them that “every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom treasures new and old.” Matthew 13:52    Jesus is the only way you can become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven. The only way you can know and understand His truth – the Word of God – is to work hard studying it. He wants us to hunger and thirst for His truth to free our spirit even more than we hunger and thirst for earthly food to feed our bodies. Jesus upholds His House by His Truth.

            Jesus says every teacher of the Law who becomes His disciple should bring treasures out of His storeroom both new and old – out of the Old and New Testaments. The Godhead used the “earthly” in the Older Testament to paint a picture of the New in Christ. We are to draw truths from the Older Testament as well as see their fulfillment in the teachings and acts of Jesus. Jesus brought the Older Testament scriptures into the New to show that He was fulfilling that scripture in their seeing and in their hearing.

There is a distinction between the Old and the New. But Jesus has now obtained a superior ministry, and to that degree He is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been established on better promises. For if the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second one.” Hebrews 8:6-7 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days: I will put My laws into their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.”

            It is the fullness of Truth in Jesus and the New Testament that helps us understand the Older Testament. Jesus fulfilled and explained the Older Testament, so His disciples understood. We must appreciate the treasure of the Word of God that He has given us. The Older Testament points us to Christ. Knowledge and understanding of the Word is the purpose and duty of the Body of Christ. Those who follow Christ’s teachings are taught about the kingdom of heaven and do it. They are knowledgeable and full of wisdom. They will instruct others in both the Older and New Testaments. Peter did this in His first sermon in Acts 2:14-16. Paul also did this. It is thought that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews which contrasts the Old with the New.

           Proverbs 24:3-4: By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

           Proverbs 3:13-15: How blessed is the person who finds wisdom and the person who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her.

        The promises made to the patriarchs were not made through Law, but through faith. Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law opened the door for the Gentiles to be included in the promise God gave to Abraham that through Abraham’s natural see a spiritual Seed Jesus would come to conquer the land of earth and multiply like the stars of heaven.

        The dragnet is used in the last chapter of John. Some of Jesus’ disciples are fishing with a dragnet when Jesus in His resurrected body appeared on the shore.  While He was on earth in His flesh body, He taught the parable of the dragnet to His disciples. He returns to them in His resurrected body to find them fishing with a dragnet. He will use this fishing trip to further teach them about His Kingdom. Jesus had told them earlier that they would be “fishers of men.”

Friday, March 13, 2020

Parable of the Dragnet -- Part 1

Dragnet Parable– Matthew 13:47-50

          As I have said in many of my teachings, God and Jesus used the things on earth to teach spiritual truth. Jesus is doing this in His parables. Paul gave us a hint of this in 1 Corinthians 15:46. “The spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.”

The First and the Last

The first of the seven parables in Matthew 13 is about the wheat and tares. The Sower of the seed/wheat is Jesus. The sower of the tares is the devil. Wheat is used to make bread that feeds people, but tares are useless. As the Living Word of God, Jesus sows the Word of God which will gather and feed many people. Satan on the other hand wants to destroy the Body of Christ as well as the unsaved. Satan works through our fleshly nature. Jesus works through the Holy Spirit of God in us and the Holy Word. The true and the false will grow together in the Body of Christ until separated at the end of the age.

Tares look very much like wheat. Because of this, it is hard to distinguish between the two until the harvest when the heads of the grain (fruit) appear. “A tree is known by its fruit.” Matthew 12:33 Then the harvester can distinguish between the two. The tares will produce no fruit and are worthless. Those who eat and understand the Word of God and submit to it will produce fruit and are useful to Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

Wheat in scripture represents true believers and pure doctrine. Tares symbolize children of the devil and false doctrine. Jesus and His angels will do the separating at the end of the age. Matthew 13:30: “Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of the harvest, I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them but gather the wheat into My barn.’”  (see also Luke 3:17; Revelation 14:15)

Both the first and last parable in Matthew 13 are about the separation of the righteous from the wicked. Jesus is the One who separates the true from the false. He did this also in the Gospels when He said those who didn’t believe in Him were of their father the devil.

In the parable of the wheat and tares, Jesus shows the promise and glorious future of His disciples. “The righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” 13:43 The righteous have a future hope and destiny. In the parable of the dragnet the focus is on the tragic end of the age and of the wicked. There is no hope for these at the end of the age and their end is in eternal fire in the belly of the earth. 

The last parable in Matthew 13 is about the dragnet and the fishermen.

What is a Dragnet?

        A dragnet is a large net made of many strings or ropes sewn together. This symbolizes unity. The net symbolizes the Body of Christ sending forth the gospels gathering people of every nation, tribe and tongue.

        At the time of Jesus, fishermen who made their living fishing would sometimes use a dragnet in the sea to gather a catch. These fishermen (disciples) were at the sea of Galilee where Jesus spent a lot of time.

        A dragnet is used in a few ways. It can be dropped between two boats and dragged, or it can be dragged behind one boat. It can also be anchored on the shore with weights and the fishermen in the boat would take the ends of the net, cast it wide and deep and drag it in a semicircle back to the shore gathering a catch of all kinds of fish as well as  stuff like garbage, seaweed, seafood and debris. The “net” doesn’t separate; it grabs up everything in its path. It is up to the fishermen to separate the good from the worthless fish. Just as there were tares among the wheat that the harvester had to separate and good and bad fish in the net, the Word of God gathers all types. Jesus said that “the Kingdom of Heaven is like a large net thrown into the sea. It collected every kind of fish, and when it was full, they dragged it ashore, sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but threw out the worthless ones.” Matthew 13:47-48

 At the end of the age, Jesus and His angels will separate the true from the false. Good and evil on earth will be completely separated at the time of the end for all eternity. (see Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:14-15)

“When the  Son of man shall come in all of His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” Matthew 25:31-32

To the righteous, He will say, “Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…..” Mt. 25:34

To the wicked, He will say, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels….”Mt. 25:41 

Symbolism in the Parable of the Dragnet
        In the parable of the dragnet, there is:
·        Net – represents a “gatherer.”  Jesus, the Word of God, gathers people into His Body – the church. Jesus casts a wide net and gathers many people from every nation.
·         Sea – represents the sea of spiritually lost humanity of all nations.
·        Fishermen – those who present the Good News of Jesus Christ—the fivefold ministry gifts Christ gives to equip His Church – apostles, evangelists, teachers, prophets and pastors.  (see Ephesians 4:11)
·     Fish – represent the souls of humans. Jesus told His disciples that He would make them “fishers of men.” (see Matthew 4:19) We are to cast the net of Jesus and the Word of God to gather believers to Christ.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Pearl of Great Price Part 3

Pearls of Wisdom

You no doubt have heard the saying “pearls of wisdom.” Solomon wrote a lot about wisdom in Proverbs. Wisdom is a treasure! Proverbs 2:1-6: My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth (Word) come knowledge and understanding.”  

The only time the word pearl is mentioned in the Older Testament is in Job 28:18b, “and the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls.”  Wisdom is more precious than pearls! Jesus told His disciples not to “cast their pearls to swine.” (Matthew 7:6)  Jesus is telling His disciples  to share the wisdom of His spiritual truths with those who hunger and thirst for it, not to those who don’t cherish it.

Solomon tells us to seek wisdom. Where is wisdom found? In the Word of God, which is pure, perfect wisdom – the wisdom of God. There is life in the Word of God – both the Living Word Jesus and the written Word. A person searching for wisdom will find it in God’s Word which is holy. In Christ who is the Living Word are “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3 Man cannot do anything to make a pearl more glorious, but Jesus  the Word and the Holy Spirit can.

Solomon said that wisdom was better than silver, gold and precious gems. “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding, for her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire compares with her…….She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who take hold of her” Proverbs 3:13  I don’t know why Solomon referred to wisdom as “she,” but my best guess is because the Bride of Christ will be full of wisdom – His wisdom in His Word. Solomon was a type and shadow of Christ, the King of Peace, who builds His temple in the hearts of humanity.

Solomon, the King of peace, whom God gave wisdom, built God’s physical temple in Jerusalem according to the instructions God had given to his father David. The instructions came from the father, but the son built the house/temple. Sound familiar!  The Bible says that because Solomon asked for wisdom and not riches, wealth, honor, the life of his enemies or long life, God gave him wisdom that excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. (see 1 Kings 4:30) Solomon is the type and shadow of God’s King of peace – Jesus – “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3 Solomon built an earthly, temporary temple with the wisdom of God, but Jesus who is all spiritual wisdom is building a spiritual, eternal temple in the hearts of those who love and serve Him.

Colossians goes on to say that we are being “built up in Him and established in your faith. (see Colossians 2:7) In Colossians 3:16-17, we are told to “let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word and deed, do all in the Name of Jesus giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”

Last Mention of Pearls in the Bible

          The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each one of the gates was a single pearl. Revelation 22:1 In the New spiritual Jerusalem, all must enter through the gates of pearl. There were 12 gates but only one Heavenly New Jerusalem. The temple of Solomon had no pearls because Jesus, the Pearl of Great Price, had not finished His work of redemption at the cross yet. Once this was completed, all – both Jew and Gentile – must enter the Spiritual Holy Temple of God through the Pearl of Great Price – the Body of Jesus Christ which began with His twelve Jewish Apostles -- hence the 12 gates/doors in the Heavenly House of God. Salvation is indeed of the Jews. Jesus, who is God, came through the Jews in order to release them from the demands of the Law and establish salvation by God’s grace and truth through Jesus Christ.  “For the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” The Law was given, but Jesus Christ came. He showed us God! He said, “I am the Gate/Door.” It took tremendous suffering to make a pearl the size of a Gate/Door.  Jesus said, “I am the gate/door for the sheep. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved.” John 10:7, 9  Jesus’ suffering opened the gates of heaven. His original twelve Jewish disciples suffered even to death for His Kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven was worth their all. They surrendered all to follow Him. Our value is in Him—being like Him.

            The treasure and the pearl of great value were the object and greatest desire of the Man and the Merchant. Lost humanity is the object of Jesus’ greatest desire. Jesus didn’t stop here. He sent the power of the Holy Spirit to help us become His pearl of great price. Jesus’ earthly suffering on the cross did not compare to heaven’s glory. 

It all began with God’s love!

            God would not leave those He loves and created in His image and likeness to remain in their sinful condition. God’s love, however, can’t be exercised at the cost of His holiness, righteousness and justice. In other words, the original Man/Adam was created to love and be loved. God would lavish His love and nature upon Adam. He also wanted Adam of freely reciprocate that love. Once Man sinned, God would do everything possible to bring mankind back to Him. God in Jesus took upon the flesh of man in order to show His infinite love to humanity. Jesus would show God’s holiness and love in a way that humans could understand. When we know and see the great lengths that God went to bring us back to Himself by suffering for our sin and drawing us back to His love, hopefully we will willingly begin to love God. We will want to love the things that God loves and hate the sin that separated us from God. When our hearts open to the love of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, it will be possible through our willingness to be drawn into the beauty of His love and holiness and share it with others.