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Stringing Pearls

by | Fri, Mar 18 2022

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Jesus taught from the Old Covenant Scriptures and He used techniques that were common practice by rabbis and teachers for hundreds of years. One of those techniques was called ‘Gezerah Shevah’ or ‘Comparison of Equals’ which basically means that a passage of Scripture can expand on another passage of Scripture if they share the same word. In other words, Scripture interprets Scripture. Chuck Missler has referred to this as ‘expositional constancy’.

So as part of their study practice, rabbis would look for places in the Bible where the same words were used and then see if and how they might be connected so that they can improve their understanding of God’s Word. They must never contradict each other or undermine the plain meaning of the text because God would never undermine His own Word. The connection is from the Hebrew rather than the English rendering, or any other language for that matter.

This is seen in the parables such as the sower, the birds mentioned in this parable represent satan and his workers who snatch away the word that was sown. In Mark 4 when the disciples asked Jesus to explain the parable He said to them in verse 13, “Don’t you understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables?” In other words, the understanding of the parable of the sower is the key to understanding all the parables.

If the birds in the parable of the sower represent satan and his workers, then the birds in the parable of the mustard tree (Luke 13) with the birds nesting in its branches also represents satan and his workers. Can this be seen throughout Scripture? Yes it can.

In the Old Covenant, God’s Temple service and the priesthood became corrupted with evil wicked men who polluted His house and twisted His Word and Judaism became corrupted by those who looked righteous but were in fact evil, but always, there was a remnant of true believers. In the New Covenant there is the parable of the wheat and the tares that look exactly the same as they grow together until they ripen and the farmer harvests them separately by collecting the tares (Matt 13) to be burned and destroyed and then the wheat which is collected and taken into the barn.

Paul warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29-31, that after he would leave them, false teachers would arise from among their own group who would devour the flock of God with false doctrine and prophets which would wreak havoc on the church. Jude warned of the same thing in his letter, that false teachers and prophets would sneak into the church family ‘unawares’ bringing with them destructive heresies to destroy the faith of some so they can gather followers for themselves.

There are other examples too of the emissaries of the evil one who are determined to corrupt God’s church and claw people away from God’s Word and its truth. The parable of the mustard tree, with the evil birds filling the branches completely matches the warnings in Scripture written later by the Apostles, about false prophets and teachers infiltrating the church to lead people astray.

When Jesus was asked by a young Pharisee which was the greatest commandment in the Torah, He responded by saying “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matt 22:36-39)

The first part comes from Deut 6:5 which is part of the Shema, a prayer said by Jews both morning and evening to this day and is placed inside a mezuzah on the door post of their home. The second part comes from Lev 19:18.

Both passages have the word ‘veh ah’hahv’tah’ which means ‘and you shall love’ and because of this phrase, both passages – though from different sections of the Torah – can be linked together. Scripture interprets Scripture and more often than not, we don’t look deep enough to find the connections.

These two passages are linked together always now, they’re included together into the Mezuzot of Jews all around the world and they’re joined together because of the Hebrew phrase used in both passages ‘veh ah’hahv’tah’. This is what is called ‘stringing pearls.’

God Himself was ‘stringing pearls’ on the day Jesus was baptised.

Matthew 3:16-17, ‘After being baptised Jesus came up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, (whom I love) in whom I am well-pleased.”’

God Himself is quoting HIS OWN SCRIPTURES and putting small phrases together.

‘You are My son’ comes from Psalm 2:7, “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’

‘Whom I love’ comes from Genesis 22:2, ‘He said, “Take now your son, your only son, ‘whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”’

‘In You I am well-pleased’ comes from Isaiah 42:1, “Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.”

Both Psalm 2 and Isaiah 42 have always been understood and accepted to be referring to the Messiah and therefore connected.

Psalm 2 is God proclaiming that His Son is a royal king who will rule over the whole world.

Isaiah 42 is God is calling the Messiah His Servant whom God has placed His Spirit upon.

As Jesus came up out of the water, God the Father said, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased” as the Spirit was in fact descending on Him.

Genesis 22 is the most critical event in the Old Covenant. Abraham was about to sacrifice His son Isaac, a son Abraham waited 100 years to get who was more precious to him than his own life. This foreshadowed God the Father’s own feelings for His own Son, whom He would sacrifice.

When Jesus was baptised the Father was in effect saying, “Here is My precious Son, MY Isaac,” prophetically hinting at the sacrifice Jesus would make in a few short years from that time. In three short quotes from His own Scriptures, God spoke of Jesus as being a King, a Servant and a Son willing to sacrifice Himself. This one sentence reveals Jesus as Prophet, Priest and King encapsulating the Gospel of our Redemption.

Our communion each week is the celebration we share, when we remember the price paid for us. And while Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross is more than enough to demand our gratitude, God has placed His Spirit within us to lead and guide and comfort us and of course He has left for us His Word. We long to hear the voice of God…and yet God is speaking louder than ever if only we would open His Word and read it.

2 Peter 1:3, ‘His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.’

We become like Him – purified and refined, developing His ‘Divine Nature’ through the transforming work of His Word… “…so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature…” The attaining of a life of godliness comes through the process of the Word working in us.

2 Peter 3:14-18, ‘Therefore beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.’

God’s Word is so incredibly powerful, in fact many believers are ignorant of just how powerful God’s Word is and as a result they seek experiences, signs, wonders and fresh words and new revelations and excitement from men because they’re bored with the Word of God. It’s a tragedy that churches and believers world-wide don’t understand how important Scripture is for their spiritual health, if only they would read, study and love the Word of God, because in it…not in other things…but IN IT is the wisdom, counsel, correction, comfort, warning, direction, light, discipline and purification necessary for every aspect and element of the Christian walk.

Hebrews 4:12, ‘For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.’

All Scripture points to Jesus as He is pre-eminent in all creation. Jesus said to the Pharisees during one of their discussions;

John 5:39; “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me.”  – If you want to know Jesus, know His Word. Genesis to Revelation is God’s revelation of Himself to us and His plan – in detail – to rescue us from the power and destruction of sin.

Dig into His Word; study the Hebrew words and search for the various places they’re used to see if and how they’re connected. Ensure that the straight meaning of the text is never compromised and see what lessons you learn; what strings of pearls of beautiful adornment can you discover in God’s amazing Word?

For studying the Hebrew words in the Bible, a really good online resource (free) is the Blue Letter Bible which has the Hebrew and Greek words linked to each verse with their meanings, definitions, roots and even pronunciations along with a host of other excellent teaching resources. www.blueletterbible.org

 

Shalom

Mandy

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