"Literal vs. Figurative"


August 18, 2014

In John chapter 2 the part of the chapter I'd like to focus on is beginning in verse 18 where the bible reads, "Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body." This is a situation that occurs over and over again, especially in the book of John, but throughout the 4 gospels where Jesus Christ is speaking spiritual truths unto people and they take everything he's saying a little too literal and they apply it unto the flesh.

In the next chapter, if you would flip over to John chapter 3 and we'll find one of the most classic examples of this in the bible with Jesus speaking to Nicodemus where he says in verse 1, "There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"

Isn't this the same thing that we saw in chapter 2? Jesus Christ when he talks about being born again, he's not speaking of literally being born again, he's speaking in a figure. He's speaking of something that is symbolic, not literal, because obviously he's not saying that a man needs to enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born. Again, just as they misunderstood his words in chapter 2, they're misunderstanding his words in chapter 3 because they're unsaved, they're confused. What I want to talk about tonight is the subject of things being interpreted in the bible literally versus figuratively. This is something that brings a lot of confusion to a lot of people because there are some people who just think everything in the bible is literal. That can lead you to a lot of false conclusions and wrong doctrine if you have this idea that everything in the bible is literal.

Then on the other extreme you have people who will say, "hey, it's all symbolic." When you say it's all symbolic you know what you're doing? You're pretty much reducing the bible to a book of fairy tales, like none of it's true, none of it really happened. That's why the bible says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." One of the ways we need to divide the word of truth is being able to divide between that which is literal and that which is figurative. Clearly when Jesus said "destroy this temple and in 3 days I'll raise it up" he was not speaking literally of that temple that they were thinking of. He was actually referring to his body symbolically as a temple because in 3 days he would raise that body up when he died he was buried and then 3 days later he rose again. By the way, that's one of the best scriptures in the bible that proves the bodily resurrection.

He said, "I'll raise this temple up and he spake of the temple of his body". A lot of false religions like the Jehovas Witnesses will teach that Jesus' resurrection was just a spiritual resurrection. The bible teaches it was a literal body resurrection. When we get to John 3 Jesus talks about being born again. Nicodemus takes it too literally, doesn't understand it. He responds in verse number 5, "Jesus answered, 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. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?"

Here he begins to rebuke Nicodemus a little bit for his lack of spiritual understanding. Here he is claiming to be a rabbi, claiming to be a religious leader and he doesn't understand the spiritual truths of God's word and Jesus is rebuking him for not knowing what he's talking about. Go to chapter 4 of John. In chapter 2 we saw the temple was figurative for Jesus' body, in chapter 3 we saw that being born again was figurative for being saved. You say, "why would God talk about being saved as being born again?" When you were born into your family physically that's when you were born of water. A lot of people will try to make this born of water mean baptism. This has nothing to do with baptism because he said "you have to be born of water and of the spirit" because "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." The flesh birth is a water birth. When the water gives birth what happens? What breaks?

Congregation: Water.

Pastor Anderson: The water breaks because the baby is encased in water and the water breaks and the baby's born. That's the physical birth. The new birth, the spiritual birth is when we're born into God's family. That's when God becomes our father. The bible says, "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:" When you believe on the name of Jesus Christ, you become a son of God, you become a daughter of God. He's your father and he'll never leave you or forsake you, just like your parents will always be your parents, God will always be your father. Even if we disobey us he's still our father. He's going to discipline us when we disobey him, but he's still our father. I was out soul willing a couple days ago with brother Mike that was here visiting this morning and he had a great illustration when we were out soul winning because he was giving someone the gospel and this guy was a little bit hung up on the fact that salvation's all of faith and not works.

He thought that you could lose your salvation or you had to do good works. A lot of people will confuse loving God with being saved. They'll say, "You have to keep the commandments because God said 'If you love me keep my commandments'." Here's the thing, not everybody who's saved loves God as much as they should he had a great illustration because he said to this person, he said to them, "Did you love your parents when you were growing up?" He said, "Of course I loved my parents when I was growing up." He said, "You always obeyed them then, right? Did you always obey your parents?" "Well, no I didn't always obey my ... " "Why not if you loved them?" We love our parents, it doesn't mean that we always obey our parents. We love God, it doesn't mean we always obey God. The more we love God the more we obey him.

Congregation: Amen.

Pastor Anderson: The less we love God the less we obey him. We can measure our love for God by our obedience to God, but that's not how you measure salvation. "Salvation is by grace through faith not of works a city man should boast." This illustration about being born again is a great illustration for salvation symbolically, why? Because God's our father after we get saved because we're born into that family. Why? Because God will discipline us just as a father will discipline his child. Why? Because you're born in a moment of time and you're born again in a moment of time. You're born physically one time and you're born again one time. It's a great symbol of salvation, but being born again is not literal. Jesus' body being a temple is not little.

Look at chapter 4 of John verse 10, "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?" Again we see someone misunderstanding, he's speaking figuratively. He's likening eternal life unto living water, she takes it literally. How are you going to get the water out of the well, you don't have anything to draw with. Look was Jesus said, or look what she says in verse 12 "12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

Here he makes things clear but she still doesn't get it because look at verse 15, "The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not," watch this "neither come hither to draw." She doesn't get it. At first it sounded like she was getting it. Sir give me this water so I'll never thirst again because I don't want to have to come back to this well. You don't get it, you'll still have to come back to the well for physical water, but spiritually speaking you'll never thirst again. Again, 3 chapters in a row we have Jesus giving a spiritual truth, it's figurative, it's symbolic and people are taking it too literally and they're not understanding it. This is a wonderful illustration of salvation because he said if you drink of the water that I give you you'll never thirst again. This again proves that salvation is a one time thing.

Congregation: Amen.

Pastor Anderson: Just like being born again and that once saved, you're always saved. He said if you drink of the water that I give you you will never thirst again, it'll be a well of water. Flip over to chapter 7. He said, "well of water springing up into everlasting life." Look at John chapter 7 in verse 37 it says, "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." He's not saying, "hey I've got a water cooler here. If anybody thirsts come on over here, this is the concession stand." That's not what he's saying, he's speaking figuratively. He says in verse 38, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"

Again we see the same type of thing. Go back to John chapter 6. John chapter 6 verse 25, do you notice a pattern here where Jesus is speaking spiritual truths and people are taking him too literally? The people who take him too literally are unsaved people, people who are just ... They don't have the spiritual discernment to be able to understand what Jesus is saying. Look what it says in John 6:25, "And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."

To get the context here, earlier in John chapter 6 was the story of the feeding of the 5000. This is when Jesus Christ had a great multitude of people, 5000 men not counting women and children, and they were all there to hear him preach. They'd been there for a really long time and there was no food for anybody to eat. Jesus wanted his disciples to feed the people and all they could find were 5 loaves and 2 fishes. One boy brought his lunch and he has 5 loaves and 2 fishes. They brought it to Jesus and they said we have here 5 loaves and 2 fishes but what are these among so many? What is this going to do when we're feeding 5000 men not counting women and children. They couldn't even have one bite. Of course Jesus does a miracle where he prays and he starts breaking the bread and breaking the fish and it keeps coming. It multiplies and he ends up feeding 5000 men. Then they go and gather up the leftovers and they have 12 baskets left of leftovers. There's more leftover than what he started with and it was a great miracle.

What Jesus' saying here in John chapter 6 is that the people are not following him at this point because they saw the miracle, because they believe he's the son of God, but actually they just like the free food. That's basically what he's saying. He says in verse 26, " Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me," meaning you're looking for me "not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." He's saying in verse 27 that they should be more concerned about spiritual food than the physical food. He says to them, the spiritual food is the word of God that I'm preaching to you, the word that I'm speaking to you is spiritual meat and drink. The bible says, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." He said, that's why you should be following me to hear my word, but you're just interested in physical food, you're missing the point.

Lets keep reading it says in verse 28, "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?" Of course he already did an amazing miracle earlier in the chapter but apparently that wasn't enough. "Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread."

It's clear that these people are thinking about physical food from start to finish. If you notice first he accused them of being there to get the food, not because they saw the miracle. Then they say to him we want you to perform a miracle. In fact the miracle when God made bread come down from heaven that was a cool miracle. How about that one? That's what they want him to do, they want manna from heaven. That's the example that they give of the type of miracle that they'd like to see. Then he starts talking about the bread of life that the father sends down from heaven, he's talking about himself. Later he's going to say "I'm the bread of life." They're saying "Lord, evermore give us this bread." They just want to eat the food, it's clear. Let's keep reading "Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." Stop, is he talking about physical hunger and thirst? Is he saying once you get saved you'll never have to eat or drink again?

Is that what we tell people when we're out soul winning, "If you'll just believe on Jesus Christ you'll never have to eat or drink again. Think of how much you're going to save on your grocery bill from never having hunger, never eating." Is there any doubt that this is not literal? Isn't it clear? Lets keep reading, he says to them they'll never hunger they'll never thirst. "But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me" we're in verse 37 "shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven."

Do you notice a pattern with these people? They don't get it. They're thinking that he's literally saying he's a loaf of bread. You have to think that these people are a little bit dumb. Over and over again he makes it really clear that he's speaking in a way that's symbolic and they take everything so literally. How can he say he's bread? How can a man be born again? How can he go back into his mother's room? How are you going to give me living water? You don't even have a bucket to dip into the well. It's a pattern that happens over and over again. Look what it says here, "they murmured against him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven." Verse 42 "And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."

Let me stop here at verse 44, a lot of Calvinists will pull this verse out and say "no man can come to me except the father draw, you have to be drawn" except they forgot to read in John chapter 12, few chapter later when he said "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." Will draw all men unto me. Again, they pick and choose and take things out of context. Let's keep reading, it says in verse 45 " It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

Is there any doubt when you read verse 51 when he talks about giving of his flesh for the life of the world, he's talking about dying on the cross. He said when he broke bread with his disciples at the last supper he says "this is my body which is broken for you." Was that bread literally his body?

Congregation: No.

Pastor Anderson: "This is my body which is broken for you." It's symbolic, it's clear. He's saying I'm going to give my flesh to the world because he's going to die physically, his physical body's going to be killed. That's what he's saying here, it's crystal; clear. Lets keep reading "The Jews therefore" verse 52 "strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" They sound like Nicodemus, they sound like the woman at the well. "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." There's a whole false religion based on these 2 verses called Roman Catholicism based on a misunderstanding that like the Jews says it's all literal. This is all literal, he's literally going to give us his flesh to eat. We're literally going to climb up into our mother's womb and be born again. We're literally going to never be hungry again. We're literally never going to be thirsty again.

It's nonsense folks. It's funny, it's all symbolic. The whole sermon is clearly symbolic. Then they'll just take these 2 verses and say it's literal. A whole false religion is based on this. Keep reading, he said in verse ... and I'm going to show you ... Here's the thing to remember, whenever something's symbolic though it means something. I'm going to show you what it means. He explains what it means. Let's keep going, he said "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." Is there any sane person that would actually think he's saying you're going to actually eat my body, literally? No. It's clear that it's all symbolic.

He says in verse 58 "This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever." Again, when he says live forever is he talking about bodily? Is he talking about your flesh living forever? Is he saying you're never going to physically die? No. When Jesus talks about living forever he's talking about your soul living forever in heaven. Lets keep reading, it says in verse 59 "These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?" Let me point this out, when the bible talks about the Jews it's not talking about his disciples and his followers, it's usually talking about the masses, most of whom are not saved.

When the Jews murmur at his saying he doubles down. The Jews are saying you can't give us your flesh to eat. He doubles down to say "you must eat the flesh of the son of man or you have no life in you." He doubles down, but when he hears his disciples murmured at it he has a different reaction because these are people that are actually believers. It says when his disciples murmured at it, verse 61 "When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?" Watch verse 63 it's explained, the parable is explained. "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." There's the explanation right there because a minute ago he said "except you eat the flesh of the son of man or you have no life in you." Here he says "it's the spirit that quickeneth or brings to life" because he said you have no life in you.

Here he said "it's the spirit that quickeneth or give life" "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not." This makes perfect sense when you understand that the manna in the wilderness in the old testament represented the word of God. The bible says "that he did suffered thee to hunger," this is Deuteronomy 8:3 I believe "he suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, that thou mightest know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the God doth man live." That manna in the wilderness was symbolic of the word of God. In the old testament there was literal manna that came down from heaven that they ate, but there was also a symbolic meaning where that manna represented the word of God. Just as we every morning should wake up and read the word of God, they had to go out every morning and gather the manna. The manna pictured God's word.

When Jesus is saying in John chapter 6 when he's saying you have to eat the flesh of the son of man. He's not saying physically eat my body. That's ridiculous, he's talking about the word of God. They must have the word of God to be saved. "Eternal life comes through the word of God." He says "It's the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing." David said in psalm repeatedly "Thy word has quickened me." It says elsewhere "The entrance of they word giveth life." The bible says, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." The bible says, "He shall tell thee words whereby thou and all they house shall be saved." The bible says, "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." The bible says, "receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your soul." What is it that saves our soul? The word of God, the power of God's word. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

What this scripture is teaching when Jesus said I'm going to give my flesh for the world, he's not saying it's going to be a cannibalistic thing. He's saying I'm going to die on the cross, I'm going to physically die. When he says you have to eat of the bread that came down from heaven, he said I'm the bread of life, he's saying that's the word of God. You say, "What does Jesus have to do with the word of God?" Jesus is the word of God.

Congregation: Amen.

Pastor Anderson: The bible said at the beginning of this book, John, and hopefully when you're reading John 6, hopefully you already read John 1 before you come to chapter 6. You've got to go in order, right? John 1:1 said "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Then he says "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." When Jesus is talking about his flesh, he's talking about the word made flesh and he's using that as a symbolism of the word. When he says I'm the bread of life, I'm the bread that came down from heaven, that's because the manna of heaven represented the word and Jesus is the physical incarnation of the word of God. You see how you could get false doctrine from the uber literal interpretation. "Everything's literal." Again, Roman Catholics notoriously misunderstand this passage that's clearly symbolic.

If the Catholics are going to say this is literal, we literally eat his body, we literally drink his blood, then we should literally never be hungry again after we do it. I should be able to attend one catholic mass and eat that wafer and drink that wine and I should never be hungry again and I should never thirst again, literally.

Congregation: Good. Amen.

Pastor Anderson: Again, it's just taking something out of context to deceive the masses of the Roman Catholics. It's a false teaching. Let's go to Romans chapter 5, lets change gears because honestly I could take all night and show you all the things in the bible that are not literal. Let me tell you something there are a lot of things in the bible that are not literal. You say, "This is blasphemy, I can't believe this. We believe in the literal interpretation." Here's the thing, the bible says we need to rightly divide the word of truth. You say, "Pastor Anderson, how am I going to know what's literal and what's not?" Was there any doubt of the meaning of John 2?

Congregation: No.

Pastor Anderson: Was there any doubt of Jesus' meaning in John 3? Do you have any doubt about Jesus' meaning with the woman at the well? Do you have any doubt about the fact that you're going to physically hunger again after you believe in Jesus? Is there any doubt about ... When the bible is symbolic, it's obvious. You can't go into it with this attitude that says it's never going to be symbolic, it's always going to be literal. No, but here's the key. It's literal unless it is obviously symbolic. There's a lot of stuff in the bible that's obviously symbolic. When in doubt you obviously want to go literal and not just turn it all into some spirtitualized fairy tale. There are many places in the bible that are clearly symbolic. You say "How am I going to know?" First of all you need to be saved. If you're a believer, if you're saved you have the holy spirit living inside you and he'll guide you into all truth. He's going to show you what the word means and he's going to help you to discern this and understand this.

The people that are misunderstanding this stuff, they weren't saved. Nicodemus wasn't saved, the woman at the well wasn't saved yet, the Jews in John 6 they were unsaved people many of them. You've got to be saved and then you got to use common sense when you're reading the bible, a lot of it's common sense. Here's the other opposite extreme. One wrong extreme is everything's literal, and this teaching of the Catholic's that we literally eat Jesus' body is a bizarre teaching. They literally teach that that wafer, once you eat it becomes Jesus' flesh in your stomach. That's bizarre, it's creepy. Eating blood is something that the bible commands us never to do, never to eat blood because it's something that is demonic. When people are eating blood and being cannibal and things like that. Not only that, there have been some straight ... We're making the movie Marching Design, the new movie that's going to expose Judaism and I was talking to this Rabbi. He was ripping on the Catholic church to us, which is fine with me.

They look at that as Christian. He pulled out some history book and showed us where there was this thing where the Jews were being accused of torturing the wafer. They snuck into ... He was saying "Yeah, this is the kind of stuff people lied about the Jews." I guess the Jews were accused of breaking into the church, stealing the wafer, the special Catholic wafer, and then they tortured the wafer. They wanted to re crucify Jesus and punish him again. It wasn't bad enough what they did to him the first time. They tortured a wafer. The Catholics, they took that real seriously because they're like "That's Jesus". Then they killed a bunch of Jews or something. This is in the 1300s or something. That's just 2 stupid religions.

Congregation: Yeah.

Pastor Anderson: Both of them.

Congregation: Amen.

Pastor Anderson: They're both false. Both of them are ridiculous. The Jews are ridiculous for plenty of other reasons and the Catholics are ridiculous to think that they're actually torturing ... You can't torture an inanimate object. "Haha, now we've got their wafer. We're going to torture this thing and make him suffer all over again." What kind of a bizarre idea is that? Who came up with that? There are a lot of people that believe a lot of weird things. If you believe that a cracker is going to turn into Jesus when you swallow it, that's a really weird doctrine. Here's what's funny, people who are Catholics, they think anybody ... For example, if you go to other countries where Catholicism's really prevalent they think anybody who's a Christian who's not part of the Catholic church is in a cult. If you go to Germany, "Oh you're baptist? That's a cult. That's a cult. Everything's a cult. Oh you're Christian, that's a cult because you're not part of the main church. All these sects, all these cults."

Here's the thing, Catholicism is actually the biggest cult in the world. If you look at what a cult is it's when you're following and worshiping a man. When we use the word cult for example, you'll often hear the cult of personality. Who's ever heard that term? Personality cult. Usually you'll hear that term associated with people like Joseph Stalin or Mao Zedong. The cult of personality is where they're obsessed with and worshiping a man and following a man. When we think of what we would consider religious cults, we think of Mormonism, why? They're following man, Joseph Smith and they elevate him to a Godlike status. Ellen G. White is lifted up by the Seventh Day Adventists as being a prophet of God, when in reality she was a false prophet so therefore it's a cult because they're rejecting the teachings of the bible in order to follow man, woman in that case.

For example, David Koresh down with the Branch Davidians at Waco, that was considered a cult because David Koresh is saying "I'm another coming of Jesus Christ" or whatever he claimed to be. We think of people following Charles Manson as being in a cult because they were brainwashed and worshiping Charles Manson and they're willing to do whatever he tells them to do. If you think about it Roman Catholicism worships the Pope. That makes it a cult because he can actually override the bible. When Joseph Smith overrides the bible we call it a cult. When Ellen G. White overrides the bible we call it a cult. When Charles Manson or David Koresh overrides the bible we call it a cult. When people are worshiping Stalin, and when people are worshiping Moa Zedong and when people are worshiping Kim Jong-il we call it a cult even though it's not even religious. We call it a cult of personality. People have even talked about a cult of personality around Obama when some people get obsessed with Obama or any politician. They'll say "That's a personality cult" as well.

Some churches where the pastor is overly elevated and they'll say "Hey, that's a personality because they're really worshiping that guy." There's nothing wrong with being excited about the truths that are being preached, but they'll get excited about other aspects of the pastor. "We need to wear our hair like him, we want to dress like him, we want to eat all the foods that he eats." It's like, "Whoa, that's taking it a little too far." Where you want to emulate the physical persona and start being exactly like that guy. That's when it's like a personality cult. If you think about it with the Pope, he speaks ex cathedra he overrides the bible for the Catholics. Not only that, I always say this. When the Catholics say "Hey, we don't worship the Pope" but I always say this, when the Pope shows up they get down on their knees and bow down to him. The bible defines that as worship.

Congregation: Yes sir.

Pastor Anderson: Whenever anybody gets down and bows down unto Peter and James and John they lift them up. They tell them, "Stand up, I'm also a man as thou art." When they tried to bow down to Paul and Barnabas they don't let them bow down to them because that's an act of worship. Today people want to bow down to the Pope, get an audience with the Pope, just touch the hem of the Pope's garment and never wash that hand again. Why? Because it's a cult. Not only that, if I told you there's a Christian cult out there, so-called Christian cult where there's a guy that speaks in the place of God and he can override what the bible says and that guy wants you to eat human flesh and drink blood to be saved, you'd say "that's a wicked, bizarre religion." It's Catholicism. "Oh, wait a minute." It is bizarre, it is weird. John chapter 6 is clearly figurative. Let's talk about the other extreme, I've got to hurry. A lot of people will take another extreme of just saying, "Hey, everything's figurative. It's all symbolic.

Look at Romans chapter 5. The bible says in Romans chapter 5 verse 12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come." A lot of people if they want to start saying everything's in the bible is symbolic, one of the places they'll start is with Adam and Eve. They'll say "the story of Adam and Eve is a symbolic story, it didn't really happen." All of the Jewish rabbis we spoke to when making the film, they all said it's symbolic because they believe in the big bang, evolution, et cetera. This is people wanting to believe in the lie of evolution and trying to somehow make the bible fit in with that.

If you read Genesis chapter 1 it's crystal clear that every animal brings forth after its own kind. It denies evolution in the first chapter of the bible. They say, "Adam's symbolic." How do we know that Adam is not symbolic? How do we know Adam was a real character? Here's why, because Adam gives us the exact genealogy from Luke chapter 3 gives us from Jesus all the way back to Adam. If Adam was just a figurative guy and Eve was figurative then how did Eve give birth to Seth who then engendered Enos, who gave us Cainan, who gave us Mahaleel, which gave us Jarod, which gave us Enoch, which gave us Lamech, which gave us Noah, which gave us Shem, which gave us Arphaxad. Which gave us boom, boom, boom, boom, boom all the way down to Jesus Christ. How could it be a figurative guy if he had children and those children spread out and became different nations? God tells us "This nation came from this guy and this nation came from this guy."

All throughout Genesis and all throughout, all throughout First Chronicles these genealogies are given in specific detail of where humanity came from. How can that be figurative? Phony preachers like Billy Graham who want to please everybody and please the world, he said "Adam and Eve, God breathed into Adam's nostrils, that might've been God took an ape." This is what Billy Graham said. "God breathed into a certain ape and he became homo sapiens." It evolved and evolved and evolved and evolved. Then you got the ape man, Australopithecus, and God breathed into him and called him Adam or whatever. That's not what the bible says, and the bible's really clear that these stories in the book of Genesis are literal stories. You say, "But in verse 14 it says that he's a figure." At the end of verse 14 it's saying a figure of him that was to come, Adam is a figure of Jesus. The bible talks about Jesus as the second Adam, was Jesus figurative? No.

Jesus was a real life human being who lived, he was God in the flesh. He was literal, the first Adam was literal, the second Adam was literal. Verse 12 says "as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;" how did death enter into this world? Why is their death in the world today? Because of Adam's sin. If you had evolution going on you'd have millions of years of people living and dying before anyone had ever sinned because Adam was the first one that sinned. "One man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;" if you have evolution they say "you can fit evolution into the bible." No, you'd have all kinds of sin and all kinds of death before Adam ever even came on the scene and that doesn't make any sense. We have to be able to rightly divide the word of truth between what's figurative and what's literal.

I'm not trying to say to you everything's figurative, nothing's literal. No, much of it is literal. In fact, I think the best way to read the bible with common sense and with the holy spirit as your guide is to realize when in doubt it's literal, but that often things are figurative and it's clear when it's figurative. He usually explains to you what the figure is. He explained to you what born again meant, he explained to you what the living water meant, he explained to you what the bread of life meant, he explained to you what he meant when he said I'll give you my flesh to eat. Look if you would at Genesis chapter 7 because another thing people will attack as being literal, they like to go after ... Again, we could go through the whole bible and take all night, I'm not going to. That's why I'm throwing a few examples at you. One thing they go after a lot is Adam and Eve, another thing they go after a lot is Noah and the flood, "Hey, that's all figurative."

If you look at the story here, because what people are saying more and more is that the flood was not a worldwide flood. It didn't wipe out everybody, they'll say. It didn't kill everybody. It was just a local flood. Noah thought it was the whole world that was flooded because he lived in a little valley and that was his world and that's what he thought. Here's the thing about that, Noah lived 600 years before the flood and he never got out of the valley. 600 years old he'd probably gotten out of the valley a little bit in 600 years, wouldn't you think? Even so you say "that was his world." Let's see what the bible says about the flood in Genesis 7:17. It says "And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark," the ark is a giant boat that Noah had built "and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters."

You say "when it says earth there it's just talking about the land, the dirt, the earth just in his area." Okay, let's keep reading. "And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered." That is saying that 15 cubits is about 22 feet, the bible's saying that above the tallest mountains the water went an additional 22 feet at its highest point. Let me explain something to you about water. If water rises up above the tallest mountain, it's going to gush over. Think about it, if it's just local, it's just a local flood. Here's the valley that Noah lives in and his valley is flooded and it goes above the tallest mountain, what was there a magical force field holding the water in? It just went straight up, think about how dumb this is. Brilliant scholars and educated men have decided that the bible teaches it was a localized flood.

Listen to me Mr. Scientist, if water goes 22 feet over the mountain it's going to spill over. In order for the water to go 22 feet over the mountain it would have to be everywhere on the earth. There'd have to be nowhere for that water to go. Does everybody understand what I'm saying? There'd have to be nowhere for it to go. Everything would have to be filled for the water to cover the top of the tallest mountains. That's exactly what happened. This is clearly not figurative, this is literal. Everyone died and that's why every nation of the earth is accounted for as coming from the 3 sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Listen to me, you today are a direct descendant of Israel, that's another sermon. You today obviously are a descendant of Noah, everyone come from Noah. Noah had these 3 sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. I've heard people say this "Japheth is all the white people. Japheth is where the the white people come from. Shem is where those that are from Asia come from, and Ham is where those that are black come from, the Africans."

Here's what's so dumb about that. Think about this, you're one of these people that get off the ark. Shem, Ham, and Japheth they have their 3 wives and they have kids. Let's say you're one of those kid, who are you going to marry your sister or your cousin? Think about that if you're getting off the ark and you have Shem, Ham, and Japheth and they have kids. Shem has kids, Japheth has kids, and Ham has kids. Do you think all the children of Ham just married their sisters? All the sons of Japheth married their sisters? All the sons of Shem married their sisters? You know what obviously happened? They married their cousins, not their sisters. You know what that means? It was all mixed in the first generation. To sit there and say "This nationality's from Shem, this nationality's from Japheth, and this nationality's from Ham and those are the 3 races on the earth" is retarded because you'd basically be saying that they all married their sister and nobody married their cousin.

You say "They spread out right away." Wrong, they build the Tower of Babel and that means that they stayed together, if you read the scripture, for 100 years. When they got off the ark, we were told be fruitful and multiply and for 100 years they married each other and multiplied and had children and reproduced and multiplied. This whole Shem, Ham, and Japheth thing was intermingled in the very first generation. To sit there and say there are 3 ... The bible doesn't teach 3 races, the bible doesn't teach any races. It teaches that we're all of one blood.

Congregation: Yes sir.

Pastor Anderson: All nations of the earth are one blood. You say "some people are black." I guarantee you every black person has white person in their genealogy and every white person has a black person in their genealogy, and every Asian person has white people, black, because it's all mixed. It's all mingled. Even for example I just got my DNA tested recently for the documentary we're making and it showed that I'm an African American today, I'm serious. I'm not even kidding. I got my DNA tested and it said my number one most prevalent genetic DNA marker is North African, Moroccan Berber. Who knows who the Berbers are? My children because I've explained to them. To other people, the Berbers are people who live in Morocco. I've always wondered why I love to eat couscous and now I understand why, I love that Moroccan food. It listed my 50 most prevalent ethnicities and number one on that list was Moroccan Berber. In fact, I had 7 different types of different Berbers in my ancestry all in my top 50. In fact 5 of my top 10 are Moroccan Berber.

That's genetically what I am more than anything else. I'm North African according to this. They sent me a map showing where my ancestors were from and it was all of North Africa. What's right across from Morocco? What's right across from the Straits of Gibraltar? Spain, and it showed also that I had a ton of DNA from Spain. I had a ton of DNA from Spain, I had DNA from Morocco. The Berbers are pretty much white looking people, but they're living in North Africa. I also had a little Egyptian mingled in their so I'm of Ishmael. I also had a little bit of Arab mixed in, I'm also Arab. Also I'm part Portuguese, here's the thing, people that are part Portuguese are part black. The Portuguese are mingled between blacks and Spaniards. Therefore I've already shown from my DNA I've got black people in my ancestry, I've got Moroccan Berbers, I've got Arabs, I've got Egyptians, I've got Spaniards. I'm Hispanic, I'm African American, I'm an Arab. Give me affirmative action now, give me a college scholarship now.

Congregation: Amen.

Pastor Anderson: Nah, I don't want to go to college. I'm just saying it's so dumb when people think it's all so cut and dry. I thought ... You know what I've been told my whole life? "You're Swedish, Irish, English, and Danish, and Swiss." It's all these super white nationalities. "You're Irish, English, Swedish." You forgot to tell me that I'm Arab, and that I'm Spanish, and that I'm Portuguese, and that I'm Brazilian. Why? Because nobody even knows what they are. It's all mingled, it's all mixed. I thought that was interesting. That's a literal story about Noah's ark. It's a real story, we see it in the bible. That's where we all came from, we all came from Shem. You know what's funny? When we talked to the DNA scientist ... Go to one last place, Galatians 4. We talked to a DNA scientist, and here's what the DNA scientist told us. He said that if we go into really advanced DNA studied he says the furthest we can go back is like 5000 years. After you go back 5000 years it's all mingled, you can't tell any difference.

Here's what's funny about 5000 years, what happened 5000 years ago? Think about this Noah was born, I don't have the numbers in front of me, but Noah was born approximately 5300 years ago. The flood happened approximately 4700 years ago. The flood happened liked 4700 years ago, Noah was born like 5300 years ago. He had his kids 4800 years ago. It just shows you that's why the DNA goes back to around 5000 years and all of a sudden it's all the same. You know why? Because that's where we all came from.

Congregation: Amen.

Pastor Anderson: This isn't figurative, it's literal. Again, things that are in the bible that are literal stories, they also have symbolic meanings. That doesn't mean the story's not literal. The story of Adam was literal, also a symbolic meaning about Jesus. Story of Noah was literal, also a symbolic meaning about Jesus. Look at Galatians chapter 4 verse 21 it says "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise." Look at verse 24 "Which things are an allegory:" what's an allegory?

Congregation: Poem.

Pastor Anderson: It means it's symbolic, it means it's figurative. It doesn't mean these people didn't exist, but there's also a symbolic meaning. It's an allegory. Here's what's funny, when you start talking about the fact that we as believers in the new testament have replaced the physical nation of Israel as being God's chosen people. This is what they'll say, "Those who believe in replacement theology, they often tend to spirtiualize everything. They tend to spiritualize Israel." The bible does tell us that it was an allegory. When we look at the difference between Israel and Ishmael or Isaac and Ishmael, what's the allegory? It says in verse 24 "for these are the two covenants;" look, there are 2 covenants or 2 testaments, old testament and new testament. Let me tell you something, they're not both in effect. The old testament has been replaced by the new testament. The bible says "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."

We are living under the new covenant. How can you say "Both" a lot of people will say "I believe that Christians are God's chosen people, I believe Christians are the elect. I also believe that unsaved Jews are the elect." You can't have both. You can't sit there and say "the old covenant is still in effect and the new covenant" wrong. As if the new covenant is overlayed on top of the old covenant, wrong. The new covenant replaces the old covenant my friend. "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." Hebrews 8:13, he's making a new covenant when he came and died on the cross and was buried and rose again. We're in the new testament, we're not in a hybrid. You can't put new wine into old bottles. The new testament is a new wine in a new bottle and both are preserved.

The bible says here in verse 24 "Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants;" notice he doesn't say these are the 7 dispensations, because there's no such thing as 7 dispensations. The 7 sons of Sceva? No, the 2 sons of Abraham are 2 covenants. He didn't have 7 sons representing 7 dispensations. He's talking about these 2 particular sons, Isaac and Ishmael. He says "the one from the mount Sinai," why? Because the law was given by Moses. That's the old covenant, mount Sinai. He says it's from "Sinai which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar." Agar is the mother of Ishmael. Ishmael was the bastard son of Abraham. It says in verse 25 "For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children." The current city of Jerusalem is in bondage today. It's the freedom in the Middle East, it's democracy. It's in bondage. "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin."

They're free over there, it's a free country. They're in bondage spiritually. They might be free to some degree, but it's an allegory. I'm making a poem. What I'm saying is that they today are in bondage because they are spiritually Ishmael. Let's keep reading, it says "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." Is the city of Jerusalem literally our mother? No. It's a figure, it's an allegory, it's symbolic. Although my grandfather used to say to my mother that she had the map of Jerusalem written on her face because he thought that she looked Jewish. We're getting her DNA test so we're going to find out. Jerusalem is our mother spiritually, but not the current city of Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem, the new Jerusalem. "I want to visit holy land" you're going to have to die to get there. If you really want to go to the real Jerusalem because the one today is a bondage place. It's a place of the old covenant that's not free.

It says in verse 27 "For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise." He's talking to gentiles in Galatia. He says, "we're like Isaac, we're the children of Isaac." "But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free." He says "If you're a brother in Christ, even if you're a gentile of Galatia, if you're of the Lord Jesus you as Isaac was are the true children of Abraham." The Jews today are spiritually Ishmael. That's the allegory. They're spiritually of Agar and Ishmael.

Notice he says the one "that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit" that's what we see all through the book of Acts. The Jews persecuting the Christians because the Jews are the physical seed of Abraham, Christians are the spiritual seed of Abraham, and the Jews are persecuting the Christians just like Ishmael mocked Issac. Like the Talmud mocks Jesus and that's what the bible says. Watch this it says "Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman." The question is who's going to inherit the earth? Who's going to inherit Jerusalem? Who's going to inherit the kingdom of God? Who's going to inherit the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ when Jesus said "“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Who's going to inherit the earth? Both. Does this say both are going to inherit?

Congregation: No sir.

Pastor Anderson: He said "Cast out the bondwoman and her son:" they will not inherit with the son of the free. It's not both. "It's just both Pastor Anderson, it's both. The Christians are God's children of the people, and the Jews are God's children of the people." No, it's not both. Isaac and Ishmael both grow up in Abraham's house. He didn't let them both live in that house, once Isaac came along time for Ishmael to go. Ishmael was allowed to live in that home. Remember Agar tried to free and God said to Agar go back, live with Abraham, submit to Sarai, and he said I'm going to make you a great nation. Ishmael stayed in that home, but when Isaac came time for Ishmael to go. Why? Because they're not going to inherit together. To sit there and say that we're both God's children. They say "In the end times we're both. In the end times it's going to be both of going into that millennium. Both of us going into that kingdom. It's going to Jewish kingdom." It's going to be a Christian kingdom.

Congregation: Amen.

Pastor Anderson: That millennial reign of Christ, because guess who's ruling? Christ. Christian, Christ, you get it? Christ is ruling a Christian kingdom. "He's going to rule from Jerusalem." It's not going to be like the current Jerusalem. The current Jerusalem is a den of inequity. He's going to come in and clean house and create a spiritual kingdom. You say "Jews will be reigning." Yeah, all the ones that are saved. Does anybody deny that there are lots of Jews or Israelites who've been saved? They're going to be inheriting and there's going to be a great resurrection. Aren't we pre millennial, don't we believe in a great resurrection of all the saved before the millennium at the rapture and so forth? What's going to happen? All kinds of Israelites from the old testament and Israelites from the new testament are all going to be resurrected just like I'm going to be resurrected. Hopefully I'll be alive and remain for the coming of the Lord, but if I don't I'll be resurrected.

Think about this now, there are going to be a lot of Israelites over there in line. In fact, all the 10 tribes will come back from the dead. All the 12 tribes will be there back in the land from the dead ruling and reigning for Jesus. We'll be ruling and reigning ... I don't know, I don't know if I'm going to be ruling and reigning in Israel. I'm probably going to be ruling and reigning in Morocco. I think God's going to say to me "be thou over Morocco." As it turns out that's my nationality I guess. I'm going to be ruling and reigning somewhere in North Africa, that's my goal in the millennium. My point being with this sermon is to show you there's a lot of stuff in the bible that's symbolic and figurative. Don't get this overly literal interpretation of things that are obviously figurative. When the bible talks about a woman having the sun on her head, that's literal. No, it's not literal. It's figurative. It's be stupid. Oh, she's standing on the moon. She's not really standing on the moon. It's figurative.

If I say it's raining cats and dogs outside, is anybody going to take me literally? What do you use? Common sense. What do you use? The holy spirit's guidance. You have to understand that most of the bible is literal so don't throw out the baby with the bath water. You need to be able to rightly divide. "How am I going to do it?" Study, so that you might rightly divide that which is figurative and that which is literal. By the way, everything's that's literal is also figurative, but there's much that's symbolic. I hope that helps you open your mind a little bit. Maybe as an exercise if you want to put this into practice why don't you read through the book of John, read through the whole book and decide what's literal and what's figurative. If you're saved and you have minimal intelligence you're going to be able to figure it out because it should be obvious to you. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure this stuff out, but you do need to be saved and you do need to use common sense and let the Lord speak to you as you read his word.

Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father we thank you so much for your word, Lord. It's such an amazing book, it's such an interesting book, Lord. It's so deep, Lord. It has so many different meanings. It has literal meanings, figurative meanings, help us to study to show ourselves approved. Help us to rightly divide the word, Lord. Help us to not be led astray with false doctrine by people who are being overly literal, or by people who are being overly symbolic, Lord. Help us to find the truth within the pages of you word.