By John J. Blanchard
October 16, 2011
Feast of Tabernacles
Good morning, brethren. If you like to title your sermons, the title of this sermon today is “Framed By the Finger of God.”
We want to talk about God’s handiwork today and all the things that He has done for us and worked on. I want to start by turning to Exodus chapter 32, verse 15: “And Moses turned and went down from the mountain, and the two tablets of the Testimony were in his hand. The tablets were written on both sides; on the one side and on the other they were written. Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets.”
You can picture Moses coming down from the mountain with two probably fairly large tablets of stone with the commandments written on them by the finger of God. It also says this again in another Scripture. Turn to Leviticus chapter 16. It is speaking here about the Day of Atonement and about Aaron, the high priest. Read Leviticus 16:16-19.
Moses who was acting as the high priest at the time for the children of Israel but who was a physical forerunner of what Jesus Christ would do, took and dipped his finger in the blood and sprinkled all the accoutrements there to make sure they were clean. Picture Jesus Christ sprinkling us with His blood. It says he did it seven times. I think that is interesting. We know seven times is the number of perfection, but there are also seven Church eras. The blood of Christ has to pertain to each one. Each one in essence has the blood of Christ sprinkled on it by his fingers. It is very interesting concept, but it shows us the importance of using the finger to emulate what God does, otherwise God would not say on the Day of Atonement this is how the high priest is to do it. There is a strong connection between the New Testament and the Old Testament. We will see that even more so by turning to Hebrews chapter 10.
In Hebrews chapter 10, verse 15 we will see the connection. “But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us for after He had said before, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them…’”
Now we get the connection that Moses came down the mountain with these tablets written by the finger of God, but then God says in the New Testament dispensation the finger of God and the Holy Spirit would write those same laws in our hearts and in our minds. In essence, think of yourself as carrying the same tablets that Moses did down the mountain, but you are carrying them within you. That is an amazing concept, but it ties the Old Testament together with the New Testament because there it is, the word of God dwelling in us and working in us with his hand.
Turn to Colossians chapter 3. Read Colossians 3:12-17.
Now we can picture the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, wanting us to bear fruit and grow in holy righteous character. But actually the Holy Spirit is leading us in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sometimes we can see something in the Bible or we hear something wonderful in an inspirational song. Maybe it is a biblical song. All of a sudden we can feel like we are bubbling over, and we are so happy. That is that connection between the Holy Spirit that dwells in us which goes straight to Jesus Christ and God the Father. That mind and that hand is working in us. It is drawing a connection and leading us and teaching us. It is an awesome thing to understand that.
When we have God within us by the Holy Spirit, He is constantly trying to teach us and guide us. He points the way out that we should go. II Timothy shows us to what extent that is.
If you would, turn to II Timothy chapter 3. It is a Scripture we are very familiar with. II Timothy 3, verse 16: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
God also provides the word of God, which is Scripture, and it is all God breathed. That is what that means there. It is God breathed. It comes from the mouth of God, and it guides us in the way we should grow. It leads us toward perfection. It takes us by the hand, by the mind, and by the heart, so to speak, and guides us through life so that we bear fruit for Him. We have to be cooperative, of course. We have to let the Spirit work within us. I Corinthians tells us once again to what extent this is done.
Go to I Corinthians chapter 2, starting in verse 6: “However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”
Mankind cannot imagine the things that we understand, because the understanding that we have is not of things that can exactly be seen and touched. If we were to tell someone the finger of God points things out to me, they would think you were crazy, but that is what the Scripture says. God leads and directs. If we were to continue here, you would see He directs our minds in wonderful ways.
I Corinthians 2, verse 10: “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”
God’s Spirit leads us into these things that He wants us to understand.
Continuing in verse 13 of I Corinthians 2: “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
That is what we are doing today. We are taking spiritual concepts and we are teaching them to people who grasp them because you have that Spirit guiding and directing you. Even prior to baptism, that Spirit is drawing you. It is drawing you to places God eventually wants you to be. He is showing you things.
Verse 14 of I Corinthians 2: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
How awesome a concept that is! We have the mind of Christ working within us and the finger of God guiding and instruction us. He is showing us how to produce holy righteous character. It is truly a miracle!
God reveals things to us that cannot be seen, but we are physical. We have eyes to see, if we are blessed with eyesight. We have ears that hear, if we still have our hearing. God says you must take those physical gifts and combine them with spiritual vision and spiritual hearing. That is what it was talking about in I Corinthians chapter 2. We are led by the Holy Spirit to see things that others cannot even imagine. We comprehend things that they cannot even begin to understand. Then we can also teach them to people that are being drawn by the Holy Spirit or have it. It is a remarkable system that God has put in place.
We understand that the rain that falls outside is a type of rain that comes from God. That was discussed earlier in the feast. It makes the entire outdoors, in essence, God’s classroom. If you know how to look at things and if you know how to interpret what you are seeing through the lens of the Bible, it turns the entire creation into a classroom. We can learn from it.
Turn to Deuteronomy chapter 32. This is a song that Moses sang to the assembly. Deuteronomy 32, verse 1: “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass.”
That word “teaching” in the King James Version is rendered doctrine. That is doctrine which is the teaching from God. It comes to us to produce fruit for God.
Verse 3 of Deuteronomy 32: “For I proclaim the name of the Lord: ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.”
If you were to go and look up “teaching” in the Strong’s Concordance, you would find teaching is a doctrine. Rain is God’s doctrine, His knowledge falling upon the earth. We are the herbs and the grass that receives that rain, hopefully to produce thirty, sixty, or a hundredfold.
James 5 also talks about this rain. If you would, turn to the New Testament to get the connection between the New and the Old Testament. James chapter 5, verse 7: “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.”
James compares the prophets of old and the writings that we have from them, the Old Testament. He says be patient. You need the former rain and the latter rain. You need both the Old Testament—the writings of the prophets—and you need the New Testament to be completed. Then we would have the former and latter rain which is everything you need to have the doctrines from Jesus Christ and the prophecies in order to learn. You would also have the examples you need to go out into this beautiful creation and learn from it as if you were in a classroom, and let the Holy Spirit guide you as with the finger of God.
Turn to Hosea chapter 6. It also speaks of the former and latter rain here. Hosea chapter 6, verse 3: “Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; he will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.”
God comes to us through His thoughts and through the inspiration of our minds and hearts through this word of God, the Bible: the Old Testament and the New Testament, the former and the latter rain.
Turn a few pages over to Joel chapter 2, verse 21: “Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done marvelous things! Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; for the open pastures are springing up, and the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their strength. Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you—the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.”
It is a promise that God would not only give them the Old Testament, which at the time that is all they were in possession of, but He also said He will come with the latter rain because He wants His barn full of wheat. He wants His oil receptacles full of oil. He wants us to bear fruit for Him, and in order to do so, we need to understand Him, His doctrines, and His knowledge and apply them in our lives.
If you were to look up this term “rain,” you would find out that in the Old Testament the Hebrew for rain is moray which means early rain as a teaching rain. It is a teaching rain, and it comes from the word yarah which means a flow of water like an arrow or a finger to teach.
Let’s say you walk outside and a rain storm is starting to come. I am sure you have experienced this where you get one of the first drops right on your forehead. In essence, that is a picture of God’s finger sending the rain right to your mind. It is His knowledge. It is His truth. It is His understanding. He says I will direct you like when I point the rain directly at you and it lands on you. You as grass and herbs of the field will produce if you let that rain work in your life.
The word “spring rain” is malkoosh and spring rain figuratively means eloquence. God’s rain, His doctrine, His Bible is very eloquent. It is very deep and full of knowledge of God. Isaiah 55 characterizes it beautifully. If you would, go back to Isaiah chapter 55. We often read these Scriptures, and you never get enough of them. We are going to compare His rain to His thoughts.
Isaiah 55, verse 8: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.’”
God says My thoughts are the rain that the earth needs. Just as the rain and the snow fall on the earth and do amazing things, My thoughts will do amazing things in the people of the earth. But we need spiritual vision and spiritual hearing to comprehend what that rain is trying to tell us. we can go outside in a rainstorm and get a drop land on our forehead and say, Oh God, how wonderful! I would like to learn something from you today. Other people go out and get a drop on themselves and say I have to get in a car or a building. I cannot stand it because I am going to get wet! It all depends on your point of view.
You can watch a gentle shower land on your gardens and on your fields and like a farmer you will say, we need that rain. A city dweller would say, another gloomy day. It is all in your perspective. It is what you are looking for. Try to look for the knowledge. Romans 1:20 tells us exactly that.
If you would, go to Romans chapter 1, verse 20: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…”
He is speaking here about Church people. People in the world do not really understand that rain and snow picture God’s thoughts. But those of us who claim to be Bible scholars, people who study the Bible, or just plain Christians are really without excuse. It is all through the Bible. We should have to open our minds to it. God sometimes is trying to direct us with His finger, and we are pushing it away with preconceived notions! We find His hand a hindrance rather than a guide. We need to let the Bible speak to us, and then take your know from the Bible as a magnifying glass or spy glass and go outside and look at creation. Zero in on things and ask what is God trying to tell me from this? I know Romans 1:20 says all the creation proves the godhead and all creation has His thoughts in it. Let me see how. It is a different way to study the Bible, but it’s what’s going to open the Bible for us. If we do not do that, there is a huge chunk of the Bible that remains closed. We cannot comprehend.
Turn to Titus chapter 1. God put this idea together a long time ago. Titus chapter 1, beginning in verse 1: “Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began…”
If God promised eternal life before time began, God knew there would be sin. God knew man would need a way out of sin. God knew man would need a savior. God knew that man would need to be taught the way to grow in character. God and Jesus Christ talking together said how are We going to do this? Before We embark on this thing and we create this earth and eventually human beings, how are we going to make sure this turns out the way We want it to? We do not want another Satan on Our hands or ten billion Satans on our hands. They came up with the concept that absolutely everything we see will give a view into Their mind and into Their thinking, and it will reinforce Their plan. Everything we see will have to be looked at through the prism of the Bible. We will look through the lens of God’s word in order to properly comprehend what we are looking at and see God’s thoughts revealed in it.
Before time began, They came up with all of these ideas. You can just imagine! I have worked on projects with blueprints two and three inches thick. It is daunting. What would the spiritual blueprints of what we are involved in look like? Could the earth hold them, because literally everything out there show God’s plan. Even the things we cannot see that you need an electron microscope to look at show God’s plan! If we go out on a starlit night and we look at the galaxies and the stars, we see God’s plan. Everything shows God’s plan. It all works together in a wondrous way!
The timing of it is so awesome! Visiting a few of you here, I went near the Grand Canyon. I looked down into that huge chasm a mile deep, and I said to myself, at one time this was an inch deep. God knew that mankind would need a slice into the earth to study the layers to be able to look at the ages that mankind and the world had gone through. I am sure at some point They said, Let’s make a Grand Canyon. We will start with a little rivulet, and it will work its way down through this specific kind of stone so that mankind and geologists will be able to go down into the bottom of this river and see Our thoughts.
Then God and Jesus Christ said We are going to have a universe, but mankind can only dwell in a tiny portion of it. How are We going to show our greatness when they are in a tiny little corner of the universe? We have grown to understand the sun represents Jesus Christ, and the moon represents His Church. We can look out from this tiny speck we call earth and see God’s plan pictured every day. We see Jesus Christ working with His Church. It is an awesome thing! Everything is like that in creation. It all works together.
If you will, turn to the gospel of John chapter 1. Once again, these are Scriptures we read often, but I want to put it in this context today of what we are learning about the finger of God. John 1, verse 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”
We cannot look at anything, whether through electron microscope or the Hubble telescope, and say, I see something that does not look like God touched it. It is impossible. He is involved with absolutely everything!
It was interesting when they opened up the new terminal in Detroit’s airport a number of years ago, which was a billion dollar terminal. They opened it with this music playing in the terminal. You would walk through it, and it was the music of the spheres. It was the music of the universe! They actually recorded what the universe sounds like and played it. It think since then they have switched to different music, but I remember going through there and thinking this is what the universe sounds like. It sounds musical!
There are scientist that say when you peer out into the universe with listening devices, it sounds like birds chirping and birds singing! It is beautiful! We know from what we have studied that birds represent angels. We know that the angels sing about God a lot. It makes perfect sense that sounds that come from the universe would sound like that. It is fantastic! I have a book at home that I cherish. It was given to me at a feast site years ago. It was the music of the spheres. It was a gift from you people. Sometimes I look at it, and I am amazed. I cannot hear that with my physical ears, but if I had the right equipment, I could record that. Scientists have done that, and they say wow! There is music out there! In order for that music to reach us, it had to emanate billions and billions of years ago. It is awesome to comprehend! Before we even thought of the concept of music, God was playing music!
What I want to do today is zero in on a couple of concepts and allow you to turn your minds free. For the rest of the feast and hopefully for the rest of your life, you will go outside into creation and see what God has in store for you. Listen to what He has to say. Let the finger of God work in your lives.
Turn to Hebrews chapter 1, please. We will start with Hebrews 1, verse 1: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds [that should be translated “the ages”]; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power…”
What holds this universe together? What keeps it expanding and prevents it from not collapsing? It is the power of the word which does this.
Continuing in verse 3 of Hebrews 1: “…when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high [sat down next to the Father], having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
Jesus Christ became a human being, less than the angels, and then because He lived a perfect life, showed what mankind is capable of. He became greater than the angels, and He is sitting at the right hand of the Father waiting for all of this to work out. He wants to teach us and point things out to us with His finger, but we cannot see His finger. It is in heaven, but we feel His finger. We feel His breath in our lives. If we know what we are looking for, that rain can enter our lives and produce fruit. I want to look at a couple of examples of what God has for us right in His word that will broaden our horizons.
One of the things that He likes to use is trees. Turn to Mark chapter 8. A fantastic miracle takes place here. Mark 8, verse 22: “Then He [Jesus Christ] came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, ‘I see men like trees, walking.’ Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. Then He sent him away to his house, saying, ‘Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.’”
What happened? Did Christ goof at the first attempt? Did He not release enough power so the man was blurry eyed and saw men as trees? No. Before him, he saw Jesus Christ. If Christ spit on Him and touched his eyes, the person directly in front of him was Jesus Christ. Behind Christ were the twelve disciples. The men he saw were Jesus Christ and the twelve disciples. God decided to do a miracle here that would help us have confidence in the concepts I am telling you about now that all creation proves the Godhead and reveals His thoughts.
Jesus Christ let that man look into the spirit realm, and He saw Jesus Christ as a tree of life and the twelve apostles as trees that Christ was developing and growing. When the man said that and it was recorded in the Bible, Christ did it again, and then he saw all things clearly in the physical sense. This man had been blessed with an opportunity to look into the spirit realm and see something that we can learn from.
Jesus Christ calls teachers of men trees. Luke chapter 23 records an unusual occurrence as Christ was being led up to Golgatha, but nothing is in the Bible by accident. That is for sure. Read Luke 23:26-31.
A better translation for “green wood” would be “the green tree.”
Christ knew that Jerusalem would come under horrific trial and persecution a few years after His death, primarily because many of them had rejected Him. He said, be fearful of those things. If mankind under the inspiration of Satan is going to kill the green tree, what do you think they are going to do with you dry trees? This was referring to the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
A green tree is a sappy tree. It is drawing water from the earth. It is growing and producing leaves. It is producing fruit. The most fruitful tree that ever existed and ever will is Jesus Christ. He said if they are willing to do this to Me, you ought to be afraid what they are going to do to you. It is very insightful Scripture, and it helps us understand the concept that Jesus Christ is a tree of life. Teachers are, by comparison, trees in God’s word.
Turn to Genesis chapter 2. It started right there in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 2, verse 8 where it is speaking of the Garden of Eden: “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Jesus Christ is the tree of life. He is the main teacher of us all. In that garden there was one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan did not know what good was, and he became evil. He became a dead tree. There is not an accident in anything that the Bible has to tell us, and one of the things it tells us is Jesus Christ was hung on a dry tree. That was Satan mocking Jesus Christ. He was showing that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil inspiring human beings is what Christ would die on. Christ said to his disciples, do not worry because in three days I will raise again. You can go and study in Job where it asks, will a tree live again? It is possible for a tree to live again, and Jesus Christ proves it.
You have these two trees, and we were once taught by Mr. Herbert Armstrong that the two trees were the main thing in the whole Bible, and he was absolutely right. If you throw out the concept of the two trees and trees in general, you might as well pitch out the Bible. It is that important. Christ is the tree of life, and we are overcoming the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Everything in the Bible is about that.
Revelation 2:1 talks about a Church era. You can use this as an example of all the Church eras. Revelation 2, verse 1: “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands…’”
If you were to back up and read chapter 1, you would find that is the seven churches and Jesus Christ among them.
Continuing in Revelation 2, verse 2: “…I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”
Jesus Christ is indeed the same tree. The tree of life in Genesis is the tree of life at the end of your Bible. The message applies to all church eras, and He says if you persevere to the end, you will be given the opportunity to taste of the tree of life. What was the curse of Adam and Eve? It was do not let them taste of the tree of life unless in their sinful state they live forever. We get eternal life by imbibing of the tree of life.
Zachariah also talks about the tree of life working with God’s people. Go back to Zechariah chapter 3. Some people get confused about these verses, but when you put it all in context, it is very beautiful. It is speaking of the Millennium when it comes. Zachariah 3, verse 10: “‘In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘Everyone will invite his neighbor under his vine and under his fig tree.’”
There you have the Church pictured as the fig tree. Everyone will come and dwell under their own fig tree. How can that be the Church? Let’s continue on in Zechariah chapter 4.
Zechariah 4, verse 1: “Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, ‘What do you see?’ So I said, ‘I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.’ So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, ‘What are these, my lord?’”
He sees the olive trees after he has spoken of the Millennium and people dwelling under fig trees.
Let’s drop down to Zechariah 4, verse 11: “Then I answered and said to him, ‘What are these two olive trees—at the right of the lampstand and at its left?’ And I further answered and said to him, ‘What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?’ Then he answered me and said, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ And I said, ‘No, my lord.’ So he said, ‘These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.’”
If you understand the concept of the Church represented as a tree and here it is the olive tree and Jesus Christ is the sap that gives us life, you can see that the life that comes from the living word of God, the Bible (the Old and New Testament) works in these trees. The term “anointed ones” means sons of fresh oil. We all understand our oil is what goes into our lamp vessel so that we can shine. It is what our life as Christians is producing. We produce oil. We produce wheat, thirty, sixty, and a hundred fold. It is Jesus Christ working within us as a living word of God through His Old and New Testament to produce these things. He says this creates sons of the tree of life, sons of fresh oil. Hebrews chapter 4 makes it a little clearer, connecting the Old with the New.
Here it is speaking at the start of the Millennium. Hebrews chapter 4, verse 11: “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest [to enter the Millennium, to enter the kingdom of God], let anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience [like ancient Israel did]. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
That same finger of God pointing out the thoughts of God, teaching us how to learn from creation and the Bible, is a living word. The living word is composed of the Old and New Testament. It is a sword so sharp, it can discern between our intents and our desires. That is why when Christ magnified the law it was such a serious thing. God knows our thoughts because He is dwelling there!
God’s finger directs us. When we start to do something wrong, we feel a pull. We feel some guilt in our conscience. We feel that we really should not be doing this. It is that finger and that hand trying to gently turn us without breaking our arm. We have to cooperate. We have to want to do what is right in order to bear fruit. We have to have free will to produce what God wants it to do. He sends the rain. He guides us, but we have to agree.
I said earlier that everyone in the Millennium would dwell under a fig tree. We know that cannot be physically possible for a physical fig tree. For instance, they do not grow in the Upper Peninsula. There are very few places a fig tree can actually grow, so we are talking about something heavenly. If you turn to Revelation 6, you will see what I mean.
Currently over the earth, there is a rotten fig tree. It is a rotten government that is going to be replaced by Christ’s government. Revelation 6, verse 13 tells us: “And the starts of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.”
The Holy Spirit will shake the rotten figs from the fig tree that is currently there and replace it with God’s fig tree. It will be a fig tree that will be good and beautiful. It will be full of good fruit for the world. Study the fig tree some time and the bowl of healthy, ripe figs and the bowl of rotten figs. There are a lot examples that we cannot go into.
God is going to replace Satan’s government with a beautiful fig tree. It will be His Church with branches that extend around the world. Everyone will dwell under a saint who has jurisdiction over that area. That is what this Millennium that we are picturing here pictures for the future for all of mankind.
We can see that teachers are very important in God’s eyes. That is why He showed us that miracle in Mark 8, but let’s read some of the words that John the Baptist and Jesus Christ had about the teachers of that day.
Turn to Matthew chapter 7. We will begin in verse 15 where Jesus Christ is speaking here: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”
There is another subject. Study wolves and sheep.
Verse 16: “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?”
Go outside and look at fig trees and compare them to the thistles and the thorn bushes.
Verse 17 of Matthew 7: “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bare good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
Jesus Christ was pointing out the errors of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. You can go and study the leaven of the Pharisees. It is a beautiful study to do. He said these teachers are the trees before you that are dropping rotten food, and you are eating rotten fruit. You should know them by their fruit. If you pick up a rotten fig, there is almost nothing more horrible in your hand than a rotten fig. It is wormy, falling apart, and disintegrating, but a fig that is ripe and beautiful is awesome. You can take the example of an apple or whatever. God says you will know them by their fruit. Do not eat fruit from rotten fig trees. Eat good fruit. He says you will know them by their fruits.
Turn to Matthew chapter 3. There is some information here about John the Baptist. Read Matthew 3:1-9.
That is from the people around Him. Human beings are living stones.
Matthew 3, verse 10: “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
This was quite a warning to the Pharisees and Sadducees. To call them vipers, which is another interesting study, and then to say that they are trees bearing rotten fruit are very powerful words by John the Baptist. The axe is at the roots, ready to cut down the tree.
I want to make a digression because this is that powerful and interesting. I want to digress away from trees for just a moment to see what Jesus Christ had to say about John the Baptist, the voice crying out in the wilderness. Turn to Matthew chapter 11. Read verses 1-15.
You have to have that spiritual hearing.
Continue reading Matthew 11:16-19.
John who was inspired enough to be able to tell that the Pharisees and the Sadducees were vipers and they were trees that needed to be cut down if they would not repent, was also called a reed blowing in the wind. Christ said to the people around Him, did you go to see a reed blowing in a wind or did you go to see My wind being blown through a reed? That would be like the Holy Spirit going through a wind instrument.
You can take a reed and build an instrument with it. You can blow through it and get a sound. The sound of John’s reed was a warning to the Pharisees and the Sadducees. It was a sound telling the people to get ready and make straight their paths because Jesus Christ was coming. That was the music he played. He said, you did not dance to it. You would not listen to it. They would not even mourn and lament that he was telling them that they must be careful for the axe is at the trees. You had no ears to hear because of your self-righteousness because you think you know it all. Brethren, it is incumbent upon us here at the end of the age to take those words very seriously because we want to be able to hear when the reed is being played. Now that you understand that he was reed, there are a lot of things that go along with it.
The word “reed” in the Old Testament is kona: a reed as erect, as resembling a rod for measuring, a shaft or tube or the radius of an arm. John was a reed for measuring, and he was measuring the Pharisees and the Sadducees. When he raised his arm and pointed at them, he was speaking for God saying, you are not measuring up. You have to repent or you are in deep trouble. Christ said you have never heard anything more powerful than that until I came, and you would not listen. It is incredibly important to have ears to hear and eyes to see.
In the New Testament reed means calamous, which means to plant a plant or its stem, and by implication a pen. John the Baptist only had the Old Testament at the time, but he had the things written by the finger of God to measure the Pharisees and the Sadducees by. We have the Old and the New Testament to measure ourselves, to measure the Church, and here’s how important it is. Turn to Revelation chapter 11 where it is speaking of another John from the gospels.
Revelation 11, verse 1: “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court…”
For now leave out the outer court, leave out the Gentiles. I want you to measure My Church. I want you to measure My temple. By implication the writing of God’s word, His finger writing on the pages of the Bible, is taken by the Church to measure itself by. It is to see if the temple is finished and to see if we are indeed getting cleaned up. It is a measuring device, and we know we are being measured to see if we have reached the fullness of the stature of Christ. We do not have much time left to get that job done and to produce as much fruit as possible. We need to trim our wicks so we get it right. We need to let the example of God’s word be a glorious example for all of mankind and a message of hope instead of a message of doom and gloom.
After that digression, let’s go back to trees for a moment. Turn to the Book of Proverbs where we will be for a couple of minutes. Proverbs chapter 11, verse 30: “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”
Those of us who are letting Jesus Christ work in us are like a tree of life to people who are otherwise without hope. Converting people here at the end of the age to form an innumerable multitude will have tremendous blessings to go along with it. We have taken the knowledge of the tree of life from the Bible and are sharing it with a very discouraged and sad world indeed because of Satan.
Turn, if you would, to another page over to Proverbs chapter 13, verse 12: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”
I think the hope of the Church has been deferred for a while. Because of that deferral because we were not ready, many have become sick. Some have become totally discouraged and left the Church. Those of us who hang in there and do grow and produce fruit will see that the tree of life is wonderful! When that desire has reached its fullness and is here, we are going to be so happy in the Millennium and the kingdom to come. It will be wonderful to be part of a tree that drops good fruit on the world instead of rotten things for the earth to imbibe in.
Turn to Proverbs chapter 15, verse 4: “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”
I think within the Church, and indeed many churches throughout the earth, the harsh preaching of the end of the age and the frightening things that are spoken of in the name of God have scared a lot of people and broken their spirit. But a wholesome tongue is a tree of life. That is a tongue that preaches the goodness of the gospel, the good news of the kingdom that is almost here. It is indeed a tree of life for those who hear it.
Ezekiel chapter 47 tells us what it will be like eventually when the kingdom of God is here. Turn to Ezekiel chapter 47, verse 6: “He said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen this?’ Then he brought me and returned me to the bank of the river. When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. Then he said to me: ‘This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea.’”
We had a fine sermon about what it means to convert the sea the other day.
Continuing in verse 8 of Ezekiel 47: “When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish [mankind imbibing of the fresh water], because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.”
This is the river and the trees that we look forward to in the kingdom of God.
Drop down to verse 12 of Ezekiel 47: “Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.”
It is fascinating that mankind is learning that natural medicines from trees are so good for us. For example, we have olive oil coming from the olive tree and olive leaf extract coming from its leaves. Aspirin comes from a birch bark. It is amazing that mankind is learning that God has put so much into his trees.
But God is more interested in healing the spirit and healing us of our sins, preparing for the Millennium. The trees, the teachers of the Millennium, will preach in due season what the people need. There is no tree out there that has twelve fruits on it, physically speaking, but spiritually speaking we can be if God would bless us. We would work so hard to attain it. There could be a tree where every branch would bear a different fruit, bear different knowledge that would drop every month of the year so the world would be fed good food. It would provide what they need for the spring holy days, what they need in the summertime, and what they need for the fall holy days. What a marvelous thing to understand what God means by trees!
Go back, if you would, to a sobering set of Scriptures about trees in Judges chapter 9. If you have headings in your Bible, it is called the parable of the trees from the Old Testament. We will start reading in Judges 9, verse 7: “Now when they told Jothan, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and cried out. And he said to them: ‘Listen to me, you men of Schechem, that God may listen to you!’”
He said listen to me and maybe God will listen to you.
Judges 9, verse 8: “The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them. And they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’ But the olive tree said to them, ‘Should I cease giving my oil, with which they honor God and men, and go to sway over trees?’ Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us!’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to sway over trees?’ Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us!’ But the vine said to them, ‘Should I cease my new wine, which cheers both God and men, and go to sway over trees?’ Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us!’ And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you anoint me as king over you, then come and take shelter in my shade; but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon!’”
Bramble is thorn bushes. We have had a situation and this has been true for 2000 years of the Church and it was true back in the Old Testament era as well that people chose what trees they wanted to learn from. Are we going to take inspiration from God’s olive trees and fig trees, or are we going to let the brambles rule over us?
In the day after Christ died on the cross, the sappy tree put to death, most of those people who lived in Jerusalem chose the dead tree, the bramble, to rule over them. Did the fire not destroy the city and the people?
Those Old Testament examples are for us today. What do we want reigning over us? What do we want inspiring us? Is it the Holy Spirit and the finger of God or another spirit? Satan gives no quarter. If we allow him in, he says then be prepared for the fire that will devour. It is a sobering thing, but it is an amazing thing to understand and what we can learn from trees.
You can be looking at a beautiful tree while walking through the forest or field and get caught in some brambles or some thorns. Have you ever gotten those pickers all over yourself and you try to get them all off? They cling to you. That is sin. That is the thorn bushes and the brambles that we can get involved in if we are not careful. We want to stay focused on the beautiful trees.
Learn by observation. You are here in the fall when the trees are turning colors. A lot of the colors have left the trees, but you will still see trees of color. God is showing with His trees that in the fall is when we put on our glorious body when Jesus Christ returns. That is why usually the color peaks up here in the north right around the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles. God is showing that trees put on their new body. There is bright light and they are brilliant, but then after the Feast of Tabernacles and the leaves are gone, the bitter winter comes. Learn from that.
As you drive around, you will see the whispering pines. That is the wind blowing which is like Jesus Christ’s Spirit blowing through the reed that was John the Baptist. Pines whisper gently the words of God. The quaking aspen teaches us to fear and respect God. The weeping willow teaches us to mourn the way we are and repent. The strength of the oak that they used to build ships out of shows us that we could be a pillar. The resistance to rot of the cedar tree shows us that we must persevere. The clapping of the hardwood leaves is the joy of Christ’s return.
If you think that sounds crazy, we are going to go back and read Isaiah 55 again. We will begin once again in verse 8 but read a little further this time. Isaiah 55, verse 8: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you [the nations will sing before God], and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.’”
The teaching that we will hear in the Millennium and beyond that will be wonderful. Trees will clap their hands. The mountains of the nations, the kingdoms of the earth, will sing joy to God. It is going to be an awesome time, but it is only with spiritual eyesight and spiritual vision that we can understand these Scriptures. It is an awesome thing that we can go outside and with the knowledge that we have from the Bible we can watch snow fall or rain fall and know that creation does prove God’s thought. We can watch the waves on a beautiful lake or the sparkling water off the sea and learn from God that all creation indeed does prove God’s thoughts. All creation does prove it is the finger of God who made this earth.
As our last Scripture, please turn to Psalm 19. We have a hymn to this effect. It is a beautiful hymn. Psalm 19, verse 1: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of the heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple…”
It is God’s finger that is writing that law in our hearts and in our minds, and it is perfect.
Continuing in Psalm 19, verse 8: “…the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.”
Study the word of God. Look about you. Pray and meditate, and let the finger of God teach you for the rest of your life.