Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Mis-interpretation of Luke 19:27

There is a statement in the Parable of the pounds (Luke 19:11-27) that many opponents of Christianity have used to convey the point that Jesus commanded his disciples to kill anyone that refuse to be ruled by Christ.  In fact this is the verse:

"But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay [them] before me."-Luke 19:27

Of course this is taken out of context and miss-interpreted.  How is this a miss-interpretation? Did not Jesus make this statement?  Yes he did.  So how can we Christians explain this command of Jesus, to kill those who would not be ruled by him? 

First of all, if you notice the disciples were not a military group.  They were not equipped to make war or fight.  Neither did they carry out this alleged command of Christ, did you ever wondered why?  It is because Jesus did not direct them to do so,  because he was reciting not his words but the words of a character in his Parable of the Pounds.  The disciples knew that Jesus was just telling a story, not giving a command to be followed.

One of the reasons for this miss-interpretation of Luke 19:27 is because the opponents of Christianity have a habit of disregarding the context of the verses they cite.  The context of the verse is preceded by the parable of the pounds, which is very similar to the parable of the talents. and is followed by Jesus heading to Jerusalem. The emphasis of the two parables is different from each other however.  The parable of the Talents that is found in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25, emphasizes stewardship.  The Parable of the Pounds not only emphasizes stewardship,  but it also discloses what may happen to those who refuse to comply with the ruler of their time.  Jesus was regarded neither as a ruler or even a nobleman.  Jesus was, in many peoples eyes as a carpenter's adopted son, although he was qualified to be a king of Israel, for he was an descendant of King David. The nobles in Jesus's day were the Romans and whosoever they appointed to Govern Judea.  Jesus through the teaching of this parable was making his disciples understand what rulers do when they take over a dominion, they eliminate their enemies.  They squash any hint of rebellion.  The disciples never took the instruction as a command to slay anyone that refused to be ruled by Jesus.

Another reason for the miss-interpretation of the verse in question, is the fact that the opponents of Christianity believe that Jesus is talking about himself in this parable as the nobleman.  Which is understandable because of the similarity between the nobleman actions and Jesus's claims: The nobleman goes to receive a kingdom, likewise Jesus said that he was on his way to receive a kingdom of his Father in heaven.( Mark 14:25; Luke 22:29+30)  The fact of the matter is that the nobleman could be anyone but Jesus, because Jesus does not command his disciples to kill anyone.  Here are a few direct commands of Jesus to his disciples:

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."-Matthew 5:43-45

"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."
-Matthew 5:21+22

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:37-40

"But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil."-Luke 6:35

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." John 13:34

"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
-John 15:12

One thing that is noticeable about these commands of Christ, not one of the is a parable or was issued from a parable. None of the direct commands of Christ direct anyone of his disciples to kill anyone for refusing to subject themselves to his rule. So the nobleman's words cited by Christ in the parable of the Pounds to kill anyone that refuses to be ruled by him are the commands of a fictional character and not of Jesus. Jesus does not use parables to issue commands.  He speaks directly to him he directs.

But isn't Jesus a King? Yes but He is a king of truth, a King of conscience. (John 18:33-38) His Kingdom is not of this world, but it is in the world living through the lives of believers in his truth all over the world. Since it is a kingdom of truth, only those who seek the truth may find it and live in it, if they believe it.  For Jesus said...

 "...Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." -John 3:3

How does someone be "born again"? Does he go and be physically born a second time?  Jesus clarifies....

"...Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."- John 3:5-7

How does someone be born of water and born of the Spirit?  Being born of the water is natural childbirth.  Everyone that has been born in this world came into it by natural child birth, in fact when a woman is about to give birth it is said that a woman water breaks and fluid flows out her womb. I have witnessed this personally and can certify and testify to you that the phrase "born of water" is a direct reference to human child birth.  

Ok, so what is being born of the Spirit?  Being born of the Spirit is being born of God. For Jesus says God is Spirit. (John 4:24)

How does someone be born of God? The Apostle John testifies that a person must believe in Jesus in order to be born of God.

"...But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."-John 1:12

So If you accept Jesus and believe in his name you have the right to become a child of God or born of God.  How do you exercise  that right to be born a child of God? The Apostle Paul testifies that all you need is your faith and a confession.

"..That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."-Romans 10:9+10

How do you confess Christ as Lord? Recite the following prayer with all Sincerity.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I come to you now as a repentant sinner, in Jesus' name.  I confess all my sinfulness to you and ask you to forgive for the Lord Jesus' sake. I believe that Jesus died for all my sins and washed them all away with his blood.  I believe now that You raised Jesus from the dead as you promised in your Holy Word, the Bible.  I invite Your Holy Spirit to come inside of me and make me your child.  I  promise to strive to live Holy everyday with your help.  I thank you Lord for saving me.

That is it.  No rituals or ceremonies to perform.  No works of the flesh to depend upon.  Just your faith and confession and by faith you are saved.  A wise believer told me once, that if the salvation of your soul in Christ required anything more than His death upon the cross, making His death impotent to save, that is powerless to save, then Jesus failed in his mission, which was to save people from their sins.  We all are lost because we believe Christ, and he could not save us from the consequences of our sinfulness.  We again become subject to the just demands of the Holy Law of God,  which no man is exempt and no man is made righteous before God.  No man since Christ has claimed to be the Son of God and died for the sins of many.  No atonement, no salvation by faith.  Worse yet if Christ had failed to save mankind, we all would have to go back and begin again to offer sacrifices for our atonement.  How many people could be left without salvation? I Thank God, that the facts point to the cross, where Christ died for us all, to the empty tomb where he rose again for our justification.  We have this testimony from those who walked and talked with Him, who seen him live, and seen him die. The same who testify that he rose again and is alive forever more.  Jesus did die on the Cross and was raise back up in the fulfillment of the will of God  and for the Glory of God Amen.  So we have this confidence in our confession of faith, which does not rest in fables or legends, but rests upon shed blood of Christ which has been substantiated by historical records and archaeological finds and the blood of martyrs who was also convinced that their salvation rest on nothing less than Jesus' blood and his righteousness. This confidence you also received when you recited the above prayer and put your trust in Christ. That is if you did.
If you did not, you have placed yourself in a most unfavorable position.  It would have been better if you have not heard of the Gospel of Christ at all.  Why?  Because now you know of the opportunity of salvation and did not take it.   This is what John the Apostle, an eye witness of Christ and of John, the Baptist, testified that John, the Baptist said about choosing not to believe in Jesus......

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."-John 3:36

Ultimately, the choice is yours and yours alone to make: God wrath abiding with you all the way to the Lake of fire, or the possession of everlasting life with God in heaven.  Choose wisely.  It is never too late to choose to be saved.