By Pastor F. M. Riley
October 22, 2013
“When Jesus heard of it, He departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed Him on foot out of the cities.
And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick.
And when it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away that they may go into the villages and buy themselves victuals.
But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
And they say unto Him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
He said, Bring them hither to Me.
And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, He blessed, and broke, and gave the loaves to His disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained, twelve baskets full.
And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
“Don’t pay any attention to these prophecy preachers who are telling the people that the coming of the Lord is imminent. The Lord won’t come until there is a great end-time revival. Joel 2:28-30 has not yet been fulfilled, and it must be fulfilled before the Lord comes.”
Folks, I have heard this distortion of the Scriptures repeated over and over again by various preachers and so-called “Bible teachers.” I have often heard some arrogantly proclaim, “The Lord cannot come until there is a great end-time revival.” Strange! I have been under the impression that the word “Lord” literally means “LORD.” If my impression has been correct, then the Lord can do whatever He wants to do, whenever He wants to do it. No man [or woman] can put the Lord God in a box, and tell Him what He has to do, and when He has to do it. PERIOD!
Whatever the Lord God does, and whenever He does it, will be according to His inspired Word, for the Lord God never violates His own Word. Many today would show far more wisdom if they were trying to learn how to “rightly divide the Word of truth,” [2 Timothy 2:15] instead of simply running their mouths, espousing things supposedly from the Scriptures [?] which they haven’t really studied and don’t have a clue about what the Scriptures are actually and literally saying or teaching. What do I mean?
Before we get started on the main theme of this study, let’s answer the foolish claim stated above. When is Joel 2:28-30 to be fulfilled? If God’s people would pay diligent attention when they read or study God’s Word, it can easily be seen that Joel 2:28 begins with these words, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh…..” Do our readers see it this time? “Afterward.” At this point the careful reader would be asking afterward what?
In the preceding verses the Lord God gave to Israel and the Jewish people one of the most moving heart wrenching pleas to Israel and the Jewish people recorded in the entire Word of God. The Lord graciously exhorted Israel and the Jewish people to:
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen [Gentiles] should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” Joel 2:15-17.
History reveals that the Jewish people paid absolutely no attention to this plea, obviously coming from the very heart of God for His covenanted people. Because they ignored this plea, the Lord God brought upon them judgment, and for the next 2,600 years the Jews were ruled over by the Gentile nations of the earth. First by Assyria, then by Babylon, then by Rome, and then by many other nations and peoples into which the Jews were scattered over the past 2,000 years. Do I need to remind our readers of Germany, Hitler, and the holocaust? In every nation the Jewish people were looked down on, mocked, mistreated, cheated, abused, and killed.
But finally in 1948 the nation of Israel was once more re-established. However, they have existed as a nation since their re-establishment only by the intervention of the Gentile superpowers; the U.S., Great Britain, Russia, the United Nations, etc. Right to this day Israel still looks to the U.S. and a few other sources for international leadership. Israel nationally, has not yet learned or matured enough to stand on their own two feet politically or spiritually. Sadly, the coming Tribulation period is what will be required for the Lord God Himself to bring Israel to political and spiritual “maturity” and turn a Jewish “remnant” representative of the whole nation back to faith in Him.
This will not happen until after the resurrection and rapture of the Lord’s Gentile church. Then and only then will God’s Spirit be poured out “upon all flesh” as predicted in Joel 2:28-30. The result of that outpouring of the Spirit at that time will be the salvation and sealing of 144,000 Jews out of all twelve tribes of Israel, and the greatest soul saving revival that has ever occurred in the history of humanity. Read about it for yourself in Revelation 7. But this great revival will come after the beginning of the Tribulation period following the resurrection and rapture of New Covenant believers.
Those who are placing Joel 2:28-30 in this present dispensation don’t even pay attention to what they are reading in the Scriptures, and are wrong, in what they are claiming. Many today think that Joel’s prophecy in Joel 2 and Peter’s prophecy in Acts 2 are one and the same. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If our readers would diligently compare the two prophecies, they are not even worded the same or set in the same context. Hello!
Now let’s turn our attention to the great supper set forth in the account of The Feeding of the Five Thousand …..
The timing…..Notice the context! This event occurred right after news was brought to the Lord Jesus that John the Baptist had been put to death, Matthew 14:1-12; 14:13. Significantly, this is shortly after Christ Jesus had begun His own public ministry. See Matthew 4:12-13, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 4:14-15, John 1:35-43. It is quite clear from these Scriptures that Christ Jesus had a great respect for John the Baptist [Matthew 11:7-11], and therefore would not infringe on John’s ministry. But after John was put in prison, then Christ began His own public ministry. The public ministry of Christ did not begin at His baptism, as some today claim and teach, while clearly ignoring these inspired Scriptures which tell us exactly when Christ began His public ministry. It is amazing to me that many “professing Christians” today think they are so smart, that they don’t need to pay any attention to what the inspired Word actually and literally says. The last time I checked 1 Peter 5:5-6 was still in the Bible. So is 2 Timothy 2:15.
The Occasion…..These inspired Scriptures explicitly tell us that after the Lord Jesus had heard about John the Baptist being put to death, He “departed” from where He was, by boarding a ship and
sailing across the Sea of Galilee to the other side to “a desert place” [deserted; not inhabited; empty]. Our readers would profit from studying and comparing all four accounts of this feeding of the five thousand as given here in Matthew 14, but also in Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:1-14.
Dear readers, the inspired Scriptures are quite clear that the “sea” typifies the nations or the masses of unbelieving humanity. Read it for yourself in Isaiah 57:20-21 and Revelation 17:15. So Christ crossing the sea is definitely a type of Christ giving the gospel to all the “sea” of humanity during this present dispensation of grace. Keep in mind that Christ Himself is the sower of good seed, 13:37.
How long did it take Christ to sail across the sea? The Scriptures do not explicitly tell us. However, in John’s account Philip told the Lord, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little,” John 6:7. The Greek word translated as “pennyworth” is the word “denarion.” This word literally means “a day’s wages.” See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, page 132, Strong’s No. 1220. History reveals that the denarius was originally ten coins, rather than one. If we multiply the 200 by 10 we have 2,000; which is the exact number of years that the Word repeatedly indicates would be required for the “dispensation of grace,” or before the Lord would return to Israel. See Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 2:8. Just “coincidence?”
It is more than “coincidence” that Luke’s account explicitly states that this desert area belonged to [was owned by] the “city called Bethsaida,” Luke 9:10. The Greek word translated as “Bethsaida” literally means “house of fishing.” See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, page 101, Strong’s No. 966. This immediately suggests the spiritual meaning of the miracle that was performed here; the feeding of the multitudes of humanity with the gospel of salvation in Christ. This is exactly what the disciples of Christ are called to do; to be “fishers of men,” Matthew 4:18-19; Mark 1:16-17. Think about it!
The time of day…..The feeding of the five thousand took place in the “evening,” Matthew 14:15. Mark’s account explicitly says “when the day was now far spent,” Mark 6:35. Luke’s account says, “when the day began to wear away,” Luke 9:12. There is then no question that this miracle occurred right at the end of the daylight hours; late afternoon, twilight, or approaching dark.
When I was a boy growing up in Texas, the evening meal was called “Supper.” The first time I ever heard someone refer to it as “dinner,” I thought they were talking about the noon meal. Yes, I am just a southern “redneck” raised among common people where there was no “pretense” of being something that you really were not. “Supper” is still the evening meal at my house, and I have no apology to anyone for saying so. The feeding of the 5,000 was an evening meal and therefore it was a “supper.” Is this clear enough?
Folks, all through the inspired Word, late afternoon, evening, and twilight are used as types pointing to “the last days” or the end of the age. This feeding of the five thousand is then definitely typical of the end of this present age or dispensation in which we true believers are living right now!
The meeting of the need…..The need of the multitudes on that occasion was for “food.” Significantly, this need has not changed in the past 2,000 years. The multitudes of humanity have never needed spiritual food more than it is needed today. But are they being fed today? And do the multitudes want spiritual food today? Well…??? Think about it!
Apparently after checking the whole crowd, the only food that the disciples could find was in the possession of a young “lad,” who had “five barley loaves and two small fishes,” John 6:9. I am repeatedly amazed at how many preachers and “Bible teachers” completely ignore the spiritual significance of these statements set forth in John’s account.
The young “lad” is obviously a type of the “remnant” of Israel who believed on Christ at His first coming, Romans 11:5. Spiritually speaking, that would have made the just redeemed Jewish “remnant” young “lad.” At that time the Jewish “remnant” included those Jewish disciples who believed on, received, and followed Christ, as well as others of their people they were winning to the Lord. Why do I say this? Because it is obvious that the spiritual truth which we Gentile believers enjoy today, whether some like it or not, came to us directly from and through the Jewish people. Who gave us the Bible? The Jews or Israelite people were used of God to write down His inspired Word! Only two books in the entire Bible were supposedly written by a Gentile; the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts, and even the claim that Luke was a Gentile is questionable.
This young “lad” had in his possession “five barley loaves and two small fishes.” Obviously he was more intelligent than the multitudes around him, for he had brought with him something to eat while out in this “desert place,” while the multitude had brought nothing. Nevertheless, the Lord God told His disciples to bring the five loaves and two fishes from the “lad” to Him so that the need for food for the multitude could be met. Then a notable miracle took place…..
THE FIVE LOAVES…..The “five loaves” clearly portray the gospel of Christ written by the Jewish disciples of Christ being passed on to the Gentile church for the spiritual feeding of the multitudes of mankind. Christ Jesus explicitly stated during His personal ministry, “I am that bread of life,” John 6:48. Study the entire passage from 6:31 through 6:51. The Lord God then received the five loaves and two fishes from His Jewish disciples, blessed them and broke them, and gave both loaves and fish to His disciples to feed the multitudes. Hello! Isn’t this exactly what Christ did when He gave the Great Commission to His church? Read it for yourself in Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:14-18, Luke 24:36-49, John 20:19-23, and Acts 1:6-8. Folks, the Lord God graciously gave to true believers the privilege of giving “the bread of life” to the multitudes of humanity. If we don’t carry it to the masses of humanity, then how are they going to hear it, and be saved, Romans 10:17? How many loaves were there? Five! How many times is the Great Commission recorded in the Scriptures? Five! “5” is the Bible number signifying “the grace of God in Christ Jesus.”
THE TWO FISHES…..But what about the “two fishes?” I’m so glad you asked!
Dear readers, why do some Christians today want to totally ignore the heavens above the earth? If we go clear back to Genesis 1:14-18 God placed two “great lights” in the heavens above the earth, and “the stars also,” and explicitly stated that the very first purpose for them was to serve as “signs,” 1:14. This Hebrew word translated as “signs” literally means a “sign” which communicates the Divine Message and will of God to mankind living on the earth, and is so used repeatedly throughout the Old Testament.
Because Satan and his followers have corrupted and used the “signs” of the Zodiac set forth in the heavens for evil purposes in our day, many Christian people today refuse to even study these heavenly “signs.” Yet the inspired Word is quite clear that it was the Lord God of Heaven who was the Author and Creator of the Mazzaroth [Zodiac]. The Hebrew word for the Zodiac is translated as “Mazzaroth” in the inspired Scriptures. See Job 38:32. The word “Mazzaroth” literally means “the twelve signs.” Look it up in your own Concordance or Lexicon. In this Scripture the Lord God is asking Job if he is able to bring forth the “twelve signs” of the Zodiac in their respective seasons? Obviously there are hidden messages in the Zodiac, and each one of them will be brought forth [come to fulfillment] at their respective “season.”
Oh yes, I have had some “Christians” falsely accuse me of engaging in the practice of “astrology.” What a blasphemous, insulting lie! I have never engaged in or encouraged anyone else to engage in “astrology.” I do not consult any daily horoscope for my actions for the day. Rather, when I awaken each morning I go to my Lord in sincere prayer, asking Him to guide and direct my life through the day. Yet I have no apology to make to anyone for studying astronomy and “the twelve signs” of the Zodiac which the Lord God Himself placed in His inspired Word and in the heavens for His people to study, Romans 10:18; Psalm 19:1-4. Those preachers who don’t like my studying these things and sharing them with others, have my express permission to “lump it, stay mad, or ask God for the grace to get over it and move on.” Is this stated clearly enough?
I refuse to ignore the Scriptural truth that it was Almighty God who set the stars and constellations of the heavens in their respective places in order to use them to convey His entire Plan of the Ages to mankind upon the earth. By the grace of God I can take the “twelve signs” set forth in the Zodiac and preach and teach God’s whole way of salvation, and entire Plan of the Ages from them. I suggest that our readers obtain an Almanac containing the twelve signs of the Zodiac and familiarize yourself with these “signs.” Those preachers and Bible teachers who don’t wish to study these truths don’t need my permission to stay ignorant. However, for those readers who would like to seriously study these truths, I would recommend you secure a book entitled The Gospel in the Stars written by Joseph A. Seiss and also another book entitled, The Witness of the Stars written by E. W. Bullinger. Any good Christian bookstore will have copies. Both of these books were written by Godly men; true believers, back in
the 1800,s, now over 200 years ago. I mention this to emphasize that the truths I am teaching are not some “newly” invented theory or opinion.
Now some reader may be asking what this has to do with “the two fishes?” Good! I’m glad you asked.
Over the centuries since the first coming of Christ men have discovered that the earth and the solar system in which earth is located revolves around the entire Milky Way galaxy. As it revolves, it passes beneath the constellations in the heavens above. At the speed with which the solar system moves through the vastness of space, it requires 2,000 years for the solar system of earth to pass through the “sign” of one constellation. In other words, the solar system in which earth is located requires 24,000 years to make a complete circuit around the Milky Way galaxy. I know some readers will remember that back about 1990 or later [I’m not sure of the date], some of those actually involved in astrology, horoscopes, and the occult produced a song entitled “The Age of Aquarius,” which for a while was the top “hit song” being played on radio and TV. This song was written and sung because, in relation to the constellations, earth was passing under the “sign” or constellation of Aquarius. The Earth and solar system remain under this “sign” today.
But 2,000 years ago at the first coming of Christ, earth passed under the “sign” of Pisces, and has been under that sign most of this present “dispensation of grace.” If our readers will look at the “sign” of Pisces in your Almanac, the sign is composed of two fishes swimming against the current. This aptly describes the Lord’s churches during this present dispensation. Bible believing Christianity has had to battle the opposing current of the whole world system over the past two thousand years, John 15:18-19; 16:33. It is then glaringly obvious that the two fishes typified the 2,000 years of this present dispensation of grace.
Compare or contrast this with the “sign” of Aquarius. The sign of Aquarius is one fish with its mouth open, and into its mouth a man is pouring water out of his bucket into the mouth of the fish, and the fish is drinking it up, totally and completely. The “man” in this case typifies Christ Jesus pouring out “the water of life.” Just as the two fishes are types of the 2,000 years dispensation of grace, so the one fish is a type of the 1,000 year Millennial Kingdom of Christ, in which all humanity which survives the Tribulation will eagerly “drink up” the water of life poured out by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself as He literally, bodily, visibly, rules and reigns over the whole earth from the city of Jerusalem. Glory to God! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
Now let’s return to the feeding of the 5,000. The “two fishes” represent or typify the 2,000 years dispensation of grace [“the two fishes”], in which the disciples of Christ were to feed the multitudes of mankind with “the bread of life,” typified by the “five loaves.” Oh glory to God! Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!
The end of the Supper…..
But like all meals, the supper finally came to an end. “And they did all eat, and were filled:…..” Matthew 14:20. Compare Mark 6:42, Luke 9:17, and John 6:12. Each of these Scriptures explicitly states that the multitude who had partaken of the supper “were filled.” This does not mean that all were satisfied, or, spiritually speaking, that everyone who had eaten had gotten saved. Rather, it implies that all who were there had received all they wanted of the loaves and fishes. Or another way of putting it is that all who were being fed had all they wanted of God’s Word! They had had enough!
Isn’t this exactly the attitude of the unbelieving world system that we live in today? The lost world has had enough of our gospel of Christ Jesus. They don’t want anymore! This wicked attitude is seen in the daily and constant mockery of God, of Christ, of God’s Word, of Bible believing Christianity, and of Bible believing Christians and churches. We see this mockery and rejection of the Lord Jesus and His Word displayed daily in movies, on TV programs and TV movies, by the news media on both TV and in newspapers and magazines, by the educators and politicians, and on the streets and in the shops where we have to live and work and shop.
We also see it in the ever rising persecution of Bible believing Christians, in the burning of churches, and even the imprisoning and cold blooded murder of Christian pastors. This whole world
system is “fed up” with Bible believing Christianity, and wants no more of it. Supper is over! Many times as a child growing up I had my Momma say to me, “Son, remember that actions speak louder than words.” The actions of this world system today should tell every true believer that supper is over! The world system has had all they want of our precious gospel of Christ. It is now time for our precious Lord to remove His “pearl of great price” out of this present evil world, exactly as He promised He will do, John 14:1-3; Galatians 1:3-4; 1 Corinthians 15:50-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Revelation 3:10.
The Twelve baskets full
Well isn’t this interesting? Immediately after the supper had ended, the Lord instructed His disciples to gather up the fragments or scraps of food that had not been eaten by the multitude, Matthew 14:20; Mark 6:43; Luke 9:17; John 6:12-17. The disciples then obediently gathered up 12 baskets of “remnants.”
I do not mean to be deliberately offensive to any reader, but it would take an absolute spiritual “dunce” not to understand that the gathering up of the 12 baskets of fragments or “remnants” is a type of the regathering of the 12 tribes of Israel at the end of this age. See Ezekiel 37, Revelation 7, and many other prophetic passages in God’s Word. Further, it cannot be ignored that immediately after the resurrection and rapture of New Covenant believers has occurred and the Tribulation period has begun, the 144,000 Jews out of all twelve tribes of Israel are going to be saved, sealed, and commissioned to preach the gospel during the first half of the Tribulation period, Revelation 7. No true believer should miss this wonderful truth portrayed here in type.
But what happens next?
Following the end of the supper, the Lord Jesus placed His disciples in a ship and sent them back across the sea of Galilee, Matthew 14:22; Mark 6:45; John 6:16-21. This incident is recorded in the inspired Word only three times, not being mentioned in Luke’s account. Why? Because “3” is the Bible number signifying the resurrection and rapture. In all three of the other accounts, it is recorded that during “the fourth watch of the night” [Matthew 14:25; Mark 6:48] the Lord Jesus appeared to the disciples “walking on the water.” At first, the disciples were terrified, supposing that they were seeing “a spirit,” Matthew 14:26; Mark 6:49; John 6:19. Do any of our believing readers think that we too may not be just a wee bit terrified when the resurrection and rapture occurs and we see the Lord Jesus coming in the heavens above, shining in all His glory, and drawing nearer and nearer to us?
But then Christ spoke to them in an audible voice, identifying Himself and assuring them that they had nothing to fear, Matthew 14:27; Mark 6:50; John 6:19-20. Even so, at the time of the resurrection and rapture, the Lord will audibly speak to us, 1 Thessalonians 4:16. The Greek word translated as “shout” in this Scripture literally means, “an intelligent call.” Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! Glory to God! What is being described here then is a type of the resurrection and rapture of New Covenant believers immediately following the end of the supper.
Are our readers aware that time wise, we living today are living in “the fourth watch of the night?”
In Psalm 90:4, it is explicitly stated, “For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” Four thousand years ago [4 watches in the night] God called Abraham, and the first “watch in the night” began. Each thousand years since typifies one more “watch in the night. Count them up for yourself. This means that we believers today are living in the final thousand years and therefore “the fourth watch in the night.” Hello! It is time for our Lord to appear in His glory and speak to His New Covenant believers on this present storm tossed “sea” of humanity. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus,” Revelation 22:20.
Then what happened?
The inspired Word tells us that after Christ had spoken to His disciples, giving them assurance that there was no need to fear, “then they willingly received Him into the ship: and immediately the ship
was at the land whither they went,” John 6:21. Wow! One moment they were rowing against the Wind out on the Sea of Galilee, and the next instant they were at their destination. Glory to God! Is there a reader who cannot grasp the truth of this statement? Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.
Now the question arises…..where were the disciples headed? Matthew’s account clearly states that they were headed for “the land of Gennesaret,” Matthew 14:34. Likewise Mark’s account says that “they came into the land of Gennesaret,” Mark 6:53. These are the only two Scriptures which tell us explicitly where the disciples and Christ were headed and where they put ashore. So why is this important to know? Because here is another precious type.
The Greek word “Gennesaret” was brought into the English Bible untranslated. This word literally means “the garden of the Lord.” See Strong’s No. 1082. Glory! In other words, these three accounts in Matthew, Mark, and John typically portray New Covenant believers being instantly raptured into Paradise in New Jerusalem in Heaven above. Glory to God! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! Thank you Lord Jesus!
Folks, isn’t Heaven above; Paradise; the garden of the Lord, the destination to which all of us who are true believers are headed, and have longed for ever since we received Christ as our Savior? You know it is! Then how can we be assured of reaching that destination? Only through a genuine experience of saving grace by placing our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our own personal Savior and God’s only way of salvation, John 3:16; 3:36; 5:24; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 16:30-31; Romans 10:8-13; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5.
This account of The Feeding of the Five Thousand was indeed a notable miracle. But so is being “born again” by the Spirit of God, John 3:3-8. In fact the “new birth” is a far greater miracle than the feeding of the five thousand. For in the “new birth,” a guilty hell deserving, defiled, lost sinner is instantly forgiven and cleansed of their sin and transformed into a “son of God,” Romans 8:1; 8:9-17. Glory to God! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! If you are a true believer, then lift up your heart and voice and give the Lord glory!
If you are not a true believer, then I beg you to seek the Lord as your own personal Savior today! Don’t delay! Tomorrow could be one day too late. Dear readers, we are right now living in “the fourth watch of the night” and the end of this age. The Lord Jesus could appear and call for His people to come to glory at any minute of any day now. Will He find you “watching” and ready, or will you be left behind to enter the terrible Tribulation? If you are waiting for a great end-time revival to occur before you even begin to “watch” for the Lord’s coming, you will be taken by complete surprise when He comes. I’d like to meet you in glory when our Lord comes for all true New Covenant believers. Please don’t disappoint me.
SUPPPER IS OVER! THE COMING OF THE LORD IS
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Permission is granted to any true believer or any Bible believing Christian ministry to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written.
Thank you dear brothers and sisters in Christ for the love and generosity you have shown towards this old preacher in supporting this Internet ministry. These studies have gone out all over this country and other countries of the world for the past 45 years because of your gifts. Thank you! May your rewards be great in glory.
Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to: Pastor F. M. Riley, Last Call Gospel Ministry, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or I can be reached by email at: email@example.com.
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