I Kept Looking: The Old and New of God’s Word

Yesterday it was extremely hot here so I stayed inside, after my early morning walk, and got quite a bit of Bible study done.

For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. (Matthew 13:12 ESV)

Matthew chapter 13 has brought up a lot of questions for me to examine this past week, and then it came up again in our adult Sunday School class.  Why did Jesus speak in parables?  Who are the weeds?  I thought God was going to get the bride for Christ before dealing with the unrighteous?  I always have more questions than answers.  But God has been gracious enough to show me that the weeds in Matthew 13 are the unsaved within the church.  Those who appear to be His but are not.  Tares apparently look a lot like wheat.  Seriously.  Google it.

One commentary even mentioned that in this passage, Christ says that His angel will separate them at the harvest time.  The commentary alluded to the dangerous issue of man declaring other men weeds and attempting to rid the church, or even the world, of them causing great harm to others.  This is not ours to do, but rather God’s.

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. (Matthew 13:19 ESV)

We must strive to understand God’s Word.  It isn’t an easy task.  Jesus spoke in parables for a reason.  Verse 12 above seems to imply that for those who earnestly seek God’s truth, more will be revealed to them.  But for those who disregard the word of God, even what they know will be taken from them.  I believe that when God reveals something to us in His word, He expects that we apply it and share it.  When we hear and understand the Word of God, and we allow satan to snatch it away from us by walking away and doing nothing about what we’ve heard from our Creator, even the little that we have will eventually be taken from us.

So according to Matthew 13, my understanding at this point is that God will send His angels in the last days to gather up, from His church, the weeds – the false Christians – before the harvest – the rapture.  And it may be through a period of suffering and persecution, as that is what really reveals our true colors.  A bit of testing in the fire.

As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (Matthew 13:23 ESV)

He indeed bears fruit and yields….many fold!  He does something with the Word that he understood!

So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous (Matthew 13:49 ESV)

And then there was verse 52.  What on earth did Jesus mean?

And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” (Matthew 13:52 ESV)

This really interests me as it speaks of a scribe all of a sudden.  A scribe trained for the kingdom of heaven. The scribe is like a master who brings out of his treasure new and old.  Initially my understanding was that the kingdom of heaven uses both the old testament and the new…the old covenant and the new.  But after reading the following I have a clearer sense of its meaning.

“The scribes were a class of learned Jews who devoted themselves to a scientific study of the Law, and made its exposition their professional occupation.” … The professional employment of the Scribes, therefore, consisted of the study of the law, teaching it to their pupils, and its administration. …The scribe of the kingdom is versed in the Word, and his method of teaching consists of reasoning out of the Scriptures and explaining Scripture by Scripture….The instructed scribe of Christ’s own household has a duty towards his fellow-members of the house. That duty is to “bring forth out of his treasure things new and old”. The qualified scribe has his “treasure” – the knowledge of God’s Word, and to the extent that he has prayerfully studied it, seeking to divide it rightly as a good workman (2 Tim. 2:15), so he is a good scribe. Such is the quality of the “treasure” that its full beauties are never fully comprehended, and the most diligent students know how unsearchable are the riches of God’s revelation. Hence there is a never failing interest in the “food” the scribe provides, things ever “new” while “old”. Without any deviation from first principles of God’s word there is a continued freshness in its presentation.

[Taken from: Parables of the Messiah by John Carter]

This speaks clearly of the living Word of God.  We can always find new meaning in His word.  We must always hold to the truth of what is there without watering it down in an attempt not to offend nor puffing it up with our suppositions.  All things revealed to us anew must indeed be in step with the old as God’s Word endures forever.  It has layer after layer of meaning and application for us.  It is timeless and enduring.

for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:24-25 ESV) (Isaiah 40:8) [old/new J]

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19 ESV)

So beloved, study God’s Word.  We must know what is there so that we are not led astray.  Trust me when I say that there are many false prophets dressed in pastor’s clothing.  We must search the scriptures for ourselves to know God’s truth.

Read God’s Word.  Ask questions.  God will answer them for you in due time.  Keep looking.

Be encouraged.  Press on.

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