Precept Upon Precept
Whom shall He teach knowledge? and whom shall He make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
In the above Scripture it states clearly what type of individual God will teach His knowledge and understanding to, those that have been weaned and drawn from the breasts. What does that mean exactly?
Job 21:22-24 says:
“Can anyone teach God knowledge,
Since He judges those on high?
One dies in his full strength,
Being wholly at ease and secure;
His pails are full of milk,
And the marrow of his bones is moist”
In this Scripture it is pertaining to milk being derived from the breasts and it states that someone that is full of his own strength (or has not fully submitted their carnal nature under the Spirit) will die. They are full of milk or immature like an infant; which causes them to be at ease and secure in their own ways (Job 12:5; Revelation 3:17). This lack of maturity will make it difficult to build rightly upon knowledge and understanding of the Lord unless the childish things are mastered by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 13:11). The Lord would like to teach them, but cannot because they’re not ready to receive the greater things of God (John 16:12; 1 Corinthians 3:2). Just like in many things, if you haven’t learned the foundational teachings fully, you cannot move onto grasping the more complicated concepts (ie. mathematical equations). To confirm further what is being said is the analogy of the bone marrow being moist. Saturated moist bone marrow can lead to inflammation and is oftentimes due to some form of injury or the result of a medical condition. One of the symptoms is the appearance of being fat or full looking (James 5:4-6; Ezekiel 16:49). This is an explanation of why people would die in their ways because of their immaturity of spiritual things which causes them to lean on their own ways rather than God’s; and as a result, it would cause them to become comfortable in these reckless ways, allowing them to put their trust in themselves over trusting God’s ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).
The milk is actually considered the foundational things of God which include:
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.
The milk principles that need to be grasped and understood fully by the Holy Spirit’s leading (and then put behind us AS understood in Him rightly) are repentance from dead works, faith toward God, doctrine of baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. These principles MUST be properly instilled spiritually by the Holy Spirit and in HIS leading on how to understand them rightly (not by traditions of men, Mark 7:4-9). Once the Holy Spirit has completed this work in you then and only then you are able to move on to the meat teachings, which are in righteousness. This is where the verses above finish off with, “And this we will do if God permits.” In other words, GOD is the One Who permits you to move forward. It’s not a choice based off what men think in their own understandings or what men may feel they have already accomplished on their own. God makes the ultimate decision on this. He is the One to determine whether someone is ready to move on to solid spiritual foods, the meat, which is understood as righteousness.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
It states clearly above that someone that is still only on the milk is unqualified in the word of righteousness. This would be the commands of righteousness.
It says in Matthew 6:33:
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
There are two things Jesus is talking about here. There’s first, the kingdom and then there’s His righteousness. The beginning of Solomon’s story coincides to where Jesus was going with this statement. Solomon was a young child when he came to God for help (immature) and asked Him for a discerning heart to govern His people and to distinguish (or judge rightly) between right and wrong (1Kings 3:7-13). And God said he chose rightly and then continued to give him what he did not ask for in addition (1 Kings 3:10-14), which is similar to the ‘these things will be added unto you,’ in Matthew 6:33. This prophetic act displayed in this story reveals what God deems as the kingdom of God—a heart to understand to discern justice (in God’s eyes or ways). As the story continues, Solomon was able to do this because God granted him the ability to do so, but he lost part of the kingdom due to his idolatry in his heart. He began to rule a kingdom but had not had his heart cleansed (true repentance) from his sinful nature of idolatry and making alliances with foreigners (which in the New Testament would be considered loving the world, 1Kings 11; 1 John 2:15; Matthew 4:8; Romans 12:2; James 1:27). He was unqualified to continue in the kingdom. By not mastering the first principles of the oracles of God rightly (walking through full repentance in obedience to all things under God—today, this would be parallel to obedience under the Holy Spirit in all things in order to master the sinful nature in you), then he became unqualified or unskilled to continue on in the kingdom work. He could no longer judge justly in God’s eyes because he was defiled. God gave this example in Scripture to teach those that He has ordained to be His, first, what would occur if a man walked in milk and was given meat (or was immature spiritually and given something they were not qualified to handle); and secondly, he wanted to emphasize the importance of building rightly precept upon precept. One cannot be wholly immature (solely on milk and continuously referring to it as ‘the deep things of God’) and try to claim or understand the depth of God’s righteousness and know Him as a Righteous King; as the word of righteousness (solid food) is for the people that are mature. Righteousness in Hebrew means beneficence, or the act of doing good. In other words, no one that is immature or still on the milk, learning to walk in obedience fully, can produce a completed life of doing good (in God’s eyes). This can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit. Solomon’s life represented a man still under the Law, not a man renewed by Christ, in a life led of the Holy Spirit in all things; a life led under the new law of faith.
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.
The new law of faith is the leading of the Holy Spirit through Christ and it allows those God’s called as His own to fulfill and establish the law overall (Romans 8:4). It’s righteousness towards God that establishes His Law, fulfilling all that the Holy Spirit commands you to do. It is true faithfulness (imparted by His Spirit) which makes us righteous unto God. This is why Jesus said this:
Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Christ was speaking prophetically about how one should walk in the kingdom, according to the leading of the Spirit, so that they would not break the commandments of God; otherwise they would be least in the kingdom or known to be of little significance to what God sees as important (as opposed to what they may think and see as men in their own understanding as being significant). Christ also said your righteousness had to exceed the scribes and Pharisees. What does this mean? It means that unless you walk in something greater than what the scribes and Pharisees are under, the Law (Old Covenant)—which would be the law of faith, led by the Spirit, then you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. You cannot walk under the Law by works led in your own doing and your own understanding without the Holy Spirit. It is a Law that will only lead to death (2 Corinthians 3:6; John 6:63; Jeremiah 31:31; Romans 2:29; Romans 7:6).
In conclusion, precept must be built upon precept; statute upon statute; testimony upon testimony . Those that are His must learn to walk by the Holy Spirit first in all things to learn the first principles of the oracles of God. Oracles are prophesy, which is to see and hear as God does when led by the Spirit. When we have grown to walk in these principles, we are being cleansed of our sinful nature according to God’s ways through His Holy Spirit. And when the Lord has regarded you as ready, He will then bring you into the word of righteousness, the solid food. All we can do as His people is continue to be led by Him and be willing as He instructs, to build our testimony of Truth which results in perfection in the Lord God.