Think about it as we spiritually discern His power and glory in today's study.
The "living stones" of the house of "Jacob (Israel)" to whom "God is so gracious", i.e. Peter, James, and John, were taken "up into an high mountain" where they witnessed the power and glory of Christ, the Son of the Living God, who was transfigured before their eyes while a voice from out of the shekinah glory (cloud) that surrounded them said, "... This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him (Matthew 17:5)."
Now, after realizing that Christ must be killed (as was John the Baptist) and fulfill those things written of Him in the Law and Prophets, even as Moses and Elijah were "speaking of His decease" (Luke 9:31), they have "come down from the mountain" with explicit instructions to "tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead."
Here is a question and a thought to consider as we read the next two events following their descent from on high, i.e. now that they have come down from the holy mount. Remember in the previous chapter Christ asked the questions "Who do men say I am?" and "Who do you say I am?" Though Christ is no longer appearing to the disciples in His power and glory (Matthew 17:8 "And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only."), is He not still Christ, "His beloved Son", the Son of the Living God (Mat. 16:16)? Is He not still the King of kings and Lords and lords even though He is not come in that role to usher in the second advent at this time?Matthew 17:9
And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
First understand that this man worshipped Christ.Matthew 17:14
And when they were come to the multitude, there came to Him a certain man, kneeling down to Him, and saying,
Secondly, in order to grasp the full significance of what Christ is teaching us we must understand what the word "lunatick" means. Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
Lunatick means "moon stuck*", i.e. one who has been fully struck by the "moon"which is symbolic of that one who rules the night (Gen. 1:16), even the Prince of Darkness, Satan himself!lunatick, seleniazomai, sel-ay-nee-ad'-zom-ahee, Greek 4583; middle or passive from a presumed derivative of Greek 4582 (selene); to be moon-struck, i.e. crazy :- be lunatic.
that end, you will always find the prophecies
dealing with time that pertain to the children of darkness
given in "lunar" terms, e.g. moons and months.
At the same time, you will always find the prophecies dealing with time that pertain to the children of light, given in solar terms such as days and years.
* Note: It is common knowledge that during the period of a "full moon" there is more "lunacy" among the people.
The point is that we are dealing with one here whom Satan, the great Lunaticker, the Prince of Darkness, has taken unto himself. You "see", when it comes to POWER, Jesus Christ, the Word of God, even has the power to heal and to save a creature of the night, a child of darkness, even a kenite!
The certain man continues in his supplication to the Lord:
We will find out in verse 20 why it is that the disciples could not handle a "lunatick" at this time. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
The disciples are not the "faithless and perverse (corrupt) generation (nation)" Christ is speaking of. He is speaking of that nation (generation) of kenites which He refers to as "this mountain" in verse 20 below. Mountains are used symbolically throughout the scriptures to represent governments and nations. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
Also, the "How long... how long shall I suffer you (put with you)" should immediately remind you that this same question of "how long is He going to put up with this faithless and perverse nation" is asked of the saints who are now with Him before the throne waiting for His power and glory to be revealed at the second advent. Rev. 6:10 "And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" The answer to the question is found in 2 Pet. 3:9.
Nevertheless, it is important that we not overlook what has transpired here else we miss the in-depth meaning of Christ's teaching. You see, this man's father brought this lunatick to Jesus Christ, to the Word of God, who has all POWER over the forces of evil and can even save and heal the moonstruck children of the night! Are you able to discern one who has been "moonstruck"?
To have the Lord "rebuke the devil" is how one handles Satan and His demonic spirits (see Jude 9). In other words, we do NOT argue nor bargain with Satan even as Jesus Christ set forth the example. You see, the fact is that we of ourselves are no match for Satan, but the Word of God is, "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 (Hebrews 4:12)." And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
And when you think about it using common sense, why would Christ who is righteous and who has ALL POWER in both heaven earth (Mat. 28:18), argue with or do anything other than rebuke a dead man, i.e. Satan who is already sentenced to die in the lake of fire? The good news is that Jesus Christ, the Word of God, has given us His POWER and His name, which is His authority over the "creatures of the night" like those children of darkness who figuratively and spiritually speaking are a bunch of "serpents and scorpions". Of course one must first have the faith and knowledge which comes from prayer and fasting on the truth of His Word to be able to discern who and what one is dealing with and then USE that power and authority! That is the lesson Christ is teaching us. Here is the documentation that He has given us His power and authority:
Again, it is through His name, which is by His authority, the authority of the Word of God, that evil spirits and demonics are subject to us.Luke 10:17-19
And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.name, onoma, on'-om-ah, Greek 3686; from a presumed derivative of the base of Greek 1097 (ginosko) (compare Greek 3685 (oninemi)); a "name" (literal or figurative) [authority, character] :- called, (+ sur-) name (-d).
It is Jesus Christ, the Word of God, who gives us the power! That should be sufficient knowledge... if you have understanding, to answer the following question. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
Their unbelief (a-pistia) simply has to do with their lack of faith (pistis), which does not mean they had no faith at all, but that they had not fully matured in coming to know Christ, the Word of God. The point Jesus is making is that IF you have the type of faith that starts out like a mustard seed and grows into a tree, then you will soon be able to stand against Satan's faithless and perverse mountain and rebuke it! You "see", the time of the "delivering up" of God's elect that Christ spoke about in Mark 13:11 & Mat. 24:9 is soon upon us. And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
A word to the wise.
Question: "How does one acquire the amount of faith that gives him or her the ability to say (ye SHALL say), remove hence?" Does all one have to do is believe that Christ is the Messiah? Well, that is certainly the first step and in the right direction! But then one must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, which means he or she must build that faith upon the firm foundation of the Rock! Remember? Read what Paul wrote in Heb. 11:1 concerning faith! Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith is SUBSTANCE, which is the knowledge and wisdom of His Word upon which you stand!
This is not complicated nor at all difficult to understand. The simple fact is that IF you do not have much knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, then you are of "little faith" which means you have "unbelief"! But again, IF you have the faith of a mustard seed, "Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree... (Matthew 13:32)", then you shall say unto "this mountain", remove hence and "be thou cast into the sea (Mark 11:23)"... and it SHALL. And you know what?That mountain, even Satan's beast system, the One World Government, i.e. the NWO, is not only going to be cast into the sea, but God's elect who have faith in Him shall have a part in that casting.sub-stance, hupo-stasis, hoop-os'-tas-is, Greek 5287; from a compound of Greek 5259 (hupo) and Greek 2476 (histemi); a setting under (support), i.e. (figurative) concrete essence, or abstract assurance (object or subject) :- confidence, confident, person, substance.
Again, "How does one acquire the amount of faith that gives him or her the ability to cast out Satan, the lunatick, and say (ye SHALL say) to this mountain, remove hence?"Rev. 18:21
And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
Stay prayerfully in His Word and abstain (fast) from the traditions of men which make void the Word of God, else you shall have little or no faith upon which to stand, which is unbelief.Matthew 17:21
Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Jesus now for the second time announces to His disciples concerning the events that must take place in Jerusalem. This time He adds the words, "shall be betrayed into the hands of men" which means that He shall be "delivered up"! Again, a word to the wise is sufficient.
He continues with His instructions regarding the crucifixion and the resurrection.Matthew 17:22
And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:
Still the disciples focused on the crucifixion and not the glory of His resurrection... the power and majesty of which they already witnessed. You see, even though He had not yet paid the price on the cross to bring salvation to whosoever will, even the kenites, nevertheless the King of kings and Lord of lords was standing right there with them! To that end, Christ is going to use the following event and analogy to make this point, i.e. that the King of the Kingdom of Heaven is right there with them. And they shall kill Him, and the third day He shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
Remember from a previous study that Capernaum means "City of Consolation" or "City of Comfort (even of the Comforter)". Also know that the "tribute money" spoken of here is not civil taxation, i.e. the tribute paid to Caesar in Mat. 22:17, but rather the half-shekel (didrachma) collected to defray the general expenses of the temple. (See Smith's Bible Dictionary.) Dr. Moffat translates "tribute money" as the "Temple Tax".Matthew 17:24
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
So the collectors of the Temple tax asked Peter if Christ paid the tribute, to which Peter replied, "Yes"! Now when Peter enters into the house where Jesus is, Christ is going to "prevent" him (or better translated "precede" him), which simply means that before Peter even gets a chance to tell Christ what happened, He who already knows what happened is going to ask him a relevant question to give him, and therefore us, give some spiritual insight that we might "see Him" more clearly.
If you think of "come into the house" as "Entering into the House of the Lord, i.e. into the King's own House", you will better understand the analogy Christ is making. Also, the custom and tribute Christ is using in this analogy is not the Temple tax itself, but rather that which a king would take up. "Custom" would be like a toll, or duty, such as a sales tax, while "tribute" would be taxation levied upon the populous. Nevertheless, the analogy is fitting for the teaching Christ is giving to us. And remember that the true temple of the Lord is the body of Christ. He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
So the somewhat rhetorical question Christ asked Peter, to which the answer is obvious, is "Do kings tax their own kids or those strangers who reside outside their house, i.e. the general population?"
That makes sense! The king and the king's children who are members of his own family are free from taxation. So what's the point? The point is that the King of kings and the children of the kingdom (His disciples) are standing right there. Do you "see" that? In fact, they are the temple... but those without "eyes to see" His power and glory would never be able to understand that. So here is what Christ instructs Peter, whose name means rock, to do so as not to offend (cause to stumble) those without understanding. Peter saith unto Him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
The miracle performed to pay the temple tax is self explanatory as well as visually graphic and stimulating. I mean, you can just see Peter going to the sea and casting a hook and reeling in a fish and opening its mouth and "voila", a double didrachma suddenly appears, which is enough money to pay the temple tribute for two people! Hopefully however, you do not "see" this as akin to the "goose that lays the golden egg"! You "see", there is much more to this than meets the eye... to those who have spiritual eyes to see. For again, this has to do with the duty or tribute to the temple! Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
Remember back in chapter four when Christ told Peter that He would make him a "fisher of men"! Matthew 4:19 "And He saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." What did He mean by that? He simply meant that He would make Peter one who would go forth and bring people to Christ, i.e. convert people to Christianity which a "fish (ichthus, Jesus)" is symbolic of! (See also John 21:1-14). Of course "the sea" is symbolic of the people of the world (Rev. 17:15, Rev. 13:1), even that sea of people up from which the one world beast system (the NWO) rises. So Christ told Peter that when he goes and casts a hook (which is used to catch a single fish unlike a "net cast") and takes up (reels in) the first fish that comes up to him, and "opens his mouth" (that he may speak, as in is no longer dumb), then he will have fully paid tribute to the temple for the both of them! In fact, he will have even added to the temple, the many membered body of Christ, from the "sea"! And that "duty or tribute paid to the temple" which even builds up the temple, is a far greater miracle than a fish spitting up a fifty-cent piece!
Do you have eyes to see His glory and majesty and ears to hear His voice? If so, you are blessed indeed!
In our next study, we are going to discover who is "the greatest" in the kingdom of heaven, i.e. the family of God! The answer may surprise you!
... to be continued.
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