What makes your eyes fill with tears, without feeling sad? You’ve probably guessed it – an onion.
Like an onion, the Word of God has many layers. Christ told many parables. His parables are the top layer, with many layers of meaning underneath.
Some of his parables were about the land owner, sabbaths, festivals and harvests. The first parable Jesus told in Mark chapter 4 was the Parable of the Sower. To the disciples and those with the twelve it was given them to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God.
“When He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables …” Mark 4:10
I’d like to share some of the layers I’ve peeled back over the 25 years of reading the Bible, and show you patterns I’ve discovered in the word. I’d love to hear your insights as well.
Here’s some insight on the number fifty: Number fifty, what does it signify?
One of the Lord’s titles is “The Lord of the Harvest.” He compares us to wheat.
The first hint of this is a Psalm which celebrates the harvest of the earth, to the ends of the earth, and God’s righteous governance of the nations.
Another title, “Lord of the Sabbath” is from the grainfields. Mark 2:23-28
Psalm 67 looks forward to the time the King will rule and it speaks of the harvest. There are 49 words, that’s seven times seven – one word for each week of sabbaths. The Jubilee happens after seven lots of seven sabbaths. In the Jubilee year everything resets and all debts are released.
The second hint is the site he chose for his altar, and the price paid for it. The site was a threshing floor. The price was fifty shekels.
The third hint about the harvest is Israel’s cycle of harvests, festivals and sabbaths. You’ll find them detailed in the Book of Leviticus. The harvests were celebrated in Israel’s cycle of Sabbaths. Each festival has significance. Christ was raised on the Day of First fruits and the Church began fifty days later on Shavuot, the harvest Festival of First fruits.
The fourth hint is how Jesus fed the 5000, separating the people into groups of fifty.
The fifth hint is how Christ referred to Himself as a kernel of wheat that had to die. There are fifty kernels in one head of wheat.
24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:23-24 (NIV)
The sixth hint which ties in with the third hint, is the day the Church started – on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit, “the former rain” was sent. Pentecost is Greek and Latin for the fiftieth day.
The seventh hint about the harvest was where it was mentioned – in the fields of Samaria. “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:35 (NIV)
I’ve put the corresponding Bible verses at the bottom so you can reference the Word for yourself.
Fifty is the number of Israel’s Jubilee1.
When sabbaths number seven times seven,
it means freedom and liberty.
Jubilee, what does that mean for you and me?
God speaks of Heaven – a place of rest
for the believing who’ve been set free.
Araunah sold a threshing floor 2
to David, Israel’s king,
It was on Mount Moriah,
where Abraham made his offering.
Fifty pieces of silver was paid,
They agreed it was “full price,”
Full price means “Tetelestai,” 3
the word uttered from the cross.
Soloman built the temple, 4
120 priests stood with the Levites
while the people bowed and prayed,
they vowed and made their offerings,
on the holy days God made.
At Passover, on the Day of First fruits, 5
at the altar the first sheaf was waved –
north, south, east and west.
Then after seven sabbaths – forty-nine days,
came the fiftieth day.
“First Fruits” is celebrated on the fiftieth day. 6
Moreover with that offering
Israel looked forward to the harvest,
after planting in the spring.
With two loaves and five fishes, 9
5000 were fed.
“Make them sit down in groups of fifty.”
the Good Lord said,
seeing man’s hunger and meeting man’s need.
Messiah rode into Jerusalem – 10
a donkey for his steed,
Hosanna, look at the happy crowd!
But he warned the disciples and spoke of the seed,
“Unless it died there’d be no grain.”
There’d be no harvest until he came again.
Fifty days later in Jerusalem, 11
while pilgrims celebrated First-fruits,
120 gathered in the court,
and His Spirit fell like rain.
That event is known as Pentecost, 12
it’s the day the Church began.
Pentecost means ‘fifty’
in the language of Greece and Rome.
There’s a gem in the wheatgerm, 13
before I bring this home.
Did you know there’s fifty kernels in one head of wheat?
there’s life eternal in that kernel of the harvest seed.
Now the fields are white for harvest, 14
while the farmer waits
to harvest the precious grain.
The wheat bows in the wind,
while it grows amidst the weed.
Here are the corresponding Bible verses at the bottom so you can reference the Word for yourself.
1 “Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9 Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan.“ Leviticus 25:8-10. NIVFull price,
2 David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.” 25 So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels of gold for the site. 1 Chronicles 21:20-25
3 In Koine Greek Tetelestai means “paid in full.”
4 Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David. 2 Chronicles 2:1-2 (NIV)
The priests then withdrew from the Holy Place. All the priests who were there had consecrated themselves, regardless of their divisions. 12 All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 (NIV)
5 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. 11 He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. Leviticus 23:9-11 (NIV)
6 “From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. 17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the Lord.” Leviticus 23:15-17 (NIV)
House of Bread
7“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.” Revelation 3:14 (NIV)
8“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.”Micah 5:2-5 (NKJV)
Groups of Fifty
9 Luke 9:14,“14 For there were about five thousand men. Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.” 15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.” (NKJV)
The wheat kernel
10 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:23-24 (NIV)
11 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:3-7 (NIV)
12 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” Acts 2:1-13 (NIV)
14 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. John 4:35 (NIV)
When tested, how do you react?
“Why me?” most people ask. It’s a question you can ask God. He promises wisdom if we ask and don’t doubt.
Job certainly asked,”why me?” Job was a man the devil was allowed to attack after his hedge of protection was removed.
Why did Job get attacked? God held Job in high esteem, pointing him out to Satan, “the dragon” in my story.
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied, pointing out how God had blessed Job. “stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face,” Satan promised.
God then allowed Job to go into Satan’s power to be tested.
Job, although he questioned God, ultimately passed the test and God rewarded him. Unlike Job, Peter underwent testing and failed, but Jesus restored him, giving him another chance.
Like Peter, we are all to be tested, sifted like wheat.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31 – 32 (NIV)
James, the brother of Jesus said, “consider it all joy whenever you face trials”
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:2-4
What would you feel if you gained fatherly wisdom from a trial, knowing the wisdom was from God? Would you feel joy knowing you had a purpose, knowing there was a reason for the trial?
In my book, you’ll see me asking God the reason for the trials that befell me, and you will read God’s answers. I hope it will encourage other people when they see how God answered.
Job said, “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
Like the Book of Job, mine is a story of faith rewarded. I recommend my book to those who are struggling, who are being tested in various ways.
Google can’t give us an answer for everything.
Einstein said “The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind.”
So who do we call when we want to delve into mysteries?
God says “Call on me, and I will show you great and unsearchable things.” Jeremiah 33:3
“It’s the glory of God to conceal a matter, to search a matter is the glory of Kings.” Proverbs 25:2
The joy is in arriving at the answers.
Did you know birds, insects and fish form choirs? Ask the animals, how great is God?
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:7-10
Humans, Home Free – How Great Thou Art
The song pattern of each cricket species is stored In its genes. The songs are thus clues to the links among genetic information, development, the organization of the nervous system and behavior. Source: https://courses.cit.cornell.edu/bionb4240/Reprint/Bentley%20and%20Hoy%20scientificamerican0874-34.pdf
Many scenes in my book “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams” take place in the Kingdom of God. What is the Kingdom of God? It’s hard to explain because the Kingdom is both personal and all-encompassing. It’s not about church – although church can be part of it. This short whiteboard explanation is worth watching.
How essential is it for a nation to know their identity, their DNA, who they are and what they stand for? What have we been taught about our origins from the academic and scientific establishment?
God says “my people perish for lack of knowledge”, Hosea 4:6. It’s followed by a solemn warning about the consequences of rejecting knowledge. Again, he says “people without knowledge will come to ruin.” In Proverbs he urges us “Whatever you do, get knowledge, get wisdom.”
I’ve just finished reading for the second time a book “After the Flood” by Bill Cooper, an English historian. This book shows how European history can be traced right back to the flood and the descendants of Japheth, the son of Noah, through contemporary accounts and the table of nations.
The third chapter opens with a quotation from Nennius, a Welsh monk from the 9th Century; “I Nennius, pupil of the holy Elvodug, have undertaken to write down some extracts that the stupidity of the British cast out; for the scholars of the Island of Britain had no skill … I have therefore made a heap of all that I have found …”‘
Bill Cooper suggested the word Nennius used for stupidity would have been better translated as “complacency” or “lethargy,” the mood of the Britons that followed in the wake of the massacre of the monks at Bangor.
You see, their knowledge had been taken away from them.
“The profound cultural shock of seeing their finest scholars and spiritual leaders massacred by supposedly fellow Christians at the instigation of a Roman Bishop no less, would have left a very deep wound indeed, and it is this state of mind amongst the British or Welsh that Nennius laments and which lead to the neglect and loss of many records and books.”
Christianity was already established in Britain before Rome arrived. “That Christianity was firmly established in even remote parts of Britain at the close of the second century is shown by Tertullian stating “the Britons in parts inaccessible to the Romans, Christ has truly subdued.”
British Bishops attended the Council of Arles in 314AD, before the Roman Catholic church was formed. When Augustine went to Britain in 601AD as a representative of Rome, he could not get them to convert. The Welsh already had the true faith, given to them by the early church, and they did not need any new innovations from Rome.
When the monks refused to accept the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, he instigated the Saxon army to attack the monastery at Bangor-is-y-coed, killing 1200 monks and scholars.
Much was lost, including the history of the early British kings. To regain what was lost, I recommend you read the book “After the Flood.”
And now here we are at the end of the age. Has Britain abandoned its Christian heritage? Is Britain again in the grip of a culture shock following political correctness and imposed multiculturalism, with the resultant Islamic attacks in its cities?
Did you know that in World War 2 the nation, led by its King, prayed? When Britain stood on the brink of invasion, with 330,000 men trapped on the beach at Dunkirk, King George VI called for an unprecedented week of prayer. Throughout the country, people prayed on 26 May 1940 for a miraculous delivery.
May 29 was the day of the evacuation of Dunkirk. We know what happened. On the 28 May a storm of unprecedented fury grounded the German Luftwaffe – while the English channel became as still as a millpond, despite the storm in Flanders, enabling a vast armada of little ships, big ships, warships, privately owned motor-cruisers from British rivers and estuaries – in fact, almost anything that would float – to get the men off the beach.
The Queen has the title “Defender of the Faith.” Does she defend it? In 2014 she gave into political correctness, signing into law same-sex marriage, a law that the nation never gave the government a mandate for. Following that, Britain had a series of storms that were described by the British prime minister as “biblical.”
Who is going to the defend the faith now? British people, you do have a King … the same King as the Polish people.
Here is Poland the following year. In November of 2015 Poland marched in the streets and took a stand for Christianity. They declared boldly to the world “here, Jesus Christ is our King!” It was the biggest march in Poland’s history. The media were silent.
Is it time for the spirit of the nations to rise, to go to war again through intercessory prayer?
John R. Mott, Nobel Peace Prize winner, said “The Church has not yet touched the fringe of the possibilities of intercessory prayer. Her largest victories will be witnessed when individual Christians everywhere come to recognize their priesthood unto God and day by day give themselves unto prayer.”
Britain, as the sun sets in the west, may you remember who you are.