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PARABLE OF THE TREE AND THE STORM
Authored By : Bill Kochman (aka The WordWeaver)
Published On : September 16, 1999
Last Updated : September 18, 2013
Scripture Interprets Scripture, Backslidden Leadership Of Ephraim And Judah, False Prophets: I Sent Them Not, Lessons From Old Testament Stories, Danger Of False Doctrines Then And Now, Place Your Faith Only In God's Word, Example Of The Bereans: Study The Word Diligently, Preaching Positive Fruit And Persecution, Inspiration And Power Of God's Holy Word, Rejection By Workers Of Darkness, Nothing Is Hid From God
As my longtime friends will know, for many years now it has been my personal practice to encourage my readers to look to the Holy Scriptures, in order to gain a proper understanding regarding what is true and what is false insofar as Christian doctrine is concerned. As I point out in quite a few of my articles, I hold firmly to the belief that in many cases-- if not in all cases -- God's Word interprets itself. In other words, Scripture explains Scripture. One set of verses which I have often used to explain this concept, is the following that is found in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah:
"Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:"
Isaiah 28:9-10, KJV
Sadly, if you take the time to read the verses which surround the ones which I have quoted above, you will discover that these words were spoken in harsh judgment against the drunk false prophets and wayward priests of Ephraim -- that is, the northern kingdom of Israel -- who were not adhering to the precepts of the Lord as they were supposed to do. Rather than teaching the Israelites sound doctrine, these false shepherds were speaking lies, deceit, and false promises of peace and safety for their own profit. Much like today in the USA, they were politically-correct menpleasers who were tickling the ears of both the political leadership, as well as the common people, because this is precisely what they wanted to hear. As I point out in articles such as "The Children of God and Politics" and "The Fruits of Disobedience", it was not long afterward that the land of Ephraim was in fact invaded by the military forces of Assyria.
In spite of the Lord's harsh chastisements brought about by the Assyrian invasions, approximately one hundred and fifty years later, we find the Prophet Jeremiah issuing the exact same somber warnings to the backslidden leadership of the southern kingdom of Judah which ruled from Jerusalem. After exactly forty years of warning by the Prophet, they too fell under the heavy hand of the Lord's chastisements by way of the Babylonian invasions under King Nebuchadnezzar. In the years prior to the final invasion -- there were a total of three sieges in all -- which resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, Jeremiah proclaimed the following to the hard-hearted inhabitants of Jerusalem who had become deceived by their false prophets:
"The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?"
Jeremiah 5:31, KJV
"Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed."
Jeremiah 14:14-15, KJV
"Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD."
Jeremiah 23:32, KJV
"For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD."
Jeremiah 29:9, KJV
Upon closely examining the Scriptures, we discover that the problem with false prophets is something which persisted at least from the time of Moses, and which continued to plague Jewish society millennia later during the formative years of the Early Christian Church. In fact, Jesus and the Apostles themselves issued warnings regarding this very same problem. Consider the following verses:
"But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."
Deuteronomy 18:20-22, KJV
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
Matthew 7:15-20, KJV
"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many . . . For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Matthew 24:11, 24, KJV
"For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect."
Mark 13:22, KJV
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
2 Corinthians 11:13-15, KJV
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
2 Timothy 3:13, KJV
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"
2 Timothy 4:3, KJV
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."
2 Peter 2:1-2, KJV
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
1 John 4:1, KJV
While some people find Old Testament history boring, and may feel that it is not nearly as important to modern Christians as the things which we learn through our reading of the New Testament, as the Apostles Paul and Jude clearly explain in their Epistles, the truth of the matter is that all of these things were in fact "written for our learning", "written for our admonition", and "set forth for an example", in order that we might learn from the serious mistakes that were made by the rebellious Jews and other peoples of the past. It is for this reason, that while discussing the backslidden state of the Israelites who repeatedly murmured in the wilderness during those forty years, the Apostle Paul admonished his readers to take heed to their mistakes. In similar fashion, Jude advised his readers to take note of the lessons which can be learned from the events that occurred at Sodom and Gomorrha. Consider the following verses:
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:"
Romans 15:4, KJV
"Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they [the ancient children of Israel] also lusted . . . Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
1 Corinthians 10:6, 11, KJV
"Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
Jude 1:7, KJV
Thus, one of the important lessons that we can learn from some of these stories and events of the Biblical past, is that we should never become so complacent in our spiritual lives and walk with the Lord, that we rely solely upon the teachings of modern, secular theologians and the oft times self-serving priests and preachers of the modern religious establishment. Why? Because just like the false prophets of old, many of them are politically-correct ear ticklers who only preach what is socially acceptable and popular, for the sake of their own financial profit. More importantly, some of the doctrines they teach are either partially or perhaps even completely wrong and contrary to the Scriptures.
Being as I have written quite extensively regarding this subject in some of my other articles -- such as "Have You Read the New Scriptures Yet?", "Modern False Prophets and Worldly Ecumenism" and "In Defense of the KJV Bible!" -- I will not belabor the point here. However, let me share some key verses with you for your consideration:
"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."
Matthew 16:12, KJV
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
Acts 20:28-30, KJV
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
Romans 16:17, KJV
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."
2 Corinthians 11:3-4, KJV
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
Galatians 1:6-9, KJV
"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"
Ephesians 4:14-15, KJV
"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."
Colossians 2:8, KJV
"As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do."
1 Timothy 1:3-4, KJV
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"
1 Timothy 4:1-2, KJV
"If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."
1 Timothy 6:3-5, KJV
"But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself."
Titus 3:9-11, KJV
"Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein."
Hebrews 13:9, KJV
"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."
2 John 1:9-11, KJV
It is precisely because of the fact that I am keenly aware of how easy it is to be led astray through erroneous, false, man-made doctrines, and the fact that I have likewise been deceived regarding certain issues in the past, that for many years now I have personally strived to do my best to support my views with as many Scriptures as I possibly can. I do not want my readers to accept something I teach simply because I say so. I want them to believe it because God's Word says so; and because they are convinced that my teachings are fully backed by the Scriptures. I want to place my readers' faith in God's Word, and not just in me. After all, I am human, and I could be wrong. As I point out in the article "Humility in Our Understanding of God's Word", we all need to maintain a certain degree of humility as we endeavor to understand God's Word. This is a quality which is seriously lacking in many modern preachers and Bible teachers.
As the Scriptures clearly inform us, we must each personally invest our time, and diligently labor and study in order to correctly understand God's Word. Furthermore, once we have done so, and once we have become fully convinced in our own minds and hearts by God's Spirit regarding what is true and what is not, we must be willing to stand our ground and contend for the faith. Consider the following verses:
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
Psalms 119:11, KJV
"Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old."
Matthew 13:52, KJV
"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
John 5:39, KJV
"And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word."
Acts 6:1-4, KJV
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15, KJV
"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine."
1 Timothy 5:17, KJV
"One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."
Romans 14:5, KJV
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
Jude 1:3, KJV
This is precisely what the Jews of Berea did after Paul and Silas had preached the Word to them in the synagogue. Rather than just blindly accept the Apostles' words as being true, the Berean Jews took upon themselves the task of carefully studying the Scriptures in order to determine if this new doctrine concerning Jesus Christ and the Resurrection from the Dead was really true or not, as we see in the following verses:
"And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people."
Acts 17:10-13, KJV
Please notice in the previous verses that after the Jews of Berea had confirmed that the words of Paul and Silas were in agreement with the Holy Scriptures, we are informed that many of them accepted Christ into their lives as their Lord and Savior. Thus we see that the preaching of God's Word resulted in faith; and faith resulted in Salvation and new Disciples. Of course, this new fruit being introduced into God's Kingdom also resulted in the next inevitable phase of God's plan; which in this particular case was persecution by the ungodly, unbelieving Jews. That is usually how it goes. In other words, preaching, positive fruit and persecution. The preacher shares the Word and inspires faith; the birth of faith results in new fruit being produced; and the new fruit results in the unbelievers rising up against them. Consider these related verses:
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things . . . So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Romans 10:14-15, 17, KJV
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
2 Timothy 4:2, KJV
"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing . . . Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
John 15:5, 16, KJV
"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise."
Proverbs 11:30, KJV
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
2 Timothy 3:12, KJV
So you see, I am fully convinced that God's Eternal Word, from His Holy Book, written by His inspired writers, is much more powerful, much more effective, and certainly much more convincing that anything I could ever possibly say or write. It inspires faith, it results in Salvation, and it promotes spiritual growth for everyone who takes heed to its counsel. As the Apostle Paul informs us, God's Word is a sharp sword which cuts people to the heart, and convicts their hardened spirits. Furthermore, as Jesus also tells us, it is only His Words which are Spirit and Life. It is for this same reason that we are also told that God has magnified His Word above His very Name. Consider the following verses which confirm all of these points:
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"
2 Timothy 3:16, KJV
"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
2 Peter 1:21, KJV
"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, KJV
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
John 6:63, KJV
". . . for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name."
Psalms 138:2b, KJV
Ironically, despite the Truth and the Life which the Bible offers us, it is these very words which the evil workers of darkness hate the most. How often have we heard such people complain "Why do you always quote from that Book? Why can't you speak with your own words? You Christians are just a bunch of brainwashed parrots. You have no thoughts of your own."; and on and on they go with their silly accusations. They hate the Word; they hate the Truth that it reveals to them; and most of all, they hate the fact that it thoroughly exposes the spiritual darkness and the state of sin in which they have chosen to dwell. God's Word cuts them to the heart, and they do not like it one single bit. Thus, they flee into the darkness in order to try to escape its blinding light and the conviction of God's Spirit. This is why Jesus and the Apostle Paul stated such things as the following:
"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."
John 3:19-20, KJV
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:14, KJV
It becomes evident then that while these rebellious people deceive themselves into believing that their sins remain hidden from the Lord, as I likewise point out in "Beholding the Evil and the Good", the simple truth of the matter is that absolutely nothing is really hidden from God. Not only that, but in due time, every single thing we have ever done will eventually come to light, whether we like it or not, and we will each be judged by the same. Consider also the following related verses:
". . . behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out."
Numbers 32:23b, KJV
"For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings."
Job 34:21, KJV
"O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee."
Psalms 69:5, KJV
"The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."
Proverbs 15:3, KJV
"For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known."
Luke 12:2, KJV
"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin."
John 15:22, KJV
"Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."
Hebrews 4:13, KJV
"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
Romans 14:12, KJV
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
2 Corinthians 5:10, KJV
"Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead."
1 Peter 4:4-5, KJV
"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."
Revelation 20:11-13, KJV
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
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