Jesus Searches Your Kidneys 

The Bible uses the kidneys to symbolize the deep inner nature of man

Revelation 2.23

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • April 19, In the year of our Lord, 2015


  1. Jesus Searches Your Kidneys. 
    1. Did you think, “Gross”?
      1. What if I said, Jesus searches your heart?
      2. I do not believe anyone would think that gross.
    2. Perhaps you thought, of course Jesus searches our kidneys, for
      1. if He knows the number of hairs on our heads,
      2. He knows every detail about our kidneys at any moment!
    3. Did you think what kind of spiritual lesson can we gain from this?
  2. What prompted this sermon. 
    1. My Greek and Hermeneutics teacher, brother Troy Cummings, said,
      1. that in Revelation 2.23
        1. in the American Standard Version of 1901 and
        2. in the King James Version of 1611,
      2. the Bible says Jesus searches the “reins,”
        1. or as all modern translations have it, “mind.”

          23 “I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds [“reins,” KJV & ASV] and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works” (Rev 2.23).
        2. However, John did not use the Greek word for mind, but
          1. the Greek word, nephrous from nephros.
          2. “Reins,” in the KJV and ASV comes from the Latin word for kidney.
      3. Since that time I have wanted to do a sermon on kidneys.
    2. Therefore, my own kidney disease and transplant did not prompt me.
      1. However, before I could have the transplant
      2. I was required to attend three classes, and
        1. I actually attended four,
        2. to learn
          1. about kidney function,
          2. kidney transplants,
          3. the medications that I would be taking,
          4. how to prevent rejection, and
          5. how to deal with the powerful medications.
      3. I learned some amazing things about the kidneys.
    3. I also wanted to see how they figured in God’s spiritual Book.
      1. Many things in natural creation have counterparts in the spirit, and
      2. I wanted to know how God refers to the kidneys in a spiritual way.
    4. Therefore, let us find out why Jesus searches our kidneys.


  1. The Kidneys: More Than Just Purifiers of the Blood 
    1. They excrete waste, filtering
      1. toxins,
      2. wastes,
      3. ingested water, and
      4. mineral salts out of the bloodstream.
      5. They regulate the acidity of the blood by excreting alkaline salts when necessary (New Horizons Press, http://www.clark.net/pub/nhp/med/kidney.html#Are).
      6. Yes, the kidneys remove waste products, but
          1. they also remove components that are in excess.
          2. However, they can reclaim substances that are down.
      7. The kidneys regulate the chemicals in the blood.
        1. They function to keep our bodies in balance.
        2. They secrete hormones: Renin, Erythropoietin (EPO), and Calcitriol.
      8. They regulate fluid in the body.
      9. They regulate the electrolyte balance in the body.
      10. They tell the bone marrow to manufacture more blood.
      11. They regulate blood pressure.
    2. After learning these things, I read Psalm 139.13, and agreed with David,

      13 For You formed my inward parts [Hebrew: “kidneys”];
      You covered me in my mother’s womb.
      (Psa 139.13).

        1. Each of the functions that I mentioned are necessary for life.
        2. When one of these functions starts to fail,
          1. the quality of life diminishes,
          2. even as with other organs in your body.
        3. When the kidneys fail, without treatment death will result.
      1. Humans could never have evolved without
        1. a perfect filtering,
        2. internal stabilizing,
        3. hormone producing
        4. kidneys from the beginning.
      2. The kidneys testify of our creation.
        1. God formed our inward parts or kidneys.
        2. He covered our souls in our mother’s womb with an amazing body.
    3. Not surprisingly, the kidneys played an important part in the Law of Moses.
  2. The Use of the Kidneys in Sacrifices 
    1. In the old tabernacle and temple worship,
      1. the priest took the kidneys from an animal,
      2. placed the kidneys in the hand of the priest, and
        1. placed them on the altar fully exposed, and
        2. burned them.
    2. Exodus 29, shows the sanctification of the priests.
      1. They killed a bull, and
      2. here is what it said about the kidneys,

        13 “And you shall take all the fat that covers the entrails, the fatty lobe attached to the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, and burn them on the altar” (Exo 29.13).
    3. Later in the chapter, starting at verse 22,
      1. God also instructed Moses
        1. to do the following with the kidneys of the rams
        2. that were used to prepare the priests for serving,

          22 “Also you shall take the fat of the ram, the fat tail, the fat that covers the entrails, the fatty lobe attached to the liver, the two kidneys and the fat on them, the right thigh (for it is a ram of consecration), 23 one loaf of bread, one cake made with oil, and one wafer from the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the LORD; 24 and you shall put all these in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons, and you shall wave them as a wave offering before the LORD. 25 You shall receive them back from their hands and burn them on the altar as a burnt offering, as a sweet aroma before the LORD. It is an offering made by fire to the LORD” (Exo 29.22–25).
      2. This also happens in Leviticus 8.
    4. Leviticus 3 says that if a person brought a peace offering,
      1. whether of the herd, flock, or a goat,
      2. the priest would removed the kidneys,
        1. place them on the altar, and
        2. burn them as a sacrifice.
    5. Leviticus chapters 4; 7–9 gave the same instructions.
    6. This makes a reference in Hebrews 4 fascinating.
      1. Remember in the levitical system,
        1. the priest took the kidneys out of the animal’s body,
        2. he held them in his hand, and
          1. placed them on the altar and
          2. burned them as a sacrifice to God.
      2. You are familiar with Hebrews 4.12, which says,

        12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb 4.12).

        1. The word of God cuts into us to reach our most inner part.
          1. The writer pictured that with the dividing of joints and marrow.
          2. Likewise, the word of God divides the soul and the spirit.
        2. God looks inside of us and
          1. discern our thoughts and
          2. discerns the intents of our hearts.
        3. Now listen to verse 13,

          13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Heb 4.13).

          1. When the Old Testament priest sacrificed an animal,
            1. he butchered the animal.
            2. He exposed the insides of the animal.
              1. He had to do this
              2. to find the kidneys and cut them out.
          2. Now in a New Testament book, Hebrews,
            1. whose teachings are rooted in the levitical sacrificial system,
            2. we learn that we are laid open for God to examine us,
        4. as though He is one of those priests of Aaron taking out our kidneys,
          1. holding them in His hands and
          2. examining them.
        5. He does not examine our kidneys, but
          1. what they represent.
          2. Our thoughts and intentions, because
            1. they regulate our lives
            2. as the kidneys regulate our bodies.
              1. He can go that far into us.
              2. He can see whether our souls functioning properly.
  3. The Kidneys—Metaphorically 
    1. I think that it is interesting to see how people will point to their head,
      1. thinking of the brain,
        1. when referring to the mind, or thinking, and
        2. to the heart when expressing feelings.
      2. The brain is not the mind, and the mind is not the brain.
        1. The mind uses the brain, but
        2. the mind also uses the body.
    2. Yet, the Bible refers to the heart as thinking,

      7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…
      (Pro 23.7).

      1. The Bible also refers to the kidneys as thinking,
        1. yearning,
        2. instructing,
        3. being vexed,
        4. rejoicing and
        5. being faithful.
    3. Job 19 makes a reference that we accept,
      1. if we read it as “heart,” but
      2. but that is not what Job said, speaking of God,

        27 Whom I shall see for myself,
        And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
        How my heart [literally “kidneys”] yearns within me!”
        (Job 19.27)
    4. Psalm 16 is part of the prophecy of the resurrection of Christ,

      7 I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel;
      My heart [“kidneys”] also instructs me in the night seasons.
      (Psa 16.7)
    5. In Psalm 73 the psalmist explains
      1. the deep pain at thinking that God had forsaken him,

        21 Thus my heart was grieved,
        And I was vexed in my mind [“kidneys”].
        (Psa 73.21)
    6. Proverbs 23 also pictures the deep inward nature of man
      1. by using the kidneys,
      2. along with the heart,

        15 My son, if your heart is wise,
        My heart will rejoice—indeed, I myself;
        16 Yes, my inmost being [“kidneys”] will rejoice
        When your lips speak right things.
        (Pro 23.15–16)
    7. Isaiah 11 shows the Messiah’s faithfulness as more than outward, but
      1. as a part of His inward nature,

        5 Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins,
        And faithfulness the belt of His waist [“kidneys”].
        (Isa 11.5)


  1. We can now see Revelation 2.23 in full force. 
    1. In verse 18, Jesus pictures Himself with eyes like a flame of fire,
      1. He has penetrating eyes,
      2. able to see anything,
      3. even into the very soul of a person.
    2. Listen again to Revelation 2.23,

      23 “I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds [“kidneys”] and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works” (Rev 2.23).

      1. Jesus wanted the church at Thyatira to know
      2. that He saw what went on there.
  2. Jesus searches your kidneys, but is He in your kidneys?
    1. Jeremiah 12 will sound familiar to you, because
      1. it is similar to one from Isaiah, quoted in the New Testament,

        2b You are near in their mouth
        But far from their mind [“kidneys”].
        (Jer 12.2b)
    2. Let Him be on your lips, but
      1. only because He lives inside you.
      2. For Him to be in you,
        1. you must be in Him.
        2. Do you know how to be in Christ?
  3. For further study:
    1. 9 Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, But establish the just; For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds. (Ps. 7:9).
    2. 2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. (Ps. 26:2).
    3. 20 But, O LORD of hosts, You who judge righteously, Testing the mind and the heart, Let me see Your vengeance on them, For to You I have revealed my cause. (Jer. 11:20).
    4. 10 I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. (Jer. 17:10).
    5. 12 But, O LORD of hosts, You who test the righteous, And see the mind and heart, Let me see Your vengeance on them; For I have pleaded my cause before You. (Jer. 20:12).