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


. A Priest sounds the alarm on a shofar




What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? (Ex 32:21)

I have a picture hanging on my wall that I painted about 20 years ago. It's a portrait of my mother that my father asked me to paint for him. He wanted the picture as a memory of my mother who died some 44 years ago. The picture is nicely encased in ornate gold leaf frame, and to be quite honest with you, the painting looks very nice if I do say so myself.

But the painting is unfinished. No one knows it's unfinished but me because by all appearances there is nothing lacking in the painting. The painting looks like my mother; the flesh looks like flesh, the hair looks like hair, the eyes look like eyes and are easily recognizable as my mother's eyes: yet the painting is not complete. It is only a part, a mere beginning of the picture it could be, and that I intended it to be. But only I, the artist, can see what is not in the picture that belongs there.

Before I tell you more about this unfinished picture, let me tell you a story about another unfinished picture I encountered over 50 years ago when I was in the Army painting murals on the barrack walls in Germany. I was given the task of painting sport scenes in the recreation room (I know, you're shedding tears because of the harsh treatment I had to endure as part of my stint in the service of our country. Thanks, but it isn't as bad as it sounds I assure you). Now, where was I? Oh yes, Collazo. Collazo was a 19 year old Porto Rican artist who had joined the service as I had. There is a big difference between Collazo and myself, and the difference is that while I painted pictures, Collazo was an artist. He had been to school for art where they taught more than string painting as they do here in art schools today. Collazo could paint a scene so real you felt you were actually in the painting. One mural he painted was of Niagra Falls, and when you walked in the room you would swear you were going to drown.

But it wasn't Collazo's scenery that captured my interest, it was a picture of a woman's head he was painting when he wasn't working on the murals. He had the green, purple and other underlayment colors applied to this painting in the style of Rembrandt and other of the masters, and it was incredible. At that time I had no understanding of what he was doing, I only knew it was far superior to anything I could do then, or can do now. I couldn't see anything but perfection in the painting beneath his brush.

Suddenly Collazo took the painting and destroyed it right before my eyes. I was shocked. The painting didn't come up to his standards, so he destroyed it.

The painting, of course, was never finished.

Back to the painting of my mother.

One day, before the painting was finished, there was a big family reunion scheduled. This reunion lasted three days and gathered about 250 people, relatives I hadn't seen since a child, and some I had only heard of.

My father wanted to take the picture I was working on to the reunion, sort of like having her there with him I suppose. I put the picture in this nice frame I had purchased for which I intended the picture to be installed when the picture was completed.

The picture did indeed draw attention, and my father was pleased. He was so pleased in fact that he never allowed me take the picture from his wall so that I could finish it.

My father died fairly recently, and that is why I now have the picture.

The picture will never be finished. The medium I used to paint this picture was pastels, and the pastels are now stuck to the glass. If I tried to remove the picture, I would ruin it. So the painting will forever remain unfinished.

Of course you know that this article is not about unfinished paintings. But it is about unfinished pictures.

For the first part of my life I lived as does the average Christian. When asked what I was, I said I was a Christian. I had been baptized a Christian when I was around 12, and that made me a Christian.

I knew little about Christ, or the Bible, or anything else about being a Christian, other than I knew I was a Christian, and I went to church on Sundays. Why did I go to church on Sundays? Maybe I went to learn about God? No, because I didn't learn anything about God, or anything else Christianly in my youth. Maybe I went to church because it was the right thing to do as a Christian. That may have had a little to do with my going to church, but it wasn't the real reason I attended. I went to church because that's where the girls were, and I liked girls.

There are some people who read the Bible in order to learn about God, Jesus, and all the things God is doing in this world. Did I read the Bible in my youth? No, I was too busy doing what young people do, looking at girls and reading comic books. Although I liked the stories of the important parts of the Bible, like David and the giant, and the man who made a big boat and raised a farm on it, I only read about them if they were in the form of a comic book, which of course they were.

Humans are interesting creatures, quirky, but interesting. People know everything that's worth knowing about anything, and this no matter how little they know about a thing. If you doubt what I say, just ask anyone if there's anything they don't know. And what's more, the less a person knows, the more sure they are they know everything. If this statement is not true about everything, it's certainly true when it comes to the Bible. Even an Atheist, who has never heard a word of the Bible fully believes they know all there is to know about the Bible because they don't think there's anything in the Bible worth knowing.

Parable: "A story told to illustrate a moral or spiritual truth."

A parable is an "illustration." An illustration is: "A drawing or picture in a book."

We speak of "word pictures." A word picture is a picture drawn using words instead of paints and the like. Word pictures can be in the form of proverbs such as those used by Solomon, or psalms ("Sacred songs") made famous by King David, or parables used by, you guessed it, used by.... Job.

1Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, (Job 27:)

And David:

1Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: 3Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 4We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. (Psalm 78:)

David is probably speaking for someone else who speaks in parables, someone yet to come:

David said his parable looks forward. Paul tells us of something that looks back, only to look forward:

11Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (1Cor 10:)

Paul was living at the time of the "Ends of the world." That was 2,000 years ago. How much more, then, is what has been written intended for us today?

While the lives of the Old Testament saints were pictures of what God wants to tell us who are living in the end, Daniel was told that the pictures in his head, his visions were not for him, but for us, those living at the time of the end:

1And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. 4But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. (Dan 12:)

Has there ever been a time in history when people ran to and fro as we do now in this country? Houses have to be built on or with wheels because we're so constantly on the move. Parents often don't know where their children are, and the children don't care where their parents are. And is knowledge ever increased! And so readily available, even knowledge we have no business knowing, and certainly we should not be entertaining.

Jesus said there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Here, in Daniel, we have the same picture, but the words drawn are "shame and everlasting contempt."

When we compare the pictures presented to us in the New Testament with the word pictures, and the personal illustrations through the lives of the people in the Old Testament, we are better able to see the completed picture God is painting for us. If we see the two books as separate entities, or as detached and not intended for our time, we lose the picture and the illustration becomes blurred and boggy.

45Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 46Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop thy word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field; 47And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein. 48And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched. 49Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables? (Ezek 20:)

1And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel; (Ezek 17:)

God speaks in parables and riddles. We know the parable spoken here is not against trees. But if we don't look to see who God is speaking to, and what is being said, not only to those in Ezekiel's time but to us in this day and age, we lose sight of the picture God is painting.

34All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: 35That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. (Mat 13:)

Now we know who David was speaking for.

Jesus spoke in parables, and without a parable He didn't speak (to them). Jesus spoke in pictures, He is an artist, an artist who uses words to paint His pictures.

Not all pictures are intended to be viewed clearly. If you've seen but a little modern art you've undoubtedly come across some paintings that only the artist knows what is being said. This is true of art where the subjects are hidden in the paintings as well. These require much time and concentration to find the messages being presented. A quick or casual scan of the picture, or viewing the picture without knowing there is something to look for beyond the obvious robs us of the beauty and the purpose of the picture.

We saw in Ezekiel that God speaks in riddles. Are riddles intended to make clear? They must be since God seems to have combined the two and made them as one in the verses presented above.

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: 15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Mat 13:)

Mark expresses a part of this passage slightly differently He said:

12That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; (Mark 4:)

With the use of the word "That," the implication is "With the intention of." If this is the case, then Jesus' parables were like those God gave Ezekiel: a story as a riddle with the intention of confusing those who do not have their ears open, not willing nor able to understand what God has to tell them.

The Pharisees did not want to know the truth, therefore they left thinking they knew what Jesus was saying, but in reality they did not, but rather they had a distorted picture of what Jesus was telling them. We have this very same situation today, that of people only wanting to hear what they want to hear. If this were not so, then why are there so many differing doctrines, and so many denominations in the Church Jesus built?

The Bible is written as a riddle. Do you agree? Of course you don't agree. You believe what you hear from the pulpit, from the experts on the Bible who say the Bible is written to make God's purpose clear and understandable. We read:

10For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. 11And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: 12And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. 13Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: (Isaiah 29:)

The educated can't read or understand the Words of God because all they can see is the seal, yet they present themselves to us as ones who know the will of God. We the uneducated in the ways of the Lord are unable to read the book, so we rely on those who are supposedly educated in such matters.

Both will fail, both will fall into a ditch.

How then are we supposed to know the ways of God if we can't read for ourselves, if the learned are ignorant, and if God speaks in riddles and parables? I'm glad you asked:

2I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13Howbeit 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 show you things to come. 14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. 15All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you. (John 16:)

What we have in the Bible is not everything Jesus wants His disciples to know. How can this be? We certainly are not going to listen to someone tell us something that isn't in the Bible. Even if an angel tells us something that's not in the Bible we're not to listen to him (Gal 1:8-9). Paul tells us that Satan and his angels masquerade as angels of light, so even spirits can disguise themself as the Holy Spirit and talk to us, and unless we know the Holy Spirit personally, which we are to do, we won't know we've been deceived until the Judgement, and then it's too late to correct our stance. In my own experience, I've never been shown anything outside the Bible, even though just about everything I have been shown disagrees with what others say the Bible says.

39And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. 40And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. (John 9:)

There's more to lose by remaining blind than just knowledge. We see from what Jesus said that being blind to the truth will cost us our salvation, because our sins still remain. Those who have been given salvation, those who have been redeemed, are free from sin, isn't that correct? Then doesn't that mean those who's sins remain are not saved?

17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (Rev 3:)

What is worse than being blind? Wouldn't you think being blind to one's blindness, thinking we see when we're in fact blind, is worse than being blind and knowing we're blind?

My father in his last years was not only blind but he was becoming senile as well. Because my father was unaware of his blindness he visualized many things that were not real. He would imagine he was zipping along the highway when he was in fact laying in his bed. He would see cats at our feet that no one else could see. Whatever my father wanted to see, he saw.

A man laying in bed having such delusions is safe enough, and my father's delusions effected no one, not even him because he was enjoying the experiences his mind was taking him through. However, when a person has delusions, if a person believes he sees the truth when he is in fact witnessing a lie, and that person is driving a school bus or leading a congregation, there can be great devastation come from being blind. Jim Jones and Heaven's Gate are two examples of just such a blindness.

21And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? 22And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. 23For they said unto me, Make us gods, (Ex 32:)

When the cat's away, the mice will play.

Moses was up on the mountain doing the Lord's work on behalf of the people. The people could see the happenings on top of the mountain, they knew Moses was with God, and so did Aaron.

The people wanted a god they could see, like the Egyptians had. Aaron, the people now having chosen him as their leader (after all, hadn't God Himself ordained Aaron?) decided to lead the people down the garden path they wanted to go instead of reason with them and keep them on the straight and narrow.

"What did these people do to you?" Moses asked. They gave him authority. They fed his ego. They caused him to close his mind to the truth and to create a new picture using old paints. And because of Aaron's intentional blindness, the people were cursed, and many destroyed.

Blindness in an individual can cause many problems. When that one person is a leader, the problems caused are multiplied.

3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2Tim 4:)

"The time will come," Paul said 2,000 years ago. And certainly that time has come.

If it was so easy for the people to convince a God-chosen leader, one sanctified and anointed by God Himself, to sin and become blind, how much more, during these last days of the Apostate church can we expect such to be so?

Because of our blindness we are unable to see that we are on a train heading for a collapsed bridge over a deep ravine. We're told, and we firmly believe, that we are the only ones on a secure track on our way to glory land.

13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2Tim 3:)

Evil men don't care if they deceive. Sincere teachers might firmly believe what they teach, what they espouse; but sincerity is useless if it isn't built upon truth.

13And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled ["Deceive, seduce"] me, and I did eat. (Gen 3:)

14And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression ["Violation"]. (1Tim 2:)

Being deceived, it appears, is more than the transgression itself.
We won't be able to toss the blame off on those who have deceived us. We need to listen to God, and do what He tells us to do. Dead is dead, regardless of how justified and correct our actions might seemed to have been that caused us to be killed.

When I paint a picture I don't just look at it straight on. When I look at a picture I've painted I begin to see it in such a way that I find errors that do not exist. I have to look at the picture from a distance, in a mirror, upside-down, and hidden around a corner so I come up on it unexpectedly thereby seeing it with fresh eyes.

When a painting is to a point that I can let it go (it's never "finished" any more than my writings are finished. I'm always finding something wrong with them, or something I've left out) I spray it with a liquid that "fixes" the painting, and I put it in a frame. The frame states to the world that I have completed the picture.

When we decide we have all the answers, there is no one who can teach us any more than we already think we know. We have essentially "fixed" our opinion, and not even facts and evidence will unfix what we have fixed. This is human nature. And no matter how little we know about a subject, we feel we know all we need to know, and we fix our education at that point.

When I was young, and by young I mean under 36 years if age, I thought I knew all I needed to know about the Bible. I couldn't tell you if John the Baptist was in the Old Testament or the New, but I knew all I needed to know to get me to Heaven, so what more did I need to know?

After my "call" at the age of 36 I studied the Bible intently, but learned little about the Bible during the following 30 years, although I did try to open up my understanding so that I could be taught. I listened to sermons, I read the theologians, and I listened to the Lord as best I could. In that period of time there was only two things I learned that were of significance. The first thing I learned is that I didn't know anything, even though I found I knew a great deal more about the Bible than many (if not most) of the people I encountered who thought they knew a lot about the Bible.

The second thing I learned is that those who claim to be, and who are acknowledged to be experts on the Bible don't know the Bible. They may have the Bible memorized, and they may know Greek, Hebrew and every other aspect encompassing the Bible, but they don't know the Bible.

These people who do not know the Bible, are teaching those who are interested in learning the Bible. But the teacher nor the student is able to learn about the Bible because they already have the picture they want, and they've "fixed" that picture so it can't be added to. Their efforts to learn are like a tire stuck in a bog. Paul tell us:

6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2Tim 3:)

On top of having fixed their image of the Bible, they have placed a frame around their distorted picture, that frame being constructed of doctrines, traditions and fables.

Jesus said:

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: (John 16:2)

Jesus has much to tell us, and we will be told by way of the Holy Spirit what He wants us to know. If we don't have our ear tuned to the One who has the truth, who's job it is to instruct us, we can't learn. If we believe we know it all, or that the person behind the pulpit has all truth, then we will not be open to learning what the Lord is trying to tell us.

We will be blind yet all the while thinking we're the only one who can see clearly.

If you're picture isn't too far set (fixed); if you're frame isn't so binding as to have cut off your circulation, then step back a ways and give your picture a fresh look, and let the Holy Spirit critique it for you. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you can learn about your picture.

20He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand? (Isaiah 44:)




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