FIRST-TRUMP#top..........Sound the alarm in Zion..... ...........................

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. A Priest sounds the alarm on a shofar

 

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A HIDING GOD

15Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour. (Isaiah 45:)

Isaiah said God is a God who hides Himself. Is this correct? Or is Isaiah just waxing poetic?

I've heard all my life that the Bible is simple and easy to understand. I heard that it's written so the worst of sinner, the simplest of people can easily read and understand what the Bible is telling us.

When I was young and foolish (long before I grew old and foolish) I thought I knew everything about the Bible I needed to know. I thought I understood the essence of what it was telling me and I didn't have to read it to understand what I was supposed to know. I thought that is what Sunday School was for, to teach me all about the things of God. I also believed that all those adults and teachers and preachers fully understood the will of God, and that they lived what they believed. That, as it turns out, was yet another fantasy I clung to almost all my life.

The more I read the Bible, the more I research the Bible and learn of the Word of God, and those who supposedly preach the Word of God, the more I wonder just how simple the Bible really is. I find that the more I learn, the less I know and understand the Bible. It seems to me the depth of Scripture is far deeper than is my capacity to comprehend it. Because of this, I begin to wonder if those who find the Bible shallow have ever ventured into the deep end of the pool.

Is the Bible shallow? Is it easy to understand? Are the mysteries of the Bible exposed to our understanding?

Let's take a look at what the Bible says of itself, shall we?

Job is a man who God Himself said is perfect. God said of Job, after his debate with his friends:

7And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. (Job 42:)

What do we find this perfect and upright man who speaks rightly about God, has to say about God:

8Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: 9On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: 10But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:)

3How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin. 24Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy? (Job 13:)

23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. (James 2:)

Abraham was a friend of God. Did God hide anything from Abraham?

17And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? (Gen 18:)

God chose not to hide His intentions from Abraham, but it appears there was a willingness to do so.

Moses spoke to God face-to-face. Moses was in the "instead of God" to the people of Israel. I don't find where God hid anything from Moses, although I'm sure there was a lot He didn't tell Moses because Moses wouldn't have been able to understand it, as would none of us. But how about the rest of the nation of Israel, did God hide anything from them?

16And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. 17Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, (Deut 31:)

God knows our nature. Even after all He did for the people of Israel, He knew the next generation would turn away from Him. We are a great many generations after Jesus. What do you suspect is the outcome of our having been so far removed from the miracles and the Words of Jesus, the One we supposedly follow?

Elisha was a man who was in total contact with God and even knew the moves and the words of the enemy who were camped a great distance away. God honored the words of Elisha, and Elisha knew the will of God. Did God ever hide anything from Elisha?

27And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me. (2Kings 4:)

David, that sweet psalmist of Israel, a man after God's own heart. Surely God wouldn't hide from him:

1Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10:)

22Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. 23Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever. 24Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression? (Psalm 44:)

13But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee. 14LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me? 15I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted. 16Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off. (Psalm 88:)

David is experiencing great turmoil and conflict, and he feels alone in his troubles.

Take note of who David says is causing his troubles; is it the devil he accuses?

Note also how very similar David's pleadings are to those of Job. If I didn't know better I would swear these verses came out of the Book of Job.

Daniel was a man who "had the wisdom of the gods,' could interpret dreams, was filled with wisdom and was highly favored by God Himself. Daniel was given prophesies that even today we don't fully understand. Did God hide anything from Daniel?

6And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? 7And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. 8And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? 9And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. (Daniel 12:)

Daniel was not given information about the prophesies he had been given. Those understandings are for the time of the end. Could it be that the reason people haven't been able to understand the things of God is because it was "holden" of them? Could it be that this age in which we live in is the time of the end, and that we are being given understandings that have been hidden since the foundation of the world? If we are being given such knowledge and understanding, who is it that will be given this understanding? What of all those people now and for thousands of years? Do they realize they are without knowledge? Or do you think they might think they have all knowledge there is to have, so they don't listen to anything outside what they already believe, so they remain ignorant?

Joseph was a man also favored by God. God gave him dreams and interpretation of dreams. God gave Joseph special wisdom. God had a plan whereby Joseph would save the then world, and his people, from a worldwide famine. But all this was hidden from Joseph. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, wrongly convicted of a crime and sent to prison, and for many years was kept totally in the dark as to the reason all that was happening to him was of God. Finally, after all was said and done, Joseph had this to say to his brothers:

19And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (Gen 50:)

"But God meant it for good." This is an important lesson we must learn in our own lives. The "evils" ["Troubles"] we see, in our own lives and in the lives of others (as well as in the world at large) is all under the control of God. Those who do the evil, like as with the rulers when they killed Jesus and the Apostles, may have done so with wickedness in their heart, but God has good He wants to bring out of it. Jesus said:

1These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. (John 16:)

Those who do the worse think they're doing God's will. But in fact they don't know the Father, nor Jesus, even though they are leaders in the churches and know their Bible backwards and forwards. Knowing God isn't in the memorizing or the preaching, but in the relationship we have with God. And our relationship is through the Holy Spirit. Everyone thinks they have the Holy Spirit because they've been told they do. A doctor who says we are free of cancer may be sincere in his belief, and because we accept what the doctor says, we do not bother to get a second opinion or to treat the thing that is eating away at us. When it's too late we discover we had placed our faith wrongly. This is in the physical. What about our eternal Spiritual health?

19So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? 20And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. 21I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? (Ruth 1:)

Naomi means "Pleasant," and Mara means "Bitter."

Naomi had a full and pleasant life, and in the course of time it all was taken from her. She, as did Job and David attributed her loss to God. Did Job and Naomi know something about God we of this "enlightened" age have forgotten? Consider the lives of the people we're looking at, and the lives of all the others in the Bible, and see if maybe we've turned a blind eye to the reality of the workings of God. If we're not looking through the eyes of truth when we see God, then just what are we looking through? If we see God other than what He is, and try to force Him to fit a picture He does not paint of Himself, what do you suppose will be the outcome of such a self-deception?

Take notice when this portion of the Book of Ruth (or Job) is read or referred to; I highly suspect a preacher (or commentator) can not help but to say something like "Naomi just thought it was God who did this to her. In reality is was just fate, or the devil." Oh how we would like to rewrite the Bible to make it say what we want it to say. We can't do that, but we can add our own comments that alter and contradict what the Bible says. "God didn't really mean...."

14And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. 15And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. (Ruth 4:)

Naomi, and Ruth, were highly blessed in the end, all due to their hard beginnings. We see this in the lives of others of the Old Testament saints, as well as those of the New Testament, even though their blessings might not be apparent to us, nor fit what we conceive as blessings.

Moment-by-moment blessings, that is good fortune, is what we look for in our life. However, these are not what brings us happiness, unless we understand that happiness and the joy of the Lord comes in little packages that seem insignificant, not in the big bundles that turn to waste.

12So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: (Job 42:)

Esther was made queen in Babylon during the captivity. There's a lot to learn about life from the book of Esther. One thing we learn is there are a lot of secrets hidden in the book. One secret that was kept is that Esther was a Jew. Because of this secret many things happened that may not have, had this secret been known. There came a time when all the Jews in Babylon were going to be wiped out in one fell swoop, and there was only one possible salvation for the Jews, and that was Esther. Mordecai said this to the hesitant queen:

14For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement ["Deliverance, space"] and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:)

We are not where we are, nor going through what we are by accident or by our own volition, not if we are truly in God's hands. There's a purpose for our situation. Even our pains and our death might be a blessing for someone else. We are all part of a body, a family. Sometimes one part of the body has to be sacrificed for the good health and survival of the rest of the body. We hate to lose a loved one, or part of our body, or be the one who is sacrificed for others. But remember, Jesus, therefore God through Jesus, gave His all for us, and we are to be willing to do the same for the good of the body of Christ.

We read further in Esther:

1Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;) (Esther 9:)

8He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. (Eccl 10:)

7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Gal 6:)

There are certain principles God has established, that of recompense (some call it Karma) is one of these principles. We witness this principle in the illustrations presented here. We also see this principle in action through the crucifixion of Jesus. The intention of the Jewish leaders in killing Jesus was to stop the spread of what He was teaching; instead the death of Jesus created a firestorm that enveloped the world, and will go on forever. It was the Jews who were destroyed because of their action, both the people and their beloved Temple and city.

Again we see this in Nazi Germany under Hitler. Hitler's plan was to wipe out the Jews and spread his doctrine and influence throughout the world. The result of his actions were that he died an ignominious death at his own hands, his country was demeaned and divided among his enemies, and the people he resolved to wipe out (and who the world would not reach out to help) was given back their own land because of his efforts to destroy them.

Our efforts bring about a consequence: We reap what we sow. We can't take poison thinking it's medicine and expect to get healthy. Faith is a good thing, but faith without proper action is less than worthless (James 2:26)..

8And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. (Gen 3:)

God is not the only one who hides Himself, we, that is mankind, was the first to hid from God. When our thoughts and our behavior is not in God's will, we hide from God thinking He can't see us. Sometimes we hide our transgressions under a cloak of ignorance, convincing ourselves that God doesn't care if we do what He has made it clear in His Word we are not to do. Sometimes (and very often) we hide our sins behind a fig leaf apron of religion, finding a church (all too easy to do) that says God can't see our sins any more because they're hidden behind the blood of Jesus. Whatever our justification, we do not regard our sins and therefor we do not work to rid ourselves of those sins. The only time our sins will be brought to our attention is at the Judgement, and then it will be too late to do anything about them.

5I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah 6For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. 7Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:)

There's a time of trouble coming to this earth that has yet to be seen the likes of. Many people are looking for a cloud to whisk them away from this troubled earth, so therefore they are not preparing their hiding place, their righteousness that is to be their assurance. They trust in the blood of Jesus having done everything, so therefore they need do nothing. David doesn't seem to have this opinion, and long before the crucifixion, He seems to understand what Jesus and John the Baptist were preaching. Too bad those of us on this side of the cross cannot comprehend this message.

9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 28:)

I know, you don't have to tell me: You're sick of seeing this. But sick of it or not, it's the Word of God, and it is being ignored, yet quoted, daily by the ministry. We must be careful how we build our understanding of the Word. If we build on sand, or on a bad foundation, or we use untempered mortar, or we leave gaps between our bricks of reasoning; the building will fall. When I look at all the "fundamental" beliefs that must be honored, all I see are gaps and holes with nothing but tooth picks to hold them in close proximity to one another. A jab here, a quick sneak there, and a sky hook upon which to hang the entire mess. And this they call the road to salvation, and is used to divide the Church that Jesus gave His life for.

14Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. 15Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: 16Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. 17Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. 18And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. 19From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. 20For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it. 21For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. 22Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth. (Isaiah 28:)

You've formed a concept with which to set this occurrence off from you personally. What devise have you devised? A cloud perhaps? Maybe it's your church affiliation. Or maybe you figure you won't be around to see this happen. Or perhaps you say you're too good a person to be caught up in God's wrath? Maybe your good works outweigh your bad? Or maybe you just consider the entire thing a fairy tale; or that is true, but long past? I have just one thing I would like to ask you: What if you're wrong?

1Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. 2And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. 3And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. 4The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly. 5The vile ["Stupid, wicked, impious"] person shall be no more called liberal ["Free, generous, noble"], nor the churl ["Deceitful, liar, stingy"] said to be bountiful. 6For the vile person will speak villainy, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. 7The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right. 8But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand. (Isaiah 32:)

"The vile person shall be no more called liberal." Isn't that something? God knew all those hundreds of years ago that we of this modern age would call sin "liberal." And don't be deceived, all the churches are liberal, not just those who hang out such a sign above their door. None preach the absolute need to stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The closest I find are the outcast churches called "cults' that are a long ways from liberal, and are condemned as "works" oriented.

God said we're to be perfect as He is perfect (Mat 5:48). What is there that is short of God's perfection that your church allows you to keep and still squeeze past the narrow gate into the Kingdom? Probably any of them if you belong to one of the Mainline traditional churches. They may say you shouldn't do these things, but they don't outright condemn them.

6Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: (1Cor 2:)

10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: (Mat 13:)

There's a lot of people who hear the words, and even have them set to memory; in fact there's many who even preach the words, but have no idea what the words mean. And to tell you the truth, I don't think most of them even care what the words mean. Their job is to use word, as is the job of a politician, a salesman, or a public speaker; so that's what they do, they spout words to the best of their ability.

9And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? 10And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; THAT SEEING THEY MIGHT NOT SEE, and hearing they might not understand. (Luke 8:)

Jesus said He speaks in parables so people can't understand what He's saying. Is this what you've been taught? Just for the fun of it, ask your pastor some day why Jesus taught in parables, then consider if there's any other obvious statements Jesus or the Bible made that might have happened to be overlooked or seen backward. What was it Isaiah said about line upon line, and falling over backward?

1Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. (1Cor 4:)

25Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: 27To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. (Rom 16:)

How are the mysteries made manifest? Did Paul say it's through the commandments they're seen? But there are no more commandments. Isn't that rather a paradox? We need what no longer exists in order to see those things we need to see? Am I missing something here? Or is there someone else who's on the wrong road?

51Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1Cor 15:)

" I show you a mystery." Paul sure said a mouthful here. Did you notice that Paul didn't say he's revealing a mystery, but rather he is showing a mystery? People think Paul is explaining the Rapture and making it clear. I don't see it that way at all. If it was his intention to make the Rapture perfectly clear then I fear he missed his intention by miles. There are many interpretations concerning the rapture, and I don't think Paul's demonstration even comes close to any of them.

What is Paul saying when he says he's showing us a mystery if he's not explaining it? I think he's doing the same thing Jesus did, he's telling us something in a riddle that only those who are willing to use the key, follow the instructions, and take the time to figure it out will understand it. Everyone else will think they understand because it's been "explained" to them by someone else who thinks they know.

Do I have any basis for such a theory? Yes, one piece of evidence is the very thing this study is about, that is, that God hides His meaning from the casual onlooker and the "intellectual" who thinks he has all the answers. Another is his statement as used here. Paul says he's "showing us a mystery." If I told you that I am showing you a riddle, would you think I was showing you the solution to that riddle? or that I was showing you a riddle in which the solution is hidden from you, and that you have to figure out?

8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:. (Eph 1:)

2If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; (Eph 3:)

Did you catch what Paul is saying here? The secret is revealed to us now. It's right there for us to see. But how do we see it? Look again and see if you can find the answer to that riddle.

8Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: (Eph 3:)

30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Eph 5:)

God has explained the mystery, but as far as I can see it's still a mystery in almost all the churches I've seen. Do you understand this mystery? Of course you do. You've had it explained away, I mean you've had it explained to you, so you've looked no farther. Besides, it's just a bunch of words that have no significance, right? You've heard the bottom line, that you're going to Heaven while most everyone else is going to hell. All you have to do is wait for that fluffy white cloud and miss passing go, or even the judgement. Interesting. I'd look up that theory carefully in the Word if I was you. You just might be off a tad, and then where would you be?

Am I being too sarcastic? I think I am. But if I'm right, I don't think my attitude holds a candle to God's attitude when it comes to misinterpreting His Word and neglecting to follow it.

25Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Col 1:)

You know what the mystery is don't you? Of course you do because you're a "saint." I sure wish I could say that of myself, but I can't. A saint is "Pure, holy, blameless." I sure don't fit any of those criteria. I see the saints as marching into Heaven with their banners flying high. Yet I see Paul hoping to make it by the skin of his teeth. If I make it at all it will be because God has given me credit for effort, not success. Yet I see those who are doing nothing toward their salvation considering themselves as perfect. I guess it's all in the measuring stick we use.

1For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; 2That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col 2:)

2Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. (Col 4:)

7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. (2Thes 2:)

The very mystery Paul speaks of is a huge mystery. The Pre-Trib Rapture folks think this speaks of the Holy Spirit because it will fit their doctrine so nicely. Is the one who lets the Holy Spirit? I wish I knew, but as yet it hasn't been revealed to me. I won't discount the idea, but I can't figure out how the Holy Spirit fits in here. But I can't figure out how anyone else fits here either, so I won't try to pretend I know what I don't know. I'll leave that up to the politicians and the theologians.

8Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. (1Tim 3:)

6And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1Tim 3:)

It sure is a mystery! And on my part there are still a lot of questions I have to allow to go unanswered for the moment. I hope someday to have the vail over some of these mysteries removed. For now, I still see many mysteries that have answers written on them with crayon, but the childish scrawls do not fit what I see in the Word.

19Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; 20The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. (Rev 1:)

Here's a good example of the crayon answers I see scribbled on the vails. Jesus tells us very plainly what the stars are in this book. Yet I continually hear preachers and commentators insist that the stars in Revelation are the Jews. They have to say this, or their idea of the Church no longer being on earth during the Tribulation is blown to smithereens. And if the Church is still here, it conflicts with even more silly fantasies built around the whole rapture concept. Like I said; I can't see past the crayon scribbles. Maybe it's myopia. Maybe I need new glasses, do you think?

6And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: 7But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. (Rev 10:)

According to the sermons I've heard the mysteries were finished at the cross. Yet I read here they'll be finished in the days of the seventh angel. Mmmm. Confusing, isn't it?

5And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Rev 17:)

7And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. (Rev 17:)

Here's another example of the answer to a mystery causing more confusion than did the riddle.

1The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Psalm 110:)

41While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions. (Mat 22:)

There was a lot of confusion as to the arrival of the awaited Messiah. The Jews looked south; and Jesus came from the north. The Jews looked for a mighty warrior; Jesus came as a meek healer/preacher. The Jews looked to be delivered and to set up a physical kingdom; Jesus came to sacrifice Himself in order to set up a Spiritual Kingdom. The Jews expected their Messiah to reach out to the wealthy, the religious leaders, and the keepers of the Torah and the Temple for his army and leaders; Jesus recruited and reached out to the sinners, the commoners, the deadbeats of society. Everything they looked for; Jesus was not. Yet we, as we look back on it, can clearly see that Jesus fit the pattern for their Messiah. Why couldn't these Jewish leaders see that Jesus so well fit the picture painted in prophesy?

One reason they couldn't see Jesus as their Messiah is because the clues to His first coming were hidden amongst the Scriptures. Like the example Jesus gave in the passage printed above, it's hard to tell who is talking and about whom. We see this as an example:

30And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? (Acts 8:)

1And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. (Isaiah 11:)

Instead of slaying and judging the wicked sinners, Jesus was recruiting them and forgiving them.

9He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. 10The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed. (1Sam 2:)

Again we see the same said about the wicked, and we see where the adversaries will be broken to pieces. Jesus blessed those who were breaking the law of Moses, which was to them the law of God (which it was), and accusing them, the rulers, of being the wicked that is to be condemned. It's not easy to accept criticism from someone we feel is beneath us, and not working as hard to please God as we think we ourselves are.

9Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. 11As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. (Zech 9:)

We know this refers to the meekness of the Messiah. But if we have a mind set that is looking for a warrior, we could misread this to say the King would be a warrior.

Misinterpreting the Bible to fit doctrine was the Pharisees' downfall, just as it is the Churches' downfall today. There was no way of convincing the Jews they were off the beam, and that by Jesus Himself. How much harder would it be for someone of low stature to convince the bigwigs they are wrong?

The blindness the Jews experienced concerning the first coming of Jesus stands true of the blindness the Church is experiencing concerning His second coming. We're all looking in the wrong direction and for the wrong signs because we refuse to look at the Bible through Spiritual eyes.

3And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, (Micah 4:)

Again we see a warrior in this part of a verse. The rest of the passage speaks of peace, but only after war.

We see here where the Messiah will judge the nations. But Jesus said:

15Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. (John 8:)

If we pick and choose the words we want to hear we can make the Bible, and Jesus, say anything. This is what the Jews were doing, not listening to the words and the meanings of the words Jesus spoke, but only trying to catch Him saying something they could use against Him. This we have today. Truth is not what's important, it's what we can find in the Bible that makes it sound like God just wants to do things for us, that we have to do nothing to gain everything, and that we will escape all consequences everyone else will have to suffer for doing as we do. We like to find verses (or pieces of verses) we can use to point our condemning finger at others, and to justify our own faulted beliefs.

The Pharisees are not some strange people who lived long ago. The Pharisees are with us today, in the churches. The Pharisees are an example of us, you and me. If we refuse to see the Pharisee in us, and in our church, we will be doing the same thing as did the Pharisees, and suffer the same consequences.

1Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. 2But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:)

Jesus came from, not royal blood, but from a village of no consequence, in a region considered to be hardly above that of Samaria (a despised region), and from a mother who had a reputation of having a child out of wedlock. How low can you go? If they had known He was born in a barn, a cave, and laid in a feeding trough they could really have had a field day with Him. We have this glowing account regarding the town that Jesus was supposedly born in:

45Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 46And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. (John 1:)

41Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. (John 8:)

It's preached that this was a slam at Jesus and his supposedly illicit birth. That may be, and it certainly would apply if the fact was known to them. But I wouldn't put to much stock on it being the case. It's too easy to make up interesting stories around a simple statement, verse or concept, and lose the message that's being taught. I think of how bits and pieces of nothing have been twisted and mangled into Articles of Faith, the Lucifer nonsense, and the Rapture theory. We then believe the fairy tale, which belies our faulted belief system that is supposedly our salvation, and minimize the truth that's staring us in the face.

18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. (Mat 1:)

3And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? (John 8:)

10And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. 11And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (Lev 20:)

Like so many other of the Greek and Hebrew words, the word for "Put away" has a variety of meanings that range from one extreme to the other. These are some of the meanings given by Strong's concordance: "relieve, release, dismiss (reflexively depart), or (figuratively) let die, pardon, or (specifically) divorce: - (let) depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away, release, set at liberty."

As you can see, Joseph might have been thinking about forgiving his wife, letting her go, divorcing her, or, what I want you to notice here, "let her die." By Jewish law, as I've shown you, he was supposed to report Mary and have the community stone her to death. That is the condition Jesus was born under, a very illegal one from all aspects.

I've included the second verse in order that you might see what Paul was looking at when he confronted the man who was "courting (?)" his father's wife.

4For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: 5Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days. (Hos 3:)

1My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. 4Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. 5They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. 6But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. 9But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. 10I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly. 11Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. 12Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 16For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. 19But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. 20Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling ["Desolate, only child, lonely"] from the power of the dog. 21Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns ["Wild bull, from its conspicuousness"]. 22I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. 23Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 24For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. 25My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. 26The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. 27All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 28For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and he is the governor among the nations. 29All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. 30A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. 31They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this. (Psalm 22:)

We look back on this and see how it clearly describes what the Pharisees and the rulers of Judah did to Jesus. But all the rulers could think of is that they had to do something quickly in order to deal with this man who has declared Himself the Messiah. How did Jesus declare Himself the Messiah when He apparently went to great lengths to avoid doing just that? He rode into Jerusalem, through the East Gate, riding on a donkey. They all knew what that meant. Then Jesus cleansed the Temple. He had taken control from the rulers, even over their own territory, and there was nothing they could do about it but stand back and watch. (Zech 9:9; Psalm 69:9; John 2:17)

Why didn't the rulers have Jesus arrested at this time? They feared an uprising. After all, Jesus was the people's Messiah, and they would have had an uprising on their hands. If that had happened, they could have been stoned by the masses, or at least the Romans would have stepped in and there would have been much trouble on that festive holiday (Mat 21:26, 45-46).

We have this as well:

9Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; 11Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. (John 12:)

These men were desperate. They would break all their own rules, be the worst of villains, in order to protect their status and their doctrines. We see this in politics where nations will go to war, killing thousands if not millions of their citizens, in order to protect some little thing that is of no consequence. Supposedly this country, the USA, was founded upon a war against England over a tax on tea. I don't drink much tea, so I could care less if they raised the tax on tea. But I do drive, I do own property, and I used to smoke and drink. The taxes on these areas are now out of sight, and brought about by our own government. Yet do we go to war over it? No, we merely shrug our shoulders and pay the tax.

Tax was not the reason for the war any more than was the raising of Lazarus from the dead the reason these ultra-religious people wanted to kill him. We read:

46But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. 47Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place ["Rest, settle down, quiet"] and nation. 49And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. 53Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. (John 11:)

There's a lot more to this event than meets the eye. The rulers were desperate, and they were running out of time. The Jews had lost their nation many times in the past, and to several different powers in the past. The only reason they were allowed to run their own country is because the Romans let them do so, as long as they didn't cause any trouble. In a moment they could lose that power, that authority, which is evident by the fact that this is exactly what happened in 70AD.

From the beginning of Jesus' ministry He had angered these religious folks because He wouldn't abide by their rules. He apparently declared that He was being obedient to God's commandments, but His actions didn't fit their view of those commandments. When people are angry they do things they wouldn't normally do. Anger is blinding. It was because of their blind anger the prophesies were fulfilled. This is one form of blinding they had to deal with:

37But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: 38That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? 39Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 40He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 41These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. (John 12:)

We have two important points to consider here. First we have the fact that God Himself, through the prophets, has told us in many ways that He hardens people's heart, and blinds their eyes. We don't think that's fair, so we change God's words to say God has given everyone free will. When we harden our own heart to God's Word, and blind our own eyes to what He is telling us, we deceive ourselves and we cause ourself to stumble over the truths God is giving us.

God blinds the eyes of whoever He chooses. That's His right as creator of the world. We can argue about it, we can deny it, but we can't change it. It still remains God's prerogative.

Why would God harden people's heart and blind their eyes? He told Moses (thereby us):

13And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 14For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. 15For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. 16And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. (Ex 9:)

53Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? (Mat 26:)

We try to make sense of God by bringing Him down to our level, by trying to cram Him into the box we've made for Him. We say God is all love, even though the Bible from beginning to end shows this is not entirely so. By ignoring the anger of God while concentrating on the love of God we set ourself up for the anger we choose to ignore (Heb 10:26-27, 31). We try to force our concept of free will into the Scriptures, even though we can see plainly that in almost, if not every, example given to us in the Bible it clearly shows this not to be the case. Abraham was chosen. All his descendants were forced into their position. Noah did not choose to build an ark. Moses tried every way he could to get out of what he was told to do. The Apostles were just minding their own business when Jesus told (not asked) them to follow Him. Jesus said the Father gave them to Him (John 18:9).

12While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:)

"That the Scriptures might be fulfilled." This we read over and over. It's quite obvious that Jesus is in the process of fulfilling prophesy. He does everything on schedule, and He sets the situation up. He sent for the donkey that He apparently prearranged for that He rode into Jerusalem upon. He sent Judas to the Pharisees to tell them where He would be so they could crucify Him. He told the disciples exactly what would happen. Jesus was on a mission, and part of that mission was to fulfill prophesy.

Because of our misapplied concept of free will we become blind to truth and force the truth into a lie (Rom 1:25). God does not have to be a fortune teller in order to know what is going to happen in a person's life, or in the future of the world; He's controlling the events from start to finish. He knew what He was going to do before He began the project of creating the world.

In our foolishness we contradict ourselves over and over. We say God knows who will be faithful to the end, so He picks those to save. Now tell me, how does that fit with the concept of free will? If God already knows what I'm going to do, then why should I be concerned? I have no choice in the matter.

We say if we choose to become Christian (again, contradicting the idea that we either will or will not become a Christian), God will make us into what He wants us to be and give us jobs accordingly, and also provide us the gifts we'll need to fulfill that will. That's saying if I become a Christian, I give up all my free will and become a robot. Does that make any sense? We blind ourselves by our doctrines.

If we want to see what God is telling us, we have to get outside our cracker box of doctrine and let God lead us through His Word. And we have to be prepared to see what we least want to see. If Pharaoh was to read what God has told us about him, I doubt he would be very happy about being used as he was. If Judas knew before hand how he was going to be used, I doubt he would have signed on as one of the twelve (which incidently, we have no Biblical record of).

As for free will, what free will did John the Baptist have? What free will did Mary have? It was her genealogical line that brought her to her destiny, not her wonderful personality or her faith. This is true of Joseph as well. and if we look into the lives of Jacob's 10 sons (not Benjamin or Joseph), they were far from sparkling examples of godly men. They killed a city they didn't like, they betrayed and wanted to kill their brother out of jealousy, and they lied to their father. There wasn't much these boys did right that would cause them to be the heirs of the position they hold.

If you want to understand the Bible, assume everything you now know, or have ever heard, is dead wrong and the opposite of what is true.

25For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (Rom 11:)

There's a lot of blind conceit going around the churches these days, and as predicted, we're becoming more blind, more conceited, and more degenerate day by day. And because of our huge ego, we think we ourselves are not a part of the Apostasy we see all around us. We think of ourselves as "enlightened," even though our candle has gone out.

37But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: 38That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? 39Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 40He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 41These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. (John 12:)

We don't have to be a part of that blindness. We do have a choice in the matter, unless we've chosen to be a part of some leadership that God intends to manipulate. God used Pharaoh. God used the Pharaoh that sat on the throne 430 years after the prophesy was given. Judas was a thief. Jesus needed a thief to fulfill His purposes. If you were a Jewish thief living 2,000 years ago, you might have been chosen for the job. If you were not a thief, chances are you wouldn't have been chosen as the betrayer. I can't say for sure, this is my speculation as I do as everyone else does, that is, try and make sense of all the apparently contradictory messages given to us. Some things the Lord has made clear to me, others He hasn't. I suspect He has made these blank spots in my understanding clear to someone else, and maybe He will to me at some later date. I just don't want to sound as if I think I know all of God's mysteries. I don't. But what I do know is that if we want to understand God, we have to get off our high horse of ego and get on our knees before Him and ask Him for the truth, nothing wavering.

7What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded 8(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. 9And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them: 10Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. (Rom 11:)

The Jews were blinded to the truth. We see this even today. However, more and more of the Jews are seeing the light and are becoming Christian. And I doubt there are very many people who are a more dedicated Christian than is a converted Jew.

3But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2Cor 4:)

We all think we believe, and we think we believe the truth. And that is our blindness. We have a concept of belief as being a mental consent, or an agreeing with the doctrines of whatever church we happen to attend. We read in Revelations to "come out of her my people." Babylon, this corrupted church system, is going to fall, and fall hard. If we don't take our mind out of Babylon, and turn our thoughts and our heart to the Shepherd instead of some theology, we will fall with Babylon. You don't agree? Watch and see.

Incidently, for clarification: there are groups of people who believe that Babylon is the churches as do I. But they consider the churches Babylon because of the walls, because of the denominational mind set of the churches. This is not my reasoning at all. I believe God set up the denominational system, just as I believe He has control over every aspect of the running of the churches and the world. I believe the church system is Babylon because, like Israel, we've fallen from grace and forgotten the Lord. We call evil good and good evil (Mal 2:17; Isaiah 5:20) and allow everyone, regardless of their sinful nature, into the House of the Lord without any effort to correct the person's behavior (Ezek chapter 44:) and tell them they're going to Heaven just as if they were godly saints (Mal 3:18; Jer 23:8-32). We've turned Christianity into a negative byword, a joke, something to look down on. And in so doing, we've brought Jesus down with us (at least in the eyes of the world and the Church). We can't expect to behave as did the Jews and not suffer any consequences for it. Being called by Jesus' name does not give us license to sin, instead it places a much higher expectation on us, and a greater consequence if we fail to do as we promised to do at our conversion.

9He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. (1John 2:)

Take a close look at your finger. No, really, look very closely at it. Is it pointing at anyone, judging them, condemning them? Are you feeling more righteous, more knowledgeable, more godly than someone else? Is there a class of people, such as another church, that you condemn because of their beliefs? If you are, then you certainly are not loving them. And if you're not loving your brother, then according to John, you are walking in darkness and only think you're in the light.

We like to talk so freely about the love of God. But the Bible is very clear, if we are not loving of our neighbors and our brothers and sisters, then we do not qualify for God's love, but rather for His judgement.

4But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ. 15But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. 16Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. 17Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2Cor 3:)

We can not understand the ways, or the Words of God. Whenever we try to do so we do exactly what the world does, we end up in falsehood and fantasy. Only God can show us the truth, and He does this through the Holy Spirit. He doesn't instruct the pastor to instruct us, He guides each of us personally. The pastor can give message after message, expounding truths with every breath, but it will do us no good whatever if we aren't listening to the Holy Spirit decipher the words spoken. Are there pastors who speak the truth? Certainly there are, at least the bits and pieces of truth they've allowed themselves to be shown. But the main truth any pastor can give his congregation is that everyone must get in touch with the Holy Spirit. And if that message isn't being preached, then everything else is worthless.

Paul says the vail is over the eyes and heart of the Jews even now. We have clarification of the Old Testament in the New Testament. Unfortunately, far too many pastors and people refuse to lift their vail so they can understand the Old Testament thinking it's just a bunch of history, interesting stories, psalms, and laws that no longer effect us. Because of this attitude they miss out on the understanding of the New Testament. The Bible is all one book. If part of that book is left out then none of it can be comprehended.

17This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20But ye have not so learned Christ; 21If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: (Eph 4:)

The truth is in Jesus. And Jesus said it's the Holy Spirit that's going to tell us what Jesus has to say. No one else has the truth. So if we listen to Jesus, to the Holy Spirit, then we will hear the truth.

Do you have the Holy Spirit? Of course you do. You've been told you do. Is He instructing you? You're not sure? Don't you think it's something to look into?

1Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. 2For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. (1Cor 14:)

If a person prophesies, are they a prophet? If a person speaks in tongues, are they saved? If a parrot talks, is it a human?

We get things all mixed up, and we judge according to our mixture. There are people who speak in tongues all the time, but that doesn't make them saved. There are people who have prayed over people, and the person prayed for gets healed, but that doesn't make that person who prayed a healer. I have prophesied, I've opened my mouth and words came out that didn't come from me, and those things have come to pass. But I'm not a prophet.

Mothers give medicine and they patch bruises, even bind broken bones on occasion. That does not make mothers a doctor. People fix their cars, but they're not mechanics. Are you getting the picture?

Going to church on Sunday, taking a dip in water does not make us a Christian any more than not going to church on Sunday and not being baptized in water keeps us from being a Christian. I've found more serious Christians who do not go to church than I have found true Christians in church. Jesus wasn't welcome in the churches of His day, does that make Him not a Christian? Is it the water baptism that made Jesus a Christian?

We have to give thought to our hard-held beliefs and reevaluate them to see if they actually conform to Scripture, not just a few obscure and scattered verses.

19And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, (Eph 6:)

9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14But 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. 15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1Cor 2:)

The truth can't be known by anything other than the Spirit of God. Don't let anyone fool you into believing it can be learned by memorizing doctrine.

10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Thes 2:)

3Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. 4I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. (Isaiah 66:)

9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 28:)

Are you being deceived? Of course you think you're not. But so do those you condemn think they're not being deceived. As Paul said, those who practice unrighteousness and refuse to look for God and His truth will be sent a delusion. I have no doubt but that part of the delusion He sends is that we are right, and everyone who disagrees with us is wrong.

When you hear that the Bible is clear, open, and out front; when they tell you the Word of God is simple, shallow, and easy to understand; consider that the one speaking hasn't wadded very far into the deep things of God. Those who stay near the edge of the river will find only the dregs and the debris that happens to work its way to the surface. They will call you into what they deem to be a simple, innocuous experience. This is what they themselves have found the Christian life to be. But the river is deep, and it is wide. If one explores the depths of the sea with the understanding that it is a dangerous adventure that must be dealt with carefully and with much preparation, it is a wondrous experience indeed. But if one heads out to the depths of the ocean with the notion that it is all fun and games, they will find a maelstrom awaiting them.

We've been looking at the Mysteries of the Bible that have supposedly all been answered and made clear to the world. Do you find this to be so? Are all the mysteries really exposed and understandable to the carnal, natural mind?


 

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