Key Word:- DANGER
Title:- Pig Dogs & Cataclysmic Chiasms!
Matthew 7:6 “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.
When I was 11 years of age, I had the opportunity to go to a very posh ‘fee paying’ school. Here you did not progress through your years from the 1st form to the 6th form, or from a lower grade to an higher grade, but as a sign of it’s exclusivity, you progressed through ‘elements’ to ‘rudiments’ and then finally to ‘syntax’. The inference is that you had to be pretty wise and have all the basics of understanding under your belt before you could get to grips with the true grammatical structure of sentences and therefore the syntax of life! (I’m still working on all of these by the way :-) ) Anyway, the reason I am telling you this is because some commentators suggest that our text for today, Matthew 7:6 is in fact a ‘Syntactical Chiasmus’. In other words it’s related to a poetic form of writing where a ‘chiasm’ is suggested by its grammatical pattern conforming to the ‘>’ shape of the left half of the Greek letter chi, which is drawn like the English letter ‘X’. So, the suggested poetical physical form of the verse would look like this :
A--------->Not give what is holy to the dogs
B------------------->Nor cast your pearl before swine
B------------------->they trample them under their feet
A---------->And turn and tear you in pieces
Nice! Even interesting maybe, but so what? Well may I suggest the giving of such instruction in poetic form is there to aid us in our remembering it! In other words Jesus is saying “This is important. Don’t forget it!” There is a terrible connection here then , for friends the startling fact is that God regards certain people as both pigs and dogs!
God refers to certain people who have returned to their vomit and eaten it, or who have been washed and then returned to wallow in the mire as opposers of the gospel, abusers, sour, growling, grumbling quarrelling, hungry, ignorant and dangerous curs. “This is important. Don’t forget it!” says Jesus.
Note also that God sees that we possess things which are holy and preciously beautiful. Thoughts, teachings, ideas, bodies, possessions, indeed anything that has been dedicated to Him and His kingdom, are Holy! Good works, kind words, loving reproofs, gentleness and all the other fruits gifts of the Spirit, are beautiful and precious to Him. Jesus is clearly saying here, “don’t give these things to dogs or cast it before swine. This is important. Don’t forget it!”
Pigs and dogs come in varying shapes and sizes. They live in certain patterns, smell in certain ways and are both dangerous to the casters of pearls and to the giver of holy things. I think Jesus here in context is showing us that these ‘pig-dogs’ are the blind religious and self righteous hypocrites who have beams in their eyes and think they are a cut above the rest of humanity.
These pig-dogs, outwardly smell nice, look gorgeous and refined in their flowing robes, yet their hearts are full of the sour mud of the pig pen and the soiled dirt of the dog pound. I wonder if Jesus is saying “Don’t bother them, don’t even mess with them because they will rip you to pieces as they have done with John and will do so with Me and Stephen, so, leave them alone. This is important. Don’t forget it!”
I have seen Christian churches who have their pig dogs honoured, talcum powdered down, dressed up in suitable suits, up front, in charge and influential. I have sat in pews with my feet inches deep in the smiling swill; been in member's meetings and witnessed the soiled and selfish grunting and felt the sharp ministry of the land of canine. I have seen the blood-spattered, white-washed walls and still can hear the cry of the trampled little ones fallen beneath the trotting and all the fat belly turning of pink and pompous pigs and wolves in sheep’s clothing. To hell with them!
This cataclysmic chiasm, this poetic form frames for us the immense importance of this message. “This is important. Don’t forget it!”
Listen:- “For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. Psalm 22:16-18
Pray:- Lord. Who is wise enough in themselves to know when to speak and when to be silent, to know when to embrace and when to cease from embracing, when to give and when to hold back. Lord, guide me in these things that I might not hurt myself or sin against You. Amen.