Sunday, December 24, 2017

Babes and Children as Symbols

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Here is my reply to a question
That question asked; 
"I was wondering if you could share your thoughts on Matt.21:16 (from Ps.8:2) and how it relates to Matt 24:19. The relationship of the two needs a more rounded understanding, although the picture is there at the link: ( 
Thank you!".

My reply:
Jesus and all scripture, can use the same symbols, but apply them different ways. For example, at Luke 8:11, a wheat seed symbolizes the teachings of God. At Matt.13:38, wheat seed stands for sons of the kingdom, and at John 12:24, it stands for the life of a disciple, needing to be given up, or dying. 
We could not interchange the different meanings of the same symbol. 
In other words, we could not say that the wheat seed that needs to die at John 12:24, has the same meaning of the wheat seed at Luke 8:11. If that were so, then the teachings of God, would need to die.
Using the same symbol for different meanings, also applies to "babes" and "young children". There is confirmation for this, by comparing as before, two examples.
FIRST use of "Babes":
At Heb.5:12-13, Paul said;
"12 Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. 13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant."
Can you see by this use of "babes", that Paul was disappointed in the spiritual immaturity of his audience? He is critical, because they are not making advancement in their knowledge of Truth and are remaining ignorant and immature (see Eph.4:13; 1Tim.4:15; 1Cor.14:20; 13:11).
---Do you discern by this, that being a "babe" was a negative thing, because it was used as a symbol for stagnation and a failure to mature?
SECOND use of "Babes":
Jesus said; "“I tell all of you with certainty, unless you change and become like little children, you will never get into the kingdom from heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom from heaven" -- “Let the little children come to me, and stop keeping them away, because the kingdom from heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt.18:3-4; 19:14)
---Certainly Jesus did not mean that those who stagnate, remain ignorant, and fail to mature, are those who will inherit the kingdom. Matt.18:4 clarifies that in this parable, Jesus was using the symbol of a babe, to represent "humility" instead of the choice to be spiritually stunted. Such humble ones are "babes to badness" and the "shrewdness" that belongs to those of the world (Luke 16:8; 1Cor.14:20) 
Although Jesus used the literal little ones who were present, we know that it is not literal children who exclusively inherit the kingdom. Though the children were physical, the meaning was spiritual. This also is the case, at Matt.21:16 and Psalm 8:2.
----My point is, that the symbol of a babe or young child, can be used in various ways. That is the case, when comparing Matt.24:19; 21:16 and Psalm 8:2.
First let's look at Matt.21:16 and Ps.8:2, because they DO belong together in their meaning....
Matt.21:16 "and asked him, “Do you hear what these people are saying?" Jesus told them, “Yes! Haven’t you ever read, ‘From the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have created praise’?”
Ps.8:2 "Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies
you have established strength
on account of your adversaries,
in order to silence the enemy and vengeful foe."
In those two uses of "babes", it would not mean those who had abandoned the path of spiritual maturity. Although once again, the children were literal and physical in the first century, again, the meaning is to be taken spiritually, as was the case at Matt.19:14.
Ps.8:2 teaches us that the *spiritual* "babes" who praise God, do so with a purpose. What comes out of their mouths... power is being established ("established strength"). The purpose of that power, is to "silence the enemy" and "vengeful foe".
Only God can supply divine power through the mouth of humble ones, so that those who take vengeance on God's people, are made silent in their accusations (Rev.12:10-11). This requires... not immaturity and stagnation... but courage, faith, and wisdom in the Words of God. It also requires, humility. If such a "babe" is used by God to powerfully subvert their enemies under their feet (Rom.16:20),
then they fulfill Luke 14:11; Dan.2:21 James 4:6 and Isa.40:4.
Now, how does that compare to Matt.24:19? 
It reads; "“How terrible it will be for women who are pregnant or who are nursing babies in those days!"
This is yet another use of "babes" and "nursing" infants, who need milk. Not all who are fed such milk, stagnate and fail to mature. We were all spiritual babes at one time. But those who have progressed with the care of spiritual mothers, have indeed matured in the knowledge of God. They have nothing to be ashamed of, just because they were babes in the past. Of them, Paul said;
"7 even though as apostles of the Messiah we might have made such demands. Instead, we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother tenderly caring for her own children. 8 We cared so deeply for you that we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but our very lives. That is how dear you were to us." (1Thess.2:7-8)
Clearly in this case, the use of symbolic "babes needing milk", was not a negative (as it was at Heb.5:12-13).
This scripture at 1Thess.2:7-8 is well attached to the meaning of Matt.24:19. Although "babes" are not specifically mentioned at Matt.24:19, the mothers bearing and nursing them, are. The babes of these distressed spiritual mothers, are those who are new to the gospel and just beginning to learn (1Pet.2:2; Gal.4:26; Eph.2:6; Rev.3:12). The Great Tribulation brings woe, adversity, and necessity upon those responsible to symbolically bring to birth, teach, and nurture, their "babes" (John16:20-22; Rev.12:2; Matt.24:19). 

The babes of 1Thess.2:7-8 and inferred at Matt.24:19, are NOT the humble and mature ones of Matt.18:3-4 and 1Cor.14:20.
Yet as the literal babes of first century Jerusalem were able to publicly praise our Lord and King, even new ones today that are still drinking "milk", can share in the praise and power of their humble, spiritual "mothers" (Rev.21:2; 22:17)(Matt.21:16; Ps.8:2), and assist in defeating the power of the vengeful enemy and his present deceptions. They can share in inviting others also, to the "milk" as well as the other advanced provisions (Isa.66:10-13; 60:1-4).


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