This month I want to write about hope, great hope, in fact, glorious hope.
You see, the world in which we live is rapidly deteriorating; for proof, all we have to do is think back to our youth to see how the problems then have mushroomed, while at the same time how the Jesus in our lives has all but been extinguished during those same years by the evil and doubtful ones. When He opined whether He would find the Faith when He returned, it was unimaginable a half century ago, but the way it has been attacked and allowed to change to a new reality, it’s easy to see the validity in those words.
I like prophecy. I’ve written about it, I have talked about it and I have included so much of Scripture with a prophetic bent into the Bible classes we conduct on a weekly basis. I think it was the great scholar Howard Rand who said that 70/75% of the Bible is prophetic and every since I read that statement, I have been an avid student.
I think Jesus Christ is going to return very soon, when, who knows, but so many of those signs He imparted to us in Matthew 24 are plain to see in this old world around us. Yet, it is foolhardy to speculate and point out some coincidental date, like December 11th, 2017, a date of significance because it is 100 years from December 11th, 1917, when the British General Allenby freed Jerusalem. Or early 2018, a hundred years from when Daniel’s vision, “I beheld unto the thrones were cast down”, would begin, or the myriad of other numerical coincidences, like the number 100 standing for “God’s Election of Grace”. In our enthusiasm and haste, we have all been guilty of hopeful interpretation but it just cannot be. Jesus, Himself, told us this.
No, we cannot know, other than the times and seasons mentioned by the Apostle Paul in 1 Thess. 5:1,” But of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you”. Nevertheless, as we diligently study at our weekly meetings, it’s almost like Amos 3:7 is opening up and instilling in us an inspiring message.
Some weeks ago, we studied John 6:15-21, only seven verses, but so power-packed. Interestingly, that through his life-long studies, Bible scholar Ed Vallowe, demonstrated that the number “7” stands for spiritual perfection. And the equally studied Ivan Panin determined that the whole word of God is founded upon the number seven. So, our small group decided to put our minds together to see if we could uncover the mystery the Apostle John weaved through divinely inspired words. I leave it to you to judge whether our efforts reflected God’s intention that now is the time for revelation. This is why, with the exception of verse 15, the time period for study is from Christ’s Ascension onward to today.
Reader, to begin, what I would like you to take into consideration that these verses are a prophecy and I believe for this very moment in time. We must remember God’s inspired words of Matthew 13:11, “When the Disciples enquired of the Lord Jesus Christ why He spoke to them in parables, He told them, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not.” Then, in verses 34-35 of the same chapter, we learned, “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” So, are we at that point on God’s Great Plan where the secrets are coming out? I think so and John 6:15-21 backs this up. Even the first 14 verses of John 6, when studied, offer us “spiritual nutrition”. And the numerics in those 14 verses are both fascinating and revealing and I encourage you to study them carefully, as they will add to spiritual understanding and strength.
So, interpreting verse 15, we find Christ in heaven awaiting the fulfillment of Stage 1 of God’s Great Plan. The stage is therefore for the time (approximately 2,000 years) from the Resurrection and Ascension to sometime close to now.
Consequently, the next six verses are therefore critical to try to comprehend.
Verse 16: “And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea”. Consider the words “even”, “disciples” and “sea” in this passage because they are the key to its understanding. The hidden meaning of “Even” is fairly obvious. “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.” “Disciples”, of course stands for “followers of Christ”. Some scholars have referred to “Sea” as the six days or 6,000 years of God’s plan, other have equated it to “masses of people”, however, we think it is more, in that it relates to the trials and tribulations through which the believers must pass on their way to the Kingdom and Matthew 14: 24-27 and Mark 6:46-52 all depict water scenes of restlessness and tribulation.
Consequently, could verse 16 be worded, “And when the light of the world left us and we followers of Christ began to walk in relative darkness, trials and tribulations became our constant companion.
Verse 17: “And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them”. Here we have reference to a “ship”, which we think is symbolic for the “Christian Body”. Then there is their destination “Capernaum” which means “Village of Comfort” and we equate this to the Kingdom, to where we, as followers of Christ are headed. But, we are not there yet, we are still in this dark cloudy period, still waiting for Jesus to return.
Yet, could this verse be re-worded something like, “The Christian Body is journeying toward the Kingdom of God, it’s still dark and while we would like Him to come to us now, as John 11:6 tells us, Jesus is still in the place where He was, that is heaven”.
Verse 18 “And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew”. Think of a normal sea, there are waves but they are quite gentle, rising and falling as the water and wind moves them. Now think of how fierce they become when something like Hurricane Irma attacks. Then apply this the trials and tribulations that, with exceptions like war, have been at least liveable. But then, somewhere along the way, they have mushroomed and attacked us with a vengeance. Can we pinpoint a time when this might have begun? Perhaps 2001? For from that moment on, we have seen an explosion in our monstrous debt, increase of controls, loss of freedoms, moral degradation, denigration of our Christian Faith, massive change in the make-up of our nations, the accelerating curses of Deuteronomy 28 and so on. Let’s re-word this verse, “And our trials and tribulations mushroomed by virtue of the harvest period of the Esau Dominion”.
Verse 19: “So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid”. We think “rowed” stands for the daily humdrum life. I know that many Bibles define the 5/20/30 as representing miles or something similar but, in our view, the King James version has it correct because it gives our brethren the glorious hope of the Kingdom. The number 5 stands for “Grace”, a gift from God, “20” stands for redemption and of course “30” stands for salvation under the Blood of Christ. This verse tells us we are at that moment just before the return of Jesus, when we are so afraid, having the gigantic trials and tribulations; like nuclear wars, natural disasters, satanic evils, and so on, But, when we see Jesus coming above us as Acts 1:7 tells us, many of us will be thinking, “Have I measured up”, but if we have come under the Blood of Christ, we will have nothing to fear.
Verse 20: Why nothing to fear! Particularly because of his words in this verse, “But he saith unto them, it is I, be not afraid”. What a wonderful invitation, very much like John 21:12, “Come and Dine”. Nothing more can be added to this verse.
Verse 21: “Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went”. The “ship”, as verse 17 revealed, is symbolic of the “Christian Body”. We will accept Jesus into our presence and immediately we will be in Capernaum, the Village of Hope, the glorious Kingdom.
Come soon, Jesus.