If the literal sense makes sense, seek no other sense.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“How do we interpret the Bible?” is a question often asked by students of the Bible. It is also a question often answered by Bible Teachers and Theologians. However, are the various answers given, even by well-known theologians and teachers, really correct?
Whenever one reads the Scripture, one, a Bible believer or otherwise, cannot escape from interpretation. And there are different kinds of interpretations — the good, the bad and the radical. But what is truth?
I do not believe that a person can learn “how to interpret the Bible”, seeing that the Bible is God’s Written Word by the Holy Spirit and therefore only the Holy Spirit Himself could give the true interpretation. God interprets His Own Word. If Christians can learn “how to interpret the Bible” then all Christians could be their own interpreters (which would certainly contradict 2 Peter 1:20) and God sending His ministers to His Church would be meaningless. God wrote the Word through some forty anointed men. The Truth written is ‘as is’, and no one has the authority to interpret the Written Word. By the same token, the revelation of the Written Word is revealed through certain men, upon whom a special anointing is placed. God has so chosen His mode to write and to reveal the mysteries of His Word. We cannot write off that fact.
One can learn about the doctrines of the Bible, but certainly one cannot learn how to interpret the Bible. The question therefore should be: “How do we distinguish God’s Truth from man’s view?” or “How can we separate God’s truth from human error?” To understand the things of God we first need to have the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13)
The Holy Spirit will teach a true worshipper all things and will guide him into all truth, and will show him things to come. But many, claiming to be Christians, are not true worshippers of God as their minds are not set on the spiritual things and the Mind of God (cf. Rom.8:5; Acts 17:11). Their “faith” is often based on the enticing words of eloquent men and the dogmas of their churches.
Now therefore, this writing is not about
how to interpret the Bible but rather, how to rightly divide the Word of
Truth which is basically what the Apostle Paul admonished. Whatever we
hear from the mouths of preachers we need the ability to reason, to
justify and to judge wisely, discerning between truth and error by
checking the Sacred Scripture. The preachers may utter words truthfully
or erroneously, even foolishly. Not all preachers are called, ordained
and sent of God, though many are schooled and trained by religious
organizations within the thousands of denominational churches, and, of
course, some are self-appointed.
This writing comes as a result of many years of “on and off” confrontations from a well-meaning Christian friend (PO) whom I witnessed to and brought to the Lord about forty years ago (while I was a member of the Assemblies of God church). According to his own words, he has written to say that he has been “quarrelling” with me for the last thirty-five years. I do agree that he has, and even now he is still coming on very strongly and often with cutting words. He even has a few presumptuous thoughts about me and my ministry. All through these past years, he has been asking the same questions and each time, the answers and explanations are to him incomprehensible or mendacious. Well, he reminds me of Nicodemus who sought to seek an answer from Jesus the Christ. What part of “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” did he not comprehend? Is it really so incomprehensible that he had to ask more questions? Perhaps, but what sort of questions followed, except those that showed his carnal thinking — “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?” When Christ explained further about the spiritual birth, it cut Nicodemus’ theology to the core so much that the words of Jesus were incomprehensible and perhaps even mendacious in His teaching — “How could these things be?” Did Nicodemus see the Truth?
PO is like Nicodemus — religious and holding to a religious creed, and as King Saul too, who chose to hearken to the voice of a wrong spirit. Some two years after we came upon the message of William Branham and were out of Pentecostalism (out of organized religion), PO met a Presbyterian lady (who later became his wife). Almost immediately he started questioning the poor grammar, and later, discrepancies in the verbal statements of Branham. Soon he left the little fellowship for the Presbyterian Church. Since then, he has been nitpicking on Branham’s teachings and considering some of his teachings false. It was a good while after that that he began nitpicking on mine, too, and with strong words such as this: “Your preoccupation with 'meat' stuff, has caused you to be repeatedly poisoned with error”.
What causes a man to act in such a manner, to think that his theology is absolutely correct, that he must seek out those who do not see eye to eye with him and pridefully correct their doctrines and try to force his views upon them? It is good for such ones to consider Cain’s offering, his pride, his “religious” talk with Abel, and what led him to kill Abel.
PO is very attached to denominationalism
and its traditions. He became a Presbyterian although he confessed he
was not one and did not subscribe to some of the church’s teachings.
But not too long ago, he moved back to the A.o.G., not only the system
itself but the very church that he and I had left in 1971. While he was
in the Presbyterian system, he took a Bible Study course. And I wonder
if that might have made him feel, somewhat, qualified to interpret the
Bible and even to accuse the teachings of Branham and mine of being
The churches today are in a state of confusion because of the differences in the more than thirty thousand denominations, divisions, sects and groups. Some, out of ignorance, teach erroneous doctrines. While others who know of certain doctrines being erroneously taught are afraid to change, afraid that the truth would destroy their churches or groups. Others are dishonest and use the Bible for their personal gain. Such ones are found mainly in the Charismatic Movement, especially those “prosperity” preachers on television. Indeed, false doctrine is very profitable.
From all these confusions, books are put out by the different organized churches to warn Christians about false prophets, false teachers, and false cults. Some denominations would consider certain other denominations false or cultic. (By the way, all denominations are cultic – Baptist cult, Anglican cult, Presbyterian cult, Charismatic cult, and so on – because, like the two big cults, the Pharisee and the Sadducee in Jesus’ days, they base their teachings on their religious traditions and systems.) Some choose to stay neutral and embrace all others as “Christian” as long as the groups uphold the Bible as their source of faith and believe that Jesus Christ is their Saviour. However, the warning put out by such books is usually targeted against any group that is not a part of mainstream organizations.
Once a self-righteous pharisaical
Presbyterian, who thinks himself to be a cult buster, tried to expose me
as a cult leader on the local news media just because I believe that
William Branham was a messenger of God and just because he hates
Branham’s teachings and was told that Branham was a false prophet. (Of
course, to many Christians, Branham was a false prophet according to
their “church pastors” and “church leaders”, and even the dictates of
their religious organizations.) However this pharisaical Presbyterian
was not successful. Then he tried to turn me into a criminal of sort by
secretly reporting me to the Criminal Investigation Department in the
hope that the Message of William Branham and my ministry would somehow
be stopped. Needless to say, no guilt was found. O how self-righteous
was that pharisaical Presbyterian! Certainly he was no Christian. As the
religious cultic Pharisees came against Jesus Christ, the Word of God
made manifest in their days, they even put Him to death; so are such men
(and there are many) today who would come against God’s anointed and His
Word, to have them put in prison and even to have them killed, if
possible. Now, did not many religious people including the Apostle Paul
(before his spiritual eyes were opened) hold to a religious idea that
the people of
“the Way” were a false religious cult? So then, in Paul’s
days, which cult was false?
One subject, all, if not most, Bible students learn in the course of their study is hermeneutics.
What is hermeneutics?
“In its technical meaning, hermeneutics is often defined as the science and art of biblical interpretation. Hermeneutics is considered a science because it has rules and these rules can be classified into an orderly system.” [Bernard Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation]
“It is considered an art because communication is flexible, and therefore a mechanical and rigid application of rules will sometimes distort the true meaning of a communication. To be a good interpreter one must learn the rules of hermeneutics as well as the art of applying those rules.” [Henry A. Virkler, “Hermeneutics”]
Since when did the Almighty God ever institute such a course for Christians ― to learn how to interpret the Bible? Intellectually educated religious men call it a science and/or an art. They think that they can interpret the Word of God by a method that they have devised, by rules that they have formulated and established. Where in God’s Word is there this “science and art of biblical interpretation” when all we read is how God SENT His messengers and His preachers whom He had ordained and anointed to speak His Word for Him?
True, to some extent one can “learn to interpret” the Bible by some intellectual knowledge that are gained by experience and study ― knowledge of languages (of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) and cultures and history. For examples: it is like a man learning to interpret music by knowledge gained from reading, listening and playing. But if he is not musically inclined, he cannot be as one who is given that particular “gift” to truly understand music, one who is a maestro. Or, it is like a man trying to interpret what the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is when he has no “gift” of the Spirit; his interpretation would just be filled with flaws.
“the gifts and calling
of God are without repentance” (Rom.11:29). It is God Who calls, it is
He Who gives. It is God Who draws a person and it is He Who gives that
person the Gift of Eternal Life. Likewise, it is God Who calls and gives
“unto men…some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some,
evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;…” (cf. Eph.4:7-11). So,
unless one is called, ordained and anointed of God with a gifted
ministry, one’s theology is flawed with one’s opinion or that of a
religious organization or a cultic system.
Studying, Interpreting, Rightly Dividing
Bible study can mean different things to different people. One can study about the call of Abraham, the history of Israel, their slavery in Egypt and their exodus, their many rebellions, and so on. Another can study about the characters of the men and women of God in the Bible. Yet another can study about the Life of Christ and the acts of the Holy Spirit in the early Church. All these studying of the Bible are not interpreting nor rightly dividing the Word of God. They are merely trying to comprehend different subject matter.
The Sacred Scripture is not meant to be interpreted by the “literal letters” of the Word but rather by the “spirit of the letters” of the Word. We can use a passage of the Bible for several applications, but the words penned carry only one meaning or one interpretation, so to speak. Interpreting the Scripture goes beyond studying the Bible; it refers to the shedding of light on Bible passages that hold God’s ordained Truth regarding Himself, His plans and purposes. True interpretation of the Scripture comes by rightly dividing the Word, which in turn will illuminate Truths that are hid or contained in the Bible passages. Some of these truths deal with the principles of God while others deal with prophetic events. However, while some truths can be easily understood, there are certain hidden mysteries of God that can only be revealed in God’s appointed time. All in, all true interpretation of the Word will show a consistency from the Book of Genesis right through to the Book of Revelation. Rightly dividing the Word would “straight cut” to the measurement of the Truth, according to the pattern. It would not result in conflict and there are no two interpretations on a single doctrine, such as the absurdity that traditional churches have made God to be ― that God is One and He is also a Holy Trinity of Persons. Such contradiction and confusion are not the work of God but that of carnal finite men. Rightly dividing the Word of God would not put a wedge between Paul's revelation of faith apart from works (Rom.3:28) and James' faith and works (Jam.2:14).
During the age of the Reformation,
debates and arguments, about what really are the true interpretations
concerning the many Scripture passages, deferred greatly between
opposing groups. Without being insensitive to the other, each group
secretly harbored the opinion that what the others offered were merely
interpretations, but what they offered was just what the Bible said,
that is, the truth.
of course, there was always the gentle reminder concerning the words of
the Holy Spirit in 2 Peter
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private
and often with an added admonition to
“let the Scripture interpret Scripture”.
But in this age of Laodicea (cf. Rev.3:14-22) the authority of the Bible
has dwindled to nothing, even in the eyes of Christians. The
authority of the Sacred Scripture has been replaced by not only the
dogmas and creeds of the church system, but also by the words of “great”
intellectually educated theological men and their “great” theological
institutes of this era.
Reading, Hearing, Understanding
A good number of theologians teach that God wrote the Bible so simply that all who read It could understand correctly what they read. Is that true? An often misquoted verse is this: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom.10:17).
Reading the Word and hearing the Word are two very different things. Let me say this that God’s primary way of imparting His revelation to His people is through the preaching of the Word. FAITH comes by hearing the Word of God ― expounded! If Faith does come by reading the Word then “the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day” in Jerusalem should have opened the eyes of the religious Jews to Jesus Christ being their Messiah (cf. Acts 13:27). But it did not. Then again, if Faith does come by reading the Word, then it would not be necessary for God to send His servants. See Romans 10:13-16.
That “faith cometh by hearing the Word” is clearly understood from the record of Acts 8:25-40. The Ethiopian eunuch could not understand what he read in Isaiah until God sent him a preacher, the Evangelist Philip, to make clear to him the prophetic Word. The eunuch was an important man, a chief officer of high office serving the queen of Ethiopia. He was a pious man and must have been quite an avid reader who perhaps, had read and studied the words of Isaiah for quite some time. He could have understood some of the things written by the prophet, but certainly not the deep and mysterious things, for the spiritual things of God are spiritually discerned. Intellectual flesh is corrupt and no matter how much diligent study is done on the Word of God, no matter how informative the sacred parchment of Isaiah, the Truth could not be revealed. But when an anointing of the Spirit comes and touches the ears, then the eyes will be opened and the mouth will utter, “I have heard and now I understand. Hitherto I have read but I did not understand.” Like the Jews in Berea who heard the Scripture read every Sabbath in their synagogue but they had no understanding until they heard Paul’s exposition of the Word. The wise ones daily checked the Scripture to satisfy themselves that Paul’s teachings were true (Acts 17:10-11).
Moreover, Luke consistently tells us
that reading and understanding Scripture are not the same thing (see
Acts 13:27; cf. Luke 6:3; 10:26) just as reading and hearing are not the
same. Correct spiritual understanding of God’s Word is a gift (Acts
8:10; 10:22). He has, in his mercy, provided not only the written words
but also the “interpreter”, a Spirit-filled minister who is anointed for
the task to rightly divide the Word of Truth. Obviously, he is not one
who is seminary trained and/or ordained by a religious organization but
one who is ordained of God even before the foundation of the world.
From You or To You
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2Tim.3:16-17).
This text of Scripture has even been taken to imply that the Bible could be interpreted by a studious Bible Christian. However the verses simply state that all Scripture is in-breathed of God, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. The Scripture is a divine revelation of God which we may depend upon as infallibly true and that will furnish us unto all good work. It does not say that a Christian can learn to interpret the Scripture. However, notice the term “the man of God”. “The man of God” speaks not merely of a Christian but rather one who is a called servant of God, one who is devoted to God and His Church. The words were Paul’s to Timothy, his runner boy whom God called into the evangelical field (cf. 1Tim.4:14; 2Tim.4:5). It was Paul’s counsel to Timothy. Timothy was a student of a great apostle and had learned to equip himself with the Scripture.
That the Word (Grk: Logos, Revealed Truth) of God does not come forth from the Church is true. She received the Word from her Lord and Saviour. This is clear from Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 14:34-36:
“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?”
Why then are the organized churches
building Bible Colleges and Theological Seminaries? Do they believe that
the confusion in understanding God's word is the result of unlearned and
unskilled men mishandling the Word of God and therefore they have to
teach men (and even women) who desire to be “men of God” so that they,
in turn, could teach others? Do they think that their students, having
passed through a series of studies and graduated, can be ordained and
sent forth as preachers to preach and teach God’s Word? Have they not
read in Ephesians 4 that when Christ ascended to Heaven He gave gifts to
men? He gave some men to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists,
some pastors and some teachers. These in themselves are gifts sent to
the Church of Christ to give her the Word. These gifts are not products
of the Church. The Word of God comes to the Church and not come out from
Church. Paul, in another place, by God’s authority, forbids a woman
to teach or to have authority over a man (1Tim.2:12). Yet the organized
churches (with some allowing women preachers) are like such, instead of
hearkening to the Word the Lord would bring to them by His own means,
they usurp the authority of the Lord and ordain their own theologically
trained preachers to feed them. What they are doing is simply mimicking
and rivaling both God's oracles and his ordinances.
The Church and Organized Churches
The Word comes to the Church (Grk: Ekklesia, calling out, the called out ones) through the “Ascension Gifts” ministry of Ephesians 4:11-16. The Church cannot and does not produce gifts, then give those gifts to her own self. Christ is the Groom and the Church is the Bride. The Word (Seed) has to come to the Church like a sperm cell of a man has to come and meet the egg in the womb of his wife. When the wife is with child, her breasts become full of the milk of life. So, the same is with the Church when she receives the Word. She would be full of the Milk of Life of the Christ.
Organized churches have their own programs that are well organized for the purpose of their own organizations. After some time a program would become a part of the church regular curriculum or agenda. And again after some time it would become a ritual and a tradition. Have they ever looked at themselves to see how similar they are to the Pharisees in the days of Jesus Christ? Christ had to rebuke the Pharisees (cf. Mark 7:7-8). The Pharisees worshipped God in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. They were ritualistic approaches to God. They had let go of the commands of God and were holding on to the traditions of men.
Some may argue that the various denominations, for the best part since the Reformation, have done much to spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ around the world. That is true and only for the Gospel. As long as the Gospel of Christ is preached, Jesus Christ is made known, and His Name is glorified. But God is never in organized Christianity. He never works with organizations. He permits whatever they are doing but in the end, at the judgment, many shall hear these words uttered when they stand before Him: “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (cf. Matt.7:21-23). By their own reasoning, no matter how good the works might be, they have deceived themselves; they have failed to do what was right in the eyes of God according to His Will. They have committed iniquity.
Like the Pharisees, who rejected John the Baptist and
Jesus the Christ, would the organized churches ever accept a God-sent
man? Obviously many would not because they cannot see beyond the
veil of their tradition
so as to recognize God’s true servants whose lives are simple; there is
no pomp, no outward show of greatness, for the Spirit of God lies in
simplicity. A vast majority of God’s servants are not well
educated; they do not boast eloquent speeches.
The Prophets and The Apostles
O if only the churches could see that the Word comes to the Church by God’s gifts. But no, they want the Word of God to come out of their own churches, out of their own “gifted intellectual men” to feed them. If only they would take a closer look at the Word, they would find that, in the Old Testament era, the Word of the Lord came to the prophets revealing what mysteries God wanted to reveal to His people. Those Prophets were not self-made teachers, preachers, theologians or even messengers of God. They were called and ordained of God, even from their mother’s womb (cf. Jer.1:5). Of course, there were schools of prophets (that is, prophetic students) who learned from the God-sent prophets (cf. 1Sam.10:5; 2Kgs.9:1). They had the desire to speak for God but those students had no direct calling from God, so to speak. However, in the New Testament, a new order is founded after Christ Jesus fulfilled “the law and the prophets”. A new ministry was introduced to the Church, the assembly of the called-out ones. This ministry is commonly known as the “Ascension Gifts” ministry (cf. Eph.4:11-16). It is a 5-Fold Ministry consisting of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers in that order.
To fulfill “the law and the prophets” Christ came as THE PROPHET whom the (Old Testament) prophets prophesied would come to Israel. Israel was looking for Him. However, Christ was also a SENT ONE – an APOSTLE sent of God – not just to declare the Gospel but also sent to set God’s Word in order and to fulfill It. And having done that, He returned on the Day of Pentecost to be in all who confessed Him. He became the APOSTLE and High Priest of all believers. Christ Jesus, though THE PROPHET of Prophets to Israel, is not one to the Church per se. To His Church, He is THE APOSTLE of her faith (cf. Heb.3:1).
The New Testament sees the new ministry ― the APOSTOLIC MINISTRY taking the lead. The Word of the Lord now comes to the Apostles, who are equipped to “see” the revelations of the mysteries that are hid in the Old Testament. The first generation Apostles were very specially equipped by the Holy Spirit and they (especially Paul) were moved to preach and write what the Spirit revealed to them. The Apostles were Apostles. They were not Prophets though one may refer to them as such or some other title. However, the Apostles, even Paul, always addressed themselves as Apostles, never as Prophets. Why? Simply, the New Testament is here; the old, having been fulfilled by Christ, is folded and stacked away. A new order is instituted where Christ Himself, THE APOSTLE of Apostles of the Church, now calls and ordains certain men to be Apostles. Such men are chosen even before the foundation of the world for the task.
The Apostles are sent to basically set in order things that are lacking in the Church of God even though they are sent to preach the Gospel. All Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers are sent of God but only the Apostles are the “setters of order”. Of course, Apostles are not all equal for to each is given a measure of faith in the ministry of Christ ― some 10-fold, some 30-fold, some 60-fold, and some 100-fold. This can be seen from the ministry of each of the original Disciples of Christ. As compared to Paul, who was an Apostle “born out of due time”, some of the Apostles wrote only a few epistles and the rest none at all. This is only an indication to show how all Apostles are not equal, it does not mean that they could not all understand a revelation should God reveal one to a particular Apostle. Paul is such a man to whom Christ unfolded many mysteries. Even Peter, the big fisherman and spokesman of “the twelve”, could not even begin to comprehend the deep teachings of Paul initially for, together with most of the Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem, he was much clouded by Jewish traditions and the laws (cf. Acts 15; Gal.2:11-21) but subsequently he was able to (cf. 2Pet.3:15,16).
A ministry that is unique to the Church outside of the “Ascension Gifts” ministry is that of the Messengers (the stars in the hand of the Son of Man) to the Seven Church Ages (cf. Rev.1-3). Each of the Seven Messengers has come and gone. Each was sent with a specific message to deal with the saints in their age. But the 5-Fold “Ascension Gifts” Ministry (cf. Eph.4:11-16) is the ministry that will perfect the saints. This “Ascension Gifts” Ministry has come in its fullness now that the God’s elect has been called back to the Word through the ministry of the last Church Age messenger.
Some organized churches and false cults
have done away with the Apostles and Prophets because they believe that
these ministries are no longer needed (and therefore there are no
apostles and prophets today) seeing that
“the perfect” has come. To
these cults, “the perfect”
that Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13 is the
“Canon of the Bible”.
(This is an assumption without Scriptural support.
speaks of the completeness of knowledge which will bring all partial
knowledge of things (that we know now) to an end and full knowledge will
be granted to us. This will only be when Christ Jesus returns.)
Just because these cults do not believe in apostles and prophets for
this present day does not mean that there are no apostles and no
course, there is no denying that there are many false apostles and false
prophets; there are also self-made ones, and those that are educated,
trained and ordained by organized churches.
Rules of Man
Now, like all Christians who hold to church traditions, my friend PO cannot look beyond the curtain of his dogmas to see the Truth of the Word of God. He sees the Bible and reads It like a novel. He cannot see the Truth below the surface of the words he reads. He is taught to follow this rule: “If the literal sense makes sense, seek no other sense.” (This is a quote attributed to M. R. DeHaan M.D. [1891-1965] who was an American Bible teacher, pastor, author, and physician. Founder of Radio Bible Class.)
Rules are rules, just that, and PO is doing just that ― interpreting the Bible strictly by the rule, a rule of man. In the first place how did a man’s definition become a rule for Bible interpretation? Well, it resulted from brainwashing over a period of time. Humans behave like parrots at times, especially when it comes to catchy phrases whether or not they mean anything or make any sense. After a while the phrase becomes a “fact”. Hence, “if the literal sense makes sense, seek no other sense” is a nice catch phrase to many Bible students and preachers just as “Unity in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity” is to many Trinitarians.
Here is a similar rule but better sense as formulated by Dr. David L. Cooper, the late director of the Biblical Research Society:
“When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.”
Now, man-made rules can only do so much
when they come to the interpretation of the Scripture. Can obeying
such rules give one a true understanding of the Truths that are hid in
the Scripture? Yes, taking
“every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning”
we can understand certain simple truths, such as God is Spirit, God
created the heaven and the earth in 6 days, Noah built an ark that was
large enough to hold every pair of animals on the earth, and God gave
Moses the Ten Commandments written on tablets of stone. However,
when it comes to
“unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no eternal
(words that Jesus Christ uttered in John 6:53-58), it is a different
thing altogether. How is it that those words of Jesus are not to
be taken literally?
One might say that the context is clear that Jesus was not literally referring to the eating of His flesh and blood when the passage is “studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths”. This is true, for within the passage the interpretation is made known. But if one were living back then in Jesus’ days, hearing Him saying that would certainly not be as clear a statement as one would like to assume. Would my friend PO, or any Bible student, dare to say that he would understand what Jesus meant if he had lived in those days? I believe not. On the contrary, I believe PO (being very much like the religious Pharisees) would deny Christ and even call Him a devil.
Christ’s disciples were taken aback by what they heard. They stumbled, they took offence to it, and they were showing displeasure. Well, who wouldn’t? And this was not the first time. They had earlier heard how Jesus had said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (cf. John 2:19). These words were uttered in the presence of worshippers in the Temple of Jerusalem when Christ went to cleanse it. Now, one of the rules of hermeneutics states that “a text apart from its context is a pretext”. So, could the accusers be faulted for misunderstanding Christ’s words even though they voiced exactly what He had uttered? (cf. Matt.26:60-62). Did they create a pretext? Can theologians say that the accusers had taken the text out of context?
One good thing about the disciples was
that they did not jump to conclusions and start arguing with Christ to
seek an “exposition” or an answer for every saying He uttered. And there
were many hard sayings (and parables) uttered by their Master. The
disciples had enough sense to listen and to learn, and they were only
rewarded after the Spirit of Christ was given to them on the Day of
Pentecost. Without the gift of the Holy Spirit, without that special
anointing, it is impossible to come to the knowledge of the Truth, to
come to the revelation of the many mysteries and hard sayings written in
the Holy Script.
To Reason or Not to Reason
Here is an extract from an article written by an American evangelist, pastor, educator, and author, the late R. A. Torrey titled “Profitable Bible Study”. I draw your attention to the very first of four things that he mentioned that are involved in the studying of the Bible.
“Do not come to the Bible full of your own ideas, and seeking from it a confirmation of them. Come rather to find out what are God's ideas as He has revealed them there. Come not to find a confirmation of your own opinion, but to be taught what God may be pleased to teach. If a man comes to the Bible just to find his ideas taught there, he will find them; but if he comes recognizing his own ignorance, just as a little child to be taught, he will find something infinitely better than his own ideas, even the mind of God. We see why it is that many persons cannot see things which are plainly taught in the Bible. The doctrine taught is not their idea, of which they are so full that there is no room left for that which the Bible actually teaches.
Studying the Bible as the Word of God involves four things.
(1) First, it involves the unquestioning acceptance of its teachings when definitely ascertained, even when they may appear unreasonable or impossible.
Reason demands that we submit our judgment and reasonings to the statements of infinite wisdom. There is nothing more irrational than rationalism, which makes the finite wisdom the test of infinite wisdom, and submits the teachings of God's omniscience to the approval of man's judgment. It is the sublimest and absurdest conceit that says, “This cannot be true, though God says it, for it does not agree with my reason.” “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?” (Romans 9:20). Real human wisdom, when it finds infinite wisdom, bows before it and says, “Speak what You will and I will believe.” When we have once become convinced that the Bible is God's Word its teachings must be the end of all controversy and discussion. A “thus says the Lord” will settle every question. Yet there are many who profess to believe that the Bible is the Word of God, and if you show them what the Bible clearly teaches on some disputed point, they will shake their heads and say, “Yes, but I think so and so,” or “Doctor ––, or Professor this, our church doesn't teach that way.” There is little profit in that sort of Bible study.”
With due respect to Torrey, but this is the dumbest thing I have ever read: “unquestioning acceptance…even when they appear unreasonable or impossible”. Are we to accept what we read without a revelation? And is it true that “there is nothing more irrational than rationalism” ? Are not Man created in the image of God with intellect and ability to reason? What is so bad about reasoning when God Himself invites us to reason with Him? Read Isaiah 1:18. Torrey had misapplied Romans 9:20. The verse speaks of God’s sovereignty as a Potter has over his clay.
Now, this is what Jesus said to the rich young ruler ―
“Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)
Are we to sell all we have and give to the poor and then follow Jesus? Or what about doing what Jesus said on these verses? ―
“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Matt.5:29-30)
Are we to pluck out the eye, or cut off the hand, that offends less our whole being be cast into hell?
So, are we to unquestioningly accept what the Bible says without rationalism even if what Jesus said in those verses appears unreasonable? Maybe that is not what Torrey meant, since he included the words “when definitely ascertained”. Let’s see:
“First, it involves the unquestioning acceptance of its teachings when definitely ascertained, even when they may appear unreasonable or impossible.”
Now, this is the kind of statement my friend PO and Trinitarians would
be happy to quote as a source for their
of a God Who is composed of Three Persons just so long as the Bible
“Son” and “Holy Spirit”
“even when they may appear unreasonable or impossible.”
Why? Simply because the Trinity is
in the Bible.
Let Us Reason Together
Traditional Christians possess only linear interpretations and are quick to jump to an immediate conclusion: “When you hear hoof-beats, think horses, not zebras.” How true, when they know only horses, similar to the Samaritan woman at the well who knew only natural water even when Jesus said “living water”. They find it hard to think out of the box (of their church-confined traditional teachings) and to think parallel and have parallel reasoning. Does it not remind you of Nicodemus? When Jesus said to him, “You must be born again”, he immediately formed a picture and interpreted both words “born again” literally, making his mind go pop: “What? Are you saying that I must go back to my mother's womb and be reborn? Surely that cannot be.”
Of course, that cannot be. But who could blame Nicodemus as there are many just like him whose minds look only at words, LITERALLY ― believe in what Jesus said, what God said, what the Bible says, per se. Even after Jesus expounded it to him, Nicodemus still could not grasp the truth of Jesus’ words. Jesus had to rebuke Nicodemus, “You are Israel's teacher, and do you not understand these things?” Truly, how could the religious mind understand spiritual things when it is only confined to traditional things? How could Nicodemus understand these things when he had been “THEOLOGIZED” by the CHURCHOLOGY OF PHARISEEISM? And PO is very much like Nicodemus; he is seminary-taught by men and, not knowing the Truth, is similarly teaching others the Word of God according to the traditions of men.
Are tradition Christians so darkened by the traditions of their churches that they could not reason with the WORD? Did not the Lord say “Come now, and let us reason together,…” ? If Christians are sincere and are willing to come to the Word and have Christ reason with them, He will reprove and correct the errors in their thinking, else they perish for the lack of the knowledge of God’s Truth. But no, many are just dull of senses that we often hear the platitude that certain parts of the Word of God is not as important as other truths. Common sense does not prevail in many Christians’ life.
For example, concerning Water Baptism, PO argued that it is not wrong for a person to be baptized in the triune titles of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, according to Matthew 28:19. (My friend PO does not even have the revelation of the Godhead, whether God is one, two or three.) He believes that water baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ (according to various records in the Acts of the Apostles) is not an important Scripture matter just so long as a convert is baptized by immersion in water. To him, both approaches of baptism are valid. He said, “It is not so much the mode but the heart and the significance that counts.” To him what our hearts hold to and believe is far more important than doing exactly what the Word of God commands. PO has placed the heart of a man above the Word of God. Has he not read what David sang unto the Lord in one of his Psalms: “For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Psa.138:2)? Has he never read James 1:22-25 about being “doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” ? Moreover, the elements of the Communion (of the Last Supper of our Lord), whether or not they are unleavened bread and wine, or leavened bread (or cracker biscuit) and grape juice, to PO it is unimportant. He said, “Bread and fruit of the vine - it is much ado about nothing because it is never emphasized in the New Testament, whether the bread is leavened or not or whether the wine is fermented or not.” Why such an interpretation? Apparently he does not know what the Jews in Bible days had gone through to keep all that which God had shown to Moses on the mountain. And the Apostles were Jews; did they for one moment think otherwise of the significance of the elements concerning the Lord’s Supper (cup and bread) that came over to the Church through the Passover which table was unleavened?
But what does the Scripture really say about water baptism? Is taking the triune TITLES the same as taking the NAME? Does the Bible really allow a believer a choice of two, if there are indeed two choices? Bible students, including PO, know that the Bible has only one meaning, yet many, including PO, offer choice of another meaning for converts to choose the one that suits them best. Why? Because of a failure to understand even the simple revelation of what the Apostle Peter taught about salvation on the Day of Pentecost to his audience who had thrown the apostles the question: “What are we to do?” The answer is direct and simple: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
There are just three simple steps given:
“be baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ”,
“you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”.
Why then did PO, who insisted that we must
“always accept the literal meaning of the words of the passage unless
there is strong evidence to do otherwise”
and this particular rule that
“if the literal sense makes sense, seek no other sense, lest it result
look for other sense when the answer provided by Apostle Peter to his
hearer is a simple and direct answer? What
is there for him to do so
to look for other sense? Is not the
statement clear and literal enough for him? Or is the statement
really nonsense because it does not line up with Jesus’ statement in
Blinded by the spirits of tradition and the false doctrine of a Holy Trinity of Gods, and like the religious Pharisees, PO has to “seek for other sense” to justify his interpretation. Such platitude actually makes the Word of God incomplete. It robs God of His total Truth. By going against the grain of truth and seeking for other sense, PO is implying, in no uncertain term, that the commandment of the Apostle Peter is truly nonsense. Some preachers even go so far as to say the baptism of a believer by sprinkling or pouring of water, instead of water immersion, is acceptable to the Lord God. They interpret that water baptism is not necessary immersing the believer in water (Grk: baptizo) but that sprinkling of water (Grk: rantizo) suffices as according to what was done in the Old Testament era. They have “many examples of proofs” and Acts 9:18-19 is one. The verses are interpreted as in this manner: Saul of Tarsus was never baptized by immersing in water but was baptized standing up after three days without food or water, and before food was given him. As “he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink” (Acts 9:9) and upon the command to “arise and be baptized”, after he received his sight, Saul arose (that is, he stood up) and immediately had water sprinkled or poured on his head. Then food was served to him. The prophet Ananias did not take him to a pool or river of water.
Taking a succinct statement to force feed a traditional belief that one can sprinkle or pour water for water baptism is pathetic. Such exegesis is foolishness. It also contradicts even the simple truth of these verses of Scripture:
“As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.” (Mark 1:10)
“And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:38-39)
Baptism by immersion symbolized the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We identified with Christ and put on Christ. Hence the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ is applied in water baptism. We became a part of Him, His Body, His Bride. Read Gal.3:27; Eph.5:30; 2Cor.11:2; Rev.19:7,8. Taking the triune titles of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not the same as taking the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some preachers have even twisted the words of Peter to teach that he was actually commanding the believers, using the authority that Christ had given him, that “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” all who believed should get water baptized “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”.
So, why would men or churches disregard what God has said and still claim to believe in Him with all their heart? Should not they respect and fear Him and obey what He says? Are they not playing the hypocrites when they claim to believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible yet give excuses for even simple direct Biblical instructions? Are they not behaving like the Pharisees who defended their religious traditions for their own interests?
Furthermore, are we not to be cautious about making absolute a single utterance or command? Many Christians, including my friend PO, know full well that there is a need for a minimum of two “witnesses” of Scripture so that a matter can be established. And we see that there are several records in the Book of Acts where converts were baptized “in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ” but not one of them was baptized “in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit” even though our Lord uttered it but once (in Matthew 28:19) and only once. Yet, PO dares to justify by saying, “It is not so much the mode but the heart and the significance that counts”, thus doing away with the Truth that Water Baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Scriptural mode. Isn’t such a person deceiving himself and making God’s Word a lie just because he does not want his tradition (or opinion) to be mortified? Isn’t this iniquity?
Apparently, the Bible can be made to prove almost anything as one wishes, whether one believes the Word or not. Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the deity of Christ and the reality of a hell. The Sabbath Day Keepers such as the Seventh Day Adventists insist that worshipping on Sunday instead of Saturday is taking the Mark of the Beast (mentioned in the Book of Revelation). Then there are those who believe that the words of Jesus Christ only should be accepted as He is the sole teacher today. These people deny the epistles of Paul being inspired and consider him to be a false apostle.
Some favourite questions used in all
cultic defense are somewhat similar. Sabbath Day keepers would
“Show me a verse in the New Testament that the Ten Commandments were done
away with or/and a verse that says you do not have to keep the Sabbath
The Christians who do not wish to tithe would ask:
“Show me where in the New Testament that Christians are to give 10% of
For those who indulge in tobacco, they post the question:
“Show me where in the Bible that it is sinful to indulge in smoking?
If I cannot smoke leaves, then you cannot drink leaves (tea)?”
Apart from such questions some Trinitarians would cry
to all who disbelieve the Trinity of God whose names are
“Son” and “Holy Spirit”.
The staunch Pentecostals and Charismatics insist that one does not have
the Baptism of the Holy Spirit unless one speaks in tongues. And
then there are those in the Third Wave Movement who believe that God
does new things such as that He is at present time anointing them with
holy laughter, with strange behaviors like crawling on all fours and
panting or howling like animals, and even anointings on/through their
One common rebuff used by traditional Christians against a teaching that is not traditionally accepted is, just as PO puts it: “It is never emphasized in the New Testament.” Is Water Baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ emphasized in the New Testament? The answer is “yes” but PO and many like him would brush it away.
Is tithing emphasized or even mentioned in the New Testament? PO would be correct if he should say: “it was never emphasized in the New Testament.” However, many Christians are taught to tithe. Christians are not under the law and therefore are not required to tithe. So, why do we tithe? Well, it is not about tithing, it is about giving. And in the New Testament, one cannot miss the many passages where giving is mentioned. Of course, nothing is mentioned about giving a tithe (tenth). However, true believers in the Promised Seed of God given to Abraham follow the example of the faith of Abraham whose children we are. Abraham freely gave a tenth part of all that God gave him. It was grace; Abraham was not under the law. Freely he received, freely he gave. How much more ought we to give, nothing less than a tenth part of what God regularly puts into our hands. Call it tithing or otherwise, but it is foolishness for one to say that “tithing” is not emphasized in the New Testament while at the same time refusing to see what the Old Testament states regarding giving. We cannot give to God if He does not in the first place give to us (cf. Gen.14:20; 28:22). We need both Testaments to see the plan and purpose of God.
[Note: Some churches employ the use of
envelopes which require the name of individual members and the amount
enclosed in their envelopes to be written on it before returning them.
In a subtle way such churches are forcing their members to
and offering. Some preachers emphasize the need to give to their
ministry as if only through their ministry would the givers be blessed.
Do not be deceived. Such preachers are feeding their own belly
(cf. Rom.16:18). They are out to create wealth for themselves.
They are not like the Apostle Paul and other early apostles, who in
their days, sincerely cared for the spiritual well-being of the saints.
Though the apostles had the right to provisions of the assembly of
saints for they served as soldiers who went on warfare, as planters of a
vineyard, as shepherds of flocks, and as oxen that treaded the corn,
they did not seek for it. God provided them as He moved amongst
Concerning feet washing, PO gave his view, “Feet washing? It is a cultural thing. There are millions of Christians who do not practice this. Again it not emphasized in the epistles.” As usual the accent is still on “it is not emphasized” but this time he limits it only to the epistles for obvious reasons because in the Gospel of John it is recorded that our Jesus practiced it and commanded it.
“So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” (John 13:12-17)
Like it or not the truth of God comes to us dressed in cultural forms ― Chaldean, Jewish, Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and Roman. It is vital for Christians to differentiate between Bible principles and racial customs and culture. Though the Bible does not impose the customs and culture of a race onto another, its Biblical principles do not change. Hence, it is important that we carefully examine the Biblical rationale for any saying or command. Take feet washing for example. Many organized traditional churches do not practice it just because they could not discern the rationale of it and therefore they flout the command of Christ. However, what is it that Christ is conveying in these words. “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you”? Is it just a mere expression to remind us to serve one another by His performing that peculiar cultural deed? Or are both His action and words not enough reason and demonstration of His thought, to declare His demand to do exactly as shown?
If the “washing of the feet” is just merely an expression “to serve” then the phrase is redundant in this following statement of Paul, for the basis sense “to serve” is not lost even without the phrase:
“…and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.” (1Tim.5:10)
The action of bending one’s knees to wash another’s feet certainly fortifies the Lord’s command to love and serve the members of the Body of Christ. O humility!
The number “3” in Bible numeral represents complete perfection or completeness. Here are some examples: three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; three works of the Spirit, Justification, Sanctification and Holy Spirit Baptism; three that bear witness on earth, Spirit, Water and Blood; three manifestations of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; three pieces of furniture in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of Moses, Altar of Incense, Golden Candlesticks and Table of Shewbread; three ordinances, Water Baptism, Communion and Feet Washing.
One more look at
“a cultural thing”
― the issue of
In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul elucidates on the subject of headship and head
covering ― Christ’s head is God, man’s head is Christ, woman’s head is
the man and for this reason, and because of the angels, the woman needs
a covering on her head. And this covering is her long hair (verses
5,13-15). But traditional churches today are contentious over this
custom of the woman keeping their hair long as a head covering.
Different reasons, such as the environmental conditions, one’s social
standing, racial and cultural background, are cited for the non
necessity of keeping long hair. The real reason is simply the
inconvenience of keeping it long. They would rather have short
hair and a hat or veil for a covering. Regardless the reasons,
these words of Paul will ring out again on Judgment Day:
“Doth not even nature itself
teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if
a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her
for a covering”
(1Cor.11:14-15). O be ye not in the bond of iniquity!
The Language of Men
It is stated by some preachers that “the Bible was written in the language of men and can be easily understood if we follow the rules of language.” But what are the “rules of language”? Can an understanding of the “rules” of the Hebrew and Greek languages provide an easy understanding to the Bible? It may be true to a certain extent as far as how the intellectual mind can “decipher” what the languages intend to convey. However, it is definitely not the method by which God has intended. If an understanding of the “rules” of the Hebrew and Greek languages is required, then the poor and uneducated are at the mercy of the (usually) well-to-do intellectual and educated Theologians. Without a D.D. or a Th.D. behind his name, a preacher is nothing; he is looked down upon as a “quack” or a novice at interpreting Scripture. To the traditional Christians such a preacher is good enough only as a pastor for a little congregation or an evangelist moving about from village to village but never good enough to be an exegete of the Bible.
The great need today then, is not a bunch of intellectual, educated and theologically trained men trying to teach us Bible doctrines using whatever methods of biblical interpretation they were taught to use. The Bible is the Word of God and God's revelation to man. God interprets His Own Scripture. The Holy Spirit wrote the Sacred Scripture through ordained men of God. Likewise, the same God would not give us those hidden mysteries but only through His ordained servants. Yes, men who are truly called of God. For God to give us a man-made method to interpret His Scripture is to leave the interpretation of His Words to human wisdom that is at best faulty. Man's wisdom is of the flesh and the natural man is carnal. But the Word of God is spiritual:
“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom
teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things
with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the
Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know
them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
The Language of God
The language used in the Bible is a language of the Spirit of God, it is not man’s. God employed many different types of figures of speech in the Bible that a reader cannot miss, such as metaphor, ellipsis, hyperbole and synecdoche. There are many other types. The following are just a few examples:
Metaphor: “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” – Isaiah 55:12
Ellipsis: “For John came neither eating nor drinking.” – Matthew 11:18
Hyperbole: “Saul and Jonathan…they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.” – 2 Samuel 1:23
“And all the people
came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.”
Then again, scattered throughout the Sacred Scripture are many particular expressions that go beyond just figures of speech and could only be understood by an anointing of the Spirit of God on those who are given to see. This is a hard saying, no doubt, but remember that the Bible is as a “lover’s letter to his beloved", and therefore only the one in love with the writer gets to know the expressions written therein.
Now, God used certain particular
expressions of words besides visions, dreams and imageries to convey His
thoughts to His prophets and apostles. However, the approach to His
Sacred Scripture by traditional churches using the language of men has
caused many Christians to miss the truth of what God is conveying
because they fail to understand His usage of dreams, visions, imageries
and especially certain particular expressions used in the language of
God. Take these examples: most Bible readers believe that some
angels have literal wings, some a pair, some two pairs and some three
pairs. Some Christians believe in the literal existence of the
that Prophet Ezekiel and the Apostle John saw in their visions (as
recorded in their respective books) while some even believe that in
Heaven there is a literal street that is made of pure gold and a literal
“a pure river of water of life”,
in which they could bathe in (cf. Rev.21:21; 22:1).
Symbolically, Absurdity, Literally, Clarity
Spirited by traditions, such that he could not see the woods for the trees, PO, in his argument on the doctrines of the Original Sin and the Creation of Woman, keeps reminding me with this statement: “If the literal sense makes sense, seek no other sense.” Of course, “if the literal sense makes sense, seek no other sense”, then to him “the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Gen.2:9) are literal natural trees and the rib taken out of Adam’s side is a real human rib. Simply, the trees are natural trees and the rib is real human rib; nothing else.
A pastor (Matthew Waymeyer) made this true observation regarding what is considered symbolic in Scripture:
“In order to be considered symbolic, the language in question must possess (a) some degree of absurdity when taken literally and (b) some degree of clarity when taken symbolically.”
It is indeed a true observation if ever
there is one.
Two Trees in the Midst of the Garden
Hence, to take the “Two Trees” (of Genesis 2:9) as literal natural trees is just plain nonsense and absurd. The verse itself reads as follows:
“And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
Notice that the verse has two parts, separated by a semi-colon. Though ancient Hebrew has no inherent punctuation and no capital letters, the break in the verse by a punctuation mark (the semi-colon) in the English translation is correct. The second part is an interjection interpolated to hide a truth. This is similar to the kind of interjection in John 2:19 when Jesus went to cleanse the temple in Jerusalem and had a row with the Jews about the House of God and He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The temple Christ referred to was a different temple, as we read in the record. With this in mind, let’s examine what Moses wrote in the statement of Genesis 2:9.
The first part says that the Lord God caused EVERY edible fruit-bearing tree which is pleasant and desirable to the eyes to grow out from the ground. Hence, there is no exception to any one particular edible fruit-bearing tree that GROW “out of the ground” that could not be eaten. This is a fact.
Now, notice carefully that the second part has no reference to the two trees growing out of the ground. For this reason, the two trees are not natural trees. If they are, then their fruits could be eaten according to the first part of the verse which states that ALL edible fruit-bearing trees that grow from the GROUND could be eaten. Again, notice that the two trees are not found “in the garden” but “in the midst (Heb: tavek, bisection, center, middle) of the garden”, a specific location in the garden and not just anywhere “in the garden”. So, if the two trees are not natural trees then the phrase “in the midst (bisection, center, middle) of the garden” could not be referring to the literal natural Garden of Eden. Hence, the degree of absurdity of the language (of the second half of Genesis 2:9) when taken literally. However, when taken symbolically the hidden truth is unfolded. The two trees are two laws which oppose one another. The “tree of life” is the “law of life” that brings life and the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” is the “law of perverted knowledge” which brings death (cf. Rom.8:2).
Everything that God has created was created for a purpose.
Similarly, every member, every organ, of the human body has a purpose.
The reproductive organ is situated in the middle (center,
which is a
(by analogy, cf. Songs 5:1; 6:2). Hence, the doctrine of the
Original Sin has nothing to do with the eating (partaking) of the fruit
of a natural tree (called the
“tree of knowledge of good and evil”
) but the partaking of a knowledge in which the truth of God was mixed
with falsehood (that is, perverted or corrupted knowledge). The
true purpose of the sexual reproductive organ was twisted out of context
with God’s law which states that in the time and the season of life all
living things are to bring forth life, each of its own kind
(Eccle.3:1,2; Gen.2:24,25; 1:24). Simply, the Serpent seduced the
woman with perverted knowledge that was very enticingly sweet to the
senses. She was bought over to experience carnal knowledge with
the Serpent. She was deceived. She ate the fruit of it.
The “fruit” of Eve’s transgression against the law of God was Cain, the
son of the Serpent (Gen.3:15; 1Jhn.3:12).
PO was quick to fire me a pharisaical statement: “You suggested that the partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is to partake of perverted knowledge. But Gen. 3:22 says “And the LORD said, The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” So God has perverted knowledge? May I ask you to correct this?”
This is the kind of carnal perverted reasoning that actually destroys the Truth of God. Like many self-proclaimed experts in Bible interpretation, PO has no parallel reasoning, just a one track mind without an understanding. He reminds me of Nicodemus who did not stop to digest Christ’s words carefully of being “born again”“ before he asked the question: “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” Nicodemus equated “born again” to going back into the womb of his mother. PO equated the carnal knowledge of good and evil, sold to Eve through a perverted act with the Serpent, to that of God’s Omniscient Knowledge of good and evil.
If the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil“ is the opposite of the “Tree of Life“, then it must bring about Death by anyone partaking it in disobedience to God. PO believes so. If it is, then did not the partaking of that tree contradict the knowledge that God had forbidden the couple to do so? And is that not a perversion? Is not the savoring of something forbidden provides certain knowledge about it? Had not God said, “Ye shall surely die” ? However Eve was led to taste it to see if it was so. Undoubtedly, the words of the Serpent (in Gen.3:4-5) was filled with falsehood ― a knowledge that was perverted.
The knowledge of good and evil is not sin. God Himself has such knowledge. Adam too had that knowledge for he was created in the image of God, but to partake of it by an act is. We all know that sexual union between a man and a woman outside of holy wedlock is vile. Such knowledge does not make us guilty but to lock in union with someone who is not one’s spouse does. It opens up the eyes of the sinner to the meaning of “to know”.
Satan’s wording is insinuatingly true in
some way when he said to Eve (not Adam):
“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall
be opened, and ye shall be as gods
knowing good and evil”
(Gen.3:5 cf. Psa.8:5; 97:7;
see also Heb.1:6). And
in a subtle way
Moses expressed God’s words ironically:
“And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know
good and evil:..”
(Gen.3:22). Think on it.
Sin, Transgression, Iniquity
It goes without saying that the human race could not come into existence without the woman, not just any woman, but the one who was taken out of the man Adam. The woman sinned. [Note: The word “sin” in Hebrew and Greek simply means “missing the mark”.] As the wages of sin is death it is obvious that Adam had to do what was right in his capacity to redeem his wife. Being in the image of God Adam knew to do right. He opted to stand in the gap as a mediator between the Creator-Judge and Eve. He loved his wife. To buy her back, Adam had to identify with her sin and face God’s judgment on her behalf. For that he brought death to mankind.
What does the Word of God say regarding the deed of Adam? “Adam was not deceived,…” (1 Tim.2:14a). Notice that the Word of God, through Paul, does not state that Adam was in the transgression. It did state that he was not deceived. [Note: Paul could have written “Adam was not deceived but he was in transgression.” But he did not.] What’s the reason? Paul placed the emphasis on the deception and the transgression of Eve. He also emphasized the fact that Adam was not deceived. How could it be that Adam was not deceived?
Adam did what was right. He willingly chose to stand in the gap between God and the woman to be a “saviour”. There was no iniquity in his action as compare to that of Abraham (Gen.20:2), Isaac (Gen.26:7), Jacob (Gen.27:19,20,24), and those who do not the Will of God (Matt.7:21-23).
PO once remarked to me that if Adam knew what he was doing then it meant that he willfully sinned against God. If only he understands. This is what Paul wrote in Romans 5:12-17 concerning the “transgression” of Adam:
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned - (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)”
Truly, the man, a direct creation of
God, could not be deceived. He knew judgment awaited the woman that God
gave him, and death was certain. Not doing anything would mean he would
be the only man on earth for all eternity with the animals on the land,
in the air and in the sea for companions. However,
Adam knew what he had to do
his woman from her sin. As a son of God, created in
God’s very image, he knew he must act according to God’s utterance
(Gen.2:18) and the prophetic words that he uttered (Gen.2:23-24). And
did it. (Obviously, he was not without a revelation that
his action would bring a condemnation on the human race.) So he
identified with the fallen state of the woman who fell for the deception
of the Serpent. She had committed iniquity. Adam was willing to buy her
back by taking her sin upon him. Adam’s action was
act of disobedience as in rebelling against God as my friend PO so
inferred. Rather, his action was his
to take the sin of his woman upon himself.
Type and Anti-type
Paul said that Adam was “a type of Him who was to come”. O mystery! Jesus Christ was the antitype (in reverse) of Adam. What Adam did willingly (not willfully) for his beloved was destructive; what Jesus did willingly (not willfully) for His Beloved was saving, giving life back to us who believe in Him. Jesus identified with our passion and took our transgressions and iniquities upon Calvary. Exactly right. If Jesus Christ did not willingly come to take our sins and to lay down His life for us, we would have no life (cf. John 10:14-18). Jesus was willing to be judged just to save us ― His Bride, who has gone astray. The Word also says that “He was numbered with the transgressors” (Isa.53:12 cf. Luke 22:37). God would not have Jesus numbered with the transgressors if “transgression” was not involved. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2Cor.5:21). God had made Jesus Who knew nothing about “missing the mark” to be such that He “missed the mark” for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. No wonder it pained the Father to see the vileness that was put on His Son. (Read Isa.1:13; Hab.1:13.)
What does the Word of God say regarding
the deed of the woman?
“…but the woman being deceived was in
the transgression” (1Tim.2:14b). Being a by-product of Adam, the
woman fell into the deception of the Serpent and literally worked
iniquity against God’s will, becoming a wrongdoer, transgressing the
law. Deception, whether by self or by another, is a deadly tool that
always leads to transgression against God. God’s judgment meted to her
was a curse on her reproductive organ (Gen.3:16) for using it contrary
to the law of God (Gen.1:24).
My friend PO also believes that God literally cut open Adam’s side and took one of Adam’s ribs and then closed up his open side. Yes, many like him believe that God took a literal rib with flesh attached to it, of course, and of which He formed a woman for Adam. The verse used to support it is Genesis 2:23:
“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
So, many Christians concluded that Eve was formed from a rib of Adam ― literally.
Is it really? If it is literal, how is it that the men have the same number of ribs as the women? I was often asked that question. To justify that God actually used a real rib, PO theorizes that God cut open Adam’s side, took a rib to fashion Eve, and then restored Adam whole without any missing rib. Hence, man has no missing rib (yet his wife is said to be “his missing rib”). Would not it be better and easier to theorize that perhaps Adam had a spare rib that God used rather than to theorize that God took out a rib and then restored Adam whole by replacing the missing rib?
Consider: to believe that Eve was made from a real rib of Adam would be to believe that she was not made of dust as Adam was. Then again, what does it mean when a man says to his wife: “You are my flesh and bone; you are my other half”?
Maybe some smart theologians might have it all figured out that the four floating ribs of the human skeleton were the ones that God broke off to form Eve. In forming the Woman to be the perfect size and height for Adam, God failed to get it right in His first three attempts. The first rib broken off was too long, which would make the Woman much taller than Adam; the second one was broken off too short, which would make her much too short for Adam; and the third was of a length that would make her of equal height with Adam. But the fourth one was just perfect, making her just a little bit lower than Adam.
Are you laughing? Why shouldn’t you be? After all, anyone can interpret the Bible as he likes. That’s true, isn’t it? My friend PO did not hesitate to declare an anathema upon himself in his interpretation of the “Two Trees” when he said: “I'll be damned in hell if I do not believe that the TREE OF LIFE and the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL are not LITERAL TREES.” He would probably proclaim the same on his “literal human rib” interpretation on the making of the Woman. How foolish to display such an egoistic attitude of damning oneself. By such a declaration he sought to justify and impose his interpretation as truth, nothing but the truth, and was willing to be damned in hell if it was wrong. (Such assertion is common among foolish people. It is like a foolish atheist who wants to prove his conviction says, “There is no God. If there is a God, let Him strike me blind.”)
Have theologians considered what Adam
really said, when he said,
“She shall be called Woman, because she
was taken out of Man”
? What was she really ― that
“was taken out
? Was the Woman really a Man’s rib
taken out of him? Or was
she something else that was in Adam that God took out and fashioned as a
Bride to meet Adam’s need? Consider it carefully. What mystery was in
that handiwork of God? What was God portraying in the making of the
Woman as He put Adam into a deep sleep? Consider what God took from the
side of the last Adam (Jesus Christ) at Mount Calvary to fashion a Bride
for Christ after He breathed His last breath and died? Be wise. Reflect
on the type and anti-type between the two Adams. Remember that we are a
part of Christ, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.
Source of Authority
When it came to facts, PO was always quick to ask me for the source of authority whenever he could not accept the Truth. His usual words were “It’s just your interpretation”, and, of course, my interpretation to him could not be right because I am a “nobody”; I do not have a theological degree. He wanted some sources of authority, a recognized and renowned “somebody” ― a theologian or a seminarian. How carnal! (There are many out there in the religious world. Which ones does he accept as many do not even agree among themselves? Obviously, he could only accept those whose interpretations line up with his; those whose interpretations are not “it’s just their interpretations” but rather whose interpretations are right with his views and of which to him are “Thus saith the Lord”.) It won’t be wrong to assume that on that eventful Day of Pentecost that there must have been some Jews who, upon hearing the words of Apostle Peter, murmured among themselves as to where he got his source of interpretation and who was his mentor or teacher.
The approach to understanding the hidden truths of God cannot be by a man-made system of intellectual study. Anyone can interpret, but only God can reveal the truth. And it has to come through God’s ordained channels of Apostles and Prophets.
The Word of the Lord came to His people,
Israel, through His servants the prophets. These prophets were anointed
to take God’s messages to His people and even to utter the secret things
of God (2Kgs.21:10; Amos 3:7). Each prophet had only the Word and Work
of God for their days. Certainly they did not know all things. Jacob did
not know that Joseph was alive. Elijah did not know that God had 7000
other prophets in Israel (1Kgs.19:18), and Daniel had to seek God for an
understanding concerning Jeremiah’s prophecies (Dan.9; Jer.29:10). As
God dealt with those servants, it was within His power to reveal to them
whatever things He wished them to know and to hide from them whatever
things that were unnecessary. The same is true today among God’s
Apostles and Prophets sent to His
Ekklesia. By God’s Apostles and
Prophets, I do not mean preachers trained and ordained by organizations
or even those running around promoting sensationalism.
Consistent in Inconsistency
What can be most annoying is when theologians are not consistent in their interpretations of similar words or phrases. They would give a twisted interpretation just to support their doctrines. One most common inconsistency of interpretation of words is centered on the phrase “in the beginning” of John 1:1-2 against the same phrase in Genesis 1:1.
John 1:1-2: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.”
Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Does the phrase “in the beginning” in both passages hold the same meaning? Or is there a difference?
Every Christian agrees that the heavens and the earth came into existence when the Creator created them. The Creator is an eternal Spirit, the only One Who has no beginning and no ending. He alone inhabits eternity. There is none else, no other God (no second or third person [God]), beside Him (Isa.45:5,6,18). He alone purposed in Himself after the counsel of His Own Will. And after He had counseled with Himself as to His Will and Purpose, He brought forth creation. That period of time is known as “the beginning”.
However, according to my friend PO and all Trinitarians, when it comes to the passage of John 1:1-2, the phrase, “in the beginning”, takes on a completely different meaning. PO said:
“Go into the Greek, go into the internet and we will find out the real meaning. It is this: “Before there was a beginning the WORD already existed.” Why? Because the Word is GOD, who has no beginning. This is confirmed by John himself. He says the Word of life is that eternal life, which was with the Father! 1 John 1:1-2.”
What translation is that? It is but a very poor paraphrasing of God's Word to try and interpret John’s revelation.
To “go into the Greek” is good. I don’t deny that. However, do make a check and see whether there is any difference between the word “beginning” and the word “eternity”.
“Go into the internet”, now that is scary. Where in the World Wide Web is Truth really found? The W.W.W. is a web. As moths are drawn to the light of a candle and burnt, so are undiscerning Christians drawn into the many religious “flickering lights” on the W.W.W. into fabrication and falsehood.
Bible students know not to take the words of Scripture out of context. PO knows about it. He often reminds me of it as if I am a greenhorn, yet he himself does not take his own advice.
What is meant by “IN THE BEGINNING was the Word (Grk: Logos)” ? Is it really “BEFORE THERE WAS A BEGINNING the Word already existed” ? By interpreting “IN THE BEGINNING” as “BEFORE THERE WAS A BEGINNING”, the interpreter, whoever he may be, has taken a simple statement of God and twisted it into a lie. This misinterpretation is commonly used by Trinitarians. PO has used it to try and correct my revelation of the One God doctrine. Trinitarians have DEFINED the words according to their Godhead doctrines and have ingrained it into the hearts of traditional Christians.
To believe that “before there was a beginning the WORD already existed” is to believe that “the WORD already existed before there was a beginning”. Hence “the WORD has no beginning” and if “the WORD has no beginning” it means “the WORD was in ETERNITY” or “IN ETERNITY was the Word” (a phrase so used by a good number of preachers).
“IN THE BEGINNING was the Word”
to be interpreted as
“IN ETERNITY was the Word”
? Can the word
be equated to the word
Are the two words interchangeable? Foolish educated theologians
believe so. But who are the theologians today who dare to think
they are superior and have clearer understanding than the Apostle John?
John was the beloved of Christ. No one can assert that he did not
know what he was writing about, or that he did not know the right word
to use. He was the anointed writer, therefore would he not have known
better than the theologians of today?
Consider this: if “in the beginning” is not “in a specific period of activation or commencement” but is “in eternity” or “in eternity past”, then Genesis 1:1 could be read this way: “In eternity God created the heavens and the earth” or “Before there was a beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. But, does it make sense? Dare anyone think that God does not know words, be it Hebrew or Greek, that when He stated “in the beginning” He meant just that?
The WORD (Grk: Logos) is the expression of God’s Divine thought or reason. When God began to express Himself, that’s when the Logos was birthed. The Word has a beginning (cf. Prov.8:22-23), and since it came forth (birthed, started) from God, the Eternal Spirit, Who has no beginning, the WORD (that came forth) is eternal. Nevertheless, that does not mean that one can just simply change the wordings by calling IT the ETERNAL WORD. You may wonder why not? To understand, take this example: a man who is born again and Spirit-filled, he has eternal life. Prior to his rebirth he has no eternal life. Only the One True God has Eternal Life. So, until the man is birthed by the Word and Spirit of God he does not have eternal life. Now, just because he has received eternal life and is now a son of God it does not make him an eternal son of God. The words “eternal son” is contrary one to the other. There is no such thing as an “eternal begotten son” or a “begotten eternal son”. But that’s what the Trinitarians did; they made Jesus Christ an ETERNAL SON called GOD THE SON. All these three terms: ETERNAL WORD, ETERNAL SON and GOD THE SON are not Scriptural and are not even found in the Bible. This is obvious, for God cannot contradict Himself. He is the ONLY ONE Who is ETERNAL, having no beginning and no end. Other than the Holy Almighty YHWH all things that exist have a beginning, even the Lake of Fire.
The WORD had a beginning. Jesus Christ had a beginning. He is called the Son of God and not God the Son. For any created living thing to have eternal life (without end) it must be implanted into the very Life of the One Who is Eternal ― YHWH. Only YHWH has Eternal Life and He has the power to give it.
Religious traditional Christians often
do not apply simple common sense to the understanding of the Word
because they have already a mental picture formed from the religious
wordings given to them by tradition churches through faulty reasoning.
A picture once formed and rooted in the mind is hard
erase. A common faulty reasoning is the equation of words that is
deceitfully used to formulate a doctrine. Some equations are very
blatant yet many foolish people simply accept them like simple equations
(or formulas) taught in school such as: if A is equal to B and B is equal
to C, therefore A is equal to C. The equation or formula used to
solve a Mathematical Problem cannot be used to solve Bible Mysteries.
It is foolishness. The same goes for others in the area of Science
such as: if water is H2O
and ice is also H2O,
therefore water is ice. Is it really? Though both are H2O
they are different states of matter, mind you. And surely we
cannot equate a cat to a dog just because both are animals, for a cat is
certainly not a dog. Yet, such methods are applied consciously or
otherwise in certain traditional doctrines besides the one afore
discussed and in one particular doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church ―
the doctrine of Maryology. The Roman Catholics pray to Mary and
worship her. They deify her on the grounds that she is the
“Mother of God”. However, nowhere in the Scripture is Mary called the
“mother of God”.
She is called the
“mother of Jesus”
(cf. John 2:1,3; 19:25-26; Acts 1:14). Roman Catholics reason that
if Mary is the mother of Jesus, and Jesus is God, then she is the mother
of God. Simple equation ―
perhaps! After all, theologians have made the interpretation of the
Bible a science or an art with their own “scientific” equation and
formula. Precisely, for they have taken the phrase
“in the beginning”
and equated it to
“before there was a beginning”,
and they have also taken the word
and equated it to
blatantly going against the clear statement that
“the Word was God”.
was not Jesus but this
of Life that was God was made manifest in the flesh of Jesus Christ (cf. John 1:14;
1John 1:1-3; 2Cor.5:19; 1Tim.3:16).
Life Given To Jesus
A THOUGHT (or the thinking of a thought, Grk: noema) is a WORD unexpressed. The eternal God has the unexpressed word in His Mind (Grk: nous). Until that word is manifested or expressed (Grk: logos), it remains in Him as noema and not logos. Once it comes out, it becomes an EXPRESSED THOUGHT/WORD (Grk: LOGOS). The LOGOS came forth in the day of ITS beginning to express/reveal God himself.
Observe this closely. The Apostle John declared that “the Word was with God, and the Word was God...In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:2,4). THE WORD which came forth from God WAS LIFE itself. Eternal Life was with God, our Heavenly Father (cf. 1 John 1:1-2). The Life of THE WORD was the light of men. Life was not given to Him. He was Life Himself. However, it was not so with Jesus Who said,
“For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” (John 5:26)
Jesus did not have LIFE in Himself. It was God the Father Who gave Him power to have LIFE in Himself. Yes, Jesus was GIVEN the power of LIFE, the LIGHT of LIFE, the WORD of LIFE. Therefore, it is clear that THE WORD was God; THE WORD was not Jesus. But Jesus was THE WORD made manifest (as the Apostle John declared in 1 John 1:1-3). He was the revelation of the One True God. The Light of Life came into the world in Jesus Christ. That's why Jesus was able to proclaim:
“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Is the above exegesis incomprehensible? Is the elucidation false? To interpret the WORD as being Jesus and that He was with God in the eternal past and that He was co-equal with God would mean that He already had Life in Himself. Such interpretation would make the Apostle John a liar for he said that God had given life to Jesus Christ. John did not say that “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath the Son life in himself”.
The Son did not have life in Himself. The Father gave It to Him. And
that is the Bible Truth.
It is believed by many that the fossils were created by the Flood when God destroyed all lives on earth and saving only Noah, his family and the animals in the ark. Are the fossils really the remains of the pre-flood world? Were the dinosaurs created in the days of Adam? Were they in the ark of Noah? My friend PO believes so after reading a book that theorizes that the earth is a “young earth” of 6000 years old.
However, how is it that the dinosaurs died out after they left the ark onto dry land? The theory is that the availability of food was scarce for all the animals and hence the dinosaurs were the first to perish. Such an answer is foolish; it cannot hold water. Not all dinosaurs were big. Some were small like the turkey and yet the bigger animals such as the elephants, hippopotamuses and the rhinoceros survived. Indeed it is strange that God would save all kinds of dinosaurs by gathering them into the ark to simply have them die out after they left the ark because He could not provide them with enough greens after the Flood.
All animals “whose nostrils were the breath of life” that were not in the ark perished during the Flood. But how is it that some marine creatures that had no nostrils did not survive the flood water and simply perished? Did they really perish during the Flood and become fossilized? One such marine creature is the trilobite.
To reject the time gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 is to not see the truth concerning several hidden secrets. The gap between the two verses spans a great length of time. When and how long the earth was created and shaped we certainly cannot tell. It was a period that does not concern mankind. And surely the earth was created to be inhabited (Isa.45:18). However, something happened that caused the earth to become chaotic and wasted. What was it? The answer was the Fall of Lucifer.
The earth in the days of Lucifer was filled with dinosaurs and man-like creatures. Lucifer and all the angelic beings were put on earth and tested. They were not tested in heaven and those who fell were then cast down to earth. The Heaven is God’s throne and abode and the earth is his footstool and work place. Sin could never find a beginning in God’s Heaven. Job 1:6 and 2:1 are the two verses of Scripture erroneously interpreted by all theologians (as far as I know) to be events that took place in Heaven with the “sons of God” being the angels and that Satan came also into the very Presence of God. However, the truth is that the events took place on earth and that the “sons of God” were not angels (be they holy angels or fallen angels) but the worshippers of God in the days of Job. Moreover, the term “sons of God” speaks of a relation with a “Father” and the ability to procreate (and be a father). Angels are servants, not sons, and they have no power to procreate. (To force fit their theory that angels could procreate, some theologians cited Jude 1:6.) It was in such an assembly of worshippers that Satan entered in and through one or more of them, accused Job.
Lucifer had his “Garden of Eden” and it certainly was not the same one or the same type that God gave to Adam judging from the words of Ezekiel 28:13-15. Lucifer fell from his estate, his heavenly position, as a great archangel of God when he sought to ascend into heaven and to put himself in a position above all the angelic beings, such that he be even as God. (Notice: if he sought to ascend into heaven, he could not have been in heaven, and certainly he could not have fallen from the heaven of God.) His being cut down to the ground by God caused him to become rebellious. He became Satan, the adversary of God. With a murderous attitude he turned against God by worming his way into the spirits of some of the gigantic animals and causing them to kill one another. Yes, Satan was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44) and not just when he had Cain kill Abel in the days after the Fall of Mankind.
The destruction of lives and with it the
destruction of the environment, the air was fouled up by the
decomposition of animals and plants. God had to call it to a halt and
freeze the earth by shutting down the sun. Some animals were frozen
with food in their mouth. As the earth was left in that chaotic and
wasted state for a vastly long period of time, the movement and the
pressure of the ice and earth layers caused many trees and plants to
become petrified and many of the carcasses of the various creatures, of
the air, land and sea, big and small, to later become fossilized. The
marine trilobite was fossilized in this chaotic and wasted state of the
earth and not during the Flood of Noah’s day.
Fantasy, Imagery, Reality
There are people who are fascinated with the Bible because of its history; the oldest manuscript (the Book of Job) dating back to around 1500 B.C. Fiction writers and movie producers even give the Bible their own interpretations. Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones’ movies – “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “The Last Crusade” – interpreted the Ark of the Covenant and the Cup (used in Christ’s Last Supper) to contain supernatural power. Did the Ark of the Covenant and the “Communion” Cup really contain supernatural power?
Religious people have the tendency to believe that everything connected with GOD is sacred and therefore possesses supernatural power. Even the Apostles of Christ were in some ways venerated and deified.
Though God had consecrated certain objects in the temple worship, none of them in itself actually held supernatural power. If there was any supernatural power, it was in the hand of God, not in the objects per se. Take this historical case that goes back to the days when Israel was wandering in the desert because of their unbelief. God, one day, sent fiery serpents into their camp:
“And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” (Num.21:6-9)
Now, did the bronze serpent on the pole contain supernatural power? If it did have supernatural power, and was even a sacred object to be kept, why did not King Hezekiah show respect to it? Should he not have revered it by keeping it away from those who worshipped it instead of breaking it into pieces? (cf. 2Kgs.18:1-6). One thing is certain, if there is no Bible record of this destruction of “Nehushtan” by King Hezekiah, it would not surprise me that, like the Jews who worshipped it, there would be Christians who would believe that the object was sacred and even possessed supernatural power.
All religious consecrated objects and
structures designed and made by the Lord were done to foreshadow the
very Life and Ministry of Christ and His Body of the Redeemed.
The Pillar of Fire, The Pillar of Cloud
Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments is a spectacular movie. The special effects have many Christians believing his interpretation of the various supernatural events to be accurate and have accepted them as they appeared to be. Concerning the Pillar of Fire and the Pillar of Cloud, it is interesting to see how Bible readers view them as being an alternating 12-hour nightly and daily manifestation throughout Israel’s 40 years of desert wandering. Majority of Christians read the Bible as they would read a story book without due respect to certain particular expressions penned by the Spirit.
The Scripture is written by the Holy Spirit, penned by holy men of God in a language that is of God, though written in Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek. The expressions are the language of the Spirit in Hebraic culture. It is not about semantics. It is the language of God, an expression to convey His TRUTH. Relating to the translation of the Torah into Greek, Rabbi Yehudah Prero said:
“The translation of the Torah into Greek caused irreparable damage. The Torah was given to us in one language and one language only. The nuances, subtleties, and implications of the specific words chosen are lost in translation. The “70 facets of Torah” which our Sages wrote about can't readily be seen or gleaned from a translation. In addition, when one translates, one is forced to choose a specific interpretation that he or she feels best express the meaning of the original words. Alternate meanings or interpretations are discarded. It was this aspect of the translation of the Torah that was most harmful. It gave license for people to begin explaining the Torah as they saw fit, ignoring other relevant and applicable meanings that came from Sinai as well. The teachings of the Sages were disregarded, and the holy words of the Torah were corrupted. For this reason, a fast was warranted.” (The Tenth of Teves - A Fast for Torah, YomTov, vol. II # 25)
How true that many “nuances, subtleties, and implications of the specific words chosen are lost in translation”. There is a failure to see that not all Hebrew words (as well as all Greek words of the New Testament) translated into the English language or any other language can fully convey the exact expressions God intended. Therefore to literally believe that, for some 40 years, all Israel saw with their natural eyes a Pillar of Fire every night over the Tabernacle of Moses and a literal Pillar of Cloud when night turned to day, violates the question that the children of Israel put to Moses when they tempted the Lord, saying, “Is the LORD among us, or not?” (Exod.17:7). PO believes Israel just lost their faith like many Christians do.
The belief that the Fire and Cloud were seen by the natural eyes of all the Israelites every night and day is drawn from verses such as this one:
“For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.” (Exod.40:38) [Note: Did the Pillar of Cloud appear also in the night with the Pillar of Fire? Num.9:15,21.]
Let me ask all sincerely born again Christians this question: would you lose your faith in God if you had the Pillar of Fire literally hovering in your church in full view of all attendees every Sunday, 52 Sundays a year, every year? Would you or anyone in the congregation, who saw the Pillar of Fire every Sunday, be so dim-witted as to ask the pastor, “Is God among us or not?” ?
Well, in no uncertain terms my friend PO hinted that he might, even if he was to see the ever present Pillar of Fire and the Pillar of Cloud night and day for years. How is it that a man who daily comes face to face with the Presence of God in the Supernatural Fire and Cloud could question “Is God among us or not?” ? Perhaps one out of a million might. But for all, if not, say half of Israel (out of an estimation of 2-4 millions in the exodus) to question Moses while the Fire and Cloud were daily in their midst would be overwhelmingly unbelievable. Remember, Israel did not just experience the miraculous supplies of food and water out there in the wilderness but they were believed to have seen the supernatural phenomena with their eyes every day and night, for many, many years. How ridiculous and foolish it must have been to Moses when those Israelites came to him with the question – “Is God among us or not?” – isn't it? Moses would have just pointed to the Pillar of Fire or Cloud and raise his voice, FIRMLY, LOUDLY and CLEARLY: “What's that you see?! Is that not the Presence of God among us?!! Is He not right here IN FRONT OF YOUR VERY EYES?!!! OR ARE YOU BLIND?!!!!” Well, he didn’t, and why not?
Beloved, our Faith is not based on our SEEING with the natural eyes or on any of the other senses. A spiritual man feels and sees God’s PRESENCE; sees His FACE but not a LITERAL FACE; sees His GLORY but not a LITERAL SUPERNATURAL PILLAR OF FIRE or CLOUD. If you have a LITERAL SUPERNATURAL FIRE OR CLOUD THAT YOU CAN SEE EVERYDAY, I can guarantee you that ― 1) you would spend your time staring at it, day and night; 2) you would be very assured knowing that God is with you; 3) you would have no FEAR because HIS PRESENCE is LITERALLY looking down upon you where you could SEE Him. Am I not right?
Faith comes by hearing the Word ― the revelation of the Word (cf. Rom.10:17). Faith is not required if we can see with our natural eyes the daily supernatural fire. The God of Israel is YHWH. He is omnipotent. He is a Healer but He does not have to heal ALL to prove that He is a Healer. He does supernatural things but He does not have to show it ALL the time to prove Himself.
Again, why did the children of Israel fear when YHWH was in the Fire and Cloud in full view of them everyday? Why? Had not the Pillar of Fire led them on the way and even blocked the army of Egypt from advancing on them? How could they simply lose their faith ever so often over some trials? Besides, take into account the enemies around them, could not they also see the Pillar of Fire in the night and the Pillar of Cloud in the day? Now consider: would they have attacked Israel if they saw that a supernatural God was with Israel, a God whose presence was VISIBLY SEEN day and night? More precisely, would not have many of the Gentiles gone over to the camp of Israel to say, “We want to worship this God of yours Who appears as Fire by night and as Cloud by day that we could see for miles away. Please circumcise us. Let us be proselytes.” Wouldn't they? Just look at today’s situation; when signs, wonders and miracles are performed, people rush to be converted to the Christian faith.
Moreover, if the Fire and Cloud is
literally seen daily throughout their years of journey in the
wilderness, the children of Israel would have worshipped those two
pillars of elements, for they were a people who were easily turned to
idolatry. They worshipped idols very readily. Like the Gentile nations
around them they wanted a God they could see ― with their natural eyes.
They not only had turned to worship the golden calf that Aaron made upon
their demand while Moses was up in Mount Sinai, but also Baalim and
Ashtaroth and the very brazen serpent that was crafted by Moses (cf.
Exod.32:1-4; Num.25:3; Jdg.2:11-13; 2Kgs.18:4). Israel, as a whole, had
the Word ministered to them
“but the word preached did not profit them,
not being mixed with faith in them that heard it”
Moses accounted the exodus, the journey to the Promised Land, and the wandering of Israel in the wilderness from his prophetic position. If one is not discerning of prophetic writings, one would not be able to rightly divide those words, and how they were expressed. Moses mentioned about the Fire and Cloud frequently (eg. Exod.13:21-22; Num.9:15-23). What he saw, as a prophet of God, did not mean that all Israel saw the same. Moses was not just a prophet or a messenger, but a SEER. Prophets like Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, Isaiah and a good many others, of such caliber as Moses were actually seers (cf. 1Sam.9:9). Seers see visions, and perceive and understand the supernatural (eg. 2Kgs.6:15-17). Hence, as a seer and living in a spiritual prophetic realm, Moses saw visions, perceived and realized the supernatural. And he wrote of them accordingly as he saw them.
Exodus 40:38 is a verse that had many Bible readers believe that all Israel SAW the Fire and Cloud with their natural eyes because of the phrase “in the sight of all the house of Israel”. The word “sight” is “‘ayin” in the Hebrew, and in the KJV Bible translated mainly as “eye(s)” and “sight”, words expressed either literally or figuratively. By analogy it is a “fountain” (as the “eye” of the landscape) and is also translated into several other words such as “well(s), “presence”, “face”, “colour”, “knowledge”, “seemeth”, “outward appearance”. The words "in the/thy sight" appear some 200 times in the Old Testament. If we do not understand the usage of the phrase but take it literally (as in Exodus 40:38) then this one example is an absurdity indeed, that every pair of Israelites' eyes (some 3 millions of them, from the land of the Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south and from the coastal region on the west to the land touching the boundary of the Ammonites on the east) literally saw Absalom go in unto his father's concubines:
Here are two examples of the use of “’ayin” for “eyes” and “sight” in the Bible:
“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Gen.3:5)
“And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:” (Gen.18:3)
In the same way, I could give this statement: “The presence of the Shekinah Fire of God has always been in the midst and in the sight of the saints of God since the Church started on the Day of Pentecost. The Pillar of Fire has never left the Church.”
The Hebrew word that indicates actual seeing with the eyes is “mar’eh” : a view (the act of seeing); also an appearance (the thing seen), whether (real) a shape (especially if handsome, comeliness ; often plural the looks). It is translated as “sight”, “look”, “see”, etc. Here are three examples from the Scripture:
“And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Gen.2:9)
“And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.” (Exod.3:3)
“And it came to pass in an evening tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.” (2Sam.11:2)
Beloved, I want you to see the Scripture
through spiritual eyes and not with natural ones, for the things of God
are spiritually discerned.
Interpreter of God’s Word
What is a prophet? It is commonly defined that a prophet is an interpreter of God’s Divine Word. Is it true? Follow closely:
Was Moses a prophet? Yes, he was.
What Scripture did he interpret? Oops...none.
So the definition is not true. Biblically, a prophet is not an interpreter of God’s Divine Word. The definition is merely a simple statement about what a prophet does but is not entirely true about who a prophet is. Many will quote Amos 3:7, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” and the many verses that state “the Word of the Lord came to ‘prophet so-and-so’” to mean that a prophet of God is one who is sent to interpret the Word. It is more appropriate to say that a prophet is one sent to reveal God’s mysteries (or secrets) in His own time. A prophet is a messenger of God, he speaks for God. He is also an interpreter of dreams and visions. The mysteries of God are revealed to him.
With the law being fulfilled by the Son
of God and with the birth of the Church made possible by the Gospel of
Grace in the Cross of Christ, the old order was stacked away and a new
order came into play. The Apostolic ministry was introduced to head the
ministry in the Church. Christ Jesus is
the Prophet to the Church as
He was to Israel. He is
“the Apostle and High Priest of our profession”
(Heb.3:1). It was the apostles that Christ ordained to unfold the
prophetic words having the ability to rightly divide the Word of Truth
Prophetic Revelation – Apostolic Truth
Undeniably, traditional church interpretations are far from rightly dividing the Word of Truth. No doubt there have been some great men of God from past generations who sought the Mind of God for His revelation on the Word and who were rewarded. But this last half century has been different after the outpouring of the Spirit in the early 1900s. We see the spirit of Charismaticism infiltrating the various denominations, bringing about not only chaos, but also strange doctrines. In Charismatic meetings we see plenty of entertainment but hardly any true teachings of the Word. Entertainment and motivational elements are the fundamental pulls.
It is simply true that men who are self-ordained preach opinions; men who are men-ordained (by traditional churches) preach traditional church doctrines; and men who are God-ordained preach God’s Truth. The first Apostles of Christ were commoners and their line of works were simple and they were certainly not schooled in a Theological seminary.
The Truth of God is seen as a whole and not just a part. The revelation of the prophetic words seen by the Apostle Paul and expounded, even in his epistles, had caused many in his days to wrest, twist and pervert the apostolic truth just like they did with other Scripture. There must have been many who had wrestled with him face-to-face with his revelation (cf. 2Pet.3:16). Paul was neither a self-ordained preacher nor a church-ordained preacher. He was called and ordained by Yahweh for the ministry. He was not taught by men. His doctrines came to him through the revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal.1:11-12; 1Cor.11:23).
Consider Hebrew 11:8-10 for an example:
“By faith Abraham, when he
was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an
inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
That’s quite a revelation. It would not
be untrue to say that many had questioned Paul as to his revelation,
just where he got the Scripture to show that Abraham was looking for
a city of God,
whether spiritual or literal. Many Christians today would question Paul
too, if they had lived in his days. And some as reprobates would just
wrest with his teachings to their own destruction.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for
they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them,
are spiritually discerned”
(1Cor.2:14). For this cause Jesus taught in
speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and
they hear not, neither do they understand”
Truly, the prophetic revelation of the hidden secrets of God does not come by the flesh of man but by the Spirit of God. Out of the Prophetic Words come forth the Apostolic Teachings, Truths revealed through the Apostles.
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deut.29:29)