Christianity

Response to James White’s Dividing Line Program 25/07/13

On the 25th of July, James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries spent several minutes on his Dividing Line program (minutes 34 to 41) discussing my article concerning the Christian mandate to believe in the New Testament as a scripture. In the entire 7 minutes that I listened to his criticisms leveled against what I wrote – I found him to be very inconsistent in his logic, allow me to explain. He began his response to me, by appealing to the genetic fallacy, he began by assuming that my article was based on an Islamic theological perspective (of which I made no such claim), rather than  understanding it to be a historical critique of the development of the New Testament into a scripture – based on Christian theological beliefs which I have outlined further below.

Assuming you’ve read the article, James agreed with points 1 – 2, but then threw a wrench into the mix. He inferred that I believed (if I were to be consistent that is) in the Jewish Testament (Tanach) to be true and that Christ validated it. To the contrary, I was referring to the Christian belief in my critique of Christian beliefs that this is what you, Mr. White and the majority of Christendom holds to. I find it quite strange that you find it wholly impossible that I can’t critique Christianity for what it is, for what Christians themselves claim of it – without believing in it myself. To be consistent, in using your logic, wouldn’t you then have to believe in Islam to criticize it or can’t you simply criticize it for what it says about itself? This therefore, was my line of reasoning – taking Christianity by its tenets and logically critiquing it thereon.

Interestingly, Mr. White found it strange that I mentioned my points were maxims, i.e. extant facts that needed no evidence, indeed I wrote my article assuming some study of the New Testament textual history was done by the Christians who visit this page. The point however, is that in your very response to me, you also assumed your points to be axioms, hence why yourself didn’t prove (cite, or even reference) any of the arguments’ evidences you made against my points – mere lip service does not cut it, that is if we are to be consistent. Just to ensure we’re on the same page, it is true that:

  • Christians adhere to the Old Testament of the Jews (I am not specifying which sect of Judaism or of quasi-Judaism).
  • Christians believe Christ adhered to, and preached according to the Old Testament.

These are the two foundational premises (axioms mind you), which my article was based upon. These points being what James and Christians generally must believe. The points of mine, which he vehemently disagreed with are as follows:

The only scripture which existed after Christ’s time during the time of the disciples was the Jewish (Old) Testament.

If we are to be honest, and I assume this is the case of Mr. White, then he should concede to the fact that there was no New Testament during the time directly at, or following Christ’s ascension – at the very earliest, we assume that Paul would have mentioned them (47 CE – 65 CE) in his epistles. Since he did not, then they were not written until atleast 65 CE (the time of his death). Therefore during Christ’s time, there was no (synoptical) Gospel being written.

The only scripture which existed after Christ’s time during the time of the presbyters was the Jewish (Old) Testament.

The only scripture which existed after Christ’s time during the time of the patristics was the Jewish (Old) Testament.

His response to these particular points (that the writings did exist during this period), foregoes one key phrase mentioned in my statement, that is the phrase, ‘only scripture‘. The majority of Christendom, given the 10’s of sects which existed at this period in time (see the Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis), did not all have consensus on what was scripture beyond the Jewish Old Testament – each group had their own apostles, their own Christologies, their own gospels and narratives, etc. Sure, to say that one or two groups took these writings at that time as authoritative, would be accurate. However, to say Christendom as a whole, compared to the Christian world at the time of the New Testament’s canonization (393 & 397 CE), accepted it on the same identical levels – that would be abject dishonesty. Now, if you define scripture as what a few groups believed in, as opposed to what is scripture contemporarily, then the writings of the other heretical sects must also be considered scripture by you – that is, if you are to be consistent. Concerning the final point:

At no point in the above time periods, was it ever mandatory to believe in a Gospel to be a believer in the Messiah.

James claimed that this was wrong, but he provided no evidence to the contrary. Now, it is quite obvious to all that I’m speaking of the Gospel textually, the Gospel which are the writings of others to whom we cannot trace to Christ himself, but to decades after his mission. My points therefore, are logically and historically accurate. The litmus test is clear – if the disciples and the generation of believers directly following them had no need for a ‘New Testament‘ to be considered ‘true believers of Christ‘, why does that mandate exist today? Perhaps James would love to explain why he’s following the decision of the Roman Catholic Church post both the Carthaginian (393 & 397 CE) councils? I had hoped that as one who argues against the relics of the Church’s beliefs, that he would be able to justify his beliefs about a book made necessary to be believed in by those very persons which he opposes – that is assuming he is to be consistent.

Note:

  • To AO Min: My pen name is Ijaz Ahmad and not Ijaz Muhammad as your blog incorrectly cited me.

4 replies »

  1. THERE IS NO SUPERNATURAL BEING NAMED SATAN!

    THAT IS A ZOROASTRIAN MYTH OF DUALISM, WHICH WAS BROUGHT BACK FROM BABYLON BY EZRA & THE DIASPORA JEWS.

    THEY PRODUCED TALMUDIC JUDAISM, WITH THE HELP OF THE PHARISEES.

    JESUS OF NAZARETH CONDEMNED TALMUDIC JUDAISM!

    GENESIS 2:17 THE TREE OF GOOD & EVIL, WHICH GOD PLANTED & MAN EAT FROM.

    JEREMIAH 17:9-10; JAMES 1:12-20

    THE “HEART” & MIND OF MAN IS THE ESSENCE OF EVIL & JAMES TELLS US HOW IT STARTS & COMES TO FRUITION.

    OK?

    MANKIND IS IN REBELLION WITH HIS CREATOR!

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves among those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not traitor, he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their garments, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared.” – Cicero, 42 B.C.

    BIBLICAL CONCEPTS:
    WHO IS “SATAN” IN THE BOOK OF JOB?

    Satan in the Book of Job: The Facts

    The Book of Job does not tell us many facts concerning the identity of Satan, which is doubtless why it forms such a mystery. Nevertheless we do glean two things from the passages where Satan is mentioned:

    Satan presented himself before God

    Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. (Job 1:6 RSV)

    Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. (Job 2:1 RSV)

    Satan is given the authority (by God) to cause calamity to Job

    The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (Job 1:12)

    The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. (Job 2:6-7)

    These two dialogues, in Job 1 and 2 respectively, are the only appearances of the word “Satan” in the book of Job. So the information we have to work with to understand who “Satan” is, is minimal. To help us understand these quotes it is useful to explore occurrences of the two facts: ‘presenting oneself before the Lord’ and the ‘power to cause calamity’ in other parts of the Bible.

    Comparing the facts in Job with other Scriptures

    Presenting oneself before the Lord
    It is noteworthy that in the Bible those who present themselves before the Lord are invariably men: not angels, nor any other type of being. Here are some examples:

    The LORD said to Moses… “Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain.” (Exodus 34:1-2)

    The priest who pronounces him clean shall present both the one to be cleansed and his offerings before the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. (Leviticus 14:11)

    Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy… (Jude 1:24 KJV)

    By contrast, the angels are described as being permanently in the presence of God.

    “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)

    On the basis of the evidence above, we are left to question who then was:

    “…Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD”?

    If the scriptural pattern is consistent the answer is that it must be men, appearing in a place of worship or otherwise who are presenting thoughts to God, e.g. in prayer or meditation.

    Furthermore the Bible categorically states that an angel could not have brought this slanderous accusation against Job in the presence of God:

    …angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against [righteous men] in the presence of the Lord. (2 Peter 2:11)

    The Power to cause Calamity

    The Bible makes clear that God has ultimate control over everything, including the power to allow or prevent the evil behavior of men. The power to cause calamitous diseases is beyond the capacity of humans and must come solely from God.

    “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:5-7 KJV)

    If God is the sole source of such calamity it must be God who brought the evil upon Job. This conclusion is harmonious with the text in Job, which also affirms that God was the one who afflicted him:

    All his [Job’s] brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. (Job 42:11)

    Nevertheless the explanation that God was the “Satan” who afflicted Job does not satisfy all the verses, because clearly God is speaking to a second party when discussing Job’s impending calamities.

    The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD, and afflicted Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. (Job 2:6-7)

    So who is this second party to whom God is speaking? The answer is that when God acts to bring calamity (or deliverance) in scripture, it is commonly described as being performed by an angel acting under the divine directive. There is much evidence for this; here are just two examples:

    “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.” (Daniel 6:22)

    He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility– a band of destroying angels. He prepared a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death but gave them over to the plague. (Psalm 78:49-50)

    Who then is the Satan sent out of God’s presence to afflict Job? The scriptural answer must be that “Satan” is an angel, obediently performing God’s decisions to allow Job to suffer affliction.

    But now we seem to have two Satans: the jealous men and the destroying angel! How are we to determine who is Satan – or are they both Satan? We account for this apparent discrepancy by realizing that the term “Satan” in Hebrew is a title given to something or someone, which is in opposition, rather than to a particular person himself. Thus the title “Satan” belongs to whoever is in opposition at that time (much like the title of “King” or “governor” therefore, it can pass from person to person through time). Consequently “Satan” is used to describe the men whilst they generate their jealous hatred of Job, and “Satan” is used to describe the angel whilst he is directed by God to act upon this jealous hatred.

    “Satan” is not the only Hebrew word that is used in this generic titular fashion. It will enhance our understanding of the use of the word “Satan” in Job to consider at least one other Hebrew word, which is used in this way.

    Generic Titles in Scripture

    Certain words in scripture are generic titles, rather than personal names. That is to say their application is not restricted to a particular personality, but is applied to a variety of different people at such times as they satisfy the criteria for the title, much like the title of an office. Two specific examples of this are the words: “Elohim” and “Satan.”

    Example 1 ELOHIM – A Title for Mighty One(s)

    “Elohim” is a Hebrew title for one who stands in great power, to rule and judge. This title is applied across the entire range of scriptural characters, from (a) God, to (b) angels, to (c) human men.

    (a) God as “Elohim”

    In the beginning God [Hebrew: ELOHIM] created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

    (b) Angels as “Elohim”

    “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visits’ him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels [Hebrew: ELOHIM], and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” (Psalm 8:4-5 KJV)

    (c) Human men as “Elohim”

    But if the servant declares, “I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,” then his master must take him before the judges [Hebrew: ELOHIM]. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life. (Exodus 21:5-6)

    Example 2 SATAN – A Title for an Opponent

    The title “Satan” is equally generic in scripture. It is not a personal name, and thus again its use is not limited to a single character. The title “Satan” is applied for one who stands in opposition; and it is applied, in the same way as “Elohim,” across the full spectrum of scriptural characters from a) God, to b) angels, to c) human men.

    (a) God as “Satan” (Compare these two parallel accounts)

    “Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.” (2 Samuel 24:1)

    “SATAN rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel”. (1 Chronicles 21:1)

    (b) An angel as “Satan”

    But God’s anger was kindled because he went; and the angel of the LORD took his stand in the way as his adversary [Hebrew: SATAN]. Now he was riding on the ass, and his two servants were with him. (Numbers 22:22 RSV)

    (c) A human man as “Satan”

    “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, SATAN! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23)

    The Big Picture of God and “Satan” in Scripture

    To gain a deeper understanding of the real interplay in the book of Job, it is essential to analyze the broader relationship in scripture between God and the various parties who adopt the role of Satan. We find that this relationship adopts the same characteristic three-point trend, as shown below. We shall then use this model to solve the puzzling mystery of who is Satan in the book of Job.

    Trend of the relationship between God and “Satan” in the Bible:

    {1} God pronounces a truth.
    {2} Satan opposes God’s truth (“opposes” by definition) and declares a lie.
    {2b} Often this lie is an accusation against a righteous man.
    {3} God invariably rebukes Satan for his error.

    Here are example cases from which we establish this trend as scripturally valid. The first example is the classic encounter in the Garden of Eden.

    Example 1: The serpent in Eden bringing the downfall of man

    {1} Pronouncement of God’s truth:

    “And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

    {2} Satan opposes, speaking lies:

    “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

    [Revelation 12:9 shows that the serpent of Eden can indeed be called Satan]

    {2b} Satan’s lies are accusations against the righteous (notice the reference to the “ancient serpent,” which shows that this is a commentary on the Eden story)

    “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” (Revelation 12:9-10 RSV)

    {3} Satan is rebuked by God

    “So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15)

    This archetypal relationship between God and whoever is in the role of Satan is evidenced in later scriptural scenarios. Here is the evidence: notice the characteristic points of the relationships in each case.

    Example 2: Peter contradicting Christ

    {1} Pronouncement of God’s truth

    “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life”. (Matthew 16:21)

    {2} Satan opposes, speaking untruth

    “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” (Matthew 16:22)

    {3} Satan is rebuked

    “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23)

    Example 3: The enemies of Judah frustrating the rebuilding of the temple

    {1} Pronouncement of God’s truth

    “…the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: “…The LORD, the God of heaven… has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you–may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1:1-3)

    {2} Satan opposes…

    “When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building a temple for the LORD, the God of Israel… [they] set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building”. (Ezra 4:1,4)

    {2b} …by making accusatory lies against the righteous

    At the beginning of the reign of Xerxes, they lodged an accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem… This is a copy of the letter they sent him… “The king should know that the Jews who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem and are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city.” (Ezra 4:6,11-12)

    {3} Satan is rebuked by God for his slander upon Jerusalem. (Zechariah is commenting on the same historical events recorded in Ezra – see also Jude 1:9.)

    “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?” (Zechariah 3:1-3)

    Reconstruction of Events in Job

    Using the model above of the three-point relationship between God and Satan in scripture, we can now identify who “Satan” is in Job. The way we achieve that is by looking for the signature characteristics of the behavior of Satan, which we have deduced in the previous section.

    We expect to find:

    {1} A pronouncement of God’s truth in the presence of Satan

    “Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” (Job 1:8 c.f. Job 1:1)

    {2} One who opposes, speaking lies: this will be Satan

    “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied… “But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (Job 1:9,11)

    {2b} …whose opposition is realized as accusing the righteous with lies: this will be Satan
    Eliphaz:

    “Is not your wickedness great? Are not your sins endless? You demanded security from your brothers for no reason; you stripped men of their clothing, leaving them naked.” (Job 22:6)

    Bildad:

    “The lamp of the wicked is snuffed out; the flame of his fire stops burning… He has no offspring or descendants among his people, no survivor where once he lived.” (Job 18:5,19) [Remember Job’s family had been destroyed: Job 1:18-19.]

    Zophar:

    “Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides. Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.” (Job 11:5-6)

    {3} One who is rebuked by God: this will be Satan

    “After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ”I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly.” (Job 42:7-8)

    Conclusion

    Who then is Satan in the book of Job? “Satan” in Job is those who oppose God’s opinion of righteous Job. This is the jealousies of men that contradict the truth of God that Job was an upright man, (Job 1:9-11) and which the evil men bear into God’s presence (Job 1:6; 2:1). God gives limited rein to the evil by dispatching His angel to realize the desires of the evil men (Job 1:12; 2:6).

    Specifically, “Satan” is identified as Job’s three friends: Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. They are the ones who oppose Job, even during his suffering, who bring lying accusations against him, (Job 22:6; 18:5,19; 11:5-6), and who are rebuked by God at the end of the matter (Job 42:7-8). We have seen how opposition; lying accusations against the upright; and a subsequent rebuke from God, are telltale characteristics of the presence of Satan. Additionally, that the core of Satan’s jealousy is of Job’s wealth (Job 1:9-10) is instructive, for jealousy is an essentially human trait. It does not easily befit a Mephistophelean Superpower, posing his supernatural guile and strength in eternal battle with the Almighty, to be distressed by the fact that Job has got a lot of sheep. Jealousy of material possessions is an emotional response so preternaturally petty as to be of undoubtedly human origin: and indeed the text confirms that Satan was “from the earth” (Job 1:7). Hence we confidently conclude that it is these three men, who know Job well, with whom the evil jealousies began, and from whose evil jealousy all the disaster was initially precipitated.

    In conclusion it is appropriate to point out that God was always in control of the entire situation, which is why such evil that radiated from Satan was always limited by God’s control (Job 1:12; 2:6), and the end saw Satan condemned (Job 42:7-8), whilst upright Job was blessed (Job 42:12-17)

    Jesus said,
    “I Speak in Parables So They WON’T Understand.”
    Why Would Jesus Do that?
    “All these things spoke Jesus unto the multitude in PARABLES; and without a parable spoke He not unto them.” Matthew 13:34
    “But without a PARABLE spoke He not unto them…” Mark 4:34
    “This PARABLE spoke Jesus unto them; but they understood not what things they were which He spoke unto them.” John 10:6
    Many Christians believe that Jesus taught in parables to make His message clear, but that is not biblical. Even His disciples were in the dark and did not understand. Repeatedly, they asked Jesus to explain the parables to them.
    “And when He was alone, they that were about Him with the twelve asked of Him the parable. And He said unto them, “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables.
    “That seeing they may see, and not perceived: and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted and their sins should be forgiven them. And He said unto them, Know ye not this parable? And how then will you know all parables?” Mark 4:10-13
    This passage tells us that Jesus didn’t want them to understand and He didn’t want to convert them and He didn’t want to save them.
    Why would Jesus do that?
    Jesus gives the answer Himself:
    “And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why do you speak unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto YOU to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but unto them it is NOT given.” Matthew 13:10-11
    “. . . but unto them it is NOT given.” Jesus spoke in parables the majority of the people could NOT understand!
    Even Jesus’ own disciples had to have these parables explained to them. But He often did that by telling them – – another Parable! Why would Jesus do that?
    Because God’s plan involves calling MANY, but choosing only a FEW – at least in this eon.
    “(The) MANY (meaning – ALL) are called, but FEW are chosen.” Matthew 22:14
    Jesus said, “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.” John 15:16
    The shocking truth is that Jesus hid the meaning of His teachings from the masses. The word Parable (Parabole in Greek: #3850 in Strong’s Concordance)
    means a similitude or (symbolically) fictitious narrative that conveyed a moral truth. The word Proverb (Paroimia in Greek: #3942 in Strong’s Concordance) means essentially the same thing – a fictitious illustration.
    But even the disciples often did not understand. Jesus taught His own disciples in private and told them:
    “These things have I spoken unto you in PROVERBS: but the time comes when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you PLAINLY of the Father.” John 16:25
    By Jesus’ own admission, He didn’t teach or speak to even His own apostles “plainly.” But He promised that the time would come when He would no longer speak in proverbs but would speak plainly.
    “And when He was alone, they that were about Him with the twelve asked of Him the parable.” Mark 4:10
    The people did not understand Jesus’ parables; the Scribes and Pharisees did not understand Jesus’ parables – except on one occasion they “perceived” He was speaking of them – and not even the Apostles understood Jesus‘ parables.
    And when Jesus explained the parables to the Apostles at their request, He often explained them with – – another Parable!
    Over and over, the Apostles did not understand.
    “And He (Jesus) said unto them (His disciples), How is it that ye do NOT understand?” Mark 8:21
    “But they understood NOT that saying, and were afraid to ask him.” Mark 9:32
    Jesus said unto His disciples:
    “Let these sayings sink down into your ears. . . But they understood NOT this saying, and it was HID from them, and they perceived it NOT; and they feared to ask Him of that saying.” Luke 9:44, 45
    These things understood NOT His disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified (after His resurrection) then they remembered that these things were written of Him. . .” John 12:16
    Jesus taught His disciples for three and one half years. They heard Him preach and teach hundreds of times, yet they did not understand.
    “Then He took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and ALL THINGS that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. . . and they understood NONE of these things: and this saying was HID from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” Luke 18:31-34
    The disciples understood NOTHING concerning the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus.
    But at the last meeting Jesus had with His apostles after His resurrection, we read:
    “And He said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you while I was yet with you (the things they never understood) that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me (meaning the entire Old Testament Scriptures). THEN, He opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:44-45
    Why did Jesus finally open the eyes and minds of the disciples so they could understand?
    “And the disciples came, and said unto Him, WHY do you speak unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto YOU to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven (but not at that specific time, but eventually – after His resurrection) but to them it is NOT given.
    “For whosoever has, to him shall be given (more), and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever has not, from him shall be taken away even what he has. Therefore, I speak to them in parables: because they seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand.
    “And in them (and in all future generations down through the centuries, except for a very small chosen few) is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand, and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive:
    “For this people’s heart (those in Isaiah’s day, those in Christ’s day, and through the generation into our day) 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 (SAVE) them.” Matthew 13:10-15
    There could be no more precise description of the Christendom of today!
    “The people draw near unto Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips: but their Heart is FAR from Me. But in vain (futility) they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:8-9
    But to the chosen FEW, Jesus said:
    “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men (all the Patriarchs of the Old Testament) have desired to see those things which you see, and have NOT seen them, and to hear those things which you hear, and have NOT heard them.” Matthew 13:16-17
    After Jesus’ death and resurrection, and particularly after Pentecost – when the disciples received God’s Breath of Holiness allowing them to understand Spiritual things – the Apostles and New Testament writers understood that the patriarchs of old, including the prophets themselves, often did not understand their own prophesies.
    After being given a vision, Daniel was told:
    “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end. . .” Daniel 12:4
    But all these prophecies are being revealed to those who now, in the time of the end, are learning to KNOW God and are willing to diligently search the Scriptures.
    “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto YOU; Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the suffering of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
    “Unto whom it was revealed, that NOT unto themselves, but unto US they did minister (for OUR admonition upon whom the ends of the eons are come, 1 Corinthians 10:11) the things, which are now reported unto YOU by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Spirit, sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto YOU at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:10-13
    Conclusion:
    This is why theologians, pastors, and Bible scholars, and Bible translators virtually never understand the Scriptures. This is why the Christendom is “teaching for doctrines the Commandments of men.” That is why Jesus said, “They draw near me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.”
    One can understand the Scriptures ONLY when one learns to know the Lord up close and personal through daily, diligent, Bible study and prayer after one has been through terrible trouble in their life and recognizes their absolute need for God to run their life. It is then that God opens the mind and heart so one can understand Spiritual truth
    One can understand Spiritual truth when one has received God’s Holy Spirit. Until that time, one reads the Bible literally – with sense knowledge – the use of the five senses: sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell. They are “soulish” (use the five senses) or “natural.”
    “The natural man (the soulish man – one who only uses the five senses) receives NOT the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because Spiritual things are Spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
    Understanding the Scriptures is not related to high intelligence, advanced religious credentials or years studying in the seminary. One can only understand the Scriptures when his heart, eyes, and mind have been opened to truth – by Jesus Christ.

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