The Woman and those who Nurse at the Breasts
by Tony Warren
One of the major roadblocks before Christians today in coming to a correct interpretation of scripture, is that they have a tendency to force a totally literal interpretation, when God has not inspired the Bible to always be written and understood that way. At other times, Christians will spiritualize when God has written something to be understood very literally. It seems that some Christians choose to literalize or spiritualize depending upon their presuppositions and doctrines that they have been taught. But in arbitrarily interpreting this way, they are in effect undermining the very authority of scripture. And that should never be.
As a practical example, there are those who claim that the prophecy that Elijah must come before the Lord, has not really been fulfilled yet because Elijah didn't come back literally. They make this claim despite the fact that God Himself clearly declared that this particular prophecy was fulfilled in John the Baptist . This type of private interpretation undermines God's word that the fulfillment was according to the prophecy. It shows that they are attempting to lead the scriptures, rather than follow them. It is the typical problem in the Church today to understand scripture "according to what they have been taught," rather than to what is actually written.
For example, when many Theologians see a verse that speaks of Jerusalem, the Temple, Famine, Warfare, Peace, War, Serpents, Valleys, Mountains, etc., they automatically think of literal cities, wars, mountains, etc. And this regardless of the context or the declaration in scripture that it's fulfillment was ordained in a spiritual fashion. They are predisposed to believe the way they do because of their training, church tradition, or personal inclination. It is often a clash of wills, which is God's will versus our own. And without moving of the Spirit to help us, there is a subconscious mental block to relevant or pertinent scriptures. And this is especially true when dealing with prophesies relating to Israel. But the sincere Bible believing Christian must resist the urge to conform the scriptures to any preconceived, theological conclusion. We must let the scriptures interpret the scriptures, and the Bible define it's own terms. This is the only way that we will ever come to the truth of what God means in prophecy.
It is often the same principle of misinterpretation when the word "Woman" or the word "Child" is found in scripture. Some immediately think of literal people, when often the truth is something far more relevant to the gospel message. A good example of this is found in Revelation chapter twelve. There are some (believe it or not) who actually think that the woman who gives birth to the man child there is Mary, the mother of Christ. Others think that it is the representation of a literal nation in the middle east. They are often predisposed to believe this, not because it is logical or Biblical (considering the context), but because of their preconceived ideas about birth, Israel or the Church. Thus their interpretations have more to do with carelessness than with a sound Biblical exegesis or hermeneutic.
God often speaks spiritually in scripture, which is often demonstrated parabolically, allegorically, symbolically, or figuratively in types. And it is up to each of us to learn of this hermeneutic of God by careful examination of the scriptures. In this way our labors in Bible study is found to be sound, and we are approved of God for considering the scriptures honestly.
2nd Timothy 3:15
Being faithful laborers in the word is the only way that we can come to understand what is really to be taken literally or Spiritually. For God has inspired scripture to be written so that it can be interpreted either plainly (denotatively) or figuratively (connotatively), depending upon God's qualifiers and proof texts found throughout the Bible. I'm sure most of us have heard the inherently "unsound" theological position that:
- "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman, that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.""...if the literal sense makes sense, seek no other sense."With a bankrupt philosophy or rule like that, they have negated over half of the prophesies of God's Holy word, and made a great many others absurd. That phrase is nothing more than a cliché used to accommodate personal opinion or interpretation. In other words, it allows them to feel justified in ignoring the figurative, and interpreting scripture in a way that conforms to their worldly ideas about politics, nations, famine, battles and peoples. It is no different from the days when those of the congregation of Israel resisted the spiritual truths of Christ. For Jesus spoke to the congregation of spiritual things, but in a very denotative or literal fashion. And they did not understand that it was Spiritual, for God is not obligated to make it easy for them to do so.
The bread Jesus was talking about was not literal bread, but doctrine. But why didn't they understand this? It was because as finite human beings we have our hearts and minds set on the things of this world, and Christ came preaching the things from above. God had something far more important than the literal sustenance of the bread of men in view. He was talking about the bread of doctrine, which can be a far more dangerous an intake to be wary of. Because we are finite beings, it is our human nature to think in the manner of the world. But as children reborn of God, we are regenerated of His Spirit, and He reveals the spiritual truths to us. His Spirit "in us" that leads us into the truth of all this, through the diligent study of the word. That is the difference between people of the world, and people of God.
- How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
- 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."
1st Corinthians 2:12-14
We have gone from being natural men of the world who cannot receive these spiritual truths, to being spiritual men who can have the wisdom of the Spirit to understand the spiritual truths in the word. Thus, to be children who are wary of the bread of the Pharisees is not foolishness to us. And to eat Christ's flesh is not something we seek to do literally, but understood spiritually. To others, all of these things that true Christians consider the wisdom of God, is considered foolish interpretations to them.
- "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
- Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
- 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."
Likewise when some Christians see a verse like, "The Wolf will lie down with the Lamb, and there will be no hurting or destroying in the Lord's Holy Mountain," they immediately start thinking of carnivorous and herbivorous animals together laying side by side and the carnivorous animal not harming the herbivore. And so they build their interpretations around their own worldly ideas of this scene. When the truth is, God is talking spiritually about something far more important than a couple of animals getting along. He's talking about the Child of God (the lamb, John 21:15) who will at this time have nothing to fear of his natural enemy, Satan (the wolf, Luke 10:3) and his ministers of righteousness. That is the spiritual picture being painted there, and not one of literal animals. God prophesying about the lamb not being afraid because the wolf cannot hurt him. And the wolf is not a literal animal, it is Satan and his minions who come as ravening wolves to devour their prey (the saints). Nor is the scriptures speaking about a "literal baby" playing on the hole of an asp (serpent) den, it spiritually illustrating the time when the "babe in Christ" or child of God will have no fear of that old serpent, Satan! These things are spiritually discerned by virtue of an open Bible, and a ready mind prepared of the Spirit to receive them. But to those who blindly take the untenable position that they should seek no other sense than literal if it makes sense, these things are hid from their eyes. The mistake is in accepting traditional doctrines without studying them thoroughly, 'in the light' of the whole Bible.
With this background in mind, this is basically the same mistake made by many in understanding what God means by the phrase, "the sucking child" (KJV) of the woman. For it does not refer to a prophesy of literal nursing babies as some theologians suppose. It is symbolic or spiritual language describing those who are of the Church. It is we who are spiritually the nursing children. And the "Woman" who is nursing us, is a symbolic figure of the congregation. A spiritual signification of our Mother from above, not literal Israel or Mary. It illustrates our spiritual rebirth from our mother above. But don't take my word for it (because you shouldn't), be the faithful servant of God and search it out in the scriptures to see if these things are so. Let God Himself define His own terms. For if we would only stop listening to teachers who teach from their own minds (what they suppose) instead of from the word of God, we would see what is actually stated and our trust would be in His conclusions rather than our teachers. Whether by design or by spiritual ignorance, false teachings are a serious error in the Church. We must try, prove or test what is said by any theologian, by the word of God. Even as the more noble (just or honest) Bereans did.
Search the scriptures, for in them is where we will find the truth of God's interpretations, rather than our own. And with that in mind, we go to the scriptures to see if God reveals to us these figures which He uses in prophecy to signify these truths to us.
- "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."
For example, in scripture the congregation or Church is often spoken of or symbolized by a woman. If we are willing to do as 2nd Timothy 2:15 instructs, we can come to the knowledge of truth in understanding these Prophecies.
Superficial study (as much of the church does today) of this verse would lead one to believe that Jesus was talking about a time when the literal women of Israel would be happy that they don't have any children. But careful exegesis will show clearly that God was talking about something far more significant to His people than literal women being blessed because they didn't have children (an unbiblical idea). By the Spirit we should know this is not what God was truly illustrating. And take careful note, Christ is speaking of Jerusalem as the Mother, and the people as "her" daughters. This is the woman. Christ is really illustrating old Jerusalem, and the New Jerusalem, as representing the Old Testament Congregation, and the New Testament Congregation. The old, who's children (in part) have been cut off, and the new, represented by the spiritual Jerusalem. The congregation in Christ's day (those who give suck) were in trouble, in apostasy and on the verge of their great fall. That is why Jesus said to them, "Behold, your House is left unto you desolate -Luke 13:32." And He told them that they were not to weep for Him, but to weep for themselves and for their children (-Luke 23:28). This is because judgment would come upon the congregation by the cross. Blindness in part happened to them. And the children of the congregation would be blinded until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. Again, be careful to notice that God prophesies of the paps (breasts) that never gave suck, and the wombs that never bare, who would at that time be "Blessed!" We have to humbly ask ourselves, just who is this Woman that Jesus refers to as without child, who would now be Blessed? We surely cannot ignore this, or brush it aside as spiritually insignificant. We compare scripture with scripture and search it out to find exactly what Jesus means about the womb that never bare being blessed.
- "But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, Weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck."
This is what Christ was referring to, and it has nothing to do with literal barren women. The truth is, this prophesy is explained further in Galatians 4:27. There it "plainly" tells us that this was an "allegory" or symbolism demonstrated in Sarah (the free Woman or N.T. Congregation), verses Hagar (the bondwoman or O.T. Congregation). So while many theologians today look at the terms allegory, figurative, or spiritualizing as dirty words, obviously God doesn't share in their untenable unbiblical personal opinions.
- "Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD."
Now we can better understand Isaiah chapter 54:1, and what Jesus meant when He said, "Blessed are the Barren?" Who is the desolate woman (who doesn’t give suck) in that verse, which now is blessed and can rejoice because she has many more Children? She is the very same Blessed woman Christ talked about in His prophecy. This verse explains who the desolate (barren) are that have more Children than Israel, she that was married to God (her husband). They are not literal barren mothers of Jerusalem who now are blessed with children. It is an allegory or "Spiritual Signification" of the Kingdom going to the Gentile world and they being more fruitful, while Old Jerusalem is barren. Study it carefully and it becomes very clear what is in view. And it is not the so-called "wicked spiritualizers" (as some purport), but the God inspired word of Galatians itself that declares very unambiguously that these women of prophecy are an Allegory! In other words, they were used of God as a symbol or to spiritually signify something other than mere literal Women. It is not my personal interpretation, or my words, but God's word declaring they are to be taken as a spiritual prophesy. It is God who said they, and thus the prophecy concerning these two, were for an allegory. The very literal happening of these women years ago, was to point to a spiritual fulfillment in the Church. What does Galatians tell us these two women signify spiritually? It is the two Covenant congregations. One woman, the old Covenant congregation of Israel who is in bondage with her children, and not set free by Christ. And the other woman symbolizes the new Covenant congregation, which is the free woman, blessed, and who now has more children "because she is by promise." For old Covenant Israel is blinded with her children, and the new Covenant Israel has many more Children, by the Seed, Christ.
- "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bond maid, the other by a free Woman.
- But he who was of the bond Woman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise.
- Which things are an ALLEGORY: for these are the TWO COVENANTS; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to BONDAGE, which is Agar.
- For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage With Her Children.
- But Jerusalem which is above is FREE, which is the Mother of us all.
- For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the Desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
- Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the CHILDREN OF PROMISE."
Though we may look at these verses and see clearly what they signify, many other theologians will not receive these things, no matter how many times God declares it. No matter how many different ways God illustrates these things they will continue to parrot the line about literalism. This is mainly because their premillennial and dispensational presuppositional doctrines preclude these truths. But God is not mocked. His Interpretation of the matter is crystal clear, though received only by those with the Spirit of God dwelling within them. Even as it is written.
The Children of promise are the Elect in the Seed, Christ. In these scriptures we see clearly who these two women signify, and just who the blessed chosen people are, and who they are not. One is in bondage with her children (that is, Israel of the flesh).
- "But he who was of the Bond Woman was born after the flesh; but he of the Free Woman was by promise.
Not as though the word of God has no effect, but that they are not all true Israel, which are of Israel (Romans 9:6). One is of the bond woman, and one of Sara the free woman, which is the true Israel of God. These are the chosen of God and Children of the Promise, made up of Jews and Gentiles together in one body of Christ. This Woman's Children were all made free, by Christ. When Isaiah/Galatians says:
- "Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
- That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
- For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son."
..it is clearly a reference to the free Woman (the New Testament Church) and not a literal woman of literal Jerusalem. She is the blessed woman that bore no children, but who now has more children than the bond woman. This guides our understanding of why Jesus told Jerusalem not to weep for Him, but for "their Children." Because the time would come when they say, Blessed are the barren. That barren is the Woman told to 'rejoice.' Because she is who is now bringing forth the Children of God, rather than those in bondage (blinded in part) in national Israel. Don't be misled by the "literal Only" crowd who wear this label on their sleeve as if it was something to be proud of. For they do a great disservice to the word of God in not searching it out. God is the definer of His word, not men. God's word interprets God's word, not men. I don't judge anyone's heart, but it is clear that they take this literal stance about these verses because they either do not understand the scriptures, or they are deliberately ignoring them. One, the other, or perhaps both.
- "For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband."
And this system of interpretation is typical of the dispensational and Premillennial schools, which seek very temporal, worldly fulfillments of scripture. E.g., a literal King to come and literally free Jerusalem, or Christ reigning literally "on the earth" in the middle east for a thousand years, etc., etc. This view is actually insupportable by the careful examination of scripture, but is held together by smoke and mirrors through theologians who choose to ignore (or deceitfully mishandle) the passages that prove them in error. We are already reigning in Spiritual Jerusalem, and it is already free, and it is from above (as said the scripture), not of this earth. When Christ came down from Heaven and went to the cross, we became the free children of that woman from above, through blood and water. We were made the Children of promise, fulfilling the scripture of the barren or the paps that never gave suck, now being blessed. Remember the Allegory? Those scriptures signify that those Paps that never gave suck are the Gentiles or nations who had no children previously, who are now the congregation of God. This New Testament congregation will bring forth children unto the ends of the earth. The daughters of Jerusalem had judgment come upon them because they knew not the time of His visitation. So now the children of the Promise are the Children of God (Romans 9:8), not the children of the flesh. That doesn't mean Jewish people are excluded, it means Jewish people and Gentile people are as one, and there is no separation of them in Christ. They are all the free Woman. Jews, Greeks, Gentiles, all who are of Christ, the true Israel. All who are of the Promise. You should study Isaiah chapter fifty four, in the light of Galatians chapter four, to get a little more insight into this. Again:
Ask yourself honestly and without prejudice, is this speaking of a literal woman nursing a literal child and comforted in Jerusalem? Is this even literal (i.e., the city) Jerusalem? Is this a literal baby borne upon her knees? Is this literal milk she gets nourishment from? Obviously it is not. But it is the woman that gives suck, and the Jerusalem of which all who are of Christ have come into. It is the Holy City from above that Galatians Chapter four talked about. Do you see how the Lord uses spiritual language to portray the Church as 'The Woman,' and the believers in the church as nursing (suckling) children? It cannot be gainsaid or denied. Those of the Church are as sucking or nursing children of the woman. Not a literal city with literal mothers in it who are happy that they don't have kids, but the barren who didn't have children of God, now blessed that they do. The Jerusalem of earth is now to bondage and under the law! But the Jerusalem represented by the New Covenant Church is free from the law.
- "Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that Love her: Rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:
- That ye may Suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; and ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.
- For thus saith the Lord, behold, I will extend PEACE to her like a River, and the Glory of the gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall Ye Suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dangled upon her knees.
- As one whom His mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem."
We get a better understanding of all these different scriptures by comparing scripture with scripture, not by swallowing the lines of the theologians who choose to distort. Then we better understand how the congregation is the sucking children. We better understand why the Lord says the sucking child plays on the hole of the asp (serpent), and yet will not be harmed. We better understand how Israel being the first sucking child was cursed, and the barren who had no children then becoming blessed. God was not talking about a literal Child going in the desert and playing on a serpent's den or hole. God was telling us something infinitely more important than the mere physical security of a child. He was talking about the Children of God and their spiritual security from that serpent Satan (Luke 10:18-19). When the children of God are sealed (secured) by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), that is when we are safe and secure from that old serpent, the Devil. The scriptures are saying that the Asp or Snake can't harm the believer. It's not telling of a time when we'll take up, or physically handle literal snakes, or lay on literal Asp dens, or play games with a literal Lion, it's speaking of a time when Satan's ability to devour us or have us subject to him where he can hold us in bondage, has been destroyed (Hebrews 2:14-15) by the cross of Christ.
In that vein, have you ever read the declarations of Mark chapter sixteen and wondered what it meant when it declared the list of signs that will follow believers? For example, it says that the sign of a Believer will be that, 'they shall take up serpents,' and won't be harmed. It's the same spiritual picture as the prophecy of Children playing on a serpent's hole, or the Lambs laying down with the Lions and not being harmed. They are figures or symbolism illustrating 'Spiritual truths.' The serpent cannot harm Believers because Satan cannot harm us. Sure, some misguided souls do not understand Mark sixteen and so you have these people running around handling real serpents. Throughout history others have actually attempted to have mark sixteen removed from the Bible because it is not easily understood. Still others claim that it was true once for the Apostles, but is no longer applicable today. All because they do not 'rightly divide' (2nd Timothy 2:15) the word of truth, or spiritually discern Mark's true meaning. Which is that Satan cannot harm those who believe, and the false gospel as the deadly Poison (wormwood) cannot harm them, and Christ is the Physician (Sin=Sickness) wherewith believers go forth healing, etc. All these signs 'unquestionably do' follow those who believers. But not in the worldly literal way that man would define signs. In the way that God defined them in His Holy word. We must let God define what is literal and what is not literal, because the Bible is not subject to our private/personal interpretation.
I find that it is so marvelous how God ties everything in the Bible to everything else, so that it all fits together into one cohesive whole. It all fits together so perfectly that even though you know the perfection of God, you are still amazed at the Glory of God in establishing it. the Book is as a gigantic Spiritual picture puzzle, that, when understood correctly, every piece fits perfectly in place. When it does, and we don't have any pieces left that doesn't fit, 'then' we know that we've come to the truth of God's word.
Likewise, when Matthew Chapter 24:19 says "And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days", it is speaking of the latter days (not to be confused with the Last Days which are the entire New Testament period) when iniquity will increase, Satan is loosed and wickedness abound as false gospels arise to assault the congregations. Those who suck or nurse at the breasts are the children of the congregations (the New Covenant Church, as the old is now barren). i.e., the Children of the New Testament Woman. It's woe unto them because at this (appointed) time, there is Great Tribulation and much distress as they depart from the faith, and apostasy rules in the Churches. There is great deception, just as the old Testament congregation was in an apostate state when Jesus came the first time and threw the buyers and sellers out of the Holy Temple. Because they had made it a den of thieves and Robbers. Likewise God will judge those who buy and sell (who are marked of the beast) in the Holy Temple again. It's woe unto them. This Woman. Woe unto the congregation of those days.
Signification direct from God's word that the congregation is symbolized by the woman, and those in it are they who nurse at the breasts. Not the Jew only, but the Gentiles extended to this woman also. One Body in the New testament Church. All those whom God speaks of that nurse at her breasts are those of the congregation. This is not the tribulation period as some Pre tribulation theorists suppose, this occurred at the time of the cross. This woman signifies those from above, and her Children are all those of the New Testament Church as per the allegory of the free woman and the bond. And as it is a blessing in the New Testament Church age, it will be woe to them in the great tribulation period. And that is what Matthew 24 speaks about.
- That you may SUCK, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.
- For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of THE GENTILES like a flowing stream: then shall YE suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dangled upon her knees.
Matthew 24 talks about this time of the Great Tribulation when it will be woe to the woman with child. This is speaking about the time of trial for the Church when false gospels and false Christs' abound and the love of God grows cold. Only those who endure this great time of trouble in faithfulness will be Saved. Interpretations are not what seems right in our own eyes, they are from God. God will tell us who is the man child delivered of the Woman (Revelation 12). God will tell us who the travailing woman in heaven is, not man. God will tell us who the children who suck the breasts are, not man. Our interpretations should come from God (thus, the Bible) and not from current affairs, the news, or our private interpretations. If it's not supported by the word of God, then it's not God's interpretation it's man's speculation.
This language of Matthew 24:19 of, "those who give suck," is very similar to the biblical language of, "those who suck the breasts." Is there is any connection? Of course! They both are focusing on the Church (Those that give suck, the congregation - And those who suck the breasts, the Children of the congregation). I am well aware of the vast numbers of Christians who assume that this refers to literal babies and literal mothers in distress in 70 A.d., but that cannot be 'biblically validated.' This woe of Matthew 24 is far greater than any physical hardships of A.D. 70. This refers to the desolation of the congregations of God by false gospels. i.e., gross Apostasy in spiritual idolatry. This is an infinitely greater woe than any physical problems in a congregation. It's a matter of the mortal soul of individuals, a spiritual problem far greater. Those who give suck represents the congregation commissioned to bring the nourishment of the gospel to the children. Those who suck the breasts, are those children of the Churches. It's woe unto the Church because there will be such a great delusion there that it would even deceive the very elect (Chosen), if that were possible. Praise God and His Grace that it is not possible! It's woe to the woman because the children go without milk. There is famine in the land. Not a famine of 'literal bread,' but a famine of hearing the word of God . That is the bread and water that is the sustenance of spiritual life. Like in the lamentations, where the Lord God brings judgment upon Jerusalem because her prophets had likewise sinned against him in gross error.
The Abomination of desolation of Matthew and Daniel speaks of a desolation of the Churches by the spirit of Antichrist, through false gospels. The man of sin (lawless man) ruling in the Temple as if he was God, silences the true gospel. The faithful word of God (bread) is hard to be found (famine) as those in the Church teach the error of false gospels, which cannot save. There is a famine of bread (Amos 8:11), and the deadly poison of wormwood is there. Gone is the spiritual bread and the living waters of life. The children of the woman have their tongues cleave or stick to the roof of their mouth, being an illustration of this thirst. The man of sin has taken a seat in the temple replacing the man of God. He is under rule and authority of Satan, and this abomination before God will leave the Temple of God desolate. That's why we are commanded to flee to the mountains when we see this. The spiritual mountains of Zion, not physical mountains. The Lord's Holy Mountain is the only real place of peace and safety where believers will be secure. In other words, we flee to the Spiritual Kingdom of God, which is truly our 'Mountain Retreat!' Mountains signify Kingdoms in scripture. And the Kingdom of God is our only retreat or place of refuge and safety in this time of woe.
- "The tongue of the Sucking Child cleveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young CHILDREN ask Bread, and no man breaketh it unto them. They that did FEED delicately are DESOLATE in the streets: They that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills."
When Matthew 24 says, "woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck," it is saying it's woe unto the Church at this time. Woe because of the false gospels and false Christs' deceiving them. That much is clear 'even' from the context of the passages speaking of trial, tribulation, falsehoods, and gross deceiving. We must be ready to get out that we not be snared in this. We are warned in scripture not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, and so when unbelievers take a seat to rule in God's house, we are to come out of her. We come out of that Church that has forsaken God, so that we not be partaker with her sin. That Church will be judged. Woe unto the woman that give suck in those days, because her children hunger and thirst and there will be no water, milk or bread (word of God) in that house. God is the same today, yesterday, and forever, immutable and righteous. The sucking child is symbolic of those of the Church. Those who "give suck" is symbolic of the Church itself, from the slightly different perspective of those leaders in care of the children.
In Matthew chapter 21 when all the Children were crying in the Temple, saying "Hosanna to the Son of David," the chief priests and scribes were not happy, and Jesus declared to them:
Is Jesus saying, those who suck the breasts began to talk and say blessed is the Son of David? No, Jesus is 'equating' those who praise Him to babies those who suck the breasts. And make no mistake because that Greek word translated "sucklings" is the exact same word [thelazo] that is translated 'those who suck the Breasts.' Again, scripture interprets scripture.
- "..Yes; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?"
Is God saying that literally out of those who suck the breasts we will hear words of strength, or is God saying spiritually out of the sucking children's mouths (the saints), are the words of ordained strength, that the enemy is stilled? This is the real question. God's word has deeper spiritual meaning than just a literal superficial application. No enemy is stilled by a literal sucking baby's gooings or babblings. But they have been stilled by the those sucklings that "these prophesies" refer to. Which are the Children of God. They bring the strength of the gospel with power, which stills the enemy. That is to say, at least the Church of old did. But today as Church after Church is falling and has removed the ancient landmarks or boundaries of the word of God, things are getting so dry that much of the Church "is" the enemy.
- "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger."
This methodology in studying the scriptures is applicable not only in discerning who spiritually are the babies or the children who nurse, but are essential in all areas of the study of the word. Sadly, it appears that much of the Church has lost that love of God's word wherein we strive to keep it (Guard it from loss) faithfully. Nevertheless, interpretations belong to God, and all these things that I bare witness of are spiritually discerned. We should understand that anyone could declare scripture means whatever they want (and they often do). So if we are going to simply accept what they say as the truth without examining it in light of scripture, we would be ripe for being deceived. Likewise, anyone can say a theological doctrine is false "if" we're not going to test it by scripture. And that is the difference between those who come to truth (by Grace of God), and those deceived by deceit.
To a large degree, this is what is happening in the Church today. People are accepting teachings of theologians, and doctrines that they've been spoon fed, that aren't really found in the scriptures. And they hold onto these teachings like a security blanket. Holding the traditions of men over God's unadulterated word, they neglect that our only real security is in faithfully following the word. In fact, God tells us that this is the 'evidence' that we are truly saved and are not simply kidding ourselves. Keeping His word.
1st John 2:4-5
The deceiving of the Church today can be seen from many different angles. How many times have you heard someone testify to scripture explicitly, and professing Christians have either ignored it or twisted it? How many times have you quoted scripture word for word, and had it called 'just your interpretation?' How many times have you witnessed to scripture, and had someone claim that in the original Hebrew or Greek, it can mean something totally different. The sad fact is, many are blind and they have no problem at all with denying the truth, or even telling a lie. Where there is no fear of God, there is no conscience in these things. The Bible says that the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7), but fools despise instruction. It's easy to understand then why many can reject and even deny God's Word. They have no love of God, and thus no fear of God. The written word of God is not the 'Precious' word of the Almighty to them, but it is deemed something non authoritative, or something which they can manipulate to whatever is right in their own eyes. They won't listen to the truth of the word, often because their conscience is seared. This is not surprising, and knowing the nature of man, it is to be expected.
- "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
- But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him."
1st Timothy 4:1
To say God did not say something when He has said it, is a lie. To claim that we take things literally and others take things spiritually, and then turn around and take things spiritually when it suits your purpose, is hypocrisy! Having the conscience seared, means to not have it bother us when we set about to deny the word of God, or to ignore what it says, or to turn to the right hand or the left, in order to get around it, or generally trample it under foot 'as if' it was worthless dirt. i.e., no fear of God.
- "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;"
Psalms chapter 119 is an excellent chapter to read to get some real insight into how gracious God is, and how the 'true' believer always takes God's word very seriously. Don't look at this chapter or simply mouth the words, but read it. A seared conscience doesn't have the love of God whereby they will earnestly seek to follow God's word, and not lead it. Wherein we have an earnest desire to 'do' the will of God, and not our own.
An analogy might be that if you've ever had a deep serious burn or cut which heals. There will be left a scar there. If you touch around that scar, you have feeling. But if you touch that scar, there is a good chance you won't feel anything. Often the tissue has been seared so you no longer have feeling there. And that is what has happened to many of the people in the Church. They have cut their own path for so long that they no longer have the sensitivity or feelings for God. No reverential fear of God. So when they hear the testimony of the word, they ignore it, change it, or pretended it's not there. And after awhile, they don't even feel guilt for doing so, but self justified. Their conscience has become seared as with a hot iron making a beep scab that they don't really feel the guilt of denying God's word anymore. When that happens, to be sure, they are in deep trouble and under judgment of God. Because true believers are troubled by their sin, so they ultimately repent and confess it. These deny their sin, justify it, make rationalizations and excuses for it. And that's the difference between the two. Both may sin, but one has repentance and confession, the other denial and rationalization.
And it is because of these seared consciences and increase in iniquity that it is woe to the Church at this time. The children go without bread as these people in it are without conscious, lawless, and teaching falsehoods. They are reviling those who preach faithfully and accurately, and they have no fear of doing so because they are deceived. They will often believe that they are actually serving God. Indeed, God has already told us of these type people. Those with a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof. The Power of the true Christian is the Holy Spirit of God that He bear witness to the truth of the gospel. When false prophets deny the Word, they deny the Spirit. For anyone who denies the word, denies the Power behind it.
The Holy Spirit within us is the power of the witness of the word. The true Church built upon the Ground of the truth with Power by being in Christ, Thee Pillar. God gave not only the disciples, but all Christians this power of the Spirit to witness of the word. And make no mistake, to deny what the word says is a serious offense, as it is actually denying God's teachings. Because it's not 'our word,' it's God's word. We are simply His witnesses or messenger. Many calling themselves Christian, have no conscience and deny the word continually. For they would much rather argue with God than to receive what He says with humility. They are those having a form of Godliness, but deny the power thereof (2nd Timothy 3:5).
- "But ye shall Receive Power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth."
- "and they were astonished at His doctrine: for His word was with Power."
- "Where the Word of a King is, there is Power: and who may say unto Him, what doest Thou?"
The word of power is a powerful thing. As Balaam was, so are God's servants. They are His messengers sent with the power of the word. And when the spirit of people is to deny God's word, then they deny the power thereof. They do not understand that where The King's word is, There is power, that none should question, ignore, or reject that word.
- "And Balaam said unto Balak, Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say anything? The word that God putteth IN MY MOUTH, that shall I speak."
What is in God's word, is God's word. On the other hand, when something is not 'in' the word of God, then it cannot be God's interpretation. When you want God's interpretation of the Good Shepherd and the Sheep, you don't recite the Premillennial creed of "if the literal sense, makes sense, seek no other sense. Nor do you go to a literal sheep herder in Israel for hands on instruction on being a Shepherd. You go to the Bible, the words of the God who inspired it written. For it is He who knows how He wants sheep defined. And it's not by Webster's dictionary, Hebrew archaeology, or dispensationalist theories, scripture can only be interpreted by God. He is the "author" and so His word is the final authority on defining it.
Which brings us to "the Woman in travail" of prophesy. If we want this defined Biblically, we don't look for the literal and go to the expectant mothers clinic of Mercy Hospital. We will go to God's word and see how the Lord defines the travail of this woman. If we want the Biblical definition of the bond woman and the free woman, we don't go to Saudi Arabia or the Library of middle eastern servitude, we go to the word of God for our interpretation. For only God can interpret His own book. In is only in this methodology that we can be assured that we are on the right track. When we get personal opinions and private interpretations from men, all we have is speculation, assumption, and guesswork. Thus to find out what, "those who give suck" illustrates (not what they seem to mean), we go directly to the word of God for answers. Do as righteous Joseph did. Say, "do not Interpretations belong to God?" And answering affirmatively, we then go to God's word for the authoritative answers.
You will note in your study of Matthew 24 that the entire context of the chapter is of the latter days, when iniquity will abound and there will be a great tribulation. This occurs 'immediately' before the Lord's second coming. Those who think this language of literal apocalyptic happenings of murder, famine and world calamity need to study the scriptures more carefully. Then they will find that the world will be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, going along as usual unaware of any signs, as the Lord returns. Only those who "know the signs" of the Lord's return will see the signs. Those expecting cataclysmic literal happenings where women who are not pregnant are blessed, do not understand the signs that God has prophesied. They are made manifest to us by His Spirit. For the signs are spiritual. Spiritual children, famine, bread, stars, scorpions, candlesticks, horns, locusts, serpents, women, and those who nurse at the breasts. It is to these women to whom it will be woe at this time. These are spiritual truths, discerned by the Spirit. The great falling away of the Church, where it is woe to it's children.
May the Lord who is Gracious and compassionate above all, give us the wisdom to discern his Holy truth in the faithful study of His word.
. (see article, "Was The Prophesy of Elijah Coming, Fulfilled?" by Tony Warren. http://members.aol.com/twarren11/elijah.html)
. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. -Amos 8:11-12.
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Copyright ©1993 Tony Warren
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