Charles Spurgeon was known as the Prince of Preachers in the mid to late 1800’s. Wikipedia reveals that he was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, commentaries, books on prayer, devotionals, magazines, poetry, hymns, and more. His oratory skills were said to hold his listeners spellbound. He often claimed that God opened his heart to the salvation message and the text that moved him was Isaiah 45:22 – “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else.”
Well, Spurgeon left us with so much wisdom, that if studied, we can greatly enhance our lives. But, what I want to dwell upon in this article is one piece of Spurgeon wisdom that Rev. Kemble brought to my attention. Mr. Spurgeon wrote, “We have come to a turning point in the road, if we turn to the right, mayham [perhaps] our children and our children’s children will go that way; but if we turn to the left, generations yet unborn will curse our names for having been unfaithful to God and to His word.”
“If we turn to the right” wrote Spurgeon. These days, particularly in America, we hear a great deal about the “right” and the “left” and how the inevitable clash is presently throwing the nation into chaos. Still, Mr. Spurgeon is referring to the right as being in tune with God’s Word and the left, as being out of touch. Perhaps this is the same thing as taking place in America, but if I may, I would like to refer in part to what is written about this subject in my booklet, “The Hidden Message of John 21”. There is a correlation, as you will see.
I won’t go into the entire book, of course, you can write for a free copy if you like, but I think to understand Mr. Spurgeon’s wise words, a few of the verses of the Hidden Message must be reviewed, particularly, those concerning night and day and the right side of the boat. It must be kept in mind that the Apostle John told his story in parables and in such a way that I think he was the greatest mystery writer of all times.
John 21:4-6 tells us that the disciples fished all night and in the morning, Jesus calls from the shore, “Children, have ye any meat?’ They say “No” and he tells them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. They did and caught such a multitude of fish they were not able to draw it to the ship. When it is finally drawn in, we find in John 21: 11 that despite the heavy load, the net was unbroken.
Keeping in mind that this is a prophecy, we can look at the several references in this passage, like disciples, night, day, children, fishing, the heavy load, the unbroken net and the right side of the boat. Obviously, they were trying to fish on the left side of the boat.
A quick look at Scripture enlightens us to what John was saying. The hidden meaning for night and day is obvious to Bible students because the night of verse three is the period of 6,000 years when man is in darkness; we sure see it in the world today and the more Jesus Christ is denigrated, the darker it becomes. John 6:15-16 describes the “even” [darkness] that came upon the disciples/children [followers of Jesus] when he left. Conversely, the “day” is the 1,000 years when man is with Jesus Christ, who is the light. How do we know. Because He told us! “Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you, Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” (John 12:35) And of course, John 9:5 quotes Jesus, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
It should be clear then, that “night and day” is symbolic of “darkness into light.” There are many Scripture verses that reflect this but let us look at just a couple. Job 17:11-13 says, “my days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart, they change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness. If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in darkness.” In these latter days of the 6,000 years, it has never been so dark, as our brethren are lost in a world of materialism, greed, sexual and other pleasures, many gods and ill health. But here Jesus is describing a movement from the darkness of the world without Him to the light of being with Him, and we followers of Christ will be with him in the Millennial Kingdom. Consider what the Apostle Luke wrote, 1:78-79, “Through the tender mercy of our God: whereby the day spring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Now, a quick look at the other clues in this prophecy and how the “right” side has such a specific meaning. To begin, let us examine “fished all night” and determine if there is another meaning we can apply to these words. If we look at Luke 5:5, we notice a fairly similar situation. Jesus had entered Peter’s ship and told him where to cast the net, whereupon Simon Peter said they had fished all the night, without success. Nevertheless, he did as Jesus advised and caught a great multitude of fish. Yet, in contrast to John 21:11 where the net did not break, Luke 5:6 tells us the net in this first instance did break. Now, look at Luke 5:11, Jesus said, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shall catch men.” So, if Jesus on the shore in John 21 represents His rule in the Millennium Kingdom, then the fish in the net equates to mankind.
Looking further, what is the significance of the net being thrown on the right side of the boat (John 21:6). Does it relate to right, as in left and right, or right, as in right and wrong? I believe it is a reference to the entry price to the Kingdom. You must have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and you must strive to do what is right. As Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commandments.” And the Apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
You see, included in all of mankind are Christians who are followers of Jesus Christ. Could it be that the net that could not be drawn in by all the disciples included all mankind but the net that Peter himself brought to shore contained only the followers of Christ? When, in John 21:5, Jesus asked the disciples, “Children, have ye any meat?” is it a symbol for what believers will receive through Him, that is, everlasting life? Is it for those good people throughout the ages that have turned to the right seeking Almighty God that receive the meat from the Lord Jesus Christ?
Finally, the meat Christ talked about is the most desirable gift for the Christian. Jesus’ comments in John 6 reveals just how much.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the father sealed.” (John 6:26-27)
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” (John 6:32-33)
“I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
“I am the bread of life” (John 6:48)
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6: 53)
“For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” (John 6:55)
“This is the bread which came down from heaven;” (John 6:58)
So, readers, just reflect on the many sorry happenings in the Israel nations today and when you do, Charles Spurgeon’s opening sentence could not be clearer, “We have come to a turning point in the road …”. Actually, we arrived at that point two to three or more decades ago but what is ahead for the “left”, as described by Mr. Spurgeon, is a sorry road unless they veer off to the right and become faithful to God and to His Word.