Thursday, April 5, 2012

Barnyard Basics 4 - Soulish Swine

By now we’ve learned that Jesus used five natural animals to describe five different types of people. We’ve already discussed four of these animals and the people they symbolize:
Sheep - symbolic of obedient followers of Jesus
Goats - symbolic of believers that know God’s will, but rebel against it
Wolves - symbolic of unbelievers who directly oppose or subtly infiltrate God’s flock
Dogs - symbolic of most non believers (even those who are religious); those who try their best to suppress their wolf nature, but have never been born again

Today we’re going to discuss the fifth type of animal Jesus used as a teaching tool - pigs.

Matthew 7:6 says “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

Naturally, pigs are distant relatives of sheep. Like sheep, pigs have split hooves (they’re artiodactyls for those of you who know what that means). Unlike sheep, they’re not ruminants; that is, they don’t chew the cud. Although pigs can be intelligent and are very social, they are not nearly as docile as sheep. Often pigs can be very aggressive, even toward their own farmers. There are many, many cases of pigs attacking and even killing the very farmer that cares for them.

If you remember learning about sheep and goats, you’ll remember that a split hoof is symbolic of a separated walk - salvation. This means that, whatever else this type of people may be, they have had a genuine salvation experience. You’ll also remember that chewing the cud is a symbol of habitually studying God’s Word. So by using pigs as an illustration, Jesus has already taught us that these are Christians that have no connection to the Word of God. They are carnal Christians; having no desire to follow their Lord into deeper spiritual things. They are believers that are controlled by their soul.

Jesus told His disciples (and every one of His ministers by extension) not to throw their pearls before this type of Christian.

Pearls are only used symbolically in one other passage. Matthew 13:45-46 says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” I believe that this parable is describing a man who seeks through the scriptures for revelation. He gives up everything to search for the truths in God’s Word which only come to the surface through intense study. That revelation knowledge, given to him by the Holy Spirit, is worth more to that man than anything else he has. That revelation is the symbolic pearl.

Apparently, pigs don’t appreciate pearls. It doesn’t matter how long a preacher studies to discover the truth in his message. It doesn’t matter what he’s given up to devote himself to the Word of God. If he throws that revelation before carnal, soulish Christians, it’s not going to mean anything to them. In fact, those carnal believers may even turn and attack that minister for his effort! You can hear the spiritual grunts and squeals around the dinner tables on Sunday afternoon. Comments made by soulish Christians (those who are saved but never study the Bible for themselves) include: “Why does he always preach so long?” “He was too harsh today!” “I wonder why he always teaches about that one subject!” “I wish he’d give more time to the praise and worship!”

The life of a spiritual pig - a soulish Christian - is dangerous.

Do you remember when Jesus delivered the demoniac of Gadara? Every other time Jesus drove out demons, He wouldn’t let them talk - so why was that time different? He even let the demons make the request to enter the herd of pigs! Why would He do that? I believe Jesus was illustrating another fact about spiritual pigs: They have no defense against the demonic realm. Demons are spiritual, but carnal believers (those who spend no time in the Bible) live only in their natural world. So when the spiritual attack comes (in the form of fear, sickness, depression, and many others), they don’t know how to fight back! Sadly, there are a lot of spiritual pigs in the church who are being tormented by these things and don’t know how to stop it.

The answer for carnal believers is to get their noses inside God’s Word! John 6:63 says, "
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh (the carnal nature) profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." I can’t stress this enough; the Bible will pull you out of carnality. It will draw you into the deeper things that God has for you. Most importantly, it will deliver you from your own soul!

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