1 CHRONICLES 16:1 – 18:17 and JOHN 21:1–25
1 Chr 16
The Ark has now made its ascent to the Mount of Zion. It was a time of great rejoicing in Israel. David appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the Ark. Some of the featured musical items were trumpets and cymbals and it appears that the offering of praise was a continual one (vs 6). We see the origin of many of the psalms as well. The continued worship and praise could have well inspired some of the psalms from which we benefit from today. From verses 7 through 36 we see the establishing of several of the psalms. We will cover the Psalms in greater detail a bit later on. David was very particular in his appointment of the Levites surrounding the Ark.
As stated earlier we see their role with regard to praise and worship as a vital one suggesting a similar importance for the praise and worship for our day. This is the establishment of the Tabernacle of David. It is a new and living way from what had been the order of the past. David is now functioning as both king and priest and only he had this privilege after the time of Moses and before the first advent of our Lord. He had this privilege because his heart was tender and true towards the Lord. He could be trusted with His presence, representing it on behalf of the living God. The Tabernacle of Moses still existed and still went through the ordinances as prescribed by Moses but it lacked the Ark. Is this a picture of the last days as well? There is the form of church taking place as seen in Moses Tabernacle but it is David’s Tabernacle, with the attending priests that actually hosts His presence. We are beginning to see with greater clarity the two different streams that are flowing through the church. One of the ways to distinguish between these streams is to consider honestly which of the two tabernacles we more align with? One has the form and order of worship and ordinances while the other actually has the Ark representing the presence of God. The tabernacle of David at Zion has requirements as seen in Psa 15 and 24. There is a price to pay, there is a priesthood to understand but is it being pursued and heeded?
1 Chr 17
This is the account where David has it in his heart to build a house unto the Lord. Nathan, is given the task of informing David that it will fall to his seed to build the Lord a house. This account was covered in 2 Samuel 7. I would like to focus a bit on Nathan. He is an integral figure in the life of David. First we see him as a faithful man who sided with David at the very end when the usurper Adonijah was looking to take the throne. In fact, it was Nathan who alerted Bathsheba to the plotting of Adonijah. He was the one who worked behind the scenes to orchestrate the means of informing David of what was transpiring (1 Kings 1:11-28).
It was upon his word that David acted quickly in having Solomon installed as king. His timing and wisdom averted a catastrophic situation. It was also Nathan who was used of God to confront David with his sin with Bathsheba. Can you imagine having to go before a king and being the instrument of truth in confronting sin? It takes a person of great integrity and character in being able to do so. Such a person must be clean in his own life in being able to point out the iniquity in another, especially a king. We thank God for Nathan and for the Nathan’s in the church. Jesus speaks of a man in the gospel by the name of Nathaniel. He speaks of him as having no guile which really sums up the character of Nathan. In this account we see it is Nathan that speaks to David that he will not be the one who will build a house unto the Lord. Nathan was also a man of great discernment, an ability to hear the voice of God in unique situations. This is a picture of a man the church needs to see more of today. Are we willing to be confronted by a Nathan? If so, we may then be in a position to be a Nathan to others.
1 Chr 18
This chapter is strongly paralled with 2 Sam 8. It records the taking of Moabite and Philistine territory. It occurs after the establishing of Zion and contributes to the season of Rest that Israel was experiencing under David. There are some differences between 2 Sam 8 and 1 Chr 18. This chapter gives a more thorough description of the land that was taken. This was a significant period for Israel and the kingly rule of David. Since the time that the Ark found a resting place at Zion up until the time David sinned with Bathsheba Israel was at Rest. They had battles to fight but God was with them. The enemies were defeated and kept at bay as seen in this chapter. I personally feel it is a picture of what the millennial rule of Christ will be like. It needs to be mentioned once again that all of this changed when David sinned. The sin of adultery led to murder. This sin has a source seeing that David violated one of the Laws that kings were to be governed by.
1Ch 14:3 And David took more wives at Jerusalem: and David begat more sons and daughters.
Deu 17:17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
The fruits of David’s transgressions were bad enough under his reign but look how it multiplied under Solomon which significantly contributed to his downfall (1 Kings 11:1-3). Still when looking back at this period in Israel’s history (prior to David’s sin) one cannot help but be amazed as to the favor that Israel was coming into. The Fear of God came upon nations and many of them contributed gold, silver and brass as a show of recognition (1 Chr 18:9-10). King David was an exceptional man who truly had a heart for God. His sin was grievous nonetheless it was his heart for God that allowed for such a depth of forgiveness and restoration to be realized in his life. We learn much about David and the depth of God’s love, forgiveness and restoration as a result of his sin. This in no wise justifies what David did; he paid a huge price as did the nation of Israel. God Himself suffered through this ordeal in having to exact certain judgments upon David and His people. David does give us a picture of what the Lord Jesus Christ would be like when He would come as the Son of man. One major difference is that he sinned whereas Jesus became sin as a sinless lamb. We need to cry out to have a heart for God like David had.
Jesus now shows Himself to several of the disciples a 3rd time since His resurrection. The Lord has been very selective in His appearances. The occasion of His appearing was when the disciples were fishing. There were about 7 of them and they spent the night fishing. They did not catch any fish. Jesus stood on the shore in the morning but they did not recognize him. It was a similar experience that Mary had. The glorified body of Jesus seems to be able to be veiled at times from those who would know Him. He asked as to whether they caught any fish and they answered no. They still did not recognize Him. Remember, He had already appeared to them on previous occasions so they were aware that he was yet alive. The Lord instructs them to cast the net on the right side of the ship and with that they took in a great multitude of fish. It was at this point when John knew it to be the Lord (vs 7). What was the determining factor in being able to recognize Him as Lord? With Mary it was when Jesus called her name MARY, when she knew it to be the Lord. Here, John seems to come to know it was the Lord when the haul of fish was brought in. How come John discerned and the others did not? These are some questions to ponder over but it does give insights to what the millennium will be like.
I would like to draw a comparison to this account and the earlier one found in Luke 5. There are some similarities in the 2 accounts of the ingathering of fish. It was an occasion where they worked all night and were not able to bring in any fish. The Lord instructs them to launch out into the deep and as they did they brought in a large gathering of fish. There were so many fish that the nets broke. In this account we see a large gathering of fish, great fish in fact and they were even numbered. The number of great fish was 153 (vs 11). What does that signify? Secondly, this account makes the statement that the nets did not break. Remember when Jesus first called the disciples. The accounts are given below:
Mat 4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
Mat 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Mat 4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
Mat 4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
Mat 4:22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
Here we have two groups of fishermen representing two different church related ministries. Peter and Andrew speak of the evangelists who help to bring in the mighty harvest. John and James represent the menders, the teachers who help to equip and strengthen the body of Christ. Both ministries are needed. In the account of the harvest of fish in Luke’s account we see a huge multitude of fish brought in but not fully contained due to the net breaking. This is what happens if only the ministry of evangelism is promoted. We saw this first hand having been part of many evangelistic crusades in India. As a personal example we were at one time closely linked to a well-known Indian evangelist. His annual crusade in one of the cities would see a gathering of up to 25,000 people in the nightly meetings. The following year(s) would see similar results but this evangelist became concerned that the people were not growing spiritually; they were not being fed and nurtured. He soon linked up with an organization that put an emphasis on teaching and the running of Bible Schools. It made for a powerful combination seeing two vital elements of the body of Christ flowing and working together. In John’s account of the harvest of fish we see something different. First, the nets did not break and secondly the fish were numbered. There are at least two significances to the number 153. First, it is the number of Zion (Sion) seeing that it is mentioned 153 times in scripture. It speaks of the importance of presenting before the people a vision that takes a people to a destination.
Pro 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Secondly, there were 153 questions that Jesus asked in the gospels. This helps us to understand the effectiveness of asking the right questions. If you ask effective and relevant questions you can control the situation. Asking the right questions helps to sturdy the foundations of a believer. Jesus was able to turn the tide on his accusers by directing an effective question back to them. There is a great and mighty harvest to come in these last days. We see this illustrated in the kingdom parable of the net in Math 13.
Mat 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
Mat 13:48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
The parable of the net is a picture of the last day harvest. We should notice that it does not speak of a net breaking but it does mention that there will be the good that will be set aside and the bad that will be cast out. This harvest will initially bring in both good and bad fish. It appears that there will be those who will reject the gospel after some time resulting in their being cast aside. The church must have good doctrine in the last days to maximize the harvest while at the same time making a distinction from those who in the end will reject truth.
The Lord then has a discussion with Peter after they had dined together. What a meal that must have been! The Lord asks Peter the same question three different times. This account is covered in verse 15-17. There are different meanings and interpretations that can be taken from this account but I would like to focus on a truth from this conversation that has so blessed me.
The Lord asks Peter the first time if he loves the Lord (vs 15). The Lord uses the word “agape” which is the measure of love that the Father demonstrated when he gave Jesus to die for the sins of mankind (John 3:16). It also represents the measure of love that Jesus expressed when he chose to lay down His life for His friends (John 15:13). Peter, do you have this measure of love for me? Of course, Peter loved the Lord but he certainly did not have the capacity of agape love at this time. Remember, he just denied the Lord 3 times a few days earlier. He responds by saying that he phileo the Lord. This was a relational love and it was the measure of love that Peter could express at that particular time.
Try and think of it this way! It can be likened to the Lord standing on top of a mountain and asking Peter if he had agape love for Him. Peter, at the bottom of the mountain can only respond, Lord, I phileo you. It seems like an impossible target or goal. This scenario repeats itself in verse 16. It appears to again repeat itself in verse 17 but with one big difference. The word for love that the Lord uses here is not agape but it is phileo. It can be likened to the Lord coming down from the mountain and meeting Peter at the level where he was at. What a beautiful picture this presents to us. This is true leadership. Jesus, as the Lord and leader of Peter’s life established a very high goal and target, in fact an impossible target. After establishing the goal the Lord comes down and meets Peter at his level. He then goes on to say that up till now Peter you have pretty much done your own thing. I know you love me Peter but you still have sought your own way. I would think his recent denials of the Lord would be coming to his mind about now. Here is the key to the early church; it is a unique introduction to the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. This verse must be noted:
Joh 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
Who is that other? It is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the godhead who will be able to lead Peter and the disciples into places and experiences that they could not achieve on their own. Up until now the disciples and men and women of old had the Spirit of God come upon them at various times. The Lord was very clear in making this distinction in one of his recent discourses with His disciples:
Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Jesus made clear that there would be a time when the Spirit of God would have a more intimate and personal role in the life of a believer. This would occur at the time of Pentecost. Let’s go back and try to ascertain Peter’s thoughts in his encounter with the Lord. The Lord is presenting before him a seemingly impossible goal and target; to have a capacity for agape love. It is presented to Peter immediately after his failure in denying the Lord on three occasions. The Lord then comes alongside and encourages him that another will come and gird him and strengthen him to go to places and realms that he could not achieve on his own. How would that translate for us?
There would be many today that would say that the message of the cross is too difficult or to become just like the Lord is an impossibility. There are many who feel that true holiness in the life of a believer is not achievable. True enough, it is impossible in our own strength and in our way of living. It would be an impossible target for any of us. Yet, the Lord holds this possibility and potential before the church. We respond by saying, Lord, you know I would like to be able to live the crucified life, to become like you but I am a sinner and do not have the capacity to be god-like. The Lord again presents to us this potential and all we can do is sigh, knowing full well our propensity to sin and falling short in the expectations of God. Now imagine the Lord coming alongside encouraging and loving us and introducing us to the person of the Holy Spirit. This is why being baptized in the Holy Spirit is an essential. It is His work to teach us, to reprove us and help establish us by planting fruits of the kingdom in seed form within us. If we choose to flow, allowing Him to lead, these seeds then begin to take root and manifest within our lives. As these seeds manifest in our life the old man has to yield, give way and eventually die so that it is no longer I but the fruits of Christ that dwells within. What is required on our part is a “choosing” to yield so that the needed work can be done. It requires a choosing in allowing the Holy Spirit to overturn the strongholds, the money-changing tables in our temples (Mark 11:15-17). Let’s now fast forward about 33 years. Peter is nearing the end of his life and he is exhorting the church with final words of instruction. Consider the following verses:
2Pe 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
2Pe 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
2Pe 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
Peter instructs us to add 7 steps or “attributes of grace” to the foundation of faith in our life. We know that faith has to be the foundation since without it we can do nothing (Heb 11:6). The final step that is mentioned is “charity”. The translation for charity in the Greek is “agape” love. We can say that Peter can now instruct us from a position of agape love. This was the goal and target the Lord presented to him about 33 years earlier. Peter allowed the Holy Spirit to work in his life from Pentecost onwards, leading him to this position of apostolic love. What was impossible 33 years earlier has been realized by the working of the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus was emphatic on having to go to His Father because in doing so the Holy Spirit could come in HIs fullness. Jesus as the Son of God had to first live as a man and demonstrate how to live as the Son of man making it possible for you and I to then do the same. This is impossible to achieve in the flesh. It requires an act of faith to first accept Jesus into our lives as Lord and Savior; and continued faith in allowing the person of the Holy Spirit to come within us and begin the process of cultivating change so that we die and become more like Him. The conversational exchange between Peter and the Lord should serve as a great encouragement for each of us. What is impossible in the natural is possible with God. May we respond to the Lord as did Peter when Jesus brought the invitation to him in these two words. FOLLOW ME! (John 21:19)