The Culture of the Kingdom
The Four Imperatives of Kingdom Culture Part 2
Studio Session 139
In the Scriptures, on two levels, there exists on the level of the natural and on the level of the spiritual. The natural proceeds the spiritual in the order of God revealing things. The unspiritual mind sees only the natural. All religion keeps that which is meant to be the fulfillment of what is first presented naturally, keeps it as a mystery. Because, simply put, it has no ability to decipher or decode the mystery, to use maybe modern terms. What the revealing of mysteries consists of is the Holy Spirit showing the human being the true meaning, the intended meaning, if you prefer 'the heavenly meaning' of that which has existed before as a facsimile or a shadowy presentation meant first to appeal to the soul.
So God sets things up for man in the Scriptures so that when it's time to bring us into the full reality of the thing, that reality is not without precedent in the Scriptures. So in the fullness of time God will reveal what He intended to do when He first gave the type or the shadow or the facsimile of the thing. The comfort of that particular approach from God is that there is something natively familiar to us about the ways of God, even when we do not have the revelation of the mystery. It's like when you know that something is right even if you can't prove it, you know in the depths of you.. it's the deep calling to the deep, it is the thing that has been there, now being upgraded to a different, a more complete expression.
Now revelation always encounters the inertia and the resistance of the existing tradition. The fascinating thing is how religion is setup: all religion is setup to keep emphasizing and to keep holding forth as primary, tradition. And yet tradition often is no more than the human, earthly, first blush of understanding that is meant to give way to the things of the spirit. Like you would establish scaffolding in order to be able to reach higher and higher while you're building a building but the intended use of the scaffolding is to facilitate, not to be the building itself. And it becomes ugly and unseemly when the building is finished. Here's the trap of tradition and it's why tradition for it's own sake often ends up offending and contradicting the truth.
The unspiritual mind is not interested in things that may be only discerned by the spirit because it has no control over the meaning or application. On the other hand of course, for the person who alleges a particular spiritual meaning - a spiritualized meaning - it's easy enough to see if this is a true revelation of that mystery or if it's a convenient interpretation and the question is: Does it simply further the tradition? So there are groups that claim to have revelation from God and will select Scripture and say these Scriptures support that revelation. But the fact is, all revelation has precedent, have things that have preceded them and those things that proceed are the reality, in type and shadow, before the fact. When the revelation comes it is because there is a season in God that draws it forth, so that the thing that was previously presented as a type and a shadow now becomes the reality.
This is the classic case of Jesus and the people in His day to whom He spoke in parables. The parable was His presentation of the actual truth to them in a story form, knowing that the blindness of their tradition would keep them from seeing the implications of parable. So why would He speak to them in a parable, a story which was the true thing designed to keep obscure that which was the truth that had in fact come? The answer comes to us from Matthew.
In Matthew 13 Jesus give us this explanation. Verse 10 is the story, the previous story is the parable of the sower and how the farmer goes and scatters seed and so on and the seeds fall on different soils and different responses, birds of the air come and steal some and some fell on stony ground, some fall among thorns, some fall in the prepared ground and brings forth a graduated result; thirty, sixty, a hundred fold. So the disciples came to Him and they said (this is verse 10 of Matthew 13), “Lord, why do You speak to the people in parables?”
Now it was obvious from that that Jesus didn't speak to His disciples in parables, that's why it was strange that He would now speak to the audience in parables, because He wasn't speaking to them in one. And He gave them this explanation, He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you but not to them.” Going on in verse 12 of Matthew 13, “Whoever has will be given more and will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even that which he has will be taken away from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: 'Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear nor understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: 'You will be ever learning but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.'“ Why? “For this peoples heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they've closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with ears, and understand with their hearts, then they would turn, and I would heal them. But blessed are your eyes because they do see, and your ears because they hear.” And then He goes on to say, “Many wise men and prophets have longed to see your day but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” Question: Why did God keep hidden from wise men and prophets things that were now being revealed to His disciples? The answer: It wasn't time, it wasn't the time.
So sometimes God will keep a thing hidden from a person or persons who otherwise might see it plainly because it's not the time. But in most cases, and when Jesus is speaking that thing to an audience that should hear it, He speaks to them in a parable because He knows they do not want to hear it and He knows that even if they heard it they would not apply themselves to the wisdom of what was said; they wouldn't change. So He speaks in a parable. Now look at a parable. Let's look at this parable, it's called the parable of the Good Samaritan and it's one of the few parables that Jesus did not interpret and you will see perfectly the thing that I'm trying to explain. That is, that there will come a time when the thing that proceeds - the type, the shadow, the example that proceeds - is now to be revealed. But if the person to whom the revelation is being given has no desire to know any more or any differently, anything that is different from what he has previously known or believed, then for all intents and purposes what is spoken then will be no more than a parable. He won't see what the case is.
So let's look at it. It says in Luke 10:25, “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus, 'Teacher,' he asked, 'what shall I do to inherit eternal life?'” Now, what was the sincerity of his question? Did he really want to know from Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life? No he didn't, but he was just testing Jesus. Looking for, circling Him, looking for some point of weakness in His argument or in His position so he could challenge Him without changing himself. Jesus' response was, “You're the lawyer, you tell Me.” That is, “What is written in the law, how do you read it?” So he gives Him an answer based in the law, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus says, “Well you've answered correctly as the law would set this forth, do this and you will live.” Which implies, whatever he knew he wasn't doing it. Which means that his knowledge did not serve him because he did not have a heart for the truth.
But being unwilling to go down that easily, being unwilling to appear that this whole enterprise was for him no more than a sham, he asks this question: “Who is my neighbor?” Because the point is, if Jesus' contention is that he's not doing what he knows to do, then his way of escape is to say, “But if I knew the definition of neighbor then maybe I would do it. But as long as I do not know the definition of the intended beneficiary of this statement in the law, then I don't have to do it.” Classic lawyers game. Jesus didn't let him get away with it, but He tells him a parable. Now here is the parable. “A man was going from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell into the hands of robbers, they stripped him of his clothes, beat him, went away leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road when he saw the man and passed by on the other side. So to, a Levite, when he came to the place where he saw him he passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan as he traveled, came where the man was and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds pouring in oil and wine, then he put him on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day, he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, “Look after him,” he said, “and when I return I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have had.” Then Jesus' question, “'Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?' The expert in the law replied, 'Well the one who had mercy on him.' Jesus replied, 'Now that you have your answer..'” (you know who the neighbor is, you still aren't doing it) “..'you go and do likewise'.”
Now the point of this parable and the use of this parable is to show how there are at the same time two prevailing realities; one operates at the level of the natural, the other is meant to operate at the level of the spiritual. In this case, Jesus was actually telling the man, who had no interest in finding out the truth, He was actually telling him what the truth was. But because he had no eyes to see and ears to hear because he simply wanted to hear what he wanted to hear, he only wanted to see what he wanted to see. What Jesus told Him, though it was absolutely the truth and more importantly it was the truth that had now come to be the relevant issue that replaced the understanding that the man had. You see, when the truth comes – the natural, the carnal which is a type and shadow to prepare you for the truth – when the truth comes, the truth replaces your understanding that was hithertofore insufficient. Well what is the danger of the truth being told to you but a) you don't want to hear it or b) hearing it you turn away from it? Then you can no longer claim the place of sincerity or honesty; you're no longer truthful because you may be able to hide behind the imperfect presentation, the soulish presentation, the shadowy presentation, you may be able to hide behind that until the truth has come. But once light comes, if you maintain the place of your tradition, then you are choosing to walk in darkness. And the word says that the reason for that choice is your deeds are evil, that you have an evil heart.
Now people, when they hear that, will immediately draw back and say, “Thats harsh.” Politically of course, that may be an insensitive declaration but God doesn't care about human politics or about the niceties of human culture. God wants people to understand the truth because the truth transcends time, space, human culture, the present moment, it is the connection of the present to the past and to the future. So if a person has a self imposed blindness, cynicism is, if you know the truth and you do not speak that truth to them. You see, this is not a game and the truth is never determined by popular appeal. And a person who deceives himself is someone who even if he would hear the truth doesn't care what the truth says because he has a greater imperative. God will not waste time on such a person, neither should you if you're a speaker of the truth.
Jesus told this man the story of all creation. Here is the story He told. He said, “A certain man,” "tai-enthrohas" in the Greek and corresponds exactly to a particular man as opposed to man in general in the Hebrew, man in general was referred to as 'Adam' in the Hebrew, man. But a certain man, a particular man, is the reference to the man known as Adam, Adam the first man. Adam was on a journey from heaven to earth, from Jerusalem to Jericho. Adam fell into the hands of the thief who stripped him of his authority – clothing is a metaphor of authority.
Well what was the story of the fall of man? Adam, in creation, was stripped of his authority when he was deceived by the evil one. So he lived in creation without being able to reconcile himself to God; neither dead nor alive, he's half dead. Since we're all in Adam, this is not just a story of Adam himself but also the story of Adams progeny; us, the human race. Being stripped of our authority and imprisoned by sin without the redemption having appeared, man is half dead. In that condition, he's visited first by the law, represented by the priest. When the law confronts the condition of man fallen from grace, the impotence of the law becomes glaringly apparent. The only credible response, the only possible response of the law is to 'go around' because by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified because the law itself is a shadow of the things to come, Hebrews says, but the substance is Christ.
Similarly, when the Levite, a religious functionary, when he comes upon the condition of man living in creation without authority, having been robbed of his place of rule by the evil one, because he consented to the deception of the evil one. In that condition, religion and religious functions show themselves to be just as impotent to address the condition of mans separation from God as the law itself is. And so in that condition, the Levite also is obligated to not meddle in something that he cannot effect. So he goes around also. But then a Samaritan comes, the Samaritan is the picture of God and man as one; he is the Jew and the Gentile, that is a Samaritan is a Jew and a Gentile, the representation of God and man. Well the One speaking to this one who is not interested, is the very Samaritan. The Samaritan comes upon him, finds him in that condition and he binds up his wounds because surely Jesus was sent to heal the broken hearted and to set the captives free. How did he attend to him additionally? Not only did he bind up his wounds, he did so pouring in 'oil and wine'. Oil is a representation, historically, of the Spirit and wine the representation of the blood.
So in the condition of mans woundessness and separation from God, what is required is a mixture (a price if you prefer) of the Holy Spirit and of blood; the blood of Christ pays the price for the redemption of man and the Spirit restores his authority to function in creation in a governmental way. He pours in oil and wine, puts him on his own donkey, takes him to an inn, “for surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows and we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted,” as Isaiah 53 would say. The “inn” is Himself, His own body, He takes him to the care and well being of His own body. He's traveling, he's on a journey, he will leave the next day and he'll return after a while. So he takes out two silver coins and pays the innkeeper to care for this wounded person and he pays him in advance. A silver coin is a days wage, so when He gave him two silver coins – two denari – He pays for his keep for two thousand years and He says, “I will come again and whatsoever you have done to one of these the least of these My brothers, you've done it to Me.
Well you see, right there is the story, revealed. The story of man, falling; the story of the law and religion proceeding and then the person of the LORD Jesus Christ, perfect deposit of God in man comes with healing in His wings. He applies blood and sends the Spirit to resurrect and restore man to his place from which he had fallen and set up His kingdom that should result in the care of His people until He returns. And His payment is for the equivalent of two thousand years.
That's the reality. How much of this parable, how much of this truth, did the lawyer get? The answer is: none of it. Why? Because although Jesus was telling him this story plainly, absent the Spirit he could not discern what the whole story was. Did this lawyer know, for example, that man had fallen? Sure he did. Did he know about the law? Did he know about the Levitical order? Of course he did, he was an expert in just that. That was as far as his tradition took him. But now the One for whom these very things were the antecedent to prepare the people to receive Him when He would come, now that He had come, because they were preoccupied with traditions that had proceeded; when He came, they simply could not receive Him.
The point is: God first proceeds the word revealed with the shadow and the type of it. When the time comes, He will release the fullness, the completeness, of what He previously intended. But only those who are willing – on those occasions where the truth comes – to set aside the impartial, the imperfect and to receive that which is perfect, only those may now walk in a new administration of the grace of God.
We are in that time now where the message of the kingdom has come in a new series of revelation but this series of revelation are not without their antecedent. The way has been prepared and so the things that are going to be revealed now will bear a striking resemblance to things that have been before but they will take the level of revelation up to a completely different, spiritual awareness, together with all of the requisite power and authority that will sustain it in the days that are here.
Continue to look at this with me as we unfold the revelation of the culture of the kingdom. Until the next time, I'm Sam Soleyn, God bless you. Bye bye.