Written by: Prof Gerrie Bester
Article source: JOY! Magazine
This article is the third teaching in this series. Click here to read the first article on Pearls Of Kingship.
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” – Matthew 7:6
We are busy studying Matthew 7:6. In our previous article, we gained an understanding of the Hebrew meaning of the word “dogs,” referring to those outside covenant and who reject the Father’s invitation to covenant. Matthew teaches us not to give what is holy unto dogs.
The importance of verbs
Looking at this verse, we see that two verbs are used. It teaches us not to give what is holy to the dogs and not to cast your pearls before the swine. We have to understand that Abba Father is not superfluous – everything in His Word is there for a purpose. There is a reason why He uses two different verbs in the context of this verse. The first word, give, is the Greek word didomi. Didomi means “to give to someone as his own” or simply, “to give yourself.” This Greek word also means “to give yourself to someone and then follow them as leader or master.” Did you get that? It is important to understand that this verb in Greek is attached to the person and not an object.
Who / what is Matthew referring to?
The word holy, as used in the Word of the Father, means to be set apart. Thus, to what or to whom is Matthew referring when he says to not give what is holy to the dogs? We know, firstly, that Abba Father is holy (1 Pet 1:16). We also know that His Word is holy (John 1:1). Matthew is not referring to the Word of God, however, because it is part of the Great Commission that we are to give the Word of God to those out of covenant and lost (dogs). Matthew is not saying, ‘don’t give the Gospel to the lost’. That would be totally contradictory to the Word of Abba Father.
God is not superfluous – everything in His Word is there for a purpose. You are set apart (holy) for your King and you are not to give yourself to those out of covenant.
Look to the original transcription
Looking at the Greek word didomi, we find the answer to this question. This verb specifically refers to giving of yourself, and is directly related to the person performing the action of giving. In the Greek language, this makes perfect sense. The Word of Abba Father also refers to believers, or the Bride of Christ, as being holy or set apart (Eph 2, 1 Pet 1:16). As children of the Most High God, we are holy vessels in the Hands of Abba Father. Reading the first part of Matthew 7:6 in the Greek or Hebrew languages, we see that Matthew is literally saying – you are set apart (holy) for your King and you are not to give yourself to those out of covenant. You are not to give yourself over to evil entities who want to pull you away from your covenant with the Lord. Don’t let those who reject God get a hold of you and pour what is ungodly into a holy, set apart vessel. It will leave the content of the vessel lukewarm and will destroy you.
What does this mean in our day to day lives as believers?
It means that you cannot, for example, drink with unbelievers in order to try and gain their trust with the hope of telling them about Christ. You cannot slander with people in order to try and gain an open door for bringing the Gospel. That is why Matthew 7:6 ends by saying, “they will turn around and tear you to pieces.” They will say, “a few minutes ago you were slandering/drinking with us, now you want to preach to us? You have to be crazy to think we are going to listen to you. You’re just like us.” Partaking in evil will not prepare the way for feeding people the Gospel. The Holy Spirit prepares the way and the hearts of those who are to hear the Gospel. Giving yourself over to partaking in the things of the world does not prepare the way for evangelising.
You can’t cross boundaries for the ‘sake of the Gospel’
You have to stay set apart (holy) to your King and cannot cross the boundaries of covenant in the hope of saving someone. You will lose yourself. Certain boundaries can never be crossed for the sake of feeding the Gospel to unbelievers. As children of God, you have to stay set apart. That is your very testimony and you cannot compromise that. It is valuable. We cannot leave the principles of covenant to fetch those who are outside covenant. We cannot let go of the Hand of Abba Father in order to grab the hand of an unbeliever. God needs to remain our anchor and we can never let go of Him. As believers, we have to move within the boundaries of covenant to be a shining light in a dark world. This verse is teaching us not to lose ourselves in trying to reach those who are out of covenant (dogs).
Prof Gerrie Bester PhD CA(SA) leads Roaring Truth Ministries. Email email@example.com. He is also the Dean of Emet Academy of Learning. Visit Emetgroup.co.za for more information.
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