|Volume 17 Number 2 February 2015||
The Bible employs various symbols to illustrate the Word of God. The word “seed” is found 276 times in the Bible (ASV 1901). It is used literally, when God said, “Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed…” (Genesis 1:11). An example of figurative usage is when, after the murder of Abel, Eve said, “God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel” (Genesis 4:25). Eve used “seed” to refer to another offspring or descendant. Literal seed possesses some qualities that can help explain benefits of the Word of God.
Seed Produces after Its Kind
James asked a series of rhetorical questions. “[C]an a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a vine figs?” The answers were obvious. Figs produce figs and vines don’t produce figs! Repeatedly in the creation narrative the reoccurring phrase is found: “after their kind” (Genesis 1:11-12, 21, 24-25).
This principle holds true in the spiritual realm. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). The Word of God is likened unto seed (see also 1 Peter 1:22-23). “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). When the pure seed (Word of God) was planted (taught) in the first century, it produced Christians; “the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). What if we teach (plant) the exact message (seed) today? What will it produce? The Bible only produces Christians only! If the Bible alone is taught, it will produce what it yielded in the first century. There were no denominational churches in the first century. It takes hybrid seed to produce a hybrid plant.
Growth Is Affected by Soil Conditions
In the Parable of the Sower, the soils represent the human heart. Read Luke 8:11-15. Note the four soils: (1) “Wayside,” a hard heart (v.12). (2) “Rocky,” ‘for a while believe…fall away’ (v.13). (3) “Thorny,” choked by cares, riches and pleasures of life (v.14). (4) “Good,” honest and good heart (v.15). What kind of soil are you?
Have you ever considered that the same teaching that was preached in the first century will produce the same thing today – 2,000 years later? The one Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9) produces Christians, which make up the one body (Ephesians 4:4). The pure Seed is the key to religious unity!
The Bible employs various symbols to illustrate the Word of God. The word “sword” is found 428 times in the Bible (ASV 1901). It is used literally of Saul’s implement of suicide; “Therefore Saul took his sword, and fell upon it” (1 Chronicles 10:4). An example of figurative usage is the eventual cutting nature of the words of a temptress. “But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword” (Proverbs 5:4). Literal swords can cut and divide and so also does the Word of God.
A Sword Cuts
Followers of God should use “the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). Their battle is not physical, but spiritual (Ephesians 6:12). Persuasion should come not from human cleverness, but by allowing God’s Word to work on the human heart. The Gospel can cut the conscience like a sword. Following the Ascension of Jesus, the twelve apostles (Acts 2:14) were speaking the message of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). The crowd of Jews was charged with the murder of the true Messiah (Acts 2:23). “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter’s inspired answer is found in Acts 2:38.
On another occasion, Philip leveled the same charge against other Jews – namely, murder of the Christ (Acts 7:52). The listeners “were cut to the heart” (Acts 7:54). However, their response was to add another murder to their record; they killed the messenger (Acts 7:59).
The truth often hurts. Do we accept the truth or begin to make excuses, or put it out of our minds? Does foolish pride keep you from accepting the truth of God’s Word?
A Sword Divides
“For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Note in this verse the word “dividing.” Even though Jesus is called the “Prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:6), He said, “Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). He explained that family relationships might be severed when some choose to obey the message while others reject the Word. Before His resurrection, even the half-brothers of Jesus “did not believe on him” (John 7:5). The power of Jesus’ words are like “a sharp two-edged sword” (Revelation 1:16). What is your response to the Word of God?