6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
This comes on the heals of teaching about judging. How are we to know who the hogs and dogs are unless we judge people?
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs” – a common saying for Jews
Philippians 3:2 (NKJV) 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!
- During the first century, dogs roamed the streets and were essentially wild scavengers.
- Because dogs were such filthy animals, the Jews loved to refer to Gentiles as dogs.
- Paul refers specifically to the Judaizers, as dogs to describe their sinful, vicious, and uncontrolled character.
Dogs were unclean creatures by the law:
- the price of one might not be brought into the house of the Lord, for a vow, ( Deuteronomy 23:18 )
- dogs were not admitted into several temples of the Heathens
- Things profane and unclean, as flesh torn by beasts, were ordered to be given to them, ( Exodus 22:31 ) but nothing that was holy was to be given them, as holy flesh, or the holy oblations, or anything that was consecrated to holy uses; DOGS COULD NOT EVEN EAT ANYTHING HOLY such as leftovers from offerings
- which is where this common saying came from
In particular false teachers are like “dogs” in their behavior:
- 2 Peter 2:1–3 (NKJV) 1 But there were also false prophets among
the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly
bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring
on themselves swift destruction. 2 And
many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will
be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they
will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not
been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
2 Peter 2:21–22 (NKJV) 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
- Revelation 22:15 (NKJV) 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs”
Before Jesus says, “Do not cast your pearls before swine,” He says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred.”
- In His sermon, Jesus uses dogs and pigs as representative of those who would ridicule, reject, and blaspheme the gospel once it is presented to them.
- We are not to expose the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who have no other purpose than to trample it and return to their own evil ways.
- Repeatedly sharing the gospel with someone who continually scoffs and ridicules Christ is like casting pearls before swine.
- We can identify such people through discernment, which is given in some measure to all Christians (1 Corinthians 2:15–16 (NKJV) 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.).
The phrase is used in a metaphorical sense; and is generally understood of:
- not delivering or communicating the holy word of God,
- and the truths of the Gospel, comparable to pearls, or the ordinances of it, to persons notoriously vile and sinful:
- to men, who being violent and furious persecutors, and impudent blasphemers, are compared to “dogs”;
- or to such, who are scandalously vile, impure in their lives and conversations, and are therefore compared to swine
In a general sense, this “not giving the Gospel or holy truths to those who revile God and reject Him”.
- But coming off the Lords statements about “judging”, in context it can mean not wasting time judging or rebuking the ungodly because they love their sin and have no desire to turn from their wickedness.
- It is a waste of holiness and very much like trying to convince a pig how beautiful and valuable pearls are; or throwing your T-bone steak and lobster to a dog.
- There is no appreciation of it, nor will it make a difference.
NOTE: This is different than using The Law to shine the light on sin and show the sinner the depth of his wickedness and need for a Savior.
- In a very real sense, the judgment and rebuke of the sinners (point it out to them) may lead them to turn on you and attack you.
The Treasure of God (Scripture, Godly Wisdom) is not for Everyone
You cannot share the special understanding of spiritual truth with just anyone.
- If you go to a total unbeliever or agnostic, and try to share the beauty of God’s revelation to your heart, they will just make fun of you.
- Worse yet, they often make derisive remarks about the Lord.
- You are taking the precious things of God and exposing them to scorn.
The command not to cast your pearls before swine does not mean we refrain from preaching the gospel.
- Jesus Himself ate with and taught sinners and tax collectors (Matthew 9:10).
- In essence, the instruction in Matthew 7:6 is the same that Jesus gave to His apostles when He said, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town” (Matthew 10:14).
We are to share the gospel, but, when it becomes apparent that the gospel is not welcome, we are to move on.
- We are responsible to share the good news; we are not responsible for people’s response to the good news.
Jesus’ instruction to His apostles on how to handle those who reject God was to simply go elsewhere. There are other people who need to hear the gospel, and they are ready to hear it.
How Do We Share the Gospel Then?
How are we then to share the gospel with the world if we are not to give that which is holy to the dogs?
Jesus sets the example for us. He shared the gospel with sinners.
- The woman of Samaria who was notably sinful, and He knew the morally impure life that she was living, yet He revealed to her the fact that He was the promised Messiah.
- To the woman taken in the act of adultery He announced that He did not condemn her, but exhorted her to go her way and sin no more.
- To Zaccheaus who was a notable sinner in
Jericho, Jesus more or less invited Himself to dinner at his house.
- This shocked the Pharisees and brought the accusation against Jesus that He ate with heathens (unclean people to the Jews).
Paul took the Gospel to the Gentile world when the Jews rejected it:
Acts 13:46–47 (NKJV) 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”
The same thing happened again at Corinth.
- Acts 18:5–7 (NKJV) 5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. 6 But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7 And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue.
We recognize that there are different types of persons, and we learn to discriminate in how to share the gospel.
Jude told the believers:
- Jude 22–23 (NKJV) 22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
- This shows us that our witness is not to be mechanical; we have to have judgment and discernment about who to persist with, and who to move on from.
Judgment & Discernment
We need to be discerning on how to approach a person with the riches of God’s love.
- Some are motivated by love to come to Jesus Christ.
- It is the goodness of God that brings them to repentance.
- Others are motivated by fear. The fear of the judgment, the fear of hell.
We must not try to push the truth on one who is antagonistic, rejects God or insults Christ.
- God does not require us to argue a person into the faith.
- We should be ready to give to every man an answer for the hope that we have within us, but our duty is to share the truth, and if there is bitter resistance to our sharing, then to just let the issue go.
Sin can so harden a person’s heart, and so distort his ability of rational thinking, that he is unable to reasonably discuss the precious truths of God.
They become like a snarling dog, or a wild boar.
“lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
- They turn with hatred and venom against the person who in love is trying to share with them the eternal truths of God’s love.
- They hate God without a reason and they hate the person sharing His message.
Romans 8:7 (NKJV) 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
The word enmity is hate, has a hate for God. Sin makes man hate God and the things of God.
- We have to be careful with whom we share our spiritual experiences such as answer to prayer, the leading of the Holy Spirit, etc
It is hard enough for other Christians to sometimes understand and accept; the world will simply find them silly and stupid Those who hate God, ignore Him or insult Him just do not have an appreciation for the beautiful spiritual experiences of the mature Believer, and would seek to discount them or scorn them