Friend of the Bridegroom

John 3:28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that has the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which stand and hear him, rejoice greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 

The friend of the bridegroom is the one who played an important part in the wedding ceremonies, and sometimes conducted the negotiations between the bride and groom. The friend, at the time of the first meeting of the bride and groom, stands just outside the door to hear how delighted the groom is about his bride.

‘This my joy, therefore, is fulfilled’ This does not mean John was not to be a member of the future bride of Christ, for he will be. The heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, is the bride of Christ (Rev. 21:2, 9-10). All Old Testament saints (Heb. 11:10-16) and all New Testament saints will go there (Heb. 13:14; John 14:1-3). This includes John the Baptist and other saints of all ages from Abel to the end of the first resurrection (1Cor. 15:23, 51-58; 1Thess. 4:16; Rev. 20:4-6). All John expresses here is the fact that he is not the bridegroom, but his friend, as are all saints who are friends of the bridegroom (John 15:13-15). As John invited people to Christ, so do all the members of the bride (Rev. 22:17).

Cleansing the Temple

John 2:13-17  And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. 

It started out to be ‘the Lord’s Passover’ (Exo. 12:11, 12:27; Lev. 23:5; Num. 28:16), but now it had degenerated to be “the Jews’ Passover” (John 2:13; 6:4; 11:55). The feasts of the Lord (Lev. 23:2) had now become the feasts of the Jews (John 5:1; 6:4; 7:2; 11:56; 19:42). Even the commandments were nullified by the traditions of men (Matt. 15:1-9; 16:6-12).

According to historians, 256,500 animals were sacrificed each Passover, so the market must have been huge. The priests sold licenses to the vendors, so this profanation must have been a large source of revenue.

Jesus made a scourge of small cords; He plaited a whip of rush-ropes and drove the animals and the sellers out of the temple. These dealers were very unpopular because of their extortions; they were also conscious that they were profaning the temple and violating the law. They were a stumbling stone (Matt. 16:23; 18:7) for those who wanted to reconcile with God.

My Father’s is a term used by Jesus 60 times of God (John 5:17, 43). The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up is the second Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in John (Psa. 69:9).

Riches

James 5:1-6  Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; you have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.  You have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. 

These verses contain the first and last prophecy in James regarding six predictions concerning evil rich men that awaits them because they have condemned and killed the just.

Miseries will come upon them, their riches will become corrupted and their garments moth-eaten, their gold and silver to canker that eat their flesh and the rust or poison of their riches will witness or testify of their many sins. These riches that are corrupted instead of cankered as gold and silver, refers to crops, flocks, stores of grain, wine, oil, and many changes of clothing in the wardrobes.

Lord of Sabaoth is a term often used in the Old Testament of God who is Lord of hosts, or Lord of armies, who has infinite power to rule the nations and punish the wicked (1Sam. 1:3, 11; 4:4; 15:2).

Living in pleasure on earth – the Greek word truphao which means to live softly or delicately; fare sumptuously; live in luxury; to be effeminate; to be licentious; to revel – and been wanton is the Greek word spatalao that refers to living riotously and in pleasure (1Tim. 5:6; 1 Pet. 4:3); and nourishing of the hearts as in the day of slaughter refers to feasting and surfeiting as men do at the times of their religious feasts.

The Parable of the Leaven

Another parable spoke He unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. Mat. 13:33 KJV

The kingdom of Heaven here is “like” leaven (sour dough) that is always used in a bad sense in Scripture, as meal is in a good sense. Therefore, the common interpretation of leaven converting the world is the exact opposite of the true interpretation of the leaven corrupting the meal. Note the use of leaven in Scripture:

In the Old Testament leaven is used to portray the evil nature of the sinner: Exodus 12:8, 15-20; 34:25; Levitikus 2:11; 6:17; 10:12 These last three passages refer to leaven being forbidden in certain sacrifices. Only in one sacrifice was it used in Levitikus 7:12-13 and here it signifies that though the believer has made peace with God through the work of another (Christ), there are still human traits and selfishness in him which must be continually purged by growth in grace.

In the New Testament leaven is used in four ways: first, the leaven of the Pharisees which was external religion, legalism, and hypocrisy; Mt. 23:14-28; Lk. 12:1 second, the leaven of the Sadducees, which was skepticism as to the supernatural and the teachings of the Scriptures on resurrection, angels, and spirits; Mt. 22:23-39; Acts 23:8 third, the leaven of the Harridans, which was materialism, a mixture of religion and worldliness, a political religion; Mk. 8:15 fourth, the leaven of both Pharisees and Sadducees as to their evil doctrines and practices. Mt. 16:11-12; 23:14, 16, 23-28

This illustrates how the kingdom of heaven teachings and the program of God in this age would become corrupted by false doctrines and unscriptural programs until the whole is corrupted. Lk. 18:8; 1Tim. 4:1-8; 2Tim. 3:5; 4:3-4; 2Pet. 3:3-4  A woman is a common symbol of evil in the moral or religious sphere and when used figuratively in an evil sense ‘she’ represents wickedness, fallacy, uncleanness, and unfaithfulness, Lam. 1:17 harlotry, Ezek. 16:15,22,26,28-59; 23:1-49; 36:17; Hos. 1:2; 2:2-17; 3:1; Rev. 17 wickedness, Zech. 5:5-11; Rev. 17:5 and false religion. Rev. 17 Thus, in a bad ethical sense a woman always symbolizes something wrong or out of place religiously.  Zech. 5:7-8; Rev. 2:20; 17:1-18  When used in a good sense women represent Israel, cp Gen. 37:9-10 with Rev. 12; Ezek. 16 the two covenants, Gal. 4:21-31 and righteousness and purity. 2Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7-8 A meal symbolizes the Word of God. Mt. 4:4; Jn. 6:47-63 and the three hidden measures of the meal illustrates all false teachings, religious programs, and professed Christian lives that seek to hide behind the Word of God (Christ as the Bread of Life and the Word of God Mt. 4:4; Jn. 6:47-63; Jn. 1:1).

The parable illustrates how the kingdom of Heaven would become like leaven, which a woman uses to corrupt Christ and His teachings. Both Christ and the Word of God are being corrupted today by the false church and its teachings. These teachers dominate the realm of profession and use it to deceive people by exalting their own words above the Word of God and their own leaders above Christ; by making the people feel that their church is infallible and that obedience to it and its dogmas is better than obedience to civil governments and by many comparable doctrines contrary to the Bible, thus corrupting the truth through the realm of profession.

Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaven the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1Cor. 5:6-8 KJV

The Purpose of Parables

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speak thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  Mat. 13:10-11 KJV

A parable: the Greek word parabole (GSN-<G3850>) is a comparison, Mk. 4:30 figure Heb. 9:9; 11:19 proverb Lk. 4:23 and an illustration; Mt. 13:3,10,13,18,24,31-36,53; 15:15; 21:33,45; 22:1; 24:32 they are extended similes.

They illustrate truth and make it clear by comparison with something that is already familiar. They impart instruction and rebuke without causing offense.  2Sam. 12 They create interest and hunger for further information. Mt. 13:10-17; 2Sam. 12  The stories are always true and the points illustrated must not be considered false and absurd. The historical background and the circumstances and occasion when uttered must be understood. Their words and details must be defined literally, not spiritually. The similarity between the point illustrated and the illustration must be noted.  The point illustrated is always stated with the parable or is clear by the occasion uttered.  The principles of interpretation are given by Jesus Himself. Any interpretation at variance with these principles or with the purpose of the parable is unscriptural.

Parables were used to reveal truth in a form intended to create more interest; Mt. 13:10-11,16 to make known new truths to interested hearers; Mt. 13:11-12,16-17 to make known mysteries by comparison with things already known; Mt. 13:11 to conceal truth from disinterested hearers and rebels at heart; Mt. 13:11-15 to add truth to those who love it and want more of it; Mt. 13:12 to take truth away from those who hate and do not want it; Mt. 13:12 and to fulfill prophecy. Mt. 13:14-17,35

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. Mat. 13:12-13 KJV

A mystery is a secret previously hidden but now made clear so that no mystery remains for anyone who will accept the truth as revealed. Mt. 13:19; 2Cor. 4:3-4  At present the realm of profession, for tares and wheat and good and bad are now mixed together in the same kingdom. At the end of this age the two classes will be separated. The professors will be sent to hell and the possessors of the kingdom will continue in its literal aspect forever. Mt. 13:40-43,49-50; Mat. 25:31-46; Rev. 20; Zech. 14  Believers increase in knowledge, but unbelievers go into more ignorance and darkness. Rom. 1:18-32; Tit. 1:15; 1Jn. 1:7; Jn. 3:16-20 This is a work of man’s own unbelief and rebellion and the work of satan. Mt. 13:15,19; 2Cor. 4:3-4  They can see, but they refuse to see; they can hear, but they refuse to hear; they are capable of understanding, but they refuse to accept the truth, desiring to hold on to their old religious traditions and professions in preference to walking in the light of new truth.

And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which said, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Mat. 13:14-15 KJV

This Old Testament prophecy of Israel written by Isaiah 6:9-10 is fulfilled in Matthew 13:14-15 Jn. 12:39-40; Acts 28:25 describing the condition of their hearts as being made fat, stupid, insensible, inattentive, dull, and callous. Acts 28:27 The idea here is that the people became this way, little by little, until they were past normal, vigorous obedience to truth and righteousness, but they were failing to do, see, hear, and understand with the heart.  They missed out on the promised blessings of conversion, a change of direction, a new walk with God and of physical healing, a change of health, a new health in God. Ps. 91; 103:3; Mt. 8:17; Isa. 53; Rom. 8:11; 1Pet. 2:24; 3Jn. 1:2; Jas. 5:14-16; Mk. 16:17-18; Jn. 14:12-15; 15:7,16

All these things spoke Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spoke He not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. Mat. 13:34-35 KJV