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“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” Gal. 4:19
Subject: God’s Breaking Through – Process of Internal Formation
Based Text: John 12:24
Definition: God’s Breaking Through is the process through which God “Make die, crushed, removes, breaks down, extract” things in areas of our lives where He has no control or do not have the primacy. As New Creature, which you are in Christ (John 3:3-8; 2 Corinthians 5:17), having received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you must give him total control of your life. Obviously, this is not automatic, but rather “a process that involves an action on our part”. God uses the process of “Breaking Through” not only to rule in our lives, but also to “mold” our lives according to His plan and purpose for each of us. The breaking (of that specific area) will last as long as you understand that God has to be the “first” in all areas of your life. No one can experience the fullness of God’s manifestation in his or her life, unless God is in total and complete control. Paul said in Galatians 2:20 that “I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live (death of me), but Christ lives in (inside) on me … “. The formation of the character of God in us is also one of the reasons why we are process. Read Galatians 5:22-23.
Matthew 22:37 says:
“Jesus replied: ‘ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
The used of the word “Break down” in the language of the text expressed by Jesus in John 12:24, which is implicit in the expression “falls into the ground and die”;
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
As a rule of interpretation we must give the passenger the right direction, which is the literal application with reference to Jesus’ death on the cross. But there is also “The Law of Double Reference”, under the same rules of interpretation, where we can also apply the verse in question in a “spiritual sense”. We must bear in mind that when using this method of interpretation not misrepresent or take the original meaning of the same passage. In other words, we can give a “limited” to the context of the same spiritual sense, is not going to be that we take this interpretation to the extreme to take or obtain a “misconception or error“. Now what Jesus meant is: “I must die, to be glorified and bring much fruit. Jesus could not establish a glorified church first if he was not glorified. Using the law of double reference in John 12:24 regarding the believer ” must die (in those things which God has first place or Lordship) so we can see the glory of God in our lives.” All the elements involved in God’s Breaking Through process, are aligned to His Word and the Holy Spirit, God will never uses a sinful or unclean element (this include the devil and his demons) to form the believer to the image of his Son. Compare Rom. 8:29, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Eph. 2:10, Col. 3:10-14. Keep in mind that God created us in three parts “spirit” (Pneuma), “soul” (psuche) and “body” (soma). 1 Thess. 5:23, Heb. 4:12. Gal. 5:16-17. Our soul is divided into five major areas, which are: “your intellect, emotions, will, mind and reason.” When we received Jesus and we are born again, we received a new nature “eternal life” in our new spirit. John 1:13, 3:3-8; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Pet. 1:23. It is our soul that needs to be “renewed” after being born again, since it is here that lays the “inner conflict” of every believer after being born again.
In Galatians 5:16-17 expresses this internal conflict:
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would”.
Also in Matthew 16:24 Jesus said:
”…If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Three things involved in this passage:
1. “If anyone would come after me” implies a voluntary act. God won’t force you but rather He will persuade you by His love, Word and His Holy Spirit.
2. “Let him deny (completely surrender control to the Lord) himself.” Jesus makes a direct reference to the Breaking Through process when he used the term.
3. “Take up your cross and follow me”: The word “Cross” in this particular passage means, “Mission, purpose for which it was called and work.” In Jesus case his “cross” was not only to die in a literal cross, but also bear the sin and the curse that humanity possessed. Galatians 3:13, 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Defining the entire passage Jesus meant that ” If anyone wants to follow me, you should be aware that any plan, personal aspiration and earthly everything is temporary. The focus must now follow and willingly submit to the purpose and will of God. ”
In the book of Mark 8:35 talking within the same context Jesus said:
”For whoever would save his life (Gr. psuche for Soul) will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
The Greek word for soul is “psuche” implying our part where the will, mind, emotions, reason and intellect are. No one can save his soul. Only God has the power and the ability to change the sinful nature, through the new birth and the ability to provide the believer to renew your soul. Every believer has the responsibility to develop spiritually and through this experience renewal of his soul, thoughts, attitudes, bad habits, etc. . . . The combination of spiritual growth and renewal of our soul have resulted in a genuine transformation has even affect our physical body. In other words, we will reflect on the outside what we have inside. Explain about this later.
Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit mentioned in Romans 12:2 that we do in our “soul”:
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”.
Explanation of the verse:
I. “Do not conform”: Greek text “suschematizo” which means conforming to the example of others. It implies that your attitude should be in opposition to that which is against your new nature. Also used in 1 Pet. 1:14.
II. “This world”: the Greek text “aion” is translated as “age” and means “Do not settle or be conforming to the corrupt system of this world.”
III. “Be transformed”: the original Greek “metamorphoo” meaning “be transformed or transfigured by a supernatural change”. And the term is used in Matthew 17:2, Mark 9:2, Rom. 12:2, 2 Corinthians 3:18. This change is the product of “renewing the mind” through the word of God. Compare also 2 Corinthians. 4:16, Eph. 4:23; Col. 3:10, Hebrew 6:6.
IV. “Through”: covers the method used to carry out what we want to achieve.
V. “Renewal”: means that we replace the old things that were stored for years by the new. This can only be achieved when our new spirit is fed with the Word of God. Col. 1:9-10, Heb. 5:12-14; James 1:21; 1 Pet. 2:1-3
VI. “Understanding”: refers to a part of our soul. In Ephesians 4:23 Paul said, “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Indicating that we have a “spiritual attitude in our minds”, through saturate our lives in God’s Word. In Psalm 103 we see David reminding his soul about all the benefits he had received from the Lord.
VII. “That ye may prove”: the original Greek “dokimazo” which means to discern, distinguish, examine, and test. Implies that it is the only way to achieve and experience what has been expressed in verse. This word is also used in 1 Corinthians 3:13, Eph 5:10, 1 Timothy 3:10, 1 John 4:1, Luke 12:56 and 18 more.
VIII. “Good, acceptable, and perfect will of God”: experience three things everyone who is transformed by renewing your mind. If a believer does not know or have not experienced the good will of God correctly, is for the simple reason that you have not renewed your understanding. Notice that Paul says in verse 2 that God’s will is “good, pleasing and perfect”, and in line with the nature and character of God. Compare also Luke 11:2, Gal 1:4, 1 Thess. 4:3 and James. 1:17.
Summarizing Romans 12:2: No one may experience the full manifestation of the glory of God in their life if first has experienced “an inner transformation or metamorphosis”. In the language of the biblical text, we must remove, extract, break, crushed or die in those areas where God does not have full control, so that we can experience the flow of the Holy Spirit in and through us. “Process of Internal Formation” is the end result “a transformation of the inner man is reflected even in the soul (mind, will, emotions, reason, and intellect) and in our physical body. We must never forget that God’s Breaking Through is a process that involves our submission to God and that it will last the time we had to surrender to him completely in that specific area. God will never force us to do something we do not want, rather, God persuades us in love and through His word and His Holy Spirit: John 16:8-10, 2 Tim 3:16-17.
God has no favorites and given us all equally the same opportunity. Deut 10:17; Acts 10:34, Rom 2:11, Gal 2:6, Eph 6:9
In James 4:7 says:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Being submitted to God is a sign that God has transformed the person. However, note that the passage states, “When we are submitted (rendered and controlled by God), the devil will flee from us”. Is not until we do our part that the second part of the verse is fulfilled. A believer that had surrender and is submitted under the guidance and direction of the Lord is an effective weapon to destroy the works of the devil. That is the reason why we have today so many false doctrines that feed the “ego” of the human being, to be ineffective in God. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Speaking in the same line of thought The Holy Spirit spoke through Paul in 2 Tim. 3:1-5, warned us about the character of men in the latter days and we have to avoid them.
Examples of men who were processed by God:
In Genesis 32:22-32 we find a passage where we can use “the law of double reference” again, drawing a spiritual sense, to apply to the use of breaking through process.
Let’s consider all the verses of Genesis 32:22-32.
“And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.” verses 22-23
This is Jacob protecting his possessions, wives and sons.
“And Jacob was left alone…” verse 24
Implying that God was going to deal with him first. In the breaking through process, God will “separates you or left you alone” to thereby put all your “attention” to him. Although you apparently alone, God let you know that he is with you. When God confronts you, you have to be “isolate” so that is totally your dependence on it. Many times you have to “strip you of things that are weighing on your spiritual life, “only you” you take away or subtract speed in your ministry or Christian race. Hebrews 12:1 Things maybe are not “sin” but that can eventually turn into just that. It is only when you are in the process of breaking when you start seeing things that hinder you. God will put you in a position where you have to take the voluntary decision of wanting to be “transformed“ God will never force you to do something. 1 Peter 5:6 says; “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, (wraps purpose) that He may exalt you in due time; .. “. “Humble” implies that “God is in control and dominion in your life” , that is, in “all areas of your life.” Within the context of scripture a ‘ humble’ is “one on which God has full and complete control.” Humility has nothing to do with “poverty”, as this is part of the curse of the law. Read Deuteronomy 28:15-68, which encloses all the curse.
” … And wrestled with him (Jacob) a man until daybreak.” Verse 24
Several things wrapped up in the text:
The word “fought” the Hebrew text is “aw -bak ” which means “Being involved in a fight where there is physical struggle, and where any weapons are not used .” Word indicating that there was “a type of wrestling”. In addition, the custom at that time was that if you were someone on the road or place, and this stranger you kissed cheeks, implied he wanted a “friendship.” But if I started to ” wrestle ” with you , that meant that I was challenging a ” wrestling ” and the loser had to ” pay with material things”. Now, remember that Jacob had nothing with him, and all his possessions were across the creek. v. 22-23. Scripture does not say exactly how long they struggled physically, but the idea is to show “the persistence of Jacob ” and how God was going to change things for it . Throughout the struggle Jacob had not realized that it was God who was dealing with it. Is that case is not similar to ours? When God is dealing in certain areas of our lives and we are so focused on material things that we do not realize until God makes us know that He is himself who wants to change. Many times we have our eyes on things that just take away God first in our lives and everything that God remove the first place turns into “idolatry”. God does not share his place with anything or anyone or is all or nothing, there is no such thing as God has first place in some things and not others. Read Revelation 3:15-16.
“And he said unto him, what is thy name? And he said, Jacob. ” verse 27
Why God asks Jacob his name? (v. 27) did God not know? Why was it important to God that Jacob himself said his own name?
Let’s explain it:
Think of all that God could have said by way of reprimand. Instead, just ask the name of Jacob. God’s purpose in asking this question contains a lesson for all of us, too deep to ignore. In fact, it dramatically altered the history of the Old Testament. By asking God’s blessing, Jacob was forced by the question of God to live the last time you had asked a blessing, which had stolen his brother. The last time Jacob was asked for his name, the question came from his earthly father Isaac. Jacob had lied on that occasion and said, “I am Esau” and stole the blessing. It has now been found, after many lost years of running through life looking over his shoulder, before the all-knowing, all-seeing, Heavenly Father. Again after searching for a blessing, Jacob fully understands the reason and the indictment after God’s question and replied, “My name is Jacob”. “You have spoken the truth,” God said”… and you know very well what your name means . You have been a liar man with dirty tricks, fooling everyone wherever they’ve gone. But now that you make known your imperfect condition, I (God) can change you, and I will make of you a great nation.”
The greatness in the eyes of God is always preceded by humility before Him There is no way that you or I can achieve greatness until we come to it.
God changes Jacob of being “a liar, deceiver, crafty “to” Prince of God ” which is the meaning of the name “Israel”. The Hebrew word for Israel is “Yisael” which is taken from “sar” is ” Prince” (one who rules) and ” EL ” means ” God Force, Mighty, etc. . ” . Israel therefore be translated as; “Prince with God “, ” Soldier of God” and ”Prince of God”. The name Israel is used 2,450 times, and was given to Jacob. 2 kings 17:34; Hosea 12:3-4; their descendants. Exodus 9:7; and still is used with reference to Christ in Isaiah 49:3 where ” Jesus prevails with God and with men , in a deeper way and in a fuller sense than in the case of Jacob in Gen. 32:28
“And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.” verse 29
In other words; ” “Then Jacob asked him, and said, tell me your name. And the man answered: Why do you ask my name could you be so ignorant of who I am, “Did not you realize who I am”? That’s the implication in the answer God gives Jacob. God often is dealing with areas in our lives and we have not realized that it is the Lord who is struggling with us, to correct us and bless us obviously. In Apoc. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21. All these verses refer directly to that “only those who overcome” get the reward, implying that we should be “diligent, hardworking, consistent, and persistent “to be blessed. Only those who overcome will come out winners, stating that “those who do not will not be rewarded.” Only the winners will achieve all the promises of God!
Genesis 32:26 implies “material reward “not only within the cultural context of the time, but within the same scriptural context. Jacob did great honor to his name “crafty” and God wanted to change it because through Jacob was to be constituted “the nation of Israel”, which was to represent God on earth. What Jacob did not imagine that his life was going to be “changed in a radical way?”. As this male as “touched the hollow of his thigh, and Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him”. v 25, God will deals with those things in which we rely, trust and thus depend absolutely Him.
The Hebrew word used in this passage is very interesting because it reveals that the contact was not physical and spiritual, and I make this observation because many have tried to spiritualize this passage, when it was actually “a physical struggle”. In the Hebrew text is used the word “Naga” for “Touch” meaning “Lay a hand on”, “beat”, “hurt” . By striking the hollow of the thigh caused Jacob’s leg the thigh was out of joint. This same Hebrew word is used 48 times and is only used in a “literal” sense where physical contact is obvious. Gen. 3:3; 20:6; Exodus 19:12-13, etc.
By the way, this appearance of God in the form of “Man” is known as a “Theophany of God”. Theophany, from the Ancient Greek ( ἡ ) θεοφάνεια ( theophaneia ) – which means “appearance of God” – refers to the appearance of one of the persons of the deity in a natural or human-like form . Also used of a divine revelation.
Now notice what verse 31 says; “And as he passed over Peniel the sun came out ; limping because of his hip.”
2 Things reflected in the verse:
“And when he had passed Peniel …,” implies that until we don’t realize that it is God who is “working in those areas where He should be in control” and we need to surrender then: which means “we submit to God’s process”. Until we are not aware of it, we can not move to another level in our relationship with God and His plan and purpose with us. “And when he had passed Peniel “also implies that “when we understand that it is God who wants to pour out his blessings not only on us, but also through us. We must pass Peniel; which is just an expression to say; “We have to understand that is God the one that is breaking through inside of us, and He is using elements around us to mold (shape) us. In this context I am not making reference to either illness or something else that the devil uses to attack us.
Galatians 3:13 says; “Christ redeemed us (made free) from the curse of the law (see Deut. 28:15-68 explains everything that involves cursing) being made a curse for us”.
We must recognize that God wants to “Changes us” and we shouldn’t “fight against him”. Jacob wrestled (resisted) for not knowing that it was God. Lets make sure that does not happens the same to us.
Another thing to notice in Genesis 32:31 is the phrase “… the sun came out,” which indicates that Jacob understood that it was God who he was resisting or wrestled with. The sun rose is simply an expression to indicate “the enlightenment or to understand”, the meaning of this expression apply to us imply how God process our lives. Many times we are fighting against things that God wants to process in our lives, and many times we do not realize it until the end of this process when “The sun comes out”. It is only through our spiritual growth that we can comprehend that it is God who is dealing with us.
What is the purpose of God processing us?
1) – Having God as first in our lives. This implied the correct order of our priorities
2) – Take me to a deeper spiritual level and improve our relationship with Him
3) – The breakdown brings us the same “strength and comfort us.”
4) – Bring in itself “divine meaning and purpose to your life.”
5) – Guide us in everyday decisions in our lives.
6) – Bring also reflect the life of Christ through ours.
7) – To prepare “beyond what we can understand” to the time when we are before the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
We should not resist or make opposition to God’s breaking process. All that God wants is to make our lives as “his Son Jesus”. Romans 8:29
there are certain questions to refer about the story in Genesis 32:22-32. “Why would God bother to go to all this effort just to turn the heart of Jacob? “. Why does not God just say, “Okay, you go your own way … trust your own strength … keep your own instincts and see where it takes you “? But do you realize that as soon as you examine these questions is no immediate follow them? Why bother God persist and fetch you? The answer is obvious. God cared about Jacob and He cares for you and me.
During the daily struggles and difficult times we face in life, God is making us a call to let Him take complete control of our lives. When this happens, then God through His Word and His Holy Spirit can guide us to the right solution. He also has surrounded us with people who teach us the truth. Ephesians 4:11-19
No one can get an answer from God if the “Peace of God” does not rule your life. A person who is disturbed, worried and anxious, can not get the answer that comes by the Spirit. John 14:26-27; 16:13-15. 1 Peter 5:6-7 recommended “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you”. In Philippians 4:7, Paul says:
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
In Galatians 2:20 Paul said death an expression indicating the “ego” and a total submission to God’s Breaking Through Process.
“With Christ I am crucified, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me; and I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”.
Death to the “ego” implies that “God has first place in your life”. We were purchased by the sacrifice of Jesus and our lives now belong to Him
Matthew 5:3 says; “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” There has been a misinterpretation of passages like this as they interpret the text as implicating “spiritual poverty”. This interpretation contradicts many Scriptures, as a believer with spiritual poverty is not considered blessed. When analyzed within the scriptural text and under “parallel texts” context indicates rather “those who spiritually depends on God”, or “those whose spiritual strength from God“. The Prophecies in Matthew 5:3-12 wrapped 8 wrap promises even have a partial fulfillment in these times, also have their complete fulfillment in the literal second coming of Christ to establish His millennial kingdom. With regard to breach a person whose life is controlled or governed by God, recognized that his strength comes from the Lord and fulfills the prophecy of Matthew 5:3 partially. There are other parallel passages where “broken spirit, humble spirit” imply that they have “given complete control of their lives to the Lord” and have the same use as in Matthew 5:3 . Read Psalm 51:17, Isaiah 57:15; 66:2 and Matthew 11:28-30.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul said, ” And said to me: My grace is sufficient; for my strength is made perfect in weakness “. Indicating what Jesus said in Matthew 5:3.
In summary, the process of destruction not only gives the Lord first in our lives (complete), but it helps us in the following areas:
– Mature: Since breaking through every experience helps us achieve a higher level of understanding about how God deals with us.
– Grow spiritually: Since we give priority to our spiritual life, not our soul or body.
– We get more spiritual sensitivity: Since we have a more intimate contact with God and perceive spiritual things further. – Expands the divine vision: Our vision of the spiritual world is extended to be controlled by the Lord. We see and understand the Lord’s plan and purpose for our lives. Brokenness “expand your spiritual capacity” in all areas, including the ministerial work that each of us has been commissioned in particular. A believer broken is not difficult to use it for the Lord.
Our cooperation with the Lord in brokenness, not only streamlines the process itself, but it helps us to grasp things that are happening around us and we can advise and help those who are going through similar situations. One thing is important that we should understand is that God wants to use us all , and shed his blessings to the fullest, but give full control to God alone be able to enjoy “little blessings”. Ourselves we become an “obstacle” in the plan of God, as if we have not been “broken” just do things our own “ego” wants and desires, and not what God has for us. We come to eat “crumbs “that fall from the table instead of eating as we are children of God. Compare Matthew 15:2.
– God’s Breaking Through Process in Moses’s life : Called and commission from God; exodus 3-4
3 stages in the process of God with Moses:
1. He Spent 40 years in Egypt. Acts 7:20-23
2. He Spent 40 years in the wilderness of mount Sina. Acts 7:30
3. He guided the people of Israel for 40 years in the desert. Numbers 14:33-34
Moses did not enter the Promised Land for hitting the rock instead of speaking to it as God commanded him to do. Numbers 20:8-11 and died at the age of 120. Deut. 34:1-7
There many other examples of God’s breaking Through Process recorded in the Scriptures in which we can see how God deals with His people.
May our God help us to surrender our lives to Him!
By: Rev. Jay Werman
Text Based: 2 Kings 2:1-14
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 (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.
– 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.
– 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
3 different places with 3 different meanings in 2 Kings 2:1-14
Explaining “Beth-El” as a Level of Spiritual Growth:
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
By allowing and receiving the unadulterated word of God you will grow as follow:
1- In knowledge 2 Peter 3:18
2- Into Christ ion all things. Eph. 4:15
3- Into a holy temple. Eph. 2:21
4- Like a cedar of the Lebanon Ps. 92:12
5- Like calves in the stall. Mal. 4:2
6- 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