The First Curse

The First Curse

The Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed above all livestock, and above every beast of the field; you will go on your belly, and you will eat dust all the days of your life.

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.” M234

Those are words that Jesus used in Genesis 3:14-15.

It’s profound to see the anger of Jesus stirred up so much that He utters a curse.

Merriam-Webster defines a curse as:

  • a prayer or invocation for harm or injury to come upon one
  • a profane or obscene oath or word
  • evil or misfortune that comes as if in response to imprecation or as retribution
  • a cause of great harm or misfortune
  • to call upon divine or supernatural power to send injury upon
  • to bring great evil upon
  • menstruation MW43

The serpent brought upon himself and all his offspring a curse that invoked harm; it was an oath from God Himself, for misfortune as a result of wrongdoing,  divine and supernatural power that transformed the very nature of the serpents physical structure.

Menstruation is another term listed under the definition of a curse; we will look into that later.

What did the serpent do that caused it to be cursed?

Being cursed above all livestock and every beast of the field would indicate that other livestock and beasts of the field would be cursed too at some point, but the curse spoken to by God over the serpent would be the greatest and most painful compared to the rest.

Matthew 8:28-34, holds a key that gives some insight into what the serpent did.

When He came to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two men possessed with demons, coming out of the tombs, extremely fierce, so that no one might pass by that way. Suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”

Now a good way off from them was a herd of many swine feeding. So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.”

He said to them, “Go!” And when they came out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. Those who kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told everything, including what had happened to those possessed by the demons. The whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart out of their region. M235

Before we go further, it’s interesting to note that in Matthew 8, the scripture talks about two demon possed men. However, in Luke 8, only one person being demon possed is mentioned.  I believe the Holy Spirit is trying to show us something.

It is a person with two distinct personalities.  Similar to the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One person with two different personalities. In Matthew, we see that both those personalities approached Jesus, one was the man that wanted freedom and the other the proud demon that wanted to remind the Son of God that His time to torment them or cast them into the abyss has not yet come.

In Luke 8:30-31, we see a demon named Legion beg Jesus for mercy.

Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

He said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him.  And they begged Him not to command them to go out into the abyss. M236

In this translation from Revelation 20:1-3 (NIV), we read about the abyss, and from other translations, we learn it is also called the bottomless pit.

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. N8

Similar to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s story, when a person goes by different names, it gets hard to know who the real person is, and these aliases make identifying the person that committed the crime more difficult.

Now back to understanding what the serpent did that caused it to be cursed.

Often when the guilty are apprehended, they blurt out information that is not known to the arresting officer. That is why in most western societies, the arresting officer always reads the “Right to Silence,” also known as the Miranda warning or rights in the United States of America.

The typical warning given is phrased as:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in a court…

It seems that the first person to exercise the right to remain silent in the bible is none other than Jesus Himself. When Jesus was standing on trial for a crime He did not commit, He never spoke against any of the accusations, and we see this in Matthew 27:12-14.

When He was accused by the chief priests and elders, He gave no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He never answered him a word, so that the governor was greatly amazed. M237

Jesus knew His rights and kept silent. The demons, on the other hand, said something eye-opening in Matthew 8:31.

So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.” M238

The demons needed Jesus’s permission to enter into the swine. They needed legal permission to enter the swine.

What is it that the serpent did that resulted in it being cursed about all livestock and beasts of the field?

It gave the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan permission to be possessed.

IT GAVE THE DRAGON, THAT ANCIENT SERPENT, WHO IS THE DEVIL, OR SATAN PERMISSION TO BE POSSESSED

In Leviticus 11, the Lord God Jesus Christ spoke to Moses and told him the living things that were clean and unclean. The pig or swine is among those listed as unclean in Leviticus 11:7.

The pig, though it does have a divided hoof (that is, split-hoofed), yet it does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. M239

Even before the flood, when the wickedness of man was so rampant on the earth that the Lord God was going to wipe it away. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Jesus gave Noah instructions on how to build an ark and which animals to take in it. The knowledge of which animals were clean and unclean were known to Noah, long before told to Moses as recorded in Genesis 7:1-5 (NIV).

The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”

And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him. N9

The animals that were clean and those that were unclean, are not identified in Genesis, was it known to everybody at that time, or did the Lord God give that revelatory knowledge to Noah?

One more fascinating and often overlooked aspect of what went into the ark was, did any of those animals come from Eden?.

Another fascinating question some may have is how come the sea creatures were not destroyed?

Here again, we see the distinction between what God and Jesus made together and what God Jesus Christ made by Himself. We’ll talk about the sea creatures in a moment but first to the animals, then the birds and sea creatures.

So what did Jesus Christ make? This is covered with more detail in the previous book (Garden of Eden), and we see it recorded in Genesis 2:19-20.

Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. M240

  • Out of the ground:
    • every beast of the field
    • every bird of the sky

It’s important to remember that Jesus created from the ground every bird of the sky. When God created the birds, it was when He was creating the creatures of the sea as written about in Genesis 1:20-21.

Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures and let the birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters swarmed, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. M241

So every beast of the field and every bird of the sky that the Lord God Jesus Christ made from the earth was not permitted to enter the ark.

In the NIV translation of Genesis 7:1-4, we see the link of the bird and animal kingdom between God’s creation and evolution.

The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” N10

Here we see the reference to “kind” similar to Genesis 1:24-25.

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. So God made the beasts of the earth according to their kind, and the livestock according to their kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. M242

Noah only had to take one of every “kind” clean and unclean.

Merriam-Webster defines kind as:

  • a group united by common traits or interests
  • a specific or recognized variety
  • nature
  • family, lineage MW44

The Lord Jesus only needed Noah to take seven pairs of every kind that was clean, and one pair that was not clean.   Seven pairs of animals that shared common traits, of the same variety, and family or lineage.

If you’re probably wondering why there was no mention of a pair of unclean birds, similar to the animals, or why the sea creatures were saved, the answer to that is in Genesis 1:20-21.

Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures and let the birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters swarmed, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. M243

The reason why the sea creatures were not wiped away from the face of the earth is the same reason why seven pairs of every kind of bird male and female were allowed to enter the ark, and no unclean kind of birds was permitted.

God created the sea creatures, and every winged bird, the water or air did not produce it.

In Genesis 1:24-25.

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. So God made the beasts of the earth according to their kind, and the livestock according to their kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. M244

The earth created animals, and God created animals. The ones the earth created are probably the ones considered unclean.

That brings us to the question, what about the animals the Lord God Jesus created, and, as such, were they permitted to enter the ark?

Did everything the Lord God created, on the day, He made the earth when no shrub of the field was yet on the earth get wiped away from the face of the earth, except for Noah as he was found righteous in that generation?

There is a time coming upon us, similar to the days of Noah. He was found righteous and escaped from disaster the Lord God unleashed on the earth, how many are living a righteous life like Noah in this generation to escape the foretold dangers coming upon the earth at the appointed time?

In Matthew 24:36-47, Jesus said something intriguing about Noah’s time and the appointed time.

“Concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Two will be in the field; one will be taken, and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and the other left.

“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord will come. But know this, that if the owner of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for in an hour when you least expect, the Son of Man is coming.

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master has made ruler over his household to give them food at the appointed time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. M245

One of the most interesting statements made by Jesus in the above passage is that from two, one will be taken and one will be left behind.

In most translations, there are two men in the field and two women at the mill. In this translation of the same passage in  Matthew 24:36-47 (CJB), we see the difference along with some other choice words.

“But when that day and hour will come, no one knows — not the angels in heaven, not the Son, only the Father. For the Son of Man’s coming will be just as it was in the days of Noach. Back then, before the Flood, people went on eating and drinking, taking wives and becoming wives, right up till the day Noach entered the ark; and they didn’t know what was happening until the Flood came and swept them all away. It will be just like that when the Son of Man comes. Then there will be two men in a field — one will be taken and the other left behind. There will be two women grinding flour at the mill — one will be taken and the other left behind. So stay alert, because you don’t know on what day your Lord will come. But you do know this: had the owner of the house known when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you too must always be ready, for the Son of Man will come when you are not expecting him.

“Who is the faithful and sensible servant whose master puts him in charge of the household staff, to give them their food at the proper time? It will go well with that servant if he is found doing his job when his master comes. Yes, I tell you that he will put him in charge of all he owns. C1

The analogy given here is that of planting and harvesting. Why did Jesus give such an analogy of being in the field and grinding the harvest of wheat?

Of all the analogies He could have used, why did He pick that one?

It is because He has a pattern of saying things which reference texts from the prophets, for example, in Luke 4:16-21.

He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day. And He stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. When He had unrolled the scroll, He found the place where it was written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Then He rolled up the scroll, and He gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all those who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” M246

So what prophetic word is Jesus referring to that will have people planting while others are harvesting at the same time?

We see these prophetic words of the Lord Himself spoken in Amos 9:13-15.

Indeed, the days are coming, says the Lord, when the plowman will overtake the one who is reaping, and the treader of grapes the one who is sowing the seed; the mountains will drip sweet wine, and all the hills will flow with it.

I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit.

I will plant them upon their land, and no more will they be uprooted out of their land which I have given them.

The Lord, your God, has spoken. M247

Similar words are recorded in Leviticus 26:2-6.

You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord.

If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments and do them, then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last till the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last till the time for sowing, and you shall eat your bread till you are full and dwell in your land safely.

I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down for sleep, and none shall make you afraid; I will remove harmful beasts from the land, and the sword shall not go through your land. M248

Leviticus gives us some pre-conditions for the manifestation of the promise, but before we look into that, let’s understand who gets taken away.

In Matthew 24:37-41 (CJB), Jesus tells us who will be taken and who will be left behind.

For the Son of Man’s coming will be just as it was in the days of Noach. Back then, before the Flood, people went on eating and drinking, taking wives and becoming wives, right up till the day Noach entered the ark; and they didn’t know what was happening until the Flood came and swept them all away. It will be just like that when the Son of Man comes. Then there will be two men in a field — one will be taken and the other left behind. There will be two women grinding flour at the mill — one will be taken and the other left behind. C2

The ones that were swept away were the ones that were unrighteous in the eyes of the Lord. When the Son of Man comes similar to Noah times, it appears one of every two men and one of every two women will be taken away.

Towards the end of Matthew 24:45-51, Jesus tells us what will happen to these servents. The unfaithful ones that were in the field and the ones who were grinding flour.

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master has made ruler over his household to give them food at the appointed time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master delays his coming,’ and begins to strike his fellow servants and eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not look for him and in an hour he is not aware of and will cut him in pieces and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. M249

How will they be taken from the fields?

Jesus speaks to this in an earlier chapter recorded in Matthew 13:40-43.

“Therefore, as the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of Man shall send out His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who do evil, and will throw them into a fiery furnace. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear. M250

Jesus will send out His angels to gather out of His kingdom all those that do evil, all of those that are in His fields and making flour from the harvest. The ones remaining will be righteous and will shine forth as the sun in the millennium reign of the kingdom of their Father. They will be here for the Kingdom of God on earth, under the King Jesus Christ.

We begin to comprehend the clean up of the earth by the King of kings and Lord of lords. It’s a scary situation because Jesus, in Matthew 8:10-12, mentioned that even the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, will not be spared.

When Jesus heard it, He was amazed and said to those who followed, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say to you that many will come from the east and west and will dine with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” M251

Jesus spoke about this again in Matthew 13:47-50.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea and gathered all kinds of fish. When it was full, they drew it to shore, sat down, and gathered the good into baskets, but threw the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” M252

It doesn’t stop there; in Matthew 22:13-14, Jesus says this.

“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” M253

There is still one more scenario Jesus spoke about in Luke 13:27-28.

“But He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know you, or where you come from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’

“There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. M254

Why all this weeping and gnashing of teeth?

In Genesis 1:28, God said to them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” M255

The Genesis of the kingdom of God was birthed when they man (male and female) were blessed and given their first set of instructions, which included to rule. They were to rule over:

  • The fish of the sea
  • The birds of the air
  • Every living thing that moves on the earth.

In Merriam-Webster rule is defined as:

  • a prescribed guide for conduct or action
  • the laws or regulations prescribed by the founder of a religious order for observance by its members
  • a regulation or bylaw governing procedure or controlling conduct
  • a standard of judgment
  • the exercise of authority or control
  • a period during which a specified ruler or government exercises control
  • to determine and declare authoritatively
  • to lay down a legal rule MW45

God told them to rule over, guide, regulate, and exercise authority on earth.

From the time of Adam, they (male and female) have been trying to rule over the earth, but it took several millennia before Jesus had to come on the scene.

Why did Jesus come when He did? He could have come at any time in history, He could have even come now, but He chose to come at a time when the Roman government was occupying Israel. Why then?

Perhaps because of their lack of ability to maintain control, they (male and female) were not able to rule as God requested, the world was still in chaos, and they were not successful to subdue the earth.

Subdue is defined in Merriam-Webster as:

  • to conquer and bring into subjection
  • to bring under control especially by an exertion of the will MW46

Male and female were not able to conquer and bring in subjection, to bring under control by an exertion of will.

We need to understand the definition of subjection to comprehend the intention of God fully.

Subjection is defined in Merriam-Webster as:

  • one that is placed under authority or control
  • one subject to a monarch and governed by the monarch’s law
  • one who lives in the territory of, enjoys the protection of, and owes allegiance to a sovereign power or state
  • owing obedience or allegiance to the power or dominion of another
  • to bring under control or dominion
  • to make (someone, such as oneself) amenable to the discipline and control of a superior MW47

A person placed under authority, a person subject to and governed by laws of a monarch, a person who enjoys the protection of a state, a person owing allegiance and obedience.

Why is all this important to understand?

It is when we begin to understand these things; we see the unfolding of the kingdom of God and Heaven. We also begin to understand the importance of certain scriptures; let’s start with Matthew 8:5-13.

And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion[a] came to Him, entreating Him, and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home, sick with paralysis, terribly tormented.”

Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But speak the word only, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this man, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard it, He was amazed and said to those who followed, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say to you that many will come from the east and west and will dine with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way. And as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that very moment. M256

Why did Jesus not find such faith in Israel, and why will the sons of the kingdom from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob be thrown out into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth?

Because the people of Israel had no faith in Jesus’s authority, then Jesus comes across a roman centurion, who not only understood His authority but realized that Jesus was a Lord with such authority that the roof of the centurions’ house was not even worthy for the Lord to come under it.

It was because the roman centurion was a person under authority; he not only understood the authority of Jesus, but he revered it with the utmost respect.

How many of us recognize the authority of Jesus and revere it with the same respect as the centurion? For those that don’t, they will be thrown out, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Jesus tried to explain the kingdom of Heaven in this parable from Matthew 13:24-29.

He told them another parable, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. But when the shoots had sprung up and produced fruit, the weeds also appeared.

“So the servants of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’

“He said to them, ‘An enemy did this.’

“The servants said to him, ‘Will you then have us go and gather them up?’

“But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the weeds, you pull up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up the weeds first and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ” M257

Remember how they were two in the field? Where one was taken, and the other remained. For those that have ears to ears, these words from Jesus in Matthew 13:36-40, explaining the parable will begin to make profound sense.

Then Jesus sent the crowds away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.”

He answered, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man,  the field is the world, and the good seed are the sons of the kingdom. But the weeds are the sons of the evil one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels.

“Therefore as the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of Man shall send out His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who do evil, and will throw them into a fiery furnace. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear. M258

Who then, are the two in the field Jesus spoke about in Mattew 24:40?

Two will be in the field; one will be taken, and the other left. M259

Let’s unlock this parable. The two spoken about in the field is not the Son of Man that sows good seed or the devil that sowed the weeds. The two are like plants or trees, some plants produce fruit, and some do not.

If we pay close attention to the words used by Jesus, the weeds were not to be removed while the plant was producing, but they had to wait until the harvest.

Now for the most astonishing statement said by Jesus to the reapers who are the angels in Matthew 13:29.

Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up the weeds first and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ” M260

The first thing that gets removed from the field is the weeds. These are the plants that do not produce fruit or seeds that were planted by the farmer. They are the ones planted by the evil one.

One will be taken, and one will be left. The weeds are removed first. They are bound into bundles to be burnt once all the weeds are removed and bound. Then the wheat, representing those that produce fruit and are saved in the knowledge and acceptance of Jesus Christ, are gathered into His barn.

How do we know if we are weeds or plants that produce fruit?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:15-20, how to recognize if we are plants bearing fruit and if we are surrounded by other fruit-bearing plants or weeds.

“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit. But a corrupt tree bears evil fruit. A good tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a corrupt tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruit you will know them. M261

The kingdom is illustrated further in Matthew 13:47-50 as a net.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea and gathered all kinds of fish. When it was full, they drew it to shore, sat down, and gathered the good into baskets, but threw the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” M262

Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is like a net; it is so big that it was cast into the sea and gathered all kinds of fish. It was only when the net was full, did they bring in the harvest, until that time, the fish were allowed to grow, have more fish, but when the time came to bring it in, all were brought in. The good into the baskets but the bad into the furnace.

Evil separated from the righteous. It is imperative to understand who the righteous were. If we understand this, we will understand the faith of Abraham. Romans 4:13-17 tells us about the interconnection between faith and righteousness.

It was not through the law that Abraham and his descendants received the promise that he would be the heir of the world, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law become heirs, faith would be made void and the promise nullified, because the law produces wrath, for where there is no law, there is no sin.

Therefore the promise comes through faith, so that it might be by grace, that the promise would be certain to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) before God whom he believed, and who raises the dead, and calls those things that do not exist as though they did. M263

What’s spoken of above is not to be confused with salvation. Many books, doctrines, theology, divisions amongst the Body of Christ exists because of the misunderstanding of faith. Jesus Himself told us in Matthew 12:25.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. And every city or house divided against itself will not stand. M264

If we look at the church today, including with each denomination, we can see how this misunderstanding of faith has brought about so much division, and further division is taking place, bringing itself to desolation.

It is not the kingdom of God or Heaven that is divided but the denominational kingdoms or doctrines of man.

If we read and reflect on the writing of James, he addresses the foolishness of man in James 2:14-25.

What does it profit, my brothers, if a man says he has faith but has no works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and lacking daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” and yet you give them nothing that the body needs, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

But a man may say, “You have faith and I have works.”

Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God; you do well. The demons also believe and tremble.

But do you want to be shown, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? Do you see how faith worked with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? The Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. You see then how by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?  As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead. M265

What James was trying to correct was incorrect ideological thinking. Faith that does not produce works is dead.

In Romans 4:1-10, we see Paul bringing the concept of faith, and the righteousness that it brings, to the uncircumcised, just like Abraham received it before circumcision.

What then shall we say that Abraham, our father according to the flesh, has found? If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Now to him who works, wages are not given as a gift, but as a debt. But to him who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. Even David describes the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness without works:

“Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”

Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? We are saying that faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it credited? When he was in circumcision? Or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. M266

It was God that credited Abraham with righteousness because of his faith in God; he obeyed by offering his son Issac on the altar.

Do we have the faith of Abraham? Would we do what Abraham did if God asked us?

In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus highlights how the kingdom of Heaven is like a king who calls many but chooses only a few.

Jesus spoke to them again by parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding, but they would not come.

“Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited: See, I have prepared my supper. My oxen and fattened calves are killed, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

“But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his business; the rest took his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. When the king heard about it, he was angry. He sent in his army and destroyed those murderers and burned up their city.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the streets, and invite to the wedding banquet as many as you find.’ So those servants went out into the streets and gathered together as many as they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man who was not wearing wedding garments. He said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding garments?’ And he was speechless.

“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” M267

Similar to the above parable of the kingdom of Heaven, where we find those invited making light of the invitation, going about their own business, and mistreating their servants, Jesus tells us again in Matthew 24:45-51.

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master has made ruler over his household to give them food at the appointed time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master delays his coming,’ and begins to strike his fellow servants and eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not look for him and in an hour he is not aware of and will cut him in pieces and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. M268

Why are only a few chosen?

Could it be because those are the ones that are “blessed,” “righteous,” and “alive,” for the others are “dead.”

Do you remember the words from James about faith by works?

To truly comprehend and understand the impact of the cursed, lets first do a recap from James 2:14-18.

What does it profit, my brothers, if a man says he has faith but has no works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and lacking daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” and yet you give them nothing that the body needs, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

But a man may say, “You have faith and I have works.”

Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. M269

It is those that have faith demonstrated through works that are blessed; the serpent was cursed by Jesus first, but for others, it is the final curse of judgment that Jesus speaks about in Matthew 25:31-46, is to eternal punishment and the righteous because of their faith through works into eternal life.

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.  Before Him will be gathered all nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. He will set the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left.

“Then the King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in. I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and come to You?’

“The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you, as you have done it for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you have done it for Me.’

“Then He will say to those at the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

“Then they also will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not serve You?’

“He will answer, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it not for one of the least of these, you did it not for Me.’

“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” M270

THEN HE WILL SAY TO THOSE AT THE LEFT HAND, ‘DEPART FROM ME, YOU CURSED, INTO THE ETERNAL FIRE, PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS