The American Wisdom Series

Matthew #2525

If you think you know Jesus Christ and yet you are ignorant of His Word, you are deceiving yourself and headed for a great fall when Satan shows up as the false-christ.

Jesus Christ told us at the conclusion of Matthew chapter eleven that if you are heavy laden and a willing "laborer", meaning that you are willing to "come to Him" and "take His yoke upon you" and "learn about Him", then He will give you "rest"!

Matthew 11:28-29
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

[29] Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

The apostle Paul also exhorted us to labour to enter into His rest. (Note: The fourth chapter of Hebrews is an excellent source of related subject matter to today's study.
Hebrews 4:11
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Paul refers in this verse to that "example of unbelief" which is to follow the traditions of men that are contrary to His Word and therefore cause you to be disobedient to God's Word. Let not man deceive you! Always go to and follow Jesus Christ, the Word of God.
[12]For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Paul does not say that the words of preachers and ministers can give you life, does he? It is ONLY God's Word which is alive (quick), for it is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. You see, eternal life is contained in the Word of God. John 5:39 "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think [are assured] ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." Christ is the Living Word of God and the Bible is the Written Word of God which testifies of Him. The two are inseparable which means if you desire to "come to Him" and "learn of Him" then you must come to His Word which is quick (alive) and powerful to the point that it can change your whole life by causing your spirit (your intellect) to receive and unite with His Spirit (the Word of God, His intellect). Then shall you find that "rest" and peace of mind.

You "see", as Christians we must go to Him and "learn of Him" and mature to the point that we understand that Jesus Christ, the Word of God, is our rest which means He is our "sabbath". In fact, the word "sabbath" means "rest". Yet there are those even this day who teach that you must keep a certain "day", even from sunset to sunset, in order to be in good standing with God. Is that true? We will find out in this study as Christ teaches us concerning the sabbath day.

Matthew 12:1
At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and His disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
Jesus Christ, the true bread of life, always feeds those who hunger and labor for Him.Notice that it was Jesus who "went", as in led His disciples through the corn to work and harvest on the sabbath day, for He knew that they were "hungry". He also knew that this action would bring accusations from the religious community of hypocrites who are always judgmental of those who do not conform to their "elite" religious traditions. In fact, religious hypocrites will often throw common sense right out the window in lieu of breaking one of those precious traditions. Thus the letter of their law and tradition, to which they are "yoked", becomes more important than the love of Christ Himself as we will learn from the example and the teaching He brings forth here in Matthew 12. What's more is that their "yoke" is NOT light and easy to bear, but rather a burden and a heavy load to carry on your own.So cast off their yoke as in change yokes and hook up with Jesus Christ, the Word of God, and tell religious hypocrites to bug off!
[2] But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto Him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
First of all, those who have already "gone to Him", to His Word, and "learned of Him" know that Jesus Christ IS the "fulfillment" of the law, including the Passover and ALL the Sabbath days, which is simply the schoolmaster that teaches us all about Him. In other words, just as He is our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7) through whom we are forgiven and redeemed, so also is He our Sabbath through whom we are given rest!

Perhaps for the newer students we should pause at length here and review a portion of the ninth chapter of Hebrews to help us better understand how days and things, such as the "tabernacle" itself, were given to us to teach us all about the One to come, even Jesus Christ in whom we are complete (Col. 2:10).
"In the ninth chapter of Hebrews Paul compares the details of the earthly tabernacle, along with the ordinances of divine service, to the true tabernacle, Jesus Christ, and what He has done for us as our High Priest who entered into the Holy of Holies once and for all time. By teaching us in this manner, Paul shows us how perfectly the Old Covenant explains the New by letting us "see" how those shadows represent the true tabernacle, which is Jesus Christ. Col. 2:17 "Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." For you see, the New Covenant is simply the fulfillment of, the reality of, the Old Covenant, that schoolmaster which brings us to know and understand Jesus Christ, the true tabernacle.

The ordinances of "divine service" and the "worldly sanctuary" were only figures, visible likenesses, images of the true tabernacle, Jesus Christ. In other words, they were earthly things our flesh eyes could see, things made and services performed to show us and teach us as a schoolmaster the things which cannot be seen, even His eternal power and Godhead, that power which can forgive sins and grant us "life" eternal. Romans 1:20 "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."

And so it was that the worldly (earthly) tabernacle was made by men's hands according to the "pattern" God gave Moses, and the ordinances of divine service were ordained so that we might be able to clearly "see" and "understand", and come to know Jesus Christ, the true tabernacle and the one and only true sacrifice for sins. He was the "real thing", the reality, the One promised by the sworn oath of Almighty God who would come and "open the way", fulfilling all things. And once the reality came, all those representative "things" were completely done away with (Col. 2:14-17).

To that end, Paul is now going to give us a description of how the earthly tabernacle was set-up and what the ordinances of divine service (vs. 1) entailed pertaining to the Holy of Holies, the Holiest part of the sanctuary, and compare them to Christ. He speaks first of that part of the sanctuary wherein all the priests could go.

Hebrews 9:2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.

The candlestick or lampstand with the seven lamps, the detailed description of which you can read in Ex. 25:31-40, was placed on the south side of the first apartment of the tabernacle, opposite the table of shewbread (Exodus 25:37) and it was lit permanently to give light inside the Holy Place. Wise virgins might find it interesting to know that the priests in the tabernacle were responsible, evening and morning, for trimming the wicks and filling up the seven lamps with the purest of olive oil sufficient to keep it burning throughout the night (see Mat. 25:1-13).

Exodus 27:20-21
And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always. [21] In the tabernacle of the congregation without the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.
You will also find that the shewbread, consisting of "twelve" loafs of "unleavened" bread, was placed on the "pure" table before the LORD and set in two rows of six cakes each.
Leviticus 24:5-7
And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake. [6] And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD. [7] And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
One should take it upon himself or herself to study and learn all he or she can about the tabernacle and the things contained therein and the ordinances of service. Why? Because they teach us all about the true tabernacle, Jesus Christ, and the things of the spirit."

If you don't quite understand all of what was said or see how it relates, just read on and perhaps it will become more clear by the end of this study. Nevertheless, with that background in mind let us read how Jesus Christ responded with acute wisdom to the accusations of the Pharisees who just denounced the disciples for breaking the law regarding the sabbath day... which was that they were found to be working in the field on the day of rest!
Matthew 12:3 But He said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
Christ often asked the question "Have ye you not read?" in responding to His accusers. In doing so they must give answer, even if it is solely to themselves in their own minds, which convicts them of having to admit that "yes", they have not read, or if they have it was without understanding, or they do know it to be true but simply refuse to submit to the truth.

Now notice that Jesus relates what has happened, i.e. His disciples going through the field plucking and eating the grain, to what David did in 1 Samuel 21 when he and his men were an hungered and they entered into the tabernacle and ate the shewbread!

[4] How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
You will find that the bread was taken off the shewbread table on the sabbath day and was carried to the house of the priest and divided among the priests. Again, Christ brings this forth this analogy for a good reason showing how David entered into the "tabernacle" (the temple was not yet built) which if you recall from Hebrews 9 was merely a shadow of the true tabernacle which is Christ. You "see", the priests not only worked on the Sabbath day, the priests also were to eat the shewbread. So where does that leave a disciple and laborer of Jesus Christ, a true Christian? Are not His elect both kings and priests? Rev. 1:6 "And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
1 Samuel 21:5-6
And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.
Therefore both David and his men were "undefiled" and working in the service of the Lord, as in they were laboring for Him.
[6] So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.
Remember that David was "anointed" and He was both a shepherd (priest) and a king. Not only that, there is NO OTHER BREAD for a true servant of the Lord than that which comes from His table and is sanctified in the tabernacle, i.e. is found in the Word of God! So you see, it IS lawful for priests to eat the shewbread on the sabbath day. So if you are a laborer and have come to Him and have learned of Him, then He will lead you his table and also give you rest (Ps. 23). This is really not difficult to understand, except for those who dwell in the "shadows" and have not come into His marvelous light. To that end, you can be sure the Pharisees didn't "get it"!

Now here is another teaching of Christ regarding the sabbath days!

Matthew 12:5
Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
How do the priests profane the sabbath days in the temple? They WORK in the temple on the sabbath days! That's right! In fact, there were more sacrifices and therefore more work for the priests on the sabbaths than on any other day. That should give the wise a "good shadow" of the labor they shall do once they have entered into His rest! They cease from their own labor and begin to labor in his temple, the body of Christ.
[6] But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
Again, the tabernacle, the temple and all that was in it was but a type and shadow of Him who was to come, Jesus Christ our high priest forever after the order of Melchisedek. In other words, the REAL temple, the true bread of life Himself, the true Sabbath (rest), was standing right there before their very eyes. But they knew Him not, neither did they have any understanding concerning His word, as the following verse documents.
[7] But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
If they had known that what all the sacrifices and days and ceremonies, etc. were for, which was to teach us and show us and bring us to the knowledge and love of Christ, then they would not have condemned the innocent. You see, your Father doesn't want burnt offerings nor for you to perform religious zippity-do-da trips around some altar. What He wants is for you to love Him and use good common sense!

Here is the verse Christ quoted from the great Book of Hosea, whose name means "salvation"!

Hosea 6:6
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
He wants you to "come to Him" in love and "learn of Him". And yet many today still think that Christianity is some sort of religion, a system of going to a tabernacle or church building, and keeping this day or that day, or doing this holy thing or performing that ritual. In doing so, they confirm by their actions that they do not understand that what our Father wants is our love, not burnt offerings. Again, Col. 2:10 states that we are complete in Jesus Christ, the Word of God, who as we have learned IS OUR SABBATH. In fact, IF you do not sabbath (rest) in Christ, you do not have nor do you keep the true Sabbath!
Matthew 12:8
For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
The account in Mark precedes this same profound statement with the following verse.
Mark 2:27-28
And He said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
In other words, the sabbath was made for man in order to show man in a physical sense what "rest" is so he could relate it spiritually to our rest in Christ who is our Sabbath, our true rest! Why is this so difficult for some to understand? Again, it doesn't matter one iota what "day you keep" if you do not rest in Jesus Christ, for without Him you do not have rest!
[28] Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
Understand that Jesus Christ is not only the true temple, He is also our Passover! Must you go out on the 10th day of the first month and find an unblemished lamb, then keep it until the 14th day and then kill it and eat it? Of course not, because Christ became our Passover just as He became our Sabbath. Get a certain "day" of the week out of your head (for we serve Him everyday) and elevate your thinking to the spiritual reality of Christ, because if you are in Him and you labor for Him, then you have already entered into that day, into the light, into His rest. You see, a day of the week can no more give you spiritual rest than one day a year (Passover) can atone for and blot out your sins. Only the real thing, Christ our Passover can forgive your sins and only Christ our Sabbath can give you rest! Again, that true rest and peace of mind can only be found by yoking yourself to Messiah and entering into the light and becoming a child of the DAY! Read 1 Thes. 5 and know that you are a child of light and your day doesn't change for you because you are always in the light, in Him. Therefore, Jesus Christ is Lord of the Sabbath because He is our Sabbath. He is our REST.

Since this seems to be so difficult for so many people, let us go to Colossians chapter two and nail this down once and for all!

Paul writes:

Col. 2:8
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
You watch out for men, especially preachers and ministers who claim to be Christ's representatives! Search the scriptures and check out what they teach to see if it aligns with His Word, which is supreme over all!
[9] For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Jesus Christ, the Word of God, is all that you need... for if you have "seen" Him you have seen the Father (Jn. 4:46)! Therefore go to Him and learn of Him and tell the Father that you love Him.
[10] And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power:
You are complete in Christ, the Word of God, NOT in any ordinance, ritual, ceremony, day of the week, position of the sun, etc., etc. So there is no need to pretend or play church!
[11] In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Circumcision is also not of the flesh, but of the heart (mind). (See Rom. 2:29.)
[12] Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

[13] And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

You are made alive (quickened) by Jesus Christ, the Word of God from the beginning who came to this earth and paid the price, fulfilling the witness of Him contained in the law and the prophets, all of which was a foreshadowing teaching us as a schoolmaster all about Him. Again, if you have been a Christian for some time now and you think you know Jesus Christ and yet you are ignorant of His Word, you are deceiving yourself and headed for a great fall when the false-christ, Satan, shows up.
[14] Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross;
All blood sacrifices and ceremonial ritualisms involving days and sabbaths were nailed to the cross. Again, we no longer go out on the 10th day of the first month and find an unblemished lamb and keep it until the 14th day and then kill it and eat it. Why not? Because Christ was the fulfillment of that law and so He became the sacrifice once and for all and now IS our Passover! 1 Cor. 5:7 "... For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us."
[15] And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
[16] Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Religious hypocrites will judge you as the Pharisees did the disciples for being complete in Christ and not participating in the ritualistic keeping of certain days, etc. Do you need to follow man's traditions or be subject to the old ordinances or newly made ones instituted by man? Again, many say you must keep this day or that day in order to show yourself approved unto God. No, we keep Christ, the Word of God, who is our Passover, who is our Sabbath, who is our rest. Again, the ordinances of old were but "shadowings" of Christ who became those things and in whom we are COMPLETE (vs. 10)! Shadows are types, not the real thing!
[17]Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Again, if someone tells you that you must keep this ordinance or that day or perform this ritual, you know what... they are really not believers in Jesus Christ but have become "religious" in that they subject themselves and others to the yoke of bondage, to ordinances of old and/or the traditions of men.Think about it. The body, the true temple of God, is Jesus Christ and His many membered body!

Let us return to Matthew 12 where Christ has just finished explaining to the Pharisees that the Father does not want burnt offerings and sacrifices from His children. He wants them to turn to Him and love Him and learn of His ways. To that end, even the sabbath was made for man to teach him about God's love and the rest He will give all those who labor.

Matthew 12:9
And when He was departed thence, He went into their synagogue:
Next, we see what happens when the Word of God "goes forth" and enters into a church of play-actors and hypocrites.
[10] And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse Him.
The hand is used symbolically in scripture to symbolize "work" so the subject here is still "labor" and the "sabbath"! You "see", this man would be a laborer if it were not for his withered hand! Spiritually speaking, the Pharisees would in no wise heal a person that he or she might "labor and come unto Christ"! Got it? The fact of the matter is, the religious leaders of today... yes, those many preachers and teachers who come in Christ's name claiming to be His spokesmen and representatives, keep our people blind and lame and unable "to come unto Him" and to "learn of Him".

We see the real motive for these religious types in questioning Jesus Christ, the Word of God. It should be obvious that they ask not TO SEEK THE TRUTH but rather to find fault and make accusations that they may justify and perpetuate their own religious ordinances and traditions.

[11] And He said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
They would save a sheep that has fallen into a pit on the sabbath day, but they will not "lay hold" to "lift out" one of His sheepfold who has "fallen into captivity"! In fact, they themselves are the ones who make blind and lame and wither the hands of His people that they are unable to labor and pluck and eat.

Note: Interestingly enough, this was not against their traditions at this time but they would shortly hereafter make it such.

[12] How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
Make no mistake about it! It is lawful to "do well", to do the work of God in helping to lift up our brothers and sisters on the sabbath day, which is everyday for a laborer in Christ.
[13] Then saith He to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
The man simply "stretched forth His hand" according to the command of Jesus Christ, and instantly his hand was made whole whereby he was now able to labor for Christ. That is all it takes for one who desires to become laborer and enter into His rest!

So... after seeing that miracle you would think that the Pharisees would be overjoyed at the wonderful works of God, wouldn't you? However, they were not in the least bit concerned about the welfare and healing of the people who they themselves have spiritually handicapped and kept in the pits. I mean, if you lift up the lame, and heal all the blind and diseased people, thereby setting them free in Christ, in the truth of His Word... then who would you have left to yourself to fill your own tabernacle and extract tithes and offerings from?

You "see", you can't have both a religion and Jesus Christ at the same time! One or the other must go! Unfortunately, it seems that "religious leaders" will always choose religion!  Therefore, the Truth must go!

[14] Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against Him, how they might destroy Him.
That's right! The religious Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus Christ the Word of God so that they could perpetuate their own traditions.And so it is with many groups today when the Word of God dares to enter into one of their churches and heals a small member, a withered hand, they criticize and council against that true Word of God and denounce those who labor and carry forth that Word.

John 8:32
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.

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