Mark Chapter 4 Part 2

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In last week’s message, we emphasize the importance and the power of the word of God. But one thing we saw is this, even though the word of God is full of power, that power will not have any effect in your life. It will not bless you, it will not help you, it will not comfort you, unless you know how to utilize it properly. Take out your Bible and look with me if you would to the book of Mark and chapter four, the book of Mark and chapter four. Now you’ll recall last week we looked at that parable of the sower, and we saw that the emphasis of that parable was not on the one who was sowing, but rather on the seed itself. And we saw when we looked at Messiah Yeshua’s interpretation of that parable, that the seed was the word of God. And we saw how the word of God is powerful to produce mighty results, 30 fold, 60 fold, even 100 fold.

We learn in another place that that power is not just for this age, but also in the age to come. So as I said, let’s continue our study in Mark chapter four and now in verse 21. Now we’re going to see that he’s continuing in this same parable, not in the parable, but rather in his interpretation of it giving us insight. And we’ll see that in an undeniable way in a few minutes. So verse 21, “And he spoke to them, no one lights a candle that it should be set under a bushel basket.” Now, he also says as we read on, “Nor that it should be set underneath a bed.” Now what’s he talking about here? Well, a candle is a source of light, and in the scripture we find that light has two primary messages to us. Two symbolic meanings, we could say.

One is revelation, and certainly we know that in the of God there is revelation. Revelation that we can find no place else. Revelation that we are absolutely dependent upon, especially if we have any interest whatsoever in the kingdom of God. We’re going to see in an undeniable way that there is an inherent relationship between the word of God and the kingdom. Now the next thing that we see is that not only is the word of God seen here as light having to do with revelation, but also the word of God is light because of the glory of God. And that is what we’re called to do. We’ve mentioned earlier of the importance of understanding the entire Tanakh, the entire Old Testament. Now this week in every synagogue when this is being recorded in every synagogue, we are going to be reading a passage in the book of Genesis. We’re going to return there. And in that passage we learn about creation, and we find that there’s an inherent relationship between light and the glory of God being manifest, is that is his will being carried out.

And that’s what this passage that we’re looking at is instructing us. So look again at that verse. He says no one lights a candle, in order that it should be set underneath a bushel basket or underneath a bed. Now that word “bed” is simply a place of rest that is located in home. So one of the interpretations of this passage is this: the bushel basket represents work. So when we are at work or whether we’re at home, we still had that special call, that inherent call to reveal the truth of God and the glory of God, makes no difference where we are. Now, others have interpreted differently. They have said, well, the bushel basket represents work, work is during the day. And the bed represents night. So, in the day and also in the night, still nothing changes. We’re called to carry out God’s purposes and reveal his truth and manifest his glory.

Now it tells us as we move on in this passage that instead of putting it in places like that, under a bushel basket or underneath a bed, what do we do? We put it in the right location. That is on a lampstand where it’s light can be seen. Now, many commentators point out that it’s speaking here about a lampstand, is for the people. Why do I say that? Well, the word in Greek relates to the same word for menorah, and there was a special relationship between the menorah and the people of Israel. Now the menorah was solid gold. There was also another vessel in the temple that was solid gold, and that was the covering for the Holy Ark. And who set upon that Holy Ark? [Hebrew 00:06:17], glory of God, his presence. So when the people looked at the menorah, there was a relationship according to the rabbis, there’s a relationship between the menorah and the kaporet, that covering of the ark.

And in the same way that the people knew that God was in the house, in the Holy of Holies, sitting on the mercy seat, the covering of the ark. They knew that when they saw the menorah lit ablaze. So there’s that inherent relationship between the presence of God as it’s manifested through the menorah. The menorah connected with the people, because they couldn’t go into the Holy of Holies, but they had a connection with the menorah. They saw it. Now why is that important? Well, because the lampstand is us. That lampstand had that connection with the people, and we are supposed to manifest. That is, you don’t see the seed planted, so nothing happens. The seed is planted so it can go to work and manifest God’s truth and his glory through his people. Let’s move on to the next verse.

Verse 22, “For nothing is concealed…” And the word here is krupto, in Greek, it’s like the English word encryptic, something that is concealed. So we read in verse two, “For nothing is concealed that will not be manifest.” And that’s a promise. We saw earlier on how Messiah Yeshua is always about revealing the truth. Satan, he wants to deceive. He wants to conceal the truth. He is a father of lies. He distorts and camouflages the truth of God. But we see here the opposite, messiah is promising, verse 22, “For nothing which is encryptic that is concealed, that will not be manifested. And that which is what has become concealed,” it says, “it is going to come to its manifestation.” Now that is a term or a sentence of judgment, and it’s also a promise from God. That is whatever is hidden, whatever has been made hidden.

We want to conceal something. We’re ashamed of something. We’ve done something, we want to hide it. He’s promising that all things are going to come into it’s revelation. And when is that? Well, he’s going to talk about something in a few minutes, and that is the harvest. And biblically speaking, especially within the writings of the Jewish sages, we see an inherent relationship between the harvest and the day of judgment. It’s coming about, this day of revelation where truth will be manifested and God will judge.

Now in light of that, look at verse 23. A verse that we’ve seen before, a verse that appears frequently, especially in revelation chapter two and three where it says, “He who has an ear to hear, let him hear.” And once again, that word for “hear” has to do with a response, demanding some type of response from us. Now, why would he say, if you have an ear to hear with, hear. I mean we all have ears.

Well here again, it’s being able to comprehend, and why would he say if you have an ear? Well, here again, this expression is not new to the new covenant. It was well known in Judaism prior to the new covenant. And the key here, what’s being revealed is the necessity of the word of God. That is to say this, when we study the scripture, when we know the word of God, it is going to position us where we can discern truth, where we can hear what’s going on in this world. So it’s all about positioning us through the power, the annointing, the revelation of God’s word so that we can respond properly.

Verse 24, “And he said to them,” and he gives them a warning here again, what’s the context that we’re moving to? We’re moving towards the harvest judgment. So he says twice in this passage, two different ways, and it’s a Hebrew idiom that came into the Greek language. He says, look out and listen.

So in saying here, this term is one of being prepared. And what is it that God gives us to be prepared for the judgment? Well, prophecy. And it’s very, very important that we see in the book of revelation in chapter 19 where it says, “The testimony of Messiah is the spirit of prophecy.” If we want to be made ready for the last days, for judgment, it is through prophetic truth. And when we understand prophetic truth, what’s going to be revealed to us, very, very clear? The truth of the identity and the work of Messiah Yeshua. So look again at verse 24 he writes, “Watch and listen, for the measure that you measure, it will be measured out to you. It will be given to you.” Now he’s talking here about something very specific and that is how we respond to things.

For example, if we’re generous, God’s going to be generous. If we’re faithful, he’s going to be faithful to us. Now God is of course always faithful. The question is, are we going to receive his faithfulness and that is his blessings. Or, are we going to because of our lack of faithfulness, God is still faithful. But faithfulness is associated with blessings. When we’re not faithful, God is, but the outcome of that is going to be the cursed, his punishment judgments upon us. So the measure that we use, how committed are you to the word of God? How is the word of God being revealed and manifested through you? How are you utilizing it? Are you a good steward of it? Well, if you are, we’re going to see that God’s going to respond in a like way. If not, his power, his blessing, his anointing, his presence are also going to be the wane in your life.

Finally, look, if you would to verse 25, this final verse in this, first passage. He makes a very important truth, and this truth is of course a spiritual one. Not too long ago we were talking about in another location about a Jewish hermeneutical principle that’s called [Hebrew 00:00:13:31]. And it means, we gave the example simply, if God kept the Sabbath, if he thought it was important enough to keep the Sabbath, how much more so is it for us? So in this way, we’re going to see that spiritual principles, if they’re right for the kingdom of God, how much more are they appropriate in this age, in this day, in any situation that you can find yourself? And look at the spiritual principle that he gives here in verse 25.

Now, let me tell you, for a lot of people, this is hard not to understand, but to receive. In fact, I spent the first 35 years living in America, and what I can tell you is as I look now and listen to the news and read on the internet, what’s going on politically and economically in America, there’s a great change happening, and great, not in a positive way, but great in a big way. And that is there’s a movement towards socialism, a movement to communistic thought. And why is that? Well, it’s in contrast to what we read here. Why? Look at verse 25, “For what he has, that is he that has something, it will be given to him, and he that does not have, what he does have will be taken away from him.”

Now that’s really at odds with what a lot of people think. They believe that things should be redistributed. That is this: if someone has a lot, take a little bit from them, or take a lot from them, and give it to a lot of other people that don’t have. Well, let me tell you something. My experience is that Americans tend to be very, very generous. I live in Israel now and I find that Israelis also tend to be very generous. When someone is in need, both countries are quick to respond.

Let me give an example. Not too many years ago, there was that awful earthquake in Haiti, and what two countries gave the most? America and Israel. Now America is a large country, a wealthy country, or, has a lot of debt, but has a lot of resources as well. But America gave millions to Haiti. Both in financial help, but also in personnel and other resources. You know who it was number two in giving? The nation of Israel. Not just financially, but also Israel set up a hospital, a mobile hospital. They treated 5,000 people a day at that hospital. They sent animals, canines to find those who were covered under the rubble, the destruction. Israel did much.

Let me ask you a question, what did the Muslim countries do? I mean Egypt is 10 times bigger than Israel. What did they do? What did Saudi Arabia do? What did Turkey do? What? What did all these Muslim countries do for the people in Haiti? And some of these Muslim countries are very, very wealthy. They did, that’s right, nothing. So we need to understand that it’s not talking about not being generous, not being caring, not reaching out to others, but it’s teaching a principle. That is, when one works hard and he receives, he’s going to even receive more. God willing, he’ll be a good steward of that and bless others. But it’s not that someone is successful and take it from him by force and give it to others who are oftentimes simply too lazy, too unmotivated to do what is necessary to provide.

What does the scripture say? If someone will not work, he shall not eat. And in America today, you have one in six people, one in six people receiving some type of help in regard to food, food help among the people there, and that can’t continue. And that shouldn’t surprise us, because as we know prophetically, America’s not going to be spoken about in the last days.

Well, let’s move on to verse 26, we read here there’s an emphasis between the word, that seed, and what? The kingdom. And for the next two passages we’re going to look at, we’re going to see that there’s this emphasis upon the kingdom of God. Verse 26, “And he said to them, thus is the kingdom of God. It is as a man who casts a seed into the ground, and he sleeps and he rises up a night and a day.”

Usually we talk about a day in the night, but this is Hebrew thought. In the same way that it says in the book of Genesis, and it came about an evening and it came about a morning, one day, same thing here. The night is mentioned first. Look again, and with what shall we say concerning the kingdom of God? “For it’s as a man that casts his seed into the ground, he sleeps, and he rises up a night and a day.” And what happens? “That seed it germinates and it grows…” And what? “No one knows how.”

Now what’s he talking about here? The kingdom of God. And what I want us to see is this, through natural means, we don’t understand how the kingdom of God is taking hold in this world. And the same way you plant a seed and you want it to grow, you want it to what? Live. What happens? That seed dies.

But it’s true, the death that it changes, it begins to grow and become something totally different. And that’s why, prophetically, Messiah talked about this, all the prophets did. That, in the last days things are going to get worse. Much, much worse. But in the end there’s going to be a drastic change. When does that go to come? The harvest. And that harvest is going to bring about a change and that change is what? The kingdom of God. So look again at that same verse. It concludes here, verse 27, “But no one knows how.”

Verse 28. Now verse 28, the first word there, I want you to learn a Greek word today, let me read it. It says [Greek 00:20:21]. What’s that? Automatic. It says here the things happen automatic. What it literally means is of itself. Once the kingdom truth is planted in this world, it is going to move on of itself, of course, by means of the hand of God. So we read, “Of itself, the land brings forth fruit.” And there’s a process, “First the blade, then the stalk, and then full of seeds in the stalk.” So we see this pattern, this process, and whenever it is right.

Now in the next few verses, we’re going to see that there’s an emphasis on this word [Greek 00:21:06] in Greek, which means whenever. And why whenever? Well now God knows all things. God knows the exact day when Messiah will return. He knows the exact day when the kingdom will be established. He knows it, but there’s a lot of variables that depend upon us. Now, people struggle with that. They say, well, if God is sovereign. Well, in Matthew 23, Messiah is weeping over Jerusalem, and he says, “How many times I wanted to gather you up like a mother hen gathers up her chicks, but you were not willing.”

There’s numerous examples, none of this is a surprise from God, but whenever, it depends upon us. We can make a difference. Our prayers can make a change. None of this takes God by surprise. It’s all part of his will, but our prayers, our actions does bring about a change. Look at verse 29, “But whenever the fruit is ripe,” what happens? You find this word [foreign language 00:22:10] immediately, whenever that fruit is ripe, whenever the kingdom is ready, what happens? “Immediately he sends the sickle, because the harvest is ready.” So we’re waiting for the harvest. He’s waiting, and when it’s ready, what happens? The harvest comes forth through that one being set up with that sickle. And if you want to know more about that, you can read in the book of revelation we had that same imagery there.

Let’s move on to verse 30. And he says, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God?” And here again, there’s that same emphasis over and over on the kingdom of God. What was it likened to, with what shall I give a parable to? So he’s trying to teach us, and we see over and over there’s that emphasis on us understanding the truth of the kingdom.

Verse 31, the first example he gives here, our last example today, he writes, “As a seed of mustard, that whenever it is sold in the earth,” that is planted in the earth, sown in the earth, “although it’s the smallest of all the seeds which are sown in the land.” Now what does he say here? Well, the mustard seed, from our perspective, it looks so insignificant, so small. But yet, of all the plants and shrubs and bushes that are planted in a garden, it is the mustard plant that grows to the greatest height and has another purpose attached to it.

So what we look at, and we might despise, not think of any significance whatsoever to it, but what do we know? It’s going to have the greatest effect. And it just tells us that we can’t look at things from our vantage point, from our perspective, and be able to anticipate what God’s going to do with it. So oftentimes people think, well, I can’t really make a change. I don’t have a lot of money. I don’t have a lot of resources. If someone like William Buffett, Bill Gates, those wealthy people, they did something, it would have a great… How do you know that? Does not the scripture say, with God, all things are possible?

So what do we read here? Look if you would to first verse 32, “And whenever,” here again that word, over and over again, “and whenever it is sown,” what does it do? It comes up. Doesn’t say sometimes. Whenever we sow the word of God, there is a response. It comes up.

I used to work in financial services. Watch the stock market, it goes up and goes down. The kingdom of God, the word of God, once we plant it, once we invest it, it always goes up. Verse 32, “And whenever it is sown, it goes up and it becomes greater than all the other plants or shrubs or bushes, and it gives out,” what? Large, large branches. “Large branches to the extent that is greater than all the other.” It gives these large branches with what result? Well, here’s the key. These large branches provide not only shade, but it also produces a place, and don’t miss this, where the birds of the heavens can come and dwell under it’s shade.

Now, why is it so important that we see this? It says the birds of heaven. Now the image that Yeshua is giving is this: when we invest in the kingdom of God, what’s going to happen? In the same way that that mustard tree causes the birds of heaven to come down and rest in it. What’s going to happen? Through the preaching of the word of God, and I’m speaking about the gospel, from a prophetic standpoint, we know, the through the word of God, that the kingdom is going to come down from the heavens and into this world. God is going to dwell with us, and it’s all an outcome of this gospel message.

Now, most people, they look at the gospel, they hear that. It’s so simple. I took a class on world religions, and when we came it was at a secular university. And when we came to the faith of the New Testament, and we spoke about the gospel, the professor, a very educated man, wise man, but blind to spiritual truth. He said, of all the religions in the world, this gospel message, that one died and rose, and through faith one is saved, he says that’s so simple. Well, there’s the beauty of it. Why would God want to make it hard? Because his desires that no one should perish, but all would repent and come to a saving knowledge of the kingdom of God, through Messiah Yeshua. Well, we’ll close with that until next week when we continue on in Mark chapter four and we’ll conclude our study of this chapter.

Narrator:    Well, we hope you will benefit from today’s message and share it with someone else. Please plan to join us each week at this time and on this station for the radio edition of loveisrael.org. Again, to find out more about us, please visit us at our website, loveisrael.org. There you will find articles and several other lectures from our teacher, Dr. Baruch. These teachings are in video form. You may download them or watch them in streaming video. Until next week, may the Lord bless you and our Messiah Yeshua, that is, Jesus, as you walk with him. Shalom, from Israel.

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