THE LIVING WORD CENTER, INC.
By Rev. Jay Werman
This is one of the most fascinating topic of the Scriptures. There are a lots of details that are explained in the Scriptures relate to the Kenosis of Christ but those that are revealed are very interesting. So, I will do my best to explain these details that are revealed to us in the Scriptures. Now, I have to make something very clear before I begin this subject. If you belong to a certain denomination or religion and already have a preconceived ideas about it, don’t waste your time reading this. In order for the seed to produce results, it must fall in good ground, otherwise the seed won’t produce as it was meant it.
"And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred." Mark 4:8
This is the reason why so many believers are not growing in the knowledge of The Word of God. Preconceived ideas, human philosophies, satanic doctrines, religions, and dogmas, will make the seed ineffective. Lack of spiritual growth is the direct result of being ignorant of what God has revealed in His own Word.
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." Hosea 4:6
So, What’s the meaning of the Greek word “Kenosis”? The Greek word is used in Philippians 2:7.
"But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men"
The Greek word is “Kenoo”, which means “to empty out of”, “to drain”. Thayer explain it as follow:
1) to empty, make empty – 1a) of Christ, he laid aside equality with or the form of God
2) to make void – 2a) deprive of force, render vain, useless, of no effect
3) to make void – 3b) cause a thing to be seen to be empty, hollow, false
Total KJV Occurrences: 8 – made, 2 Rom 4:14, 1Co 1:17; void, 2 Rom 4:14, 1Co 9:15; effect, 1 1Co 1:17; make, 1 1Co 9:15; none, 1 1Co 1:17; reputation, 1 Php 2:7
Now, observe how the expression “But made himself of no reputation” in Phil. 2:7 is located between 2 others expressions within the context of the text:
"Who (Christ), being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (v.6) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (v.7) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." v.8
Verse 6 states that Christ “Made Himself of NO REPUTATION, or EMPTY OUT Himself”. The question is “Of what did Christ empty himself? verse 6 filled the gap. “Who, being in the FORM OF GOD”. This is what Christ empty out of. In the Scriptures no specification is found in details of the Kenosis of Christ, but one aspect is very clear; one of the members of The GodHead became a man. Christ willingly laid aside his divine abilities and powers, and he was born as a sinless man. To rescue humanity from eternal perdition, The second person of The GodHead “Made Himself of no Reputation”, even though He was in the form of God.
"In the beginning was the Word (Gr. Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." John 1:1-3
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." John 1:14
The second person of The GodHead became of man the day His was born of Mary. God became of Father that day, and Mary became a mother that day.
"I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee." Psalm 2:7
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Matthew 1:18-23
Mary gave birth to a child, who was an eternal God. She didn’t have birth a god as many are teaching today. Before Jesus was conceived by Mary, He exist as one of the three members of The divine Trinity; An everlasting God.
"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Micah 5:2
"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
God became a Father that day and Jesus became The Son of The Living God. The titles of “The Father and The Son” were put in place for reasons to redeem humanity. In the Scriptures are 247 names and titles use to all the three members of The GodHead.
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:8-11
"Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
Following the question we placed in the beginning of this post, which is “Of what did Jesus emptied Himself? Which is refer in Phil. 2:6. Jesus couldn’t emptied out Himself of His Divine nature, for He was God manifest in the flesh according to The Scriptures. Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7; Mat. 1:18-25; Jn. 1:1-2, 14; 1 Tim. 3:16. Before He “Took the form of a servant, and was made in the LIKENESS of men” Phil. 2:7, He was an eternal and everlasting God. Mic. 5:1-2; Jn. 1:1-2; Heb. 1:8; Rev. 1:8-11.
According to The Scriptures Jesus emptied out Himself of the following:
- His EQUALITY with God. Phil 2:6-7; Jn. 14:28; 1 Cor. 11:3
- His God Form, which is His bodily shape or form. God’s body is spiritual in essence like there is any other in the spiritual realm. Every member of The GodHead have a spiritual body, Jesus is the one member of the divine trinity with a different body. Phil. 2:6-8; 3:21; Mat. 1:18-25; Lk. 1:35; Jn. 1:14; Lk. 24:37-40; Gal. 4:4; Rom. 8:3. In fact, Jesus’s body will always have the evidences of His sacrifice:
"And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends." Zech. 13:6
Jesus’s body is different than the spiritual body of The Father and The
Holy Spirit. Observe how in the same chapter of Zechariah 13 The Messiah is called “MY FELLOW”.
"Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones." verse 7
The expression “My Fellow” in the context of the text implied “same kind and nature”. The Hebrew word used for Fellow is “‛âmı̂yth”, which in the context of the passage means “Fellow God, Another God, a Comrade God, An Associate God, a Kindred God”. Only in this passage is translated “Fellow”. The other passages where this Hebrew word is used: “neighbor” Lev 6:2; 19:15; 19:17; 24:19; 25:14-15; “Another” Lev 19:11; 25:17; The different meanings of this word still express the same idea, which is “Of ANOTHER PERSON of the SAME KIND and NATURE. Many different Scriptures shows behold doubts the doctrine of The Holy Trinity of The GodHead.
- Jesus emptied out of His Immortality. For God Cannot die, so the second person of The GodHead “Laid aside” His God-like body and took a human body. Phil. 2:7-8
"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" 1 Cor. 15:3
"For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." Psalms 16:10
"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." 1 Peter 2:24
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:" 1 Peter 3:18
- Jesus Laid aside His Divine Glory; The Glory He possessed with The Father, and before He was conceived by Mary by the power of The Holy Spirit.
"But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." Mat. 1:20
"And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified." John 12:23
"And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." John 17:5
"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." Mat. 16:27
The same idea is expressed by Paul in Phil. 2:5-11.
The Union of the two natures in Jesuschrist:
The two different natures were both complete in themselves, and yet, it didn’t formed a third nature. We are forbidden to teach the contrary. Jesus was the perfect representative of God and man, Jesus was a Divine human being. Christ often spoke of Himself as a single person, and not as two persons. In fact, there is no interchange of speech between the two natures, between two parts of the attributes and powers of both natures, which are accredited to one person. These are use as part of a single person, there is no dual personality as many are teaching today. One single unit of characteristics of both the human and the divine; just as any father and mother to their offspring, making a single person with a characteristics of both. Jesus was unique in His kind, He represented God and man, which is the role of the High Priest. Every single ministerial office introduced in the Old Testament was a shadow of Jesus’s mission to re-unite God and men.
"But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises." Hebrews 8:6
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" 1 Tim. 2:5
This passage proves that Jesus is a different and separate person from God. A Mediator is “a person who attempts to make people involved in a conflict come to an agreement; a go-between”. Jesus was born for that specific purpose; to create a New Covenant through which He re-conciliated God and men. No one else could done such task.
The Greek word used for “Mediator” is “mesitēs”, which means;
1) one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant
2) a medium of communication, arbitrator
The word is used 6 times in the N. T. Gal. 3:19-29; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24
To be continue..!
By: Rev. Jay Werman
Here are some of the topics we’re covering throughout the subject.
a) We will explain about stages of spiritual growth and how to identify myself in any of those levels.
b) How to grow and what are the elements involved in it.
c) How to grow in the inward man using the word of God.
d) What are the evidences of spiritual growth.
e) Principles established by God in his Word that produce changes in the inside and the outside.
f) The main point is to identify why I’m not growing in my inward man and how to correct it using what God had provided.
g) Most of our issues and problems come from the lock of spiritual growth.
In 2 Kings 2:1-14 we will draw a spiritual application based on the places where these two men of God were sent before one of them was taken to heaven. Let me make clear that when we study the scriptures and try to interpret a particular passage, it should be understood that there is only one interpretation, which is what the writer (inspired by God) of that particular book intended to reveal. The interpretation of that particular
passage may be “Literal or Allegorical”, depends on what God wanted to communicate to those whom He addressed. We can use or extract different applications from those verses but keep in mind that the application is limited to the context that surrounds it and you should never distort the biblical language to try to justify actions that compromise all principles and laws established by God.
Let’s apply what we had already mentioned and establish a parallel between the place where Elijah and Elisha went and the levels of spiritual growth.
There are 3 different locations in 2 Kings 2:2-7: “Bethel, Jericho and Jordan”. These 3 locations can be used (in a limited sense) as a reference to represent believer’s spiritual levels but it has to be within the biblical context of the passage.
Bethel: For example, represents the place of “the vision” in Genesis 35:1-15. Observe several key words in these verses:
“And God said unto Jacob, arise, go up to Bethel”. v. 1
“And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother”. v.7
El Bethel means “The God of the House of God”. Which was the place where God revealed Himself to Jacob. According to The Brown-Driver-Briggs’s dictionary
The stages of spiritual growth are as follow:
– First stage is Born Again (Beth-El). Here is where everything starts for us. God not only places his divine nature in us, as it is stated in the following passages:
“whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”2 Peter 1:4
“that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life“John 3:15
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me”John 5:39
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”1 John 5:13
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”Romans 6:22-23
but at the same time He placed his vision in our new spirit.
“who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”2 Timothy 1:9
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, And gave gifts unto men”Ephesians 4:1-8
“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus”Hebrews 3:1
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”Mark 16:15
– The second stage is when we start to obey God’s word (Jericho) and rely our dependency on God more than our old way to deal with problems and issues. After we are born again, we must receive instructions (musar) about the new life we have received aligned with the word of God. Read Proverbs 1:2-8; 6:23; 8:10; 12:1; 13:18; 15:33; 19:27.
“To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtilty (prudence) to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; And a man of understanding shall attain (acquire) unto wise counsels: to understand a proverb, and the interpretation; The words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: But fools despise wisdom and instruction”Proverbs 1:2-7
These passages lay out every area where the believer must grow after of being born again. The Hebrew word “mûsâr”, which is used the word “instruction” is used 50 times in the Old Testament and is translated, as it follows: “correction, instruction, chastening, discipline, doctrine”.
For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; And reproofs (corrections) of instruction are the way of life”Proverbs 6:23
“Receive my instruction, and not silver; And knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; And all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it“Proverbs 8:10-11
If today’s believers will take God’s word as it is written, they would not be chasing materials things, as many are doing nowadays, and that is unfortunate. There is nothing on this corrupted system that can be compared to the benefits of obeying God’s word.
“Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: But he that hateth reproof is brutish“Proverbs 12:1
The hebrew word used for “brutish: is “bah’-ar“, which means; “a person who loves stupirity, a foolish person”.
“O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: For they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: For thy testimonies are my meditation“Psalm 119:97-99
– The Third stage is when we understand God’s purpose and we had surrendered to it (Jordan). As a born again Christians we are suppose to produce fruits that redounded to God’s glory. Mat 3:10; 7:17-19; 12:33; 13:8, 26; 21:19, 34; Mar 4:7-8, 29; 11:14; 12:2; Luke 1:42; 3:9; 6:43-44; 8:8; 13:6-7; 20:9-10; John 4:36; 12:24; 15:2; 15:4-5, 8, 16; Act 2:30, Romans 15:28, 1 Co 9:7; Eph 5:9, Phi 4:17, Heb 12:11; 13:15; Rev 22:2
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”Galatians 5:21-22
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door”James 5:7-9
“Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles”Romans 1:13
“What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life“Romans 6:21-22
“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth😉 proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret”Ephesians 5:8-12
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better”Philippians 1:21-23
“And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace“James 3:18
3 different places with 3 different meanings in 2 Kings 2:1-14
Explaining “Beth-El” as a Level of Spiritual Growth:
The first stage: Beth-El represents the place where God gives us his vision (plan and purpose for us). At the moment when we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, he placed a vision (purpose) in our spirit, which it will develop as we grow in the inward man. 1 Samuel 3:1 reveals a clear truth where it says:
“And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision”.
The manifestation and contact with Jehovah was sporadic at those days, which made it so precious. In this in mind, observe the verse 7 which says:
“Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the Word of the LORD yet revealed unto him”.
2 things are exposed in those verses:
- Where the Word scares there’s no vision from God.
- In order to really know God, His Word has to be revealed by the Holy Spirit. Note: “The Word of the Lord was precious in those days” means “because revelation, prophecies, visions, and contact with Jehovah was SCARCE and therefore valuable”. Beth-El implies that we must let God’s Word to take over our lives so that we can comprehend the purpose of God for us. Paul wrote the following to the Corinthians “But we have the mind of Christ”. 1 Cor. 2:16. It basically means that “we know the plans and purposes of God for us”. And Jesus expressed the same line of thought when He said in Mat. 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness”. Beth-El is where we received a calling to work on a plan and purpose of God for our lives, which in the language of the biblical text means: we have received a vision from God. This is the first stage of the Christian life. God is expecting His children to grow in the inward man until we reach a maturity life. Ephesians 4:12-16. In 1 Peter 2:1 we found 5 elements that will stop spiritual growth:
“Malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies, and evil speaking.”
Also in 1 Peter 2:2 it tells you how to grow in your inward man:
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby”.
The passage points out that the only way to grow spiritually is by taking the unadulterated milk of the Word of God, which is “The pure doctrines of the gospel and line up with the new covenant in Christ”. In Mark 4:2 says “And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine”. Only the doctrine of Jesus can “transform and change your life”. Compare James 1:21; Romans 12:2
“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves“James 1:21-22
By allowing and receiving the unadulterated word of God you will grow as follow:
- In knowledge 2 Peter 3:18
- Into Christ in all things. Eph. 4:15
- Into a holy temple. Eph. 2:21
- Like a cedar of the Lebanon Ps. 92:12
- Like calves in the stall. Mal. 4:2
- In grace. 2 Peter 3:18
A “newborn baby” is a direct reference to the experience expressed by Jesus in John 3:1-10 and also in 2 Corinthians 5:17 where it expressed the fact that we are born again.
In Colossians 3:16 says:
“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord”.
- “Let” implies that you have to “accept voluntarily”. In James 1:21 we see the same line of thoughts “receive with meekness” and in 1 Peter 2:2 says “desire”. Compare with Rev. 3:20 where the reference in there is to Christian churches.
- “Dwell” is used metaphorically to “dwell in one and influence him” (for good).
- “richly” means in the language of the text “metaphorically abounding, abundantly supplied; abounding (rich) in Christian virtues, gifts and eternal possessions. Jesus said in John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life”. The Word of God is the “spiritual food” provided by God for which we will grow “unto a perfect man” (mature person) Eph. 4:13. Jesus said in John 4:32: “But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work”. We are born again and received God’s nature to do God’s will, and to accomplish what we are here for. There is nothing that will bring us more satisfaction than to do God’s purpose with us. This is one of the great principles established by God in His Word.
The second stage: is when we start to be obedient to God’s word (Jericho) and our dependency is on God more than our old way to deal with problems and issues.
“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy
communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds”. (Col 3:8-9)
- But now ye (as well as all other true believers) also put off all these – All these which follow, as being also inconsistent with God’s calling.
- Anger, wrath – Eph 4:26. The two words appear together in Rom 2:8; Eph 4:31; Rev 16:19; Rev 19:15. The word rendered “anger” is rather chronic, that rendered “wrath” rather acute – an outburst.
- Malice – Eph 4:31. The Greek word sometimes bears the sense of evil, ill, in general; e.g. Mat_6:34. But in lists of vices (compare here Rom 1:29, Tit 3:3; 1Pet 2:1) it means what we mean by “malice.”—It is the vice which lies below anger and wrath, as a root or spring.
- Blasphemy – Mat 9:3. The word here seems to mean all injurious and calumnious speaking – whether against God or man.
- Filthy communication (which comes) out of your mouth – Lewd, indecent, and immodest discourse; Eph 4:29. The conversation of the pagan everywhere abounds with this and which, though it is applicable to all speech that is unsavory, unedifying, idle, and useless, and may be properly enough said of flattery, lying, cursing, and swearing; yet chiefly regards obscene language, unchaste words, and filthy talking, which tend to encourage and cherish the sin of uncleanness in any of its branches, flattery, lying, cursing, and swearing; yet chiefly regards obscene language, unchaste words, and filthy talking, which tend to encourage and cherish the sin of uncleanness in any of its branches.
This is the stage of our spiritual lives when “God shapes us to formed Christ in us”. Since we were born again and received a new spiritual nature, God started a “breaking through process” to remove all those things that are an obstacle and are holding you back. One thing you need to be aware of, is that the devil and his demons are your number one enemies and they will get in the way so that you get discourage and not accomplish the purpose of God in you. Paul spoke about the levels of maturity in 1 Corinthians 13:11;
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things”.
The Greek word used for a child is “ne pios”, which means “not speaking, that is, an infant (minor); figuratively a simple minded person, an immature Christian”, according to The Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionary.
“I thought as a child” Better as margin, I reasoned. The same Greek word is used here as in 1Co 13:5, ‘thinketh no evil.’
“when I became a man, I put away childish things”, Rather, since I have become a man, I have brought to an end the things of the child, referring, not so much to the act which put away these things, as to the fact that they had been put away finally and irrevocably.
We need to put away;
- Speaking like a child.
- Understanding like a child.
- Thought like a child.
Extracting the essence of what the apostle is saying in this passage, we must grow and leave behind all those things we’ve been dragging on before we were born again.
How do I put away those things? Growing in the inward man through the Word of God. The Greek word used for “put away” is “katargeo” and it means that “a superior and more complete stage will take over those that are put down”, in the same sense that adult hood replaced childhood. The whole point is that we must leave behind all the immature stages and move on to what is more excellent. Reading the context of this passage is clear the behavior of this believers.
At Gilgal (v.1-2) at Bethel (v.4) and Jericho (v.6) Elisha frankly told Elijah “I will not leave you”. After that, Elijah did not try to persuade him to stay at any place, indicating that he had merely tested Elisha.
The expression “The Lord hath sent me to” indicates that Elijah was just following in obedience the instructions of The Lord. Obedience has to be learned and it’s part of the process of spiritual growth. In Hebrew 5:8 says;
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he
obedience by the things which he suffered”
The third symbolical stage: is called “Jordan”. The word in Hebrew is “yardên” which means “a descender” or “One that descends”. It represents when we are submerged (figurative) into Christ and all our being (spirit, soul and body) is controlled by God through our spiritual growth (complete understanding of His will for us). This stage is a very slow process and it requires a spiritual understanding of how it works. In our last class I mentioned about how obscured was the definition of “Soul” in the O.T. because of the sinful nature of men. Eph 2:3; Rom. 6:23; Gal. 2:15. In the N.T. it is a totally different matter because now we had received a new nature through the price that our Lord Jesus paid for us. 2 Pet. 1:4. Our will, emotions, intellect, mind and reason are parts that conformed our soul. We must surrender all these areas to God in order to be in harmony with His plan and purpose for us. Observe what Jesus said in Mat. 16:24;
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me”.
Let’s explain the key words of this passage:
- “if any man will come after me” – it refers to accept Jesus as the One that had paid the price and because we believe it we are born again. John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Pet. 1:23. Using a “Parallel” reference this stage represents “Beth-El”. All the benefits of the new pact in Christ are concentrated on individual decision and following certain conduction. Jn. 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17. God will never force or put pressure to obligate a person to do His will but rather He will persuade that person in love and kindness.
- “let him (the born again) deny himself” – the Greek word for “deny” is “aparneomai” which has the following definitions according to Thayer’s Greek dictionary:
1.1. to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone
1.2. to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests
“Take up his cross, and follow me” This is an expression that had cause confusion not because is confusing but rather because of the misuse and misunderstanding of what the expression meant when the writer wrote it. The context plays a great significance in the extraction of the original meaning taught by Jesus in this case. Wrong doctrines and false teaching had been the result of the wrong use of this expression, which Jesus never meant to be used in such way. Some have even have teach incorrectly that term “cross” in the text means caring a “sickness or affliction”, that such of line of teaching violated God’s plan to redeem humanity from the cursed that came because of Adam’s transgressions. Read Rom 5:12; Gal. 3:13. When we use the term “cross” related to Jesus is means “The reason or purpose He came to accomplished” (read John 4:34; 6:38), in other words “the specific mission He came to do”. The term use related to a believer it has the same meaning but connected to the term “deny himself” which it means, “all your personal ambitions need to be put aside and let God be the first one in your heart”. “Take the cross” within the context of the text implies “to do the commission you have received from God”., which includes “His plan and purpose”. Observe that in Luke 9:23 is even more specific when it says; “and take up his cross daily, and follow me”.
After we are born again (Beth- El) we are instructed by the Word of God to follow Jesus footsteps in obedience (Jericho). Read Luke 9:62; John 14:15. Then we are heading toward our goal, which is “surrendering our will to God” (Jordan). Paul experienced it when he spoke in Galatians 2:20;
“I am crucified (my personal ambitions) with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me (to do God’s will): and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me”.
That should be the objective of every born again Christian, all our personal agendas, plans, ambitions, aspirations, etc. must be replace by God’s purpose in us. Jesus knew this when he faced a big decision in his earthy life just days before his crucifixion. We read in Luke 22:42;
“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done”
“Remove” means “to lead aside from the right course or path, to carry away”. Jesus knew that the only way for Him to do His father’s will was by surrendering all to the One He trusted all his earthy life. In a figurative way Jesus needed to cross the “Jordan” and rely on God the Father. Read Heb. 5:7. And also He said in John 12:24;
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit”
If Jesus wouldn’t die at the cross He wouldn’t never die, because he never had experienced sin in his life and according to Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death;” But He came to put his own life to rescue the human race and restore everything. John 15:13. Jesus obtained the Victory not at the cross but rather at the garden of Gethsemane where He literally surrendered His will to the father’s will. The Jordan represents for us those moments when we must surrender to our lord all and rely on his perfect will. Every born again Christian will face with the decision whether to follow his/her own plans or to do God’s purpose. We won’t experience the fullness of God’s presence in us until we won’t let go and bury in the depth of the Jordan our own ambitions.
Only through spiritual growth we can reach a point where we can allow God to take control not only of plans and goals but our entire lives. It’s a process that might take years to accomplish it for some, others are not that privileged, no because they didn’t have the same opportunity but because the chose not to surrender to God’s perfect will.
One thing has to be clear, be belonging to God since the moment we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We are just partakers of the life of Christ and the remaining time we are on this earth has be live to reflect His power and glory.
Spiritual growth is the more critical part of our Christian lives and keeping people from growing in the inward man is one of the reasons why the devil had introduced false doctrines, fallacies, humanism, heresies, etc. since the church got corrupted and mixed up with pagans rituals (From the 300s when Constantine the Roman Emperor). We need to be diligent in acquiring the pure spiritual knowledge that comes by the revelation from The Holy Spirit as is described by Paul in Eph. 1:17-18 that says;
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints”. Read and compare to John 5:39; 14:26; 15:26.
In 2 Kings 2:1-14 we will draw a spiritual application based on the places where these two men of God were sent before one of them was taken to heaven. Let me make clear that when we study the scriptures and try to interpret a particular scripture, it should be clear that there is only one interpretation, which is what the writer (inspired by God) of that particular book intended it. The interpretation of that particular passage may be “Literal or Allegorical”, depends on what God wanted to communicate to those whom He addressed. We can use or extract different applications from those verses but keep in mind that the application is limited to the context that surround it and you should never distort the biblical language to try to justify actions that compromise all principles and laws established by God.
Let’s apply what we had already mentioned and establish a parallel between the place where Elijah and Elisha went and the levels of spiritual growth.
There is 3 different locations in 2 Kings 2:2-7; “Bethel, Jericho and Jordan”. These 3 locations can be used (limited) as a reference to represent believer’s spiritual levels but it have to be within the biblical context of the passage.
Bethel: For example represents the place of “the vision” in Genesis 35:1-15. Observe several key words in these verses:
“And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel”. v. 1
“And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother”. v.7
El Bethel = “The God of the House of God”. Which means; the place where God revealed Himself to Jacob. According to The Brown-Driver-Briggs’s dictionary.
The stages of spiritual growth is as follow:
1- Born Again (Beth-El): Here is where everything starts for us. God not only places his divine nature in us (john 3:15; 5:39; 6:54; 10:28; Rom. 6:23; Tit. 1:2; 1 John 5:13) but at the same time He placed his vision in our new spirit.
2- The second stage is when we starting to be obeying to God’s word (Jericho) and our dependency on God more than our old way to deal with problems and issues. After we are born again, we must receive instructions about the new life we have received align with the word of God. Read proverbs 1:2-8; 6:23; 8:10; 12:1; 13:18; 15:33; 19:27
The Hebrew word “musar” is used 50 times in the Old Testament and is translated:
“correction (8), instruction (30), chastening (3), chastisement (3), bond (1), chasteneth (1), check (1), discipline (1), doctrine (1), rebuker (1) according to The Brown-Driver-Brigg’s dictionary.
The Third stage is when we understand God’s purpose and we had surrendered to it (Jordan). As a born again Christians we are suppose to produce fruits that redounded to God’s glory. Mat 3:10; 7:17-19; 12:33; 13:8, 26; 21:19, 34; Mar 4:7-8, 29; 11:14; 12:2; Luke 1:42; 3:9; 6:43-44; 8:8; 13:6-7; 20:9-10; John 4:36; 12:24; 15:2; 15:4-5, 8, 16; Act 2:30, Rom 1:13; 6:21-22; 15:28, 1 Co 9:7; Gal 5:22; Eph 5:9, Phi 1:22; 4:17, Heb 12:11; 13:15, Jam 3:18; 5:7, 18; Rev 22:2