The American Wisdom Series

Matthew #2538

"Are you able to discern the times (season) in which we now live?"

In this 16th chapter of the Book of Matthew, Jesus Christ is going to give His disciples, including and especially those in this final generation, an important lesson in spiritual discernment. So far we have seen how the traditions of men run contrary to and transgress the laws of God and we have also witnessed how that the feeding of the multitudes by His disciples is to be accomplished whereby the bread is taken directly from Jesus Christ, from the Word of God, and distributed in an orderly fashion. The lesson to be learned from this is that when the bread comes directly from the rightly divided Word of God, it is pure and unadulterated for it has been blessed by Him, even as we saw in the example He provided for us in Matthew 14:19, "... and looking up to heaven, He blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to His disciples, and the disciples to the multitude."

Now once again here come the Pharisees, only this time they come with the Sadducees, a sect who does not believe in the resurrection, i.e. life after death. One who is a disciple of Christ and a servant of the Living God should always take heed and beware of the approach of religious leaders.

Editors note: It is no different today than it was then! Beware of many of our religious leaders today.  In our own "Christian churches" no less.

Matthew 16:1
The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired Him that He would shew them a sign from heaven.
Christ told us in the last chapter that these religious hypocrites were blind leaders of the blind and here we are going to get a glimpse of just how blind they (and their counterparts today) really are. Imagine having the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Living Word of God who has cast out evil spirits and performed many healings among the people, standing right before your very eyes and not be able to "see" Him! Now that is blind indeed! Of course a mere basic understanding of the hearts of tares gives one the ability to discern that these religious play actors were not really seeking proof that Christ was the Messiah so that they could worship Him and follow His ways. On the contrary, in their "tempting" of Him they were trying to get Him to perform some spectacular supernatural act so that they could cunningly disavow the miracle in some way and use that to discredit Him, just as their offspring do today in trying to explain away and discredit the miracles already contained in His Word. You see, what these religious leaders really desire is to keep their church traditions and perpetuate the "good thing" they've got going for themselves, which is a profitable religion-based operation.

Let's see how much discernment these Pharisees and Sadducees are capable of as Christ addresses them.

[2] He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

[3]And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

To discern* is to be able to separate thoroughly, as in to be able to rightly divide something... like the Word of God. However, about all that these religious play actors** could discern "time wise" was limited to what the weather for the next 12-24 hours would be, and that only if they were given a red sky at dusk or a red sky in the morning with a low ceiling.
Of course this was common knowledge among sailors from whence comes the old adage, "Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.
Red sky at night is a sailor's delight"!

The point is, the signs of the advent of Messiah were happening all around them even as the abundance of the prophecies contained in the law and the prophets were being fulfilled moment by moment by the wondrous miracle, Emmanuel, standing presently before them.

*discern, diakrino, dee-ak-ree'-no, Greek 1252; from Greek 1223 (dia) and Greek 2919 (krino); to separate thoroughly i.e. (literal and reflexive) to withdraw from, or (by implication) oppose; figurative to discriminate (by implication decide), or (reflexive) hesitate :- contend, make (to) differ (-ence), discern, doubt, judge, be partial, stagger, waver.

**hypocrites - G5273 hupokrite?s hoop-ok-ree-tace'
From G5271; an actor under an assumed character (stage player), that is, (figuratively) a dissembler (“hypocrite”): - hypocrite.

The question is, "Are you able to discern the times* (season) in which we now live?"Take heed, for when we get to chapter twenty-four Christ will explain to us not only the "signs of the times" but also how to determine the commencement of that final season in which those signs would take place.
*times, kairos, kahee-ros', Greek 2540; of uncertain affinity; an occasion, i.e. set or proper time :- × always, opportunity, (convenient, due) season, (due, short, while) time, a while. Compare Greek 5550 (chronos).
[4] A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And He left them, and departed.

Editors note:The sign of Jonas is three full days and three full nights in the whale's belly, i.e. Jesus to spend three full days and three full nights in the tomb. That's the sign, Not Good Friday until Sunday before sun rise!  See Pamphlets #1071   &   #7082

Those sons and daughters in these last days who are His disciples (students disciplined in the Word), who know and love Jesus Christ, who hunger and thirst after the truth of His Word, both recognize and understand the fulfillment of the "visions of the prophets" just as it was foretold of in the Book of Joel which was quoted by Peter in Acts 2:17 on that first Pentecost Day following the resurrection. Therefore, because true faith is founded upon the Word of God, that solid Rock, God's servants neither need nor seek spectacular miracles to gain or base their faith upon or to know that He is real. Only those who are deceived and do not know Him (Mat. 7:23) because they have been lead astray from His Word by the idolatrous teachings of the iniquitous traditions of men, seek after such signs.

This is important because Satan and his crowd love to put on a show of miracles to deceive people and when he is cast out of heaven to this earth to play the role of Messiah, though he will be the "Instead-of-Christ", the false messiah), he will perform mighty miracles in the sight of men as "signs" that he is the true Christ.

Take heed for it is so written:

2 Thes. 2:8
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
That "Wicked" is the Wicked One himself, the son of perdition, Satan.
[9] Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
One of Satans spectacular miracles will be to call lighting (fire, pur in Greek) down out heaven as recorded in Rev. 13:13 "And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, [14] And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast...]".
[10] And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
Do you love the truth of His Word enough to study it and rightly divide it (2 Tim. 2:15) and absorb it to the point it becomes sealed in your mind? If not, you are going to just love Mr. Strong Delusionist when he puts on his final act.
[11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
Those who do NOT know God's Word will believe almost any lie their preachers tell them without "discerning" it by checking it out in His Word.

But the Big Lie that they are going to swallow hook, line, and sinker, is that the first supernatural entity who comes to this earth, which will be the false messiah, Satan himself (Rev. 12:7-9), is Jesus Christ.

Why will they believe he is Christ?Because they do not know and love and believe the truth of His Word! (All they know is the milk) However, many of them love to go to church and follow the iniquitous traditions of men which are unrighteousness indeed because, as we have already learned, they make void the Word of God.

 [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
This is called the great "falling away" in 2 Thes. 2:3 which the great apostasy. Again, to have pleasure in unrighteousness is to think well of and approve of the unrighteous traditions of men.
pleasure, eudokeo, yoo-dok-eh'-o, Greek 2106; from Greek 2095 (eu) and Greek 1380 (dokeo); to think well of, i.e. approve (an act); specially to approbate (a person or thing) :- think good, (be well) please (-d), be the good (have, take) pleasure, be willing.
Let's repeat Matthew 16:4.
Matthew 16:4 A *wicked and * *adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And He left them, and departed.
Jonah, whose name means "dove" which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit, was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights just as Christ would be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights (which itself dispels a tradition commonly taught in Christianity today.) Nevertheless, Jonah was a type of Christ who was sent to Nineveh to preach repentance to an heathen people who would someday come and make war against his beloved people Israel. And you know what? They did repent! Of course part of the reason for their conversion was caused by the great "fish" our Father used to get their attention when He had it vomit up Jonah on the shore. You see, the Ninevites worshipped Dagon, the fish god, and so it is they took heed to the words of the prophet delivered to them by their god!

Editors note: This may seem far fetched but after reading IN EZEKIEL CHAPTERS 1 AND 10 ABOUT GOD'S SPACE SHIPS I can't help but wonder if that whale WASN'T A SUBMARINE? #1164 "God's Flying Saucer"  #1187 "God's Flying Machine"  #1195 Sure, Ezekiel got to see God's space vehicles. #1196 "God Visits Ezekiel in His SUV (Space Utility Vehicle)"  #1198God Came, in a Flying Saucer, to Visit with Ezekiel.  #1204   Imagine Ezekiel trying to describe some UFOs coming directly toward him. #1220"Highly Polished Spectrum Bronze Vehicles"

So the only "sign" that Christ would give would be that of His resurrection from the dead, which would be the fulfillment of the type written in the Word of God. But again, this type of "sign" is not the type of sign that a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after. You see, a wicked and adulterous generation is one which has been drawn away and influenced by the traditions of the elders to the point that they know not the true husband and have thus become adulterers, which is symbolic throughout the scriptures to mean idolaters, i.e. those who worship a false god.
*wicked, poneros, pon-ay-ros', Greek 4190; from a derivative of Greek 4192 (ponos); hurtful, i.e. evil (properly in effect or influence, and thus differing from Greek 2556 (kakos), which refers rather to essential character, as well as from Greek 4550 (sapros), which indicates degeneracy from original virtue); figurative calamitous; also (passive) ill, i.e. diseased; but especially (morally) culpable, i.e. derelict, vicious, facinorous; neuter (singular) mischief, malice, or (plural) guilt; masculine (singular) the devil, or (plural) sinners :- bad, evil, grievous, harm, lewd, malicious, wicked (-ness). See also Greek 4191 (poneroteros).

* *adulterous, moichos, moy-khos', Greek 3432; perhaps a primary word; a (male) paramour; figurative apostate :- adulterer.

The fact is and the lesson we are to learn from this is that the "evil influence" of false doctrine and the traditions of men, adulterate the truth of His Word which means when they are added to His Word they corrupt it and make it impure whereby it is unfit for consumption.
Main Entry: 1adul·ter·ate
Pronunciation: &-'d&l-t&-"rAt
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): -at·ed; -at·ing
Etymology: Latin adulteratus, past participle of adulterare, from ad- + alter other -- more at ELSE
Date: 1531
: to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance or element; especially: to prepare for sale by replacing more valuable with less valuable or inert ingredients. See Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Keep all this in mind as Jesus Christ now instructs us to be careful  and discern, i.e. to thoroughly separate that which is holy from that which is profane!
Matthew 16:5
And when His disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
This is often overlooked but it is an important part of the lesson Christ is teaching. One who has forgotten to take his or her daily bread might be prone to focusing on or consider taking and eating and bread which has not come directly from Jesus Christ, the Word of God. You "see", by now after having witnessed and been part of the feeding of the multitudes with the bread He blessed and brake and gave to them, they should know how and from whom to get bread with which to eat and feed others, right?
[6] Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
The Greek word "horao" translated "take heed" means to "discern clearly" and the word "beware" means to "pay close attention to".
take heed, horao, hor-ah'-o, Greek 3708; properly to stare at [compare Greek 3700 (optanomai)], i.e. (by implication) to discern clearly (physical or mental); by extension to attend to; by Hebrew to experience; passive to appear :- behold, perceive, see, take heed.
Notice what the disciples did next: They reasoned among themselves!
[7] And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.
One major point to learn from this example is that whenever we reason among ourselves apart from the Word of God, we will invariably come up with the wrong answer or the wrong conclusion which is precisely what happened to the disciples. Therefore always turn to and look to the Word of God for the answers else you find yourself off track and in need of correction.

Oh, there is good news though! At least the disciples did not bring polluted and adulterated bread with them, right? Now for the chastisement and instruction in spiritual discernment which is given for our benefit "upon whom the ends of the world are come (1 Cor. 10:11)".

[8] Which when Jesus perceived, He said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
Jesus Christ had discernment and knew the thoughts of His disciples in that they did not yet look to and trust Him as their sole source of bread!Never forget that Jesus Christ, the Word of God, IS the pure Bread of Life which has come down from heaven.If you allow man to process that bread and add his own reasonings and seasonings and church traditions to it, you are going to end up with "wonder bread" which is nothing but leavened "fluff" totally void of the nutritional value necessary to give and sustain life. Oh, but it tastes real good and the multitudes love to eat it, don't they?

Side Note: Have you ever taken notice of the actual physical "bread" processed by man in this Baby Boomer generation of the fig tree, for the spiritual analogy is fitting indeed? You "see", the bread makers take the pure grain of wheat and strip the nutritious outer shell from the inner kernel and then they bleach that kernel with a toxic poison to make it appear so "white" but in the process it is stripped of any beneficial nutritional elements that might have existed. Then they take a lump of niacin, thiamin, vitamin B1, etc., and throw it into the dough mixture and call it "fortified". Then it is leaven and puffed up with so much air that if you take a slice of it and squeeze it down, you are left with nothing but a fragment. But "oh baby", it really tastes great and once it is all packaged up bright and pretty and labeled "bread" our people believe that lie, and they take it, and they eat it! God help them!

Nevertheless, here is Christ's analogy using a reminder (remember this example) of the feeding of the multitudes with few loaves while many baskets of fragments were gathered up.

[9] Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
The teaching concerning the feeding of the multitudes has a direct bearing on understanding what Christ has said regarding taking heed and staying away from the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. "Don't you get it, and don't you remember", Christ asks? They started out with five loaves of pure bread, blessed and sanctified by the Word of God, which was totally sufficient to feed the multitudes, and yet when the feeding was over there were many, many times that amount of "fragments" left over to be taken up! What's the point? Whenever you take the unadulterated Bread of Life and pass it through a multitude it comes out processed!
[10] Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
Lots of fragments were taken up from just seven loaves of bread. In fact, there were seven baskets full! What do you suppose they did with them after the clean up? Obviously they didn't load them in the boat and take the fragments with them, did they? Good thing, too!
[11] How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? (church)
If you are a disciple of Christ and desire to do as He commands (John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments.), then be especially careful to do according to His command in this lesson and "take heed" and "beware" of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. You "see", it only takes a little bit of leaven, false doctrine, to enter in and adulterate the entire loaf! It is kind of like throwing a little mud into a crystal clear pool of water... it makes cloudy the whole pool!
[12] Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
If you want to know why most ministers and preachers who claim to be His representatives, i.e. Christian ministers, etc., do not understand the Word of God and cannot discern the times, it is because they have allowed so much leaven to creep in that they cannot see Christ, the true Word of God. Either you understand that... or you don't! Nevertheless, do not eat "bread" unless you have checked it out and made sure it is "blessed" and "broken" (rightly divided) by the Word of God, lest you be hindered and show forth a lack of faith as did the disciples.

Consider what Paul wrote in Galatians chapter five:

Galatians 5:6
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

[7] Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

Be careful that you are not hindered and drawn away after the traditions of men.
[8] This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
Again, be careful how you are persuaded. The traditions of men and those things that taste and sound real good can quickly pull you away from the pure unadulterated truth. AND... it doesn't take much!
[9] A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
Allow just a little leaven to creep in and you will end up with a whole bunch of fragments and a big mess that needs cleaned up!

So here are the words of the apostle Paul as he instructs us how to get rid of and purge out old leaven.

1 Cor. 5:7-8
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

[8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened breadof sincerity and truth.

Receive Jesus Christ, who IS our passover, and make sure you eat only the unleavened, unadulterated truth which is that pure Bread of Life (John 6:48 "I am that bread of life.").You "see", that is all the bread you will ever need my friend because if you feast on His Word, He has promised that you shall NEVER hunger and NEVER thirst. John 6:35 "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." And when you eat that pure unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, it will purge out the old leaven.
sincerity, eilikrineia, i-lik-ree'-ni-ah, Greek 1505; from Greek 1506 (eilikrines); clearness, i.e. (by implication) purity (figurative) :- sincerity.

truth, aletheia, al-ay'-thi-a, Greek 225; from Greek 227 (alethes); truth :- true, × truly, truth, verity.

alethes, al-ay-thace', Greek 227; from Greek 1 (a) (as a negative particle) and Greek 2990 (lanthano); true (as not concealing) :- true, truly, truth.
We conclude today's study with Christ's commanding words to all of His disciples!
Matthew 16:6
Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (your church)
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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