THE PROPHECY OF THE EAR OF MALCHUS

“Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.  Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:10-11).

Simon Peter’s first name comes from the Hebrew, shamah, meaning “hearing.”  Scripturally, the name is applied to the gift of spiritual hearing, as given by the Holy Spirit. as one chosen by Jesus as a founding father of the church, is centered on the fact that he has spiritual ears to ear.  In the Old Testament, it is the name “Simeon,” who was Jacob’s second son through Leah.  At his birth, she names him on the basis that God had heard of her plight …

“And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lordhath heard I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon (Genesis 29:33).

Simeon was named for the hearing of the Lord.  In the New Testament, Simon Peter lives up to his name, which also has it’s root in “hearing.”  In Matthew 16:15, Jesus asks Simon, “But whom say you that I am?”  Of course, he then identifies Jesus as Messiah, the Son of God.  The 17th verse then characterizes Simon’s spiritual hearing …

“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).

Here, Jesus acknowledges that Simon has ears to hear the revelation about Christ which has come from Heaven.  Though he still has many tests ahead of him, Jesus takes this opportunity to surname him as Peter (meaning “rock”) signifying that he would become an immovable stone in the foundational structure of the church …

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

SHEMA ISRAEL:  HEAR, O ISRAEL

Deuteronomy 6:4 is a pivotal verse in the life and history of Israel:  “Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.”  This command to “hear” signifies the hearing of the heart, not merely that of the ears.  This verse is deemed so important that it is affixed to the doorposts of the Jewish faithful.  It is rolled inside a small case called a “mezuzah” and is remembered as one of the key verses in the Torah.  When passing through such a doorway, they pay respect to the presence of the Word of God.  It’s presence there is considered to be a blessing to the household.  But the key scriptural admonition is to “hear.”  God requires the faithful to “hear” him, but hearing requires more than mere exposure to the Word.  The interpretive power of the Holy Spirit must be present in the believer before the full meaning of the Word becomes clear.  Jesus illustrated this to his disciples following his rejection by the leaders of national Israel, as told in Matthew 12.  There, we find the narrative of the Pharisees attributing the power of Jesus’ work to Satan, rather than the Holy Spirit.  In the following chapter – Matthew 13 – he began to speak of the Kingdom in parables.  His disciples wondered why he was doing this, instead of just speaking plainly.  His answer, in Matthew 13, is quite clear in it’s implications …

He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand” (Matthew 13:11-13).

Jesus acted Judicially against the House of David – in effect cutting off their hearing because of their unbelief.  In fact, scripture is full of pictures of the hearing of faith versus the deafness and blindness of unbelief.  When Jesus “cut off” Israel’s spiritual hearing, Israel’s fate was sealed.  All who die in unbelief toward who Jesus Christ really is are destined for eternal damnation and will not receive salvation.  The unbelieving Jews  sealed their fate eternally in the afterlife, but national Israel just 70 years later after Christ’s crucifixion would suffer a dispersal from their homeland by the Romans to all the nations of the world.  The Jews were scattered and in unbelief.  This was the utter judgment of God upon them for their unbelief and rejection of Christ’s message of salvation through him.  God’s attention would then be directed to the Gentile nations of the world with the message of salvation through Christ.  His attention to the Gentile nations of the world with the message of the gospel message of salvation through Christ is where it has been for the last approximately 2,000 years since his crucifixion (but that is a little bit ahead of the story, back to Israel’s “cut off” hearing).

THE EAR IS CUT OFF

Later in the book of Matthew, a remarkable event takes place.  It illustrates not only the principle of spiritual hearing, but may also present a prophetic picture of Israel’s spiritual future.  The event in question comes as Jesus is betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane.  As Judas approaches with an assorted band of soldiers and Temple officials, he comes before Jesus and greets him with the infamous kiss of betrayal.  Making no resistance, Jesus announces his identity to the crowd.  But one of his disciples, in a burst of zeal, draws his sword and lunges at the servant of the high priest.  This is first mentioned in Matthew 26:51 …

“And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear” (Matthew 26:51).

Virtually the same account is given in Mark 14:47.  Here, however, the swordsman is described simply as a bystander …

“And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear” (Mark 14:47).

Again in Luke 22:50 and 51, the brief narrative of this event is given.  This time, however, even more new detail is added …

“And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.  And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. (Luke 22:50-51).

Now we see that after the ear is cut off, Jesus, in some miraculous way, restores it fully – in the end, it is completely healed.  Again, in the book of John, the record of this event is given, now in it’s most complete form.  Here, we find Simon Peter named as the swordsman and Malchus identified as the servant of the High Priest.  In John 18:10-11 we read …

Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.  Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:10-11).

Jesus clearly states that his mission is not to make war against against the political and religious system of the world, but to do the will of his heavenly Father.  This is but one of many times that Christ must rebuke Peter, who is both quick to hear and quick to ignore.  But the event is a divinely intentioned prophetic foreview of the healing of Israel that

Christ Healing the Ear of Malchus
At the betrayal of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane,  Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of Malchus, a servant of the High Priest.  Luke (a physician) adds an interesting detail.  Jesus “… touched his ear and healed him” (Luke 22:51).  

will come in the Kingdom Age, which will be the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ and the church upon the earth after the rapture event and seven-year judgment period called the Tribulation.  As he had often done before, Peter impulsively lunged forth to do what he thought was right at the moment.  No doubt, he felt that attacking the High Priest’s representative would give him the best chance at forestalling Jesus’ arrest.  Since he attacked with a sword, he probably meant to leave Malchus with a mortal wound.  But Peter was a fisherman, not a warrior.  Malchus must have dodged at the last moment.  Instead of his throat or chest, Peter took only an ear.  Significantly, however, it was the ear of the servant of the High Priest.

A PROPHETIC PICTURE

His name – Malchus – is a linguistic variant of the Hebrew word melech, meaning “king.”  By the time this event took place, the leaders of national Israel had already rejected Jesus.  The Jewish Priesthood was under judgment.  They were about to fully act out that judgment by wounding their true King.  As Isaiah 53:5 says, “He was wounded for our transgressions …”  But he was healed of those wounds, rising again to restore a world that sinned against him.  Ultimately, he will heal national Israel itself.  In their own land, he will bring the Jews a Kingdom under his leadership, and their hearing will be restored so that they may once again serve a righteous priesthood.  As stated above, this will occur during the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ and his bride (the church made up of all born again believers) on Earth.  In a way, the wounding of Malchus (king) is a picture of the wounding of the true King, Jesus.  But more than that, the wounding of Malchus’ ear is curiously symbolic of the people of Israel.  As a servant of the High Priest, Malchus depicts Israel’s role.  Like him, Israel served a corrupt priesthood.  They listened to the wrong voices and would soon call for the death of their Messiah.  Their hearing had been “cut off.”  But Jesus healed the ear of Malchus.  In so doing, he was prophetically acting out that future day when he would heal the hearing of Israel.  In that day, they will serve Jesus as their true High Priest.  Peter correctly believed that Jesus was the Messiah and that he would bring the Kingdom to earth in the very near future.  In the flesh, he acted on that belief, attempting to protect his King, even if it meant giving up his own life.  But he was wrong.  Once before, shortly after publicly proclaiming Jesus as Messiah, Peter had acted in the flesh.  This incident is recounted in Mathew 16 where we read …

From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.  Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee” (Matthew 16:21-22).

Jesus severely reprimanded Peter, even accusing him of acting in the spirit of Satan, rather than God.  He knew that he must “suffer many things” in order to complete the plan of the ages.  Centuries before, Moses had spoken to his people about the power of the coming Messiah who would, in the end, avenge them for all that they would suffer at the hands of their enemies.  In Deuteronomy 32, the Son of Moses opens with a ringing command …

“Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak and hear.  O earth, the words of my mouth” (Deuteronomy 32:1).

The context of Moses’ prophecy concludes with the judgment of the nations gathered against Israel during the Tribulation.  In verse 44, it concludes with these telling words …

“And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people …”(Deuteronomy 32:44).

Once again, there is a clear linkage made between prophetic utterance and the ear.  The ear of Malchus was once healed and made complete after being cut off.  We are never told what happened to him after that.  It is possible that, having experienced the loving touch of the savior of man’s soul, he went on to become a Messianic believer.  In that future day when Israel’s hearing is healed, that is precisely what they will become.  But for now, Israel’s ear is still “cut off” in unbelief.

IF YOU WILL HEAR …

“While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation” (Hebrews 3:15).

Us Americans living today do not fully understand how absolutely blessed we are as Americans that we can see, hear and have the opportunity to understand the gospel message of eternal salvation through Christ.  It is readily available in every book store and various other means such as the internet at any given moment.  Bibles, the very word of God, are readily available for purchase every few blocks in nearly every neighborhood in America.  The word of God is right at our fingertips … the glorious message of eternal salvation.  As the writer to the Hebrews expounds via inspiration of the Holy Spirit – do not harden your heart at the opportunity of hearing this glorious soul saving gospel to avoid an eternal fate.  While your ear is still attached and not “cut off,” God urges you to believe on him whom he has sent for the gift of eternal life …

“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5).

{“He that hath an ear,} let him hear what the spirit says to the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).

{“He that hath an ear,} let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (Revelation 2:11).

{“He that hath an ear,} let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Revelation 2:17).

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.  And I will give him the morning star.  {He that hath an ear,} let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 2:26-29).

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.  {He that hath an ear,} let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:5-6).

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.  {He that hath an ear,} let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:12-13).

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.  {He that hath an ear,} let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:21-22).

IT’S YOURS FOR THE ASKING

In order to accept the offer of God’s grace and his salvation, you must take the crucial three steps of …

1. Agreeing – A belief and agreeing with God in all that he says in his word, the Bible, about the fact that you are separated from God, as every man and woman on the face of the earth are before accepting his salvation.  The Bible reveals that all are separated from him in a spiritual state of death, or in another way that the Bible puts it, in a state of sin, that will result in eternal damnation.  Agreeing with God in your heart that you are in need of his salvation.  The Bible reveals that God looks upon the heart of a man, and thus, responds accordingly to the man or woman who comes to him for salvation in recognition of his inability to save himself.  The Bible makes these facts very clear – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).  The Bible describes these three kinds of death:  physical death (the state experienced when life leaves our bodies); spiritual death (spiritual separation from God caused by our state of spiritual death, or state of sin that results in outward acts of sin on a daily basis as the Bible also puts it – the state of sin is received from the first man Adam); and finally eternal death (the fixed state entered into by the individual who dies physically while he or she is dead spiritually).  It is eternal death, in particular, which is the horrible result of receiving the wages of sin.  The Lord Jesus Christ frequently described such a death as being eternal (without end) in a destiny which he called Hell.  He described Hell as a literal place of judgment (Matthew 13:42); a place of everlasting fire (Matthew 18:8); a place of torment (Luke 16:24,28); a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:50); a place of remorse (Mark 9:44-48); of bitter memory (Luke 16:25), and a place originally prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).  In fact, Jesus more often warned about Hell than he spoke about Heaven.  It is not God’s will or desire that any person should be consigned to perish in Hell (2 Peter 3:9), but rather that all should come to repentance of unbelief toward him and believe on him for the salvation of the individual’s soul.  But God’s justice requires that the “soul who sins” (remains in it’s state of death or state of sin) is the one who will die eternally (Ezekiel 18:4).  So, agree with God, admitting that you are unable to save yourself and in a state of sin under God’s just condemnation for that sin and that you are in need of his salvation.

2. Believing – Then, believe that God does not want you to perish eternally in the torment of Hell because of your sin.  Believe that God loves you so much that he provided a way whereby he could still be a just, holy and righteous God, and yet pardon you.  Believe that God did not just overlook sin, but that he sent his only begotten son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to provide salvation by personally paying the penalty for sin.  Believe that Jesus Christ, whose life, death, burial and resurrection is the best-attested fact of antiquity, did come to earth to live, die, rise again and ascend to Heaven in order to provide justification and salvation for all who trust him.  Believe that he, and he alone, can save you because he has fully satisfied the just demands of God.  Believe that you can’t become righteous in God’s sight by your own effort.  Believe that he wants to save you and that he will save you.  The Bible provides a solid basis for such belief …

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). 

“But God demonstrates his love toward us in this:  while we were yet sinners,  Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). 

God presented him (Jesus Christ) as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood.  He did this to demonstrate his justice because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies the man or woman who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:25-26). 

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures … ” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). 

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). 

“Jesus answered, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).  “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out [drive away]” (John 6:37).

“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” (Revelation 3:20).

3. Calling – It is not enough to agree with God, admit your need, and believe that Christ can and will save you.  You must act upon those facts.  You must repent of the sin of your unbelief toward him and actively call upon him for the salvation of your soul based on the fact that you cannot save yourself because of your sins.  You must be willing to completely turn from your own efforts to save yourself or from any other hope.  You must come to Christ, calling upon him for salvation and counting on the fact that he will do what he has promised.  This means simply taking the gift of pardon and eternal life which he offers.  Merely believing about Jesus Christ without coming to him makes as much sense and is as effective as believing that a medication can successfully treat a fatal disease, but failing to take it.  Yet again, the Bible emphatically and authoritatively provides the basis for such statements:

“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). 

The word translated “believe” here means to “rest one’s entire weight and trust on the object or person in which the belief is placed.”  It requires action in keeping with the intellectual assent of that belief.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

” … but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

The logical question you may be asking at this point is:  “how do I come to Christ and call upon him?”  The answer is that “calling upon the Lord” is just another term for praying, or talking to God.  To talk to God is not a complicated process, dependent upon some special rituals.  God has invited people to approach him through his Son in simple, straightforward terms.  In fact, Jesus approved of the dishonest, despised tax collector who simply prayed, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.”  While the exact words of your prayer to God are not of vital importance (since God sees and knows the attitude of your heart), the following is the kind of prayer that you could pray in calling upon God for salvation …

“Dear Lord Jesus:  I realize that I need you.  I admit that I have sinned and that I deserve your just, eternal punishment for that sin.  But I am sorry for my sin and I am turning to you and asking for forgiveness.  I believe that you died and rose again to pay sin’s penalty on my behalf.  I come to you and open my heart to you.  I ask you to come into my life, forgive me for all of my sin and make me your child.  I invite you to take control of my life and to cause me to be the kind of person you would have me to be.  I thank you for doing this because you have promised that whosoever calls upon you, as I am doing now, shall be saved.  I pray this in the name of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.”

If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, I urge you to sincerely and genuinely express it to God as your prayer.  The Bible makes clear that when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in our heart, God forgives our sins and counts us righteous, and that when we openly confess with our mouth what we have done in our heart,  God gives us assurance of that salvation (Romans 10:9-10).

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:3-7).

Questions or comments can be left by scrolling down at the very bottom of this page.

 

 

 

 

 

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