The sea is a place where many different waters are gathered together. Water from rivers, streams, lakes, salt water, fresh water, all of it comes together and mixes in the sea. Sea water does not quench our thirst, nor can it save our life. A famous sailor’s saying expresses just that, “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.”
Understanding the physical characteristics of the sea helps us to understand the spiritual meaning of ‘sea’.
Deuteronomy 32:2 likens God’s word of truth to rain and dew. These are waters that come from above (from the heavens).
In the same manner, man’s teachings can be compared to water that comes from below, water of the earth (Jn 3:31-34), the sea.
Before the time of fulfillment, the time of the first coming when the Old Testament was explained and revealed, Judaism was divided into several different denominations. Each denomination had it’s own doctrines and teachings. Pharisees had their teachings (words), Sadducees had their teachings (words), and Zealots had their teachings (words) (Acts 23:8).
Since words and teachings = spiritual water, we can understand that Judaism had become a spiritual sea, where many spiritual waters were gathered. Those different denominations only taught man’s teachings – the teachings from the earth. They were the waters from the earth all mixed together, the spiritual sea.
“You have made men like fish in the sea,
like sea creatures that have no ruler.” ~Habakkuk 1:14
The Jewish people were the spiritual fish.
In Ezekiel 47 God prophesied that water would flow from the temple (verse 1). God prophesied that wherever that water flowed the fish would become alive and the Sea would teem with life. Then the fishermen would spread their nets and catch the fish (verses 8-12).
Ezekiel was a prophet, so this prophecy was talking about a time in the future.
Who came in fulfillment of the temple?
What was the fulfillment of the water that flows from the temple?
Jesus was the physical fulfillment of the temple (Jn 2:21), and the truth he spoke and taught was the water that flows from the temple and brings life (Jn 4:13-14). Jesus was the very first fisherman who let down his net to save those fish from the sea and give them life.
What was the net that Jesus used to deliver the Jews from the world of Judaism?
It was the revealed word, the testimony about the fulfillment of the Old Testament (Lk 24:27; 32; 44-45). Jesus did not bring the same words that had been taught for the last 4000 years, instead he brought the opened and revealed word, explaining how he was the fulfillment of the entire Old Testament. This was the net that was let down into the sea.
The 12 disciples were the first fish to be caught in the net, and once they had been caught and redeemed from the sea, they also became fishermen of heaven (Mt 4:18-19).
(those who are “caught in the net” are those who received, believed, and accepted the opened and revealed word)
At the time of the first coming Jesus came to ‘save’ the Jews from the sea. If you are drowning in water, the word ‘saved’ means to be rescued or delivered from the waters.
If the Jews were not drowning in the sea, why did Jesus have to come?
How can we say Jesus came to save the Jews if the Jews were already out of the sea and safe?
It is because they were drowning that Jesus had to come as the fisherman, to save them by casting his net and pulling them out to safety.
There is a very similar prophecy in the New Testament concerning the time of the second coming:
“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age.”
Part 2 of this series will discuss this New Testament prophecy in detail. These are prophecies which concerns us today. I encourage you to read and test these words for yourself.