Matthew 2:1-3 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the
days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
The reason Herod was troubled is quite obvious. Rome had placed him as king over the Jews and he didn’t want to lose his position. But why was all Jerusalem troubled, too?
Even though the Jews were looking for the Messiah to come and liberate them from the oppression of Rome, they were so entrenched in their traditions that they could not receive Him. Their concepts of the Messiah and the reality of Him were totally opposite. Jesus Christ did not fit the mold they had made. It is the same today. The various religious groups have decided what their Christ is like, and they won’t accept anything different.
The presence of the Lord has always troubled religion. Jesus was so different from what they wanted that the Pharisees not only couldn’t accept Him as being of God, but they also wanted to kill Him. He was a threat to their religion, and they would rather have their religiosity than Jesus Christ.
Jerusalem is a type of the church-world. Jesus is born and all Jerusalem is troubled. It would be another thirty years before He begins His ministry, and they were already troubled! When He does begin functioning as the Christ and enters the temple driving out those who are making money (John 2:13-16), then they will know for sure that they have trouble on their hands. We are in such a time now. Christ is being birthed in a many-membered Body, and already one can detect the fear that is on Babylon. They are sensing the coming trouble.
The presence of the Lord has always troubled the lukewarm and religious. Whenever a man of God comes on the scene, it has the same results. Samuel was such a man. The Word says, “All the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel” (I Samuel 12:18). King Ahab referred to Elijah as “he that troubleth Israel” (I Kings 18:17). When Paul and the apostolic company went to Thessalonica, the Jews said, “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (Acts 17:6).
The religious world (Jerusalem) is troubled by the presence of Christ for the same reason that Herod was troubled. The leaders don’t want to lose their wealth and position over God’s people.
Revelation 3:14-17 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans
write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the
Beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
Laodicea represents the church at the end of the Church Age, and it is a perfect example of the church in this day. It is obvious that we have come to the close of the Church Age and the dawning of the Kingdom.
In the material realm, churchanity has become rich, increased with goods, and has need of nothing. But spiritually they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. They are like the Jews in Jesus’ day; they’ve got a good thing going and they don’t want the presence of Christ to come in and mess it up.
Revelation 3:20-22 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man
hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him,
and he with Me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit sayeth unto the churches.
Trouble is knocking on the door; the presence of Christ has come on the scene. But before He goes in and makes havoc by turning over the tables of the money-changers and driving out those who are selling and making the church a house of merchandise, He knocks and asks for entrance into the very house in which He is supposed to be the Lord.
When Joshua led Israel into the promise land, the priests carried the Ark before them. They were taking the presence of God into Canaan. The first city they came to was Jericho. Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went in, and none went out. Joshua 6:1. Jericho was tightly closed; they didn’t want the presence of the Lord in their midst.
In the same manner Laodicea is tightly shut. She doesn’t want Christ in her midst. Jericho was troubled and tightly shut because they knew that the presence of the God of Israel was at hand. Joshua 5:1 says that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel. So it was with Laodicea. It wasn’t by accident that the church was tightly shut. Even so, the Spirit is speaking to the churches: Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. Revelation 18:4.
John 5:2-10,16 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which
is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: Whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
7 The impotent man answered Him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the sabbath day.
The name “Bethesda” means “house of mercy” or “house of grace.” There are five porches, and five is the number of grace. Jerusalem, as we know, always represents the church. And the sheep gate is the gate through which the sheep were brought for sacrifice. The pool represents the water of life for those who are thirsty for God. However, the pool is not active. Water that does not flow, or is not active, becomes stagnant, and that is what the church has become.
Beside the pool is a great multitude of impotent folk that are blind, halt, withered, and waiting for the moving of the water. (This sounds like Laodicea, doesn’t it?) The impotent multitude speaks of the condition of Christians in a church where there is no flow of the waters of life. They are blind and cannot see in the realm of spirit. They are halt because they are not able to walk with God. Their hands are withered for they cannot bless and minister to one another.
At certain seasons, an angel (a messenger of God) comes and troubles the waters, and those who are first to enter in are delivered. We have seen such seasons throughout church history. During the Dark Ages the pool of Christendom was stagnate because it was under the apostate rule of Roman Catholicism. But God raised up men like Hus, Zwingli, and Martin Luther to trouble the waters, and those who entered in found deliverance and life. Thus, we had the Protestant Reformation. And just like the Jews wanted to kill Jesus for healing the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, the Roman Catholic Church sought to kill the men of God and Protestantism.
In time the pool became stagnant again. The Protestant Church was not meeting the needs of the people and Christians were impotent. So God sent messengers again to the pool of Bethesda. Men like John and Charles Wesley troubled the waters and those that entered in found life. And once again the Orthodox Church sought to stamp it out.
Methodism eventually became stagnant, too. At the beginning of the 20th century the waters were troubled again. Men received the Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues, experienced miraculous healings and deliverances, along with persecutions from organized Christianity. It’s amazing that at each season of the troubling of the waters it was those of the previous move of God that persecuted it the most.
The cycle has continued. The Pentecostal Movement also became stagnant after only one generation. Men began organizing it and building their denominational walls, quenching the Spirit of a great move of God. Needless to say, when God began raising up prophets, apostles, and New Testament Church order in the 1950’s, it was the Pentecostals who persecuted it the most.
We have now come to the close of the Church Age and the dawning of His Kingdom. It is the season for the troubling of the waters. Christ is speaking; a living Word is coming forth. His voice is as the sound of many waters (Revelation 1:15). The New Testament churches have their heels dug in, Jericho is straitly shut, Laodicea has her doors closed, but the troubling Christ is coming to set up His Kingdom. Men will not be able to stagnate these waters with organization. It is time for the Lord to rule and reign.
Copyright © 2003 by Henry DuBose