Sowing and Reaping - Part 8
All of us are creatures of knowledge and faith, for what we believe is determined by what we know, and it is what we believe that dictates our actions. This is true for everyone. John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1; ESV). The Strong’s Concordance defines “Word” as, “Something said (including the thought),” so God’s Word incorporates, not only what He says, but so too His thoughts and His ways or behavior, and lastly, His intentions, which always exemplifies His love for His creation (1st John 4:8, 16).
Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Allow me to reiterate. We are each and every one, creatures of knowledge and faith, for what we believe is determined by what we know, and it is what we believe that determines our actions. Earlier in this series, I stated, “Thought is the seed but intention is the purpose,” and to picture thought as the outer coat of the seed while intention is the life within it. This being the case, our thoughts reflect our intentions and our intentions are the core essence of all that we do in this world of form. No wonder Paul went on to state in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not grow weary while doing good,” and again in verse 10, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all.” This, my friend, is the quintessential essence of the kingdom of God. When it comes to scripture, we may not always agree on semantics, but we can all agree that “doing good” is the core essence of this principle. This essence is clearly reflected in the following.
Genesis 1:31 (NASB95)
31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
In this passage, our word “all” is defined by the New American Standard Bible Dictionary as, “The whole, all.” This shows that everything which our Creator fashioned on the six days of creation, both visible and invisible, was “very good” and perfect in its scope (Col. 1:16). Nothing more was needed. So it is that “by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Gen. 2:2-3; NASB95).
In his book, Number in Scripture – Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance, E. W. Bullinger states that seven “is the great number of spiritual perfection.” It is from the root which means, “To be full or satisfied, have enough of,” and, “It is seven, therefore, that stamps with perfection and completeness that in connection with which it is used.” So it is that the seventh day marks the six days of creation as divinely complete in every sense of the word. No wonder then that when we look beneath the surface of the six days of creation and the seventh or Sabbath Day, we find spiritual realities that open our understanding to His divine purpose in humankind.
One of the best examples of the spiritual meaning of seven is seen in the mature fruit of a tree. Perhaps for this reason, following the creation of humankind, the Lord God said, “Be fruitful, and multiply” (Gen. 1:28; KJV). In his letter to the Galatians, Paul describes what this “fruit” is.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB95)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
It is not without significance that our nine characteristics named in these passages are likened to fruit. After all, most everyone likes fruit of some kind and desires to eat it. Is this not true? So could we not say that everyone also desires to partake of the love, joy, peace, and so on that issues from the heart of those who are Christ’s?
We have nine characteristics in Galatians 5. In his book, The Biblical Meaning of Numbers from One to Forty, Dr. Stephen Jones wrote the following about the spiritual meaning of nine.
"The number nine speaks of God’s 'visitation.' This is a Hebraism that pictures God as an Investigator 'visiting' a person, city, or nation to expose the hearts, gather evidence, and “see” firsthand, as it were, the truth of a matter. It is much like a divine court case where the evidence is uncovered and presented to the judge for judgment. In Luke 19:43 and 44, Jesus says to the temple in Jerusalem,
"For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation [Greek: episcope, “bishopric, overseer”].
"In this case, the time of visitation was the three-year period of Jesus’ ministry from 30-33 A.D., where God manifested in human flesh to 'visit' Judea and Jerusalem and to test the hearts of the people. (Jesus is called a Bishop or Overseer in 1st Peter 2:25.) In another sense, Jesus was the Heavenly Fruit Inspector. Jesus found a few whose hearts were right, and these formed the branches of the good fig tree that brought forth good fruit (Jer. 24:5-7). The majority, however, along with the religious leaders, were of the evil fig tree (Jer. 24:8-10). The good figs were Jesus’ disciples and the converts of the early Church, who were expelled from the land (by persecution), in order that God might spare them from the coming judgment forty years later.
"The idea of 'visitation' is shown in the Old Testament. For believers, it has a positive connotation, as in Genesis 50:24, 25, Psalm 106:4, and Jeremiah 27:24. Their visitation results in salvation or deliverance. However, for unbelievers, it carries a negative result, as we see in Exodus 32:34, Leviticus 18:25, Isaiah 10:3, and Jeremiah 10:15. The Hebrew word for 'visitation' in the Old Testament is peqadah, and the Septuagint Greek equivalent is episcope.
"As the Heavenly Fruit Inspector, Jesus was sent to taste of the fruit being given to God at the temple in Jerusalem to see (and judge) if it was good. He was gathering evidence to be presented to the divine court that would determine the fate of Jerusalem.
"At the same time, He was also training and testing the hearts of twelve disciples. Divine visitation is God’s judgment in the life of the believer by which the Holy Spirit trains them in obedience. By His guiding voice, He shows them the will of God and writes His law upon their hearts. So we see that divine visitation, or judgment, has a positive outcome for the believer and a negative outcome for the unbeliever. And yet, even the negative outcome is not permanent, for the purpose of judgment is ultimately to correct men and bring them into alignment with the will and mind of God."