Obsessed or Zeal
It was said by Christ, in tribute to John the Baptist, Matt 11:11 “He was the greatest man ever born of a woman” and Matt 11:9 “he was more than a prophet”.
Is it possible that this man, who was born of a woman, could have a nature that is not human? Would it be right for Jesus to hold John up as an example for us, if he was exempt from the evils of human desirers? We know God had a special mission for him that he needed to start immediately, because of the Spirit’s timing in his life.
Luke 1:15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb.
Well, this seems quite clear. To be great, your start in life involves a filling of the Holy Spirit. That is, the actions of being filled, and a commitment to abstain from wine or alcohol. I think that certainly this conduct can be considered actions of zeal.
But the real question is how and why did he get from here to a place where he was not eating nor drinking?
In Matt 11:18-19 Jesus said, “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds."
Jesus is paralleling John’s life with His in this area of eating and drinking. Yet, even though their consumption of provision and conduct were somewhat opposite, they both were displaying the actions of wisdom. That is, they were displaying truth.
John and Jesus did not fit into the religious protocol of the day because Jesus came to bring us a new covenant. Is that not why Jesus said in Matt 11:6 “And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me.” The religious leaders of the day did not know what to do with these two seemingly different reflections of the truth. John’s way of existence shows a man that is obsessed, but what knowledge of the Truth possessed him to remain living in the desert under what we would consider illogical conditions? And was it these conditions that allowed John to rise above the lure of human desire?
We know that alcohol instantly lowers your inhibitions, that is, it creates a condition where by your mental process that restrains an action, emotion, or thought is reduced. If deeds could be generated from some other realm than the body, then there would be little point in isolating things that affect the mental process. Therefore, anything which has the ability to impact my psychological process, in an ungodly way, has the same ability to project this ungodly way through my deeds.
If it is truly in the deeds that wisdom is vindicated, then it was by his actions of obsession which caused Jesus to refer to John as “more than a prophet”. Can we understand how these seemingly illogical actions positioned him logically in the Truth, as to be referred to as “more than a prophet”?
We know that John’s actions correspond to another great holy prophet of old. I find in 2 Kings 1:8 They replied, “He was a man with a garment of hair and with a leather belt around his waist.” The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.” and in comparison with Mark 1:6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
The teachers of the law should have recognized John as being Elijah from comparing what was written, to how John acted. Why was it necessary to have two different men with the same spirit? In an attempt to understand the “why” let us look at what this Spirit in Elijah accomplished.
1 Kings 17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years except by my word.”
Let us understand this man that God raised up came at a critical time, when the worship of Baal threatened the very existence of worshiping the Lord in Israel. No rain for several years would certainly consume a king’s thoughts as his subjects became impoverished. After many days Elijah calls for a show down.
1 Kings 18:19-21 “Now then send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” So Ahab sent a message among all the sons of Israel, and brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel. And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people did not answer him a word.
After the Lord supplied intense fire that consumed the sacrifice, Elijah said to the people in 1 Kings 18:40; “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
Elijah did away with all the prophets of Baal, and returned the sons of Israel back to the Lord.
1 Kings 18:1 Now it came about after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, “Go show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth.”
Was it just a coincidence that the nation of Israel actions ended a drought of three years? Was it the miracle, or this lack of food that gave them the ability to believe the truth?
We know that it was not the miracle, because if it were, the children of Israel, after living through miracle after miracle, would not have had to spend forty years in the desert for disobedience.
The Lord, through Elijah, withheld the rains for three and a half years to cause His people to return to Him by way of what they did not consume.
Hosea 13:6 As they had their pastures, they became satisfied, and being satisfied, their hearts became proud; therefore they forget Me.
Remember, it was the people who were finally able to see the light of Truth that seized the false prophets of Baal and put them to death. These false prophets thought that they were of God. They were fooled into thinking that they possessed within themselves the ability to discern good from evil, by intellectual means from how they constructed reality.
(NASB) Isaiah 26:9-11 At night my soul longs for Thee, indeed, my spirit within me seeks Thee diligently; for when the earth experiences Thy judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. Though the wicked is shown favor, He does not learn righteousness; he deals unjustly in the land of uprightness, and does not perceive the majesty of the Lord. O Lord, Thy hand is lifted up yet they do not see it.
It was not the miracle of the fire from heaven, but what the lack of food over this three year period of time accomplished; to transform their minds that caused them to believe. This same scenario will repeat itself in the days of the judgment or testing, where fire will come down from heaven to burn up some and purify others.
So what did this same Spirit in John accomplish?
In 1 Kings 19:5-13, Elijah was touched by an angel and was given a cake of bread and a jar of water to strengthen him as he traveled forty days and forty nights across the desert to reach Horeb, the mountain of God.
It was the angel of the Lord who supplied the necessary sustenance to strengthen Elijah to make his pilgrimage of purity across his desert to the mountain of God. After this journey, God showed himself powerfully to Elijah. There is no doubt in my mind that John went through a similar purification process that was pivotal in him receiving insight to the love of God and knowing his mission on how he was to fit into God’s will.
John was filled with the Holy Spirit at birth, but there is no connection at birth with the power. When John denied himself food, drink, soft clothes, a warm house and all the things of this world, to live out in the desert, he did it for a reason, and the deliberate act was not to make him look like he was out of his mind. No, he did it because through the reading of the Old Testament the Spirit revealed to him he was chosen to fulfill this prophecy that was written by Isaiah. He had the eyes and the heart to see it. When they asked him who he was, John replied, “I am the one crying in the wilderness make straight the paths of the Lord.” Why did he not say, John so and so, from where ever? No, he was living in the reality of the word of God. He became who the Spirit revealed to him he was.
John not only knew the scripture that said “Zeal for his house will consume him” but understood exactly how that was to translate into human life. The power of the Holy Spirit positioned him to be the epitome of the pure life and an example of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.
Luke 9:23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”
God is not going to commission a saint to announce the arrival of the Savior of the world if that saint’s action can be called into question. John’s actions reflected directly onto Jesus. The Holy Spirit was in complete control of John and any directives he gave to his disciples were completely in the center of God’s will. When Jesus started to address the crowd in regards to John, he questioned them about what they went out to see, since he was not dressed in fine clothes. “A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.
John was working ahead of Jesus and starting to get the people ready to receive the way. There is only one “way” and that is the way of Christ. So if John was before Christ preparing the only way, this way that he was living and teaching was in fact the method to position oneself to receive all which Jesus is offering. Jesus lets us understand how John ranked, so we can know what weight to give to his teaching by reporting to us, “I tell you the truth; among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist...”
John had the ability to see where God was working and he embraced the invitation to be used there. These great prophets of God chose to obey and rely on the Holy Spirit to accomplish the will of the Father through them. Jesus shows us that he too has placed himself under this same authority and will do nothing by himself.
John 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.”
John, like Jesus, knew that seeing where the Father was working was key to accomplishing their missions and enjoying the power of the Spirit.
If the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does and the Son came to show us the way to have the same relationship, then it would stand to reason that if we follow the steps, the Father will treat us in the same manor. The only possibility that John could have had to prepare the way for the one who is called “The Way” is to be giving directions that run parallel to the directions the “Way” came to give. Jesus baptism was superior to that of John’s, but the way was congruent.
Matt 9:14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
If we hunger and thirst for more and more of God’s power to be released in our lives, we will start aligning ourselves more and more with the principles that John exhibited and directed his disciples to follow. If you are uncertain how to follow Jesus, then mirror the one who is mirroring Jesus until the Spirit reveals to you the Person of Christ.
Matt 21:32 Jesus said to them,...“For John came to you to show you the way to righteousness, and you did not believe him, but tax collectors and the prostitutes did.”
The way of righteousness is a journey and if you are not on this journey to the mountain of God then you are not filling your earthenware jar of oil, that is your body, and it shows you do not believe. Just because of the times in which we live and our vocations don’t afford us the same luxuries as John, we should not abandon the underlining principles. John not only spoke, but demonstrated the practical principles of truth, and that is why the people came to see, hear and be baptized.
Matt 3:5 Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea, and all the district around the Jordan; and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.
John demonstrated his blessings and power to us when God’s law of purity is embraced with his statement in John 1:29 “behold the lamb of God” when he saw him in a distance. This same ability to see God and where he is working is not just limited to John, but will become the attribute of all who will embrace this law of purity.
The Spirit, through John the Baptist short life, exhibited a repentant life and started his disciples out on the same path. His directive to abstain from food was voluntary, not withheld. Love asks for volunteers, and volunteers by faith will see the Father, these deeds caused His people to return to Him by way of what they did not consume. John was positioning the elect, that is the bride, to be able to receive Christ Jesus as their bridegroom.
(NASB) Luke 2:36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with a husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. And she never left the temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayers.
God has laid out for us what it takes to be a prophetess, and since we are expecting to be married to Christ, when the Lamb returns to take His bride, we must fulfill our requirements. I know that this sounds quite simple, and for something so simple how can we be having such difficulty? Could it be that we have left the temple?
Anna never left the temple, which means she never abandoned that which was to honor God, her body. To abandon ones temple would seem impossible, since you are always in it. When you have stopped serving in your temple night and day with fasting and pray, then you have forsaken it and opened it up to that which would ravage it, through unrestrained lawlessness.
God is a God of order, and when His temple is practicing lawlessness, it cannot obey her husband, much less follow him. God views it as committing adultery. But Anna gives us a perfect example of what we as prophetess need to function like.
Jesus in Matt 17:11-13 leaves no doubt who John was, but also speaks of another Elijah to come in the future. God has demonstrated that He has had two Elijahs, would it be so hard to believe in three. (NASB) And he answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you, that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to them whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.
The disciples may have understood, by way of Christ reply that John had in him the spirit of Elijah, but no one in that time period recognizes him as such. So, what about this Elijah to come, the one who will restore all things?
Mark 9:12 And he said to them, “Elijah does come first, and restores all things. And yet how is it written of the Son of Man that he will suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I say to you that Elijah has indeed come, and they did to him whatever they wished, just as it is written of him.”
Jesus is asking us a question, to unlock the mystery, using himself as the point in time. If it wasn’t John the Baptist, or Jesus, we need to be looking for a man that has the spirit of Elijah, which will restore all things. Therefore, when he comes, we are only going to recognize him by comparing his life to that of the life of Elijah and John the Baptist, and if his message is restoring all things. The only reason Jesus is sending another Elijah is because the scribes and false prophets have mislead the people, which is the same reason He needed the first two Elijahs. What does this “restoring all things” look like?
(NASB) Malachi 4:5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And he will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.”
Luke 1:17 “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah. TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN and the disobedient to the attitude of righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Sometime, before this great and terrible day of the Lord, this man is going to have the spirit of Elijah in him, and will deliver God’s message which will change the hearts of men and women, boys and girls, by exposing their disobedience and instructing them in the attitude of righteousness.
If the church, and I use the word loosely, understood “the way” as our spiritual leaders would have us believe, then there would be no need for this third and final Elijah. This Elijah to come will not be preaching what any other so called spiritual leaders are advocating, for his message will be radically different in every way.
For the Lord will not return until all of His elect are in a position and ready to be received. What happened in the days of John the Baptist is going to repeat itself. Just as John was a forerunner of the Christ, preparing the way with a message of repentance, so will be someone else.
Likewise, the words portraying John’s mission and the reasons for the commission are the identical, so that it will make ready the bride of Christ for the return of the bridegroom. The actions to bring about repentance are precisely the faithful behavior of the bride as she dresses herself in her white gown.
Luke 1:17 “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah. To turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
What does this word attitude mean? Attitude: The posture of the body in connection with an action, mood, etc.
Posture: The position of the body or the carriage of the body.
Could this mean that we “the elect” are in disobedience, because of the manner of how we are carrying our head and body in contrast with the attitude of righteous? We know that the goal is righteousness, and therefore, is the “answer” righteousness? The question becomes, what are our variables which constitute our equation? If attitude forms the equation, and attitude is the manner of carrying the head and body, then our variables are in the different ways of holding or supporting our head and body as we move. We can only move and be supported if we have life and the life is in the blood.
Lev 17:14 “For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life.
The blood has only two real variables, pure or contaminated. If contaminated blood produces lawlessness (lawlessness # 3551 in the Greek, means to parcel out, and especially food) and lawlessness is the parceling out of food, then how I consume food is going to determine the purity of the blood. If our variables are “pure and contaminate” in our equation of attitude, then it is the variable “contaminate” which must be producing disobedience. Therefore, would it not stand to reason that “pure variable in the blood” would produce obedience which leads to righteousness and a white gown?
James 5:17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.
This man that comes will have a nature just like ours, who will pray that we will recognize that it is in our intake of food, or our hunger and thirst after righteousness, which needs to be our primary concern.
These three men with the Spirit all have the same directive, to expose false teachings and to make ready for Christ to receive.
And what about Paul’s life? If the Lord trusted and honored him to write a large portion of the New Testament he must have also been purified. On the road to Damascus, the Lord blinded him to make him comprehend his darkness, so that he could see he was spiritually blind. Up to this point he believed with everything in him that it was the Christians who were blind.
Saul has great zeal for God, but he was on the wrong road. His physical blindness of three days was God’s miracle, telling him and us the length of time needed to overcome his and our physical problem of spiritual blindness. The three days of blindness, was to represent his three years he would spend in humility, humbling himself before God, which invoked and positioned him to receive the teaching by the Spirit on how to see.
Each time I humble myself before the Lord for an extended period of time; there are three things that I notice soon after. I dump putrefied fecal material, my mind becomes clearer and my I have a new appreciation for what I allow into my body. Given the time, and the accumulative nature of this process, there will be no missing the mark. You will ultimately communicate with Christ face to face. The Spirit taught Paul all things and the Spirit wants to teach you all things.
Gal 1:15 But when God, who set me apart by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter...
This man was not only going exactly opposite to the will of God, but doing it with such drive all the followers of Jesus were greatly concerned. His whole life was instantly turned 180 degrees, which means, everything in his life that testified against Christ, even though he believed his action and motives were from God, turned to have this Jesus revealed. He was turned by God’s grace and immediately went into the desert, where he started his three years of repentance. Paul did not return in the power of the Spirit from the desert, so when did he receive power? We cannot argue that Paul was ignorant of the truth or was lacking in power when he started his ministry. Therefore, we must conclude that God revealed himself to Paul sometime in this three year period and was endowed with power before the start of his ministry.
You cannot expect to have the power unless you do the time as you follow the steps. God made no exception for his Son, Paul or anybody else, and neither will he for you.
Isaiah 20:3 “Even as My servant Isaiah has gone naked and barefoot three years, as a sign and a token against Egypt and Cush.”
The Holy Spirit through the Old Testament did not miss conveying the proper time line to Paul.
It was no coincidence that Paul spent the amount of time he did with the Ephesians Elders to facilitate their sanctification. I am sure Paul spent four or five years studying in bible school to become a Pharisee, and who can argue that this was not God’s will, but it still took another three years in God’s program with the Holy Spirit as teacher. The Spirit of God was in Paul, so it would make sense that when he was teaching the Ephesians Elders he would repeat the same program in the same time frame.
Acts 20:31 So Be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. “Now I commit you to God and to the word of this grace, which can build up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified."
This was not some instantaneous inheritance which comes following some quick pray, but this is an understanding of the words of grace, which when obeyed, will build you to a point where you can be given an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Note that Paul said “who are sanctified, not “those who will finish being sanctified by Christ in Heaven”. Most, if not all well meaning pastors would have you believe that sanctification is an on going process which will only finish in heaven.
Was Joseph a man obsessed or was he consumed with a zeal for his house?
(NASB) Genesis 39:3-5 Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge. And it came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house, and over all that he owned, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the Lord’s blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field.
I could not imagine anyone who would not want the Lord of heaven and earth to be with him in a way where all that they would put their hand to, would prosper. Something was different about Joseph than all his brothers. Whatever it was, we need to know how to take hold of it. And for all that have eyes to see God, in the next few verses paints us the picture of why He was blessing him and the circumstances which need to come together to either start you on this road of blessing, or in Joseph’s case, take him higher.
(NASB) Genesis 39:6-12 …Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And it came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all things in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil, and sin against God?” And it came about as she spoke to Joseph day after day, that he did not listen to her to lie beside her, or be with her. Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside. And she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.
This integrity that Joseph held dearly maintained and produced in him a handsome form and a clean appearance. When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him, he refused to give in to her demands and gratify his flesh. When the situation developed to the point where temptation literally seized him, he fled to a place that removed him from his seducer and cooled him down.
Day after day food is calling out to seduce us in our master’s house, our bodies, and when we are all alone the temptation can be overwhelming. Joseph could not do this great evil because poison was not raining in his life and he was not about to allow it to start, and sin against God.
Joseph was placed in prison by Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials.
Genesis 39:20 ...But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness...
How can the Bible expect us to believe, that being confined in a cell with a diet of bread and water for some six or seven years, could be considered an act of kindness by the Lord? The fact of the matter is that before the Lord could raise Joseph to the position second only under Pharaoh, he had to purify him. Joseph was suffering in prison and he did not even know what was happening, but the actions that follow truth, with or without knowledge, give the same results. This time in prison sanctified Joseph and he may not have even known what took place. For some of us, we need God to show us this same kindness, because without a prison we cannot discipline ourselves for the length of time required to perfect holiness. It is not a coincidence that this is what the great tribulation period is going to provide for all humanity; a time of captivity where God removes all temptations in varying degrees which bless some and curse others. Should we see it for what it is and choose to embrace this kindness by obeying, then we can be transported to where we need to be, to receive God’s best. If we are not ready or choose to rebel, we will die and go through a much longer and grievous captivity where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matt 13:41-43 “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father, He who has ears, let him hear.”
We all have ears. We all can hear but the question is, "Why can we not materialize the message from the word to paint the correct picture?” Jesus is telling us by His words He is sending His angels to remove all stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness. Each of us has a choice once we know what lawlessness looks like and the requirements of righteousness. All the conveniences of life that we have constructed, which we believe has made living our lives easier, have produced short cuts at the expense of our temples. Many of these involve and are made possible by “the prince of the power of the air” which culminates to keep the righteous from shining as the sun.
Rev 13:10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and faith of the saints.
If we move quickly with actions that move us into righteousness before the beast kills the two witnesses of God, we will hear the voice of the Lord when he calls up His bride. However, the foolish virgins will not hear the call and will be forced to return for more oil in the last half of the tribulation period. Those who have no regard for God will be removed to captivity, some sooner and some later.
Eze 16:53 “Nevertheless, I will restore their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, and along with them your own captivity, in order that you may bear your humiliation, and feel ashamed for all that you have done when you become a consolation to them.”
At some point in time God is going to restore our loved ones to us who, through their actions, chose plan “B” that they may wipe away all tears from heaven. They may be called the least in heaven, as they bear their humiliation, but they are all in heaven with us.
Joseph and Mary spent three days searching for Jesus after they discovered he was not with the caravan. When they found Him, his mother said in Luke 2:48 “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” (Jesus replies) “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Are we like His parents that were anxiously searching for Jesus? And why are we searching? They did not understand what He was saying to them or the significance of the time line needed to find him. We, like His parents, have traveled away from where Jesus is and it took them two days to come full circle, to where they could start to look. Those two days for them equates to two years for us. Sometime in the third year, we will find him, just like they found him sometime on the third day. They were searching to find, for the purpose of having Him with them, the same reason we will be searching. When they found Him, they talked to Jesus face to face, just as we will. They found Him in his Father’s house, the temple courts, asking questions and giving answers. When we find Him sometime in the third year, he will start revealing Himself to us inside the Father’s house, our bodies.
God said in Isaiah 55:10-11 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Once you know the truth, there is no running away from God’s plans for you. Jonah tried to resist his mission that God had for him, and through his account we gain insight to the power of God to accomplish His will through His Saint. By Jonahs’ own actions he found himself inside the whale, the place God took him to, where he would die to himself to save others.
John 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
Once he made the decision to die to himself, God provided the power to make this journey to purity.
Jonah 1:17 But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
It took this great fish three days and nights to swim to where God needed Jonah transported too, not only in terms of proximity in geography, but relative to purity. Once purity is achieved, God has a way of transporting you right to the center of his will, and like Jonah, you will go on in the power of the Spirit to turn people back to God.
Matt 12:39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But no sign will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”
We are this wicked and adulterous generation and we need no other signs, because Jonah is now speaking loud and clear.
If Jesus was monopolized with intense enthusiasm for my body, this same zeal would have been exemplified in the lives of other great men of faith as well.
Daniel 1:8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.
This is not Daniel being concerned because the king is asking him to drink blood or eat dung or other putrid things, for that would be understandable to believe that you would become defiled. No, this is royal food and wine, and was the best in the whole world. It did not make sense to the King or anyone else who would not take seriously the instructions found in the word of God. Daniel knew the words of God and placed his trust in the one who designed his body, as well as, the world he lives in.
Daniel 1:12-16 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. At the end of ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.”
And are these actions stemming from knowledge given somewhere in the Old Testament whereby Daniel could have gleaned this wisdom from? The answer is yes and is not hidden from anyone who is seeking to know truth. Genesis 1:29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”
Genesis 1:30 I give every green plant for food.
Nev 13:22 And I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come as gatekeepers to sanctify the Sabbath day.
Job 20:12-14 Though evil is sweet in his mouth, And he hides it under his tongue, Though he desires it and will not let it go, But holds it in his mouth, Yet his food in his stomach is changed to the venom of cobras within him.
Pro 23:1-3 When you sit down to dine with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you; And put a knife to your throat, If you are a man of great appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, For it is deceptive food.
Daniel knew that it was his responsibility alone to purify himself. He was aware of what foods were best and had been taught the purification rules. 2 Chr 30:19 May the good Lord pardon everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though not according to the purification rules of the sanctuary. What was quite evident to Daniel was how the combining of certain foods, although sweet in the mouth and most desirous, would turn to poisons in his stomach. He also knew that high acid foods like meat and wine would work to remove sound thinking and shorten ones life.
There was plenty of choice meat and wine on the table of the King of Babylon along with dishes that combined foods that would harm and poison the body. You do not understand that you are being poisoned. This poison goes to deceives you and you will not respect God for who He is. This is what happened to King Nebuchadnezzar..
Daniel 4:29 “Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’ ”
If Daniel was human and this food was going to defile him, then it was going to defile all humans who were eating at the king's table, which includes the king. When Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, verbalized what was in his heart, God gave him another dream to inform him of the sentence of his actions, not to condemn him but to restore him.
Daniel 4:27 “Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness, and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.”
The king most certainly did not heed Daniel’s advice.
Daniel 4:29 “Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’ ”
Here we have God’s word showing the arrogance and the pride building in the king’s heart by what and how he chose to eat, to a point were his mind became full of himself.
Daniel 4:31 ‘While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the wild beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes.’
I do not see the king eating his choice foods anymore, do you? For seven years he ate green feed from herbs and the one herb which is known as king, is alfalfa. Green feed of alfalfa is king because its makeup purifies the blood and God’s word tells us that the life is in the blood. When the blood becomes pure, it is only a matter of time and the mind becomes pure.
Daniel 4:34 “But at the end of that period I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; …
There was no one out with the king in the field preaching to him or teaching him the way to know God, but yet by his actions, his mind returned to him in such a way that he saw God for who He was. There are two very important words which my New American Standard Bible directs to the Hebrew; the one is reason (4486) and the other is returned (7725). To understand and receive the full impact of what happened is to unlock the very heart of the gospel of Christ so let us look deep into these words.
Reason: 4486 correspondingly to 4093; wisdom or intelligence: - knowledge, reason, understanding.
4093: from 3045; intelligence or consciousness: - knowledge, science, thought.
3045: a primary root; to know (probable to ascertain by seeing); be diligent, (can, cause to) discern, discover, endued with, have knowledge, (make to be, make self known, + be learned, + perceive, privy to, x prognosticator, regard, have respect, teach, (can) tell, understand, have (understanding), x will be.
Returned (7725) a primary root; to turn back (hence, away) generally to retreat; often adverbially again: - (break, build, circumcise, dig, call to mind, convert, deliver (again), + deny, draw back, fetch home again, recompense, recover, refresh, relieve, render (again), x repent, take back (off), (cause to, make to) turn (again, backwards, from off)
The king was out in the field with the cattle, being diligent in drawing back, recovering, refreshing, causing to repent because he had no choice; he was out of his royal mind. But when the natural effects of such a diet take hold, in time, there is no one who is not endowed with thought of knowledge and understanding. Who can discern, discover, make self known, perceive, privy to, that is a prognosticator, one who foretells or predicts, because that is what seeing God gives you.
Daniel 4:36 “At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were resorted to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty and surpassing greatness was added to me.
We, like Daniel, or Nebuchadnezzar, need a period of time where we are on a regiment of vegetables and off of meats and wine so our minds will see him clearly and direct our bodies to praise, honor and glorify Him who lives forever.
Daniel’s advice was not just for the king, but all human beings, with a half an ounce of understanding, who can conceive they are operating from the realm of pride and arrogance, rather than reasoning.
Isaiah 2:12 For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty, and against everyone who is lifted up, that he may be abased.
Should we choose not to take Daniel’s advice and start of our own accord, we, like Nebuchadnezzar, will be sentenced to seven years of tribulation, where we may not be out of our minds, but it will be out of our control, likewise, not to condemn us, but for the purpose of restoring.
Psalms 69:22 May the table set before them become a snare; may it become retribution and a trap. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever. Pour out your wrath on them; may their place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in their tents.
God is showing us that our table has the potential, depending on how it is set, to become a snare which will take revenge for ignorant actions. As we continue, we will reap the deserved punishment for breaking God’s eternal laws, which is only the natural outcome to disobedience. What we allow ourselves to eat will darken our eyes so we cannot see where the Father is working. Our knowledge of God, which is our center of strength, will be distorted and bent away from the truth until our life is no more.
Isaiah 28:8 For all the tables are full of filthy vomit, without a single clean place.
It is a statement that transience time, for whom at any point in history has knowingly sat down to a bowl of vomit? This truth is covering all tables throughout time. There is no one that is in a clean place! Human nature has not changed, and without insight, one can not see that truth stated is always correct. If no one did sit down to a bowl of vomit then what is God telling us? This vomit is undigested foods, which if it could be thrown up would not hurt you. This food has not made you sick to your stomach, and if it had, you would not be eating it again. Is God using this table set with vomit to convey to us that we keep going back to eat what makes us sick even through we do not realize it? Could this be why God refers to pagan nations as dogs?
Psalms 59:14 And they return at evening, they howl like a dog, And go around the city. They wander about for food, and growl if they are not satisfied.
Pro 26:11 Like a dog that returns to its vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.
If we keep getting sick, then we are acting like a dog. If we do not recognize that our folly is at our table and we keep returning to chow down the same food which made us sick, then a dog would be the perfect analogy.
Do not be foolish enough to let your flesh convince you that these words of God are painting some spiritual picture that leaves you void of direction. These necessary concrete actions, which are intended to be conveyed as it relates to the physical body, are defining your spiritual reality. Remember, it is not the spiritual body that must endure to the end, but the physical body.
Matt 24:13 “But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.”
Rev 2:26 and 3:21 Why? Because the answer is obvious. God is judging the physical temple that each one of us has built, through our choices, in order to reveal the true nature of our spiritual reality. The Day of Judgment is a physical test!
2 Peter 2:21-22 “For it would be better for them not to have know the way of righteousness, than having know it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow after washing, returns to its wallowing in the mire.”
Our own action of lust for food is aligning us with the curse, which gives us over to a depraved mind and before long there is nothing spiritual left in our bodies. Yes, the lights may be on, but there is nobody home.
Pro 23:1 Note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you be given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.
Over eating is so devastating to the body, that God is using a picture of a knife to our throat to help us resist this temptation. But the act of gluttony is different for every person, depending on that person’s size. Over eating can occur long before you feel full. Most of us have forced the enlargement of this organ and until it is brought back to its God given size, who can assess anything?
Pro 14:25 The Righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the stomach of the wicked is in want.
1 Cor 6:13 Food is for the stomach, and the stomach for food; but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body.
God wants us to be able to enjoy eating. That is one of the great benefits that are delivered when you take time to feast on God’s word. Feasting on the word of God gives time for the stomach to return to its God given size. Remember, just because these delicacies taste so good, that does not mean that they are godly, for they are in fact deceptive, that is, to make a person believe what is not true. If one were to continue indulging in such foods, even the most grounded Christian, would find himself moving away from what the Lord is for, your body, and find himself deep in immorality.
Numbers 14:11-12 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them...
It is in these miraculous signs that should cause us to understand the importance of employing all the directives, for it is in the act of deploying, that enables us to use the word “believes”.