"And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldst keep his commandments, or no." (Deut 8:2)
Our sins are covered by the atoning blood. Our sins are forever hidden under the blood. Hidden and covered now, and soon to be removed. They are brought no more to remembrance. The penalty for sin is death. Innocent blood paid the penalty price of sin. This is the cross. We also sacrifice grains, and drink at the brasen altar. Things that sustain life. Things of this world that we hold dear. Food and drink are essential to life. It is crucial to the viability of life that we receive food and drink daily. Bread and water. Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
*And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross DAILY, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
THE BRASEN ALTAR IS THE CROSS: IT IS THE STONY EARTH OF THE SOWER SOWETH THE WORD PARABLE; IT IS FATHER JACOB'S PENUEL; IT IS GIDEON'S MT. GILEAD; IT IS OUR HEART OF STONE
The brasen altar was three cubits in height. The priests had to lift up relatively heavy animal sacrifices of oxen and sheep to place them upon the altar. At our best estimate a cubit is between 18 and 25 inches. That makes the brasen altar 4 1/2 to 6 1/4 feet high. They built a ramp up the sides of the brasen altar made of unhewn (natural) stones covered with earth according to the law concerning altars:
*An altar of EARTH thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in ALL places where I record my name, I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. And if thou wilt make me an altar of STONE, thou shalt NOT BUILD IT OF HEWN STONE: for if thou LIFT UP thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. NEITHER shalt thou go up BY STEPS unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon. (Ex 20:24-26)
*And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the PRIDE and STOUTNESS OF HEART, The bricks are fallen down, but WE WILL build with HEWN STONES: the sycamores are cut down, but WE WILL change them into cedars. Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his armies together. (Isa 9:9-11)
*Shall the axe BOAST ITSELF against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw MAGNIFY ITSELF against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should SHAKE ITSELF against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should LIFT UP ITSELF, as if it were no WOOD. (Isa 10:15)
THE MOST IMPORTANT PARABLE IN THE BIBLE
"And the Word [Gr: logos] was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). Therefore the Bible is a parable. If the whole be a parable, what then of the parts? Can the parts be other than the whole? The Bible is the body of Christ. Everything in the Bible is a parable. A tongue is a parable. It is multi-dimensional.
THE TONGUE OF THE LORD
*And with many such parables SPAKE he the WORD [Gr: logos] unto them, AS THEY WERE ABLE TO HEAR IT. But without a parable SPAKE he not unto them: and when they were alone, he EXPOUNDED [interpreted] all things to his disciples. (Mark 4:33,34)
Jesus Christ spoke in tongues, and interpreted tongues (I Cor 12:10). He gave us His Spirit that we too can be as He is and do as He did. He manifested all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, for He was our perfect example. The entire Bible, Word, body, is a tongue and "foolishness" to the natural man (I Cor 2:11-14). The Word of God is a tongue. It is through the Spirit of God that the "logos" things of Him are spiritually discerned. They become "rhema." The light of the golden candlestick upon the shewbread enlightens our understanding. The Holy Spirit interprets the tongue of the Lord. Jesus Christ is the tongue of the Lord. Praise God.
THE SEED IS THE WORD OF GOD
SEED SOWN BY THE WAY SIDE
*For with stammering lips and another [unintelligible] tongue will he speak to this people. (Isa 28:11)
*Thou shalt not see [perceive or discern] a fierce people [Joel 2:2], a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive [or receive]; of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand. (Isa 33:19)
This is Egypt, the land of the unsaved: a people of closed eyes, dull ears, and hardened hearts. These are unwilling to receive God's seed into the field of their heart and do not understand this alien tongue. "I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you." (John 8:37). To these Satan comes immediately "and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved" (Luke 8:12). Nevertheless, some will be saved as we continue to prepare the land and the rest will be burned as fuel for the fire. The Lord our God has spoken that He "will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh." (Ezek 11:19).
SEED SOWN INTO STONY GROUND
My family lived on and worked a farm for a while when I was a child. In the spring we would prepare the field for seeding. My dad and I (he mostly) would pick up a large unwieldly stone and drop it upon a smaller stone embedded in the ground. The embedded stone would absorb the shock while the larger stone would break into smaller pieces. I could then tote the more manageable pieces out of the field.
*And WHOSOEVER SHALL FALL upon this stone SHALL BE BROKEN: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. (Matt 21:44)
These stony-hearted people have received some of the seed of the Word. They have been broken enough for some of the seed to gain a sparse toe-hold but they have "not much earth" (Mark 4:5) for the seed to dwell in. They have not properly prepared the land to receive seed for a crop. They have not toted the stones out of the field, nor have they continued to break up the larger stones. They are not good farmers because they are unwilling to prepare the land. It is important to note that good ground which has been properly prepared has no stones or thorns in it. The stones are toted out of the field perhaps to form a fence and the scrub brush, briers and thorns are burned in a field fire (Isa 33:12).
We tend to concentrate on the breaking of the stone and then neglect to remove the pieces. A stone of two cubit feet of mass when broken into pieces still occupies two cubit feet of space, and weighs the same. It just appears different. We neglect to disciple them and then wonder at the results:
*I went by the FIELD of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with THORNS, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the STONE wall thereof was broken down. THEN I SAW, AND CONSIDERED IT WELL: I looked upon it, AND RECEIVED INSTRUCTION. (Prov 24:30-32)
These are reluctant uncommitted farmers. These are professing Christians. They call themselves farmers but are not. They are dabblers. Therefore when tribulation or persecution from other men comes upon them because of their crop of the Word, "immediately they are offended" (Mark 4:17), and "fall away" (Luke 8:13) almost eagerly from the workfield. They seem to be looking for an excuse to leave. From them and for them, there will be no crop. They turn back to Egypt. They backslide into what they were and, in reality, what they have always been. A truly new creature in Christ cannot slide back into someone who no longer exists (II Cor 5:17).
They do not really want to be farmers in the promised land in Israel. They want to be Egyptians in Egypt. They do not want to live in the positional spiritual world and enjoy spiritual fruits. They want to live in the experiential natural world and enjoy natural fruits. God honors their decision. "Remember Lot's wife." (Luke 17:32).
We of the stony ground harbor the stones of pride in our heart as we stand near the brasen altar of sacrifice at the foot of the cross. "We" because we all have some of this. These stones must willingly be submitted and broken into powder here if we are to proceed beyond the cross to the brasen laver, into the tabernacle, into the very Presence of God.
*BY THIS THEREFORE SHALL THE INIQUITY OF JACOB BE PURGED; AND THIS IS ALL THE FRUIT TO TAKE AWAY HIS SIN; WHEN HE MAKETH ALL THE STONES OF THE ALTAR AS CHALKSTONES THAT ARE BEATEN IN SUNDER, THE GROVES AND IMAGES SHALL NOT STAND UP. (Isa 27:9)
We need to hear Isaiah 27:9 at least five times for its entire message is monumental. Chalk is powdery white limestone consisting chiefly of fossil shells. (Is this a physical/spiritual substantiation of Genesis 1:1,2 referring to a first Lucerferian earth?) Chalk is produced by burning stones in a kiln. No one can tote rocks into the tabernacle. No one can stand for long at the foot of the cross. We must choose. We must either kneel down, become broken and follow Him ever deeper into the body, or return from whence we came. He who refuses to kneel that he may "be broken to shivers [Gr: pieces]: even as I received of my Father" (Rev 2:27) and be clothed with the blood, will stand naked before the Father at the great white throne judgment. The same stone is for both the sheep and the goats. Measure for measure. The disobedient, rebellious, unbroken and therefore unloving child will be grinded into powder by the stone. The very same stone is a loving Father toward loving obedient children. All men will be broken, and every knee shall bow.
FATHER JACOB'S PENUEL
Jacob was "touched" in the hollow of his thigh. The thigh is the strongest muscle of the body. He was "touched" in his visible natural strength. We are all "touched" in our strength at the cross. Thereafter he "limped" in his natural strength but was a prince with God in spiritual strength. As Jacob, the bulk of his strength was natural experiential strength. As Israel, the bulk of his strength was spiritual. We must lose to gain, die to live (John 12:24).
THE DAY JACOB DIED
*And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, AND MY LIFE IS PRESERVED. (Gen 32:30)
In Hebrew, Peniel and Penuel mean "the face of God." Peniel and Penuel are two different spellings for the same word. However, it is interesting that they are juxtaposed sentence to sentence, particularly in light of what happened in vss. 30 and 31. There is much more here. Did Jacob see the face of God and live? "No man hath seen God at any time." (I John 4:12; also I Tim 6:16). Did Jacob live in direct contradiction to God's own Word in Exodus 33:20? No. Jacob died. Jacob died positionally right then and there when he saw the face of God, and Israel lived. Jacob died, was "born again" and became Israel. Jacob's positional death was immediate. Jacob's experiential death was becoming: it lagged behind the immediacy of his positional death. That is why Jacob could say "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." He didn't know that he was dead!
The cross is the face of God. Egyptians lay down and die at the foot of the cross. Christians are born at the foot of the cross and lifted up. Israel lived. Jacob died but continued on for a time.
*But unto you that fear my name shall the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS ARISE with HEALING in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and GROW UP as calves of the stall. (Mal 4:2)
This was the experiential death of Jacob and Israel's passover, for the natural man cannot pass over. This was the depiction of Israel's complete positional healing. This was the dawning of his experiential healing into Israel: his becoming, his growing up into Israel beginning as a calf of the stall. The bright light rays of the life of the morning star were filling the emptiness of the vessel that had once been filled with the darkness of Jacob. The vessel of Jacob's death was becoming the living vessel of Israel. Hallelujah! Jacob still didn't know that he was dead, but by now he must have figured that something was up.
Jacob spiritually grew up into a young man (I John 2:14) named Israel. He grew into Israel. He was now called Israel by God, and Israel as a new creature was given the prime directive of Genesis 1:28: "Be fruitful, and multiply." Jacob already had eleven sons. Please note at this time that God spoke of "a nation" and "a company of nations" and "kings" that "shall" (future tense) come out of Israel's loins. Israel only had one child and his name is Benjamin, son of the right hand (Gen 35:16-18). Benjamin was birthed in direct obedience to and fulfillment of God's commandment to Israel: "Be fruitful, and multiply." Isn't that interesting?
GIDEON'S MT. GILEAD
*And the children of Israel DID EVIL in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. (Jud 6:1)
Sounds like a type of the tribulation period to me. The Midianite host would constantly invade the land at harvest times bringing vast destruction, oppression and poverty upon the children of Israel. As the harvest season of the seventh year of this tribulation and persecution arrived, the Midianites invaded the land again. The Midianite army was corporate. It included the Midianites (Heb: strife), the Amalekites (Heb: warlike), and the Arabians (Heb: wild). Does that ring a bell? Do we know of any other corporate entities? Hint: Goliath, Antichrist.
*And it came to pass, WHEN the children of Israel [who had turned away from God much like this world now has, finally] cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel.... (Jud 6:7,8)
And "more than a prophet" (Matt 11:9), "much more than a prophet" (Luke 7:26), and his name is Enoch Noah Abraham Sarah Rahab Aaron Benjamin Gideon Ruth David Elijah John the Baptist and many others some few of whom are mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11, who corporately form the body of the Manchild, the deliverer (Obad 21).
WINNOWING THE SHEAVES
*And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel VAUNT THEMSELVES [in pride] against me, saying, MINE OWN HAND hath saved me. Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, WHOSOEVER IS FEARFUL AND AFRAID, let him RETURN and DEPART early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand. (Jud 7:2,3)
The stony ground of Mt. Gilead is where the hard stones of unyielding pride in our heart and consequent disbelief in God find witness and testimony. It is the cross, where the inner beliefs and willingness of the heart are proclaimed. It is the brasen altar of sacrifice where we will either offer ourselves a living sacrifice, or we will not. It is the valley of decision. It is our personal Penuel. There is only one path, but two directions. Forward or back. We must either seek the face of God and follow Him, or turn our backs to God and follow him. We will die to live, or live to die.
*And the LORD said unto him [Gideon], Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites AS ONE MAN. (Jud 6:16)
This was God's Word. God gave His Word. He said Gideon and his army would "as one man" smite the Midianites and have the victory. Amen! The 22,000 were "fearful and afraid." They did not believe God. They looked at the Midianite host and counted the odds as four to one and said to themselves, "we are going to get our butts kicked, I'm too young to die, I gotta get out of here." They did not believe God for the victory. They thought God a liar. They walked by sight. They believed what they saw. They responded to God's call and volunteered to join God's army and came to church. But when they saw the enemy army, their sight called their faith in God's Word a liar. They believed their sight and did not believe God. These are professing Christians. These are of stony ground and will "fall away" immediately when tribulation or persecution arises for the Word's sake i.e. their faith, because they have none. These will "return" from whence they came (Egypt) and "depart early" i.e. as soon as possible.
JORDAN RIVER GEOGRAPHY
In Hebrew, Merom means: high place, the lifting up, eminences, elevations. The Waters of Merom, sometimes referred to as Lake Huleh, are the headwaters of the Jordan river. Merom is about three miles in diameter and is the northern most point and beginning from which the Jordan river descends. Merom is 230 feet above sea level. From Merom the Jordan rapidly descends 10 miles into the Sea of Galilee at 700 feet below sea level and then 70 miles more as the crow flies into the Dead Sea which is 1290 feet below sea level. The Jordan issues forth from the "high place" and descends to the low place.
In Hebrew, Galilee means: circuit, wheel, revolution, heap, the circle. The Sea of Galilee is approximately 9 miles at its widest point by 13 miles long. Other names for it are the Sea of Chinnereth or Chinneroth which means "harp-shaped" in Hebrew, the Lake of Gennesaret, and the Sea of Tiberias. The fishing industry thrived on this sea. On and around the Sea of Galilee Jesus did most of His teaching and performed 18 of His recorded 33 miracles.
The Dead Sea or Salt Sea is approximately 10 miles wide by 50 miles long. The surface of the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth. That is very interesting! The water is extremely salty because of continual evaporation which separates the water from the hard minerals. The Dead Sea is also fed by sulfurous springs. It has no outlet. The salt and mineral content of the Dead Sea compose about twenty-five percent of the water as compared to six percent in the ocean. Because of the extraordinarily high salt and mineral content, the Dead Sea is virtually dead. Although Jesus lived His whole life within relatively a few miles of the Dead Sea, He never went to it nor visited it on any occasion. Neither did He ever refer to it. Isn't that interesting?
Great multitudes of fish came to Jesus through the nets of Peter, James and John on the Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:1-10). So many fish came that both ships began to sink with the astonishing draught of fishes taken up. The fish were eager to be caught up as illustrated later in the ministry of Jesus when He sent Peter to the sea to "cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money." (Matt 17:27).
***Take up, Peter, the fish that is first in line, the one most eager among those desiring to be caught. That fish shall bear thee a gift. That gift is his self.***
Some fish avoid the nets and swim up near the brightness of the surface just to take a look at the fisherman, and then swim back down into the dark depths hidden from the light. Jesus Christ opened His earthly ministry in Luke chapter 5 by taking up fish out of the depths of the Sea of Galilee. He closed His earthly ministry in John chapter 21 by taking up fish out of the depths of the Sea of Galilee. Like bookends. What happens to a fish that is caught? The fish decides to eat the bait and becomes hooked. What bait? There are many types of bait but the worldwide universal common denominator bait is bread. It seems almost all fish are attracted to bread.
*I AM THE LIVING BREAD WHICH CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:51)
A fish eats the "bread" and is "caught up" out of its natural realm into another higher realm. It flops around for a while, and dies (John 12:24). Then it is used for God's purpose. Caught fish support the fisherman that he may catch more fish (John 21:9). They are eaten and ingested by the fisherman. Having become one with the fisherman, the fish has become the corporate fisherman. Obedient sheep support the shepherd that he may shepherd more sheep. We must die to live.
What happens to a fish that is not caught? It too dies but in the natural lower realm for it has "rejected judgment." The carcass (Matt 24:28) bloats and becomes "puffed up" and floats to the surface of the sea where it is picked at by the birds and carried away by the current. From the Sea of Galilee the river Jordan continues its flow down 70 miles as the crow flies and into the Dead Sea from which there is no outlet or escape. However, the dead fish is not a crow and so will be carried ever swiftly down by "the descender, the river of judgment" 200 miles as he weaves a winding, serpentine path over rushing rapids through curving sandbars and into the Sea of the Dead.
The Waters of Merom, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea: life and death for the fishes. Life flows from above and terminates below. The only escape from death is to be "caught up."
Copyright© 1993 by Rev. Lionel Cabral