Luke 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come.
This is not another seventy, but seventy others besides the twelve disciples that were sent in the previous chapter. In Luke 9:1 Jesus sent the twelve disciples, and here in Luke 10:1 He sends seventy others. These seventy are prophetic of Kingdom ministry – a ministry that is already beginning in our day.
Jesus sends the seventy out two by two, which is indicative of Kingdom ministry. The church age has been characterized by individualistic ministry. Every movement has had its big-name ministry, but it is not so in the Kingdom. There will be no big-name ministries in the Kingdom of God. Only the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be exalted in this day. A simple definition showing the difference between church age ministry and Kingdom ministry is that in the church age Jesus is related to primarily as Savior, but in the Kingdom ministry He is proclaimed Lord and King. Our submission to Him as Lord and King is the issue.
The number two is a number of significance in Scripture. It is the number of witness; the Lord sent them out two by two. It is also the number of Christ. He is the second man, the Lord from heaven (I Corinthians 15:47). It is also the number of the many-membered Body of Christ, which is the second manifestation of Christ. And it is the number of confirmation (II Corinthians 13:1), so the seventy is prophetic of the ministry of the Lord through his many-membered Body. It is a ministry that confirms and fulfills the Word of the Lord.
The ministry of John the Baptist was a ministry of witness to prepare the way of the Lord (John 1:6-7,23). In the last days of the church age (or, the beginning days of the Kingdom) there is to be the ministry of a John the Baptist company to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. The seventy foreshadow that ministry, for they are sent forth before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come.
Luke 10:2 Therefore said He unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth laborers into His harvest.
Don’t confuse harvest work with soul-winning. They are not the same. Harvest work involves bringing the wheat to maturity and then reaping that harvest. The harvest work is great, but there are very few laborers. There are very few ministers who know how to bring maturity to God’s people. There are many that are endeavoring to minister Christ as Savior, but it is hard to find teachers that can teach the people how to walk with God. It is very difficult to find spiritually mature ministries.
Many Christians are just playing church. They sing a few songs, listen to a good sermon, and go home having learned very little that will really help them. They go through the mechanics of worship, but they are not taught how to touch God in their worship. They are not taught how to focus on the Lord, or how to lift their spirit into a higher realm in God. We need real teachers. We need teachers that don’t just tell the people to appropriate from the Lord, to draw in His presence, but will teach them how to do it. Most churches just have song leaders, not worship leaders. They can’t teach the people how to worship the Lord from their inner man, their spirit. We need laborers who know how to bring forth the harvest. We need real teachers! We need teachers who can teach the people how to walk with God, how to experience His life. Christ in the air is not the hope of glory; Christ in you is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). The harvest is great, and the laborers are few. Pray for the Lord to raise up harvest laborers.
Luke 10:3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
The harvest laborers will meet with great opposition, and their opposition will be the wolves that have been feeding on the lambs. Do you know who the wolves are? They are Christian leaders that are feeding on God’s flock without bringing the people into spiritual maturity, which involves many of today’s pastors. Their wolf nature will be clearly seen with the emergence of true Kingdom ministries. In the absence of true apostolic ministry wolves enter in to feed on God’s flock. Paul warned the Church at Ephesus concerning this problem. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Acts 20:28-30.
The wolves will do one of two things. They will either say that there are no apostles and prophets today or they will pretend to be one. If a pastor or Christian leader says there are no apostles or prophets today, then you will automatically know what spirit he is of, but when it comes to the one that pretends to be an apostle or prophet you will need enough spiritual discernment to know the truth.
Luke 10:4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.
The seventy were not to carry a purse for the collecting of money for their ministry, nor to carry a purse full of money for security. Their trust had to be in the Lord. Jesus is not saying it is wrong to have money or to receive money. He is saying that our focus and security is not to be in money. We are serving the Lord, not the dollar.
Then He says, Salute no man by the way. This has to do with our focus. We must not be distracted from the ministry. In the East it was a common thing for passerby's to stop and chat, consuming much time. Jesus was saying, “Keep your focus on the ministry and do not be distracted.
Luke 10:5-6 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this
6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.
This is often called the “boomerang principle.” When you send a blessing to someone, and he is not open to receive it, then the blessing boomerangs and comes back to you. There have been times when ministering the Word that I felt it come right back, because there was no openness to receive it. There are times when a person will have walls up and not even know it, but because of the walls he is unable to receive. When Christians have walls up to the Lord and are unable to receive a blessing, then it becomes necessary for the ministry to know how to take the walls down without offending them by telling them they have walls up to God. A person can be closed to the Lord for many reasons. It could be that they have been under a legalistic ministry and the bond with that ministry needs to be broken. It could just simply be that they don’t know how to open up to the Lord. They don’t know how to expose themselves to God or to receive a blessing. Real teachers are desperately needed. Many people have been Christians for years upon years and have never been taught how to walk with God.
Luke 10:7-8 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as
they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.
Ministry is not to be influenced by what you receive. A person is blessed when he gives. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35. We must be willing to give, for then we are blessed. We must also be willing to receive so that the other person may be blessed. Sometimes it takes more humility to receive than to give. Do not rob the other person of his blessing when he wants to give to you.
Luke 10:9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
Jesus tells the seventy to heal the sick. He is specifically speaking of those who have received the ministries into their houses, are willing to supply their needs, and are open to receive.
Then Jesus tells them to say, The Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. This is ministry that presents the Kingdom of God as a present reality. To minister the Kingdom as a present reality means to teach people to relate to Jesus Christ as Lord and King, that His Lordship and Kingship has come nigh to them. Many churches do not do that. They teach Jesus Christ on a throne up in the heavens somewhere. In other words, they minister an absent Jesus. Real ministry presents the Kingdom of God in the present. Real ministry has always ministered the Kingdom that way. John the Baptist came proclaiming, Repent ye: for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2). And Jesus began His ministry proclaiming, Repent: for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17). He also commanded the twelve disciples to preach, saying, The Kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 10:7). Before His ascension He taught His disciples of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). Then He told them, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always (Matthew 28:19,20). The Lord Himself is involved in ministry that presents His Kingdom in the present.
Luke 10:10-11 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go
your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,
11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: not withstanding be ye sure of this, that the Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
The seventy visited real cities, but in viewing their ministry according to the prophetic significance for our day, those cities represent various religious groups or churches. Both the Church as a whole and local assemblies are referred to as cities. Jesus referred to His disciples as a city that is set on a hill (Matthew 5:14). The writer of the Book of Hebrews referred to "the Church of the Firstborn" as the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22,23). In the Book of Revelation John referred to the Body of Christ, the Tabernacle of God, as the holy city, New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2,3). Then you will notice that local churches are named by the city each is located in: the Church at Ephesus, Galatia, Philippi, Colossae, Rome, each of the seven churches mentioned in the second and third chapters of Revelation, etc. Thus, we understand that cities in the Scriptures speak prophetically of certain types of churches or churches in various stages of spirituality, such as the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. In each of those churches we find that only a few were overcomers.
The seventy were to go to every city where the Lord Himself would come. This speaks of the coming of the Lord spoken of in II Thessalonians 1:10. It is a spiritual coming, when the Lord comes to be glorified and admired in all those who “love His appearing” (II Timothy 4:8). The seventy are ministering the Kingdom (verse 9), which is a higher realm than churchanity. When a church rejects the new order of the Kingdom, the ministries wipe off the dust of that city (verse 11). This is not a matter of whether they are Christians or not; it is not a matter of salvation. It is a matter of determining which Christians are willing to serve the Lord according to His perfect will for the coming day of His Kingdom. It is the separation prophesied by Malachi. And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. Malachi 3:17-18. The door to the Kingdom level of rule and reign with the Lord was closed to those who rejected the seventy in the same way as it was closed to the foolish virgins in the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13).
Luke 10:12-15 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day
for Sodom, than for that city.
13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sodom, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.
15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.
The cities Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum are cities where Jesus ministered the Word and worked many wonders. These cities, and others, are referred to in John 1:11, where it says, He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. On the other hand, the cities Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon did not have the advantage of the same ministry. If they had, Jesus said, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes. They represent non-Christians, while the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum represent Christians. They are those who had received ministry and were given opportunity to serve the Lord and do His will. Since they did not, they shall receive the greater judgment. And that servant, which knew His Lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to His will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of them they will ask the more. Luke 12:47-48.
I realize that many feel that once a person receives forgiveness for his sins and becomes a Christian that he will not come under judgment. However, because of the Scriptures we have covered, and many others like them, that concept should probably be reconsidered. There was much more provided by the cross of Jesus than forgiveness of sins. According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. II Peter 1:3-4. Everything needed for deliverance from the flesh nature and to partake of His divine nature has been provided. Thus, we will be held accountable if we do not appropriate that which He has provided. God counts that which has been provided for us as given to us, but it doesn’t just fall in our laps. We must take the initiative to reach in to His promises and take by aggressive faith that which He has provided. Woe unto us if we don’t. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the Word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him. Hebrews 2:1-3.
Look again to what Jesus said to Capernaum in verse 15. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. Only Christians are exalted to heaven; and these are thrust down because they have rejected the Lordship of Jesus Christ by neglecting what was provided to bring them into sonship. The concept that once we have received forgiveness for sins by accepting Jesus Christ as Savior, that we have done all that is necessary is false teaching. That is exactly what Satan wants Christians to think, and many of the churches teach that. Consequently, their people never come into spiritual maturity.
Luke 10:16 He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth him that sent Me.
We must understand that this is not talking about accepting or rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior. This is ministry to Christians! The opportunity to rule and reign with the Lord is being presented to Christians. A habitation of God is being created among His people (Ephesians 2:22). He is calling out a people to be His dwelling place; they will be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).
You are being presented, right now, with the most important decision you will ever have to make. Are you willing for your self-nature to die? Are you willing to drop all your unbeliefs and religious limitations? Do you want God more than your religion? Or, will you reject the Lord to hang on to your limited concepts of Jesus? To be satisfied with where you are spiritually is to despise Him. The ministry of the seventy is at hand. The seventy are sent.
Copyright © 1997 by Henry DuBose