Seeing Men As Walking Trees

I had never considered Mark 8:22-25 as prophetic, until now, thanks to God’s providence. It is a blessing when God’s holy hand of providence touches my agenda. I should, but I do not always, appreciate every time that happens but, like everyone else, my knowledge compared to God’s knowledge is miniscule. However, for this message, Seeing Men As Walking Trees, I rejoice in at least five providential occurrences.
Seeing Men As Walking Trees
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2017 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

Five providential occurrences have enabled me to see Mark 8:22-25 in a prophetic light. The first occurrence was in Bible institute where in my first year I studied the synoptic Gospels, and the Gospel of focus for that particular year was Mark. The next instance occurred just over a decade later when I repeatedly heard the foolish teaching of extreme positive confession with a few stating that if we have faith we should only pray once for something. What immediately came to my mind were the parables, testimonies, and exhortations found in the Holy Bible to keep asking, keep praying,

a number of times for the same need. Even Christ had to pray twice in at least one case recorded for us in Mark 8:22-25. I knew about that passage well since Mark was the synoptic Gospel of focus in my freshman year at Bible institute.

The third providential occurrence instigated the production of this message. I had just finished writing the outline for another message for our church titled “Be Empowered To Be Upright” {1}. I wanted to deliver a second message for that day and I had a sermon idea but as I struggled in my thinking about that message God put a phrase in my mind, “men walking like trees.” That was the description the blind man in Mark 8 gave about his sight after the first time Christ prayed for him.

Seconds after that thought hit me a devotional and prophetic insight came to my mind, one very appropriate for our time and one which, with God’s help, I will bring out in the second point of the text we are about to consider. It is the main focus of this message, a warning to all of us who name the precious Name of Christ.

The fourth and fifth occurrences deal with a  book by F. F. Bruce, “New Testament History.” First, I was able to get it for free from another church. I want to expand my knowledge of the Holy Bible and that book is a great tool to do so. Secondly, I “got a hankering" to start reading it. After I was hit with the thoughts mentioned above, I returned to the pages I had just read in that book and found a tidbit of information that underscored the prophetic power behind the fact that after Christ’s first prayer for him the man saw others as walking trees. That little nugget will be presented in the first point of three in this message titled, Seeing Men Walking As Trees.

I. Blind Mark 8:22-23

And He comes to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto Him, and besought Him to touch him. And He took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when He had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, He asked him if he saw ought.

Blind we are indeed before Christ removes us from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13). Oh, we think our eyes are opened but they are filled with darkness (Matthew 6:23). But God cares, and so do the people of God. God wants to rescue all from spiritual blindness and He chooses to use redeemed people to reach the unredeemed.

Bethsaida means {2} “house of fish” and probably would almost be like saying “Fishertown” as F. F. Bruce {3} points out. When one becomes a true disciple of Christ they eventually become a “fisher of men” (Matthew 4:19), and the Church, the Body of Christ, is to be a Bethsaida, a Fishertown, co-working with God to rescue people from the tempestuous sea of humanity.

"They bring a blind man unto Him." Disciples lead people to Christ by presenting the good news of salvation through words in various ways as well as living the life of Christ publicly and privately. "And besought Him to touch him" speaks of intercessory prayer that the unredeemed would soften their hearts to His Word. "And He took the blind man by the hand" speaks to me of the Holy Spirit drawing people. Instinctively within us we know that we need the Savior.

"And led him out of the town; . . .".  This is where I sense in my spirit the passage now becomes prophetical to us in our time and a little historical gem presented by Bruce {4} adds to the urge to emphasize it. Though the town was named Bethsaida, Herod the Great’s son Philip did some renovation there and renamed it Julias in honor of Caesar’s daughter. This speaks of how today’s Caesars corrupt the church and perhaps a few in the Church {5}. For example, many denominations, fellowships and independent works have succumbed to the worldly theory that the church should be operated as a business. As a result, many church boards (an unscriptural term) act as an employer viewing the pastor as an employee and therefore wielding authority not granted by God over the undershepherd of the flock. Some churches are like businesses having a human staff instead of the staff of God. I can continue with a few more examples of how some have accepted the mindset of Caesar (any human government), but I need to move on.

So Christ leads the blind man out of the town, and this represents Him taking the sinner out of the realm of human influence. "And when He had spit on his eyes, . . . " To my knowledge this is one of three places recorded in the Gospels where Christ's spit was used in some way or mentioned in a healing. This one in Mark, though, appears to be the only case where His spit was directly applied without mixing. Given the fact this is our Savior this would be a blessed experience for anyone. However, the fact is in the Holy Scriptures spitting upon someone was a way to bring shame (Numbers 12:14, Deuteronomy 25:9). Devotionally then I would look at this as the fact that when we come to Christ there is a level of shame we feel for our sins. Yet, that shame is coupled with the healing virtue of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Thank God for the forgiveness and cleansing we have in Christ!

Let me point out a problem here that has crept into society. There has been a dangerous trend to not shame people, at least in some cases. The nominal church has swallowed the lie that Christ was always kind and nice to all sinners. Nay, but led by the Holy Spirit, as we are to be, while there were times it does seem He was tender if we carefully read the Scriptures we will see His holy sternness in a number of cases. Then, there is an element within the nominal church that says we are imperfect though saved so we have no standing to rebuke anyone of sin. Such need to read passages like Ephesians 5:11 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” The Greek for the word “reprove” includes the truth that sinners need to be shamed and as you read in Ephesians that IS part of the job of the Body of Christ in their ministry to the world.

“And put his hands upon him, ...” Though we should rightly be shamed due to our sin, Christ covers us, dealing personally with us to remove sin. “He asked him if he saw ought,” speaks devotionally to the fact that Christ desires us to be honest before Him in regard to any shortcomings we may have. In confessing our sin and seeking His forgiveness He is then faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

II. Blurred 24

And he looked up, and said, “I see men as trees, walking.”

As one reads the Holy Bible they will note that when trees are mentioned sometimes they also symbolically represent some type of leadership, human government, and so on. Take for example the tree in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream which represented Nebuchadnezzar. Many times the fig tree represents Israel, and there are more examples.

And what the blind man first saw was that people, probably to him as big as trees and way out of focus, were coming and going. Human government and leadership also comes and goes. Certain nations like Egypt have been around for millennia, but their form of government has changed over the course of time. With that thought, why trust human leadership and government that comes and goes while God always exists and is most sure? Human government is found in various forms. Along with the types of government already mentioned there are denominations, fellowships, groups, associations, clubs and so on.

Regarding the church (notice the lowercase), it has

adapted and become like groups around them, and many of these groups have made inroads into the nominal church. A case in point in regard to adaptation might be found with some who have taken on the financial practices of the world so they may appear to be honest. Instead, the church should have been the one to set the standard, and for human government to model themselves according to that standard.

I see in the Holy Scriptures these three terms: The Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil, The Tree of Life, and trees of the field. We do not have to look too far around to find people and groups that act as a tree of knowledge of good and evil. Some are teachers and college professors, some are judges and lawyers, there are experts, and more. And, of course, there are the highly intelligent but sad to say most of those do not have any knowledge of God. At least Albert Einstein recognized there is a God. But, the human nature does not want God and will place its trust in doctors, pyschiatrists, medicine, scientists and so on. And then there are some of our politicians. Squawking “separation of Church and state” has been mangled in such away to make sure, in human terms, God stays out of the picture. Any human government can legislate God out all they want and persecute His servants, but Christ will return with His servants and He shall rule on earth for a thousand years (see Revelation 19-20).

Our source to determine good and evil must be God through Christ alone. Most people more than a half-century old from the 1950s will readily tell you that moral values have drastically been inverted in our present time. Do not take moral direction from anyone but God through Christ as recorded in the Holy Bible, the only written Word of God.

Then there are those people and groups that offer themselves, or have been described or thought of, as trees of life. Before I became a Christian I had in mind that real life was to be monetarily rich and be able to bask in the sun on a beach somewhere, to have fine mens jewelery, eating expensive food, and so on. When one comes to Christ, and if they remain truly in Him, they will soon realize that real life is serving God and others in any way as He directs. To me, to retire and play games on social media and trying to live it up elsewhere is a waste of precious time. There are over seven billion people on earth and sadly the vast majority is bound for hell. As God gives me strength, by His grace and only by His grace I intend to continue on to do what I can in evangelism and in the mutual edification of the Body of Christ until my body expires or the rapture occurs. The good life is Eternal Life in Christ, whereby one serves God and man as directed by the Holy Spirit.

The trees of the field can include any of the above and anyone we might depend upon more than God. Friends and family can be such trees as well as our place of employment, financial advisors, and anyone and anything else we might tend to place trust in.

In no way can we stay completely away from many that are mentioned above, nor was it God’s plan for a real Christian to do so (see John 17). Instead, by the direction of the Holy Spirit, we are to use such as tools. For example, while, unless God tells you otherwise, it is not a sin to go to a doctor about a specific problem but it is a sin if we depend upon the doctor more than God. We need to keep in mind we have the ability and the God given right to choose, as directed by Him, what medications and treatments we should take, if any.

III. Blessed 25

After that He put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

For anyone that sees men {6} as trees, may they indeed see that they come and go. Experts, lawyers, denominations, governments and all come and go. For any who find themselves trusting and depending anyone and anything more than God, let Christ again cover your spiritual eyes and permit yourself to be spiritually healed.

After covering the blind man’s eyes for a second time He then commands the man to look up. Yes, let us look up to Christ and only Christ. Let us look upward for His coming Kingdom. Only then shall we see clearly. Only then will we be liberated from the domination of man and be set free to follow the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, may Christ come back soon. The United States, along with many other nations, has gotten to the point where the government intends to be one’s conscience, one’s source for defining truth, and the means for existence from the cradle to the grave {7}. Pray for the younger generation to have their eyes opened at some point and see clearly that God and only God is all that anyone needs. Truly if we were to live by God’s rules and by the empowering of the Holy Spirit with Christ in our lives we would not need one sentence of human law nor one ounce of enforcement. As we look to Christ and His soon return, our spiritual vision will be healed and we will see men for who they are -- just men.

Notes:

{1} The link for the audio of this message is available at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M284. God willing hopefully I will republish its article here at Experts Column  sometime hopefully before May 1, 2017.

{2} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

{3}, {4} Bruce, F. F.: New Testament History (Doubleday-Galilee edition, 1980; © 1969 F. F. Bruce), p26.

{5} There is the true Church and the nominal church. I capitalize when referring to the true Church and use the lowercase for the nominal church. People need to know that not everyone or every group that calls themselves Christian is a Christian.

{6} Used in the proper traditional sensible sense, denoting all people, male and female. I could not care less about being politically correct.

{7} This article was originally written when Barack Obama was President Of The United States. There was a change of administration just before this article was republished on Experts Column, and currently it appears the spiritual oppression experienced under the Obama administration will be lessened.

This article was in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. You should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M283 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the 1769 Authorized Version with spelling of some words updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHWH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates. An * next to the abbreviation for another translation or version indicates the same for the text presented.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.



Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Posted on 10-02-2017 194 1

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  • nbillett  15-02-2017
    A very detailed description and explanation. I appreciate you elaborating on the examples of the different trees. Truly most of us are blind even though or eyes are physically opened.
    reply 0
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