“And of the Pharisees that were with him heard these words and said unto Him, Are we blind also?”
The miraculous works which Jesus completed upon this earth during the time of His ministry were witnessed by many people. The disciples saw and understood not that they bore witness that Jesus was the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah. The people were amazed at these things and many times were intrinsically entwined in them. Even for this cause, many continued to follow Jesus, not because He was anointed but because; “Jesus answered them and said, Certainly of the truth I say unto you, You do not seek Me because you saw the miracles but because you ate of the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26).
There was a certain select group of people who were beset with diseases and infirmities to whom Jesus came and healed. Some could not see Him coming to them while others called out to Him. A few attempted to hide themselves from Him while partaking in His power and yet another was given such perfect understanding of the power and authority of God that he proclaimed; “Lord do not trouble Yourself for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come to you, but say in a word and my servant shall be healed. I am also a man set under authority, having soldiers and I say unto him, go and he goes; and I say to another, Come and he comes; and to my servant, Do this and he does” (Luke 7:6).
The there were the religious entities of the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes and the like. These first came unto John at the Jordan like religious thrill seekers in hope of gaining the popularity that was being directed to John. When Jesus came forth in His public ministry, they followed Him in amazement and wonder. They questioned Him and were astonished at His answers, saying, “how does this man know his letters having never been taught” (John 7:15). They tried to catch Him in His teaching supposing it to be contrary to the Law of Moses and they watched to see if He knew and followed the venerated traditions. The strange and various teachings concerning man’s understanding of the Law were tolerated by many of the religious world and debated at length with no ramifications or sanctions. However when a person questioned the oral traditions and failed to uphold the customs of the ancient ones, this was unforgivable.
Jesus taught the fulfillment of the Law of God not the types and foreshadows of the pattern given in the mount. This was intriguing to the Pharisees at first yet when His teachings turned against the accepted interpretations and the denial of customs and futility of traditions, these ‘teachers of Israel’ could not tolerate Him any longer. At the beginning they sought to catch Him in His words and then to accuse Him in His violation of the Sabbath, now he equated Himself with God and accused them of being not the children of the kingdom.
These men saw the miracle of the blind man and they stood in judgment against him, casting him out of the synagogue. They followed the man and when Jesus came to him again, the Pharisees were there to see and hear all that transpired. They were without a doubt devoid of any excuse for they saw everything He did, heard everything He said and opposed Him on every point. And so when Jesus said that He was come into the world for judgment, they knew He spoke of them.
Jesus spoke specifically about these two subjects, hearing and seeing, at great length. As the Jews withstood Him, He told them that the words which He spoke were not His words but those given to Him of the Father. He also said that the works which He did were not of His own accord for they were all that the Father had assigned for Him to accomplish. They, as natural sons of Adam, could not comprehend the meaning of the words nor could they understand that which they saw with their natural eyes. Jesus had introduced health care reform for communicable diseases (leprosy), social reform for those who had become the outcast of society (lame, blind and deaf) and had demonstrated a program for eliminating hunger by feeding thousands with diminutive amounts but instead of being hailed as a national figure, He was hated
“Then they said unto him, Where is he? And he said, I do not know” (9:12)
The poor blind man had seen nothing for his entire life. He never saw the people as they passed by or the vaporous splendor of the Pharisees in all their carnal glory. He never saw the Temple or its finery, he never saw the man who spat on the ground to make the clay patch for his impotent eyes or the throng that followed Him. He was told he was blind but he did not know what that meant for he had never had his sight. He was told he was poor but he did not know any other lifestyle than that which he lived. Now his eyes were open and he could see but again, he knew not what had happened or who, other than a man named Jesus, had done these things.
The Pharisees followed this man all the way. They were gathered in the Temple as they were rebuked by this man named Jesus. They followed Him as He walked through the crowd and came to the place where the blind man waited for Him (though he knew it not). They followed this jubilant man into the synagogue and accosted him with railing accusations (just as their father the Devil for he is the accuser of the brethren) and when he was cast forth out of their assembly (being found unsuitable for their company), they followed him to the place where Jesus would once again find him. The dogs were hounding this child of grace, the fowl of the air were ready to snatch away the seed that had just been made manifest and the evil beast of the field “like a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour” (I Pt. 5:8). But these could do nothing except that which was ordained of old for the good of His flock. Yehovah God has a covenant with these adversaries for His people (Hos. 2:18) and He is a God which keeps His covenant.
When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, He told them that they sought to kill Him “because My word has no place in you” (8:37). Just as Nehemiah told those who desired to have a part in the good work of rebuilding the walls of the city, these had no part, nor right nor memorial in the work of Messiah. He then said that they could not hear the truth because it is God’s word and “he that is of God hears God’s word, you, therefore do not hear them because you are not of God” (8:47). He told them they were of the seed of the serpent and their father’s works they should do. He is a murderer from the beginning and does not live in the truth. When he speaks a lie, he speaks it of his own for he is a liar and the father of the lie (44). And so when the man came into the Temple proclaiming the truth of his sight, they did not believe him. They asked his neighbours if this was the same man, they asked his parents if this was their child and they again asked the man what had happened. To these relentless inquiries, he answered them and said, “I have told you already and you did not hear, wherefore would you hear again? Will you also be His disciples?” (9:27).
Regardless of the overwhelming sentiment of the religious society, the gospel of Jesus Christ is not for all men. It is not for those who will hear or those who will accept. The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among His people. He came forth from the mouth of Yehovah to accomplish all that He had spoken and He did not return unto the throne void (Is. 55:11). His works were His testimony of the truth and the validation that he is Anointed; “for the works which the Father has given Me to finish, THE SAME works that I do, bear witness of Me that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36). All that the Father gave to Him was to save His people from their sin. He did not come for the Jew who is one outwardly or that has the circumcision made with hands. He came for His people who are born from above and have been made partakers of the flesh of Adam, being made subject to this vanity.
This is that man seated upon the white horse that came forth both conquering and to conquer. He has “in His right hand seven stars and out of His mouth went a two-edged sword” (Rev. 1:16) of judgment and peace. That sword is the living Word of God; “sharper than any two edged sword and enters through even unto the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of joint and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). He came to proclaim the Word of Yehovah unto the valley of dry bones, which bones are the whole house of Israel. This is the Israel of our God being of the house of ‘praise’ (Judah) and the house of ‘the other son’ (Joseph). These have been called forth from out of the nations where the sower has scattered them. They have been joined together as one by the power of His will (Zech. 10:6). They have heard the voice of Yehovah, their graves have been opened as liberty has been proclaimed in the ‘acceptable year of Yehovah’ the Jubilee of Israel. They have been quickened together with Him and raised up in Him, now to be seated together in Him in the heavenly places. He has put His Spirit in them and they live as they are seated together with Him in the heavenlies in the mountain of Israel. There they know that Yehovah has done these things and performed the word of His covenant (Ezek. 37:11ff). This is the good news and the comfort to the election according to grace. Proclaiming this wonder is to them that perish complete and utter foolishness because His Word has no place in them.
“Certainly of the truth I say unto you, He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs in some other way, the same is a thief and a robber” (John 10:1).
The Pharisees could not hear Jesus now anymore now than they ever could. They had to ask if they were blind because they did not know what sight was. When Adam and Eve had their eyes opened, they immediately knew the reality of their condition. When this blind man had his eyes open he knew he had experienced something as he said; “one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see” (9:25). The Pharisees knew nothing, heard nothing and they saw nothing as the Spirit proclaimed unto the prophet; “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house which have eyes to see and see not; they have ears to hear and hear not for they are a rebellious house” (Ezek. 12:2). Jesus therefore continues His assault against the ungodliness of man and his religion as He speaks from the prophets of old.
No one could have expected the blind man to know the scriptures. It was not an acceptable practice to allow those upon whom it appeared that God had corrupted by infirmity from entering into the Temple. How could someone who was deformed bring something acceptable into the sanctuary for sacrifice? Therefore, without were all who were concluded to be sinners whom God had judged.
The Pharisees were not of this class of people. They stood as the epitome of perfection both in personal appearance and in moral conduct. They presented themselves as being accepted of God and revered by their fellow, yet inferior, man. They did not sin like the common publican (Luke 18:13), they were in no need of a physician (Mark 2:17) to cure their incurable wound (Jer. 30:12) and they had no need for repentance (Luke 5:32) for when it came to the righteousness of the law, they were blameless. These were the ‘teachers in Israel’ who were sent forth to feed the people and there was a famine in the land, “not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Yehovah” (Amos 8:11). This is the arrogance of Adam in the garden and the bondage of the corruption of all his seed.
Jesus begins with the revelation of these as the false shepherds of the land who instead of protecting and feeding the sheep had fed themselves on the flock. These men who knew the scriptures knew right well that he was speaking of them. He identifies them as the sons of the Devil by manifesting their characteristics. These portray themselves to the natural eyes as leaders and guides in religious mattes but they are indeed thieves and robbers. Not only have the stolen that which belonged to the sheep but they have injured the little flock as they “eat the fat and you clothe yourselves with the wool; you kill them that are fed but you do not feed the flock. The diseased you have not strengthened, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up the broken, neither have you brought again that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost, but with force and with cruelty you rule over them “(Ezek. 34:3ff).
The Pharisees could never accomplish all that was contained in the types and foreshadows of the heavenly reality for they had not the Word of God dwelling in them. They could not keep His commandments for they did not have His Spirit in them, being not born of the Spirit, and, being natural in Adam and sons of perdition they had no right, nor memorial nor portion in the kingdom of God just as the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit, neither can he know them, being spiritually discerned.
“But He that enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep” (10:2).
There can never be any transformation of any portion of the seed Adam should they be cajoled to walk through what the world perceives as the gate and enter into the much anticipated pasture. If they are not His sheep from the beginning, then they have no access to the pasture, they do not hear His voice and therefore they will not follow Him. The natural ear hears the natural things and the children of the wicked one hear the voice of the stranger. The sheep do not hear that voice and they do not follow the destroyer.
Adam is of the earth, earthly and although from the same lump of clay, the Potter has fashioned an earthen vessel and prepared it unto the glory of being the habitation of the incorruptible seed, yet he is dust and to the dust he shall return. Adam cannot be transformed into one of the pasture anymore than Ishmael could be the child of promise or Esau could have become the child whom God loved. Adam does not know who the sheep are, he cannot see the pasture for to him it is a wilderness and he can not hear the voice of the Shepherd. Jesus said, “MY sheep hear My voice and follow Me, and I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither can any pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave Me, is greater than all and none is able to pluck out of My Father’s hand” (10:27). This is not the vile corrupt body of this death.
The Shepherd leads His sheep in the paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake, and they enter in by Him, through Him and for Him. The Shepherd knows His sheep. He spends his days and nights with the flock, he delivers their young, leads them into good feeding lands and beside still waters for their refreshing. He knows what is best for His sheep and they trust Him. Where ever He leads, they follow as they walk in the footsteps of the flock unto the place chosen for them by the shepherd. If these things be so in nature, how much more-so in the pastures of the Good Shepherd which He has prepared for His people?
The Pharisees and all leaders and teachers of man’s religion, desire to be a part of any and all things religious. They wanted in on John’s baptism and they were refused of the Spirit of God. They occupied their time in nothing else but to hear something new that would assist them in the amassing of the proof of their holiness and had developed the most particular rituals for the keeping of the law. They asked Jesus if they were blind in hope of being included in the group of those whom He had come to help as a validation of their part in the kingdom of God. But Jesus, rather than the inclusiveness of Adam’s theology, continues to rebuke them as He brings forth the very sacred text which they worship as proof against them.
Thieves and robbers do not have the welfare of the flock in mind. They seek a profit as they practice the arts of their trades. “The thief comes to steal and to kill and to destroy” as he does the work of his father Abaddon (destruction) and Apollyon (destroyer). They live for the moment engrossed in self-preservation for when the wolf comes and catches them, they leave the sheep who are then scattered.
There is no regard for righteousness or justice as the flesh seeks the temporal things of this world. This is not a depiction of some strange and marauding band or an indictment against the religious neophytes of the world. These words were spoken about the Pharisees but they were directed to the disciples and the blind man. The leaven of the Pharisees is within every child of the dust and it cannot be purged by good intentions, good works or extreme devotions. This truth is revealed to every child of grace once the Father reveals Himself dwelling in them. The world in which they live is a foreign land and the bondage of this corruption causes them to groan in anticipation of their return to their Father’s house.
“I give them eternal life and they shall never be destroyed”
In the beginning God created man in His image “male and female created He them”. The seed of the race of Adam was contained in the creature as a representation of the eternality of the seed in the eternal Father. Just as He has no beginning and no end, so they who are born from above have always been His incorruptible seed. This seed has been planted in the corruption of this world, the earthen vessels afore prepared, where it grows and brings forth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto God. The field also contains the seed of the serpent (tares) which have been planted in the corruption of the vessels outfitted for destruction. The eternal seed is incorruptible and cannot be defiled. The seed of the serpent is defiled and cannot be cleansed and the seed of Adam is the dust of the field which is temporal and fades away.
The sheep are His children. Nothing can ever change that fact for their names are eternally written in the book of life of the Lamb. Their names are also engraved upon the palms of the hands of the sacrifice for their sin, upon the two ‘onyx’ (white) stones of the pouches of gold on the ephod and upon the breastplate of the High Priest of their faith. These ‘walls of salvation’ are ever before the face of Yehovah God and each precious living stone has been sealed with the name of their Father in their foreheads. These children have been made subject to the worthlessness of this world wherein they have been assigned a time of habitation and labours to perform. These labours, afflictions, trails and tribulations have been given unto them as disciplines in demonstration of His continual love and attention. In these the Father reveals the weakness of Adam, the limitations of this existence, that vanity of the world and the inabilities of the flesh. The children walk the path and perform all the woks given unto them and nothing within or without can ever separate them from the love of the Father.
Nor can anything ever destroy that which is eternal. Time and nature erode and degrade the earthen vessel to the point where it cannot continue. When the clay pots have been utilized to their fullest extent they are put off but the seed remains. The children of the wicked one are raised up unto eternal damnation where the worm never dies and the flame is never quenched. The righteous sons of God are manifested as they are delivered form the body of this death and are made like the Son (adoption).
“I am the good Shepherd and know my sheep and am known of mine”
The sheep are of the flock of the general assembly of the called out assembly of the First-born. They are His people and they have but one Shepherd over them. They know Him not after the flesh for that which can be seen is temporal but they know Him by experience. They call out to their Father and He hears them. He speaks to them by the communication of the testimony of the Spirit and that from faith to faith. These things cannot be shown, demonstrated or manifested to the natural eyes of man for they are the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of that which is unseen.
The Shepherd knows the land which He created for Himself and His Beloved. He leads His people along the paths which He created, He walked and He has ordained for the good of them that love Him. His Word, saying “this is the way, walk in it” is a lamp unto the feet and a light upon the path. He knows what is best and though He leads His flock into the adversities of trials and tribulations, which are for but a short time, no wolf may kill or thief steal His children from Him. He has laid down His life for the sheep and He has prepared the pasture specifically for them. He knows their frame in the dust, He supplies their every need and He has endured the contradiction of sin against Himself.
These words were words of comfort to the blind man and hope for His disciples. They were also condemnation against the natural man and the seed of the serpent. The children love the Father because He first loved them. They love each other as they keep His commandments by the power of the Spirit within with the same love wherewith He first loved them. They are hated and despised of the world because the world is in darkness and the deeds of man evil continually. Although the natural man thinks he can see and therein he develops and nurtures his theology, yet is he still in his sin and he perishes daily. The spiritual man within is renewed as he awaits the time when he shall be delivered unto that tabernacle not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
“Tell me, You whom my soul loves, where you feed and make Your flock to rest at noon, for why should I be as one turned aside by the flocks of my companions? If you do not know, you fairest among women, go by the footsteps of the flock and feed your kids beside the Shepherd’s tent” (Song 1:7).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
April 19, 2015